The DAM Lowdown is back with an overview of H.264, a new version of TACTIC 3.5 from Southpaw, Evolphin Zoom 2.8 fills a gap left by Adobe Version Cue, Henry Stewart announces dates for DAM conferences in Europe and Los Angeles and the debut of Quick Hits.

What is H.264?

While we primarily focus on the systems and software that manage digital assets, it's also important to have an understanding of the assets themselves. Arguably, the most important form of digital asset is video and the most widely used codec in the world is H.264.

Jan Ozer at offers another in a series of "What is..." columns, this one focused on the H.264 codec. In the piece, he begins by covering the history of the H.264 specification and how different vendors have implemented the spec.

Ozer goes on to cover details such as:

  • Profiles, levels and other encoding parameters
  • Royalty status
  • Support and adoption
  • Comparative quality

He concludes the article with a focus on "why H.264 is important to you." If your organization uses a digital asset management system, there is an excellent chance you are managing H.264-encoded video. Regardless of your experience, this piece is a must-read.

Southpaw Launches TACTIC 3.5

Not content to offer just another DAM platform, Canadian Southpaw Technologies has released the latest version of what it calls a Production Asset Management system, or PAM.

TACTIC 3.5, a web-based system, offers features intended to improve the user experience and speed up the production process, including:

  • User Interface -- Multiple views can be contained within one TACTIC session, alleviating the need for screen refreshes
  • User Work Area -- A central location for managing task information, metadata and versioning
  • Visual Project Schema Editor -- The core elements of a project can be defined, thus speeding the workflow creation process
  • Project Workflow Editor -- Workflows can be created visually and enhanced with event triggers and notifications

If you plan to be at NAB this year, you can see a demo and talk pricing.

Evolphin Releases Zoom 2.8

With the release of Creative Suite 5, Adobe sunsetted Version Cue. Although graphic designers and Flash developers are not as maniacal about versioning as their software development counterparts are, a ripple was felt throughout the creative community nonetheless.

Evolphin comes to the rescue with the release of version 2.8 of the Zoom asset versioning and workflow platform. The new version of Zoom includes over 500 updates, including:

  • High-resolution previews (i.e. much bigger than a thumbnail) and a preview server that can cache large previews
  • Adobe CS5 extension status bar providing notification of an asset's need to be checked in
  • Upgraded plugins for Adobe InDesign and Flash Professional
  • Visual asset browser with local project folder awareness
  • Smart file locking to protect changes from being overwritten
  • MacOS Finder plugin with file coloring

How about a testimonial? According to Roy Tremblant, Creative Director at Export Assure:

When Adobe CS5 discontinued Version Cue, we were alarmed. Versioning is priceless... The ROI on Zoom is fantastic. It amazes me how many plugins and tools they bundle for the price they charge. Our designers can't live without Zoom now... We have migrated over 250k+ assets from Adobe Version Cue CS3 to Zoom. There is less artwork duplication, and errors have gone down significantly."

Two New DAM Conferences for 2011

Henry Stewart, the organizer-at-large of DAM conferences around the globe, has added two more dates to the 2011 calendar.

All the DAM practitioners in London need to mark June 24 as the date for DAM Europe 2011. David Lipsey returns to chair the event and the expectation is for it to be even better than the 2010 event.

November 14 and 15 are the next dates of note for the DAM community, with the return of DAM LA for 2011. With the high concentration of DAM system usage in the Hollywood area, this should be an excellent opportunity for both learning and networking.

Quick Hits

This was a busy week in the DAM world and out of respect for your attention span, I am rolling up some of the other stories of the week. I can't guarantee this section will appear every week, but I will employ it when it makes sense. Here we go...

ResourceSpace Version 4.1.2567 Released

Between you and me, I would have made it version 4.2 (or at least 4.1.3) -- but who am I to question the version naming scheme. I am sure it makes perfect sense to them.

Nevertheless, ResourceSpace has released a new version of the open source DAM platform including updates to everything from the UI to the API.

Daydream Announces Upgrade to FocusOPEN

Daydream -- which is what you will be doing if this column gets any longer -- has released version 3.3.7 of its FocusOPEN platform.

This version adds multiple enhancements to the lightbox functionality within FocusOPEN.

OnAsia Launches LightRocket

Our last product launch of the week comes from OnAsia and the availability of LightRocket Media Manager.

LightRocket is the result of over 10 years of work in the DAM industry. Let's hope it is worth the wait.


I want to thank everyone for putting the word out about the DAM Lowdown via Twitter. I can't tell you how cool it is to see links to the DAM Lowdown flowing through the Twitterverse.

I am still waiting for that elusive first comment. Let's get the conversation started.

Here's to everyone having a DAM fine week!