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DAM vs MAM difference

Digital Asset Management vs Media Asset Management? Is there a difference?

DAM vs MAM, is there a difference? Daminion in Creative Cloud.
DAM vs MAM, is there a difference?

DAM vs MAM, is there a difference? By now you have heard of DAM (Digital Asset Management) and MAM (Media Asset Management). But there is a reason why we often confuse these terms. Both DAM and MAM helps you organize your digital assets. They both manage and organize your digital assets. Your videos, documents, audio files, images and graphics that you then use in applications from Adobe Creative Cloud.

Media Asset Management systems predate DAM systems. Media Asset Management systems were developed to handle broadcasting and filmmaking workflows. Traditionally MAMs also require specialized hardware and peripheral equipment. This is in order to process and transcode video and audio files.

Digital Asset Management systems came on to the scene much later. Their focus is on handling a diverse set of filetypes like images, documents, presentations, etc. Marketing and creative department mostly incorporate DAM workflows. Today, most DAMs support video files.

DAM and MAM – What are the benefits?

We have written extensively about the benefits of managing your digital assets. But let me share my personal experience with DAM.

DAM VS MAM. My experience in video production.
DAM VS MAM. My experience in video production.

The background

In our daily workflow, we deal with tens of thousands of digital assets. We present stills and video to the client for review and approval. We need a solution that gives us access to our library of 1,8 million digital assets. Time is a valuable commodity in our industry. The person that makes the best impression first, is the person that lands the job.

The solution

We, at Gatehouse, started using Daminion around 10 years ago. Every day Daminion is indispensable in our DAM and MAM workflow. We use Daminion in every project that we turn out. That is around 200-250 projects annually during the 6 months of our busy season. We chose our own custom taxonomy to describe and annotate our digital assets.

We turn out projects lightning fast! The time from when we receive a brief from our clients to the time we have digital assets to present has been cut by 75%. Powerfull filters (date, colour labels, categories and keywords are our go-to filters) combined with GPS accuracy allows us to target the required assets with precision.

Daminion saves us time on tagging. The task that everybody loves to hate! We use a combination of saved searches and collections to tag our assets. Saved searches help us find untagged images at any level of our hierarchical taxonomy. Collections then keep them grouped together for detailed inspection and revisions.

DAM or MAM – Why would we need one?

Media asset management systems are geared towards video file management and production workflows. In contrast, DAM systems focus on a more generalized approach to broad format support.

You should ask yourself if any of the items on the list below apply to you.

  • You find yourself swamped by your digital assets.
  • Do you spend a lot of time searching for your digital assets?
  • After spending thousands of $$$ on digital assets, are they used effectively?
  • Digital assets are all over the network and in file-sharing clouds.
  • You never quite know which version of the file is the final one.
  • The consumers of your digital assets increase your workload because they can not find digital assets.
  • You struggle to get footage together for your editing workflow.

If you identify with one or more of these then you should reach out to us at Daminion to discuss how our leading Digital Asset Management System can save you time and money!

DAM and MAM – What to expect from both.

Let’s look at the similarities between DAM and MAM before we look at how these systems differ. So, let’s talk about a digital asset. This is the file that we ultimately present to the user. We are in fact here referencing 3 aspects. These are the master, proxy and metadata. The master is the original file. The proxy is a lower resolution thumbnail for preview. Lastly, the metadata is a set of attributes about the file. They usually include keywords and a description of the content.

As far as functionality is concerned, both DAM and MAM should offer the following.

  • Metadata search and managementsearching for assets by using metadata (intrinsic or user-assigned) and managing that metadata.
  • Collaboration – content creation teams, especially, and user pools, in general, should have centralised access to facilitate collaboration and teamwork.
  • Browsing your catalog – you can browse and identify assets by filename, property or thumbnail proxy.
  • Previewing your files – large files have low-resolution proxies for a quick preview.
  • Versioning – team members can create a different version of assets and so that assets can be reused.
  • Access control – Control user access by setting permissions.

Why is metadata crucial to success?

The difference between file browsers and asset managers is metadata. We don’t only use metadata to only search for assets in DAM and MAM. Metadata can also be integrated into other applications that use it.

Metadata is especially important for image and video formats. Unlike text-based documents, you can not search within their content. With metadata, you can describe, in great detail, the content of images and video files.

DAM vs MAM, is there a difference?
DAM vs MAM, is there a difference?

How does MAM differ from DAM?

With all these characteristics in common, a media asset manager differs in that it is geared towards video production. DAMs can generally manage video assets and MAMs can handle images and documents. MAMs, however, are designed from the ground up to manage video in a production workflow.

Media Asset Management systems record metadata when you shoot it. This includes camera data, shoot notes and basic logging on set. When you then ingest media into the system for post-production, more detailed metadata cataloguing happens.

Upcoming: Adobe Creative Cloud integration

Creative Cloud integration brings Daminion closer to MAM functionality

Daminion server will soon release integration with Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. This brings Daminion another step closer to integration. Combining your MAM and DAM video editing workflow into your digital asset management workflow.

Imagine searching your production assets from within your favourite CC app and adding them to your project!

In the first iteration of this Adobe Creative Cloud Panel focusses on still images. However, future versions will surely integrate MAM functionality right on your Creative Cloud video editing workflows. Imagine editing video in Premiere and not having to leave Premiere to access your video assets!

You can access the Daminion Panel for Creative Cloud from here on the Adobe Exchange.

Dean Kruger

Digital Asset Manager and Head of Research Department at Gatehouse Commercials. Daminion Administrator and User Training expert since 2011.

I love street photography and find every excuse I can to go out and shoot unsuspecting strangers in the urban jungle.