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Film Database Software/Organiation


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#1 Will Montgomery

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 03:26 PM

I'm asking in the Telecine forum because my guess is that labs and transfer houses deal with this a lot.

 

I have a closet full of film, 8mm through 35mm of different work projects and home movies. I need a consistent way of archiving, labeling and storing the film so I know what & where everything is. I have transfers of most of the footage so it would also need to tie digital files together with the actual film as well. 

 

I've considered buying a ton of USB sticks and copying transfers to them and placing in the same box as each film as a fail safe, but would like to have it organized on the film shelf and on hard drives with multiple backups.

 

Any recommendations on modern software or organizational methods if starting from scratch?

 

Thank you in advance!


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#2 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 04:38 PM

Are you looking for storage systems or organizational/tracking systems? 

 

If the latter, we just went through a months long process of trying to find something and I was totally unsatisfied with all the commercial offerings I could find. Most of them are subscription based and are insanely expensive, with far too much "facility management" stuff built in that you can't separate (and that we don't need). 

 

I ended up building something custom in podio, which is basically a cheap web-based database tool. It was fairly easy to set up once I got used to it. We bought a USB barcode reader (really cheap on amazon), and there's also at least one amazon seller that makes custom barcode stickers that work with this. The barcode reader is basically just a keyboard, so when you scan one, its number appears in whatever text field is currently selected. Click on "search" zap the barcode, and you get all the references to that in your database. 

 

It's basically a simple cloud-based relational database, and there are options to export to standard formats like CSV files. 


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#3 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 02:46 PM

I am kind of surprised at how bad off the shelf systems are and how order entry and tracking software all seem very dated, windows XP called and it wants its code back...

 

My biggest surprise is that it appears that none of the off the shelf systems can email your customers to let them know jobs arrived and then that the job is shipping, seems like it should be pretty basic these days.


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#4 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 02:59 PM

I was on the plane home from NAB this year, and manage to put together something that did 90% of what we wanted, in Filemaker Pro, on the flight. Granted, I've been using FMPro since the 1990s, but still. it's not particularly complicated. That might be a way to go. 

 

With podio, you can set up actions and triggers, so sending out emails is probably something that can be done fairly easily. I ended up going with Podio because we're able to use it for much more than asset tracking. We use it for work orders, time tracking for employees, etc. Plus because it's cloud based, you can access it from anywhere, including a phone. it was going to be more expensive with Filemaker to do all that. 


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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 03:35 PM

I will check it out...


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#6 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 03:38 PM

I used to use Filemaker and I was pretty good at programming it, so we had pretty complex tasks it could do including sending out automated e-mails using a subscription based web platform. 


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#7 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 05:09 PM

I will check it out...

 

Jack Rizzo turned me on to Podio. They use it at Metropolis for work orders too. I have ours set up so that when Benn finishes a scan and marks it as copied to the client drive, I get a notification, so that I can go in and do the invoice and set up the return shipment. Notifications go right to my phone through the Podio app. I think to send emails you might need to upgrade it to the Premium version. We're just using the basic one and it's fine for our needs, but we're not using it for external communications. 


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#8 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 04:00 PM

Well back to more of a... user level in response to the original question... My solution is very simple and rudimentary. A spreadsheet.
 
I've got a tab for each year and it tracks everything from folder, subject, resolution, lab, film and camera. And how many rolls. It's nothing fancy but it helps me keep track of where everything is. I attached a screenshot of what my 2018 looks like so far. If more than one event is on a roll (like when they combine multiple negative rolls from different things onto one roll for scanning, I note each event and settings separately. Even if it has like 20 seconds of something random, (if I didn't finish a roll at a wedding) and I shoot like... birds in the park, I note that so I can easily find that clip should I ever want to.

 

It's not fancy but it gets the job done and the folders all match up.

n3Gv53o.png


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#9 Will Montgomery

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 04:07 PM

Thanks for the insight. I can certainly talk to my broadcast brethren about their tracking systems, but they certainly aren't really toward film.

 

The Filemaker method might make the most sense...cost effective and flexible. I can just set it up to include all the info I need and print box stickers with major data points and a catalog number pointing back to the database.


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