Posts by Peter Krogh

  • Migrating from a folder share

    One of the most important challenges facing a new DAM implementation is the onboarding process. If people can’t find their stuff quickly, they get frustrated and avoid the system. Likewise, if it takes too long to get things set up, the administrators can become discouraged. We’ve got some nice solutions for that. Here’s one of them.

    Upload folder trees

    DAM systems are often replacements for a shared folder on a network drive. People get nervous when you tell them you’re about to take this away. One way to make the process as smooth as possible is to simply replicate the folder structure in the DAM. And a number of systems can do this. But we take it several steps further. 

    Duplicate the folder tree to permission-based collections

    TV3 separates the storage containers (Folders) from the member-facing containers (Collections). With a single click, you can replicate any folder tree in TV3 into a collection tree. This gets added at the root level, and is only visible to Library and Content Managers. You can drag the Collection tree into another collection, such as your general Library, or a particular group’s library, and it will inherit the permissions of the new parent collection. Take a look here. 

    Add multiple permissions, make multiple versions

    Okay, with a couple simple operations, we’ve been able to build a copy of our folder tree and make it available on a permission-controlled basis to the stakeholders. Your account members can find stuff in the same tree structure they already know. Great. But wait, there’s more.

    Multiple

    You can run the command to make a collection tree more than once. Perhaps you want a complete set of files in a collection tree for your Library Managers, but only want to show some files to the members. No problem. Make as many collection copies as you need, and put them into the proper parent collection. 

    Alternate organization

    One major limitation of folder-based organization is the need to organize in one particular way. Is it going to be date, department, event, person, or product? What if you need to organize in a second (or third) way? This is where collections really shine. You can make multiple collection trees using the same set of files, without uploading duplicates. 

    Curated Collections

    Collections allow you to do something else. You can create a collection tree according to your member needs, and help members discover great stuff they may be unaware of. (You can also highlight to often-used media to make it really easy to find, which is a huge timesaver for the media manager.) The video below shows a quick example of the way this can work. 

    And this is just the beginning…

    Of course this is just scratching the surface of the advantages of TV3 over folder share. TV3 offers a lot of other ways to discover useful media in your collection. You can do a metadata-based search, browse the taxonomies, or use the filters to find files.

  • Rights Packages

    One of the most important components of a media collection is an effective usage rights workflow. Because Tandem Vault’s roots are in the world of stock photography and footage, it’s been central to the application from the start. Tandem Vault has long had the ability to rights-tag files on upload, including the ability to attach contracts and releases to uploaded files. In TV3, we’re making this process even more robust, and redesigning it for many-to-many communication.

    Tandem Vault was originally designed as the licensing application for Tandem Stock.

    The many-to-many problem

    As a media library platform for organizations, it’s important for us to address the issues created by crowdsource media. The use of smartphone cameras for all forms of communication create unique challenges. Media files must be centralized and discoverable. And an organization needs to know what rights they have to the files. 

    • Photos, videos and other documents that are created by employees during the course of their normal duties are typically the property of their employers. 
    • Photos and videos may be submitted by staff, customers or other stakeholders for use in social media and other communications. 
    • Some files may be sent to the organization with no explicit rights granted, or with publication rights specifically excluded. 

    It’s important to have a way to memorialize all of the above scenarios and more. And this problem is only getting bigger as we use visual media for ever-increasing purposes. It’s a hole that is getting deeper every day, and it’s time to stop digging. 

    Rights Packages

    In TV3, we are giving our customers a way to help make sense of the media they possess. This will allow the organization to build media libraries with clear, filterable rights status. This will add value to the media and reduce risk. We do this be means of Right Packages which include several components that add clarity to ownership and usage permissions for all parties. Here’s a basic outline of how they work.

    Purpose Driven

    The framework we have created for Rights Packages allows the organization to create purpose-driven presets that clearly communicate the rights which are being conveyed. 

    • These rights can be described in plain language to the uploading party.
    • They can be backed up by a full legal document if desired.
    • Account administrators can specify which kinds of rights are allowable for certain submissions, so that only qualified files enter a certain pipeline
    • Files can be filterable according to general rights statu.
    • Rights status can be used to trigger protective actions, like watermarking or download prevention
    • When appropriate, account admins can allow for upload of contracts and releases, which are attached to the files.

    (Note that some of these functions have not been switched on yet, but they everything above is either functional or coming in the beta period)

    See it in action

    The best way to communicate the power of rights Packages is to show it in action. Check out the video below to see how Rights Packages work. 

  • Support for raw file workflow using DNG

    Tandem Vault will now support raw file workflow through the use of DNG. This will allow you to use a Vault account to store raw images as DNG files, and have them appear with your adjustments when viewed or downloaded as JPEG or TIFF.

    Background

    Unlike rendered file types like JPEG or TIFF, raw files from a digital camera don’t have their color and brightness information baked in. This presents a big problem for any image management system that supports raw files. They may look very different as they are seen in different applications. You may see a perfectly exposed, color-corrected cropped image in Photoshop or Lightroom, but the raw file can lose all those adjustments when seen in a different programs.

    Here is a raw DNG file next to a raw NEF original as shown in TV3. The original was underexposed, while the DNG was corrected for the poor exposure. Obviously, you will want the files in your DAM to look right. We can accomplish that by extracting the corrected preview from the DNG.

    DNG to the rescue

    DNG helps to solve this problem by keeping the raw data in its original form, and allowing a finished version of the image to be included inside the file itself. This allows other software to render the file properly when it is displayed or downloaded, without creating duplicate derivative files to manage. 

    The secondary application, in this case Tandem Vault, accesses the embedded preview when building thumbnails and when creating TIFFs or JPEGs for download. If you would like to re-adjust the file from the raw data, simply download the full DNG and you’ll have that raw data at your fingertips.

    Caveats – Build the DNG properly

    There are several things you need to keep in mind if you want the DNG to accurately reflect the adjustments you have made to the raw file.

    What do you mean build?

    While there are some cameras that shoot DNG as the native format (Leica and Pentax, to name two), most DNGs start life as a proprietary raw file from a Nikon, Canon, Sony or other digital camera. These raw files are converted to DNG somewhere in the workflow. That could be right away, or it could wait until the files are ready for upload. 

    Note that even when the camera creates a DNG file, you probably still want to convert it again later on. This is due to the “freshness” issue outlined below. 

    You probably need to make your DNGs in Adobe software

    Not all DNG files are alike. While the DNG specification outlines how to embed the optimized preview, not all software does it. The easiest and most common way to create DNG files with optimized previews is to use Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to make the DNG. Adobe is simply ahead of the curve on this, although other applications are free to catch up if they want to. 

    The settings I will show below come from Adobe software. 

    You need to embed a full-size preview

    DNG files may be made with no embedded preview, a small preview, or a full size preview. In order to display properly in Tandem Vault, you need to choose to build it with the full size preview. In practice, this just means setting the checkboxes as shown below. 

    Here is the dialog to create DNGs from Lightroom’s Export command. The most important part here is to make sure to use the full size preview.
    If you are a Photoshop user, then you can create a batch of DNGs in Bridge with the Export command. 

    Previews must be “fresh”

    When a DNG is first created, a preview is made from the raw data. If adjustments have been made it Camera Raw or Lightroom before creating the DNG, those adjustments will be used to make the preview. But if adjustments have been made after the DNG file was first created, then you’ll need to update the file with the new settings and build a new preview. 

    Here’s are screenshots that show how to refresh previews in both Photoshop and Lightroom. 

    If you are going to upload DNG files that you have optimized after the initial conversion, make sure to update the previews before upload. You can find this in Lightroom’s Metadata menu.
    And here is the update command in the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop.

    Test

    Creating DNG files for TV3 is not hard, once you understand how it works. Before uploading a large library, make sure to test the issues above and see that your files are rendering predictably. 

  • TV3 Sneak Peek: Social Media Workflow

    TV3 has a number of new features that can be combined to create streamlined workflows. In this video we show how TV3 can be used to request, gather, tag, curate and deploy images for your social media channels. These tools include:

    • Group-based requests;
    • Tag Suggesters for consistent metadata use;
    • Rights tagging of incoming files;
    • Projects and Lightboxes to manage workflows;
    • Comment threads to collaborate;
    • Notifications to ensure timely response;
    • Dogs!

    Take a look, and if you are interested in taking part in the Tandem Vault 3 beta, please click here.

  • Tandem Vault 3 Taxonomy

    Photo credit: Lindsay Daniels/TandemStock.com

    One of the many improvements in Tandem Vault 3 is the build-out of a best-in-class taxonomy tool. We’ve made it easy to create and use, and it’s extremely powerful. But, really, the best way to explain it is to show you how it works. 

    Keep in mind that this video only shows you the General Member-facing view of the taxonomy. There’s a lot more to it on the back end, which we’ll show in a later video. Take a look and let us know what you think. 

    And, as always, if you want to get on the list to play with the TV3 beta, make sure to sign up here.

  • We’ve been busy

    You may have noticed that our blog posts came to a pause a couple of weeks ago–right as we started lifting the curtain on Tandem Vault 3 (TV3). Well, that’s no coincidence. We have officially launched the TV3 alpha program, and we’re onboarding a select few testers to evaluate and validate our work. 

    So far, the response has been exactly what we’ve been hoping for: that TV3 easy to understand, highly functional, and extremely flexible. Hip, hip hooray.

    We’re going to continue with the “using metadata” blog posts, but at a bit of a slower pace, and like the last post of discoverability, we will often show how we are handling these issues in TV3.

    Want in?

    We expect to have a short alpha period, followed by a longer beta that includes a lot more people. We’re building a list of people who have expressed interest and will circle back once we are getting close to beta release. If you’d like to get an early look at the software (and have some influence on what it will do), drop us a line here, and we’ll be back in touch as the time approaches.