Tips for implementing a naming convention:

If you're using shared storage, one way to increase workflow efficiency is to utilize consistent naming conventions that make sense to everyone who's accessing the files. Plus, if you're sharing your storage with clients, it can help everyone stay on the same page and reduce snafus.

Video editors, shared storage enthusiasts, and digital asset managers love their work—but storing and managing all of their digital assets can be overwhelming at times.

Take a look at this list of common problems and how you can solve them:

  • Problems with multiple clips: If you need to give your client multiple renditions or versions of the same clip, it may be hard for them to tell which clip is which from looking at the file name alone. To help them out, add a descriptor to the end of the filename that tells what's different about the clip (like "logo_cutaway" or "different_timecode").

  • Problems with multiple projects: If you're doing multiple projects for one client, you may want to sync up their naming conventions so each project has its own set of folders and labels. You could change the first few characters of every folder name so they have a common prefix (for example, ACME_Project1_Folder1_File1).

  • No version control: If you don't name your files in a way that clearly indicates which one is the latest version, your client might accidentally use an old version.

  • Use Legal Characters in Naming conventions: Certain characters are not allowed with shared storage and web based storage systems. below is a list of characters that you must avoid using with shared storage.

  • Use Proxy Videos when working remotely: When working with large scale video files from remote locations, activate the use of video proxies to increase performance of both your editor and storage solutions. 

Video editors, shared storage enthusiasts, and digital asset managers are familiar with the challenge of managing large volumes of nonlinear editing software files in a way that allows for easy collaboration and accessibility.

With many video editing software programs now capable of working natively with shared storage systems, the next step is to set up your file structure in a way that facilitates collaboration. The key to this is in the naming conventions you use when creating files and folders.

In video editing, naming conventions are a crucial part of shared storage solutions, and can be applied to a wide range of software. The team at Small Tree has helped video editors and digital asset managers increase their workflow and data storage efficiency by standardizing naming conventions, so we've compiled a list of our tips.

Create a Naming Convention That Makes Sense to You—and Stick With It

If you don't already have one set up for yourself, write out a list of all the different types of media you create, and then create a list of names for

The way you name your files is not only key to maintaining an effective workflow, but it can also help you keep your shared storage solutions organized and efficient. Whether you're a video editor, a shared storage enthusiast, or just someone who needs to maintain a large digital asset library, the naming of your files is important for three main reasons:

  1. It helps you and your team know what's in the file without having to open it.

  2. It helps you keep your shared storage solution organized by placing similar files next to each other in the library/storage system (alphabetical organization).

  3. It helps you keep your shared storage solution operational and working at full efficiency, using illegal characters can result in damaged shared storage arrays and can block access to the full storage capacity. 

    Tips for implementing a naming convention:

    • Name in lowercase letters, or utilize camel-casing type. Do not start saved files with Uppercase letters.

    • Make sure it makes sense to everyone who'll be using the storage. If you're working in a team environment, it helps to choose something that will work well for everyone on the team.

    • Keep it simple. Try to avoid obscure acronyms or other colloquialisms that might only make sense to you—or worse, could have multiple meanings!

    • Get descriptive. Be specific about what the file is and what function it serves in your project—not just what it means to you personally.
      For example: "v1FinProj" could be much less clear than "ProjectY_Final_v1."

    • Separate words with hyphens instead of spaces (since computers don't read spaces)

    • Avoid special characters like "&" and "•," which could cause problems with certain software systems and operating systems. While these characters are accessible on your personal machine, other machines and operating systems may be unable to access these files. Below is a list of ‘Illegal’ characters to avoid when working with storage and web based systems.
    # pound blank spaces
    % percent $ dollar sign
    & ampersand ! exclamation point
    { left curly bracket ' single quotes
    } right curly bracket " double quotes
    \ back slash : colon
    < left angle bracket @ at sign
    > right angle bracket + plus sign
    * asterisk ` backtick
    ? question mark | pipe
    / forward slash = equal sign

    Also, keep these rules in mind.

    • Don’t start or end your filename with a space, period, hyphen, or underline.
    • Keep your filenames to a reasonable length and be sure they are under 31 characters.
    • Most operating systems are case sensitive; always use lowercase.

    Bad filenames:

    • F&A Costs.html
    • my PDF file#name.pdf

    Web browsers see:

    • F&amp;A%20Costs.html
    • my%20PDF%20file%23name.pdf

    Good filenames:
    • index.html
    • my-pdf-file-name.pdf