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Mix tips #4

This is rather a safety, practical tip, which can save your mix sometimes. I’ve been using this backup method for a while, and to be honest it proved to be extremely useful in many situations.

Cloud backup the session file

Audio and video files are huge, even a smaller session can be many gigabytes which makes them harder to backup. Let’s say (hopefully) everyone has a working backup routine for those big files, but what about one of the most important file in a mix, the session file?

These are the files that contain all the data about our work. This little file is the only reference for Pro Tools to know what it needs to do, what tracks we are using in the session, what plugins we inserted where, automation data, edits, etc. So it can really be a lifesaver to have a additional backup of our .ptf or .ptx files.

I chose cloud backup as the optimal place for my sessions. Why? Many reasons for this. It’s very easy to backup as these session files are just a few megabytes, so anyone can easily backup these even into a free account on a trustworthy cloud service. If you happen to loose a backup, or the file gets corrupted, or you just accidentally forget to use the save as command before you make huge changes, you’ll have a last backup up in the cloud that can save you and your work.

The other huge benefit is collaboration. Almost all cloud service offers you the possibility to track changes. Let’s assume you and your editor/mixer have all the files, the only thing you need to exchange daily is the .ptx file. Through the cloud, it is amazingly ease to update the different changes daily, while you can keep a log about the changes you or your mate did, probably even with adding notes to files in the cloud.
With this, you not only have a complete archived session backup system, but you have a very easy going collaboration platform.

The only thing you and your co-workers have to agree upon is a good naming scheme. I use a very simple one, which seems to work perfectly. I contains all the necessary information when I have to search through the archives.

so in practice:
141209 My Feature Film Edit

So as you probably easily deciphered, it’s yymmdd format. This way it’s absolutely fine if I only remember the project date, I will find it, and if I only know the name of the project, I’ll find that easily too.

These days you can find many really good cloud services, most of them even offer ample free storage for hundreds if not thousands of session files. I personally use Google drive, because for me the price/performance ratio is the best with them. Choose one you like and backup your little session files so you won’t loose anything. At the end of the day it only takes a few seconds to upload the files, and you’ll have another backup of your valuable assets.