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When we work with digital media, there are few constants we must consider. Number one, hard drives fail. Number two, a project is never finished even when you think it's done. In this movie, we'll work through a few simple ideas about how to back up your Pro Tools sessions as you work as well as how to archive your project after its completion. The best way to back up a Pro Tools session is to copy the session folder to another hard drive. This can be managed by software which keeps track of any changes and syncs these changes in a future backup. There are a number of low-cost softwares that do this such as SuperDuper on the Mac platform or for Windows you have Backup and Restore as part of the Windows platform or Norton 360.
As you can see here SuperDuper is really useful for doing incremental backups. But you can also back up manually. The first time you back up your session, you want to copy the session folder to another hard drive. So here in my Exercise Files in 10_01 I've copied this whole session file over to another disk under _BACKUPS. So I did that yesterday when I was done working and here's my session from yesterday. Now today, as you can see I did some changes and I added some audio files and I've already done a Save As and I've named it 10_01.2. So that's the second version of this session.
But remember, I also have added some audio files. So to make my today's session backed up into that backup location I would open up _BACKUPS folder on the right, and I've got my original session here on the left. What I want to do here is just go into that session and I am going to take a couple of things. I am going to take my new session file and just drag that in there. That's really small. I am not sure which of these audio files are new, but the Mac Finder will help us decide this.
So if I select all of them and go ahead and drag them all to the Audio Files folder and drop them in there, it will give me this dialog box. It will say, Do you want to replace any old files with the ones you're moving? And we're going to say Apply to all and say Don't Replace. So we are only going to be adding any new ones we've added. It brings in the three new files and then we're done. So we've backed up our newest session file and any new audio files and we can be finished with backing up for the day. Now, the other question you'll ask is what to do with old projects? I always give my clients a copy of the Pro Tools session for their archives.
That said I still like to archive the old projects myself. So I'll copy the whole session to a completed projects folder when we are done working. After maybe six months I'll think about consolidating the projects a little for space. So let's say I wanted to consolidate this project that we're working on here. It's been six months and it's been sitting on my backup drive, but I'm thinking I need some room on my drive. I don't need to keep everything. What can I get rid of effectively to still have the things I might need later? Number one, fade files.
You can get rid of any fade files. You just can grab them and you can even grab the whole folder and just Command+Delete, toss in the trash. This is pretty non-destructive because the next time I open this Pro Tools session, Pro Tools can regenerate any fades. There weren't that many in this folder. But on a larger session there could be megs and megs of just fade files that you can effectively get rid of. Another thing that's usually safe to get rid of are your video reference files. Believe it or not, they are just scratch files here. The filmmakers themselves are going to have the actual real video files which you can always get back for them if you need it.
It's usually somewhat safe to get rid of video files and the other bonus about this is that video files are usually very big compared to audio files. So they're good thing to get rid of. Next, you can go into the session itself. So here in the session and if I look in the Regions file list over here, I can select anything that's unused. So here I have a lot of unused files that are not being used in the current timeline. Now, you have to be really careful that you opened up the final version of your session and you can select these unused files and if you're feeling pretty cavalier that you're ready to dump some stuff here, you can go to Clear.
Then you can delete any files not used in the final version. Again, I qould say this is kind of a last resort. You definitely don't want to get rid of stuff that you might need later. One other thing you can do is you can select all the media in your project that's being used, and you want to actually just do like a Select All and maybe take the all group and drag across your entire project. So you get all your regions that are being used in the timeline. Then you can go up to that same pull- down menu and here you can say Compact. Again, this is a pretty destructive thing.
What it does is it looks at all your different regions and it truncates them. So it cuts off anything beyond the region boundaries. You can give yourself one second or three seconds handles on the end of each region, but other than that, it's going to knock off anything outside the region boundaries that are being used in the timeline. So again, that's kind of a last resort type thing. If you're really out of drive space, you can do that. But it is a way that will conserve some space on your archived projects. So a couple of other things that we should think about when we're talking about archiving is definitely name your archives and your sessions meaningfully with the dates, so you know what they are 5 or 10 years down the road and also you want to migrate your archived data to new hard drives every few years because hard drive failure is no joke.
These techniques have saved me a lot of time. So if you do this long enough, you'll inevitably have to go back into a session you thought you've finished and pull something out. So be careful about what you get rid of and remember these days hard drive space is cheap. Your work is worth it! So keep track of what you do and archive responsibly.
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