Ingesting Images

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Ingest

Keyboard Shortcut
Ingest Images

Mac: ⌘-G
Windows: Ctrl-G

This is one of the core components of Photo Mechanic, bringing the contents of a flash card onto your computer in a logical way and, at the same time, performing certain other useful tasks.

Ingest can copy the files from the card, flatten the somewhat inconvenient directory structure of the card, rename the files to your specification, add IPTC information to each file and create a mirrored backup folder. The renaming and IPTC functions can include user-specified Variables so you can customize your file naming in a huge variety of ways.

Ingest Dialog2.jpg

Source Paths: Shows a list of the possible sources for the ingest, usually a camera card but could be any folder.

Ingest Disks or Ingest Folders Radio Buttons: Use Ingest Disks when reading off a memory card reader. Select Ingest Folders to ingest from a particular Folder rather than a whole Volume.

Auto Ingest When this is checked, Photo Mechanic will automatically ingest files from the selected folder or disk. Note: If you'd like Photo Mechanic to start ingesting photos as soon as you plug a memory card in, you must also go to Preferences > General and set the option for On mount of Camera Disk to "Show Ingest Dialog." Photo Mechanic will remind you of this when enabling this setting.

Note: This will use all the settings from the Ingest dialog box, including IPTC Stationery Pad if you have that selected, so we suggest having your IPTC Pad set up the way you need it prior to using the Auto Ingest option. 

Incremental Ingest: Copy new photos only checkbox: Photo Mechanic will keep track of all photos previously downloaded and will only download photos that have not been downloaded before. If you reformat your card in your camera, then all photos shot since the format will be downloaded.

Source Directory Structure

These are options in how to handle sources that have folders or directories.

  • Ignore: Ignores the folder structure and copies all image files into the same destination. This is good for copying all images off camera cards, regardless of how they are arranged on the card itself.

Example: A camera card might contain a folder named DCIM, which in turn contains a series of folders named canon101, canon102, canon103 etc. Each folder will contain up to 100 images. Using the ignore Folders setting will copy all files from all folders into one single Destination folder.

  • Keep Separate Source Folder Names Only: This is a little more complex but removes the DCIM folder and keeps images grouped within the second level folders if there are more than one.

Example 1 : A card with a DCIM folder containing 1 folder (canon101) which itself contains images would result in those images being copied to a single destination folder. The DCIM and canon101 folders are removed.

Example 2 : A card with a DCIM folder containing 2 or more folders (canon101, canon102, etc.) each containing images would result in all the canonxxx folders being preserved in the destination folder.

In a nutshell, this option removes the DCIM folder and keeps images grouped in the same folders as on the card. If there is only one folder, this is removed. If there is more than one, all of them are preserved.

'* Preserve All Source Directories:' Simply keeps the card directory structure the same as on the card, within the Destination directory.

Copy Photos

These options tell Photo Mechanic how to set up the folder into which the files will be copied.

Ingest folder-b.jpg
  • Directly into the folder specified as the Primary Destination (and Secondary Destination, if selected).
  • Into a Dated Folder within the specified Destination Folder. The date used will be the current system date, i.e. today’s date.
  • Into Folder with Name specified in the box which will appear below if this option is chosen. Type a name for the new folder in the box below and this will be reflected in the Primary Destination Path text near the bottom of the dialog box. Note that Variables may be used to create the names of folders. If you want to create folders within folders, separate the variables with forward slashes ‘/’. For instance if you want to have a folder for each year and then inside it a folder for each month and then inside that a folder for each job, you would enter the following into the Folder Name text field: {year4}/{month0}/{job}
  • Into Dated Folder then folder with name: This is a combination of the previous two options and will result in a named folder within a folder named with today’s date. This option has been available for some time, but its effect can be reproduced more flexibly by using Variables like in the previous paragraph.

There is an option to auto-increment a folder suffix for named folders. This adds a specified number after the folder name and increments it by one each time the Ingest is run. This will keep the files on different camera cards separate by placing them in a series of folders with the same name but a numeric suffix i.e. JimmyPics01, JimmyPics02 etc.

Destination Folder Roots

Note: Destination folder fields support relative path expressions, (Example: ../local/folder)

  • Primary Destination: Choose where the folders and/or images will be copied to by clicking the button and selecting a destination.
  • Secondary Destination: (Optional) Check the box and this option will become active. Choose a destination where exact copies of all the files copied to the Primary destination will be made. This creates a mirror backup of the files as they are Ingested.

Filter Files

This option lets you control which files are Ingested. Sometimes you may only want only RAW, or only locked images, or some combination. You can choose Locked and/or Unlocked plus RAW and/or JPEGs.

Apply IPTC Stationery Pad to Photos

When this option is checked, the IPTC Stationery Pad will be applied to each image as it is ingested. . By setting up the Pad before Ingesting, you can make sure all the files are captioned, copyrighted, credited etc. as they are copied. See IPTC Stationery Pad for more details on Batch Captioning.

Click the IPTC Stationery Pad button to open the Pad where you can set your metadata choices.

  • Use Local IPTC Stationery: The Local IPTC Stationery Pad here only applies to the Ingest, and not elsewhere in Photo Mechanic. The information you enter will stay prefilled for any later Ingests, even if you change the IPTC Stationary Pad elsewhere in Photo Mechanic.
  • Use Global IPTC Stationery: If this is checked, the information you enter into the IPTC Stationery Pad for the ingest will remain prefilled everywhere you use the IPTC Stationery Pad in the program.

Rename Ingested Photos As

If this option is unchecked, all files will copy with the file names set by the camera, for example IMG_2345.CRW. Check the box to apply the full power of Image Variables to rename the files to more descriptive names with dates, locations, or other customizations that you control.

Click on the Variables button at the lower left of the Ingest Dialog to open the Variables list. Now, by double-clicking on the Variable that you want you can insert it into the Rename box. This saves typing it in and you can be sure the spelling is correct.

Here the variable {seqn} has been added to a text string, DNG, which has been typed directly into the Rename box. This will result in a series of files named DNG1, DNG2, DNG3 etc. You could use {date} to include the date the image was shot, or {user} to add your own name to the file.

Example: Entering this into the rename box:

new_york_{user}_{date}_{seqn}

would result in the ingested files being renamed like this:

new_york_jimmy_02142013_0001.jpg
new_york_jimmy_02142013_0002.jpg
new_york_jimmy_02142013_0003.jpg

Set seqn.jpg
  • Set Sequence Variable: Use this button to set the number at which the sequence should start. You can add letters or Variables before the number and you can save this to use in other Ingest operations. Type in the sequence you want to use and then click on the triangle at the right of the text field. Click ‘Add’ and then the next time you use this option, that sequence will be there to select.

It's important to note that the Sequence number is ‘sticky’ between sessions so the Ingest function will always pick up where it left off. If you ingest 238 images in a session, then the next session will start with 239 as the Sequence number - unless you reset it.

Hint: Use ‘001’ or ‘0001’ instead of ‘1’ as the beginning number. Leading zeros mean that there are more unique numbers to increment. A single digit has only 9 possible values, while a 3 digit one has 999.

In many dialogs with a ‘Set {seqn} Variable’ button, holding down the modifier key changes the button to ‘Reset’. Click this to reset the sequence variable without opening the dialog box above. The number of digits is maintained so 456 will reset to 001.

  • Open Contact Sheet during Ingest: Select whether to open a new Contact Sheet for the folder into which the files are being ingested or whether to open an new Contact Sheet after all the files are ingested. Opening the Contact Sheet during ingest works well because since Photo Mechanic is so quick at making thumbnails, by the time the Ingest is complete, all the files will be ready for viewing. You can also perform editing operations such as Tagging, Previewing etc. on any thumb that has appeared so you can get on with editing while files are still being Ingested.
  • Unmount Source Disk after Ingest: this unmounts the card after it has finished ingesting so you can safely remove the card from the card reader.
  • Erase Source Disk(s) after Ingest: this erases all files that have been ingested after the entire ingest completes successfully. WARNING: This is a dangerous option to enable since the original photos on the camera memory card will be erased after being copied. Even though the photos will not be erased unless all of the files are copied without error, Camera Bits recommends that you at least briefly inspect the files on your destination hard disk after ingesting to verify for sure that the photos were successfully copied. Then we recommend that you format your memory cards in the camera before you begin shooting, unless you intend on doing an incremental ingest later on.

Ingest Tasks

During Ingest an Ingest Tasks dialog appears showing the progress of the Ingest. Subsequent Ingests add a Ingest Task to the dialog so that you can keep track of multiple downloads.

Thus if you have 5 cards to download, once there are 5 bars completed you will know that you have Ingested all 5 of the cards. Also, if you Ingest 5 cards simultaneously with multiple card readers you will be able to see the progress of all downloads at a glance.

Ingest tasks.jpg

Each Ingest Task is color coded. Green means that the Ingest completed with no errors. Red means that the Ingest completed with errors. Yellow means that the Ingest is in progress.

There is only one “Messages” area at the bottom of the window which is shared among all of the Ingest tasks. When you click on an Ingest Task, it will become selected and its messages will fill the “Messages” area.

Use the “Clean up” button to remove any completed tasks. Use the “Abort” button to stop the currently selected Ingest Task.

If you ever close the Ingest Tasks window and want to see it again, you can show it again from the Window menu.

Live Ingest

Live Ingest works like Ingest in that it copies images to one or more destination folders. But Live Ingest is different in that it can monitor one or more paths for new files and will process them as they appear. This is useful for shooting wirelessly or tethered. You could have a wi-fi enabled Flash card in your camera set to transfer photos to a folder on your computer. Live Ingest will ingest your photos as they appear on your computer.

Live ingest.jpg

Live Ingest will ingest both JPEG and RAW files produced by cameras. When using Live Ingest with RAW files, Photo Mechanic tries to determine when the RAW file has completed its transfer by waiting for the file to stop changing in size. If you have a very fast connection from the camera to the computer you can decrease this wait time, but 30 seconds is a good general waiting period.

When shooting RAW+JPEG it is suggested to set the checkbox titled “Wait for RAW+JPEG pairs when {seqn} is used” as it will make sure that the same sequence number is used for both files. If no sequence number is used then the RAW and JPEG files will be processed as soon as they are safe to copy without waiting for the other file of the pair to arrive.

Tip: For speed when shooting tethered, your tethering software may offer you the option to shoot in RAW+JPEG but only transfer the JPEG to your computer. For maximum speed when working with Live Ingest, consider transferring only the JPEG for quick review. You can do this and add color codes or ratings to the JPEG, and then ingest the RAW versions later by plugging in the memory card to a card reader. To transfer the color class/ratings and other metadata from JPEGs to the RAW versions, follow these steps:

  1. Put the two sets of files into the same folder
  2. Open that folder as a Contact Sheet
  3. Make sure your RAW and JPEG files are shown as a single item by setting Combined RAW+JPEG from the View menu (⌘-j)
  4. Select all (⌘-a)
  5. Use the Update IPTC/XMP command on the Tools menu. Choose to Read IPTC/XMP from JPEG.
  6. Click Update.

Multiple separate Live Ingests may be active at any one time. Just open the Live Ingest dialog again from the File menu after you Start a Live Ingest. If using the {seqn] variable during concurrent ingests, know that only the sequence number in use by the first Live Ingest will be kept persistent.

Live Ingest can copy photos to up to three separate locations, performing different operations on each destination. Use the popup menu in the ‘Destination Processing’ section of the dialog to setup the three different destinations. The Secondary and Tertiary destinations need the ‘Enable’ checkbox set in order to make them active. Live Ingest warns when the Rename string on the Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary destinations is empty and renaming is enabled. Live Ingest file naming supports Code Replacements both in realtime while typing and in when used in conjunction with Variables.

The IPTC Stationery Pad is local to each Live Ingest process and if applied, the same IPTC Stationery Pad is applied to each destination. The sequence variable is also local to each Live Ingest process and will be the same value for each Live Ingest destination.

After each photo is copied to all destinations, it is deleted from the source location.

The Live Ingest process continues to monitor for new files in each of its sources until it is terminated. Live Ingest monitors folder hierarchies three levels deep, in case your camera creates new folders in the destination folder.