Grey Matter and the Green Screen – Jump Ahead With Better Organization

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Jump Ahead With Better Organization

With so many steps in the production process, it’s easy to get lost without an effective organizational structure in place.  I would like to offer a simplified version of my production company’s directory structure to assist you with your digital asset management.  Click here to download Blue Logic’s NEW PROJECT 001 template.

New Project Template

Upon quick inspection, you will notice our New Project template comes with a generic naming convention that includes: an Audio folder, a Dailies Folder, a DVD folder, a Footage folder, a Graphics folder, an Issued folder, a Management folder, a Photos folder, a Project Files folder, and a Reference folder.

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Naturally, this folder structure should only be seen as a starting point for managing project files and relevant media.  As your projects grow in scope, be prepared to add more sub-folders to organize your assets in greater detail.

Rename the Top Folder

As a first step, consider renaming the top NEW PROJECT TEMPLATE folder to the name of your client, or possibly the talent involved, or the primary subject matter featured within the video. If you watched the “Hacking Exposed” green screen video we released for our client, you could see how it made sense to name the top folder after the title of Mark Collier’s newly released book entitled “Hacking Exposed.”

For reference, the “Hacking Exposed video can be found here:

Comprehensive Folder Review

Now lets review the primary and secondary folders within our directory structure template, starting with the Audio folder.

Audio

The Audio folder is where you will distribute your WAV files, MP3 files, and AIFF files.  The best organizational move here is to create subfolders that distinguish each audio file by its intended purpose within the pipeline. Most of the time you will be just fine with these 5 subfolders:  ADR, Location_audio, Music, SFX (Special Effects), and VO (voiceover).

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The Additional Dialogue Replacement (ADR) subfolder should hold the alternate performances (usually recorded in post) of the talent voices in a film or video. The Location Audio subfolder is where you should place relevant live sound taken on the day of the shoot, including presence (aka room tone). The Music subfolder will secure the musical compositions needed to propel the proper emotional impact on the intended audience.  The SFX (Special Effects) folder will most often include files pertaining to sound design or foley, including loops or samples that will be edited in a non-musical way based on the timing of shots in the edit.  The VO subfolder maintains all the narrative audio.

Dailies

The Dailies folder is where you will keep all of your “daily” renders.  Notice there is a subfolder for Movie files, and also one for Stills (which is an industry term for static images).

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DVD

The DVD folder is unique because it is only utilized whenever a project has need for an authored DVD.  Relevant files associated with DVD authoring should be categorized into appropriate subfolders.

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Footage

The Footage folder contains two very important subfolders that help categorize video footage as either raw or transcoded.  The footage_raw subfolder stores what you would expect, in that it stores raw footage downloaded straight from the camera.  The footage_transcoded subfolder should store any footage that has been transcoded into a different format, such as DNxHD or ProRes.

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Graphics

The Graphics folder stores all the regularly used graphic assets including 3D renders, logo animations, lower third files, and various motion graphics.

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When the time comes to issue a client ready draft of a video (or any tangible project deliverable), jump inside the Issued folder and create a subfolder (named with that days date) then add the corresponding rendered file crafted for export.  If you have multiple drafts within the same day, then just add a version suffix to the file name (filename_v02, filename_v03, etc).

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Management

The Management folder is where you will keep all correspondence, meeting reports, contracts, schedules, and budget documents for the project.

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Photos

The Photos folder is the primary folder used for storing relevant project photography categorized by date.

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Project Files

The Project Files folder is often the most utilized folder in the entire directory structure, primarily because it stores the all important application specific proprietary files from each software program.  The subfolders included with the template reflect only a small portion of the many possible software specific subfolders possible.

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Reference

The Reference folder should include any and all documents that provide helpful reference to your project.  The Reference folder could easily grow to be the size of a full project all unto itself depending on the extent of your pre-production.  The six subfolders indicate where to place your scripts, storyboard panels, timecode files, color palette choices, animatic, and also the zipped file of the file structure template provided.

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Now that we have covered the folder structure and associated media, here are a few final tips to consider as you move forward.

Be Descriptive Whenever Possible

As you continue to refine your new directory structure template, try to avoid ambiguous and potentially redundant folders.  For instance, if you take some behind the scenes photos during a particular production day, then consider labeling the corresponding media management folder BTS_pics instead of just Pics.

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QUICK TIP:  POST HASTE Post_Haste_icon_royalty_freePost Haste is a free project management tool that allows you to customize and upload any basic production template and then utilize it over and over for various projects

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You can further investigate POST HASTE on the digital rebellion website:  http://www.digitalrebellion.com/posthaste/

OK my friends, time to wrap up this installment of “Grey Matter and the Green Screen.” In the next installment there will be a detailed discussion with regards to the importance of a shot list, as well as the mechanics of shooting on the Green Screen.

Until next time, stay focused.

David L. Brehm