Filmmaking File Structure

Project management for filmmaking. Not as sexy as blowing up that building in a huge explosion using particles, fluids, dynamics and shatter simulations, eh? Nonetheless, it still needs to be done.

I’m currently spending as much time as I can spare on my own film project. I’m not really ready to go public yet with full details, ideas and where I want to take it, but it’s getting closer. At the moment I’m making a proof of concept, of my entire pipeline from script to final sequence. I’m currently in the previz phase in my proof of concept sequence. When the proof of concept is ready, I’ll go into the real production and then also start posting a lot more details and producing making-of entries.

Screenshot of file and folder structure for filmmaking

Anyway, before files are starting to get way out of hand in my project storage, I’ve decided to try to come up with a solid file and folder structure to keep everything organized early on.

I’ve made a template structure based on my previous 3D animation experience as well as injecting a few new ideas of how I’d like to have it organized.

During my proof of concept production I’ll keep validating this structure and modify and refine it, so I’ll feel comfortable that it will work when going into the real production phase.

So have in mind that this is still a work in progress, and as I’m currently at the previsualization¬† phase, stages beyond that are not that detailed yet. I still wanted to share this at the current state as this is an entity that’s going through changes at the moment and I’d value external input.

Filmmaking folder and file structure

Version: beta 01

Each bullet point represents a folder, unless it ends with a file extension, then tada, it’s a file (of importance). Comments are in italics starting with //.

As this is currently a work in progress a bullet list will do, I hope, to represent the folder structure for now. A link to a Google Doc is available at the end of this post.

  • development // The project development is performed in Celtx and then exported out as separate documents.
    • project.celtx
    • project – treatment.pdf
    • project – screenplay.pdf
    • project – summary.pdf
  • pre-production
    • animatics // A Premiere Pro project where the storyboard images are cut together with audio.
      • images
      • audio
    • concept art // Collect reference images and then illustrate the concepts from the screenplay’s asset breakdown.
      • characters
      • props
      • locations
    • storyboard // PSD and related assets.
    • previsualization
      • assets // Library/Catalog of all assets. Rough, draft models. That will be used in the previz shots.
        • characters
        • locations
        • props
      • animation // Animated data sets for all scenes in the production. Rendered frames go to the root render folder.
        • sequence_##
          • scene_##
            • application_specific_folders
      • edit // A Premiere Pro project there the rendered previz scenes are cut together into a rough version of the final product.
        • audio
        • clips
    • production
      • assets // Library/catalog of all assets. Final version with proxy counter parts, to be lift into the scenes in production.
        • characters // An asset folder contains the final version, associated textures and any eventual rigs.
          • character_x
            • character_x_v001
            • character_x_v002
            • character_x (final version)
            • character_x_proxy (final version)
            • character_x.fbx (for i/o. Store with embedded rendered icon or with an fbxicon.tif)
          • character_y
        • locations
        • props
        • asset_catalog.csv (Or kept in Google Docs?). User friendly asset name, namespace, file path, icon path, reference weapons and props in other files.
      • animation // The animation data created in the previz can probably be brought over here and used as a starting point for the final animations.
        • sequence_##
          • scene_##
            • application_specific_folders
  • post-production
    • audio
    • compositing
    • edit
  • renders
    • previsualization
    • production
    • presentations
    • tests
    • wip

It’s a bit rough, it’s not that detailed yet beyond pre-production and it lacks full explanations of how I work with the different parts. But it’s a beginning, it’s something, and I’m currently using and verifying it as I’m moving forward in my proofing.

If you found it hard to get an overview of the bullet list above, I also stored this first draft in a Google Doc which probably might be easier to read.

View:

If you’re on a similar path, and have another setup, or have ideas or inputs on my setup feel free to comment, contribute or discuss this with me. All conversions on this subject are more than welcome and much appreciated. I’ll of course post my final version when ready.

Cheers,
Johan