Quick Avid Tip: Rename your MXF folders!

Okay folks.  A quick tip here about ways to organize your media when you’re working on different projects on the same hard drive.  It requires a little maintenance, but it will work just as well as your current system and provide for an easy ability to manage media at the Finder level.  Let’s review by establishing the common Avid MediaFiles folder structure:

Hard Drive/Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1

On every hard drive where you’re currently carrying Avid media, your media lives in this folder labelled “1”. But did you know that you could rename this “1” folder to something more project-specific?  Apparently, as long as the folder is within the Avid MediaFiles/MXF folder structure and there are Avid Database files in there (those two MSM files in the folder with all your media), you can name your folder whatever you want.

But when would this come in handy?  If you’re managing multiple projects, or multiple phases of a project, such as offline and online on the same drive, this will be truly helpful.  That way, if you ever need to consolidate, manage media, or do anything when you only want to affect one project’s media and don’t want to manage it in the Avid Media Tool, you have set yourself up to do this very easily.

As a example, I was recently editing a music video on my laptop.  The media was stored locally on my internal hard drive.  Another project came up and I wanted to be able to keep the other media on my hard drive too.  So I took my current “1” folder, which I knew was only media from my music video, and I renamed it “Music Video”.  Then I imported the media from my other project.  When there isn’t a “1” folder in the Avid folder structure, Avid will automatically create one for you when creating new media, so when the media was done importing, I simply renamed the newly created “1” folder to the name of my other project.  And bang, two folders, two projects.  This came in handy when I wanted to take the music video to online on another system.  Without needing to consolidate or manage media at all, I just grabbed my “Music Video” Avid MediaFiles folder and copied it to a new hard drive.  No Media Tool necessary.

Here is an example of how I have my current work set up:

PS – Just a note: this only works to my knowledge on versions of Avid that use the MXF folder structure.  I have not investigated this on old (but still perfectly useable) OMF-based systems.

  1. Jim Hall said:

    It certainly does work for OMF style projects… I used to do it all the time, but usually not for different projects, mostly to keep the file count down.

    • Lefty said:

      Clear, infortmiave, simple. Could I send you some e-hugs?

  2. Steve said:


    One thing to be aware of — MC will play media in a folder with any name, but it will not re-index media in a folder that isn’t named with a number. If you manually reorganize or delete media via the Finder, MC will re-index it — but only if the folder is named with a number. Any number will do: 1 or 100000, etc. But Project27 won’t work.


    • Interesting. I thought it worked, as did @editblog, but I trust you. Thanks for the heads up.

      • Rizki said:

        tnkahs man i was looking for a solution, and this seems to be the easiest one around :)im also following the same book as you…

  3. Hugo Jordan said:

    may seem like a nice fix for personal projects. but anything on the professional level i think you might be opening the door to potential problems.

  4. Gary Bradley said:

    on a professional level, we digitize around 2 tb of DNxHD45 multi cam footage for each opera we edit. We rename the folder with an 8 digit numeric YYMMDD01 that allows more than one per day; it works faultlessly, with 3 or 4 copies of the media on different computers linking up instantly.

    • Evan Schiff said:

      As Steve said, renaming folders makes them essentially read-only as far as Avid’s media database is concerned. Should you ever need to rescan the folder you’d have to rename it, and in the case of a Unity setup you’d have to rename it to “ComputerName.#”. For features I prefer to let Avid do all the media management since I never need to know where a particular media file is located, and since there’s no technical reason anymore to manually manage the file count per directory. But then again when I need to copy Unity media I’m usually copying all of it.

  5. Assistant Editoress said:

    I have a slightly different use for the renaming of mxf-folders that I think works wonders as an assistant editor on large scale productions to help keep thngs tidy. I typically make 6 folders named 1 to 6. I dont give them non-numerical names before I send the project to archive. This is to keep media composer scanning and arranging as it should do.

    Folder 1 is my write-folder. Obviously. Anything added to a project automatically goes to this folder. And if the chief editor adds something to the project without telling me (and typically naming things badly…) I will see it instantly by just looking in this folder.

    Folder 2 is just a safety folder. Should folder 1 ever get full, anything overflowing will go in here. This never happens but hey, Im pragmatic.
    Folder 3 is typically my Image folder. Labrolls or digital media mxf from camera goes in here. This is my offline.
    Folder 4 is recorded sound from shoot
    Folder 5 is music
    Folder 6 is my soundfx library that I usually carry from project to project if Im not on my own system.

    When it comes to online, if its done in media composer Ill make a folder for that aswell. This just typically makes it easy to find stuff manually, locate duplicates and see whats been done while Ive been somewhere else (a huge point for me since Im often only working on a project from the early days and then again late in the process.)

    Whatever your organisational need is this is a great trick. I learnt it from this page a while back and found a slightly different use for it. So thought Id share 🙂

    May your media be online and you exception_error messages be harmless!

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