1 Year and 15 Interns or AI: Logging the San Francisco Giants Archive
Analog content comes to life as digital media that’s searchable and shareable
A legendary home run heard over the radio, an impossible catch captured on a single reel of film, or a final out broadcast into the nation’s homes. These stories, and thousands more, are part of the legacy of the San Francisco Giants professional baseball team.
It was a legacy that until recently was contained within aging, analog media formats. Taking these moments and turning them into digital assets resulted from an overall mission to preserve their history.
60 Years of Media Assets Near their End of Life
The Giants have a rich story dating well before 1958 when they moved to the Bay Area. This history was trapped within their analog archive of different types of content.
These images, videos, audiotapes, and more were stored in various places throughout the Bay Area. Some were in storage pods in the East Bay, and others in storage lockers in San Francisco. The club worried that many of the tapes were deteriorating beyond repair and use.
“Essentially, we were just sitting on a bunch of content that we had no way to utilize because it was collecting dust on shelves,” says Brad Martens, Director, Media Systems and Workflow for the Giants. “We wanted to find a way to digitize that content and preserve it for future generations of fans to be able to enjoy. That was the impetus for an endeavor we coined the legacy project.”
The club found a vendor capable of digitizing the content, but that was just the beginning. They needed an AI-enabled digital asset management system to tag and store the content.
“We next faced the challenge of getting metadata associated with the content because essentially, we just moved it off the shelf and into a digital format,” says Paul Hodges, Vice President of Content and Entertainment for the Giants. Without accurate metadata, it would be nearly impossible for the club to unlock and activate the trove of creative files.
“We started punching the numbers and estimated that if we hired 15 interns for a full year, we probably could get the metadata we needed to be associated with these clips so that our editors and producers can find what they want,” Hodges says. “But we obviously took a different path — a much more modern one. We started working with Veritone and formed a great partnership.”
AI-Powered Metadata Tagging with a DAM System
Veritone’s AI-powered platform, aiWARE, went to work processing all of the SF Giants’ unstructured content. It was able to create and associate meaningful metadata with their video files quickly. It also allowed them the opportunity to improve content management in the future. With AI models, such as keyword extraction, object detection, logo detection, and more, aiWARE allows them to easily add these on à la carte as they move forward to find text or jersey numbers.
With Veritone Digital Media Hub, a cloud-native, AI-powered media asset management platform, the SF Giants’ media teams could find content faster. With AI-auto tagging, enabling search and discovery, they could identify and share content that otherwise might never see the light of day.
“For example, we had a tape of Willie Mays teaching hitting to our rookies during the ’70s,” Martens explains. “It was a clip that was sitting on the shelf — one we didn’t even know had until it was identified and tagged as part of this project. When you uncover gems like that, it makes the entire project worth it.
“It’s like our own personal SF Giant’s YouTube vault. Users get instant access, great search tools, and an easy user interface.”
Activating Media Files with AI-enabled Asset Management
The Giants launched their legacy project during the COVID-19 pandemic. By doing so, it invigorated an otherwise lean year for professional baseball content.
Thanks to an increased ability to remotely access and share content via Digital Media Hub, the Giants could engage with their fans in new and compelling ways. Part of this included sharing historical content that had long been hidden away. Going forward, the Giants now have a living tool that ensures every magical moment in their history is preserved and activated.
“We’ve freed our producers, editors, and everyone on the creative side to become better storytellers since they’re no longer constrained to that one clip that lived on that one tape,” Martens says.
Today, content that would take days or weeks to find or might never be found is now discoverable in moments. “Thanks to Veritone, we can explore, we can get creative, we can tell better stories, and we can share every moment,” concludes Hodges. “We’re keeping our club’s history alive.”