Naming Convention Advice
Hey all. I'm in the middle of updating my companies post workflow document for freelance editors and have been doing some thinking into our naming convention for sequences and exports. I'm a huge stickler of keeping the export name exactly the same as the sequence so there's no confusion but it tends to get a little muddy if we do several rounds of internal changes and end up on say "rough_cut_V5" but the client hasn't seen it yet. I don't want them to see "V5" but "rough_cut_V1" instead.
Looking for some advice here to help wrangle all these different methodologies. Thanks!
-editor of things
To keep things straight in my head (I'm a one man shop), I generally use lower case letters (for example, "UMass_Medical_v1"), continuing on numberically. When the client has seen a version, I change the "v1" to "V1", so I can immediately tell that there has been a client review by the capital letter. Once the client has submitted changes to me, I add to the name "REV" (for example, "UMass_Medical_V1_REV1"), which allows me to easily track the revisions as they go along. I also manage all of my projects in Adobe Bridge, so I use the labeling tools to mark versions which are out for review, or have been approved. This works very well for me; not sure how it would succeed in a multi-editor workflow. Another great thing about Bridge is that I can look up what project file the rendered output came from quite easily.
I use a simple naming convention of adding 1.0 to the end of my timeline name for first round, 2.0 for second round, etc. And if by chance I have to make a fix mid-round I change the suffix to 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, etc.
But what helps me more is to use frame.io for all client review. When I post round after round of revised versions I can stack those versions on top of each other on the frame.io site so the client can then easily see the latest (which is on top) and then all previous versions are available to look at as well and it's simple to see their order because of the numeric labeling.
frame.io also allows you to split screen and watch two versions at the same time in sync so that it's easy for a clinet to see what changes have occurred.
I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles
Call internal cuts "Internal_Cut" or "Internal_RC" and use "Rough_Cut" only things that go out of house? I like keeping dates in file names too because sometimes people don't remember which version it is, but they'll remember the last time they touched it was the previous Tuesday or what not.
I stick with numbering like Greg does. Rough cut is 1...fine cut is 2...almost perfect is 3...locked is 4.
So 1.0, 1.1, 1.2...2.0, 2.1, 2.2...3.0...etc.
But I also add a date to that.
INTERNALLY you can call it that number, but when you export, just put a date on it. So ROUGH CUT_0918 I do this for all my clients. I'll deliver a cut, they give notes, and I deliver another..and it's still a ROUGH or FINE cut...so I simply deliver them the cut with the project name and date. Period, that's all they see, and that's how they reference it. And so when they go "In Rough Cut_0918 I would like to change something at the 5min mark." I look in my sequences and see Rough Cut 1.6_0918...and that's the one I fix. If they then go "Remember that thing from rough cut 0826 that we had you remove? I would like that back please." I then go to RC 1.2_0826 and find that thing.
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I haven't worked with these conventions in video production but have dealt with the issues in copywriting for ad agencies. After seeing multiple files with the word "final" in the name I reverted for my own work to a super-simple, super-clear convention. In addition to the Job number and Title I add the date of modification to the filename with v1 for version 1 and if there is more than one version on the same date it's v2, v3, etc. This has created no confusion on servers accessed by many individuals. I would sometimes add my initials for extra identification and clients would add theirs to comment versions.
Usually there are emails that track which version is sent to clients and returned from them with comments and indicate what is special about them. I'm sure the other suggestions are useful about identifying fine cuts, rough cuts, etc., but since such characteristics and descriptions can be modified over time and with client changes, I found the simple date (and version if more than one on a single date) kept everyone on the same page.
That said, I've often worked on servers where a short description could be recorded to indicate the status of a file. These are project management servers where several people have access to files. Different folks will sometimes create their own creative file names but my date/version convention usually maintains order.
I guess part of the challenge is that when different people are naming and renaming files it's hard to impose or educate on a naming system that everyone will follow.
Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City