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Ed Murphy
Alternative to CatDV?
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:09:18 pm

We are a relatively small, non-profit charitable organization, with not many people on our media staff but a huge and ever expanding media library. (Huge in this case means ~40TB and growing.)

We are looking to invest in a cost effective shared media management system and archival system integration. I arrived at CatDV products after looking at the Cache-A Prime Cache 5 for archival consideration.

While I am very excited about the possibilities I see with the CatDV tools in these four videos



, I have to say that I was weary at first because of how unorganized and archaic their website seems.

I am now additionally cautious to make the investment because as I understand their software is based on using legacy 32bit QuickTime (an area I am admittedly not thoroughly versed in) which causes me to wonder how future friendly it is, and even how well it would perform in our existing environment.

We probably will end up going with CatDV, but I wanted to compare and evaluate other options. I have just had very little luck finding any.

Would any of you say there's a second best in your opinion? Does anyone on these forms argue for any competing products or do they simply not exist?

I'm trying to look at Extensis Portfolio 10, but I just don't "get" it and it doesn't look to be nearly as conducive to a video biased library like ours as CatDV would.

Any and all insights are appreciated.

Ed Murphy
Senior Editor / Technical Director
David Lynch Foundation Television


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bryson jones
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:26:29 pm

There are a ton of alternatives. Most are far more costly, as the average buy in on comperable asset management systems installed, in my experience, is over $100k. (Although that is changing monthly.)

Here is my free advice. Take it with a huge grain of salt and consider the source. I may be totally out of line. ;)

I'd contact an experienced reseller of MAM solutions, have them do some discovery work for you. They will help determine your needs, budget and develop a "software independent" workflow analysis and then you will have that to deliver to potential solution providers as a RFP spec. As a part of this process, hopefully some front runners will appear and you will gain clarity and focus before you spend your money and time on a solution only to find it doesn't suit your workflow.

Yes this will cost you some money on the front end, but the pain and money it will save you later is immeasurable.

As to Quicktime, CatDV uses several playback methods (Xuggle and JMF, for instance) and as of v9 the playback is separate from the "app" meaning that if QT goes away (which it's not), another player can be exposed in the interface with minimal re-working by the dev crew.

Also, remember to separate CatDV Pro from the CatDV Server, which houses your db.

Finally, ask other MAM solutions what they use for playback... I'm betting most of them use a web browser based player or have to launch in an outside player (QT, VLC, etc). Good luck playing XDCAM, P@, ProRes or most any actual production format in a web browser. Almost all, included the famed Final Cut Server, need to open media in an outside player to play anything other than proxy.

Any good reseller of asset management solutions should be able to discuss the pros and cons of several solutions for you. But know that when the rubber hits the road, I've seen a lot of folks go CatDV due to the fact that for the price, there's very little that can compete.

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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Ed Murphy
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:53:34 pm

Thank you for that information, Bryson, and thank you for your thorough presentation in those videos. They were easy to watch and basically sold CatDV to me.

The only thing I wish you would've gone into greater detail about was the actual roles each component of the software was playing along each step of the way. I assume you were using the server, client, and all of the add-ons, etc. but I still can quite wrap my head around which components our organization might be able to do without. I had the same issue with the information on the CatDV website.

So I figured, maybe it's just me. Some mental block either temporary or not preventing me from clearly understanding how each component interfaces. So, I downloaded all four available software packages for Mac from their website, and I requested eval codes because I currently have some actual time to test out solutions in house. (This almost never happens!) Well, three days and a second request later, I have still heard nothing back from them...

Are you still an active "reseller of asset management solutions"? If so, I'd like to discuss this further with you if you think you'd like to take on our low budget case. :)
We definitely are not in the $100,000 range. I would say we're looking at a budget of about $10,000 to include MAM and Cache-A or other archival system, depending on how I pitch it to the board.

Please e-mail me ed at dlf dot tv if you'd like to offer your services.

Thanks again!

Ed Murphy
Senior Editor / Technical Director
David Lynch Foundation Television


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Rolf Howarth
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Aug 1, 2012 at 7:48:07 pm

Apologies if you find the web site a bit confusing, we are planning a major redesign in the near future.

Part of the problem, if it is a problem, is that the CatDV product family is very scalable and is used by everyone from prosumers and one-man band producer-editors using the standalone version all the way through to major broadcasters such as NASCAR and Turner. Every workflow is different and every customer has different requirements, so we provide a toolkit of components that work together to fit your particular needs.

CatDV is incredibly easy and intuitive to get started with - just drag in some files to start logging and cataloging them, with no setup required - but capable of supporting the most complex automated multi-user workflows as required. Plus it's very actively maintained and you're not tied into one particular proprietary system - doubly important with all the change the industry has seen in recent years!

Designing and building a complete production workflow isn't easy but we're fortunate to have a network of very talented resellers and systems integrators who know the product well and can help you put together a complete solution.



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Ed Murphy
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:09:28 pm

Thank you, Rolf.

I am now starting to read through the manual too, which is helping me understand it better. I hadn't seen it available online before.

The capabilities are impressive as shown in those videos Bryce did. Unfortunately, as we find all too often, we are a "small" operation with the needs of a large one. I would love to utilize just about every feature Bryce demoed in the video.

Do you know why I may not have had a response yet to my eval requests sent to the sales email address on 7/24 and 7/31? I'd like to get my hands dirty...

Best,

Ed Murphy
Senior Editor / Technical Director
David Lynch Foundation Television


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Guillermo Carbonell
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Oct 19, 2012 at 12:52:55 pm

Hi Rolf,
I'm a commercial director from Uruguay.
Most of the time I have to do treatments to bid projects, where I include other spots or movie clips as visual references for some items.
I have amassed a big library of spots and clips that I search on a daily basis. And that collection keeps growing.
I've been looking for a really simple software to catalogue those clips, adding keywords and maybe generate lists. Nothing more than that.
I've tried CatDV, and it's very cool, but I feel it's an overkill for my needs.
Do you plan to release a simpler low end version of CatDV?
Any alternatives you could suggest me?
Thanks


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Rolf Howarth
CatDV standalone
on Oct 20, 2012 at 10:00:00 pm

The point of CatDV is that it is pretty easy on the whole to get started with - just launch the application, drag in some files, add comments to them, and you instantly have a searchable catalog of your assets - but that it will grow with you to support the most complicated networked workflows when required.

CatDV has an awful lot of capabiltiies under the hood if you need them, but if use the standalone version (even the standard edition) and stick to the simple menus then you can safely ignore most of that complexity.



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Robert Lonn
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 9:59:40 pm

Hi Mr Carbonell,

I am not sure if you are still searching for a solution for your large library of video files but here is my advice anyhow.

Fast Video Cataloger creates an easy to view catalog of your files with multiple thumbnails for each video, keywording, filtering and searching.

You find out free trial at http://www.videocataloger.com/download

please dont hesitate to contact me if you want more details.
robert lonn at videocataloger com

regards from a snowy Sweden
/Robert Lönn


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Eric Strand
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Aug 2, 2012 at 7:41:31 pm

Hey Ed,

We just started using CatDV at our place in February. We are a small shop and there about 4 of us using it daily to log footage from various sources. It is a great tool and, as Rolf says, it is easy to use. There are a ton of great futures, I've actually found myself using it as a production tool to export videos out of an MXF file structure, change time base, other things like that. It even adds up the duration of all the clips in a catalog if you want to charge logging by the hour (I just saw this feature yesterday so I'm still loving it).

I will say, and this isn't a knock against CatDV, but you have got to, got to, got to have your team properly trained and understand the logic behind logging and searching in a MAM. If you're not careful it'll be just as hard to find your footage in CatDV as now. CatDV allows a lot of customization, which is a blessing and a curse, as you can go crazy building fields you don't really need or are built in. I wish my company had gone Bryson's route and hired a third party to recommend solutions and help us with workflow implementation, but alas, I'm dealing with the curses of CatDV that I just talked about.


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Ed Murphy
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Aug 2, 2012 at 8:05:57 pm

Thank you for your insights, Eric.

I'm just now installing the evaluation components to do some real world testing. I'm pretty excited and I think it's now very likely we will go forward with it...

Ed Murphy
Senior Editor / Technical Director
David Lynch Foundation Television


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Alex Slaten
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:43:49 pm

Hi Ed,

I just noticed your post. If you aren't already working with a reseller on this I am happy to help. I have worked with Bryson on many CAT DV installations now and can answer questions if you still have them. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like help.

Alex Slaten
alex.slaten@promax.com
818-339-8525


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George Grippo
Re: Alternative to CatDV?
on Feb 19, 2013 at 10:01:36 pm

Ed,

I was wondering if you had made a purchase decision yet. If not I recommend you take a look at the Phoenix Firebird solution. I comes with all of the tools you are looking for and has no user licensing limitation. Phoenix VCM is the software that runs on the box. You can find more information at the SoleraTec, the developer of Phoenix and the Firebird, website.

George


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