I would like to see an option added to IPTC/XMP Preferences, "Prefer XMP Sidecars Over Embedded Metadata".
If enabled, the application should read and write metadata using XMP sidecar files, even for file types such as DNG, TIFF, JPG, etc. that support embedded metadata.
This would allow Photo Mechanic to be used in tandem with applications such as Capture One Pro, which always write metadata to XMP sidecars, while preserving Photo Mechanic's natural, legacy behavior. It's a safe change that would be hugely beneficial to some photo workflows.
And because Photo Mechanic obviously supports XMP sidecar files for some file types, I have to imagine the engineering effort to implement such an option would be minimal.
I hope you will consider such an option.
Michael has outlined a lot of the reasons we'd be hesitant to implement this, but we may look at a solution in the future.
Bonus points if this could be enabled independently for different file types. Like, I might like to have this enabled for DNG, but not for JPG.
Im’ not sure that Capture One’s handling of XMP sidecar files for TIFF, JPG etc. is a good candidate for a change in Photo Mechanic. If a folder handled by Capture One has the same image as different file types (RAW, DNG, JPG, TIFF etc.), only the last update of metadata is written to the XMP file. When syncing metadata back into Capture one, this last update is written into Capture One’s database, overwriting the old values for all the different files selected. This may or may not be desirable, depending whether you always wan’t the exact same metadata for all the different image file formats.
This issue also has to be solved by Photo Mechanic; how is the pairing to made.
I’ve included a couple of screen shots from a small test to illustrate the issue. Al the files are loaded in Capture One. The title field is wrongfully updated to CR2 for the DNG when syncing the metadata, changed from DNG to CR2.
The proper solution would be for Capture One to follow the standards for embedding XMP/IPTC - which they unfortunately has refused to do historically. The risk of data loss is too great if the handling of metadata is done like Capture One.
If there's a sidecar, then yes, I would expect the sidecar to impact both the CR2 and DNG files, if a "Prefer XMP Sidecar" were enabled. Hence my suggesting it as an option, rather than a wholesale change.
As things stand, I've settled on using EXIFTOOL to copy XMP metadata into my DNG files on the command line, after making changes in Capture One. I'm then able to sync that metadata back into Photo Mechanic. It works nicely enough, but having to "Show in Finder", open a terminal, and run commands is less than ideal.
I've done some Googling around, and I am definitely not alone in trying to pair these two applications and having this exact problem. As Photo Mechanic is never going to become a photo processing suite, it will always need to pair with other software to facilitate the full workflow. It would really be nice then for Photo Mechanic to find ways of playing nicely with applications apart from Adobe's.