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File Management Suggestions
Old 3rd August 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
File Management Suggestions

I'm starting to amass a collection of studio and field recordings and am quickly realizing the importance of organizing things right from the start. That is, I've got lots of musical projects and virtual synths that will reference the samples (many of them, with defined loop points) and am sorta overwhelmed by the possibilities. Here are my questions:

What sort of file naming conventions do you use? Do you incorporate technical details into your filenames (e.g., piano_kawai_prepared_wooden_hammer_a0_loop_24bit_96khz_2ch.wav) or leave that detail for your folder structure and/or metatags? What is your folder structure or meta tagging strategy? What software do you use to manage your audio samples? [I'm on Windows 10, FWIW.]

Do you keep your original, raw field recordings? Do you keep any intermediate audio files (e.g., noise-reduced, processed) once your final samples are pulled from them? Do you keep those sample files once they're incorporated into a Kontakt instrument, for example?

When recording, do you go for minutes or hours per take or prefer a larger volume of shorter audio files?

For musical applications, I always assumed I'd have one audio file for each sample, especially where loop points are defined, but this takes a lot of work and I'm seeing a lot of YouTube videos where sound designers instead keep a series of related audio events (e.g., Glock 19 gun shots) in a single audio file. Their workflow appears to be very organized and efficient, but they're doing sound FX - not music. If I follow this example, I'd have a file for Prepared_Piano_Kawai_A0.wav with several strikes of that A-0 string on it. Might be better than having seven or eight files (i.e., Prepared_Piano_Kawai_A0_1.wav, Prepared_Piano_Kawai_A0_2.wav, etc.) Good idea? [Cripes, I imagine this gets pretty complex once you throw velocity layers into the equation.]

Sorry for all the newb questions but I really want to get this right from the start. Any books on this subject you'd recommend?
Old 3rd August 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Old 4th August 2017
  #3
Everybody works differently. The obvious basics are to ensure you can find the file you want when you need it. Making descriptive file names helps. If you're working solo, then whatever works for you. If you are sharing files as part of a larger overall workflow, then in small groups you end up needing a common taxonomy/nomenclature/standard so that you ALL understand what a file is. When you get into really large or very diverse groups, then a content management system is very helpful. I know folks who use code repository tools like github, or collaboration tools like Sharepoint, because of the highly customizable metadata you can associate with a file.

There's an AES standard for the data elements to be associated with audio files to make tagging and copyright tracking easier. It's an informing read.
Old 4th August 2017
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Seems more Sound Design focused than Music recording focused. Most here fall in the latter category.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resort Records View Post
What software do you use to manage your audio samples? [I'm on Windows 10, FWIW.]
Basehead, but many also use Soundminer

In addition, a Numbers spreadsheet is always referenced.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Resort Records View Post
What sort of file naming conventions do you use?
That spreadsheet forms the basis of all file names, ensuring it is easier for anyone involved on the project to locate and pull in source material to a timeline.


Quote:
Do you keep your original, raw field recordings?
Always. Storage is cheap.

Recordings often are recycled, reprocessed, and edited as the base for other sounds.


Quote:
Do you keep any intermediate audio files (e.g., noise-reduced, processed) once your final samples are pulled from them?
Always. As above, each project is different and the larger the pool of source material, the easier it is to recycle sounds.
Old 4th August 2017
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by reynaud View Post
Basehead, but many also use Soundminer
These look great but I work at 24/96, so the only option (on Windows, anyways) is Basehead Ultra, at $499.00. <gulp> That's disappointing because, otherwise, Basehead Lite would probably do fine. Bummer.
Old 4th August 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I only deal with small projects but IMHO the single most important but of info to track well and label is the date (in ISO format please you backward Americans! , ie yyyyMMdd).

So my root project folder is always, for example 20170805_GlastonburyFest. Then all my project folders are grouped into Year folders in HDD archives. They all sort chronologically and can always be found quickly from archive.

Under the root folders, again dated folder names for audio, video, new sessions, new version of edits, versions control, always everything ISO dated in the folder and filenames.

Chronology and precedence are powerful drivers of context. I can find things quickly and know which EDL's are the latest and why. When the artist phones and says, "can we go back to the edits you did last Monday?", it is simple and certain.
Old 5th August 2017
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I only deal with small projects but IMHO the single most important but of info to track well and label is the date (in ISO format please you backward Americans! , ie yyyyMMdd).
Good point. I've been cataloguing my photographs that way for years. Made the mistake of reorganizing some by topic once and, oh, what a mess. Putting things back together was near impossible because the "Date Created" and "Date Modified" tags are so unreliable.

For photography anyways, I find that this works if your media library isn't too large and your memory is pretty good. But now, for example, I've been shooting automobile races at Laguna Seca for so many years that finding "that" photo in all those haystacks is near impossible without meta tags. They're still in those all-important chronological folders - it's a reliable fallback when something wasn't tagged right (or at all) - but increasingly, I rely on meta tags.

I imagine my sample library is gonna get like that pretty quickly and, egads, it took me months of spare time to get twenty years worth of historical photos tagged properly. Now that I think about it, that's almost certainly what drove me (subconsciously) to compose this post. Cripes, I don't wanna do that again.
Old 5th August 2017
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resort Records View Post
For photography anyways, I find that this works if your media library isn't too large and your memory is pretty good. But now, for example, I've been shooting automobile races at Laguna Seca for so many years that finding "that" photo in all those haystacks is near impossible without meta tags. They're still in those all-important chronological folders - it's a reliable fallback when something wasn't tagged right (or at all) - but increasingly, I rely on meta tags.
That is really cool! Recording race car engines would be cool too!
Old 5th August 2017
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
That is really cool! Recording race car engines would be cool too!
Great idea! [scribbles in to-do list....]

Oh, and by the way, I just heard back from Steve at Basehead. All versions support 24/96 (and above) if all you're doing is dragging and dropping catalogued audio files.

Better still, they're launching a public beta for version 5 in the next week or two and the Standard version will now support audio processing at up to 24/192. I must admit, using VSTs within the app (not available in the Intro version) looks pretty useful - probably worth another $150. I'll do the public beta and see if I can't afford to live without it. Either way, it gets me started down the right path with a good workflow - I can always upgrade later.
Old 6th August 2017
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
I keep my files grouped by project with a date for each file in the title of the file. Like "Choristers Home Gala 4-2-77 Tape 1" All the files are in one folder. It makes archiving easier when everything is together. Since we do audio and video and print CDs and DVDs I try and keep the same titles across all the various media so if we have to revisit the concert for any reason everything is in one spot. FWIW
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