A Note on Naming Folders for Tapeless Media

Posted on by Larry

[This article was first published in the July, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]

One of the clear messages in successfully working with tapeless media is how you name your files and folders.

Based on what I’ve read and my own experience, I’ve developed an easy-to-implement workflow that will help prevent problems in your own projects.

Rule One

Always have two copies of your camera source media on two different storage systems (either hard drives or RAIDs).

Rule Two

During production, copy the entire contents of a card into its own folder on the hard disk.

Rule Three

The name of the folder containing the contents of the card will be the name that Final Cut Pro uses when ingesting the media from that card.

Rule Four

Once you’ve ingested the media into Final Cut, don’t rename or move any folders. As long as you don’t move or rename a folder, reconnecting or re-ingesting media from the source files is very, very easy from within Final Cut.

Having just finished a 20-episode XDCAM shoot for 2ReelGuys.com, here’s the system I developed.

When working with tapeless media, I work with a minimum of three hard drives:

On the third drive, I create a folder called Source Media.

Inside the Source Media folder, I create a folder for each Client, or group of projects, I’m working on. This step isn’t necessary, but I work on a variety of projects and clients and I like keeping their media separate.

NOTE: The Client folder always starts with a two-letter client code. In this case, I use JM for a fictitious client: “Just-a-Moment Productions.”

Then, inside the Client folder I create a folder for each project.

NOTE: The Project folder starts with a two-letter, two-number code that I use to label all project elements. Here’s an article that explains this in more detail.

Then, during production, I create a folder for each card that’s shot and copy the entire contents of the card into its own folder. The name of this folder is critical, and I use this naming convention:

Project codeDate shot (year-month-day) – Card #

The reason this folder name is so important is that when I get back into the editing suite and ingest the media into Final Cut. Because this was shot tapeless, I use File > Log & Transfer to bring in the clip.

Notice that as soon as I select a clip in the Browser window of Log & Transfer, the Logging section of this window automatically loads the name of the source media folder into the Reel field.

The great benefit to this is that the folder name is stored in the ingested clip on your hard disk, in the FCP Browser, even in the clip located in the Timeline. This means that if you ever need to recapture the clip, FCP already knows exactly where it is.

This makes recapturing accidentally erased media very fast and very simple. I know, because I’ve tested it. Even if you change the name of the clip in the Browser, FCP still knows the names of the source media file on your hard disk.

For a detailed, step-by-step illustration of how to work with lots of different tapeless media, check out my recent webinar: Working with Tapeless and DSLR Media.

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2 Responses to A Note on Naming Folders for Tapeless Media

  1. I am very organized with my media in FCP7. Each project in its own folder on the media drive along with all media and supporting documents. Backups elsewhere. I just started trying out FCPx and it dosen’t seem to me that I can separate each project or ‘event’ into it’s own folder away from everything else.
    For someone who is bothered by cross contamination on my scratch disks, this is going to take some getting used to. Any tips for FCPx organization?

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