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How to Organize Video Files

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When I started creating videos for fun, how to organize video files was the furthest thing from my mind. But now that I’ve been using the same “system” for years, I think my way is the fast and easy way to organize video footage for editing.

(some links in this post are affiliate links, and VidProMom will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking these links.)

After watching a handful of youtube videos on the best way to organize video files and footage for video editing (to see if I was doing it right!), I discovered that there are a lot of over-complicated ways to organize video files, convoluted naming conventions, and confusing project folder structures.

By the way, if you like learning how to create and edit videos, then make sure to subscribe to the VidProMom YouTube channel. That way, you’ll have a better chance of seeing my next tutorial.

How to Organize Video Files

I should mention that his method of organizing video files will work best if you’re video editing as a YouTuber, hobby video creator, or into family movies and GoPro edits. If you are a filmmaker or a documentarian or something, this is probably not for you!

So what is the fast and easy way to organize your video files? Chronologically, of course!

  • If you shoot a video in March, you put your clips in a folder called March.
  • Then you put your “March” folder inside of a folder called 2018 (or whatever year it belongs in)

I like to put a number in front of my month names, so for example: “3-March.”

If you did something fun or interesting, you can put that footage in its own folder. For example, we went to Texas in January, so that gets its own folder inside of “1-January.”

The way my brain works, I always know where to find stuff based on the time of year that it was shot. If remembering what time of year you shot a video isn’t going to work for you, my advice is to find a system for how to organize video files that works for you and stick with it (so your footage stays organized!).

For my YouTube videos, I have a folder for the previous years and an inbox. I dump everything into the inbox and organize it based on video topic or whatever video I shot it for.

I don’t shoot a ton of b-roll, so I don’t usually have to hunt for footage. When I do, I just know when I shot it or what video topic I shot it for, and look where I need to look. It’s all pretty much right there.

How to organize background music files

On top of how to organize video files, I think I have a great system for organizing background music files too!

So when I’m browsing Epidemic Sound, for example, if I find a song I want to use, I download it, and keep it on my hard drive an “Epidemic Sound” folder, which is in a “stock_audio” folder.

By the way, if you haven’t checked out Epidemic Sound yet, I can hook you up with 30 days totally free! Just click here to use my link when you sign up. When you do, you’ll get 30 days free and they send me a commission for referring you to their service.

For more great resources on where to find background music, head over to this post (it’s one of the most popular posts on my site!)

 

How To Organize Video Files
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Fredrik Lönn

Saturday 14th of September 2019

If you are on PC you can use this system together with Fast video cataloger and also be get a thumbnail overview of all your videos (as well as search) regardless of which external device the files are stored on.

Mike

Wednesday 8th of August 2018

Hi Meredith,

After you edit your videos, do you still keep the original files? I was wondering if i should delete the original files after I already edit and took the important part of the video. I'm asking b/c it seems like the original files will be taking up memory space.

Meredith Marsh

Wednesday 8th of August 2018

At this point, I keep my files on an external hard drive.

Gary

Friday 27th of July 2018

Hi, Meredith,

I to use one like yours, just not that highly structured. I have done my CDs the same way.

Dave Rademacher

Friday 30th of March 2018

Hi Meredith, this is Dave from Va Beach. I organize my HD just like yours. I seem to be accumulating a lot of DVD-R's with the finished product on them. What do you do with yours? Any suggestions?

Meredith Marsh

Monday 2nd of April 2018

Anything I have on DVRs go in a box :) I haven't put anything on DVRs in quite a while.

WayneN

Friday 30th of March 2018

I like your system and follow something similar. Since I don't shoot a whole lot of videos and may be more project specific I will file (folder) by project name. I may include a date with folder name.

Specific to my computer (laptop) acquired last year and knowing I was considering photo and video projects. I opted to get a dual drive set up. One drive is basically a Solid State Drive (processing speed) and the second a regular Hard Drive (storage space). All of this is backed up monthly on a external hard drive (i.e. Western Digital) . I alternate between external A (odd months) and B (even months). A is kept in drawer and B is kept in safe. I presume I could use Cloud storage which is work in progress.

Meredith Marsh

Monday 2nd of April 2018

Sounds like a good system you have!!

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