Extensis Portfolio Server 11.0.1 review: Manage your digital assets efficiently

Setting up this team-oriented digital asset management system from Extensis is fairly straightforward, though you do need some basic knowledge of networks. Once you install the Portfolio Server on a Mac (OS X 10.7 or Lion Server at least) host machine, you first create a catalogue, then create and assign users to access it. You can assign Dropbox-style AutoSync folders for gathering media on the Mac or on permanently connected volumes- any files in an AutoSync folder, or its subfolders, will be automatically catalogued in Portfolio. Alternatively you can choose to scan files and folder locations manually.

The Web client component is flexible, able to move files from one folder location to another on disk, download files and perform batch file conversions. It also allows users to create Favourites - customised groups of catalogue items- further enhanced in this version by a quick access list at the top of the Organiser panel. Web client users are able to generate a PDF contact sheet in a variety of configurations through a dedicated menu command, while an Automate command creates media such as iPad Video slideshows from selected catalogue items. As it runs on any browser - if it supports Flash - we had Web Clients running on Opera on an Android phone, on the browser on a Samsung Galaxy Tab, as well as on a networked Mac. We found the new ability to customise the Client entry screen in the Server Admin simple, and useful for branding purposes. 

When it comes to cataloguing assets, video support has been boosted with for Panasonic P2 MXF support, as well a number of new Camera Raw formats. Both the Web and Desktop clients are now able to extract keywords from a number of file path information as they are catalogued, especially useful for video post production. Portfolio also now supports the IPTC Photo Metadata standard and PLUS XMP namespaces, thus increasing interoperability with Adobe’s Creative Suite applications.

The powerful Web Client offers asset control, user customisation, Favourites shortcuts, PDF contact sheet creation and more

OUR VERDICT

Portfolio Server effortlessly handles media management, and support for more file types and client customisation is welcome. Flash is required for all Client and Server Web browsers, so may restrict your Client base. Plan ahead- the Studio version has a one catalogue/three user restriction, so Enterprise or Professional Editions may be required for unlimited use.

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