Library/desktop/batch group/bfx workflow setup

Hi guys, I’m having a bit of an identity crisis lately and need some ideas on project setup.

I come from a broadcast TV world originally which is pretty much strictly BFX & reels > save desktop to library, but as a freelancer now out and about in TVC and longform, batch group is way more prevalent and some never actually use the desktop and pretty much avoid it altogether - opting for working exclusively from the library - which I have to say, makes sense.

As a freelancer, you have to be able to work many different ways so you can seamlessly continue preffered posthouse workflows, but now I have no preffered workflow myself.

I find Flame a bit annoying in that regard because there’s really no set way to set up a job. In Avid, Resolve and AE, project setup is way more intuitive.

What’s your setup? Screenshot and descriptions pls!

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I use Flame very simply and likely how it was originally designed.

I have a main Desktop that completes a thought. Typically its a spot or a few spots that contain shared assets or sometimes entire campaigns with hundreds of spots. Every Batch is in a Batch Group and my timelines are in a Sequence Group. A Desktop for me really makes sense. For me, setting up and working out of Libraries typically is slower, requires too much of managing Save Destinations, and takes me out of my flow and the ease of moving around dozens of Batch Groups and dozens of spots in a Sequences reel effortlessly.

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Same here. When I’m leading a job, or am the only one working on it, I really try to keep the number of sequences that might be mistaken for the hero, and the number of places that sequence might be located, to a minimum, so while I will save desktops periodically to the library as a safety measure, whatever’s in my sequences reel on the currently loaded desktop can be considered the current hero.

However, once we start exporting for approvals, there’s a tension between keeping a record of previous work in case a client wants to go backwards (rare, in my experience, but I know many who will violently disagree with that), and keeping things simple and efficient. Typically batch iterations are enough for me to preserve the record of versions on various things, and if it’s a graphics change it’s almost never “go back to version 10” but rather “go back to version 10 but keep version 15’s kerning” which, like, call it v16 and render a new one, folks.

In a finishing scenario, once the real work is done and I’m just tweaking legals and updating slates, I’ll often work out of the library and keep the desktop clear, just to enforce the “only one hero sequence” rule. This breaks connected conform though, so that might get revisited at the next opportunity.

Freelancing is a delight in that you get to sample all kinds of different workflows and styles, but can also be maddening because some folks work in very… idiosyncratic ways and are vehemently opposed to adapting to new methods. I, of course, am one of those people, just so we’re clear. I’ve also gotten in yelling matches over date formats for directories. Just some of the many fun things about working with a bunch of people who are mostly self-taught.

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Yearmonthday. 422 Digits. There is no discussion on this.

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You’d think so…

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I almost never use the Libraries. Not even as a backup. I archive every night which makes me feel like I am protected from massive corruption. It makes no sense to be to have to pull a batch setup out of the library and onto the desktop just so that I can work on it. Save it back to the library and remove it.

As i have talked about before Project Clean ups - #14 by PlaceYourBetts I write EXRs and setups to the server but all of my batch groups live in the Media Panel Desktop.

I keep BFX for simple titles but if they get too big I feel much more comfortable breaking them out in to batch.

My desktop reels contain a main sequence reel of my working masters and the other reels are just a dumping ground for what ever I need to sort through at the time.

That edits folder in the Library is just the offlines and maybe an early stage conform with all of my video layers.

YYMMDD all the way.

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422 Digits?

I assumed it meant 20210409

But he is mistaken YYMMDD is the only way that can possibly work.

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I’m YYYYMMDD with everything, then sub-folder HHMM if it’s “that kind of job” :roll_eyes::joy:

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Oh one of those jobs :cry:
I have a feeling that @randy will break this rant out into a sub thread but I am dead against time folders.

Computers time stamp everything anyways so it isn’t that hard to find the latest but trying to find some GFX that you need and having to wade through day folders and then time folders… arrrgh.

Sorry for loosing the point on this thread

p.s. YYMMDD ha

Unlike my verbose messages I am always trying to save my character length. I ditched “sh” because everyone knows it is a shot number. We won’t need YYYY for another hundred years. Lazy? I say lazy is efficiency. Bad code? Remember the millennium bug? So yeah bad for code but as @andy_dill once said “we are just wrapping paper”. I don’t think that my bad folder will matter in one hundred years.

Yeah you’re probably right, I feel like it’s more of an IT management tool than anything anyway. If your system is totally YY for all files then you’ll be fine, but if I’m everywhere and start numbering folder like that when places are YYYY, than that’ll create some very boring sorting problems.

When you jump around from company to company you have to adapt to what ever systems they have in place. It can be a very good skill to have. The ability to adapt. I like to think it has the same effect on your brain as learning a foreign language (almost certainly wrong).

When you have taken a full time position and you have adapted to their system you can try and push your opinion of efficiency on other people but it can be tricky to turn the tide.

I hope that I haven’t thrown the gist of this thread because I am genuinely interested in how people organize their Flame projects. I thought that I was in a minority not using the library but if @randy does the same then it must be the way Autodesk intended.

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#librarygang here.

Batch groups in a library called “SHOTS”.
Edits in a library called “EDITS”.

MM_DD for dates. My mind cannot make sense of an 8-digit string with no spaces.

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So fucking dumb I am sometimes. I just double checked and I’m absolutely using doubles for everything work-related.

…and 24hr clock of course.

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I’m pretty much like @andy_dill. Except I’m an anti-capser. I prefer it to the old way of the library and desktop being separate places to “be” in. I’ve always been told that the desktop is more likely to lose data during a crash than the library. The word volatile comes up a lot. Is this true ya think? I don’t know. I’m so pissed when it crashes I forget what Year it is. Oh dates. I forgot. Right now it’s 2021_04_09_0010. 24 hour clock of course.

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YES. Few things make me more cranky than dated folders for graphics. Like, you understand version numbers, I KNOW you do because there’s one in the filename, so use that for your folder. Come ON.

“Well, that’s how we’ve always done it,” as a single bead of sweat rolls down my suddenly bright red forehead.

99% of my work is spots. And I am the only flame for an editorial company.
I have a utility project on the flame that contains all the tools that I might use in any given job. Among these is a desktop and library structure that I drag into my new project and assign proper names to. It’s a bit old skool (doing this with Python is New Skool. Andy Milkis is the go-to for that.) but it works for me. The desktop contains a reel group for my sequences reels (I often break out different spots to different reels depending on the job and what is required.) Also part of that desktop is a reel group for exports. I generally make reels for Postings, Broadcast spots Web spots, etc., since these all require different slates, audio tracks and the like. I use connected segments so that if I change a spot it ripples through all the exports that use that picture. Most jobs only have one desktop, but if it is a large campaign, I often break it out into separate desktops, such as desktops for spots and desktops for “social.” I keep a Library for saving only my desktops.
I also have a Library template that matches the folder structure on our server. As I am given material such as graphics and audio tracks, I put it into those folders. I usually break those out with YY/MM/DD folders. I don’t like timed sub-folders. It gets too complicated.
Also, when I set up a project I use the Christoph Zapletal - One Bookmark to Rule Them All set-up. LogikFest 2020 - Christoph Zapletal - One Bookmark to Rule Them All - YouTube If you take away anything from Logikfest2020, it should be this.
I don’t save iterations of my desktops. I over write as I go. As Kirk says, clients rarely go backwards. At least once the offline is complete. Rather than save old iterations, I have a work flow that is all about following “paths.” If a client wants to go backwards, I just retrace my steps and do it again. It doesn’t happen often and it’s rarely a big deal when it does. Of course, I am meticulous about saving my old skool setups, and I archive almost every day.

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Dated folders in general are the pits. Two days later and they become meaningless.

The only exception to this that I support is postings, but even that would be better managed by version numbers. “Version 24” is clearer than “the one we posted on Sunday ar 4pm”

Admittedly they can be overkill for many things, but I find them indispensable for a couple of reasons. For footage, I often get multiple revisions from colour. They don’t change the names and I’m not going to take the time to do it myself for every shot. And I can’t throw the old one away. I also find it cuts down on clutter. I don’t want to open up a reel of graphics and have to see 100 titles, or in the case of footage, maybe far more. Chances are I’m only looking for the most recent, so I want to see only those. Indeed it can be a pain if I need to look through old folders for stuff, but I can always open the entire tree and scan through it that way. Or use a search function. Or use match in media panel. Also, I’m a lifelong sorter of things in the order that I get them or make them. One of the things I like about flame is that I can change my sort for whatever reason, then go back to the original sort.
I don’t use them everywhere for everything. Only for material that is given to me from outside sources.

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