Creating a Bin Structure Inside Your NLE

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One of the things I pride myself on having when I edit a project is a proper bin structure. When you are tasked with having a project that contains over 100 clips of footage, titles and miscellaneous assets such as photos, logos, motion graphics and more, your project browser can get very messy very quickly. Below is an example of a typical bin structure I utilize on projects. I add or delete bins based on my needs so this can change at a moment’s notice. I’m going to breakdown the significance of each bin and some of their sub bins so that you get an idea on how to structure your bin organization.

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Audio

In this bin it’s obvious what’s placed here. I have sub bins for royalty free music tracks and sound effects. If I need an additional sub bin for something like voiceovers, I would create another bin and title that VO. If I want to get even more picky and specific, I would create sub bins for audio formats such as .mp3, .wav or .aiff. I would create sub bins within the music sub bin and sound effects sub bin for each of those formats. The benefit of doing that is to know what format I’m dealing instead of grouping everything into one bin and being none the wiser.

Images

In this bin is where I place client images, artwork, logos and more. In this particular example, I have sub bins for many of the popular image formats such as jpeg, png, tiff, psd. With images, it’s really easy for it to become messy and confusing if you just import all your images into one bin labeled images. This sub bin structure is meant to help sort and differentiate between what I have to work with. In most situations, I may not need all these sub bins but I keep them in case I’m given more client images down the line.

Mograph

This bin is meant to hold any motion graphics elements I plan to use or any exports that were created in After Effects. I may have custom motion graphics I created and plan to use and the last thing I want is it scattered all over the place. AE renders is a base folder I would use when starting a project. I could add sub bins within that labeled client custom mograph or segments to reflect graphics exported from After Effects that need specific bins. The other sub bin you see has the name of some popular royalty free graphics developers I use on regular basis. This sub bin has a tendency to grow or shrink depending on the need of the project. For most cases, I usually have at least 3-5 sub bins in this section just in case.

Footage

By far the most important bin to have in any structure. This is where my footage will go but I usually have several sub bins with the Master Clips bin. I like to label my footage bin from what card and shooter/camera they came from so I can reference them in case anything goes offline. There are obviously different ways to go about this but essentially all footage will go here. If I plan on using sub clips in the edit, I would create a folder for that and place them there. I tend to rarely use sub clips in most edits I do because I have a different method of sorting my footage.

Sequences

It is in this bin where I’m extra picky and cautiously organized. I keep versions of my main sequences as the project progresses usually appending them with something like this: Project Name_Main_01. With the underscores, I am able to go back to the first cut of my main sequence in case I need to start over or pick an arrangement that worked previously.

The selects reel bin is meant to have sequences of my footage grouped by the following criteria: b-roll and sound bites. What I do is go through my master clips and drop them in the appropriate titled sequence. For example, if I come across footage that has interviews or dialogue relevant to my edit, I would drop them in my sound bites sequence. That way I no longer need to use my project panel to search for specific clips. I can go through my selects sequences for either interviews or b-roll and grab what I need. I found this method very efficient and it also allows me to move faster.

Conclusion

This bin structure is a useful base for which I organize most of my projects. With it, I can add or delete bins if needed and keep everything as organized as possible. It’s good to have an evolving bin structure as one structure may not always be sufficient and you need to examine how to make it better for any specific project. Overall, utilize a bin structure to maintain your sanity and have peace of mind when you are editing. I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

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