Let's face it: at one point or another in our journey to become a better creator we have either lost or misplaced at least one file (a quick prayer for those who have lost entire projects).
Nobody wants to face the nightmare panic of having to locate missing files, so we have created a list of tips and tricks to help you never panic about misplaced content ever again.
Offload Your SD Cards Immediately
Transferring your files from your SD card, whether it's audio files or video files, immediately after your shoot will save you a world of headache. I personally always transfer my footage and immediately format the card after I am certain the footage has been transferred. This way when I go on my next shoot, I don't need to question myself trying to determine if I can format a card without losing any important footage.
NEVER USE SD CARDS AS A FORM OF PERMANENT STORAGE
SD cards should be used as a means of transferring footage. Leaving the footage on an SD card, or even editing off an SD card can be a nightmare if you misplace the card.
Save yourself the headache, and just transfer the content immediately.
Use Folders Effectively
No matter if you are a Mac or PC user, both operating systems have folders. SO USE THEM! Making one folder and dumping all your files into that one folder can become a nightmare when trying to change or find one specific file. With this in mind, categorize your folders. Here is the system I have found that best works for me:
Inside every project folder, I have 3 main categories: INSPIRATION, FINALS, AND ASSETS.
INSPIRATION is used for scripts, examples, or other forms of media that help influence the direction of a project. For example, if the project is a wedding and the bride sends me an example video that she really likes, that video will be added to the inspiration folder.
FINALS is simple: the final product. Very straight forward and you will know exactly where to find the finished product.
ASSETS is the lungs of the project. Inside the assets folder I have more folders categorizing the content further: RENDERS, PROJECTS, PICTURES, FOOTAGE, and AUDIO. Then inside each of THOSE folders, I go even further with the categorizing. For example, in the FOOTAGE folder I have a folder for every device used on that project (in the example above, you can see folders for Stock Footage, Sony A7III, DJI Mavic Air, and Canon 6D respectively).
The key is to separate your files in an orderly fashion to ensure you know exactly where content is supposed to be. With Adobe Premiere supporting imports of folders, this method of organization becomes even more effective.
If you'd like to download my version of this organization, you can do so here:
Use Bins In Adobe Premiere
This point is a continuation of the previous, but still needs to be said: utilize the bin system inside of Adobe Premiere.
If you'd rather not drag your entire ASSETS folder and drop it in Premiere, still ensure you separate your content using Bins in your project. This also includes your sequences! Nobody wants to scroll through 300 video files to find one sequence in your project.
Staying organized can be a hard habit to start, but thankfully can also become a hard habit to break. Trust us when we say this is a good habit to adapt. Losing files, especially on productions without a lot of dough involved, is the last thing someone wants to do.