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Archiving films 20 Mar 2023 08:12 #124648

Hi everyone!
Can anyone can help with advice on archiving films...

We record 2-3 hour question and answers sessions, and slowly edit individual questions into short films.

The naming structure is:

I have maintained a spreadsheet which allocates a number to each film in the order that it was produced, 001 being the first.

We have produced about 200 films and have about 1,000 plus hours of material that needs to be edited and hence need a good system of archiving so that I can start to archive and burn the material onto M Disks.

Should I rename the files to include the Film Number so that we would burn off the disks according to Film Numbers? Archive Disk, 1 for example, would be films numbered 1-50
Or should the current file naming system be maintained and disks are burnt according to file names (i.e. the date / location of the recording)

I'd really appreciate any advice or resources on how to go about this!
Thank you!

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Archiving films 20 Mar 2023 11:29 #124649

Should I rename the files to include the Film Number so that we would burn off the disks according to Film Numbers? Archive Disk, 1 for example, would be films numbered 1-50

I think a very good bit of advice is that when archiving never change filenames of files that have been used in production.

Any file that has been used as part of an edit will need to keep its original filename if that edit is ever going to be reopened otherwise the edit will not be able to find it.

Even if you are only talking about archiving finished video screening copies, when renaming there is always the chance of human error and renaming files means that in the future when you are searching for stuff it might be confusing.

I would suggest keeping all the filenames as they are and including a copy of your spreadsheet of film numbers on each of the archive disks. That way if in the future someone wanted to recover material relating to "film-001" on you spreadsheet they could do so by checking the spreadsheet.

we would burn off the disks according to Film Numbers? Archive Disk, 1 for example, would be films numbered 1-50

If you are talking about archiving for the finished films, disk 1 would contain the material for films 1-50 however they are named.

Assuming, film 51 is still in production it would get archived when finished onto another disk.

And all this time you obviously need to have backups anyway of all your material.

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Last edit: by Zabobon.

Archiving films 20 Mar 2023 13:53 #124652

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Filenames may seem trivial but it's an important part of a planned post-production workflow, especially when archiving. Tremendous problems have been caused by lack of attention in this area.

The filename example you gave is 83 characters long. There are two filesystems used by M-Disc, ISO 9660 and Universal Disk Format (UDF). Standard ISO 9660 supports up to 31 character filenames. There are extensions like Joliet (Windows) and Rock Ridge (Unix/Linux) that allow for longer filenames, up to 64 and 255 characters, respectively, and support for additional characters and file attributes.

UDF (Universal Disk Format) supports up to 255 characters, and is generally more flexible and better suited for modern systems. If the backup M-Discs will be burned on a Mac, I'm assuming it would probably use UDF.

If the MacOS files use Finder tags or info stored in the Finder comments field (as seen in Get Info), I don't know how that is supported on M-Disc UDF, so you should probably test that.

Re renaming files, as Zabobon said, you normally should not do that. You also want to avoid any duplicate filenames.

Re filename strategy, my personal preference is do as little as possible at the filesystem level and as much as possible in FCP. E.g, I've worked on large projects where we simply added a unique 5-digit incrementing serial number to each camera file to ensure uniqueness, then laced those in a folder tree by ProductionName/ProductionDay/Camera+Operator/files

Then we used the FCP import option Keywords: From folders, which automatically keyworded the files on import with the folder names. That system worked because 100% of our post work was in FCP.

Another approach is using a dedicated Asset Manager such as CatDV (Now owned by Quantum): www.quantum.com/en/products/asset-management/

We currently use a method similar to yours of assigning long filenames. I don't really like that but there is no good choice except for using a dedicated asset manager. Filenames are at least durable and understandable without further decoding. But we immediately assign those filenames soon after offload, before using them in any production. Changing filenames after ingest usually causes problems.

An inexpensive approach is using NeoFinder to catalog the media which is then searchable across all offline drives. I think NeoFinder can also handle Finder tags. I'm not sure about M-Disc compatibility: www.cdfinder.de/

If imported media is keyworded in FCP, those keywords can be exported as Finder tags using the third-party utility FindrCat: intelligentassistance.com/findrcat.html

Basically do not assume anything will work and test any workflow at a small scale before you commit to it.

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