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.
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.
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.