Video Editors Tell How They Manage Media

Posted on by Larry

Last week in my newsletter I wrote: “I’m currently writing a review of some asset management software. I’d like to include whatever system you use in my write up. There are many systems designed for enterprises – but with all the industry consolidation I’m curious what’s available for smaller shops.”

I got a variety of answers, so I collected them into this article.


Bruce Hamilton

We have been using NeoFinder to catalogue all of our hard drives, computer, CD, DVDs – pretty much any storage device. It has a very fast and powerful search. We currently have 87 drives, computers, etc ranging in size from 500GB to 16TB. For example we use NeoFinder to find old videos from 20+ years when we don’t know the exact names but remember some part of the name. You should check this software if you don’t already know about it. We recommend it highly.

In order for NeoFinder to do its magic it needs to initially read the entire disk or device. To keep the individual drive database up to date NeoFinder needs to reread the entire disk again but this time the cataloguing is much faster since it only needs to catalogue the changes. Drives should be updated before they taken offline so their catalogue actually reflects the contents. Each drive or device is a separate listing in NeoFinder. The search dialogue is quite flexible and multiple searches criteria are possible. Many of our drives are offline so these old drives are easily and quickly searchable. We don’t know how we would ever find our files without NeoFinder.


Lasse Oglaend

I have previously found Kyno very interesting. Then, the company was sold and I got worried it would be shortlived. (Something you do not want with DAM systems…)

Killer features:


Michael Murray

I run a small team of video producers inside a university and finding a an affordable and manageable system that a small team can use effectively has been a years-long search.

We currently rely on Kyno to do our front line management of assets. While this is not an enterprise level MAM it is affordable and quite easy to use to find and keep track of all the raw content we produce on a daily basis. Because we use shared storage any meta data that any producers adds to an asset is available to others on the system.

Asset management is an area that we all know has value but is often hard to carve out the time to feed the systems that I usually see. Kyno fits as a low overhead low cost MAM alternative.


Kevin Flanagan

We’ve started using Asset Panda (https://www.assetpanda.com) here at Penn Medicine. It might be a bit much for a smaller shop but I like it so far. I especially like that I can check things in and out on my phone and we’re not tied to one specific computer.


Dave Wooten

At INSP, we use eMam from Empress for asset management, through the Premiere panel. It is supported by a XenData LTO robot using LTO-6. We will have to migrate soon and I’m not looking forward to that!


Stephen Bergson

Like you, I’ve tried a lot of different asset management systems and even set up my own on some projects because no off-the-peg ones have done everything I’ve wanted from them. I’ve been using Kyno for a few years, which I know you’ve reviewed previously but I also work with PhotoMechanic which works surprisingly well with video and I’ve experimented with software like Cinematica as well as Filemaker templates. All have strengths and quite a few snags.

Let me know if you’d like to know more on everyday use with any or all of them. It’s an important area, often overlooked by NLE software developers.


Larry adds: Please describe how you are tracking your own media in the Comments below.


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11 Responses to Video Editors Tell How They Manage Media

  1. Very helpful Larry !

  2. Another example: I am using very powerful software by FILE MAKER PRO to design, build and run relational database. Of course you have to design the database by yourself what I have started almost 20 years ago; and now I am managing data on video video tapes (old historical), video clips, timing & locations, etc. … production projects, customers, … billing, invoice creation, … etc.

  3. Richard Chambers says:

    Larry – Am I right in thinking that one of the problems with video media and metadata management is that there are no industry wide standards. Still photography has pretty much standardized on IPTC as a way to track photos across apps everywhere for decades. But I’m not aware of anything similar for video unless someone out there knows of something. With video metadata seems dependent on the app being used. But when the app disappears or is bought out by another company the media management fields and data may not crossover.

    There should be a standard for video but I haven’t seen it.

    • Larry says:

      Richard:

      While IPTC data is still relevant for video, the basic challenge is that video needs to be searched for its content and, unlike a still, that content can change over the duration of a shot. Metadata that would be relevant for a movie on F1 racing would not be relevant for an historical romance set in Elizabethan England.

      All this would be manageable if it took a long time to create a shot. But, digital technology makes creating video extremely quickly. Projects today can easily require thousands of shots and terabytes of data. We all want to organize it, but there simply isn’t enough time.

      Larry

  4. Christopher Fryman says:

    I am also using Neofinder. I highly recommend it. I have 40 drives. Neofinder finds files very quickly.

  5. Tod Hopkins says:

    Ditto for NeoFinder for cataloging archives, especially offline archives.

    Beyond that, the single most important asset management tool is a strong numbering and filing system. Even with NeoFinder, you’re crippled if you haven’t created the most basic system first. Do this properly and massive collections can be tracked effectively with finder and spreadsheets, or a simple flat file database.

    Simple is the key. Don’t try to encode unnecessary information in your asset numbering. Design it to be easily remembered, both when assigning numbers, and when searching. Respect chronology, the most natural sorting method for humans. It should not require any special tools.

    Mine: Three digit Client Number (tracked in a spreadsheet or database), 3-digit “Tape” number (now really a “catalog” or “collection” number). This is the asset ID. Once a client number or tape number is set, they stick. They are only changed if there is an egregious error. If numbers must be set without reference to a list (i.e. you don’t know whether you are on tape 005 or 010), then use some form of date-time numbering system like that outlined below.

    Handling field acquisition: Since an asset can be an entire shoot, and numbers may have to be assigned “blind,” I use a numbering system for shoot off-loads that requires no reference beyond date and time. These get collected into a single Asset folder (as above) when archived. Each off-load is contained in a folder named as follows: YYYYMMDD-[Offload #, sequential]-[camera A, B, C…] Example: the first offload today from camera B would be in a folder named “20220830-01B”.

    If everything is numbered according to the above, then an entire shoot can be sorted and browsed alpha-numerically in shoot sequence. It will stay organized from shoot to NLE to archive.

    It’s also useful to number your archival containers of course, whether these are optical discs, LTO, or hard drives and these should be independent of Asset numbers since most archival containers will hold MANY assets. I simply number these sequentially, by type as they are accessioned.

    It’s not the software, it’s the system!

  6. Ditto to NeoFinder. Been using it forever. All the different versions.

  7. Dave Clack says:

    Hey, I’m with CatDV. Our asset management platform has integrations with a lot of archive systems: cloud, object and tape. To Larry’s question about “smaller shops”, we have lots of CatDV and Archiware deployments, where we are paired as a cost effective front end to LTO. Small of course doesn’t mean unsophisticated so we typically build a visual, searchable, enriched index of media (proxies for pro video formats, stills, audio, pdfs, photoshop, illustrator etc) that can be played on site, browser / mobile, in Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, FCPX etc, while masters are on tape via Archiware. With our CatDV Worker automation we can archive projects when they are ‘finished’ or ‘approved’, archive on ingest, or just control manually from the visual index.

    • Larry says:

      Dave:

      Thanks for writing! Since its acquisition, CatDV has become very quiet. It is good to know you are doing well. And Archiware is a product I respect a lot.

      Larry

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