Post Production

Managing Bins Inside a Project in Avid

There are a number of reasons to have some discipline about how you organize your bins. One of the main ones is that open bins require RAM, and the more items in an open bin, the more RAM will be sucked up. So, by limiting the items in your bins and limiting the number of open bins in your project, your system will run more smoothly and you’ll be able to edit faster. Also, with less visual clutter from multiple open bins, you’ll keep your mind on the task at hand. As someone once advised, “Keep a clean machine.”

Fig. 1.12 This image shows the tab of one bin being dragged to another bin so that they occupy the same space. This helps maximize screen real estate, especially when editing on a laptop.

Every editor is different and every project has different requirements. Therefore, discussing them all in a general way is very difficult, but, hopefully, even if some of the examples of how to manage your clips and bins don’t apply directly to you, you can use these examples to spur your own thoughts and ideas of managing your next project.

Bins Breaking Bad

The worst case of bin and project management I have ever seen on an Avid system was at a major market TV station that will remain nameless. They were having issues with full media drives and called me in to help them delete stuff and manage their process. Their problem was instantly apparent. They only had two projects, but they were MASSIVE. One was called “Programs” and the other “Promos.” Inside each project were many bins. Each single bin had all of the media for a single ENTIRE TV show or promo. How is this bad? Let me count the ways. The main problem was that it was hard to fi nd particular shots or resources inside the giant, overstuffed bins. Secondly, the systems launched and ran slower than molasses because of the bin and project sizes. Third—and I’m speculating here—I think the risk of disastrous bin and project fi le corruptions became an issue. Basically, you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket. Even though I can count on a single hand the number of bins that have become corrupted on me over twenty years, it’s not a happy thing when it happens. In chapter 2 , I will discuss how the Avid attic can save you if this ever happens to you. Fourth, there are a lot of settings that you can—and should—set PER PROJECT, but since ALL of the TV shows and ALL of the promos had already been placed in a single project, this couldn’t be really be done. Finally, many of the ways that you typically manage your hard drive space are project based. By having only two projects, none of these project-based storage management solutions could be utilized. The TV station’s excuse for this mess was that they needed to be able to share stuff between the bins, so they couldn’t use separate projects. This is wrong. You can easily share resources between projects. Bins from other projects can be opened in your current project, and you can copy and move resources between them as if they were in the same project.

Scripted Bin Management

When you have a script—or an unscripted project comprised of specific story elements—bin management is most easily managed by breaking each scene into separate bins with all of the material for that scene inside the bin. This method is easiest because when editing scripted projects, like feature films, editors tend to work on a single scene at a time. Even if, for some reason, they edit the scenes out of order, the general workflow is to consider only the shots and resources that were generated for that one scene. Exceptions make the rule, and with flashbacks and such you certainly might need to reference material from other bins, but that’s easy to do.

The first Avid system I ever worked on at a post house was originally purchased and used to edit The Fugitive , directed by Andrew Davis and starring Harrison Ford. A copy of the script with the scene editing breakdown was tucked away for years in my desk. Editing it must have been a monumental task: six editors are credited on the movie.

Obviously, feature films use many more bins than simply one per scene (see Figure 1.7 ). Although you can’t see the individual bins inside the numerous folders in the project in Figure 1.7, there are approximately 5,000 bins! Some examples of other bins for a feature film would be a bin with temp score music or sound effects. Also, most feature films will have double-system sound. It depends on how the bins were created, but the sound from the sound mixer might be in a separate bin or bins. They could also be organized so that the double-system sound for each scene would simply be included with the video and the synced clips for each individual scene.

Fig. 1.7 This is the Bin tab of an Avid Project window from a major feature film. (The project title has been blurred out.)

For scripted TV dramas and comedies, the basics are similar, but the additional considerations include the use of “stock” exteriors shots that are used in multiple episodes. There would also be bins for music cues used in previous episodes.

Excerpt from Avid Uncut: Workflows, Tips, and Techniques from Hollywood Pros by Steve Hullfish © 2014 Taylor and Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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