Strategies for Media Management

It’s a good idea to pick a strategy for media management before you begin your project. Some important things to consider as part of your strategy are reel name conventions, clip name conventions, working with full-resolution media versus offline media, working with multiple editing workstations, and using a storage area network.

Reel Name Conventions

This issue affects recapturing in Final Cut Pro or any other editing system. Reel numbers must be correct so that Final Cut Pro asks for the proper tape when you recapture media. Some Edit Decision List (EDL) formats have strict rules for reel names, so be conservative with your reel names if there is even a slight chance you will export an EDL for your project. For more information about reel name limitations in EDLs, see Reel Name Restrictions in EDLs.

Clip Name Conventions

Clips can get their names in several ways. If you log clips individually, a clip name is derived from a combination of the description, shot/take, scene, and angle properties of a clip. However, if you create clips by importing a batch list, EDL, or Final Cut Pro XML, you may name the clips independently of these other properties. In either case, choose a fairly concise but descriptive name.

If you are working on a narrative, scene name and take number may be sufficient because the shooting script provides the information you need to order your shots. However, unplanned footage for news or documentaries requires more descriptive names.

Try to avoid special characters in clip names. This is especially important if you happen to use the Media Manager to create new media files based on clip names.

Remember that clips in Final Cut Pro have many properties besides the Name field where descriptive information can be added. Log notes, comments, the Mark Good property, labels, and markers within clips can be used to describe your clips more accurately.

Media Filename Conventions

Avoid special characters for filenames. If you are logging clips in the Log and Capture window, the name of your clip determines the name of the file, so this means you should avoid special characters in clip names too. Don’t change media filenames directly in the Finder, or your clips will go offline.

Working with Full-Resolution Media

You can capture and edit your media at full resolution, or you can use an offline/online workflow where you capture and edit at low-resolution, and then recapture at full resolution for your final edit.

Working with Multiple Editing Workstations and Trading Project Files

If you are working on the same project on multiple editing systems, you need multiple copies of your media files. All systems can have identical copies of full-resolution media, or some can have low-resolution media (such as portable computers) while others use full-resolution files. Project files can be transferred from one system to another and clips are reconnected to local media files.

Using Multiple Workstations with a Storage Area Network

Storage area networks (SANs) allow you to connect multiple computers to a centralized media storage device, so everyone is working with exactly the same media files instead of multiple copies. You can build a SAN using Xserve RAIDs, Apple Xsan software, and a fibre channel card installed in each computer.

Using Another Linear or Nonlinear System

If you plan to do final color correction, effects, and broadcast specifications on a non–Final Cut Pro system, consider how you will deliver your sequence and media. You need to pick a project interchange format that the online editing system recognizes. For example, many Avid and ProTools systems recognize AAF and OMF files; other post-production tools recognize the Final Cut Pro XML Interchange Format; and linear tape-to-tape edit suites use EDL files. Media can be delivered on tape for recapturing into a nonlinear system, or for editing onto the master tape in a tape-to-tape suite. In many cases it is faster to recapture tapes than to transcode digital files from a Final Cut Pro-compatible codec to a format the online system recognizes.