How does a leading destination marketing agency manage and deliver over 6000 hours of video footage for clients across the USA? This is the question we had for Adam Storm, Technical Operations Coordinator at Miles Partnership.
As the sole DAM administrator for Miles Partnership, Adam’s goal is to optimize video discoverability within MediaValet to ensure clients can easily retrieve and use the content that Miles Partnership creates for them. This interview shares Adam’s insights into how he uses MediaValet to streamline content delivery, ensure client videos are easily discoverable and, ultimately, increase the ROI of video content for clients.
To start off, can you tell us about Miles Partnership?
“Miles Partnership is a destination marketing agency. We preserve, reproduce, and research content to promote travel and tourism business for our clients. Content includes websites, TV commercials, social media posts, travel brochures, guides, multimedia ad campaigns - if it encourages people to travel, somebody from Miles has done it or is working on it.
As far as DAM goes I’m a team of one, but most of the work I do is for Odyssey, The Content Studio at Miles. Odyssey works with a range of client types including city and state tourism departments, destination attractions (like theme-parks and museums), and hospitality clients (like hotels and resorts), to help them entice people to visit particular attractions.”
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
“I went to school to study illustration. I actually received a Bachelor's in Fine Arts and then went back to update my skills, because my goal was originally to work in animation. Now, I have a Master’s in special effects animation.
I've always wanted to be an artist, so it’s been great to be placed in charge of organizing a system specifically for creative content. Basically, I’m an electronic librarian who likes to play video games and paint!”
Are you the sole administrator for MediaValet?
“As far as operating and providing user support, yes – Miles hired me specifically to be the administrator and power user. Having this dedicated role in place has allowed Odyssey to have another person, who had previously handled logistics (transferring footage to editors, delivering project content to clients, etc.) along with a myriad of other responsibilities, to focus on developing and creating actual content.
For the most part, I handle getting assets into the system. After production on a project is complete, I receive the contents that were produced - usually B-roll - and add it to our MediaValet library, where I organize it and enrich it with metadata tags. I also set up permissions for clients to be able to access their content.”
How does MediaValet help Miles Partnership and its clients?
“MediaValet helps with both the delivery of videos to clients and ease of access for re-use on the clients’ behalf. Most of the assets we upload belong to the client, who often want us to make more for them. Having some video we can re-use is a great way to maximize return on investment for those assets for them.
I actually didn’t start at Miles until after they already implemented MediaValet, but people would tell stories of the towers of hard drives that would surround their desks - from freelancers, for clients – there was a lot! Although we do still use hard drives, they serve a different purpose now.
At Miles, we have our own creative directors and project managers, as well as a number of freelance and independent contractors across the globe, because we work with so many destination markets. Once a contractor finishes a shoot, they use hard drives to get the content back to me, so I can put it into MediaValet. Then, we use MediaValet to manage both the raw assets, as well as the polished, edited videos that are deliverable to the client, so our clients can get it when they need it or identify opportunities for re-use.”
Do clients have direct access to the library?
“Generally, yes. We use the category structure to break up the work and projects by client and then the client has access to anything under their particular category tree. It’s designed as a hub-and-spoke model, so both Miles and the client can access the material. Being able to view videos directly within MediaValet is a huge value-add for our clients.
We have an interesting use case with one client who is also a customer of MediaValet. Because we both have independent libraries, the MediaValet team helped us set-up a linked category that’s accessible from both libraries. This means we can easily deliver videos to the client just by adding their assets directly to that shared category.”
You mentioned that clients sometimes re-use their content – can you give some examples of how they do this?
“For sure! I’ve seen a lot of interest lately around making content created at the state-level available to sub-areas. For example, we could produce something with a State Tourism Department, and then they could make that content accessible to any cities that were included in the shoot. Then, each organization can use the videos in a way that they feel appropriate. MediaValet makes this really easy, because I can categorize them by project, and then by region and/or city.
There’s also an interest in re-use across campaigns. For example, say a City Tourism board wants some Parade footage to use in a social series. While that footage was made for a specific deliverable, it’s still available after the fact to re-use for other purposes.
As one last example, we had a client that recently went through a rebranding. They had some old videos and just wanted to change the branding to reflect their new brand identity. The cool thing is, we didn't actually have to reshoot any video, because we had access to everything in MediaValet. We were able to just quickly swap out the logo and give it a refresh.”
How else has this new library helped clients?
“From experience, I can share that content delivery can be really frustrating. I still get hard drives from other agencies and freelancers, and I always have to sift through a bunch of folders and extra content, when I just need the footage. Camera folder structures and camera names, in particular, can be a challenge to navigate. If you work with that specific camera, it’s great, but if not, it just looks like a mess of files.
Even for edited footage, Premier will make a lot of folders and files for one video. Although there’s often some structure around it, for someone who’s just looking to make an Instagram post, for example, it can be frustrating to sift through all of those files just to get a 15-second clip.
Clients just need the video - they don't need all this extra stuff. But I feel that’s how a lot of agencies are used to doing it. MediaValet gives Miles’ clients an easier, cleaner way to access the content they need.”
As someone that works primarily with video, how do you manage adding metadata at scale?
“I tend to think of metadata into two terms. There’s objective metadata, which is just what you can observe about the asset, without any additional knowledge. Then, there’s contextual metadata, which is metadata that’s built around the project or grouping of assets.
I try to get as much contextual metadata as I can, like the name of the project that was shot for, who shot it, the location and rights usage, and use that to create templates. For example, they may have shot 20 clips in Restaurant A, in a shoot done in a specific town. For Restaurant A, all 20 clips get the same contextual metadata.
Then for each clip, I view some of the footage and use that to provide my objective metadata. We have over 6000 hours of footage in MediaValet, so it would be impossible for me to watch all of it. Using this method enables me to add meaningful metadata more efficiently. I still do watch a lot of videos, but I’m thankful to be able to multiply the video speed!”
Were there any unexpected outcomes?
“The funny thing is, my role is excelling when nobody thinks about me. I consider myself to be a ‘stagehand’ - when nobody notices the people running in the background, they're doing their job well. So if there were unexpected outcomes, I might be upset!”
What piece of advice, can you give to others that are looking into DAM?
“I would always say my favorite word: governance.
I don't want users to have to go back and forth to find the assets they need, which is where governance comes in to ensure the structure is as intuitive as it can be. Keep it consistent and always think about how your end users are going to find their assets. It helps make everyone's job easier.
When I get a new project or asset from someone, I tell them to explain it to me like I know absolutely nothing. It’s not that I actually know nothing, it’s that I don't have the full context – and that can be the case for others looking for the asset in the future. This approach ensures they give me every possible bit of information - information that I can then use to enable others to find it in MediaValet.”
Last question - what's your favorite movie and why?
“There really is only one answer to this question, and that is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It has the greatest movie villain of all time and one of the greatest like plot reveal twists of all time – done!”
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