The video explosion is upon us. In fact, it actually detonated quite a while ago. I work with many clients, with predominantly larger enterprise DAM implementations, and a frequent topic of discussion among these organizations is, “how do I handle video within my company?”
Coming from a film studio background, managing video was a given, though we made great efforts to corral what types of video made it into the DAM system in order to control the usage and infrastructure impacts. Most companies will not face the same heavyweight requirements as a movie or a television studio; however, that may not make your job any easier.
Here are some tips to help plan for and manage video in an enterprise DAM environment.
1. Define the Categories of Video That You Will Manage
Understanding the business usage of your assets is important to drive governance, management and service; video assets or stills are no different in this regard. The maturity of video usage in your organization may determine how detailed and well understood these categories will be in your model.
If video creation and distribution is a norm, the categories will more likely be defined and understood. If video is a newcomer to your organization, you may need to define the categories as part of the preparation for managing video within your organization.
I suggest that these categories be organized by usage and include context in your specification or glossary documents. For example, "Product Overview" and "Used by Marketing to Create Online Campaigns." Importantly, the categories should tie back to or drive concepts that are present in your DAM metadata structure. For example, the above might have metadata applied to asset records as Video > Product Overview. This is a simplified example of two metadata fields, but it would allow the assets to be found via a search tool, while also limiting the visibility of the asset in a DAM system, if so desired.
2. Define the Technical Details of Video That You Will Manage
DAM systems are great at storing and delivering digital assets, such as digital photos and video. Similar to a digital photo, a video file may be saved in multiple formats, but video files add complexity. There are video file wrappers (e.g., MOV, Flash, MXF) and video compression formats (e.g., MPEG, h.264, ProRes) and it is common to have a combination, such as MOV wrapped h.264. The intention here is not to detail these formats, but to make the statement that understanding the details will help ensure support for your use cases.
For example, if there is a need to review and approve video within the DAM system but the video will not playback, the business requirements will not be met.
3. Define the Use Cases
This step starts with categorizing and is an additional level of detail that can fit into any methodology for implementation and management. Documenting and cataloging your use cases pays many dividends, especially ensuring that the functionality delivered meets the requirements gathered.
Following along the category from above “Used by Marketing to Create Online Campaigns,” the use case description might be “playback video to determine if appropriate for campaign.” This is a simple case that highlights how using clear classification and definition within use cases can benefit all those using the video file, especially during the upstream process within the marketing department.
Video brings complexities that may have an impact on the success of your DAM and the service provided to users. The steps outlined here can be thought of as a continuum or a loop, because users will iterate as they learn more and take on additional requirements. The steps are not unique to DAM, but the interdependencies of the steps are vital to DAM due to how closely the assets are tied to functionality.
Categorization, storage and delivery of data are the fundamental elements of managing rich media. While your company may not be producing full length features, governance of process and specifications will still yield benefits, no matter the scope of your efforts.