MovieLabs releases visual language for media creation | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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Hollywood movie studios’ technology joint venture MovieLabs has released a visual language guide and a suite of design elements to help developers and producers create and communicate workflows in a visually consistent way.
MOvieLabs Visual 23Sep2021
MovieLabs believes that the current lack of a common visual language causes a high level of inconsistency across visual elements in production workflow diagram and application dashboards. Inconsistency often leads to miscommunication or lack of understanding, with extra time spent learning how particular ideas or concepts are expressed by different producers, vendors, talent or tools. To help resolve those inconsistencies, MovieLabs, with input from technology partners across the industry, and the major Hollywood studios (DreamWorks Animation, Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros) have devised the Visual Language.

Building on the recently launched Ontology for Media Creation (OMC), the new Visual Language for Media Creation (VLMC) is said to provide “robust” mechanisms and conventions for human-to-human and machine-to-human illustration of elements in a media workflow.

The Visual Language is a voluntary system that uses consistently defined shapes to convey key elements in a workflow – such as participants, assets, tasks and infrastructure – allowing developers to illustrate, for example, how different tasks are assembled together in a workflow. The illustration can then layer in users who carry out those tasks, or pivot to the assets operated on in those tasks. The language is also seen as being able to help illustrate the operation of scheduling systems that describe the participants in a production – for example users, departments, vendors or even automated processes – and how the participants interact and engage, and the allocation of infrastructure required for participants to complete their tasks.

The MovieLabs Visual Language also includes documentation, visual elements (in various file formats), best practices and examples. It also includes a first wave of icons for commonly used industry terms which may not be well defined in typical icon libraries, e.g., scene, take, slate and prop.

The downloadable package is intended for communication of workflows by those creating services and software developers to integrate into applications. The entire package is available under a creative common license that MovieLabs says will allow any organisation to download and implement in applications and services, as well as modify the package to enable skinning of visual elements for specific use cases. The package will be updated periodically to expand the library.

“Technical diagrams can differ greatly between organisations, and sometimes even within the same organisation,” said MovieLabs CEO Richard Berger. “We found so much confusion and wasted time happening when describing workflows created by different contributors. We designed the Visual Language with the input of the industry to establish common conventions for describing and literally drawing workflows. While we were primarily focused on media creation, we have found it to be useful for diagramming a wide range of workflows including distribution. It’s an important step for the industry to get on the same page on how to communicate consistently.”

The Visual Language asset package is available for download from the MovieLabs website.