Jay O’Brien discusses 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 anotherdamblog.com. For this and 170 other podcast episodes, go to anotherdampodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. Thanks again.