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Pics.io Customer Stories: Collage Dance

Organization’s name: Collage Dance

Headquarters: Memphis, Tennessee

Founded: 2006

Collage Dance is a Memphis-based ballet company that stands out for its commitment to diversity and representation in ballet. Their mission extends beyond performances; they operate a conservatory dedicated to nurturing and inspiring the growth of ballet, emphasizing access and diversity in the dance world. Collage Dance offers a range of programs from professional performances to community engagement, making ballet more accessible and representative of diverse communities. 

Today we talked to David Roseberry, a Media Director at Collage Dance about how this nonprofit organization is using Pics.io digital asset management system.

  • Could you tell me more about your organization?

Collage Dance is primarily a black-owned and led ballet organization in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s the overarching umbrella company - under Collage Dance, we have a professional dance company - the Collage Dance Collective. We also have an after-school ballet conservatory for students, from 18 years old all the way down to 2 years old.

In each school day, in the evenings, starting around 4 PM, kids will start showing up and take their respective ballet classes. During the day, the professional company is rehearsing. They're a professional touring company, so they tour a lot. We also do annual shows in Memphis.

David Roseberry

"Pics.io saves us dozens of hours per week."

David Roseberry, Media Director at Collage Dance

The last part of Collage Dance is our community outreach program. We take ballet to public schools in the surrounding area. We try and give classes to other kids who can't necessarily afford the time or money to take classes out of school. They can get some of that experience in their schools. The whole organization is a non-profit. In a recent arts study, Collage was listed as one of the top 50 ballet organizations in the country. So, we're growing super fast. 

  • What are you responsible for?

My official title is media director but I am also a digital asset manager. I am a videographer and manage a lot of media aspects of the organization. I'm in charge of capturing a lot of footage myself, whether it's photos or, mainly these days, videos. We use a lot of that footage and turn it over into marketing materials, like TV spots and social media promos.

My job mostly is to capture the media, edit it, and make sure that it's being correctly organized and cataloged. So other people in the organization can easily access all that for whatever they need in their respective departments.

For instance, marketing, obviously, has very specific needs as far as what they need and what they have to work with, whereas our community outreach department will have a completely different set of media needs. So, my job is to make sure everybody is getting what they need.

  • Which departments work with Pics.io at your company?

Marketing is the biggest one. They're usually the ones accessing the platform the most. Beyond that, our executive director and artistic director are accessing the platform a lot. For instance, the executive director uses the platform to search for specific photos or video pieces that we've created in the past. They need it for raising funds or further developments or higher umbrella developments over the organization.

Our artistic director also rehearses our professional company, so he's using the platform mostly for referencing old materials. So, every time we have a performance, there's just the raw archival video captured just for archival purposes. The artistic director and a lot of the company members themselves are accessing the platform just to reference a lot of rehearsal materials that they need throughout the year.

Another example would be community development. If they’re putting together an event, they'll access the platform for previous photos and videos mostly for promotion.

David Roseberry

"Just the fact that Pics.io is integrated with Google Drive so beautifully was a selling point for me right away."

David Roseberry, Media Director at Collage Dance
  • Maybe, you can remember how you found Pics.io?

It was the end of 2021. I remember because of the pandemic we generated loads and loads of photos and videos in 2020 and 2021. Because everything was digital during those 2 years. 

We were already in Google ecosystem and using Google Drive quite frequently. I knew I was specifically looking for something compatible with Google Drive. I even started talking to some developer friends of mine and asked if it would be possible to write a program that could integrate with Google Drive. Just the fact that Pics.io is integrated with Google Drive so beautifully was almost a selling point for me right away.

Google Drive Digital Asset Management Solution
Discover how Pics.io’s digital asset management solution can help you organize and optimize your Google Drive.

Google Drive was great, but it just doesn't offer the search functions and organization functionality that we needed that actual DAMs offered. So I needed something that was easily manageable for me. And it's hard enough to get other team members to adopt new software. So, I was also personally looking for something that was quite user-friendly for the benefit of the rest of my team. Because a lot of the other DAMs I was looking at, just weren't user-friendly. To get the rest of my team on board and start using the software, we needed it to be something super intuitive. And we felt like Pics.io was that intuitive sort of system.

  • What problem did you solve with the DAM system? What was the challenge you faced?

The biggest problems were access and empowering team members to find what they needed themselves. Before implementing DAM, all our materials were sitting on external hard drives. Nobody really had access to any of those assets. So, now we use Pics.io as an asset management system for everything that's basically finished. Any edited videos or photos that we're comfortable making public-facing are stored in DAM.

Before Pics.io, those finished assets were on Google Drive and Dropbox. Basically, there were a lot of links being sent back and forth. A lot of people were downloading individual copies. And, there was no system. It was just basically all just chaos.

So, that's where Pics.io came in. We needed something to organize everything that was external-facing. Also, we needed a system where other people could go in and share assets with other users that they were working with.

So, let’s say our executive director is working on some grants and needs specific photos to include in those materials. Instead of coming to me and saying: “I need this, and this, and this,” he can just go into the system, search for whatever he needs, and access it himself.

It was also a big pain point for me that I’m not distributing assets anymore. Before DAM, I was trying to do other work, but then every hour or so, I'd get emails with requests for some materials. So, for me personally, it helped in not disrupting my workflow throughout the day so much.

  • And what does your current workflow look like now with Pics.io? 

I'll preface this by saying we've been on Google Workspaces for a long time. So, that's also what made Pics.io work for us - it could be built on Google and there wasn't going to be any sort of migrating terabytes of footage.  We have our own organization system within Pics.io, but now instead of all the materials just sitting on my external hard drives, they're uploaded to DAM. It also means they're backed up to Google Drive. So, now it’s like we’re using Google Drive and our external hard drives - there's a backup redundancy there, which I appreciate.

Our marketing team, for example, managed to remove some steps in their workflows due to DAM. Now they're able to work with any private contractors like external photographers or videographers through Pics.io websites and inboxes. For instance, before a photographer would upload photos from an event to Dropbox, one of our marketing people would get that link from Dropbox, download it, re-upload it to Google Drive, and then send me the link. So, I could access where it was in Google Drive, then I would have to download it onto my computer, and only then I could start working with it. Now, I don't have to necessarily handle any of that with Pics.io.

Instead, the marketing team sends a Pics.io link to contractors and they upload it here. And then all our marketers do is shoot me a message saying that this is finished uploading, it's good to go, and then I can just know exactly where it is. Most of the tagging and organization are now handled by marketing department people who actually go into the DAM and work with metadata - they add descriptions and custom fields.

David Roseberry

"I absolutely love how adding comments to photos or videos or adding comments to videos is time-stamped. And then you can also set time codes in a comment too. That's been hugely helpful for me as a video editor."

David Roseberry, Media Director at Collage Dance

  • How many Pics.io websites do you use at the moment?

I think right now we have about 20 websites. Mostly those are used for sharing assets with people who aren’t on our Pics.io team. So, if we're sending photos to someone like a TV station or we need photos or videos for a press release, we just compile copies of all those materials within Pics.io into a website and then just share it. That way, we have a lot more control over what is used by third parties and we also don't have to add them to the Pics.io team. 

And every once in a while, we'll build websites internally, like just in case someone isn't able to access Pics.io. Sometimes accessing Pics.io has been a little bit difficult for some employees as they're touring and can have internet issues, for example. So, if we know we need these assets on tour, we'll just create a website with all the necessary materials as a backup. 

  • What are the advantages of DAM system for you?

As I mentioned before, it’s just being able to empower my team to find what they need without me being that bottleneck. That's been great for me for sure. Just like not having to be that bottleneck anymore, just felt really great. 

Our marketing team is very particular about our image, being primarily Black-owned and Lead Ballet Organization in the South - it's very unique. We've been very particular about our external-facing image as an organization for a very long time. And that's something we've really taken pride in. Being able to use Pics.io to granularly manage that image has been super helpful for us. Our marketing team appreciates being able to manage that external-facing image a lot better. So, we also use Pics.io DAM like a brand asset management system.

  • Can you estimate how much time Pics.io saved you monthly or weekly? 

It saves us dozens of hours per week.

  • Do you have a favorite feature in Pics.io?

I absolutely love how adding comments to photos or videos or adding comments to videos is time-stamped. And then you can also set time codes in a comment too. That's been hugely helpful for me as a video editor.

Pics.io DAM: adding comments to video
Pics.io DAM: adding comments to video

With this functionality, there doesn’t have to be an email with that time code to receive feedback from my team. Before using DAM, this email would look something like this: “At 2 minutes and 32 seconds, make this change.” Now, you just put the comment right in the video and it's there. I use that feature a lot. 

I love the drag-and-drop interface of Pics.io. I love being able to just select whatever assets I need and drag them into a new collection.

I always want to compliment the Pics.io team on facial recognition feature. It's been hugely helpful for people in the organization, especially for our social media team. They do a lot of stuff around particular dancers. It's been really awesome just to be able to type in someone's name and see those pictures come up. We definitely, definitely love that feature.

Pics.io DAM: face recognition
Pics.io DAM: face recognition
  • Thank you so much for the interview!

Did you enjoy this article? Give Pics.io a try — or book a demo with us, and we'll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Pics.io Team
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