As we approach the 50 project mark over the past 3 years I have recently been reviewing the methods by which we store our data. By no means is this something that has been ignored up to now but as a business owner, I feel that it is important to be constantly adapting and evolving with more efficient and effective systems to make the process easier.
This blog post is by no means an end-all answer, we are always learning as we go. The hopes of this is rather to promote a discussion with like-minded businesses so that we can learn more and adopt the best practices (and maybe relay some ideas along the way).
First off, it is important to note that we are a small Canadian business located in Chelsea, Quebec, just outside of Ottawa, Ontario. We have taken on some great clients in the past three years since I made the leap from a freelance videographer to a video production company owner. We are growing all the time and at a modest, comfortable rate. We have some exceptional clients and are very proud of the projects we have created.
With that in mind, we are still figuring things out everyday. We treat every project that we do as our best work but the more projects we have going, the more room there is to slip up and not follow the process. All the systems I have put in place aim to avoid that.
One big rule we have in the studio is work on the project knowing someone else will have to work on it at somepoint.
We have all gone into a video project that someone else has been working on only to open the door to a disaster zone that only the original person working on it can understand (sometimes not even). We try to avoid that at all costs.
We use Adobe Bridge to name all of our files. This is done as soon as the card leaves the camera. This creates a system by which we can never have the duplicate files that we all find on random hard drives.
Our system generally follows this format:
Date created, project, camera, subject/location, number
We have two workstations. Both equipped with Pegasus R6 Editing Drives (formatted for highest speed) and SATA Raid Drives for Backup.
Once the footage is captured and stored to our organization methods it is ready to be backed up for editing. At this point, we simply put the footage on the editing drives so that it can be accessed at any time by either workstation. As footage for projects gets along the way we will keep using this system until the project is finished.
- Using the Cloud:
We use Dropbox. I subscribe to the 1TB version and it works great. We use Dropbox for all our ‘edit’ data ranging from Project Files, Additional Media, Graphics, Audio, Documents, etc.
While the folder structure is fairly similar in all projects, we do modify it at times and only apply to all projects moving forward. For example, in the Documents section, I recently added a Transcriptions sub-folder since we started using a great transcription service (ask me what it is in a private message).
This system allows us to have a permanent place for the ‘support’ files for the project that can be accessed by the team from anywhere.
Once a project is complete we will back it up on the SATA Raid Drives for storage. I keep one of the drives in the fire safe in our office and one offsite. We have a cloud-based document that we log the location of the folder.
Since the project is complete we will then back up the Project Folder from Dropbox in the same location and remove from the cloud. That way the only project folders that are there are ones we are working on.
Again, this might not be the best system but at this snapshot in time, it is what we are using. I hope this generates a discussion, ideas, modifications and maybe even some agreement in our practices.
Thanks for reading and go make some magic!