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Another DAM Podcast interview with Jay O’Brien on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Jay O’Brien on Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Jay O’Brien.

Jay, how are you?

Jay O’Brien:  [0:09] I’m doing great. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:10] Great. Jay, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Jay:  [0:14] In my role at the Baltimore Ravens, I’m the director of broadcasting and stadium productions. I fell into the Digital Asset Management role here. I started 11 years ago here as an intern, just logging tape, doing tape‑to‑tape editing and logging tape in the…I think it was AVID media logger.

[0:35] I got very good at Digital Asset Management in terms of typing out every single play of every single Ravens’ game. That’s how I became a stickler for asset management and also became a football fan.

[0:47] I say I fell into it, because Digital Asset Management, as I’ve advanced through the Ravens and now I’m in charge of the broadcasting department, we were faced with a situation where we basically had to make a move. The previous system we’re on was at its end of life and it was of course going to be a big investment to upgrade.

[1:06] I took on the role of learning as much as I could about all the new asset management systems that were out there. It’s pretty exciting. It’s not something I thought I would be interested in but I’ve been working with some great people at other teams, and with our consulting group that we used to implement this new system that we’re on.

[1:24] I’ve really learned a lot and there are some great people in the field like yourself who’ve been very, I guess, instrumental in helping me to learn as much as I can about this. Now, I wouldn’t in any respect call myself an expert. I’m an intermediate novice in this whole thing and learning more about it every day.

[1:38] Our primary objective here is to create great content. When we made this change, I guess more involved in automating our Digital Asset Management, helped us to get away from the tedious typing out every player’s name and to actually editing content.

Henrik:  [1:53] How does a football team use Digital Asset Management?

Jay:  [1:57] It’s pretty interesting. For an NFL team, there are actually two different video departments that are using Digital Asset Management for two completely different purposes.

[2:06] We have a coaching video department which is using Digital Asset Management to record every play from practice and every play from the games so that our coaches can then go through to analyze the plays for teaching and to get ready for future opponents and that type of thing.

[2:22] What my department does is more on the entertainment side. We create television shows that air in our local market here in Baltimore and Washington, DC, also on our team’s website and mobile app and iPad app and all that kind of good stuff. Then, we also create all the entertainment at our home games on our big screens and our ancillary video boards.

[2:47] What we’re using Digital Asset Management for is to capture all the footage that we shoot at practice, at games, off the field with our players doing work in the community and that sort of thing. We’re using Digital Asset Management to capture and tag all that media so that it’s very easily searchable for us.

[3:11] You don’t know that you need a shot until you need a shot. We were working on a feature this past season about our old national anthem singer who sang national anthem for the first 18 years of our franchise. We had logged the first game that he sang the national anthem.

[3:29] While you’re logging and tagging that asset, you’re probably thinking to yourself “When am I ever going to need this?” But you eventually do. I’m sure that the people that are for us doing a lot of loggings sometimes are thinking “Wow, they’re never going to use this clip.” Surprisingly, we often do.

[3:45] With a team that’s now in our 20th season of existence like the Baltimore Ravens, we’re getting to the point now where we’re doing a lot of look backs and in‑a‑moment‑in‑time of the most famous plays and players in our history. Without a robust Digital Asset Management system, we wouldn’t be able to create the content and the quality that our fans demand.

Henrik:  [4:06] Jay, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Jay:  [4:10] For us, the biggest challenge is, with this new system that we have, we’re utilizing the Levels Beyond Reach engine. But it gives you the chance to create as many metadata fields and as many metadata keywords as you want.

[4:24] That’s the challenge and the success of the new system. You want to be able to search by all sorts of different tags. You also don’t want to create too many that you get bogged down with it or that the tagging process takes such a long time that it becomes not very worthwhile.

[4:43] That was our big challenge with this new system. Now going back in time, before you were able to tag metadata using drop down menus and things like that, everything was manual. You were typing everything out. At least, we were.

[4:58] For example, we had someone logging for us back 10 years ago who spelt a certain player’s name wrong for the entire season and nobody caught it. That’s a big challenge because when we’re searching for that player’s name and we’re thinking, “We know this player had good plays during the year. Why aren’t any of them showing up in our asset manager?” It was all just because of a misspelling.

[5:19] That’s a challenge that we’ve certainly overcome now with this new system where we can easily load an Excel roster of our players and then you type in the first letter or two letters of the player’s name and you move on. This new system has saved us a lot of time.

[5:32] At the same time, when we were first establishing the system and determining what fields and what key words we wanted, I think at first we may have gotten too overly ambitious of creating so many different fields that it was taking longer for the first few weeks of our season to log our games and not less time, which is what we anticipated going into the season.

[5:54] We were logging everything from what color jerseys our players were wearing, what the weather was like. It’s really just trying to be ambitious without being overly so where it’s really costing you time and not saving you time.

Henrik:  [6:07] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jay:  [6:12] When we went through the process of choosing a new asset manager, we demoed as many of the new systems as we could. We also spoke with, in our case, other football teams that we knew had made this transition to a new system or teams that we knew were as robust as we are in terms of the amount of content we produce.

[6:33] Reach out to other people. Demoing is great and that was certainly helpful for us to demo every system we could. It was equally important for us to talk to people who have actually used the system, specific to our needs.

[6:46] We talked to some people who were using the system we went with and other systems but whose objectives are different than ours. What system may work for a sports team may not work for somebody who’s doing news programming or something like that.

[7:02] Reach out to as many people as you can who you think would be using the system for similar purposes. In our case, we leaned heavily on our consultant and integrator during the project to have them connect us to other sports leagues and organizations who we knew would be using the system for somewhat similar purposes.

[7:22] As I said before, as much as you can, figure out in advance what types of fields and key words you would like to use and have that all laid out. In our circumstance, we’re still evolving and we’re still adding metadata fields and key words and we’re removing some too. Don’t be afraid to do that and say, “This one is unimportant. We don’t really need this.”

[7:44] Those would be my two pieces of advice. It’s certainly a learning experience. This will be our sixth game of the season coming up. Just now we’re starting to get really into a flow and using the system in a way that is most beneficial to us.

Henrik:  [8:00] Thanks, Jay.

Jay:  [8:01] Thank you. Anytime.

Henrik:  [8:02] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics go to For this and 170 other podcast episodes, go to If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to reach out to me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM podcast interview with Doug Mullin

Another DAM podcast interview with Doug Mullin | Listen

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does an organization focused on sports equipment use Digital Asset Management?
  • What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Douglas Mullin.
Douglas, how are you?
Douglas Mullin: [0:09] I’m doing well, thanks. How are you, Henrik?
Henrik: [0:10] Great. How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Douglas: [0:13] I’m the digital asset librarian for Oakley Incorporated in
Southern California. I work for the design graphics department, which is one
of several silos of content producers. [0:25] I manage primarily final and master
mechanicals for the signage. I would see, let’s say, if you went to Sunglass Hut or
something, you saw the signage of the windows.
[0:34] I have master files, different regions, localities to download, to print their
own files. We also have product photography and video. We have several different
departments working with that.
[0:44] With my executive sponsor, I have a project to try to create a real enterprise
DAM program to bridge a lot of our content production silos. Those are
my two main functions of both working for one silo, currently and trying to build
more of a proper enterprise DAM program to bridge a lot of our content production
silos. Those are my two main functions of both working for one silo,
currently and trying to build more of a proper enterprise DAM system.
Henrik: [1:00] How does an organization focused on sports equipment use
Digital Asset Management?
Douglas: [1:05] As I mentioned, we have a point of purchase signage. Lots of
athlete photos get used. We have the signs that go up in stores that are selling
our products, road signs, billboards, bus wraps, and other things like that. [1:19]
We have, of course, a website, which has a lot of content. Content marketing is a
very big thing at a company like Oakley.
[1:25] We have an in-house photo studio. We have a team of photographers who
go on-site who shoot athletes at sporting events or for sponsored athletes for
events that have we have set up.
[1:37] We have a video team, as much the same thing and produce a lot of content.
Content marketing is a very big thing here. It’s pretty much what DAM is
about from our point of view.
Henrik: [1:48] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset
Douglas: [1:51] For us, the biggest challenge really is user interface issues and
process issues. Currently running Artesia 6.8, which is a very powerful product,
but it is a bit of an older product. [2:04] The user interface is not up to current
standards. A lot of consumerization of the enterprise, people’s tolerance for
learning challenging systems has gone down a lot over the years. Certainly, at
Oakley, that’s an even bigger challenge.
[2:20] A really strong user interface is something that we need. As we look forward,
Artesia is going to go away, at some point, and we will get another product,
either from that vendor or from somebody else. It’s still undecided.
[2:35] User interface challenges are a big thing for us. After that is process. What
photos should be shared? What photos should not be shared? Which videos
should or shouldn’t be shared? There are lots of different factors that go into
that calculation. Is a product a current product? Is it a past product, is it a prototype
[2:55] I would see the legal contract that we have with the athletes. These kinds
of issues be very complex. So, it’s an athlete, let’s say, a whimsy contest wearing
our board shorts, which are not yet publicly released, should we use that
photo? Or should that photo not be used because the product is not actually
publicly released yet, even though the athlete winning a major contest is a major
coup for us?
Henrik: [3:20] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Douglas: [3:24] I think it’s very important to understand that this is very varied
profession, in which it is people, process, content and technology. It’s not possible
just to focus on any one of those. [3:34] Some people imagine that a digital
asset person is a bookish person hidden away in a corner just attaching metadata
to files. But in reality, it is much more difficult than that. You must be able
to interact with your end users to understand what their needs are. You often
have to be assertive about getting your content people are busy and you often
have to reach out to people, work with them to get content.
[3:58] The process issues are huge. Being able to understand the business in
order to
help people solve those problems and come to an agreement about
them. Then, of course, at the technology side, you have to know how to talk
the language of the IT people in order to have credible conversations to be an
advocate for your own DAM health, so to speak. That is very important.
[4:20] There’s sort of a trend going on in the world today of…”marketing technologist”
is a phrase that I’ve heard a lot about. But people who come from the
business side of the company but who understand technology, and I think that
being a DAM librarian kind of fits in with that in certain ways.
[4:36] I very much come from the business side. I understand the people and the
content and process issues, primarily. But I’m also able to speak the language of
the IT department to be an advocate for my stakeholders for their requirements.
[4:49] In addition to that, there’s a lot of training opportunities out there in the
world today. DAM is growing a lot. There are a lot of people trying to learn
about it. There’s free webinars stuff that one can certainly see other opps. That’s
vendor sponsored and so it tends to be very solution focused and not always as
focused on the people, process, content, although people do talk about that,
of course.
[5:11] Then, there’s just great conferences at Henry Stewart and Createasphere.
I’m a member of SLA, which keeps me connected to the library world, the
Special Libraries Association. And then the DAM Foundation. It’s also, I think, a
great resource to learn a lot more about the profession.
Henrik: [5:27] Well, thanks Doug.
Douglas: [5:29] Well, thank you, Henrik.
Henrik: [5:31] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log
on to Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboo
and iTunes.
[5:39] If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at Thanks again

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Another DAM podcast interview with Kezia Everson

Here are the questions asked:
  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does an organization focused on athletic clothing use Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Kezia Everson. So
how are you?
Kezia Everson: [laughs] [0:10] I’m good, thank you.
Henrik: [0:11] Kezia, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Kezia: [0:14] I work in the global marketing team at SKINS in the headquarters
in Switzerland. SKINS designs and manufactures technical compression sportswear.
It’s scientifically proven to help athletes achieve their goals. We currently
have several offices globally. We’ve got subsidiary offices in Australia, the USA,
UK, France, Germany, and China. [0:38] We also have global distributors, so in
Japan, India, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and
throughout Europe. A couple of years ago, we realized that we needed to find
a solution that would allow all of our regions to get access to all of the data files
that they needed, instantly and regardless of time zones. We needed to find a
web based Digital Asset Management system that could house multiple types
of file that was available 24 hours a day.
[1:13] After researching several options, we chose Picture Park to be our structured
administration and management system, for our media assets. Essentially,
my role at SKINS now is managing our Digital Asset Management system.
Ensuring that people across the globe have access to it and all of the key files
are updated to the system and correctly tagged within the portal.
Henrik: [1:42] How does an organization focused on athletic clothing used
Digital Asset Management?
Kezia: [1:46] We currently sell around about 160 different compression products,
including specific ranges for different sports, like cycling, triathlon, golf
and snow sports. As well as our general, multipurpose active and recovery
ranges. Because we have such a wide range of products, we also have a lot
of logos and guidelines for each range. And also, there’s associated athlete
photography with various athletes wearing our products. [2:18] Also, product
renders of the products themselves, 3D render files for use online and things.
We’ve also got things like size chart files, packaging artwork files, lots of POS ,
Point of Sale, templates, website graphics, press releases, etc. All of this information
needs to be stored in one place. Also, due to the nature of the data
we have a lot of different file formats, TIFFs, JPEGs, InDesign files, Adobe
Photoshop files, audio files, movie files, as well as standard Microsoft Word
and Office files. Our Digital Asset Management system needed to be flexible
enough to house all of the different file types we have.
[3:06] It’s used predominantly as a sales and marketing platform. So those teams
around the globe can access the files they need when they want them. But it’s
also used by our legal general counsel. He has access to a portion of the system
that houses our legal documents securely. So we use it in a variety of different
ways, throughout the business. For us, our Digital Asset Management system is
not a general upload/download tool.
[3:34] We use YouSendIt for general file transfers and work in progress documents.
That means that our DAM system is a quality controlled environment.
But we also want SKINS to be a sharing community. So being able to upload
artwork files and templates ensures brand consistency across the globe and also
enables better sharing between the regions. This helps use save duplication of
work, because if one region has created an artwork file for a brochure or a flier,
they can upload that artwork to our DAM system.
[4:13] Another region who might want to create something very similar can see it
and download it and adapt it to their region as needed. It’s, for us, a platform to
promote and share the best content and the best ideas. As such, we’ve created
different access levels for different members, within the organization. As well as
some external partners, like design agencies, advertising agencies, etc. Within
our subs, the marketing teams also have upload access accounts.
[4:44] So they can share files through DAMs. And we have a media standard
guideline document that we share with all of our agencies, to ensure that whatever
files or final pieces of work they produce, the formats they produce them in
are compatible with our DAM system. Again, part of my role is to provide training
to new members of staff when they join the company, about the benefits of
our systems and also to new distributors.
[5:14] Telling them how to search for files and how to download them and email
them quickly to other people who might need access to them external to our
organization. And also, I train them on uploading files and tagging them, so
they can be easily accessed and found by other people.
Henrik: [5:32] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people assuring to become DAM professionals?
Kezia: [5:37] I don’t really have any advice. I would just say that our picture park
system has really revolutionized the way we operate here at SKINS. Previously,
marketing and sales materials were housed on our servers. So that not only took
up precious space, but it was also not apparent exactly where certain files were
saved. Not all of our suboffices and distributors had access to our in-house servers.
[6:04] So we were inundated with requests for materials. Sending out files
to people is almost a full time job. Having the picture park system, over the last
year and a half, has really revolutionized our lives here. And the daily management
of our assets has really been improved. I would definitely recommend to
people who don’t have a system like this in place that it really does make a huge
difference, in many different ways.
Henrik: [6:36] Thanks, Kezia. For more on this and other Digital Asset
Management topics, log onto Another DAM Podcast
is available on AudioBoo, iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. If
you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM podcast interview with Christy King

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Christy King

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does an organization involved with mixed martial arts use Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

Christy also contributes to a blog

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Christy King. Christy,
how are you?
Christy: [0:10] Very good.
Henrik: [0:12] Christy, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Christy: [0:14] I am the newly appointed Vice President of technology research
and development for Zuffa, which is the parent company of the Ultimate
Fighting Championships and several other MMA brands, mixed martial arts
brands. We started down the Digital Asset Management path by trying to
organize a method to distribute video to nontraditional resources. We have a
very young audience, tends to be males, 18 to 34. [0:46] Very much closer to the
18 range. These guys all have every gadget, new fancy, cool thing that hits the
market sooner than almost everybody else, so we really tried hard, very early on,
to be able to distribute to all of those devices, and many of those outlets did
not have traditional ways to take in video content, meaning take…
[1:08] In order for us to create a file-based workflow that made any sense, and
deliver the accompanying metadata, which means images, and text descriptions,
and price points, and policy rules about where things could be shown and
what country, we had to come up with a distribution methodology, and a way to
create all those materials, and distribute them, and keep track of them all over
the world and all of these technologies.
Henrik: [1:33] Christy, how does an organization involved with mixed martial
arts use Digital Asset Management?
Christy: [1:39] What we do, since we started out trying to distribute in all these
places and all these different ways, what you discover very, very quickly, when
you start with a relatively contained, single goal, which is, we wanted to deliver
video, which you find very, very quickly no matter where you start an organization
with asset management, is that it sort of snowballs into a really big
effort. [2:07] All of a sudden, you learn a whole bunch about all these different
technologies and all these different vendors that can solve all sorts of problems,
and gosh, people in the company get a load of the first problem you solve and
their eyes lit up, and they get super creative and excited, and go, “Gosh, if we
can do that, then we can do this, and we can do this other thing, and we can do
this other thing.”
[2:28] Pretty soon, you have yourself a huge variety of problems you can solve,
and every time you solve one problem, then there are three more, because no
piece of information in the company lives in isolation. One of the things you find
is, you’ll discover that if you start to distribute something and you’re going to
change somebody’s work flow, let’s say, in marketing. Now, instead of emailing
a picture to the advertising agency, you’re now going to upload it somewhere.
[2:56] Right? Seems simple enough. You change that, you’re done. What will
happen is, within a couple days, you’ll have four other people that come out
of the network that say, “Hey, I copy and paste that out of the website.” Or,
“I download that image and send it over here in order to do the poster or
the podcast.” Or whatever it is. All of these people had just figured out a way
to adapt and survive, with the information wherever it lived. Somewhere in
the company.
[3:23] What you discover is, when you start down the Digital Asset Management
path, work flow becomes a really interesting challenge to solve and get communication
and effort out of everybody, so that you don’t create five more problems
by solving the first problem. So mixed martial arts is no different than any
other company, in that you’ve got to figure out a way to make sure everybody
has the resources they need to get their job done.
Henrik: [3:47] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Christy: [3:52] We work with several vendors. There isn’t any one particular
vendor that solves all of our problems. One of the interesting changes that I’ve
seen in the way that I use technology is that, it used to be that if you needed to
have somebody edit video, you bought an edit system. If you needed to deliver
something, you used a shipping company. All of these kinds of solutions
were separate, disparate and had nothing to do with each other. [4:22] When
you get into Digital Asset Management, everybody’s stuff lays on top of everybody
else’s stuff. I would like to see an awful lot more vendors do what my
vendors have been really willing to do, which is work with each other. We have
a company called Levels Beyond that deals with our video solution, with their
reach engine. But we’ve asked them to work very closely with the folks at Denim
Group, who have designed and built our CMS backend for our website.
[4:53] I’ve asked them to tie in very tightly with the company that produces much
of our fight statistics. All of these folks need to work together and understand
each of their technologies, not necessarily even at a surface level, but at a pretty
deep level, so that they can understand how to use the best of what each company
has to offer. Really, it’s that interesting ability in people to think in a more
open source and shared kind of way.
[5:22] Not necessarily to give their trade secrets away, but just live in the world of
understanding that whatever they’re doing is going to be needed to be shared
by several other people, besides the company they’re selling their product to.
That’s probably the biggest piece of advice I would give.
[5:43] Be a little bit more willing to be open and work directly with other vendors.
I started my process very much in the production department. It has
blossomed to being an asset management solution that we’re applying, with
lots of people, across our entire organization. Really, I have one big Digital Asset
Management system, but I’m calling each departments little asset management
system a little bit different name, as we implement this stuff. So as not to scare
people to death. [laughs]
Henrik: [6:11] Good idea.
Christy: [6:13] You’re asking people to do a huge amount of change and work
flow and culture shift, in order to think about, create… Now, everything they do,
they have to at least put a little bit of their mind towards the fact that whatever
they’re doing, they’re communicating that to everyone else in the organization
and other people outside of the organization, at the moment they create it in
a shareable form. [6:39] Communication becomes even more important than it
might have been to an organization before. You just don’t upload an image. You
need to upload an image and call it something that makes sense, in the bigger,
organizational sense, that’s related to search terms, dates and maybe days that
the things that invoice should be issued so that someone gets paid when this
thing gets uploaded. You’re talking about marketing, accounting, financial analysis,
and invoicing process.
[7:14] Maybe rights are communicated that’s related to your legal department.
[laughs] This is a pretty demanding, big kind of concept to introduce to a company.
Vendors and people thinking about doing Digital Asset Management, in
general, really need to make sure they take it slow and explain to people a lot,
all along the way, the purpose of doing each of these extra tasks, in order to
make the overall company run more efficiently.
[7:47] Especially if you’re a worldwide company or you have organizations spread
across several states or across the world. Really getting taxonomy right and
communication paths tight in a Digital Asset Management system can make a
huge difference in a company that’s spread out like that, geographically.
Henrik: [8:07] Thanks, Christy. For more on Digital Asset Management, log
onto AnotherDAMblog.comAnother DAM Podcast is available on Audioboo,
iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. If you have any comments or questions,
please feel free to send me an email at
Thanks again.

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Another DAM podcast interview with Kyle Hufford

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Kyle Hufford

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How do you use the process of digital asset management before having a DAM system in place?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Kyle Hufford.
Kyle, how are you?

Kyle Hufford: [0:09] I’m doing great today.
Henrik: [0:11] Kyle, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Kyle: [0:13] I’ve been working with Quiksilver for a little over seven years now.
We’ve been working out our Digital Asset Management objective. It’s gone
through an interesting phase. I went from being the sole individual person responsible
for Digital Asset Management to actually building bit of a team. [0:30]
We’ve been building our systems. We’ve been through a phase of having a
fully functioning system to paring back and re-evaluating what we have. We’re in
the process of rolling out a new system, at this time, to manage all our product
images, our lifestyle images, and everything that goes around supporting our
business and sales of our products.
Henrik: [0:50] Kyle, how do you use the process of Digital Asset Management
before having a DAM system in place?
Kyle: [0:57] That’s a really good question. Initially, we had purchased an enterprise
level system, and we had rolled it out not understanding what Digital
Asset Management really was. It went along and worked great for about two to
three years. Then we actually pared back and removed the asset management
system from our workflow and identified a proper workflow before reintroducing
our asset management system. [1:26] The biggest challenge I think that
people have is, they think, “I’ll have a Digital Asset Management system. That’s
going to solve all my problems.” That’s not true. If you have a Digital Asset
Management system, you still have to have a proper workflow or process in
place in order to solve your problem.
[1:43] If your process is broken, Digital Asset Management is not going to solve
your process. Our biggest challenge is, we removed Digital Asset Management
from the process and identified where in the process we were having challenges,
and identified where we could actually optimize that process.
[1:59] Once that process was optimized, we then now are reintroducing the
Digital Asset Management system to individual workflows one piece at a time
and identifying that this is the proper workflow, this is where the assets need to
go, and this is how the images or assets need to be distributed.
Henrik: [2:15] If I understand correctly, you started with people. Then you developed
the process of Digital Asset Management, and then you introduced the
technology. Fair?
Kyle: [2:25] Yes, exactly. We learned over time. It wasn’t like that was our first
approach. Our first approach was, “Let’s throw an enterprise Digital Asset
Management system at it.” That didn’t work. We identified that there were challenges
in pieces, in broken processes, in workarounds, and then we pared back.
[2:44] As you said, we started with people and understood what the process was
and identified how we could better that process. Once we identified a proper
process, we could then support that with the proper technologies.
Henrik: [2:56] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Kyle: [3:00] I think the biggest part of being a Digital Asset Manager is it’s a
thankless job. But at the end of the day, when you’re able to go in and search
for something and find something and be able to have a repository where the
images are, that’s the biggest feeling of success. [3:18] I think being a DAM professional
is more than being a Digital Asset Manager. From my perspective, it’s
about the process and the workflow and identifying better ways to do business.
It’s not just knowing how to tag an image or tagging 100 images a day or 1,000
images a day. It’s being able to work in an organization where you can identify
challenges in the process, and you can work with the right individuals to fix that
process so that the assets that you’re producing are better assets and more
accurate assets.
Henrik: [3:50] Couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Kyle. [3:53] For more on Digital
Asset Management, log on to Another DAM Podcast
is available on Audioboo, iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. If you have any
comments or questions, feel free to email me at
Thanks again.

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Another DAM podcast interview with David Barron

Another DAM podcast interview with David Barron | Listen

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • Why does a organization focused on sporting goods use Digital Asset Management?
  • What is the big idea behind using master images in a DAM workflow?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with David Barron. David,
how are you?
David Barron: [0:10] Hey, Henrik. I’m doing great.
Henrik: [0:13] David, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
David: [0:16] I’ve been in production most of my career, since I got out of college
in 1989. I managed a service bureau for about three years in the early ‘90s,
which gave me most of my troubleshooting capabilities. Then I worked in advertising
and marketing throughout the rest of that 20 years, where I worked at
places like CAPS Digital and Leo Burnett. I worked at a HBO startup company.
[0:46] I worked at The Marketing Store, the Integer Group and SM Marketing,
and several other places that I started to do a little consulting with. I was a production
artist who also did photo retouching and design. But always doing tech
support, too. Probably because, as a Macintosh user, the IT departments don’t
always fully support the Macintosh platform. So there was always a lot of technical
stuff that had to go on.
[1:21] I started thinking about Digital Asset Management while I was working
at The Marketing Store and trying to get a system in there that would help
us to manage our digital assets. That’s where I fell in love with Digital Asset
Management, and all the capabilities that you can have with Digital Asset
Management. Although I was a production artist at that time, I had to assume
the role of a Digital Asset Manager and technologist.
[1:55] I started here at Wilson Sporting Goods, two years ago, as a Digital Asset
Management Consultant, for their Xinet system that they put in. I had purchased
the exact same system at The Marketing Store, five years prior. I started to
consult on that system because I had known it really well. After about a year of
being here, they hired me full time, where I administered the asset management
system. I can still consult the designers on best practices as I continue to oversee
things from the front end, all the way to the back end of the system.
Henrik: [2:42] Why does an organization focused on sporting goods use Digital
Asset Management?
David: [2:47] I would argue that every company that creates digital artwork and
videos needs some level of Digital Asset Management. Once you have one file,
you have the need for Digital Asset Management, and you have some level of
managing that. So much is being created digitally. At Wilson Sporting Goods,
they create a dizzying amount of graphics per year. Small, 20 some creative
services, employees crank out work like crazy, every day. [3:22] We have our own
staff photographer who’s been working tirelessly here for 27 years. Just taking
product shots. There’s terabytes of data, images and tons of people who need
them. So wrangling these assets for internal use alone could be considered valuable.
But there’s offices worldwide, partners and dealers that all want to have an
image of “The Duke”, or whatever product they’re trying to sell for their website,
for their own catalogs.
[4:02] Trying to find these assets and getting them the correct one, the one
that’s retouched and outlined or whatever, is a big challenge. So Digital Asset
Management is key here.
Henrik: [4:17] What is the big idea behind using master images in a
DAM workflow?
David: [4:24] The master image paradigm is one that I’ve been percolating in
my brain for several years now. While working at marketing agencies, the workflow
as always to see each job as a closed loop, a single entity. All the art created
for that one job remained in a links folder, in a job folder. Even if you were
working on several pieces with the same images, you’d often duplicate those
images into the links folder of the new job, in order to keep a collection of files
current for that single entity. [4:58] If a product or image changed at the 11th
hour, which never happens, I understand. You were up late replicating those
changes to all those separate folders and all those separate files, and derivatives.
The thought came, “Couldn’t we just keep an image library to link to,
instead of all this duplication?”
[5:19] It was always work that nobody wanted to do or had time to work on.
Even though, in the end, it would have saved time. So this master image idea
was born out of this frustration in production. The temptation to collect all
the images into a job folder is pretty strong, but when the files are linked to a
master image in the master image library, the benefits are pretty fierce.
[5:44] That image is what I heard called, at Henry Stuart New York this year, “The
single version of the truth.” The high resolution images come in or are shot,
and they’re tagged with metadata. They get outlined, retouched, and they go
into the master image library, nested into several folders of hierarchy. You might
have a football folder and inside of that, NFL footballs and leather footballs.
They get nested into this library, like digital shelves.
[6:19] So everybody knows where they are. We keep two of them, one for in
progress images and one for published images or files that are ready to go
to the general public. But there’s only one file that is current. So that changes
to that one file, happened on that one file. Any of the work that’s being used,
that’s all they have to do, update the image in that layout.
[6:47] That way, there is no migration at the end of the job, where we take all
those images and then file them accordingly, so that people can see the images
and grab the images from the latest catalog. They’re already there. There’s no
wondering whether or not, “Was it this image, or this one next to it that looks
similar, that was used in this catalog?”
[7:14] Because they’re linked, and the DAM system shows that link. The files are
tagged with the name in that catalog. It’s really been revolutionary when it’s
done properly. The one thing that really makes it work, because a lot of people
have said, “What if I have a Photoshop file that’s got several images composited
in there? I’ve got to make a new file. How do I track what files are being put in
that Photoshop file?”
[7:50] It’s really difficult. You can put it into metadata. I’m really encouraging
people, now with WCS platform, you can do a lot of compositing effects in
InDesign and Illustrator, for that matter. Although I’m sort of against doing any
page layout or major Photoshop compositing in Illustrator. But to do your compositing
within InDesign, it just makes everything so much easier.
[8:28] Because of the transparency effects that you can do, you don’t have to
afraid of transparency. You just have to work a little bit differently, because
you’re not working with pixels in InDesign, but if you can do your composites in
InDesign, you still maintain that link to the master image. If you need to move
things around, it’s a lot easier to move things around in one program than it is to
have to go back into Photoshop, make those changes, and move it in.
[8:57] Then resizing, if you’re doing a banner for one person and an ad that has
to look the same, your resizes are a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about
making multiple file images. That’s been a challenge to get that through, but
when it’s done, and I’ve seen it done really well, with all kinds of things, like
reflections and drop shadows and set down shadows, color and vignettes, and
everything, all done in InDesign. The time savings alone are worth it. Just in
terms of versatility.
Henrik: [9:33] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
David: [9:39] I would say that if you’re aspiring to be in Digital Asset
Management, some people say that you need to be a student of library sciences.
Sadly, I don’t have that expertise. From my perspective, you really have
to know your users, more than the assets themselves. How they work, and the
needs and the skills of those users who are using the system more than library
sciences. [10:12] Because you can easily put more than you need to into the
DAM system, or more than what the users need. That’s where your concentration
should be, is do your homework on who’s contributing to the workflow or
to the image library, and who needs to get the stuff out. Then you’ll have all the
answers you need.
Henrik: [10:40] Putting people first. That’s a great idea.
David: [10:41] Thanks.
Henrik: [10:43] Thanks, David.
David: [10:44] Henrik, it’s been a pleasure.
Henrik: [10:46] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboo,
Blubrry, iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. Thanks again.


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