It may be tempting to cut corners and use what you already have, but this might not be such a good idea.
Photos and videos are inherently different from textual content, and benefit greatly from purpose-built systems. CMSes are designed to be great at creating and presenting textual content. None are designed primarily to handle processes related to visual media management. Just as you wouldn't use your CMS to create invoices or your accounting system to create websites, you should use a purpose-built system to manage your videos and photos.
CMSes are often an end-station, where your content is published after many rounds of alterations and tailoring. But is it also a good place to store originals? Or could you end up losing the high-resolution file and be stuck with a web optimized low-resolution copy?
Your CMS is no longer the only place you publish content. Think Facebook Pages, LinkedIn posts, Instagram ads and remarketing banners. Where do you store the master assets and revisions that lead up to the end result for these channels?
Does your CMS handle rights information and contracts, model and property releases, and remind you when a license for a video or image needs to be renewed?
Does your CMS handle embedded metadata standards such as XMP and EXIF, or index and make document content searchable? This is essential for finding your way through large amounts of content, and for preserving valuable information already embedded in your files. Beware! Some systems even strip this information (unintentionally) when they convert files, so you could lose it forever if your CMS has the only copy.
Does your CMS handle large files? Try uploading this 36MP image to your CMS. DAMs are designed to handle your master assets, regardless of their size, and still be fast and efficient.
Can your CMS handle thousands and thousands of very large videos and photos? How does this affect the cost of running the CMS, the time to back it up, and the performance of the system? This is a piece of cake for any proper DAM.
How does your CMS handle non-standard file types? Imagine you try upload a RAW file. Can it even render a preview of this file? Where do you store your digital negatives? How do you keep the two locations in sync? This is a great reason to buy a DAM, where your digital negative can act as the master asset, and be easily represented and reused in systems that don't support such special file formats.
Do you have more than one CMS? Even small companies often have two: their website and their intranet. Larger companies often have many more (landing pages, microsites, extranets). Which one should your master assets be stored in? And if you can choose one - will it integrate well with the other CMSes, so that media can be easily reused across all? Probably not.
What do you do when the next, cool, revolutionary CMS comes along? You want the freedom to choose the best CMS, and replace it at will. Having separate CMS and DAM lets you replace each individually of each other, so that you can always use the best-of-breed, and not be locked in by your own choice of using a single system for two very different purposes.
Digital Asset Management systems are designed to handle thousands, even millions, of videos and photos. They handle all kinds of file formats and let you browse quickly through large batches of files, with color-correct previews and high-resolution zoom without downloading the entire file. They manage your licenses and rights information, and keep track of where and how your content is used. Most importantly, they are designed to excel at managing visual assets like videos and photos - and integrate with systems where you want to use them - like your CMS.
Cutting this corner at the outset may give rise to much frustration and become a massive time thief - so take a few minutes right now to research what a Digital Asset Management system can do for you.
Want to learn more about Digital Asset Management and separate the fact from the fiction? Download the eBook that does just that:
Tags: Working with DAM