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[General] Marching up to Zion thru the filesystem

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Harry Putnam
[General] Marching up to Zion thru the filesystem
on Jan 13, 2011 at 3:43:02 am

I'd like to know any tips that experienced people use for this general problem described below, or maybe any tools that help ease it a bit.

The problem:

I spend a very lot of time when editing with several tools running, just tromping around in the filesystem. I mean a very lot of time. The various tools have different amounts of smartness about where you saved or opened, and are helpful in easing some of the tromping to various degrees.

But still, while it may be a small portion of any one of the tasks that goes into taking video from capture to finished DVD, if you've used a variety of tools, like maybe:

PremPro, AE, Encore, adobe Encoder, adobe flash player, maybe 1 or two small video viewers, photoshop and possibly quite a few more depending if any troubles crop up, like maybe Gspot or DMVpro 5, and of course, some kind of dedicated file browser, oh yes, and Adobe bridge. Then taken as a total, I would be afraid to guess how much time it can add up to over say a week or more that a specific (smallish) project may take.

You are constantly opening, saving, looking for, etc, etc; files.

Each time it involves a good bit of clicking around, even if the work area is at least somewhat organized.

I come from a unix/linux background before I ever took up video editing, so was well grounded in traveling around the file system from the command prompt.

It is orders of magnitude faster than traveling by clicking each directory in what might be a chain of several each time.

Windows tools are not big on having a feature that allows you to type in addresses with `completion' active to help you.

Most available dedicated file browsers have that feature but you never see such an option in a specific Editing tool. So, when you need to open or save a file, then the editing tool opens a file browsing tool that is sort of a crippled or incomplete version of windows explorer with no such option.

I see this turned into more of a crybaby snivel than an honest question, but there is a question here.

I can't imagine many ways to lessen the chores I've described. Personally I keep a dedicated file browser right there at all times and use drag and drop where ever I can. But still you have to go get many an item.

I'm guessing the main way to lessen the chore would be how you organize the workflow and the files needed for it, so maybe some of you can offer tips on that... or maybe on tools that are designed with that chore in mind.

Briefly put, I organize my projects like this:

A directory at the top of a hierarchy named after what ever the project is.

Under that a directory for each tool used where that tools project file is kept. There may be several directories at this 3rd level down, if there are distinct sub projects going on and so different project files for that one tool.

Back at the 2nd level; a directory named `sources' where there may be several more sub-directories under for stills, clips, audio etc.

Any of the `tool' directories at the 2nd level, may end up with a few sub-directories under them.

Maybe there are much better ways of setting things up?
Any better tools for navigating would be welcome but I doubt that is much of avenue to pursue.

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Walter Soyka
Re: [General] Marching up to Zion thru the filesystem
on Jan 14, 2011 at 6:05:29 pm

I use Default Folder X [link] from St. Clair Software. It's a tool that adds keyboard shortcuts and other features to Mac OS X Save and Open dialog boxes. I don't know of a Windows equivalent.

On the Mac, you can start typing file and folder names in Open dialog boxes, and the closest match will select in navigation pane, allowing you to continue to navigate with the arrow keys.

On Windows, you do pretty much have command-line style tab completion in both Open and Save dialog boxes. You can start typing the names of folders and they will autocomplete. Depending on which version of the controls the application is using, may need to select an autocompleted name with the arrow keys, or it may autocomplete directly in the file name text field. Pressing ENTER will navigate to that folder inside the dialog box. Typing regular paths (including "\") and pressing ENTER will also navigate to a folder.

Since you have a Unix geek background, you should know that you can also use environment variables in standard dialog boxes, including %homepath% as well as any custom environment variables you care to declare yourself. For example, typing %homepath% and hitting ENTER in any file dialog box on Windows should immediately jump you to your user directory within the dialog.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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