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How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End

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Andrew Tucker
How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 28, 2017 at 9:02:32 pm

Good Day All,

I am in the middle of a Safety Orientation Video for a company and as I look at my Timeline I am disgusted. It does have an organization to it where certain channels hold specific media in the Video and Audio realm. My Bins are deeply organized, meaning folders for the various moving parts, etc.

My question is, how do you manage a medium to large project? Do you make various timelines for each specific section of the video? Would it make sense to Precomp each sections, but then I fear I will mess something up in the timing.

The company I work for does not have a fast server, so I work off of external hard drives, backing everything up on the space that we do have. Is this smart? I travel a lot and get a lot of footage, copy it, and then copy it again. Do you have any tips for file management and should I be pulling specific video for each project rather than just linking to it on the hard drives?

Please let me know if any thing you have done has worked out for you, of course I know everyone's case it different.

Thank you,


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greg janza
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 28, 2017 at 9:19:16 pm

Andrew, everyone seems to have their own approach to organization so you'll probably get a variety of responses.

My approach to staying organized is to import all media in well labeled bins. And for most of my media inside of Premiere my bin names match the folder names of where the media actually lives on my drives so that I can easily trace.

As for timeline management, if your piece is on the longer side (20-30mins) and there's chapters or segments then it makes sense to create timelines for each.

I recently finished a 30min show that had four segments. I built each segment in it's own timeline during rough cut and fine cut stage. And then when all four segments were nearly at a finishing stage I brought all four into a new timeline and from that point on all of the finishing work was done in this complete timeline.

One key to working with a multitude of timelines is to stay consistent with your track assignments. If your music is on audio tracks 7&8 in one timeline, then it should be on those same tracks in all other timelines. And the same would hold for video tracks. Consistency will prevent you from losing your mind if down the road you need to export out versions without text, graphics or music.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Andrew Tucker
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 2:38:05 pm

Greg,
Thank you for that. That helps out a lot. I felt like I was organized in a way when I first started the job (2 years ago) but every day I feel like I need to change it to better serve my needs. The company I work for is in Construction and a lot of the footage captured is from various job sites in different divisions (the easy stuff). But I also have a lot of footage that is taken at our HQ from interviews and B-Roll. My drives get filled up very quickly because we get so much footage. I'm starting to think that all of my JOB SITE footage should live on it's own drive and all of our HQ and SUPPORT footage should live on a different drive. I want to make this change, but I fear that if I start making the change now, I'll somehow throw everything offline. We do tend to go back to older project files and replace clips. Side Question, when I do interviews, I place their audio and video (dual audio system) in different folders on the drive, using folders with their names so I can trace it, does this sound like a reasonable approach or does it not make sense to have them together?

As for the CHAPTERS workflow. If the project were to have an overlying ambient music bed, would you add that in the final timeline or in each chapter? (If that makes sense, sorry)

Thanks again!


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Eric Merklein
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 2:45:17 pm

It's my humble opinion that the Media Encoder is a lightweight system at best. And it gets worse the longer the timeline

If I'm doing a project with 3 and 4 video layers, or video that is very, very detailed (like analytics charts. or ThinkCell graphics) the encoder crashes. And if there is motion involved it's crazy bad.

This happens even when I nest multi video tracks and render everything.

If a show is complicated I export in Pro and sit there with hands folded.

It's still better than cutting 2"tape with a razor blade.

E


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jerry wise
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 6:21:34 pm

I used to cut 2" tape with a blade back in the early 70's. It was a treat.


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Eric Merklein
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 9:00:58 pm

I was at a wonderful post house called Electronics in LA. Ampex was a mighty machine, but I prefer to carry an HD show in my pocket flash drive.

'We come a long way baby'


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Andrew Tucker
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 7:31:06 pm

Eric,
Thank you for the reply. I definitely find myself waiting for the moment an error pops up and the program crashes. Just the beauty of the digital age. My biggest fear, as is everyone's probably, is plugging in a drive and not getting any response. I just play the waiting game.
Thanks again!


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greg janza
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 3:32:02 pm

[Andrew Tucker] " I'm starting to think that all of my JOB SITE footage should live on it's own drive and all of our HQ and SUPPORT footage should live on a different drive. I want to make this change, but I fear that if I start making the change now, I'll somehow throw everything offline. "

Sounds like a good approach. I would advocate that you buy a raid with twice as much storage as you think you'll need so that you're set for awhile. And when transferring media over to another drive or raid I'd also advocate that you use a sync program to make sure that you've made perfect copies. I use Resilio but there are many sync programs out there. And having audio and video together on a drive is the norm.


[Andrew Tucker] "As for the CHAPTERS workflow. If the project were to have an overlying ambient music bed, would you add that in the final timeline or in each chapter? "

My approach is to make each timeline a finished timeline with all elements included in it.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 1:38:24 am

Like Greg said, you'll have several opinions. Here's mine.
What I've learned is that some of my smallest jobs ... were the biggest: some clients who need a 60 spot would give me more elements than some who wanted a 5 min cut.
That being said, the one thing / fear for me is to confuse PPro with media that moves from one location to the other: server to HD, HD to ext HD, etc...
What I try to do is have a main external HD that is super organized and any other drive i need to take around I make sure they are the exact mirror of the main drive: Folder structure, file naming etc..
Second thing is that I do NOT mess with file names. This is a good way to have off line media when comes online.
On the other hand I make sure to modify file names that contains any symbols (Ppro doesn't like those).

You said that your client's server is slow so you had to move media on a drive.
I think it's the way to go as long as you don't have to reconnect the offline edit to their media.

Finally it is good, once the Ppro gets full of "older cuts", to create an archive project where you'll store all those old cuts.

As for the timeline, I would definitely not nest (that's what you meant by precomp I think) but I would create segments and have a sequence per segments or per 3-4 of media.

Los Angeles - TV Promo Editor - FCP - AVID


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Andrew Tucker
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 2:56:07 pm

Thanks Oliver,
I'm starting to think of a method that will be beneficial and treat all of our departments like Clients i.e. HR, Safety, etc.
Having two LARGE drives that hold the media (JOB SITE & HQ). And then having SMALLER portable drives dedicated to each department (HR, Safety, etc.). When a project is needed, copying NEEDED media from the LARGE drives to the specific project folders on the SMALL drives. A lot of the projects use the same media from time to time, which is why I haven't set-up this method yet. Does this sound like a good approach or do you think it is something that would cause me trouble down the road?
Thanks again!


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Mike Bosshard
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 8:52:29 pm

This sounds very similar to what I have to manage from a data standpoint -- I work at my company HQ but either travel and shoot or hire out and collect footage from lots of different locations. Meanwhile frequently shooting talking head and safety videos etc. at the office.

We outsource IT and because they charge a ridiculous rate for server space, backing up there was not an option. Working with one of our in-house IT directors we came up with using a NAS RAID system for video/photo project data. I recall the conversation with him that it is sort of uncharted territory to have to deal with that volume of data, at least from a single person or department, at least within a corporate IT environment.

We ended up going with a 4-bay Synology NAS raid system, which is on the local network and I have mapped to my editing PC. My PC has about 3TB of space which I use for 'current projects', then the NAS is split into 3 volumes (number of volumes can be customized):

Vol 1: Current Project backup -- backs up relevant folders from my PC either continuously or on the click of a button

Vol 2: Old Projects -- using PP project manager, I collect & copy or transcode a project once finished and I am fairly sure no changes are coming into a folder for archival on this volume. As a side note, I subclip everything in Prelude before editing so during this archival process, sometimes I go back and export the subclips out of prelude into a raw media archive depending on what it is, because in some cases I didn't use all of the clips in the PP project but may need them in the future.

Vol 3: Archive -- this is where I save most of my offsite footage as sort of a bank, due to it very likely being used repeatedly. Although I'm starting to outgrow it and have had to put some of this in Vol 2. I also zip up any really old projects from Vol 2 and save them here, ones that I am basically sure that I will not need to access any of the assets for under normal circumstances.

All of these also get backed up onto portable HDs periodically, both taken home with me and sent with a colleague overseas occasionally to prevent major data loss during a natural disaster or fire. Synology has a pretty robust app for managing all of this, and while it was a bit of a learning curve to setup is pretty easy to work with now.

It's not perfect but works pretty well I think. If I could start from scratch I might consider having a smaller raid on my desktop instead of using internal pc drives. But overall it takes at least some of the effort out of managing the data. Personally I would loathe to have to constantly be switching between external drives and copying data back and forth, and would be very paranoid about losing something should a drive crash (though I know you said it's backed up).


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Robert Withers
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 9:55:46 pm

Hi Mike, I'm trying to listen and learn from this thread.

When you say "Vol 1: Current Project backup -- backs up relevant folders from my PC either continuously or on the click of a button"--what are the relevant folders? Project files or other items too?

Thanks,
Robert

Robert Withers

Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City


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Mike Bosshard
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 30, 2017 at 1:48:55 pm

Hi Robert,
I have two internal HDDs on my PC, in each one I have a created a master "Projects" folder that is synced with the Synology backup.

For any given project I create a subfolder within one of those Projects folders with all of the assets - video/audio files, images, AE files, PPro project files, etc.

Regarding the PC, if I had to do it over again I would spend a little more and do 2 SSDs (1 for OS and 1 for media cache) and 2 HDDs (current project storage), but this machine was spec'd mostly by IT in a pinch about 3 years ago right after I started.


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Andrew Tucker
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 10:03:37 pm

Mike,
Thank you so much for the reply. It sounds like we are in a pretty similar situation. We have on-site IT and I think it would be beneficial for me to touch-base with them on alternative options. Your solution sounds like it has been pretty solid for you.

[Mike Bosshard] "Vol 3: Archive -- this is where I save most of my offsite footage as sort of a bank, due to it very likely being used repeatedly. Although I'm starting to outgrow it and have had to put some of this in Vol 2. I also zip up any really old projects from Vol 2 and save them here, ones that I am basically sure that I will not need to access any of the assets for under normal circumstances. "

I love this. It's so simple in yet I never even thought of it. I always think "What if I need this."

Thanks again!


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: How to Manage a Large Project - Beginning to End
on Nov 29, 2017 at 9:43:49 pm

[Andrew Tucker] "Does this sound like a good approach or do you think it is something that would cause me trouble down the road?"

It is hard to give very specific answers without knowing things like the type of media/elements and the overall size of the date you have to manage and store.
What I know for sure is that even if it seems manageable now... eventually it won't be. Media keeps accumulating and the external hard drive situation you're using now will soon not be enough.
Keep in mind also that HD, as reliable as they can be, eventually fail, or at least have a chance to fail, which is not something you want to happen. So as mentioned in this thread, go the RAID route and don't be cheap on the main system BU
I understand you're cautious about moving things around because of the older projects linked to media that might be unliked. Maybe, and again it's hard to know w/o the specific, maybe you could media manage these older projects which would allow you to eventually to get the workflow and organisation you're after. Just don't let those "old" project stand in the way of starting off with a new and improved media management system.

The good thing is that you are thinking ahead by reaching out and anticipating.

Los Angeles - TV Promo Editor - FCP - AVID


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