Data Management

Over the years we've developed a specific way of dealing with data so everyone knows where everything goes.

Project Number

(Drew will sometimes call this a "job number".)
The most important thing assigned to every frame of footage shot, every bit of sound recorded, every visual effect, is the project number.
The project number is assigned to a picture very early in its life — probably before it is in a script stage. "0801" indicates it's the first numerically assigned project of the year 2008. Note that we shoot movies out of order of their project number. But whatever happens we never change the project number because although the name of the movie can (and will) change, the project number will follow it from being just a glint in its daddy's eye, to the end of post-production and deliverables.

There are two main and important hard drives used in the making of a feature. These are the "camera drive" and the "edit drive".
Except for the brief period of time where we're copying data from the camera drive to the edit drive, we keep the drives in separate states if possible. We certainly don't keep them in the same county. And I'm not kidding about that.

Camera Drive

The "camera" drive will usually have the job number and then the word "camera" after it. Like "0801 Camera".
This drive is usually a portable USB drive formatted in the PC NTFS format.
At the end of a shooting day, the AC will transfer the footage to this drive. All the footage from the camera will go into a folder on the root drive. The folder of each day will have the job number and the day number in the name like so:

  • 0801 01
  • 0801 02
  • 0801 03

These would be three folders on the camera drive.
Also on the camera drive will be all the production sound recorded for that day. There will be a folder called
0801 mix
And inside that folder will be a folder called
production sound.

Edit drive

The hard drive with a movie on it (the picture edit drive) will be called something like
"0801 edit"
When I say something "like" that, I mean that there might be other "0801" drives — for different editors working remotely for example might have a drive called "0801 Maduka" or "0801 Lisa". These are picture edit drives, formatted in Apple's HFS format.
The edit drive for a project originated on the GH1 has very specific directory structures. Look at Assistant Editing for more details.

Edit drive structure


Footage Folder

Depending on the format of the pictures shot, and the capabilities of Final Cut Pro, there may be two different folders of picture on the Edit Drive. For instance, if shooting with the Panasonic GH1 using Final Cut Pro 7 or below, we will have the following two directories:
Original Camera Footage

ProRes footage
ProRes footage folder structure

See the GH1 section for what to deal with when shooting on the GH1. Suffice to say what we edit picture from in Final Cut is the .mov files in the "ProRes footage" folder.

A Warning about Mac's OS

If you're copying a folder that has sub-folders on it, onto a Mac drive, the OS will warn you. It will say something like "Do you want to copy these files and folders over the pre-existing files and folders." What might surprise you, if you're coming from a PC operating system, is that any sub-folders that do not exist on the "origin" drive will be destroyed. Does that make sense? No? Be very fearful anyway.

Other Drives

There are other hard drives that get used. The sound department will keep their own copy of the "mix" folder on a hard drive they use, but there will not be a specific drive just for one project (sound takes up much less room than picture, so we're not buying a whole drive just for audio for each movie we make.) See the "What about sound" section below.
Also there will likely be an entire "backup" drive made at some point. This is a backup of the edit drive. But it could also be that a backup of all the deliverables is made, but on the edit drive of another project.

What about sound?

Yeah, what about it? Basically the sound part of our lives exists on a different set of drives. HOWEVER. A duplication of the "mix" folder exists on the picture edit drive just so a backup sits somewhere we can access it in the future.

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