News for August 2008

Does anyone use subversion?…

I’m just writing a section in my forthcoming book, “Fix it in Post”:

After scheduling regular backups, the most important thing you can do is set up some sort of version control system. This is a system whereby you must check out files to make changes to them, and then check in the changed files.

This fulfils several important tasks. First, it allows you to roll back changes you’ve made to previous versions (thus fulfilling the role of rudimentary backup system as well). Secondly, it prevents two people from independently changing the same footage at the same time, as you cannot check out data which has been checked out by someone else. Thirdly, it provides an audit trail of every change ever made, as everything can be annotated. At a glance, you could look at a single frame and see its entire history, from acquisition to final output. And finally, it provides authority on what’s considered the final version. At any point, you log into the version control system and there’s the latest version.

The concept of version control applies to all digital assets, both in terms of the footage itself, and also project documents, EDLs and so on. Historically, the disk space requirements of digital productions made version control a luxury no-one could afford. Now however, with the cost of disk space per terabyte so low, it’s a worthwhile investment that will hopefully become adopted on all manner of productions.

Whilst writing this, I imagine a great big server that stores every version of every frame ever generated on a production. I use a system like this here, but I can’t say whether it’s true of most productions and post facilities.  Is this even close to reality?

And if not, why not?

Posted: August 24th, 2008
Categories: News
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