Edit Like Jesus—Save Often

Our team of editors at IHOP-KC have been working in go-mode for the past couple weeks. onething 2010, IHOP-KC’S annual youth conference, starts next week, with (at least) 20,000 people in attendance.

Needless to say, we’ve been working a lot.

Because of this, our computers are going harder than they have in months. I’ve been at my workstation for… oh, going on 12 hours today. After working for that long on pretty intense projects (animating in After Effects and using Magic Bullet Looks in Final Cut), my computer gets tired. And when it gets tired, things start crashing.

There is nothing more annoying, frustrating, and disheartening than doing hard work and losing it all. You know feeling: the program crashes, and as you open up the program you frantically try and remember when was the last time you hit Command-S. But since it’s become a habitual movement by now (hopefully), you can’t really remember. And then the program opens and you see that your timeline is nearly empty, and that b-roll edit you had so painstakingly put together is lost forever.

And then you usually want to cry and go home.

You probably saw that subtitle as soon as the blog loaded and you instantly jumped to this spot, right? Well, sorry to disappoint, but there’s no surefire solution. There’s no plug-in, no script you can run, nothing. Nada. At some point, your program will crash and you will lose data. That’s just the way it is. We’re flawed beings, and the machines we make are flawed. (This side of eternity, at any rate.)

But there are ways to mitigate the damages. Here’s a couple:

1. Autosave
Final Cut Pro sets the default autosave parameters to:
— Save a copy every: 30 minutes
— Keep at most: 40 copies per project
— Maximum of: 25 projects.
I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of work in 30 minutes. For me, that’s way too long of a gap to go between saves, whether by me or the autosave, so I speed this time up to every 10 minutes. Will this slow down your program? It depends on how big your project file is. A big After Effects project (double-digit MBs) can take a few seconds, and yes, that disrupts my workflow, but I’ll gladly sacrifice a few seconds in exchange for not having to redo a bunch of work. I also don’t need 40 copies per project, so I usually set that to ten as well. Since I sometimes work on a number of different projects simultaneously, I leave the maximum number alone.

2.Make saving a habit
Even if you set your autosave time to ten minutes, you still may lose work. Maybe you work for nine minutes and the computer crashes before it has a chance to save again. The safest way to ensure you keep your data is to save, and save all of the time. Make it a habit for those two fingers to hit Command/Control-S. Habit, habit, habit. Set a note up next to your monitor for a while and save every couple of minutes. (If you are working in a large project file, this probably isn’t doable. But still save frequently.) By making it a habit, you’ll train your fingers to do the work for you and you won’t have to think about it.

After my computer crashed earlier this evening, I went to my autosave vault and happily saw that the last autosave was only a few minutes prior. I opened it and found that only a couple of b-roll shots were missing. I replaced my regular project file with the autosave file (I usually hit Save As and replace the old file) and merrily went on my way.

Programs crash. That’s just the way it is. But if you edit like Jesus and save often, you can avoid much loss.


2 thoughts on “Edit Like Jesus—Save Often

  1. fricy

    Yeah, every word you say is true.
    And it is funny, that hitting Command+S how much can became a habit. I don’t even remember saveing, only after crashes do I realize, that “wow, I just saved the project a minute ago”. :)


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