Apple Final Cut Pro X Debates Forum
Need some DAM solutions!
Need some DAM solutions!
by Ryan Holmes on Sep 14, 2019 at 2:14:14 pm

I'm not confident that this is the best forum to post this question, but since so many traffic this forum I'll start here.

What software do y'all use/recommend for digital asset management (DAM)? Primarily concerned with still photography.

Work scenario: I work for a school and we're needing to have multiple departments across campus have access to raw photo files (CR2) for preview, but restricted so they can't download them. We have about 2TB's of photos now, and we add about 400GB per year. It seems like many of the cloud solutions make storage a premium cost, which tends to price our non-profit educational system outta the market. Because we're a school, shots tend to get reused multiple times and in multiple venues (catalog, website, social media, admissions campaign, etc), so we tend to have to retain and reuse assets longer than say a commercial project where you might shoot stuff as a one off, archive it, and that's that.

I know Adobe has been grinding away on their Adobe Experience Manager which seems to include a pretty robust DAM now. All of the graphics teams use Adobe, and the video department uses Adobe so there's a possible solution in there.

Just curious what y'all have found as helpful, or products to avoid!

Ryan Holmes

Re: Need some DAM solutions!
by Bernard Newnham on Sep 14, 2019 at 2:37:21 pm

I'm only a little person, but you might like to look at NAS solutions - network attached storage. They come in many sizes, and larger ones will have enough disc slots for your needs, and much more.

I only have experience of Synology, one of the market leaders. It comes with comprehensive software to set up ownership and access rights, from within the network or outside, even on the tiny DS218 here on my desk. There are lots of other makes, and if you're familiar with Linux, you can create your own.


Re: Need some DAM solutions!
by Ryan Holmes on Sep 14, 2019 at 3:27:23 pm

[Bernard Newnham] "you might like to look at NAS solutions - network attached storage. They come in many sizes"

Bernard you are absolutely right. I love NAS! In fact, we run 2 Dynamic Drive Pool (DDP's) with about 300TB of space for our video team (about 20-30 live event recordings each week!). Storage space isn't the problem, it's being able to share it across multiple departments and the ability to search it to find what is needed. The photographers aren't necessarily the designers, so the designers need to be able to search for photos they need.

I love Synology too! Our photo storage currently lives on a little 32TB Synology box that users across campus can connect to over SMB...but it's not really searchable. It holds our stuff no problem, but you access it through Finder (everyone is Mac based here) and you poke around hoping to find what you need. And if an outside organization is hired for a campaign of some sort I would love, love, love if our DAM allowed them to search (not download) our photo assets as well, and they could request a series of photos which allow us to control the look, feel, brand as well.

Ryan Holmes

Re: Need some DAM solutions!
by Joe Marler on Sep 15, 2019 at 1:56:08 pm

[Ryan Holmes] "What software do y'all use/recommend for digital asset management (DAM)? Primarily concerned with still photography..."

This is a FCPX forum, which is Mac-only and has a built-in DAM. For multi-user access FCPX does not have built-in features for this but Lumaforge and others have figured out some solutions. For NAS hardware and consulting see

For expanded multi-library asset management some FCPX installations use KeyFlow Pro 2:

On Mac a very simple "poor man's DAM" is use Finder tags then search those via Spotlight indexing or use NeoFinder which can search the previously-indexed content of offline hard drives. This can work for music, stills or video. For a NAS or LAN you'd need to verify the behavior and reliability of Finder tags and Spotlight indexing. Obviously this is Mac-only; Windows clients would not work.

The general issue is photo cataloging apps like Lightroom are designed around a single-user database. They cannot easily be re-hosted on a LAN for multi-user access. For concurrent multi-user access to a centralized photo database, a specialized product is needed.

For more a more elaborate Windows/Mac MAM, see CatDV. I used this several years ago and it worked very well:

Here is another one called Daminion. I have no experience with it:

Likewise here is one called Fotoware:

You might get better response from a photographic forum like DPReview. They have very high traffic over there.

Re: Need some DAM solutions!
by Tom Grotting on Sep 16, 2019 at 11:56:24 am

One of the most innovative asset management tools that we have seen lately is Cantemo Iconik. It utilizes a hybrid on-premise/cloud pay per usage strategy where you point it at your media (NAS, DAS, or cloud) and it generates proxies for tagging and sharing. It's great in combination with Backblaze. Iconik has solid Adobe workflow, and a newly minted Final Cut interface at IBC. Access is completely controllable per user. They have a demo that enables a good look at it. Highly recommended!

Tom Grotting
Digital Pictures