Each year, my team has a project that begins something like this: “Yeah, we have photos/videos of that. But we don’t exactly know how to find them.”
We are all awash in content. Every time you hire an event photographer you end up with thousands of photos. Every time you produce a video, you end up with hundreds of minutes of interviews. But to adapt an old saying, if a chunk of content lives on your network and no one knows how to find it… Yeah, exactly. So kick off your New Year with this one resolution: plan for tagging and using metadata to help you find, create, and repurpose content.
Before you start shooting photos or videos for an event, make your metadata and folder plan. As you ingest and transfer material from in-house producers or outside vendors, how will you tag groupings of images? By day? By event? By content? (Hopefully all of the above.)
If you regularly hire event photographers, go the extra step by paying them to make selects. The images will be much fresher in their minds than yours. (Your brain will still be full of event details and other follow-ups you need to make.) You still want to purchase the raw images. But having those selects handy – and asking for a batch converted group as smaller jpgs for social — will make your post-event promotions go much faster.
You also want to ask both photographers and videographers to tag their footage in a way that makes it easy for your team to use it later. If you don’t suggest the tags you want and need, trust me you will end up with drives with folders called “Day 1” “Day 2” “Day 3” etc. So taking the time in pre-production to let your production teams know how you want cards ID’d will really help. And they’ll be happy to add more useful information such as “DallasINT_1” “DallasINT_2” for two days of interviews in Dallas.
For an event photographer, you could ask them to use a series like PLEN1, PLEN2, PLEN 3 for plenary speaker photos at a multi-day event.
If photos are being taken on cellphones, there are ways to both add to and access the metadata beyond those long strings of numbers and letters in the file name. This article offers some helpful tools for adding and finding phone metadata.
For photos or video that’s already been shot, you can also add metadata as you import it into your photo or video editing system. For example, in Premiere Pro, there are a number of built-in tools that let you harness the power of metadata. In fact, here’s a blog post with that very same name, explaining some of the steps!
So take a few moments this year to create a system for tagging content as you create it. And make this a cost-effective, creative and Happy New Year!