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Author Topic: Workflow - Rename Files or Not?  (Read 2324 times)
Goodlistener
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« on: October 30, 2007, 11:09:00 PM »
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Most of the professional discussions and seminars I have seen about digital workflow show people renaming their files in batch import.  That is when you bring the files off of a memry card and into your PC.  Ingestion as they call it.  But I don't do it and think its a bad idea, as far as only a little bit of experience can tell me.

But, since a lot of experienced people & experts seem to do it, I have to ask:  WHY?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2007, 05:55:20 AM »
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But, since a lot of experienced people & experts seem to do it, I have to ask:  WHY?

I have over 120,000 images in my archives. Most cameras recycle filenames every 10,000 images (4-digit counter) which means that if I didn't rename images I'd have multiple files with the exact same name floating around, which can get very confusing. Which 187U5467.tif is the RAW I actually want? So I rename all of my images in the format YYYY-MM-DD_XXXX where Y is year, M is month, D is day, and X is the shot counter for the day. I also shoot jobs with more than 1 camera so that I have an immediately available backup if something breaks, and so I can have a wide lens on one body and a long lens on the other. If I keep the camera clocks synced, then I can sort the files by date/timestamp before renaming and then have all of the shots in chronological order no matter how many cameras I used.

I label the folder containing the images YYYY-MM-DD + a description of the job/shoot, such as "2005-06-23 Grand Canyon North Rim". This lets me find a shoot with a simple directory search. And if a client wants prints of a specific image, all I need is the filename (2005-06-23_1436) and I know exactly where to find it.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 06:04:47 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

jjj
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2007, 08:04:06 AM »
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I do almost exactly as Jonathan does, though I label files with date and description such as 2007-01-14 York Racecourse 017.CR2 and I also have all images in folders by date like this
2007 - 01 - January
2007 - 02 - February
2007 - 03 - March
and with subfolders like this in say Jan 07
2007 - 01 - 14 York Racecourse
2007 - 01 - 14 York Racecourse Spectators
2007 - 01 - 14 York Racecourse Race
2007 - 01 - 15 York City Centre
2007 - 01 - 15 York Minster
2007 - 01 - 15 Party
 to contain say a 2 day visit to York. As Browsers/Dam Apps can be a bit tedious at wading through/rendering large folders of images. So by separating a single shoot into several smaller categories as in my fictional example above, it can make finding the image you want that bit quicker. You could contain all the different shots at York Racecourse into a single racecourse folder, which means you can view each folder individually or all images that day when using an App. that allows veiwing of subfolders too [Flat View]. This can be quicker at finding than Keywords searches, as they may also bring up too many less relevent results, if you can even remember the keywords needed.
One could separate work or personal images out into a second version of this or keep them together. That depends on your own way of shooting/thinking.

I use this structure as I can use any database on top of my file structure and not instead of it. This means I'm I'm not screwed if the DB corrupts or I have to change software packages. I don't assume that Aperture/Lightroom/Portfolio are going to be around in twenty years time, so I design the file structure, so any file browser can read them and the naming also make senses to people other than just myself.
Also notice Jonathan and I use dates and labels that can easily be read by humans. Way too many people recommend one to label images with some unintelligible nonsense like 070114_job217_012.

As for when you label, doing so with batch ingestion can work fine, if you want all the files to be labelled the same.  But all too often I shoot a variety of different subjects on a single card, so that a generic label of entire card is simply useless. e.g.with documentary work and I also do film stills, where in a day you may shoot several setups with different locations/scenes and cast all on one card. So labelling them after ingesting will be much better.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2007, 08:11:14 AM »
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Between FZC4305.CRW and
 071030_4305_downtown_toronto

Which would you prefer to see when looking for a file?

The directory that's created on download looks like:

071030_downtown_toronto
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Goodlistener
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2007, 01:11:41 AM »
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Thanks all.  I get it now.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2007, 10:18:13 AM »
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Between FZC4305.CRW and
 071030_4305_downtown_toronto

Which would you prefer to see when looking for a file?

The directory that's created on download looks like:

071030_downtown_toronto
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=149776\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'd prefer Toronto_071030_4305

Personally, I'd prefer to see what the subject is first, then the date. But I agree, anything is better than door number 1!
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Andrew Rodney
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2007, 01:12:47 AM »
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I'd prefer Toronto_071030_4305

Personally, I'd prefer to see what the subject is first, then the date. But I agree, anything is better than door number 1!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=150057\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Date first stacks up in folders better and tends to stack better in viewing apps

If I am looking for a job shot on 071015 that is on an external HD I can find it faster by browsing the diriectories than using any find facility

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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