The Do's and Don'ts of File Management

  |   Jan 25 2018   |  


The Do's and Don'ts of File Management

Video production can be hectic, especially when you're working with a team of people. For a smooth experience, we recommended that each project is as organized as possible to eliminate confusion and stress.

Think about how and why you keep your physical files organized.  Keeping things in folders and drawers clears the clutter in your workspace.  As your workspace becomes less cluttered, so will your mind. Digital organization is essentially the same. A well-managed project folder and workflow allows you to easily locate specific files.  For instance, if you need to remove extra copies or old project versions to save space, you'll know where they are. When your file workflow is scattered and unorganized it’s easier to accidentally delete important files, or even whole projects!

If you're unsure of where to start and need some tips on file organization, follow our list of Do’s and Don’ts:

Do create a new folder for each new project.  

Don't add “final” to your title, as that will get confusing if you have to make changes. Try using a version number identification instead, so if you have to revisit the project, you know which one to open and how to name the new version.  Ex: ClientProject_v2, or ClientProject_v3

Do be sure to pay attention to where you save files and projects.

Don't use special characters or punctuation marks in file titles.

Do back up all of your files.

Don’t duplicate file names without a version indicator as previously mentioned.

Do organize folders from broad to more specific.  Ex: 2018 > January > Title of Project > Title of File 

Don't mix up original and backup files.  Have a distinction between them: add "backup" or "BU" in file and folder names. Use a separate drive, or cloud storage.  It's ideal to have a hard drive for the editor, the client or producer, and one designated for backed up files.

Do use numbers at the start of your titles as this helps files stay in order.  A file named "01_FileName" will be at the top of the folder when sorted by name.   

Do create a brief descriptive file title so you know what it is.  It helps to include the project or client name, as well as the date the project started.  

Do use an underscore in file titles to separate different headings.  If the date, name, and version number are all in the title, and there are spaces in the name, the underscores will help to differentiate between the three.

These ideas aren't just for video production companies.  Any company that relies on digital assets, such as a marketing company or advertising agency, should be mindful when structuring their storage systems.  Especially if you have a team of people working off of one area, like a Dropbox account or a file server, it's essential to find a workflow that suits your company best, and then keep it consistent. Regularly changing your file structure and workflow will create stress and confusion for you and your team.  On the other hand, a concise, well-ordered system can alleviate problems you didn't even know you had. 

Was this article helpful to you?  Please provide us with some feedback on your thoughts in the comments section below so we can address it in a future blog post.

No matter the size and type of your production, Video Experts can help.  Contact us to get started today!

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