Editing Project Folder Organisation

Throughout college and uni, I would organise my editing folder, if you could call it ‘organising’, by putting every file related to the project in one behemoth folder.

Actually, that’s not true: I’d often have random music files for the project in the folder they originated (so when opening a project after some time, these would naturally be a mysterious offline file).

Now this isn’t a very sophisticated editing tip, nor is it the way to do things – but it works for me – and if anyone else has there own structure system, or any tips, I’d be glad to hear it.

I have a 2TB Western Digital external hard drive that is dedicated to video project edits and another drive, exactly the same, that I use Carbon Copy Cloner (Mac, Free) to back-up the former.

Within the drive, I have Video Projects, Stock Video and Stock Audio – “Stock”, in this case, meaning anything that isn’t project-specific and I might use again, such as an audio clip, a logo I often use, my collection of transitions, After Effects templates and so on.

Now, within Video Projects, I have four categories of films that I make, but this is based on my own output, which is sometimes quite varied. I could have left out this sub-stage, I just wanted another level of organisation.

Within the Project Sections, we finally come to the folders for each individual project, as seen above. Inside I have my core folders: MEDIA, Project Files, AE Renders, FCP to AE and Output. Sometimes I have more, depending on the logistics of the project edit, but I very rarely have less. Here’s what they do:-

MEDIA – This is where I put the raw footage (sometimes the converted footage if it’s initially not in an edit-ready format), the audio, music, and any other media files that are appropriate (images, logos, transitions etc.). I split this into project-appropriate folders. This is the only folder I CAPITALISE – but I don’t know why I do it, it just seems right.

Project Files – This is where I keep the Final Cut Pro project file(s), the After Effects project file(s) and anything else appropriate – i.e. word documents on some text-based projects, or Soundtrack Pro files. I often consider making blank project files in these folders, so that when I start a new project with a duplicate of these folders they are already there, but I see issues with this in the future..

FCP to AE – It depends how you work, but I often send things from my edit to After Effects and I need to distinguish where things come from and where they are going. This means that this folder contain Uncompressed Quicktime exports from Final Cut, which I am going to do something with in After Effects.

AE Renders – Basically the opposite of the above, this folder is renders that have been completed in After Effects that are to go back into my Final Cut project. I didn’t want to name it AE to FCP, although this might have been more satisfying, because the names would be too close together and I forsee a time when I confuse the two and have an argument with my Mac.

Output – The stuff that generally comes out of Final Cut, via Compressor, ready for web, DVD and all the weird specific file types, sizes and codecs that people often request.

So that’s pretty much how I do it. If anyone has any questions or comments, please share – but what I’d really like to hear is how you organise your projects, or if you have different workflows etc.

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