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You were a rock star on the shoot and the client is very happy. You did an amazing job retouching and finishing the image and, not only is the client happy (maybe ecstatic!), but their client is even happier. If you’re a wedding shooter, the whole family loves you!
Now they call to do additional licensing or make a huge print. They love you so much they want to make sure you are compensated well for the added use or for the print. You're thrilled, but when you look for the image, but you can’t find it. Where did it go? What did you name it? What folder did you put it in?
Excellent, you forgot what you called it or didn’t store it properly. It’s buried in a pile of unorganized hard drives with a generic file name that the camera gave it.
In a matter of seconds you go from being so thrilled about making some easy money to spending two whole days looking for the file. In the worst case, you lost the file because it was not Archived correctly. You vow to never let this happen again!
Watch the video and use this File Naming System to save you from hours of headaches and panic. Don't let this happen to you again.
Please note: Insults are not tolerated in the comments to anyone!
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Video tutorial by Michael Grecco
For a catalog, on Windows, I would suggest instead of using a "screen shot", the command: tree.exe d: /f /a>archive_05.txt (assuming the archive drive is D: and it was drive #5, also the archive_05.txt file will be created in the directory the command prompt is executed in). This will produce a text file with an ASCII tree structure of the folders with the files listed in each folder. This catalog text file is easy to search so you can locate the media that holds the file you are looking for. The only other things I would add is for the data I really don't want to lose, I also use an external parity program do if a file is damaged (and the second backup is lost or unavailable) there could be a shot of recovering it (usually PAR2 or DVDisaster). I also include the recovery programs on each piece of media so if the recovery program was damaged, all I need is an uncorrupted copy on another media. Other than that, this video gives solid advice.
It seems that naming with respect to TIME is a UNIQUE identifier. You COULD name it down to the second; but date seems good enough. The reason it is UNIQUE; is that the TIME for a day only allows so many photos to be taken or named during that time by one person. Therefore, you limit the POSSIBLE identifiers; and eliminate most of the headache with respect to having to come up with a unique identifier.
It would be interesting to try and consider OTHER categories that would be unique like that. I don't know if there ARE any; but it would be a good exercise, nonetheless.
The DATE also has MEANING to ANYONE who views the file name. Just NUMBERS or just LETTERS do not necessarily have the SAME MEANING. Therefore, using the date creates a UNIVERSAL standard by which people can quickly retrieve a file. You just have to keep in mind that some people think write out and think of dates in a various orders. If you are sharing these files; then you must let the people know that your FORMAT for the date is YYYY, MM, DD.
I read a lot of comments, going straight down the page, to get a sense of the arguments for and against this system. I like the fact, that by naming by date FIRST... you set up the files to be stored in a logical order; and circumvent other systems from possibly changing things around (such as removing the date metadata, or modifying or copying it incorrectly).
The other point I like is that, a file should be able to be retrieved NO MATTER THE NAMING SYSTEM OF THE FOLDERS. It should be able to stand alone OUTSIDE of the idea of being in the 'right' folder.
I will definitely begin adding this to the way I name my files.
Thanks so much. Much respect to your 30-40 years of professional experience.
Hi David, The idea is that you create a system that works for you and stick to it for consistency. I only do one shoot a day for the most part, so the date, without time works. If you are doing multiple shoots, I would devise a system that might incorporate the hour, on a 24 hour clock, into the file name. It must be 2 digits. This way the folders and files all stay in the chronological order. The time has to go after the date like so: 2018010113, the 13 being One O'Clock.
❓Is the format Raw different for different cameras❓ I'm in the early faze of my photography, but as we decided to share our World Tour with with kids publicity, there's a lot of footage- I'm already drowning. 😅 So, I classify them just like you( without the underscores. Great tip!) but I don't understand why we need to convert the raw files. Would be grateful for a reply from you or the community 🙌
Three reasons: 1) DNG is a Universal format. If you change cameras, all your files will be the same and you have the highest probability of opening the files in the future. 2) The files are smaller. 3) The sidecar (XML File), or processing instructions are already built into the file and do not exist outside the file to lose. Those are the reasons I cover and archive in DNG.
Reverse date order makes a lot of sense and have been bulk renaming digital photo files for years using Metamorphose 2, which can use this system and also be customised to include camera and user data. For other individual documents such as invoices, bank statements etc, I use NameThatFile which also uses the reverse date order.
Been doing this (reverse date) for my whole career. It's a UK project management standard. It sorts everything by date beautifully. The American date format is totally illogical & confusing when working on International projects
I've been using the YEAR, month, Day system for many years. I don't know anyone else that was using it when I explained it to them. This system works especially well for Documents, Spreadsheets, Photos, Voice Recordings etc. Finding them by date and then name (20180921_Smith_Joseph) seems to be the quickest way. Having your created files in chronological order is very, very helpful.
Finally! Someone else understand the whole yyyymmdd file naming system. I tried explaining this to a few friends (designers) and they couldn’t understand it at all. I typically do this for folders instead of the files themselves since I use a program to lock files to folders, but I love this technique. I just don’t understand why photographers are the only ones who do this...
People use underscore probably because it's neater, but for SEO you should always use hyphen/dash instead, purely because Google doesn't treat an underscore as a word separator. Hence, dog-bones is readable as dog bones, but dog_bones is treated as one word, which doesn't make sense to a computer.
Hi David, you are right, but I do not post with these names. These names are designed for file identification. This is the way I would post: Actor-Steve-Martin-by-commercial-photographer-Michael-Grecco. That's works the best for SEO, but is not very good for specific file identification.
I'm in the U.S., and our calendar date method never made logical sense to me, even as a child. From when we are born on until we die, we think of time, so we are conscious of the year being the most significant, but due to dealing with more current and recent thoughts, we put month first, and end with the year. Unfortunately that is not likely to change soon, but at least think of using a more logical method for recording history.
In the 1960s, I numbered my 35-mm film rolls by YYYY-MM-DD-RR-Location/Event/Subject, the RR being a two digit roll number, figuring I would never shoot more than 100 rolls in one day. It helped me keep a sorted track record. For any image, I could estimate the year and period, thus quickly zero in on the roll that contained a particular image.
Some people may ask, what if you do not shoot an entire roll? I remember the Nikon School of Photography instructors telling us how the typical camera owner used a roll of film; shooting some Easter scenes, some more on Mother's Day, trying some Fourth of July fireworks, Halloween costumes, and ending up with some Christmas shots, then rushing the roll to the local processor asking, "How soon can I get the pictures back?"
My numbering method works for me because I generally shot several rolls on a subject, and never had a roll that lasted for more than one day.
Today, I still use YYYY-MM-DD in anything I need to sort by date because it is the least confusing to anyone attempting to determine if the other numbers are the month of the day of the month. It is no wonder that it became the ISO standard. It is still odd to me that I receive files from others where the year is last, as if they never thought about keeping track of multiple years of data in a sensible sorted way.
I think it is a good idea this is in a video. I have found that it can be "a touchy subject" trying to suggest putting the year first. It is as if you are insulting their intelligence. In those cases, step back. They can become so against the idea that they will defend month first forever.
Well, I am not suggesting to use just the date. But if you are a corporation with multiple employees I would suggest that the first characters are a sequential project number that could be based on the date or not. Then I would name the project and then what the document is. But the sequential project number always keeps all the projects in a hierarchical order and it makes it easy to find the project.
TIP for everybody: Be consistent when you're naming files. For example, do not use YYYYMMDD_lastname_firstname_XXXX as the format at one point and later switch to YYYYMMDD-lastname-firstname_XXXX. Keeping a consisting naming format helps if you decide to import the file names into an Excel spreadsheet or database for data manipulating.
I don't think so, I if I just mis-spoke. Should I use a dash or and underscore in mis-spoke? I always use underscores in my files names, never dashes. Man the pressure is on when the camera is rolling. Please cut me a little slack!! : ))
You are saving everything in Adobe's proprietary format. What if they become too expensive to use some day? I guess there might be no alternative here. But archiving in proprietary format seems less than optimal.
I love the way you are thinking! Yes, but what would the choice be, to save everything in the different camera manufactures format? What if they are out of business someday? This was a calculation we had to make. We decided to everything in the same format to maintain one file type. As a professional photographer I am married to Adobe, we can not function, retouch, edit or deal with files without them, so for me this works.
A Linux technician told me (around 10 years ago) to only use underscores when naming my files. Good to see that advice is being passed on in this video too. It's kinda crazy that simple stuff, like naming conventions, is so infrequently taught.
I think its a great system. My only thing to add is that Google prefers hyphens to underscores so for SEO purposes a hyphen as a word separator may make more sense. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/76329?hl=en
That's a great comment, thank you. I would not post files on a website names like this though. We completely change the name of the file for SEO, this is just for internal use and file distribution to clients.
If you look at the other videos on my channel it will explain. Storing large numbers of large files on a Raid is expensive. It's twice as costly as storing it on a drive, and then it is still not backed up offsite. Also, I would never take a large file you are woking with and compress it unnecessarily. We work with the largest purest file and then reduce the file size for the final use, but would not "kill" the file incase we needed the maximum color and beauty.
I agree, the yyymmdd is essential. I devised a file naming nomenclature early on, as I was working as both a commercial and a newspaper photographer, I have a (c) logo on all my files because they are copyrighted and it helps remind editors and users that the work belongs to someone (metadata has my ph number), a country code, a local code and then a sequence number. I use periods as separators. eg: 20100203.(c)xx.USA.SEA.JOB.000001
This makes sense, but is so 1990... A better way is to use an ECM [Electronic Content Management] system. This software stores metadata [date, name, description, etc.] so years from now, you can find the information. This video is good, but has been superseded by more modern ways... (search and read "ECM")
Well, again I disagree. This does nothing to protect the rights of the artist, making sure the file is properly licensed and attributed. The system you refer to works really well for the company using it, and can totally ignore licensing information and attribution. A better system is the one being worked on by Benji K Rogers. I heard hi speak at a private think tank in LA: http://dotblockchainmusic.com/ The intention is that is format will be used in the future for Movies, Music, Photos and VR. As an artist this is the system I would support, one were all the information is machine readable from the blockchain and universal. The artist gets to upload the files and declare ownership
The metadata I refer to is typically done by people at inception of the 'scan' or 'import'. Another way is using AI. The system can be 'taught' what to look for; invoice #, dates, vendor names, etc. and add that into the ECM database [not the file]. Users with rights to that database application can peruse, search and find files in milliseconds. (My experience in more with business docs, than pics). Agree to two separate scenarios, and they can have two different ways of doing things. Good banter.. Thanks!
You are right, the problem is two fold though. One is, that all the platforms that all the media companies use strip the metadata from the file to start with, so relying on it is not a good idea. The second is that there is yet to be a standard for metadata for visuals, like there is for music. Last year I was at a summit held by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and it was clear that the standards are still being debated. An associated of mine, Jeff Sedlik, created PLUS, Picture Licensing Universal System, but it has not been widely adopted. Until there is a standard for metadata, the last thing I would do is rely solely on it. Don't get me wrong though, everything we create is filled with identifiers and metadata.
Michael, for the application that you use in your business, I have to assume that naming files [DOS file-name convention] works best. Agree. For commercial companies, that have high turn-over, thousands of files, compliance mandates, and huge fines if they can not produce a file, I would rather ECM. For 31 years I have seen every way you can imaging, but ECM with built-in AI [artificial intelligence] truly is the best, albeit costly... but then again; "what is the cost of a lost or misfiled document?" It is different, to different people. 'All the best to you. Thanks.
As a Documentary editor, I NEVER retain the original camera names for files. DCS etc. These names are not semantic and they have no human readable or searchable properties. Yes it's a long laborious process to rename everything but it's the only way to find these files using search in the future. Also, the main issue with adding hard drives to your archive is the risk of duplication, which can reduce confidence in your file system and slows down decision making, because you need to double check version control. Plus you need a cataloguing system like Neo Finder to hold the directories of all of the drives. Instead, some alternative advice is to reduce the amount of drives in your archive by purchasing larger drives. 8TB+ are now relatively cheap. If you are holding onto 500gb, 1tb or 2tb drives for archiving in 2018 you are wasting your shelf space. That said video has some great advice for file archiving and yes, it's essential to mirror your archive drives. But I'm betting that most people watching this video have a lot of smaller capacity drives that could easily be transferred and consolidated to larger drives. A great topic, keep up the good work.
They can, unless you use Gold Archival CD/DVDs. The Kodak brand claims they will last 300 years on the packaging. We use CD/DVDs when archiving copies of our Copyright Registration images. We attach the disks to the application.
I've been using YYYYMMDD for a very long time. I haven't been doubling my drives though and I should start doing that. I typically use dashes or hyphens instead of underscores but otherwise, this is very close to the system I decided on back in the old DOS days. However, I had to use a series of folders to get all the information I wanted to add to the 8.3 file system. Now I can assign all values to the file itself.
We simply use folders with the year on them just to breakup the data. Otherwise both Lightroom and the Mac finder takes a long time indexing 10,000, 500 meg to a gig layered Photoshop files to show you what's in the folder. We had to do these to speed up the speed over the network when viewing files on our server.
Again, we are discussing a file naming system that goes beyond your inhouse cataloging and data retrieval system. It's outward facing and can be understood by clients or anyone who has the file. Also, I use Cloud storage to backup my server over time, but I can easily come back with a Terabyte of 4K, 2 camera video footage that I have directed and there is no way to get that in the cloud my friend. Sorry to say. The cloud is really good for small documents, not large ones.
Thanks for the reply!
I guess I don't know enough about Macs to understand how that makes sense.
I thought you made the screenshots while the drive was mounted and then stored them on some other drive to look at those to quickly see what's on which drive without having to mount the drive itself.
To me that sounded impractical and a waste of space, as you could do the same thing better with a directory listing saved to a text-file, instead of a screenshot (which may cut off some information -- you can't scroll on a screenshot after all -- while in general taking up more space than a textfile would)
A better way is an index system a.k.a. Central Data Base where users can add Meta Data to a file like "blue eyes, California..." and other meaningful stuff for humans. The Data Base Record (usually text or a physical card, maybe both) then points to a file (and you could have drawers with disks in not so good order as you think with such Data Base Records). Such naming you make can even be automated and duplicated for backup reasons with a server system.
What you are talking about in this video clip is what a hard drive is doing anyway and it got a clever index for telling the OS where the file is in the physical form. With good Data Base records you can expand to millions of disks.
As far as I know such servers and data bases comes in ready made packs from the computer industry and Adobe is one. For low cost solutions any Unix or Linux can be used as well. 1 smart person could set it up.
Up until recently we did not have that many drives in our studio and we were managing the data via screenshots. This worked well because of the hierarchical date system at the beginning of the file name. Finding images was easy. Some of the other people who commented here, mentioned a few different disk scan and catalog maker softwares, like DiskCatalogMaker and NeoFinder. We have now used both and prefer NeoFinder. All this said, the system is made so that images can be found independently of databases, easily in lightroom and by third parties. A good file naming system should not be dependant on a good database system, it defeats the purpose. If that were the case all the information could be in the metadata and the file can have an arbitrary number. If your catalgo get corrupted though or the files are outside of your system, it does not good. This video is talking about file naming, not databases. There are other was to do it, I believe a good name is where you start though. It's as simple as setting it up in lightroom when you start to ingest files or as simple as using a piece of software like a BetterFinderRename.
snapshots of the content of harddrives? I hope he doesnt mean literally screenshots - there are tools to create text files from contents on harddrives! But then again just use EVERYTHING search on windows. There is no faster way to find files.
VirtualVolumeView is a free open source altwrnative to screenshots. It makes a searchable index that's super fast and lightweight. You can index all your harddrives in one catalog such that searching for a filename will then tell you what hard drive it can be found in
good points on the renaming, especially with using underscores. but making screenshots instead of using a catalog software? NO WAY! using an application like neofinder (aka cdfinder), i use this myself, will be far far better then screenshots. yes, it cost money. but it's money well spend.
You are right! Someone here turned me on to DiskCatalogMaker and we love it. We put the catalog in a shared Dropbox folder and everyone has access to resource. I have never heard of NeoFinder, but I am sure it works well also.
I do pretty-much the same with my data files. For my pictures and video, I make this extremely fast to process hundreds of files in a matter of a couple seconds by adding the date prefix, and changing it all to lowercase using a program called "Flash Renamer" by RLVision It uses a template to take the "Date Created" and format that date as part of the filename and as long as I do this before messing with the file, the date is correct. I have not found a faster/easier way to enforce my naming standard to many files.
For images I use YYYYMMDD-9999 in the beginning of the file name, where 9999 is a sequence number, followed by info of the file in a same way as mentioned in the video. This way, the image file has a ‘unique’ label independent of the text in the file name. This allows for publishing the image file only by it’s unique label and keeping track in my archive. For other documents types I use YYYYMMDD at the end.
No mention of KDE Activites, no mention of find or locate. No reference to file systems being path-oriented data bases.
And a confusion between AmigaFS-style file info, and embedded data as in IFF/JFIF/PNG/AVI, and actual file meta-data like modification time and ext4-style creation time.
Also: YYYYMMDD is *not* the _reverse_ order of a date.
_> I am a Mac user, I do not need to or wish to code_
_> or spend my time building directories._
The point of directories (or "folders" as some call them) is to organise files.
They can save a lot of time.
_> The discussion is a simple one about coming up with the best files naming system, cross plate-form, and cross network._
It is missing about forty years of computing history on that topic if that is the case.
_> this is the way I choose to name my files._
That's fine, but that is all it is. It is not the world's best file naming system, as the title of this video claims, it is just the schema that you use, and which works for you.
I have no problem with that, but from the title I was expecting something else.
I have no confusion at all. First, I am a Mac user, I do not need to or wish to code or spend my time building directories. The discussion is a simple one about coming up with the best files naming system, cross plate-form, and cross network. We also fill the files with Metadata. We do use metadata heavy, but that is not the discussion here.
My files are used by my clients and printers and web developers and need to be identifiable on many levels. Please organize your directy how ever you want, this is the way I choose to name my files.
I don't like his underscore. I like filename with more than 260 characters set by the little written microsoft Windows:
Always two drives is very good for UpStarts
I like filenames so long like whole datasets replacing that so called databases.
Some info: 433GB to download is easy in a few days, but more and more harddrives need'n max 4 weeks in western hemisphere but downloading 216MB needing also a full week (868826 Files from OpenStreetmap)
Some people are giving there computers/servers/harddrives password xor keyword names f.e. conqueringDworld.
At least i didn't understand what kind of Filesystem it is, i think it's only a website (which helps in a lot)
Incorrect. File names should follow the standard "Photodraft", "photofinal", "photofinaldontuse", "photofinalfinal", "photofinalfinalyes", "photofinalfinalyesnoCC", "photofinalfinalyesCCnoretouch". Duh.
Who is incorrect my friend, everyone here chatting? Is that all you would name them? We do add an FRT after the creator identifier (MGP) when an image has been retouched. But changing the name at ever step of the way does not work for our workflow. It's too messy. I prefer to keep images in different stages of development in progress folders., then move them forward to the next folder when the work is done. Not to change the name everytime you touch a d file to what looks like code: "photofinalfinalyesnoCC."
I’ve been using essentially this system since working on a national advertising campaign circa 1989 where I HAD to get serious — absolutely rock solid advice! I don’t understand how anyone could give this advice a thumbs down.!
Well, I try not to use words like stupid to start. So you don't bother naming your files, you just use tags? That's a good system for you internally but might not work so well if you do not have the key, or the code to the tags. Yous system immediately requires another set of information that a third party like a client might not have.
Screen Shots of files are OK. Better to just type in a cmd prompt DIR > Dir.txt. It makes a text file of the contents.
You can get even fancier. Use "Power shell" "Get-ChildItem" and this will give you options to recurse subdirectories and all file info. The best part is it will save it as a CSV you can open in Excel.
DNG is fine if you plan to stay in the Adobe universe; but if you plan on using something like Capture One, you should only work with the original RAW format from your camera. Capture One (among other software) can not work with DNG files. Also if you prefer to maintain camera-specific adjustments, you will lose them when converting to DNG.
You need a document management software. The filenames then become irrelevant (though you can still use the same convention). The software stores the metadata and has a database to catalog it. So all the sorting and searching is done off the metadata stored in the database. You don't have to worry about dates getting corrupted by copying files or other things because the info is archived in the database.
The files themselves can be stored on any disk added to the software because the location is managed by the software.
Such software also usually has version control, keeping a history of changes to a file. It can often store thumbnails, and even a small viewable version, jpg for instance, that is associated to the primary file so that you have a quick way to preview it. They usually manage security too in a more advanced way than the OS.
How are you archiving and backing up these disks? If you take a disk out of a machine and leave it for years, it may not work when you put it back in. The bearings of the spindle creep over time, and eventually that causes failure. A spinning disk does not have that problem, but may fail due to wear. In either case you need backups for disk failure and for data corruption protection. What if you get a virus that destroys the data. Having the disks offline protects against viruses, but not corruption and disk failure. A proper backup method should protect against viruses and disk failure.
The problem is not that Facebook and Google are the only advertising platforms. The problem is that they are considered mainstream media and without these two, the trend of cryptocurrencies gaining legitimacy is delayed. That is right, I said delayed not blocked or prevented.
The World Has Changed.
Five years ago, when bitcoin was unknown to most people, this might have been a fatal move. Today is a different story. I recently traveled to a remote mountain town in the interior of Mexico. Everyone I met had heard about Bitcoin and eyes lit up with excitement when I ask if I could pay for lunch with bitcoin.
Today are dozens of websites dedicated to cryptocurrencies, either holding them, exchanging them or just writing about them. Probably the most effective advertising remains on Google, it is called Google Search and it is free.
If someone wants to learn about owning bitcoin or any other currency, there is a ton of educational information.
The Flipside Is Being Ignored.
Not All Regulation Is Inherently Bad.
If we examine the full spectrum of regulation to this point on a global scale there is one common target most everywhere. That is the practice of exchanges. So far there has been little or not regulation, threatened or enacted, to protect investors from loss of funds due to security breaches.
Capitulation Is A Good Sign.