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Organizing Your Digital Videos

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/12/2010

Media management is one of the most crucial aspects of home digital video production, and without it your footage could be lost forever.

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    Keeping Organized

    Digital video production, like any artistic endeavor, requires the producer to keep an organized record of what and when they are shooting. Since the average home producer will be using some type of digital, non-linear editing software this becomes even more important because the programs have to be able to reference all of the footage that has been captured for use. If strict media management standards are not kept it is inevitable that footage will disappear and possibly be lost from the project forever. The first thing that must be done whenever you are shooting is to keep all tapes clearly labeled both on the case and on the tapes themselves. This will help to avoid tapes being mixed up when post-production time comes and stop any important tapes from being recorded over. It is also vital to make sure that all tapes are kept even after they have been captured on your computer and integrated into your editing program. Computers have a habit of crashing or losing information so it is always advisable to keep your raw footage until your film project is completed and published.

    When you are capturing your footage you must keep all videos both labeled and stored in a standardized location on the hard drive you are using. Each time the editing program you are using opens the project it references all the footage you are using in places it has been told they are located. If they get moved then the program will not be able to locate it and you will have notices stating that there is “media disconnected.” This will then required you to “reconnect the media” by going in and finding exactly where each piece of this footage is. Every time you are importing footage, whether from DV tapes or from digital movie sources found online, you need to label them clearly and put them in their own properly titled bins or folders in the program’s browser. This will cut down on confusion and make it easier to find video when you are cutting together your project. Make sure to set a “scratch” disk where your project will be saved and try not to move it around. When you are bringing in video files that were not captured from DV tape, digital music, or photos you want to employ give each of these types of files their own folder to eliminate clutter.

    The best way to organize your digital video when editing is to go through each piece of footage and cut them into the smallest and most precise possible subclips. This will make it much easier to find exactly what you want when you are editing. Make sure all of these clip are likewise labeled and placed in appropriate bins or folders according to how they are going to be used in the project.

    By following these guidelines, your videos will be safer, and easier to find when you need them. Don't forget to back up your videos and store them off-site if possible.