Content / File organisation

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Content / File organisation

Postby Patrick Verhey » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:57 pm


many people are often confused with their content management, especially if they are using a Media Manager. But actually it is very simple to take care of all content files easily.

Here are my personal recommandations. That does not mean that this way is the best or only one to do, but I made very good experiences with this.

First it is important to make one computer your master. This is normaly the Manager computer. If you start loading files from different computers into you Project it can get very confusing. So make sure that you only use one computer to store files.

So the first step is that I create a folder on disk drive c:/ of my manager computer. This folder is named like the show I´m just doing. It is important that this folder is on drive c: and not on the desktop. If it is not on drive c: you wont find it in the Pandoras Box assets tree.

In this folder I create one folder for the Project and several folders for the content. They are usually named "videos" "pictures" "objects" "test" and after a while I have more folders like "new pictures" more new pictures" and "the newest pictures".
Be sure to organise this in a way you can work easy with.

Very important is to copy all files you are using in your show to your harddrive. External Harddrives or USB storages are not suitable. The one problem is that external dirves are to slow and not safe because somebody could take them away. And in this case Pandoras Box is not able to load the files anymore.

After you have all the content in the "show" folder on your harddrive you can open a project, which is stored in that folder also. Now you add all content to your project as you need it. It is smart to keep the project as small as possible, because then it will load much quicker when you restart it.
And the less files you have loaded in your project the less your showdesigner can see. And i made the experience that most people have problems to choose a loop from 10 and that this can take minutes already. Imagine ho long it will take if you have 200 in your project.....

The good things on this content organisation way are that you can acess your content files very quick on you harddrive and in Pandoras Box. So it is very easy to load new files.
And it is also very easy to backup your show on an external disk by easily copying this whole folder. If you want to run that show on a different computer just copy the one folder on the c: drive and open the project. All content will be there and you don´t need to read it. And since all content is on you manager computer you don´t need to walk around to the client computers to copy files. Start the clients and spread all resources and you are online and ready for a coffee break.

For the understanding how Pandoras Box is working with content you need to know that the actual file of your clip or picture is not saved in the project. By ading content to your project Pandoras Box creates a shortcut to the file by recognizing the path. This path then is safed into the project. And when you spread the contetn Pandoras Box copies all files onto the client computer creating the same folder structure as you have on your Manager. So it does not matter how the folder structure is in the client computer because it will be created by the manager.
So you only need to make sure that you have well organized your Manager Computer, and the you will have a lot of fun loading or changing content.

I had also one issue with a customer which I would like you to know. They had set up a project with one Manager and one Server. They loaded content from the manager and the server into the project. After rehersal the got new video files to change with the old ones. So the changed the files on the client computer. Thes deleted the old files and put the new ones with the same name on the same place. So far this does not bring problems, but the first files were loaded from the manager, and not from the client, so the manager did not know that the files on the client has been exchanged. On each restart of the Manager, the software spreads the content again. So guess what happend!?
The Manager loaded the files from its harddrive to the client computer an do he deleted the exchanged files. The old files were on the client again. These guys were very confused and it took me a longt time to find the problem and explain what happend. This can not happen if you organise your files well and smart.

So, think about your content management and have fun. Let me know about your ideas and experiences here in the forum.
Patrick Verhey
Patrick Verhey
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:49 am
Location: Cologne, Germany

Re: Content / File organisation

Postby taylorjat » Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:01 am

New to Coolux we have a moderate system of ten content servers, a Media Vision box, and a laptop with Media Manager Pro. The system is divided in half with the Media Vision box as the primary control surface, and the Media Manager Pro as a backup system. 5 content servers work with the Media Vision box, and the remaining 5 are associated with the Media Manager Pro laptop. During our show development we did all of our show development and content testing on the Media Vision box, and transferred our content directory and show file to the laptop, and spread content to the backup system. Which worked for about 6 weeks until the content directory ballooned to a size that it could no longer fit on the laptop HD which is a small 80GB HD compared to the Media Vision's 200GB HD. This provided a brief challenge in managing our content.

We needed a solution to build a content directory of content that was actively being used in the show, without deleting the content from the Media Vision box. What we ended up doing was cleaning the project file tree up so that only content on the time-line was in the project tree. Content was still on the HD if it needed to be recalled later; it would simply be placed in the project tree and spread to the servers. We then effectively deleted the content directory on each of the clients by moving the content directory, to an archive folder just so that it might be restored quickly if something went wrong. We then spread the project tree to the servers. This reduced our servers content directory by about 75% the first time we did this. Creating a compact content directory structure of media that was needed for the time line. This content directory was then copied to the laptop and spread to back up system of servers as we had been doing before.

There are some other minor issues that we encountered, but this method worked all the time for us.
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