Organizational skills play a profound role in a filmmaker’s success. Having the right systems and processes in place ensures they capture the right footage and use it to its full potential. For film students, in particular, it also helps stay ahead of assignments and projects— an invaluable skill in the film industry.
Here are some effective tips for organizing your home video and movie library work.
Create Digital Copies
The importance of backing up your work cannot be understated, especially in the digital world. It only takes the accidental click of a button to eliminate hours of hard work and irreplaceable footage. When you upload from a memory card, create an extra digital backup in cloud storage to ensure continuous access to your work.
Many students use older film and footage from their past to create their first projects. Get digital copies of your older film— available via Just8mm— and ensure the originals are stored safely. Digital copies and cloud backups are insurance policies for a bad tech day, which is bound to happen sooner or later during a project.
Use Folders and Sub-folders
Create a filing system of folders and sub-folders to keep your movie library organized and easy to navigate. There are numerous approaches to creating a filing system. Ideally, the top folder will outline the date and name of the project.
You can add sub-folders for unedited footage, footage in processing, and finished footage within that folder. You may also want to have folders for specific shooting days or subjects, depending on what best suits your needs.
Once you have a filing system in place that works for you, copy and paste new folders in the same hierarchy for each project going forward. Incorporating a consistent, standardized system will make organization a part of your routine both as a student and a pro.
Use Tags and Descriptors
Be as descriptive as possible when adding tags and descriptions to your footage. It’s worth using a program that allows you to attach metadata to your files. Doing so helps you use keywords to find footage instead of rifling through files. It also helps protect your work if it goes online.
Using tags and descriptors is an organizational skill that can be used for everything from home videos to documentary footage. While it takes time to enter this information on the front-end, it saves countless hours later on.
Consider creating a database that outlines each project’s name, the location, and keywords associated with it. This resource will be immensely helpful as you expand your portfolio.
Take Film Notes
One proactive strategy for organizing your video collection is to take notes as you film or review previously recorded footage. As you go through, note time stamps, the subject, the location, and what stood out to you at that moment.
This information can be used to add keywords and descriptors, as well as tags to revisit later. Taking notes is an important habit to develop as a film student, as it can help you revisit something profound or inspiring when your brain is overloaded with footage. It can also help to review footage both with and without audio to see if any visual components would add value to another project.
Develop a Work Flow
Develop a workflow that helps you stay productive and organized while filing away or editing footage. Create a master to-do list that outlines all the steps so you can revisit it as needed.
Create Safe Storage Spaces
Finally, create safe storage spaces for your original footage and any memory cards or thumbnails that you need to keep. Keep everything in a cool, dry, air-tight area with proper labels in place.
Using these organization tips can help you keep your home video and movie library safe and accessible.