Hi everyone!!I just got back from San Francisco, where the English company Squarebox treated me to some in-depth training on CatDV, which is their asset management framework.  While it’s designed for the special needs of the video production professional, it also can be used to manage, catalog, and archive any type of digital asset, at a very reasonable price point.

CatDV is one of those products that does so many things, it can be difficult to explain. What is so refreshing is that it’s so adaptable you don’t have to change your existing workflow to use it!

I learned there are two simple features of CatDV that would benefit almost every customer I know.

  •  Archival – EVERYONE I know has a need to archive. Some do it, some don’t.  What CatDV brings to the table is the ability to find and restore your archived pieces without digging through boxes of media.  It also can create tiny proxy files that can be stored online for easy access, helping you find the clips you need very quickly.
  • Self-created Metadata that help you organize your media. Anyone can spend hours adding metadata if they want to, and benefit tremendously. What I like is that even if you don’t do that, you can sort and categorize your media effectively using the self-created metadata fields.

Other key features are:

  • Archive and Restore to a variety of storage-types with excellent retrieval tools
  • Centrally Located Catalog using industry-standard database
  • Catalogs can be served via HTTP to standard browsers
  • Worker Node saves huge amounts of time by automating menial tasks

There are five main components to a catDV system:

  • catDV Enterprise Server – this is the software that runs the database that provides anybody in your facility access to your multiple catalogs and video proxies
  • catDV Worker Node – this allows the automation of most tasks – a real time saver!
  • catDV Web Clients – this will expose your catalog to more casual and off-site users via web browser access – works great with iPads as well!
  • catDV Archive option – makes catDV archive device aware so it can track proxies to the original media files – invaluable if you have an archive device in place – even if it is just a stack of firewire drives!  (Hopefully, you’ve invested in a data-grade LTO tape system by now…)
  • catDV MXF option for getting sequences and playlists in and out of your Avid system.

Next Steps if you’re interested:

Everybody has a unique need, and catDV is flexible enough to meet your needs very efficiently.  The most important thing is to make sure we tailor the proper solution for your facility, and that starts with a simple conversation.  Please give us a call at 952-974-3140 and we can get the conversation started. This stuff is really interesting, and I’m really psyched about it.

Sample Configs:

In case you can’t wait, check out our e-commerce site for some sample systems and pricing.  Please use these just as a starting point.  Our team at Z Systems can help you customize and tweak these to best accommodate your workflow(s) in order to optimize your implementation.


Squarebox CatDV