DAM DAM DAM

December 16, 2015
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Digital Asset Management – sounds like a big ole scary thing doesn’t it? Well never fear, from here on out we’ll refer to it simply as DAM. For many of us video geeks, DAM is an essential aspect of what real professionals should be doing on a daily basis to guarantee that those all-important bits of our clients’ footage or best scene takes are right where they should be – and readily available. DAM is the idea of putting in place a documented process that occurs in the same manner every time in order to ensure that valuable client media can be accessed whenever necessary, and is protected in a specific location.

Now to get rid of the technical speak. Everyone in the field knows that producer or videographer who will finish out a shoot day, dump their footage onto a hard drive, and be done with it. Or better yet, it goes directly to the editor who wants nothing more than to drop it onto a timeline and get cutting.

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See also: Introducing Video in your Marketing Strategy

File Compatibility

Many higher-end cameras produce footage in odd file types. Some of these have to be put through converter programs before they can be imported into the editing platform. We use Video Converter Ultimate from Wondershare. It makes quick work of converting those pesky, weirdo files into recognizable, usable versions. Being aware of this ahead of crunch time can definitely save some headaches, so we always watch out for this, especially if our shooter is working with a new camera, or we’re working with a new camera operator.

What’s this gobbledygook?

Also, what about those bizzaro file names that are automatically attached to footage once the record button is hit? Recognize this – 4P3A2967.mov. It’s a simple file name from one clip of footage, shot on a Canon 5D Mark III during one of our recent shoots. So what – you might say. Not so fast. It is quite conceivable to have multiple files with this same title, in turn making it possible to misuse footage, or for pathway confusion, when tracking projects. To prevent this from becoming an issue and in turn a regular annoyance, we relabel files, using info relating to the particular project or shoot. We use Rename, a simple program that allows for batch file labeling with a just a couple of clicks. An example of our file labeling would look like this: 12102015_SeanP_Sailing_001.mov or Date_Subject_Location_001.mov.

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See also: Why You Should Hire a Professional

Organized and Secure Storage

Probably the most important part of DAM is a simple, yet often botched step in the process. A dedicated system should be in place for where the media will live, for ever and ever. Some will opt to use an external hard drive. That’s fine as long as it’s powerful and made to handle the sort of space that a wealth of HQ video media will require. But we don’t stop there. We ALWAYS have a backup contingency. Cloud-based storage is the norm these days and a great way to share and backup precious media. The real takeaway from this is that your media should be easily accessible today – and a year from now. An organized storage solution with a dedicated pathway to reach your media ensures this happens.

Discovering What Works for Work

October 23, 2015

What are some of the things you do to keep yourself going during your day? No, not the coffee, as this of course, goes without saying. Many of us keep certain items close at hand – those odd curiosities that have significance for each of us in our own way. Perhaps a photo or a piece of art that might, even if just momentarily, transport us back to memorable places and times. This however, is only part of the puzzle. What about the little things we do that allow us to process our work in a more manageable, comfortable fashion? What about the things we’re doing to occupy ourselves while we work? For me, I find an intense need to have something, be it music or podcasts, pumping into my ears. This makes it possible for me to separate myself from whatever may be happening around me at any given time. If I’m at work I can nearly always be found in my space, wearing a headset, plunking away at my computer. This is what works for me.

See also: Personalizing Your Productivity 

Conversely - In-Text ImageConversely, at any given moment, our project manager Lindsey can be found comfortably perched atop her exercise ball – the seating of choice for our intrepid showrunner, as she coolly performs the constant juggling act of the multiple projects she oversees. Yet more interestingly is that she does this while deftly tuning out most of the noise and chatter around her. Damn her and her amazing nose to the grindstone productivity! The simple jest is that Lindsey has figured out what works for her. And this dear people is the truth distilled to its very essence. Find what works for you, and move forward.

See also: Life: Work, Relax, and Repeat

Just Figure It Out

Just Figure It Out - In-Text ImageEach of us has to figure out which of these diversions work to best keep us centered and productive each day. I might take a few minutes to do sets of pushups. These help me not only to reduce stress but also to retrain my focus on the tasks at hand. One of our team members has a bike pedal trainer beneath her desk. Several of us are known to take off our shoes. At least one of us walks around the place barefoot! Some of us also prefer to stand at our workspaces at least for some portion of the day. One of our owners has a super fancy rising stand-up desk top. It makes him more comfortable and in turn happier. The point is these are all things that can help us stay on point, while simultaneously feeling less like robots.

See also: The No. 1 Rule in Creating a Successful Company Culture

Stretch Out – Make Yourself Comfortable

Stretch Out - In-Text ImageSo what if we like to laugh out loud, dance in place, or get a bit of exercise while we work? If something keeps you in a good mood and allows you to be more comfortable and content, then it’s most likely working to enhance and increase your productivity. Understanding what puts each of us at ease will benefit not only the individual, but also the company, and its work.

Life: Work, Relax, and Repeat

September 8, 2015

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

 Welcome to my first blog writing experiment since coming on as a full-time team member for Marketing In Color. When I was thinking about possible angles for this initial entry, I found I was quite perplexed on where to begin. Then I thought about one of the things that has stuck with me since beginning at MIC. I’ve spent time observing my coworkers, and am impressed by how diligently each of them is able to see projects through to produce amazing results. Working away like happy little bees, they manage multiple tasks for numerous clients, while writing and managing blogs, and they accomplish all of these with smiles and cheer. I’m quickly able to draw comparisons with them to my wife, who is a creative and an educator. She loves what she does, and as such goes to great lengths to do everything she can to see that each class or project culminates with the best possible outcomes. She is a complete powerhouse and someone to reckon with. If I could fault her for anything, it would be that I’m not sure she knows how to relax.

See Also: Fun in the Workplace – How Fun Equals Profits and Company Culture: Create Your Own Cult

Taking a breather

Taking a breatherMany of us are so often married to our work that it becomes necessary to be reminded to step back in order to recharge and regain a sense of balance. Those surrounding us can do a great deal in helping motivate us to get out and have some ‘me’ time. That could mean simply going for a run, a long bike ride, or a mid-day yoga session. Short weekend getaways, or trips to see family and friends can also do much to rejuvenate the mind. Personally, I like nothing more than relaxing under an umbrella on a lazy Sunday morning at the beach, my wife enjoying the sun beside me, and our kids playing nearby. For me it is a perfect way to decompress and something that happens far too infrequently.

See Also: Bicycling: This is How I Unstress

Are you doodling?

Are you doodlingFrom creative brainstorming and project scheduling, to producing website layouts, analyzing marketing trends or writing copy, many of us are familiar with the feeling of our jobs taking over our lives. We need to remember that within the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives and careers, it’s important to take time to recharge our batteries. In a sense we need to remind ourselves to go do the things we love. Creatives need to be creating, or at least doodling, free writing or experimenting with new software or techniques. Making free time for creative inspiration will allow you to expand the skills and mindset you bring to work on a daily basis, and keep your batteries recharged to get through those projects that are more tedious or just plain draining.

Recharge your batteries

Recharge your batteriesSo much of our time is dominated by what we have to do, that it becomes extremely important to take those timeouts for things that will rejuvenate us. Some of these things are simple, others take a bit more effort to make happen. But ultimately it doesn’t really matter what it is, if you haven’t done it for a while, you probably need to. So MAKE the time to go to a movie, or go kick a soccer ball. Read a comic book, draw or paint. Weren’t you wanting to try that kickboxing class? Perhaps take your guy or gal out for a romantic dinner and dancing. Or maybe a night of drunken debauchery is in order. Whatever the case, we all deserve and owe it to ourselves to make time to relax and for the things that can keep us sane, grounded and productive.