All Systematic Sound Libraries are embedded with Broadcast Wave, iXML, metadata fields which are compatible with Soundminer, Basehead, Soundly and the Steinberg Media Bay. Libraries released in 2020 have the newly developed UCS metadata system implemented with product update v1.1. All future released products follow the USC standard.
The UCS is an effort to find a standard of categorizing sound effects. This will give the user the power to find things faster and work with more precision, thus getting better results in less time. It is a big chance to establish a unified language for sound metadata and file naming convention that should be adopted by as many SFX vendors as possible. That’s why I wanted to support this effort as an Early Adopter and implement this standard into my products as fast as possible.
If you need more info check out the UCS homepage: https://universalcategorysystem.com
What does this mean and how does it work?
A clear filename structure means that the user can see at a glance what category the sound belongs to, a concrete description of what the sound actually is, who created the sound and for what project this sound was created.
The UCS filename has four basic components:
- FX Name
- Creator ID
- Source ID
- User Data
AMBUrbn_Allotment Garden Club Walla_SYSO_SYSO002
Each component is connected via underscore (_). At Systematic Sound, I opted for using the “FX Name” field for the FX Name component. The “Manufacturer” field for the Creator ID and the “Show” field for the Source ID component. Additionally, a Vendor Category is included when needed. User Data component is not used in my products for obvious reasons.
The Cat ID component at the beginning of the filename is an abbreviation of the category and subcategory fields (including the vendor category when this field is used). A well-thought-out categorization system is at the heart of the USC standard. Having that information directly in the filename will benefit any user, even those that are not working with a sound database management software.
The “FX Name” field is a short, summarized version of the “Description” field, that should give a good idea of what’s in the file without being overly descriptive, neither too vague.
The Creator ID component is build through the “Manufacturer” field. On my label, I use SYSO, which is an abbreviation of Systematic Sound.
The Source ID component, is build using the “Show” field, where I register the library ID code.
I will include my USC build and deconstruct workflow for Soundminer users at the end of this article.
This field can be read by most sound database management programs and is the most popular one. The description field is at the heart of the sound metadata. You will find all the relevant information of the recording that is sound related in this field. Depending on the library, a specific order is used in which the descriptive terms get structured based on relevance. I usually mirror this to the ixlm and broadcast wave description field to maximize compatibility. This is at it’s core, what quality metadata means to me.
Here, you will find searchable terms that would take up too much space in a description, or don’t have to do directly with what’s happening in the recording. I will add synonyms in here or words that describe what the sound could also be used for.
D) SPECIAL FIELDS
Besides the fields mentioned above, you will find additional metadata fields like the used “Microphone” and “Mic Perspective”, a “Vendor Category” when necessary, “Filename” and “FX Name”, “Key” and “Mood” fields when its appropriate to give the user as much information and versatility as possible.