On March 11, 2010 (100311 for those of you that were there…) at the SF Cutters users group meeting I presented my workflow and folder structure for the way I’ve been working for about 15 years. Its a proven method with a lot of thought that has gone into it. I don’t pretend that my way is the only way but it has been developed over time with much fore thought. I would really like to get a run down, step by step, of how other people work in order to compare notes and possibly come up with an even better organizational process.
Some important things to keep in consideration. The workflow has to protect the editor from dumb mistakes, keep track of versions over time so that when I producer says, “I want to see what we had last Friday again” you can find it, and it has to be open and inviting to others to slide into a project and finish up.
This is where all the files that make animations would go. For example, After Effects Projects, Motion Projects, perhaps, LiveType Projects (you really shouldn’t be using that anymore) or if you are into 3D you could put your 3D files there. These are the files that MAKE your animations, NOT the animation renders themselves.
Here is where you would put the QT movies that are created by your ANIM files. One exception to this would be your Motion projects. Since you don’t need to render a movie as the output of Motion and can drag those files directly to your timeline you probably won’t need to put any output files from Motion in here. The main reason for keeping these separate is for archival purpose. If, in the off chance you REALLY need to save some disk space you could, in a pinch, delete the entire contents of this folder because all the files needed to recreate these movies are in the ANIM folder. (Provided of course everything is filed correctly.)
This folder is where I put notes about the edit. Mostly it stores correspondence from a producer with notes about what has to be done still on the job. If I receive notes via email, I save the email of course but I’ll also copy the contents of that email into a text file and store it here. Often called “100308 Edit Notes” as I complete each of the requests I’ll mark them as completed, maybe by BOLDing it or something similar.
All your Final Cut Pro projects live here. The main project you are working on will be named logically so that it makes sense at a later date. Conspicuously missing will be version numbers. Many people make different version number on their Final Cut Pro project. What this ends up doing is creating many sub folders in your Capture Scratch Folder, which is just messy. Instead, a better practice is to periodically make copies of your project file and date and time stamp them and put them into a sub folder called “zzOLD”.
This practice is useful at the beginning of a day, the end of a day, when you are taking over for another editor and want to have a reference to refer back to, or if a client leaves you to work a lone for period of time. This way you can always have a copy of not only the timeline but the whole project, ‘at the point they left’. Great for blame assessment.
As mentioned before, this is where you will store any client supplied logos and elements, this assures you have a copy that is absolutely untainted and can always be referenced in the event there is a confusion about what something was suppose to look like.
Flat still images go here. Pict, JPG, Targa, Tiff, PNG. They all go here. You also may consider having some standardized files that you use often in here so that you don’t have to go find them every time you start a project.