poppy field

Having spent the best part of 40 years looking through a viewfinder of some sort, sitting in front of a computer editing photos or videos, producing websites and managing social media accounts, it’s a very strange feeling to now say when asked, “I’m retired".

Despite no longer taking on commercial paid work, it’s virtually impossible to suddenly stop what you’ve been doing for the best part of your working life so, for the past 24 months I’ve been taking on work on a ‘pro-bono’ basis for church, charity or voluntary organisations. I hope that my experience, skills and equipment can now be put to good use to those who perhaps, don’t have the budget or funding to produce what they want or need for their media requirements.

The following 'blog' items are a mixture, some from when I was working commercially and now, some new items that might be of interest.


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DAM! - no I’m not swearing, I’m referring to Digital Asset Management. Since the digital revolution I’ve collected thousands of video clips, still images, audio files and graphics on a hard drive very much in those categories to use in edits. I’ve bought assets from video and photo libraries, special offer packages, Royalty Free music as digital downloads and CD’s which I’ve digitised, it’s a case of you never know when you might need to use them, the problem arises trying to keep track of them all and have fast access when trying to find something for an edit.

Pre OS X, I used a program from Squarebox called CatDV, I paid around £60 for it for the base level version and it allowed ‘catalogs’ of assets, I had one for video clips, one for stills, one for music and so on, you could add keywords if needed although many assets come with keywords, it was an ideal solution for finding ‘stuff’ quickly for a one man band operation.

With OS X and a take over of the software by another company, prices skyrocketed and fast became only affordable by the larger studios, today you can’t even get a price for the software without requesting a quote from the company! It is a good program but, it has so many features I don’t need or want, I wanted something simple, fast and affordable.

I’ve looked for many months to find something to replace it as my assets were now in the thousands and becoming difficult to find quickly, most of the options seemed to only be suitable for videos, films and DVD’s or audio files or a dedicated photo catalog. I spotted a program called NeoFinder, I’m sure I’d looked at it previously but downloaded the current v7.8 trial, it allows up to 10 catalogs and a 30 day trial.

First off, I indexed all my video library files, short clips of everything from landscape pans, sunsets, hands typing on a keyboard etc, it indexed them all in under 10 minutes, next I indexed all the stills, these included backgrounds, overlays, pack shots, png cutouts and general photographs that I might use sometime in a video (but probably won’t!), again I was surprised at the speed of indexing. Next was my audio catalog, purchased music and sound effects, somewhere in the region of 8000+ items, any folder with sub folders was indexed correctly.

Double clicking any of the displayed assets opens the file quickly in my chosen application, I can then export the file to a shared drive on my iMac edit machine, catalogs can also be updated if you add new items and can even be connected to your Dropbox account if you need to send or receive assets, I’m sure there’s many other things the program can do but, for me at the moment, it does what I want and I can finally find stuff without repeatedly opening folders!

After a few hours I realised this program would be more than suitable for the use I wanted so I bought it, £32.43 UKP a bargain in my opinion for the time saved looking for that one clip, photo or audio file I know I had but couldn’t find!

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