“Usability for our customers is paramount”

December 8, 2020
December 8, 2020 Max Lachmann

“Usability for our customers is paramount”

You seek and you shall find. The Pole SFX catalogue is stuffed with informative and extensive metadata helping customers locate exactly what they are looking for.

 

Paul, you are in charge of managing the Pole SFX catalogue. In the catalogue metadata is a key component but what exactly is metadata?

Metadata comes from a need to understand and use sound more precisely. After all, our ears can only tell us so much: is that a 1959 Corvette, or a 1960 model? It’s often difficult to know just by listening. So, metadata is used to fill in details with searchable text: performance, description, keywords, categories, and more. Pole crafts this info across multiple data fields with one goal in mind: to help our customers use the metadata to find sounds quickly and accurately.

 

Why is metadata a key component in the Pole catalogue?

Pole Position’s catalogue includes a wide variety of sound effects. For instance, the vehicles collection ranges from boats to classic cars to WWII bombers. Each of these vehicles includes minute details that are vital to sound designers and game audio pros. Often these pros depend on precise details to choose the proper sound for their projects. Knowing if a panzer tank sound is from a 1943 or 1944 model may be a vital difference to a sound supervisor working on a Hollywood film. Pole’s metadata helps these pros browse this important info, including engine type, number of cylinders, custom modifications, and much more.

 

And the metadata set up in the Pole catalogue, what’s included?

Our customers come from many disciplines: industrial design, post production, game audio, and others. We include as many metadata formats as possible to help each of these groups of people. We provide Soundminer’s MetaWrapper, iXML (compatible with BaseHead and Search), Broadcast Wave metadata (compatible with Soundly), as well as MacOS Finder comments. In total, we have 22 fields of custom, highly detailed metadata.

Our customers rely on this crafted, specific naming and elaborate categorization for our vehicles and effects. As such, the new Universal Category System is not a good fit for the richness and detail in the vehicles Pole so carefully records. For instance, UCS lists only a single category for cars. Pole has recorded sports cars, sedans, muscle cars, and many more from the vintage to the modern era with dozens of engine types. We feel a more nuanced approach reflects the diversity of Pole’s recordings and the specialized needs of our customers.

In the same way, we are also mindful of each collection’s file name scheme. At Pole, clarity and usability for our customers is paramount. We describe each sound by what’s most important: what the vehicle is and what it is doing in clear, simple, human-readable language. The UCS system inserts a code word at the beginning of every name. In addition, this prefix adds extra length that can cause issues with some versions of Windows. This is especially important for the way Pole delivers the vehicle perspectives: each microphone perspective is its own file that can be selected individually. This helps sound designers choose just the perspective and tone they need without worrying about the bulk of unwieldy multi-channel files.

Just the same, for those that choose to use it, we do offer partial support for UCS in the Soundminer and BaseHead iXML ShortID fields, which UCS fans can extract if they prefer.

We also include other tools to help sound designers use the collections: Pro Tools and Reaper sessions with library fx pre-aligned, as well as metadata keyword import files in 7 languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese).

 

 

paul virostek

Paul Virostek, responsible for editing and managing our libraries

How come you have this exact set up?

We want to ensure our collections are easy to use, as well as sound great! We regularly contact game audio and Hollywood sound editors, supervisors, and librarians to learn their needs. Our current metadata approach has been informed from feedback from these pros. We’ve built upon it over the years, fine tuning even the smallest details to make the library text rich, precise, and informative. We closely follow the industries of our customers and evolve as they do to meet their needs.

We have hundreds of sound libraries, many created when the need for sound FX metadata was just emerging. Pole is currently revisiting our early sound libraries and tweaking the metadata. Soon all of our 300+ sound libraries will have the same attention to detail and consistent format throughout the entire collection.

 

Pole just recently launched a new website. Are there any new features in the Sound shop?

The new Pole website offers a stylized design and a fresh look. The shop in particular adds a new, convenient option: the ability to purchase multi-user licenses online. Previously, buying licenses for feature film facilities or game audio studios required an email chain with our team to find a quote and acquire licenses. That can take time. Now, facilities can enter the number of licenses (also known as seats) right on the checkout page and receive a multi-user license immediately. There are price breaks and discounts for purchasing in bulk, and these are worked right into the checkout process.

 

 

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