Predicting The Future By Reading Drives

There are certain times in the edit process when housekeeping functions let your mind wander. That’s how I came up with the subject of this post. As I was managing a dearth of media, I wondered if the way I received media could affect the edit.

First off, my projects often start with receiving a drive or drives. There may or may not be log notes (paper or electronic), and a script, if it is scripted. Or a script may have come earlier if there was time for a discussion about the project before it started. So with all the elements in hand, I begin the process of loading all the media to my edit storage.

It is at this stage that I start to forecast the future, or rather, my future.

I look at the drives and how they are laid out. If it’s a multi-day shoot, are the drives labeled by day? Is one day called “Day01”, the next called “day 2” and the final day called “last”? Within each folder, are the files consistent? Or does Day01 have “Acam”, “SLR”, and “Misc”, but “day 2” has “A-CAM”, B-CAM”, “C-CAM”, “Audio”?

If I see inconsistencies, it tells me that either the person on location responsible for the media was a bit sloppy or didn’t have time to be consistent, or that a different person was responsible for media each day.

If it is the former — sloppy or rushed — then there is a good chance that files may be missing, corrupt or in the wrong place, and any log notes might also be suspect. When you are rushed, you might not use any verification during the copy process, or you may forget about getting the production audio onto the footage drive.

So why does this help me tell the future? It indicates that I will be spending more time managing media than I might normally spend. It also means that I might have to figure out what kind of system (if there was one) the person used to organize all the footage, and then determine how that system relates to the production audio, the log notes and the script.

Now if it is the latter — a different person each day — that means I may have to decode a different system for each day.

Why do I care about predicting the future? Time spent managing media and decoding someone’s organizational system is time spent not cutting. And that affects what you see on screen.