I have never been accused of being the most organized guy in the world but when it comes to fx (post in general really) being a little more organized cant hurt. May I dare ask how some of you implement naming schemes & file management for that ever growing sound effects library. Something that is easy to understand, contains all the useful info and can still be implemented years from now. Any suggestions or any programs that do this job well?
i normally start with the widest definition and work down to the narrowist definition and I use additional data of the type of effect as well like
SFX, AMB, DIA, MUS etc... ( I don't normally use SFX ) the rest I do.
the sound of a BWW door closing -
AutoBMWdoorclose001 or CarDoorClose001
the sound of a cell phone ring for one of my actors -
phoneCellring001 or CellRing001
the next same type of sound for another cell phone -
phoneCellring002 or CellRing002
the sound of light traffic in the distance -
AMBExtStreetLightTrafficDist001 or AmbExttraffic001
the sound of a laser beam hitting a wall -
beamlaserimpactwall001 or LaserImpact001
the sound of wind in trees -
AMBExtWindtrees001 or AMBwind001
the sound of a door opening in a house -
DoorWoodKnobOpen001 or DoorOpen001
...there are a gazillion ways of doing this and you can go crazy with detail or just enough to remind you of what something is and make it easier to find it.
I do this while i'm working and then I scan thru the session to catch what I missed and then I use agent orange to make the cue sheets.
My biggest priority when naming sound effects is being able to find it in the PT audio bin half decently. That means it's gotta be descriptive but not too long. I still try and hit that 31 character mark that used to be the limit on a filenames. But it's gotta be readable, in other words I don't want to have to cross reference it with the description field to figure out what it is. I also try to keep my "main" category words first and consistent so that all my car fx show up together, winds show up together, traffic, etc. etc. So some of my names look like this...
The other big thing I adopted some time ago is Larry Blake's method for organizing your library. He actually proposed it to SMPTE at one point and that's how I found out about it. Anyhow, the thing I really liked is that he delineated 30 odd main categories that *any* sound could fit into. It's more of a folder structure than anything that helps keep your drive organized really nicely and was very helpful to me before I started using Soundminer.
I use Sound miner and Sound miner meta data. I also tend to work in a sort mode that show most recent modified file - ie latest import or record or process.
In Sound miner you can setup prefs on how things are named inc a prefix/ suffix if required. The file names themselves are kinda meaning less but the imbedded meta data contains the wealth of info. I constantly update the meta data and create lists of cools stuff. My searchable lib currently runs to about 200k files+ and about a terrabyte in total size. Seems to work
I don't have time to go through and organize but I will repair or add info to the meta data if I come across something that is wrong.
I use Sound Miner to search everything from rushes when cutting dialogue to library music. Simply brilliant
I was looking hard at sound miner v4... It seems like a good investment. In purchasing it however I can imagine spending a good few solid days sorting out the mess into something understandable!! Then the question remains, will soundminer be able to follow me around around on all the different machines I am working on? Like, if I create folders within sound miner for the project I am working on, will this info relate when I open sound miner on a separate machine? I only ask because the stock pro tools organizer "work space" would not remember how I categorized things when I moved machines. There may be some sort of special "saving as" involved?
The other big thing I adopted some time ago is Larry Blake's method for organizing your library. He actually proposed it to SMPTE at one point and that's how I found out about it. Anyhow, the thing I really liked is that he delineated 30 odd main categories that *any* sound could fit into.
I tried doing this ages ago! Where can I take a look at these categories?
Great question. I think this should be something taught NYU and UCLA USC film school... but, it's not very sexy.
Normally, the entire sound crew has chosen some sort of abbreviation (i've always wondered why this is such a long word) for the job. Sometimes it comes from the picture department, sometimes it comes from another place. Normally, this is branded everywhere, quicktime files, AAF's, hard drive names, and the like. This is the basis of my naming scheme.
Let's say you're working on The Wizard of Oz. We choose OZ as the abbreviation. (but it could be WOO, Or WIZ, or even some code word, I.E. BH, Blue Harvest for Star Wars)
Thus, my Sound FX files i record or make will begin with OZ followed by a sequential serial number, generally in numerical order, underscore, and then a 2 or 3 word, abbreviated, camelized description. then we might give a second number if it is in a group of files of a sequence.
We then organize this on the finder or drive level first by library, then by show, then by something else, it could be recording session, sound type, or even where we got it from (locale).
So, for instance, if we had a series of wood tearing for the tornado scene a single file name might read:
Our logic: The whole purpose of this name is make it easier to edit with, and make finding files in a session ON THE DUB STAGE easier and more efficient. Also, for the purpose of keeping your library organized. Frankly, a sound is a sound. If you're editing a single door close, it could be named bob'syouruncle36. You'e interested in the sound, not the name. It's the rest of the time, the making sense of it all that, for me at least, means a lot. If you're trying to find the single metallic sound that needs sync fixed in 350 tracks, a short, brief, concise name means a lot.
Every sound is also been ran through Soundminer. Here is where the true library work exists. I tell our assistants and apprentices that are learning, 'imagine you're an editor looking for this sound, how would you find it?' There i will put what the sound is, what it sounds like, how it relates to what it was recorded for, (as in 'Dorothy caught in tornado debris.') the circumstances around the recording, (who was there, where it was at, etc You never know how someone will recall a sound they recorded in the past) and then any details pertaining to the quality of the sound such as microphone type, or if there is extraneous noise. Be sure to check your spelling.
Now, this is my method. This is what works for our team. Go find your own. Everyone has a different method, and it continually evolves, as ours has.
One thing i will say: K.I.S.S. -- Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don't get fancy for the sake of being fancy. You want quick, efficient and easy to understand. While many extras might be 'cool', they tend to get in the way when the chips are down.
I tried doing this ages ago! Where can I take a look at these categories?
I've got the whole thing hanging around here somewhere, but here's the category list I use on my drive. It's slightly different than Blake's though.
I was looking hard at sound miner v4... It seems like a good investment. In purchasing it however I can imagine spending a good few solid days sorting out the mess into something understandable!!
Its not half as bad as you think - I had to import metadata into CD rips from some old libraries and once you have everything in a suitable excel sheet it was quite fast. I now usually inject metadata in my own recording via an excel sheet over inputting each field in soundminer as I find it quicker. Its worth it even if you only put an hr a day into it - I found a lot of stuff I'd forgotten about.
it seems there are many different and reasonably defensible manners of library organization....
most facilities have their own preferences for organization- since they also integrate third party sound effects libraries from commercial sources, as well as private collections, to expect that they can spend the time re-naming the files is probably not a high priority for most people.
I know when I am doing design or field recording for a specific show I will usually name things in a manner such as this-
AE_DES_CM - COSMIC DEBRIS FOR SPACE STORM 1
for me, it makes things easy to recollect sounds using a tool like Soundminer because I can catalog the show drive, and then do a find for something like "AE_DES" and all the stuff I created will be available to mirror for longtime archive.