Mixing Light Color Correction Podcast Series

Naming Render Files/Project Organization & Tips On Sharpening

March 21, 2015

In this installment of From The MailBag we take a look at file naming and project organization as well as tips for sharpening footage.


Episode 23: From The Mailbag

Getting Organized: Naming Files/Folders & Sharpening Out Of Focus Shots

We’ve had so many great questions in the past month or so that we’ve been pushing out quite a few MailBag Insights and here is another episode!

In this installment, we have a question from none other than Jim Wicks who’s been featured on our Colorist Profile series and is the managing editor of the Tao Of Color Newsletter.

We also got a great question on an issue we all face – out of focus footage!

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get an opinion on please use the contact form.

Your questions can be aesthetic, technical or even client related. We’d love to hear from you, and your question might make future episodes of From The Mailbag.

How Do You Name Render Files?

First up, we tackle a question from Jim Wicks about how Team Mixing Light names and organizes render files as well as project folders.

This sounds like a simple subject, but as you’ll hear, there is a lot to staying organized.  The gist?

Build a system of naming files and folders…and stick to it.

We discuss how each of us name files, and build repeatable project structures.  In addition, we also take a look at how to port your active project organizational structure to a back up/archive routine.

With many ways to stay organized and name files there is one rule that you should always live by – never name anything FINAL!  

That’s a nail in any project coffin!

Any Tips On Sharpening?

Next up, we got a question from Mixing Light member Marshall, who asks a question about sharpening strategies for out of focus footage.

We get a lot of questions like this one about how/when to sharpen and the fact is focus is often, well, less than ideal!

Sometimes the searching for focus look is on purpose, sometimes focus is just really off and more times than not, focus is just a little soft but no one notices until the final grade!

In Part 2, we take a look at how localized sharpening and localized contrast adjustments can go a long way to improving things.

We’ll also discuss why overall sharpening is usually a bad idea.

As always, enjoy the MailBag and please use the comments below if you have more to add to the conversation or have other questions. 

-Team Mixing Light

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Homepage Forums Naming Render Files/Project Organization & Tips On Sharpening

  • Marc Wielage

    I took a tip from Cinesite and ILM and abbreviate the project name, then add a reel number (if any), aspect ratio, version number, and date, plus the letters “CC” for color-corrected. So it’d be “movie_r2_2.40_v1_cc_03-21-2015.” I got into the habit of no spaces and no high-ASCII characters from dealing with Linux. As long as the recipient can see at a glance what version it is and what date on which it was made, you can come up with a system that works. I agree, putting FINAL in there is deadly, unless it’s the day it’s shipping. And ask the client what they want — the editor or post sup may have an entirely different philosophy.

  • RobbieCarman

    good stuff! Question though Marc – do you put the period in 2.40 in the above example? I’m always very weary of using periods in file naming except for the file extension

  • Simon Tingell

    Great mailBag. One great tip for folder organisation is a free program for both OS X and WIN called Post Haste from Digital Rebellion. It lets you set up numbered projects with folder templates. I used it for a couple of years and it have worked like a charm. Check http://www.digitalrebellion.com/posthaste/ for more info. I’ll attach a screen shot with info of my template if anyone is interested.

  • RobbieCarman

    simon – agreed. I mentioned Post Haste around 3:10. It’s a great tool!

  • Marc Wielage

    I have put the period in before, but I can see why some users would go “240,” “178,” and so on. I have seen file names go completely bonkers on projects, particularly when you stir in multiple aspect ratios, different versions, and different 3D systems. HDR will be yet another potential issue.

  • Simon Tingell

    Oh great, I didn’t hear that. Anyway, it’s worth pointing out twice. Folder organization is so important. Nothing worse than working with freelancers that don’t respect the conventions for the project. My screenshot was not attached so here’s a dropbox link instead. https://www.dropbox.com/s/lywv59lm0ppzakr/folderStructure1503.png?dl=0

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