This post is part 2 of a series. For part 1, click here.
Here are some more organizational tips to improve your assistant editing workflow.
4. Store all imported files in a folder on your desktop.
Usually all of the graphics and logos I’m given are on their own CD, and the stack piles up pretty quickly. When it comes time to re-import everything at full resolution for your uprez, you’ve got to hunt through all of the CD’s to find each file. If you copy all of the files to a folder on your desktop first and import them from there, not only will they all be in one convenient place; Media Composer should remember their location and automatically re-link from the Batch Import main window. How convenient! Putting everything in one folder will also help you avoid the mistake of accidentally naming two files the same thing, leading to confusion down the line. If you’re conforming the show on a different system, you can easily burn a CD or DVD of the files in your desktop folder to take with you.
5. Come up with a standard tape and clip naming system.
You might not get the luxury of deciding on a naming system yourself if you’re not the lead assistant, but you should make sure your whole post production team is on the same page – standardization of some sort is essential. It helps to include the show name, shoot date, camera letter, and tape number on all your tapes. For example, the first “A” camera tape shot on 5-12-08 for the show “Living Large” could be labeled “08LL0512A01”, where 08 is the year, “LL” stands for “Living Large”, 0512 is the date, and A01 indicates the first “A” camera tape of the day. Acquired footage tapes can be labeled incrementally with the prefix “AF”: “AF001”, “AF002,” …
For clip names, I always indicate the camera, a brief description of the clip, and a number increment. For example, “Cam A – John rides on tractor.01”. For B-roll, it helps to indicate the location (interior/exterior) and time of day (day/nite/sunset/etc.) so the editor can easily hunt for a specific type of shot: “Broll – Ext – Day – Outside of house.01”. Other information some people like to include in their clip names are tape name and shoot date; you can include whatever is most helpful for you, but be consistent.
Make sure you create a separate bin for each shot tape you digitize, and name the bin the same name as the tape.
6. Create custom bin headings for useful information.
Avid has a slew of bin headings (which can be activated or deactivated in the bin hamburger menu under “Headings…”) that are all useful in various situations. You can also create your own headings and enter any data or notes you need to help organize your clips or sequences. Simply click in the blank space of the heading bar in any bin and begin typing. Once you add information you can sort your bin according to this new information. You can add a “comments” heading and indicate which sequences have been output to DVD for viewing, or which clips were included in a particular sequence. For music bins, add artist or album information, or notes on clearance issues. If you think you will be using that particular headings view again, you can name it and save it to your user settings by clicking in the area next to the hamburger menu at the bottom of the bin.