Our top 5 tips for asset metadata management

Our top 5 tips for asset metadata management

Want to make your digital assets work for you? By managing your assets’ metadata and sticking to standards, you can make locating them far quicker, easier and generally more workflow-efficient, leaving you more time to get on with being creative (or grabbing another coffee). Here we’ve broken down our top 5 ways to manage your metadata and keep on top of your digital assets.

From the moment you create an asset within your software, you need to make sure your associated metadata (document creation date, document page size, colour mode, resolution and more) or metadata from your camera (the date the image was taken, whether or not a flash was used, special aperture or exposure settings etc), is organised, stored and made available effectively. Here are a few of our essential starting points to managing metadata:

1. Work out how you work. Do you search by project, by job number, by client, or by any other metadata? Deciding on which descriptions and keywords are most important to how your team work, and making sure these are always added in the correct standard, will help make sure you’re working more efficiently.

2. Use well-written descriptions. There’s no use writing asset descriptions that only you can decipher – stick to simple but descriptive language that a general audience will be able to understand.

3. Keep consistent! We really can’t stress how important it is to stick to standards. Develop and put in place a procedure for everyone to follow when adding metadata and keywords too, so you’re all reading from the same page. It’s good to have a house style on locations, times, dates, settings and more.

4. Use naming conventions. We wouldn’t recommend adding keywords to the metadata of all your ‘DSC_001.jpg’ files – instead, use a DAM solution like Portfolio to batch rename files, keep your catalogue in shape and apply those naming conventions.

5. Try Digital Asset Management. If you are dealing with a large catalogue of assets, the best tip we can offer is to look into a Digital Asset Management solution. We use Extensis Portfolio to stay on top of our team’s database of images and files, which gives you an easy-to-use visual interface for searching and managing assets. Whether you’re in a small team or large business, there’s a solution from Extensis Portfolio to fit your workflow.

Get in touch for more info on DAM and Extensis Portfolio… give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Media Asset Management with axle and Avid

Media Asset Management with axle and Avid

Let’s say you have this storage thing sorted. You’re got an amazing SAN, you’ve got nearline drives rumbling contentedly close by and the robot in your tape library couldn’t be happier. How are you actually going to keep track of all this stuff? Making sure you can find, manage and monetise assets wherever they are in your storage hierarchy is the job of your Media Asset Management system – and a good one will also help you get through ongoing jobs more efficiently. All the systems we can provide will help your creative and technical teams carry out day to day work more efficiently, so you can save money by automating workflows and ensure that you always deliver jobs on time.

axle

Released in 2012, axle allows you to take one of your facility’s Macs and turn it into a ‘media management and collaboration server’. What this means in practical terms is that it looks through any drives connected to the server, whether that’s the hard drive of each Mac or the contents of your server room, and indexes all the files on them. It then creates an online portal where you can browse every file, regardless of where it’s stored, and your users can preview low-res versions of documents, play back proxy videos, edit metadata and more. Even better, you can create different views of this portal, so people only see the files for work that’s relevant to them, and any clients you give a login to can only see files from their project. You can also save searches for quicker access to common groups of files (say, all the images tagged to a specific location, or everything shot with a certain type of lens).

While this may not sound like it’s that far above and beyond anything else out there, the great thing about axle is that it’s accessible from any device, from your iMac to your iPad to a client’s PC, so you can always access resources. And because everything is web-based, your users don’t have to spend time installing apps on their computers. You can export collections of clips straight to your editor, then view H.264 proxies of the result and flag anything you want to alter in those proxies, without having to have access to the editor yourself (this could work wonders on complex approval processes where you have a lot of non-creative parties to get sign off from).

Once you’re finished with a project, you can even arrange for axle to automatically move it to centralised archive storage – or the cloud, if you prefer to store things online – so everyone can access it if you ever need to reuse it, but it’s not taking up valuable space on your SAN. The project stays in the central index of files, so if you’re ever working on something similar the team will be able to see that some assets already exist, and hopefully save themselves some time and money by repurposing that work, rather than duplicating it.

Avid Interplay 

Interplay has been at the heart of large broadcast AVID environments for some time now, and has a reassuringly strong heritage. A enterprise scale system, it comprises all the components you need for news ingest and delivery straight to air, integrated archive and proxy management, and remote logging and editing. It may seem a daunting amount to take on at first, but you can actually start to harness the Interplay environment on a single server, and only scale up as and when your team are ready.

As Interplay has been designed to work seamlessly with your Media Composer workflow, it’s the perfect tool for managing your assets, projects, users and multi-platform delivery options from a single, central point. You can give your editors more time to cut (and spend less time ingesting and creating deliverables) by introducing lightweight Interplay Central clients to your facility – these act as a browser-based rough cut and project creation assist tool. You can then use the same interface to enable remote viewing and approvals by your clients, as well as allowing everyone to see existing assets while on set to ensure they have all the shots they need before wrapping for the day.

The remote capabilities of Interplay have been moved to the fore recently with the addition of Sphere. Using Interplay Sphere, a second server will dish up media to your remote Media Composer editors anywhere in the world as if they were at your main office, so you can provide a truly global, collaborative service that’ll cover long shoots abroad, journalists in the field or anyone who’s catching up on an edit while delayed on the train – all the while safe in the knowledge that your assets are being managed on your secure ISIS back at the facility.

If you want to see the rest of the Interplay iceberg, you can always call us on 03332 409 306, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or drop by stand F33 during BVE.

 

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or visit us at stand F33 at BVE. To keep up with all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Using Extensis Portfolio to meet growing business needs

Using Extensis Portfolio to meet growing business needs

The customer came to Jigsaw24 needing a storage solution to meet their growing business needs. Our consultants advised them that Apple Xserve RAID and Extensis Portfolio would give their business the efficiency they needed by having digital asset management. With a searchable database to overcome the original problems with lost or dispersed files, and a backup system in place, they now have the reliability they need.

What they needed?

Our customer is an increasingly successful independently-owned publisher, whose computing infrastructure needed to match the growing business. The company is a specialist in photo-realistic art and creating books that are attractive to their readers. The customer came to us looking for a storage solution. A structured filing system had already been put in place, but even with the best efforts of their technicians, this was easily broken. They felt that they could improve efficiency in centralising their file storage on a server-based RAID with secure shared access. The business anticipated further growth so a solution that allowed expansion was needed.

Searchable images and files using DAM

After considering the problem, our consultants recommended Digital Asset Management. By using a searchable database of images and files, the customer could make best use of their investment in storage hardware. Extensis Portfolio was identified as the most cost-effective solution to meet the company’s workflow needs. In the early stage of consultation, Extensis spoke directly with the customer and ran a demonstration so that the benefits of DAM could be seen. From this, they were convinced that the gains of the Extensis solution would far outweigh the investment in new equipment.

3.5TB of server storage in an Apple Xserve RAID was identified as the most suited to providing standard central file storage for the business, as well as for hosting the Extensis Portfolio application. To complement the storage and asset management equipment, a tape library with capacity to backup between 15 and 30 terabytes of files was obtained. Backup software was included to automate and manage the backup of all their files.

Installation without disruption

We did some preliminary work to minimise disruption to the customer. The server was built and OS X Server software was configured ready for the Portfolio installation. A RAID1 (mirrored disks) configuration was chosen to provide good performance and minimal risk of data loss.

The new technology was to be installed alongside existing network equipment in the customer’s rack, which required the addition of rack-mounted power supplies to cover the server in the event of power outage. Extensis Portfolio was installed and the server was configured for file sharing. The backup software was installed and configured with scripts and a schedule. To ensure that the customer was able to get the most from the new installation, the technical staff received training.

Improved efficiency and availability

As a result of the installation, our customer has experienced greater efficiency to their workflow. All of their initial requirements were met and the backup system ensures maximum up-time and availability of computer systems. The use of DAM means that the previous loss or dispersal of files has now been removed.

According to Paul Scott, our systems installation and service engineer, “As well as higher performance when reading files, a RAID1 configuration was selected for its superior reliability. For example, built from hard drives with an estimated life expectancy of four years, a two-disk RAID1 setup might statistically be expected to suffer total failure only once in every 800 years.”

To find out more about how Extensis Portfolio could help your business, visit our Jigsaw24.com Extensis shop, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.