Zack demonstrates how to organize your next editorial project to maximize efficiency and productivity and minimize the time needed to search for your media. Learn how to organize your main project folders and bins as well as your subfolders inside those bins, and also how to use a numbering system to customize how folders and bins are laid out.
- [Instructor] Let's be honest. Project organization is definitely one of the less sexy topics in the world of post. Everybody wants to learn how to use all the plug-ins, the effects, and the various bells and whistles. But I believe if you truly want to be great in the room as an editor, your first step is knowing where your material actually is. Just imagine a painter sitting with a client. A client asking, "Can you just add a little more red?" And the painter saying, "Uh, I'm sorry, I don't know where my red is right now." don't make the same mistake, spending exorbitant amounts of time searching for footage with a director or a producer in a room, when it is possible to have virtually everything at your fingertips, as long as you remember where you put it.
In this lesson, I'm going to show you my system for organizing materials at the top level of my project. But I want to emphasize before moving forwards that this is my system, not the system. I'm going to throw out suggestions and ideas, and you can modify as you see fit. My goal is to inspire you to come up with even better ideas than mine. Now one quick point that I want to make before diving in is that I'm going to be demonstrating using Avid Media Composer, because this is the software that I'm the most comfortable with. But throughout this course, I'm going to be teaching theoretical concepts that can be applied to just about any type of editing software including Premier and even Final Cut Pro X, even though I know that that system is slightly different.
So pay attention to the ideas and the concepts, not so much which specific buttons I might be pressing. Now we're here at the top level of Avid in a brand new clean project. And I'm going to show you how I organize my top level folders and my bins so I can always find things whenever I need to find them. The first level I'm going to create are going to be all of my top level folder. So I'm just going to go through and start creating my top level folders. So I'm just right clicking and I'm choosing new folder, but once again, like I said, this might be different in different NLEs, just pay attention to the concept.
So I click new folder, and I'm going to create my cut spin where I put all of my edits. I'm going to create a folder called Scenes to Cut so that way I know the one I have material that's ready to go, it's all going to be in that folder. I'm going to have my raw dailies, and if you work in a different type of environment where dailies isn't the right word, perhaps it's raw footage, perhaps it's clips, whatever makes the most sense for your work flow. Now I'm going to create one called Music.
Sound effects, graphics, visual effects, stock footage, ADR and voiceover, and of course, got to have miscellaneous because you just never know when you're going to get some random piece of media and you just don't know where it goes. These are the general folders that I use during the creative part of the process, but inevitably there's also going to be a technical side, and if you're sharing your project with an assistant or other team members, you want to have the technical folders as well.
So three very simple examples would be Exports, or Outputs. I'm going to put one that's called Turnover, so this is going to be when picture is locked and you're ready to turn it over to other departments like sound, color, visual effects departments, this is going to be the turnover folder. And my assistant loves to create a folder for herself, or himself depending on the gender of your assistant. So I'm just going to call this folder Assistant. And now I have all of the main top level folders.
What I will now do is create templates for subfolders. So for example, if I'm dealing with music, I don't want to just have tons and tons of bins in here, I want to be able to find the types of music that I'm using. So I'm going to create a new folder called the Score. Another one, let's call this Library Cues, and I'm going to put those right in my music folder. And then one more quick example, let's say Sound Effects. I want to break it down between Backgrounds and Sound Design, for example.
So now you'll see that's it's going to be very easy and very fast to find media. The last thing you want is a project that has tons and tons of random sequences, random sound effects files, music files, cuts, then you're never going to be able to find anything. So what I will do is I will create a template project so anytime I create a new episode or brand new project or I'm on a new show, I already have those templates set up. However, there's one more step that I will go through to organize this even further. You'll see that the default is that Avid and most other NLEs will organize this alphabetically, but I want it to be organized by muscle memory.
So I always know which folder is where, and I frankly don't even have to read the names of the folders. I'm going to use numbers to organize these even further. My own personal preference is I like to have my cuts folder at the very top so I can always find the current cut that I'm working on. After that, I always want to know that my scenes to cut that are ready to go on the cuts bin are right below. And the dailies that are not processed yet, that go into my scenes to cut bit will be right under that.
So the next level is going through all the folders that I will use on a creative level. So for example, let's do, music, sound effects, graphics, stock footage, ADR and voice over, visual effects, and our Miscellaneous bin.
You'll see now that from zero through nine these are all the media related folders for the creative part of the process. These last three would be more for the technical part of the process. But let's say that I wanted to create another folder for the creative part of the process. I don't want it to get mixed in here, so I'm actually going to label these with three digits. So I'm going to start at 100, 101, and then I always like to have the turnover bin at the very very bottom of the project, because that's the last step.
So turnover's going to be at the very very bottom. So let's say that once again I do want to put in a random folder, so let's just call this New Folder, but because this is going to be part of the creative process I want to put a ten on there, it's going to go in the middle and now be mixed in with these last three because of the numbering convention. So having seen my approach to organizing my main media inside my project, I hope that this inspires you to start taking action and clean up your existing projects so you can minimize the amount of time spent looking for stuff, and maximize the time that you need to actually be creative.
- File management
- Time blocking
- Cleaning up your email inbox
- Organizing and prioritizing notifications
- Selecting apps to help you with task and time management
- Filtering email messages and paperwork
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.