Megan Re discusses Digital Asset Management
Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management
- How does an organization focused on food use Digital Asset Management?
- What are the biggest challenges and successes you have seen with DAM?
- What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:08] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today I am speaking with Megan Re.
Megan, how are you?
Megan Re: [0:10] I am good. How are you?
Henrik: [0:13] Good. Megan, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Megan: [0:37] I am involved with Digital Asset Management. I oversee the photography
for Food Network and Cooking Channel brand, and my position overlaps
the creative, the production and the asset management of photography. I
came to Food Network to redevelop and build a working photo team. With that,
I had to get my hands wet in all of the areas. [1:00] Coming from a background
with a BFA in photography, I understand what’s happening with a photographer’s
thinking, what is happening with digital techs’ thinking, an editor and
creatives. With that, we come down and we are working with our photography,
with our assets, with our DAM system, with organization and getting images out
to everyone’s needs ASAP.
Henrik: [1:04] How does an organization focused on food use Digital Asset
Megan: [1:16] We need it drastically. Without it, we would be lost. A company
as large as ours, we have thousands and thousands of photos. We are actually
turning 20 this year.
Henrik: [1:17] Congratulations.
Megan: [1:43] Thank you. That means we have 20 years of photography. We
have them in slide form, transparency form, and most currently over the past
10plus years, digital form. That also encompasses not only food and recipe
photos, but we have talent. I mean, our chefs, we have so much talent happening.
We have production stills happening for every show, we have events, cookbooks,
branding it goes way beyond the food and recipes. [2:09] You are talking
about hundreds and thousands of images, and with that, many internal teams,
because we are a brand. We have a marketing team, a press team, our new
business team, an international team, which is many, many countries. We have
to make sure that everyone is self-sufficient in getting images at a quick pace,
because all of our internal teams need them drastically soon.
[2:27] They need to download photos and view the photos. We need to make
sure that there are all descriptions at your fingertips, so you know all of the
details. And make sure that my photo team is savvy. Aside from that we need a
DAM, my photo team needs to be savvy and aware of the brand’s needs.
[2:51] Aware of the workflow, the process, the metadata and establish workflows
from the start, so we can work with our DAM. With our DAM, we have a DAM
that has been with our company for a long time. Aside from that, there are other
tools and other workflows before images get into the DAM that we need. All of
these thousands of images have to somehow get in there.
Henrik: [2:55] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset
Megan: [3:23] One of my favorite questions. Challenges, at least for us, and I
think it goes for many people, is introducing a new system, the need of a workflow.
If there is not a workflow, how crucial that is from the start of a shoot. Then
too, your asset management. There is always going to be a workflow for our
internal teams and our photographers. [3:42] For us, coming here, a huge challenge
was just getting our internal teams, because this was a new department
forming who has been working with photos for years, is what is our workflow
and getting them to trust us. Our photographers, some who had been shooting
for a while with us, getting them to understand, now we are going to be asking
for new needs.
[4:05] Such as, let’s add some metadata, let’s add the copyright, let’s add the
year establishing what our metadata needs were. That was a really big challenge,
because you are starting from scratch. So what do we need internally as a
company, and what we need internally for our DAM system? Every DAM system
is different, every DAM system has different needs, so that was a big challenge.
[4:32] Basically pulling in new systems to offset the frustrations that naturally
come with a DAM system. Every DAM is unique. Some are loved, some are not
loved. They all have their issues and we just find a way to work with them and
around them in finding support. We had a DAM system, as I mentioned already,
established in our companies. It was just instilling some new processes that
were going to make it easier in training.
[4:56] Also, what do we do with the old photos? The photos that are not yet in
the system that need to get in the system, or photos that can’t get in the system
because they are so old. So, what is another way that we can asset manage
these photos? We had a huge-which we are just finishing now-two bookshelves
worth of binders and CDs from 10plus years ago. Massive.
[5:18] Successes…Simplifying the workflow. I feel like I always work in numbers
of three, so I came down to three simple systems that we needed, including our
DAM. We instilled a workflow program that we use Global Edit that we love. It
helps with our selects, our instant viewing, our approvals and our markups.
[5:35] From there, we then work with our internal servers. We have two main
servers that work for us that back up everything, and then of course, our DAM.
That is the goto place at the end where everyone is self-sufficient; can go on
and download stuff immediately at different file sizes and it organizes.
[5:53] As we all know, once images are in the DAM, it is very hard to get them
out or to get them reorganized again. So, we have to go to that system. Very
well-organized and put together. Another success was the trust in my photo
staff, knowing that they are going to work hand-in-hand on all elements.
[6:07] We are a smaller team, unlike some other companies who have a very big
asset management team and then a photo production team, my staff works
hand-in-hand with everything. We understand from the start of the job to what
has to happen at the end.
[6:30] My producers are producing to the shooters all of the details that are
ready, and when it comes back in, my asset editors can take the rest and roll.
[Another] success was organization and speed. As we know, everything needs
to happen fast. Everyone wants it now. Downloads need to happen yesterday
when they are needed today. So that was a huge plus.
Henrik: [6:34] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to be DAM professionals?
Megan: [6:55] Some of the advice I would say is to be prepared for challenges.
Take time to assess the project, the overall project or the company you are
going to be working with. Problem-solve and understand the end goals. If you
do not have the backbone instilled from the beginning, it is going to be challenging.
You are going to be constantly reworking your system and your problems.
[7:08] A DAM of some sort is needed for every company, even a photographer
in their archive to a small or large company. You need to figure out how
it is going to work best. Take the time at the beginning to understand what the
end goal is going to be.
[7:30] A big plus, I would say, is understanding copyright law and usage terms.
I can’t tell you how important that is, because that is really a big goal of somebody
who is going to asset manage, is understanding how something can be
used, to what term. The minute it is let go, it is going to be seen on social media
sites. These days, anywhere, anyhow, at any media, you will be seeing it.
[7:43] Someone who is detail oriented. If you are detail oriented, you are probably
the best person to be in this field working with assets, and aware of technology
change. Within a year or six months, there are changes out there for
[8:01] If you are managing a very particular DAM, keep on top of what the new
changes are going to be, the new rollouts. If you are having some issues with
that and you need help with a workflow, keeping on top of what other tools are
available to you to assist and to complement your current workflow.
[8:21] It is not a problem to bring something else in if it is going to help you, especially
when you are low on staff and you need to work quickly. That is exactly
why we pulled in some other platforms, like the Gold Edit for the speed. That
took care of a lot of time. There are many other programs and workflows out
there that will help you to get your images into a DAM.
Henrik: [8:24] Excellent. Thanks, Megan.
Megan: [8:26] Thank you.
Henrik: [8:34] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log
on to AnotherDAMblog.com. Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboom
and iTunes. Thanks again.
- Another DAM podcast interview with Christy King (anotherdampodcast.com)
- Where can I find some Digital Asset Management interns? (anotherdamblog.com)