Updating and backing up project files: best practices

Prior to coming to Adobe, I was a freelance editor. I also did my fair share of training. One piece of advice I’d always give to students was to make sure that you always “protect” your project files. By protect, I am talking about the subject of updating and backing up current project files.

Updating project files

With Premiere Pro CC 2015 now available, you will be facing the decision of whether to update your project files to the new version or not. So what should you do?

In general, the rule of thumb is to avoid updating current project files to major new versions of Premiere Pro (and Premiere Pro CC 2015 is a major new version). Complete these large projects before beginning new projects.

Stay in the current version of Premiere Pro CC until your projects are complete. Begin only new projects in a new version Premiere Pro CC.

In fact, most pros probably will hold off beginning new projects until an update to Premiere Pro is released (which is coming soon).

Why? You might experience unexpected behavior, have bad performance problems, or even corrupt your project when updating project file versions mid-project.

The Convert Project Dialog box

Avoid updating project files that are large, complicated, contain multi-camera sequences, or a lot of media objects (clips, graphics, audio, other media). Feature films, and documentaries are prime examples of project files that you should probably avoid updating. In general, the more complicated a project is, the more likely things might go wrong after updating it.

If you are in this situation, by all means, install the application. Try it out with a fresh project file. That way you can preview new features without disturbing your current project.

If you must update a complex project because of a bug fix or a feature that you absolutely must have, proceed with caution (and several backup projects in hand). If things do go wrong on the updated version of the project, you can always return to a fairly recent backup project. The Convert Project dialog box (see above) will convert your project to a new copy of the project with the benefit of leaving your existing project in place by default. One word of caution, however. Do not replicate the name of the project, click OK, and then click through the “Project Name already exists. Do you want to replace it?” dialog box. If so, you’d essentially be updating your project file with no backup file.

What happens if a complicated project file is updated? Hopefully, nothing. However, the potential of things that might go wrong with an updated project file are numerous. Corruption and unexpected behavior are at the top of that list. Sometimes these behaviors don’t crop up after working on the updated file days, or even weeks later. Why risk it? Bottom line: don’t update a project file to a major new version unless absolutely necessary.

Some users have reported that importing a CC 2014 project (via File > Import or the Media Browser) into a new CC 2015 project works for them, but try this with a duplicate of your project and see if it works for you.

Backing up project files

Some tips can help you manage and back up these project files.

  • Store different versions of project files in representative folders.
  • Clearly name project files and appended them with time and date stamps
  • Label (color code) your project files at the OS level
  • Enable Auto Save in Auto Save preferences
  • Enable the “Save backup project to Creative Cloud” function in Auto Save preferences
  • Duplicate your existing project file at the OS level or by using “Save As” at least three times a day
    • This ensures that you have backup project files in addition to your Auto Save files.
    • Copy these project files to a few different locations, including online, for safekeeping.

Managing versions of project files is a somewhat painful, but necessary part of the job as a video editor. I look at the task as protecting the project file at all costs. After all, it represents the sum total of all the hours, days, and weeks spent on the project.

Comments are closed.