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Re: Folder Structure and File Naming

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Robb Harriss
Re: Folder Structure and File Naming
on Apr 23, 2012 at 7:14:21 pm

Well from my perspective you're over thinking it.

I'm in pretty much the same situation. about 16 years of footage, dating from the time we switched from film to video. For the last 13 or so years we've created a great deal of derivative product from all the different material we've shot and continue to shoot. It's all documentary in style. Not a spoken word is scripted. Lots of interviews and lots of transcripts. We create video-based products that are sold all over the world.

A few years ago we even changed the way our accounting works to match the way we actually create product. Whenever we shoot it's research towards making an at-the-time-undetermined project. Product creation doesn't begin until we sit down to put together a project in edit. The best way for us to work this way, and keep footage somehow compartmentalized and still make some sense of it all, was to separate it out by shooting location. So we have this factory, or that office site, or that hospital or school. Reel names (we shoot HDCam on a 750) use as two or three letter designator for the shooting location. So I can see a note or a line out of an EDL, or a tape case and know immediately what "shoot" it came from.

Ok. So the majority of the time I'm using FCP to load the footage. The project goes under the location name, say "Unity Hospital." What become important later is the path to the directory Unity Hospital. Doesn't matter how or where that footage goes later. I just need to find it. I use FCP to mark sections to load and label them such as: UN07 cafeteria cover or UN10 Lacy Darcy interview part {Note that I'm using ProRes for my files). When the shots are captured I bring them into CatDV, which will remember just exactly where the footage is. I can then parse them out even further with all sorts of key identifiers and markers and transcripts. I also create proxy movies of everything that live on a separate drive attached to one of my systems. Because I'm using "paths," the structure is the same as the original footage.

Lately I've been moving footage off onto external drives for storage, and to clean out my systems. I'm sure some lucky souls get to use CacheA but for now we're using raw external drives. It's quick and easy and I can mount a drive using an eSata dock directly to one of the systems and edit from the raw drive when I need to. But the real change has been moving the original footage off to one of my archive drives FIRST and then bringing the footage into CatDV and making proxies from there. I'm doing the vast majority of my editing using the proxy movies, NOT the originals. As a result I have 100 of my footage from ALL shoots available ALL the time. Originals don't come into play until I'm working on finishing. Then I can mount archive drives and conform/consolidate/relink or do whatever. It's been quite slick. And by moving the originals to an archive drive first I'm not reconfiguring CatDV all the time to find the footage for both the originals and the proxies. I also have a portable clone of the proxy drive for working offsite (I used to just call that home). Because we're using "paths" for proxies CatDV (and Final Cut) always thinks it knows where to look for a shot.

Sure, you can do what you suggest, but I think you're adding a layer of complexity that's not really going to help you that much and it will eat up even more prep time. Takes me back to the days when I setup the table of accounts for my old company's accounting system in Quickbooks. I had everything parsed out to the Nth degree. I could have told you how much black gaffer's tape was used on training projects versus commercials on any named Thursday. Of course I never did, nor did I ever actually need that level of detail. In the end it was a big lesson learned. One of the big lessons with CatDV is that you can add fields and descriptions later without messing up everything you already have. Are you willing to go back and redo your directory structure if someone suddenly decides if they want to know if shots were done under cloudy or sunny skies? Ouch.

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.

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