I recently started as an assistant editor on an independent feature. It’s one of those projects five years in the making but in the finishing stage of production: picture lock then onto visual effects and music and sound editing.
There’s a teensy problem before we get there… Over time hard drives have crashed without any backup (except the source media) and we’re going back to re-capture the lost files.
What’s interesting is the wasteland of media folders accumulated as the project was edited on other computers or bits of data recovered from odd places. There’s a folder named for each hard disk that’s crashed and rather than consolidate files into a master project folder, the clips were stored in random folders and hurriedly reconnected wherever they were.
The other assistant and I aim to clean this up but it’s interesting at how fundamental file management is, and regardless of your chosen field, how it’s poorly implemented. Whether it’s a giant inbox of e-mail or hard disk of snapshots, keeping things organized and tidy seems the last thing on anyone’s mind.
I’ve never considered myself a compulsive organizer. Instead, I’ve learned the hard way when drives crash, data goes missing or is impossible to work with. Data management is about running a well-oiled machine so you can win the race, not break down before the finish.