Policies and Procedures: Naming Conventions

wededit_browserIn my last post, I talked about the importance of writing down your policies and procedures. Today I want to share with you an aspect of ours as it relates to the naming conventions we use for project files. Below is an excerpt from the 8-page wedding editing guide we give to anyone who edits for our wedding division Dawson Signature Films. If you have a studio that works with multiple editors, such a guide is a terrific resource. By standardizing how your editors work in your editing system, it will make it easier for you or other editors to go in and make changes if necessary. (Note: a rudimentary knowledge of Final Cut Pro will be needed to understand some of what is mentioned below).


In order to keep consistency among all of our projects, and to make it easier for studio editors to go in and make changes if necessary, we use a standardized system for naming the FCP (Final Cut Pro) file and the aspects of the media in the project.

File Name

We use the surnames of the bride and groom on both the tapes as well as the computer files. The name of the file should be as follows: [Last Name Bride-Last Name Groom Wedding]. So, if the bride is Jill Jones and the groom is Jack Smith, the FCP filename would be Jones-Smith Wedding.

Reels and Clips

When capturing the tape, set the reel name to the name of the tape, e.g. Jones-Smith A1, Jones-Smith B2, etc. Give the clips the same name. We always capture the entire tape in a single batch capture. If you want to break up each clip into respective elements (e.g. pre-ceremony footage, ceremony, etc.) use markers within the clip to segment the section. Name the marker accordingly, then double-click it in the Browser of FCP, opening it into the Viewer. Next, drag the video image from the viewer into the browser. This will create a new “clip” that contains just the footage covered by that part of the marker. You will now have separated sections autonomous from the master clip.

Sequences and Bins in the Browser

Each segment of the movie is edited in its own sequence. DO NOT edit the entire movie in one sequence. Name the sequence according to the section of the wedding it corresponds to, and precede the name with the 2-digit number of the sequence order. So, a six-segment wedding movie would be named as follows:

  • 03. CEREMONY

The names of the main sequences are all capitalized so that they easily stand out. Any other sequences you create that are not one of the main sequences, can have regular caps, but preceded by an underscore (“_”). So, if you create an Outtakes sequence to gather funny shots and scenes as you come across them, it would be named _Outtakes. Once you’ve finished editing all the sequences, nest them into a master sequence named “00. MASTER.”

When creating a bin, add a vertical slash to the beginning of the name. For instance, we create one bin into which we capture all the tapes. We name that bin “|Capture bin.” The bin for your music, “|Music”. Etc. This will keep all bins grouped together in the browser.

We use this naming convention to keep the media files in an orderly and consistent fashion that makes it easy for anyone who works on the file later to get around. We understand that it may be slightly different than how you’re used to editing, but we respectfully request that you adhere to these time-tested systems when editing any of our projects. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Ron or the producer in charge of the project.