Organize Your Footage

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March 7, 2009 by falcon7204

Organization is a key to successful video production, regardless of which level you’re working. Let’s take an example. You’ve got twenty jars of homemade salsa in your pantry. But they were made at different times. And none of them were labeled, so you don’t know which is oldest and which is newest. And if they each contain different levels of peppers, you won’t know which one is the hottest until you taste one and it blows the top of your head off.

The same can be true of tapes that you’ve shot. If you have seventeen tapes sitting in a shoebox in the bottom of your dresser, but none of them are labeled, you’re liable to wind up recording over your daughter’s first birthday video.

But take heart! Even if you haven’t labeled your tapes, as long as you haven’t recorded over them, you can still organize after the fact. It will take some time, but just put each tape in your camera and review them, then put a label on them. (Make sure you slide the write-protect tab to the "save" position before you do.)

The best thing, though, is to organize before you shoot. If you’re headed to the water park or the sports arena, go ahead and pre-label a tape with the date and what it is you’re shooting. You don’t have to be prosaic, or verbose. It can be something as simple as "4/2/09 – Botanic Gardens – Casey play date." As long as it rings a bell when you go back to look at which footage you want to include in Casey’s video, that’s enough.

If you shoot MiniDV, those labels don’t have a lot of room. Make sure you use a pen or fine-tip Sharpie, and make use of all the labels as necessary. You could always write the date on the edge label, and the subject on the face label. But make sure when you apply the face label, don’t put it over the hinged lid, or else the tape case will not open and it could cause damage to your tape mechanism.

If you do this, then when you’re ready to edit you’ll have an easier time of doing so. And you don’t have to be a big-time producer to appreciate the benefits of organization.

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