October 23, 2016 at 7:39PM


How does one manage a large, and growing, library of media?

I am in the process of centralizing all the video/pics/audio I've ever shot. I'm organizing the files by date but I can already see it being a nightmare trying to go through over 7 years of media just to find a single file. My question is how do I make my data easily searchable?


I gave up on this idea because it got too expensive. I keep redundant digital AND analogue copies (because they're more stable over time) of the final products but unless I shot on film, I just can't keep the camera originals indefinitely. I've resolved to keep all digital client files for 1-2 years, my own project finals indefinitely but sources merely until I need to clear more space. I have almost a dozen HDDs in my office drawer, more in my studio, which need to be migrated every few years. Storage gets expensive when the average fail rate of mass storage devices is 50% over five years. Even though I try to back up my material as much as possible, I've still been rescued by having analogue tape/film copies of some projects. In other words, don't trust ANYTHING!
As for making stuff searchable by date, you can do that automatically already, since file formats inherently store their "created" dates. You can also sort by date automatically.

Starting about five years ago, as soon as I start a new project, I create a folder named after the client, with contact information in a text file. Inside that is another folder named by year/month/day and the project name, like "boney_steve/20161024_happyhalloween" and all related files and sub-folders within that.

October 24, 2016 at 5:54AM


Thanks for the reply, I think you misunderstood my question. I want to be able to search through all my media for specific things like a certain person or a certain location or say videos that have animals in them... how can I make that happen?


October 24, 2016 at 8:38AM

You could write up exhaustive credits and store them in text form with the source files. Sadly, there's no magic software that will scan and automatically tag all video clips containing "Bill Nichols" or whatever when you type it into a search, so you'll have to go through every file, one at a time. Sorry, it sounded like you just wanted to search by date etc.

October 24, 2016 at 10:08AM, Edited October 24, 10:09AM


If you have Adobe Bridge on your system you can add metadata to files as you ingest (or, as in your case, retrospectively) including keywords that then helps search for specific subject matter etc depending on keywords used.
As the above poster has said....there's no software/method out there just yet that can do what you want without there having been some input from you either as ingesting or retrospectively.
Other than that if your media is stored with keyword file names instead of camera generated ones you can do searches via your OS search function.

October 26, 2016 at 8:16PM


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