Author Topic: Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?  (Read 5408 times)

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?
« on: October 21, 2013, 11:33:37 AM »
As you know, Phase One acquired the iViewMedia/Expression Media catalog program several years ago, renamed it Media Pro, and made changes to the program that, for many users, negatively impacted its usability and reliability. I long suspected that the company's intention was to integrate the DAM features of Media Pro into its RAW editing program Capture One and abandon Media Pro as a standalone catalog program altogether. They began the integration earlier this year. Now, based on my interpretation of recent comments on the Phase One forum, it appears Media Pro development has in fact stopped. This is especially troubling for Mac users as robust DAM/catalog options are fewer than for Windows users. And Mac Nikon users will really benefit from PM's ability to display edited NEF previews (Lightroom doesn't do this, which is why PM is so attractive).

A few users of EM/Media Pro (including myself) have posted comments to the Phase One forum suggesting that Photo Mechanic's forthcoming catalog might be a suitable replacement for Media Pro.

But will it be ready for Media Pro users?

I've already requested that PM accommodate custom fields. I expect there will be several issues getting Media Pro data (e.g., Catalog sets, keyword vocabularies, hierarchical keywords, etc.) into PM, and I suspect that much manual labor will be required (and is to be expected). But can/will any of these tasks be automated so that both the structure of the metadata and their associations with specific images be imported? If not, can at least the metadata structure be imported? For example, will it be possible to import EM/Media Pro's hierarchical keywords into PM's structured keywords and retain the structure?

Am I hoping for too much in such a transition?
-- Mark

Offline Kirk Baker

  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Superhero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 20132
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits, Inc.
Re: Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 12:45:42 PM »
As you know, Phase One acquired the iViewMedia/Expression Media catalog program several years ago, renamed it Media Pro, and made changes to the program that, for many users, negatively impacted its usability and reliability. I long suspected that the company's intention was to integrate the DAM features of Media Pro into its RAW editing program Capture One and abandon Media Pro as a standalone catalog program altogether. They began the integration earlier this year. Now, based on my interpretation of recent comments on the Phase One forum, it appears Media Pro development has in fact stopped. This is especially troubling for Mac users as robust DAM/catalog options are fewer than for Windows users. And Mac Nikon users will really benefit from PM's ability to display edited NEF previews (Lightroom doesn't do this, which is why PM is so attractive).

A few users of EM/Media Pro (including myself) have posted comments to the Phase One forum suggesting that Photo Mechanic's forthcoming catalog might be a suitable replacement for Media Pro.

But will it be ready for Media Pro users?

I've already requested that PM accommodate custom fields. I expect there will be several issues getting Media Pro data (e.g., Catalog sets, keyword vocabularies, hierarchical keywords, etc.) into PM, and I suspect that much manual labor will be required (and is to be expected). But can/will any of these tasks be automated so that both the structure of the metadata and their associations with specific images be imported? If not, can at least the metadata structure be imported? For example, will it be possible to import EM/Media Pro's hierarchical keywords into PM's structured keywords and retain the structure?

Am I hoping for too much in such a transition?

It is very unlikely we'll have any sort of migration/import capability in the 1.0 release.  We may take on that effort later though.

PM's Structured Keywords is here now and its file format is exceedingly simple.  I would imagine that a script could be written (in the scripting language of one's choice) to convert the EM/Media Pro hierarchical keywords to Structured Keywords.

How does EM/MP store them?  Only in a database?  Or as a file?  If they're stored in a database, can they be exported to a text file?

-Kirk

Offline baxterbradford

  • Newcomer
  • *
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
Re: Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 01:30:03 PM »
I'm new here having arrived from Media Pro but have had direct contact with Phase One where I was told what 'synchrasy' has said about concentrating on Capture One features. Whilst I have all my images in a Media Pro catalogue, it is lacking essentials like keywords etc as it has been a task I delayed due to a range of reasons. They do say that it isn't possible to import a hierarchical keyword set into MPro. I note that Controlled Vocabulary state on their website that their list will import, but can confirm it won't do so with a list in delimited form such as exported from LR5. The tutorial shows the folder in which they are kept, but without a hierarchical keyword set am unable to state the format of this!

The mechanisms for adding IPTC in PM seem superior at first look. My request is to resurrect the support request for the IIQ file format used by Phase One digital backs, ideally full support, or as a compromise with reduced resolution so that IPTC data can be added and selects can be made at least at a crude level.

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
Re: Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 01:35:12 PM »
I would imagine that a script could be written (in the scripting language of one's choice) to convert the EM/Media Pro hierarchical keywords to Structured Keywords.

How does EM/MP store them?  Only in a database?  Or as a file?  If they're stored in a database, can they be exported to a text file?

Thanks for the response, Kirk. I suspect that hierarchical keywords are in the database, at least in Expression Media, so migration won't be easy. Here's a post from way back in 2009:

Quote from: Anita @ Microsoft
The hierarchical keywords in Expression Media 2 are actually catalog fields, though their main function is to enter (and delete) regular keywords. I would expect that if they showed up anywhere in exported annoations, it would be as a catalog set.

With that in mind, I tried exporting annotations on an image with hierarchical keywords and looking at it in Photoshop's file info - the flat keywords that were applied with the hierarchy showed up, but there was nothing in catalog sets on the media pane. So as far as I can tell, the hierarchies are not exported - only the flat keywords.

Unfortunately I don't know how to script. I'm sure other people have asked this question too, so I'll keep poking around.

Edit: baxterbradford, do you think importing/exporting hierarchical keywords is possible via a 3rd party script? Or do you think Phase One is saying it simply is impossible, even with a script?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2013, 09:53:09 AM by syncrasy »
-- Mark

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
Re: Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2013, 09:58:51 AM »
How does EM/MP store them?  Only in a database?  Or as a file?  If they're stored in a database, can they be exported to a text file?
Kirk, a little more information...

I believe that Media Pro is significantly different from Expression Media in that MP requires XMP sidecar files (EM does not). So apparently Media Pro stores hierarchical keywords in the side car file. (In testing, Lightroom automatically recognizes MP's hierarchical keyword structure but does not recognize EM's hierarchy.)

Would this make a difference with regard to migrating from Media Pro to Photo Mechanic's catalog?
-- Mark

Offline Kirk Baker

  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Superhero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 20132
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits, Inc.
Re: Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2013, 10:23:14 AM »
How does EM/MP store them?  Only in a database?  Or as a file?  If they're stored in a database, can they be exported to a text file?
Kirk, a little more information...

I believe that Media Pro is significantly different from Expression Media in that MP requires XMP sidecar files (EM does not). So apparently Media Pro stores hierarchical keywords in the side car file. (In testing, Lightroom automatically recognizes MP's hierarchical keyword structure but does not recognize EM's hierarchy.)

Would this make a difference with regard to migrating from Media Pro to Photo Mechanic's catalog?

Could you post one of the XMP sidecar files that Media Pro created?

Thanks,

-Kirk

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
Re: Will the PM catalog be ready for transitioning Media Pro users?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 11:47:28 AM »
I might have slightly misspoken (a risk of not fully understanding how these programs work). EM uses "Sync Annotations" and syncs the metadata directly to the files. EM also has a separate "Extract Metadata..." tool that "extracts editable annotations as XMP template files." It is not part of routine syncing. In a quick test, I found that Lightroom does not recognize EM's hierarchy even when XMP sidecars are imported with their images. But perhaps it could be used for Photo Mechanic catalog migration purposes when the time comes.

Media Pro replaced EM's sync tool with an "Export Annotations" tool (see dialog below) that includes XMP sidecar options. It appears that sidecars are optional within MP, but presumably necessary for any cross-app migration. Interestingly, Lightroom does replicate MP's hierarchy structure. I wonder if these XMP files are more likely to work with Photo Mechanic.

I could provide you with sample XMP files for both EM and MP if desired, if you think this is worth exploring. The files might contain personal information, so could I use your private FTP instead (link via personal message)?

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: October 25, 2013, 12:02:18 PM by syncrasy »
-- Mark