From time to time I have had customers ask about sending photos taken by smart phones to their Merlin digital asset management systems. This question has come from our newspaper customers because they have reporters or readers who take photos with their phones and want to get them back to the newspaper. The question also comes from some of our non-profit customers that have contributors taking a photo at a remote event with a smart phone.
In some cases, the Merlin digital asset management system (DAM) can be set-up to receive an email attachment, however this option is not available in our SaaS model because of security issues at the hosted site. In a local Merlin set-up, attachments essentially get forwarded to a watched folder and are ingested into the Merlin DAM.
However the best way to send a photo or even an entire library of photos is by an FTP (file transfer protocol) process. This is a password protected process and more secure than the email method.
There are shareware and low cost applications available for the iPhone that allow users to transfer photos quickly and efficiently to the Merlin DAM. I am not making an endorsement of any product, but I have tried MediaTransfer which is free and successfully transferred my iPhone library to our demo Merlin. MediaTransfer works with video too.
I have found at least a dozen other FTP applications that range from transfer only to full server management through the application. I am not sure I would want to manage my entire server from my iPhone, but certainly sending pictures is very appealing and easy.
Adding metadata to the object on the smart phone still needs to be addressed: there is an app called Filterstorm that works on iPad and iPhone and allows adding metadata, plus some other editing tools like toning. It includes a variety of ways to share files, such as email, file sharing services and it also includes FTP. This app seems to do it all and it is not too expensive. The ability to edit any of the IPTC fields (Photoshop’s File Info), including Source, allows photographers to also link content to assignments in Trax, Merlin’s integrated assignment management system.
There is an iPad-only app called Meta Editor that allows you to add some IPTC and caption information to a photo. You need to first transfer the photos from your camera or phone to the iPad. Once captioned, you cannot put the photo back into your library, but you can email or send via FTP. This means a caption and credit can be entered and then sent to Merlin for wider distribution or viewing.
Merlin may also be set-up so that information like byline, boiler plate event information and location, for example, are auto filled on input. When the photos are sent via FTP to that input location, the metadata is automatically added, making it viewable and searchable in Merlin.
Posted by Rande Simpson