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Project Organization standards

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Matt Gerard
Project Organization standards
on Nov 17, 2010 at 7:25:50 pm

Hey all- Might be a little OT, but still pertinent. We will be transitioning our main storage to a shared file system, upgrading our Facilis Terrablock to fill the chassis with 2TB drives for a total of 48TB and implementing the file level locking software upgrade.

Situation now-

There are 3 edit suites, each with its own 4 TB partition on the Terrablock. There is only one editor per room. So far, we haven't had to be working on the same project at the same time. We share media in different FCP projects, but we never have the need to have the same project open at the same time. Don't see that need arising anytime soon. What we have the need for is to be able to open each other's projects and have write access to that project. Right now Me in Suite A has read permissions from the Suite B and C partitions, but not write perms. So if the guy in suite B is out of the office I need to open the project over the ethernet network and perform changes then save. Can't do it over fibre. Yet. That will change with the upgraded software.

Now, the question is how do we utilize this HUGE bucket of data storage that we will have at our disposal? I see 2 scenarios, keeping in mind that we have 3 editors with varying levels of organization skills *sniff*.

1) Keep the "1 partition per edit suite" scheme. We will all have read/write perms to all 3 partitions.
-Pros- keep current personal organizational techniques, Only have to look at projects that belong to the editor in that suite. Don't' have to deal with other's clutter
-Cons- still need to have all 3 volumes mounted, the facilis mac drive updater is a PITA thing that runs in the background, doesn't force change of habits for the better organization of projects

2) Big Bucket scheme- have the same large volume mounted on all edit suites. All suites have read/write perms
-Pros- only one volume to mount, might not need the facilis drive updater, don't have to search 3 volumes for footage, might make FCSvr implementation easier with only one volume. Might (read -*might*) force better project organization from all editors.
-Cons- If better project org is not enforced, drive will be a mess. might get cluttered with projects that don't' pertain to you.

Obviously I am a stickler for organization. I hate having to dig through other editor's folders to find stuff. We have created a template set of folders that we use for each project, which is a folder with the name of the project, then includes a set of empty folders labeled such as "FCP Files, PSD FIles, DVDSP Files, AE Files, AE Renders, Post Movies, Documents,"etc. This has helped greatly, but having a huge 48TB bucket to toss crap into scares me a little. OK a lot.

what have you others done to stay on top of long term and short term projects? We have a combo of short term projects that are self contained, but we also have a large number of projects that share media, and the video assets are used in several FCP Projects edited by different editors.

We have FCSvr installed in our machine room, haven't really implemented it as of yet, I'm in the process of setting it up with MediaSilo as a portal for customers to view and notate ingested footage. I don't know if we are ready to make the full jump to fully FCSvr managed FCP projects. That is a big jump workflow wise, and in the embedded habits of the other 2 editors.

Love to hear how you all organize your projects and manage your storage. I have the unique position to be a full time editor/gfx/dvd authorer AND get to manage all the computers, network and storage needs.



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Kenny Miracle
Re: Project Organization standards
on Nov 17, 2010 at 9:57:08 pm


I found myself in a very similar position over the last couple years. Was an editor/animator that turned into post production manager over multiple workstations & editors with varying levels of experience (both creatively & organizationally).

Here's what we did as we grew from 3 workstations to 7 workstaions. Like you, I'd be curious what other ppl's setups are.

1) Moved all storage to Apple's XSan 2.2 connected by Fiber cable to Mac Pros. Everyone has read/write access. Only issue we've had was with folder permissions, which once fixed has been seamless.

2) We tried FCSvr, but the workflow switch was too much, and we didn't have anyone who knew how to create unique metadata in FCSver. So we resorted to a folder structure that each editor must adhere to. It's not stumping creativity. It's enabling collaboration.

3) XSan Root Directory has 4 main folders:

- Projects
We look at all the types of projects we do & categorize them. For us it's: Events, Music Videos, Podcasts, Promos, TV Shows, MISC. Inside are the actual projects.

- Library
Inside is stock footage, graphics, photos, music, & commonly used presets/plugins

- Scratch Disk
Each editor has their own FCP Scratch Disk. So I have a folder called "kennymiracle" & someone else has "firstnamelastname".

Reason is: who wants all those folders FCP creates sitting all over your drive cluttering things up. I sure don't. After capturing footage for a promo, we then drag & drop the footage into Projects > Promos > Specific Promo.

Personal Scratch Disks also double as home folders for people. So no one ever saves anything to their workstation, slowing it down.

- Final Videos
This is helpful becuz you never know when you'll need to access some old video made a month or year ago.

4) Media managed projects are stored offline on separate storage. There are many ways to do this that can work.

5) We often read/write each others projects and work together. This workflow greatly enables it. This also enables anyone to find a cool texture or song and easily share it with everyone.

So that's a bit long winded, but hope it helps. We have recently hired a full time media librarian & system administrator, which is great for me so I can just delegate :)

Kenny Miracle
Head of Post Production
International House of Prayer

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