Managing Your Media: Best Practices
The best piece of media isn’t the one with perfect particles, or the one that frames in the story just right….the best piece of media is the one that you can find.
Have you ever been sitting at your computer trying to program an event, concert, or service and a light bulb goes off to use a motion you have in your collection…and then you spend 20 minutes digging through your computer and six external hard drives only to settle on something else?
Managing your media is extremely important if you want to be able to effectively communicate stories, create environments, and VJ on the fly.
External vs. Internal Storage?
What Type of Drive to Use?
There are lots of schools of thought out their for whether it is better to use an internal or external drive. The biggest things to consider is solid state (SSD) vs. a traditional spinning drive. Solid state will be the fastest option. Another idea to consider if you’re using an external drive (more than just for backup) is to choose one with a great connection. For Mac users, go with a lightning connection. You’ll get the fastest speeds possible and won’t see the lag you might notice in a USB or Firewire cable. For PC users, look into USB 3 or eSata connections as the best options..
If you can, upgrade your internal hard drive to an SSD as this will give you the fastest performance from your media.
Storage vs. Organization
Managing your media is more than simply placing items in folders on the drive of your choice. It’s creating an organization system that allows you to find the media quickly to be able to use the right piece in the right environment. Storage allows you to have a ton of content in one place. But storage doesn’t allow you to easily access your content. Think about your basement, attic, shed, or storage unit. All of these can be great places to put away Christmas decorations, old clothes, and mementos you’re not ready to part with just yet. But, are they really ever organized?
Organization means taking your media and categorizing it into a system that works for you. Is this a one size fits all “you have to do it this way” concept? No. But the idea of organization is key to your success as a visual artist and tech.
So, how do you categorize media to make it easy to find and use?
Seasonal makes sense for Christmas, Easter, etc. But doesn’t really make sense for the rest of the year when seasonal media isn’t really needed or appropriate. Seasonal might also contain some duplicate pieces (such as a sacred collection for Easter) that you use throughout the year.
Along the lines of seasonal, thematic might be snow, water (for baptisms/summer events), or sporting events.
Categories would include particles, cosmos, sacred, etc. You might have seasonal and thematic pieces within your categorizations.
Whatever categorization system you implement, stay consistent. If you make a system change, then be sure to change it globally and communicate to those affected about the change. This is your system that you have to work with and know. Make it your own.
If you work on a team, come up with a plan for media organization that is consistent. There is going to be some compromise, but remember that you want everyone on the team to be able to find what they need.
Electronics fail…I think that’s why having a great organization system for your media is so important. But, if you don’t have a backup of your media and something happens you’re out of luck. Be sure to backup your media often. Backup after moving media, adding new media, or working on show files. This will keep everything up to date and minimize frustrations in the long run.
If all else fails, remember your purchases on TripleWide Media are always backed up and available whenever you need access to it in all the sizes!