Asset Management for a small Media Team

This topic was created by Esme .

  1. Esme

    Asset Management for a small Media Team

    Hi folks!

    I do admin for a small (single-figures number of people involved) media team that does video and audio recording and live webinars for the Group that we're a part of. Cameras may be moved between three studios 9Glasgow, Birmingham, London) and the occasional outside or clients venue.

    We're looking to get some sort of simple assest-management software that can show both where everything (both equipment and people) is right now and where it needs to be on a given future date. We don't want to go so far as barcoding everything and using barcode readers though.

    If anyone can reccomend any possibly suitable software, 'twould be much appreciated (and in case anyone's thinking it, no we can't do a bespoke job on a SQL database as we don't have the resources internally).

  2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    So < 9 persons and < 50 bits of kit* involved? Frankly, I wouldn't even bother with any kind of software** and just get a big whiteboard.

    The real issue anyway is who's in charge of keeping track of the equipment, and how they can make the rest of the team give them the information they need to do it. Software won't really help with that, (unless the kit itself is so advanced that it knows where it is and where it is supposed to be). That is to say, guys that are somehow unable to share information like that verbally or by other means won't enter it into any kind of software either.

    Anyway, this could be done in Outlook (or similar). Any piece of equipment that needs to be tracked is entered as a contact. It's easy to add a few user defined fields for specifics. It's a good way to schelude things. You set a date and place as if you'd want to plan a meeting, and instead of inviting people you "invite" the bits oxf equipment from the contacts. That way you also have a little list that can be shared, used for invoicing, what have you.

    Alternatively, there are a couple of open source programs meant to manage collections of stuff (books, DVDs, whatwver) that could be used, maybe with a little tweaking. It's usually some sort of database anyway that allows a couple of 'user defined' fields. A bit clumsy perhaps, but it'll do the job, as long as someone enters the data...

    * Kit that has to be moved between the locations.

    ** Well, that's a blatant lie. I'd probably sit down and cobble something together in Access or something. Anybody still remember SuperBase? *nostalgic sigh*

    1. Esme

      Thanks, ATCSNWT, much appreciated - I was beginning to suspect that this might be the case (that we're a smaller operation that most software is desiged for), but wasn't sure. Communications isn't the problem (other than humans occasionally being forgetful) in the sense that you're mentioning. The problem is flexibility and accuracy when taking bookings (part of my job currently), dealing with changes to bookings (our speaker has laryngitis, can we do it next week instead?) and my boss's ability to quickly and accurately be able to discuss possibilities with clients, bearing in mind she may be out of the office and I might be out at lunch - or on leave. Paper-based systems are grand to a point, but the API for keeping my boss informed whilst she's out of the office is her phoning me, and writing down my responses to her questions :-}

      Outlook (shudders) -thanks, I think (admission - I've never liked Outlook, and have loathed it more with every passing year, it's an overbloated monster that is clunky and tries to do too much and generally makes my working life less happy than it should. YMMMV - but that's why that didn't occur to me)). Point taken, yes, we perhaps could do, I'll run that past my boss, ta (I may be heavily biased, but it's not my call as to what system we use! :-} )

      Yeah, I had thought that what we could really do with could probably be covered by a competent programmer that could set up a database with a UI and some way to access it remotely - but my programming skills extend no further than being able to do basic T-SQL queries. We simply don't have the resources to roll our own. Access? Wash your mind out with bleach! (chuckle) - wouldn't help our boss whilst on the move, anyway :-}

      1. jake Silver badge

        Simple, easy(ish) answer.

        Gannt chart.

        You can use the spreadsheet of your choice to implement. Making it remotely accessible should be fairly easy in this era. There are other software options, but I don't use any of them so I can't offer a more targeted solution, sorry.

        For day-to-day, week-to-week, I use a Gantt chart drawn on a largish whiteboard to manage the heavier equipment that helps run this place. It is duplicated in a spreadsheet, with a three week chunk centered on this week emailed to those of us who "have a need to know" on Sunday evening, along with a list of anomalies (lost/stolen/strayed kit that hasn't been returned properly, according to schedule).

        The "off property" bits are checked out and back into local inventory using a much smaller, and easier to handle chart linked to the main chart.

        This has been working for us for over ten years now. The only issues to date involve somebody (usually me) fat-fingering a transfer from the whiteboard to the spreadsheet.

        Obviously, it's a trifle more complicated than the above overview. As is usual when implementing a subset of inventory control, the devil is in the details, and varies from site to site.

  3. jordandevin

    Asset Management for a small Media Team

    Been using WebDAM for a couple of years now and love it. Helped us consolidate our product and beauty photography and other marketing assets into a single place and saved a ton of money and time. Previously, we had multiple agencies and marketing staff across multiple global business units continually looking for photos. Agency requests were expensive and time consuming, often for the same images. Now everyone can get to the same repository for the latest product and beauty shots. No more need for multiple copies all over the organization and we can see at a glance all the latest photos. Great search engine too.

    Pros:

    Very cost effective and scalable. Easy to use interface on both front end and back end, powerful meta tagging and search. Like the ability to set up permissions and give discrete access to certain assets for different groups and users. Also ability to download smaller size JPGs from high res source images. Company is actively improving their system and recent changes are making it easier to use and more powerful.

    Cons:

    Began as an image management tool so the workflow is still geared toward images. Not using it for managing all our digital source files (i.e. InDesign source with links). We are beginning to put video files in our WebDAM system, but there's still some work to be done on video management.

    Not really a pro or con, but setting up all the proper meta data is a major task if you haven't already done so. But once you do get all your tagging and taxonomy in place, the system gets even more powerful.

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