Back in the day when I shot on digital tapes, whenever I finished a job I’d create a self-contained, high quality QuickTime export of the final project and a DVD. I’d then delete all the raw footage and renders from my drive to free up space. I’d file the tapes away in some cool space. I could always go back and re-capture the footage if necessary.
But now everything we do is tapeless. (Go to bit.ly/ronsworkflow to read about my tapeless workflow). That means no tapes to file away. That means I can NOT delete raw footage. In fact, I keep duplicates (and in some cases triplicate) copies. That’s a lot of hard drives to track. As the number of hard drives stacks up, keeping track of which projects are on which drive becomes a challenge. I have a Google doc project tracker where I list all of the project’s in production, and in that document there is a column for “Hard drive.” For some reason though the column is empty (i.e. I keep forgetting to fill it out. Can we say A.D.D.?) Besides, there are many other projects on my array of drives that were created before I started using the project tracker and frankly, I’m just too lazy to go back and enter all of those into the tracker. So I needed a way to easily find old and current projects.
Evernote to the Rescue
I hope by now you know what Evernote is. In short, it’s a computer and cloud-based note system that allows you to track and remember everything. I use it for taking notes, filing receipts, saving client emails, and now, as a virtual hard drive library system. Here’s how.
- In order for this system to work, you need the premium version of Evernote. It’s only $45/year and worth every penny! (Next week I’m going to write about how we use it to empower our paperless office).
- Create a Notebook called “Hard Drive Library”
- Within that Notebook, create a Note for every hard drive you have.
- For each folder you want to track, open it up then take a screen shot of it.
- Rename the screen shot (e.g. Projects snapshot on may 19 2012) then drag and drop that snapshot file into the appropriate Evernote Notebook.
That’s it. Once that Notebook gets synched online and indexed, you will be able to do a search in Evernote for any folder in a snapshot. Evernote Premium’s optical character recognition (OCR) feature will not only read PDFs, it’ll read PNGs (the default file format created by snapshots on the Mac). So, let’s say I need to find where the files for the Joe Buissink promo we shot. I just go into Evernote, click on the Hard Drive Library Notebook, then do a search for “buissink.” Then vóilà…
How cool is that? Obviously, you can use this far beyond just tracking projects on your computer. As you add folders and projects to any drive, take updated snapshots and drag them into Evernote.
I have no doubt many of you have much better systems for keeping track of all those pesky projects folders on your disparate drives. Eventually I may one day perhaps update my Project Tracker Google doc (maybe). What system do you use?