NOTE: iView Multimedia, developer of iView MediaPro, was acquired by Microsoft in June 2006. Expression Media, the next generation of MediaPro, is scheduled for release in Q2 2007. For details and a free trial copy, visit www.iview-multimedia.com.
I believe the best photography comes from good relationships, taking the time necessary to get to know your subject, and having the right tools to support you. To keep all my work organized, I use iView MediaPro. Itís been part of my workflow for more than five years now. I appreciate the fact that it works the way I want it to workóa really nice balance between flexibility and raw power.
Until recently, I had resisted shooting digitally because I felt it was impossible to achieve the same aesthetic quality with digital capture as I had with film. The day I tried a Phase One camera back, I realized it was possible to achieve the level of quality my customers expected. So now, instead of using proof sheets, Iím processing images in Phase Oneís Capture One PRO software.
And MediaPro is the heart of my processóorganizing and managing everything beautifully. I especially like its openness and how well it works with other applications.
On a typical shoot, my assistant sets up lighting while I prep my laptop and 23-inch monitor. First I create a new session in Capture One PRO and shoot a few frames with my Phase One P 25 to test the tether. In MediaPro, I create a new catalog using a numbering system such as ď070201-CLIENT-job.ivc.Ē Then, using Auto-Update (part of its folders-watching feature), MediaPro searches for new images in the Capture One folder and automatically adds the new images to the catalog.
During the shoot, if a client wants to see several images at once, or if weíre creating a series, I use MediaProís Light Table feature so we can see which images work best together. Its pixel magnifier is a floating palette that shows a closeup of the image area under the cursor. Itís faster than zooming and scrolling when I want to examine several areas in the same image.
MediaPro presents images beautifully. You can bleed an image horizontally across the screen. My clients are often surprised, and impressed, at how quickly I can assemble and present multiple images. And Iíve found that collaboration at the computer monitor during the shoot really opens up the creative process. New ideas arise just because people can see whatís happening.
After the shoot, while Iím still onsite, I copy all the new image files to a portable hard drive (the 100GB OWC Mercury On-The-Go Bus Powered FireWire drive) for safety. When Iím back at the office, I back up the data from my laptop to the server. At this point, I have the same files located in three locations. Iíll usually remove the images from the laptop first and remove images from the external hard drive last, once Iím sure the client has received the appropriate images.
Features Pros Will Love
MediaPro has incredible scripting options. You can automate a single task, like annotating images, or create a script to handle a complex set of tasks, such as building a MediaPro catalog, then assign and embed annotations into the images and save the catalog to the folder.
Iíve used the scripting options to customize catalogs on my site so theyíre consistent with my siteís look and feel. All a client has to do is email me a file name, and I can return a high-res image in a matter of minutes.
I always make sure clients have a copy of the MediaPro Catalog Readeróitís similar to how Acrobat Reader works with PDF files. This way, I know when I send clients a MediaPro catalog via email or on a CD that weíre seeing the same high-quality images the way I presented them. The problem with using a viewer, such as Adobe Bridge, is it just points to a folder. Iíve seen even the best art directors get really confused about how to look at folders. But MediaPro catalogs preserve the view youíve created. Itís a cataloging system that supports you all the way.
Itís really important to emphasize that unlike other photo management software, MediaPro is not just a browser. Itís a cataloger. The difference is important. In fact, itís the key to its power and why itís the fastest program on the planet.
MediaPro wonít mess with your original files unless you ask it to. It needs you to set your preferences the way you want them; it never dictates to you. Think of it as an enormous visual libraryóyour own personal library. Itís capable of dealing with a ridiculously wide variety of image files, and audio and video files as wellóalmost any digital file you throw at it. Like any really intelligently designed program, MediaPro is so intuitive that its power is subtle. For me, it was easy to use from the get-go. And as my business has grown, itís become the backbone of my whole system. Itís grown with me.
I have six physical file cabinets overflowing with the last 10 years of my film work. Now that Iím digital and using Apple Xserve and RAID, those files are filling even faster. Whatís cool is that Iím on top of it all. With MediaPro, I can see my creative process in front of me, and so can the clients and art directors I work with.