There have been several questions on how to structure Project folders for the best editing, and then clean-up, when a Project is completed, so I am going to offer my normal scheme, with comments on why I have chosen this folder structure. In my case, I have one more level, than many users employee (the “Client” folder), but with that exception, this structure should serve most users well. My folder structure is created, before I begin any Project. I also use a convention for most Assets, that allows me to first group all necessary Assets, but leaves the originals safe and away from the Project’s folders, so that a simple Delete cleans up the system, but does NOT affect any originals, with the exception of Captures from miniDV tape, which will be separately archived, and never reused - I would do the Capture again.
XYZ Advertising (client)
Project Name (my Project "root folder")
Captures (if from miniDV tape, and set in Edit>Preferences)
Video (for Copies of any stock Video files, or perhaps intermediate Video files)
Audio (for Copies of any stock Audio, and also for any edited camera Audio)
SFX (for Copies of any Sound Effects)
Music (for Copies of any Music files)
AutoSave (created automatically, and located via Edit>Preferences, which I leave set to
“Same As Project”)*
Renders (created automatically, and located via Edit>Preferences, which I leas set to “Same As Project”)
Stills (for Copies of any Still Images)
Titles (for Copies of any Titles, generated in other programs, such as Photoshop)
Finished AVI’s (destination folder for Exported Video)
Finished AC3's (destination folder for Exported Audio, which is usually DD 5.1 SS AC3 in my case.)
When the Project is finished, I will Archive it (Archiver in PrE, or Project Manager in PrPro), test the Archived Project, and then go to the Project Name “root folder” and Delete that, taking all of the sub-folders with it. The above structure also helps the Archiving process gather up all Assets. When they are scattered around a system, they can be missed by the Archiver. This keeps them together, so they are seldom missed - but still I Open the Archived Project and test, before I Delete anything.
There are some performance aspects, that I give up, but it makes housekeeping so very easy, when done. For ultimate performance, one would locate all Assets on one HDD (probably a RAID array), the Project on another, and then the Export/Render files on yet a third (probably a RAID array). Though this will yield some performance benefits, housecleaning will require that I go to three different HDD’s. I sacrifice some performance, to keep all sub-folders together.
Note: in the case of most Assets, I populate those sub-folders with ONLY Copies of the Assets, and the originals stay safe on my NAS.
For additional info on Saving a Project, see this ARTICLE.
* This allows me to have a separate sub-folder of all AutoSaves, and as I do several Save_As operations, as the Project grows, I have a “breadcrumb trail,” going back for many edits. If things get corrupted, I can always step back, and should have an AutoSave, that will “save” me. It does create more files, but Project files (PREL’s for PrE, or PRPROJ’s for PrPro) are really quite small.
As a sidenote, I also use Adobe Encore for Authoring most Projects to DVD/BD, so I locate my Encore Project folders and sub-folders under my Project root folder. That helps with full cleanup, when the Project is finished.