How You Can Make Post-Production More Organized & Efficient

One of the most important skills you can bring to post-production is organization. Knowing how to keep track of all your assets will only help make your workflow faster and more efficient. This is especially true if you work in a shared environment where there may be several different editors working on the same project at different times.

In this post I thought I would demonstrate how I arrange assets on my hard drive so that I know exactly where everything is at any given time. This is a method that I actually learned from my work at St. Jude and it has proven to be very helpful for our team. Since we sometimes re-visit projects months later to re-cut for a different need, having a nice, tidy file structure on our servers helps future editors to get up and running much faster.

Here's a look at how I divide up my assets on my hard drive, starting with the main project folder:

Each project has its own master folder. In the above example, Maine Media Workshops is the project folder. You will probably want to designate separate folders for each of your clients, and within those client folders, create a new folder for each project the client sends your way.

Within the main project folder, I start creating subfolders.

  • Art - any client logos, drawings, etc. that I may use for a project
  • Audio (see the embedded image below)
    • Sound effects
    • Music
    • Voice-Over
  • Documents - contracts, scripts, shot lists, creative briefs, etc. that are pertinent to the job

In the Movies folder, I create the following subfolders:

  • Edits - This is where I keep approval copies that I share with the team and/or the client for review and comment. It's important to hold on to each version as you move through post-production. That way, if you happen to be on version 5 and the client refers to something he/she really liked from version 3, you can easily go back to that edit for reference.
  • Masters - The final ProRes 422 master goes here, along with any master encodes that may be needed.
  • Project Renders - graphical elements, animations, etc. that are rendered out of After Effects, or any other motion graphics software. 
  • Working Clips - This can include:
    • raw footage (which I further divide into subfolders, labeled by memory card).
    • clips from other sources that need to be edited into the project (i.e. clips from the client)
    • clips that need to be ported over to another application for graphics work, green screen work, or other compositing.

And, of course, you will need designated folders for all of your project files (and Scratch Disks, if you are working in PremierePro).

I would love to hear how you organize your folders for a more efficient post-production workflow. Leave your tips and screenshots in the comments section below.