On Organization...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by ChristopherCoy, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I have a problem - my art is as disorganized as a hurricanes aftermath.

    What generally happens is, I'll go out and shoot a couple rolls of film (or a couple memory cards), and then I'll develop said rolls (or upload to a hard drive), and then one or two shots from each will get selected for print (or editing). The rest never see the light of day. Furthermore, not a single negative is marked, not a single file is named, and there are no categories set up to separate the negatives or files into an organized, easy-to-find manner.

    Yesterday I was trying to choose a negative to print for the postcard exchange, and had to look through an entire binder full of negative sheets to decide which one I wanted. I took each individual sheet out, held it up to the light and tried to decipher when it was shot, what the subject matter was, and then choose a single image.

    I *REALLY* want to get a hold of things and get organized, but I absolutely cannot figure out a system. Numbering? Key words? Date? Should I keep all rolls together, or mix in match depending on subject matter? Camera used for each roll? Film size?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2012
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    For my physical negative filing sysytem I am banal, but it works.

    Films get developed.

    After hung and dried the films are cut and put into filer sleeves. 35mm, 120 (in 3 verticals for the TLR or 4 3's horizontal for folders etc.) or 4x5.

    If it is b&w the type of developer, dilution, time and temp gets written on the top of the filer page with a fine tipped sharpie marker. Sometimes films get stockpiled waiting for enough to make a batch worth mixing up some e-6 or c-41 to use it to its full capacity. E-6 and c-41 might get the replenishement sequence noted on the filer page if I am in the mood to try to see if the image degrades excessively by re-usung the chemistry too much.


    They get put into a binder called 'contact printing backlog', generally in the order in which they are shot. With multiple cameras on the go this is not always feasible.

    They get assigned a year and month number and stuck into the binder, regardless of type: B&W sits beside e-6 and c-41.

    Then after the backlogs are all cleared, the month sequence number is added. So the fourth film in about chronological order processed this month becomes 2012-11-4. The individual frame numbers finish the index, reference or , if the film is not not frame numbered (arista, some cinema stocks) they become referenced as things like row 3 frame 2. 4x5 go four to a filer pages and become A, B C and D.

    The next time I am printing that process, I pull all of the backlogged films of that type, and make contact sheets. E-6 gets contacted as negatives with some old no longer fully black monochrome RA-4 paper when I have the roller processor revved up to print from colour negs.

    The contact sheet gets the film negative page reference written on it, and the back of the page gets notes of anything unique I wish to recall about where I was. it also gets any model releases for images on that paged taped to it. The now contacted pages go back into the contact sheet backlog binder, and stay there until most of the other filer pages of their era are finished up. Then every few months or longer, they get transferred out to a year binder.

    The year binder has a clear plastic front and rear slip in cover that allows a a hand written index to be compiled and slid in. This index could be computerized and more searchable, but so far I have not gone that path. The index notes the number of the film, the film format ( 35, 120, 4x5, or other ) then the process (b&w, e-6, c-41, or other), then a general description of what is on that film/page.

    The filer pages go in the three ring binder behind the contact sheet. Some filers have a sleeve for the contact, but usually they are too pricey, and I just punch the contahc sheet carefully so an 8x10 fits to the holes more commonly meant for 8.5x11.

    The index sheet frequently extends to half way onto the back of the binder. I use 1.5" thick D ring binders. I have about 6' of shelf space of them now. For the last few years I have needed a first half and second half of the year binders for any given year.

    The system is imperfect, but usually I can recall about when I took an image, and find it with the negative in my hands in less than 10 minutes.

    Most of the contact printing is done when I am tired and just housecleaning in the darkroom.
    Printing better enalrgement prints usually waits until I am more rested, which typically means more inspired.
     
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    My digital indexing (mostly of non artistic day job work) is hard to get organized on.

    I use ACDSee to print a contact page, with file nemes under each image and then scrawl notes around the remaining white space.
    Images get downloaded and renamed for the day they are downloaded. Less than perfect, but it gives you some clue whe the snaps were taken, becuase they then to get dumped every few days, and the metadata can get you closer date if needed. Mostly they are construction progress documentation photos.
     
  4. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    My film gets put in print file sheets and labeled on the top as to subjects and date. All are put in a binder in approximate chronological order and are separated by film size and type - ie, I have binders for 35mm B&W, 35mm E6, 35mm C-41, 120 B&W.... I mix Hasselblad and P645N in the same binder (with Holga and folders that take 120). Each roll of film gets a number based on order and the contact sheet for that roll gets that number on the back. The contact sheets are usually way out of order and in various piles.
    The system isn't great, but I can usually find a neg fairly quickly. There are also post-its sticking to some rolls with shots I know I like and want to print again.
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have started (then stopped but started again) to do small resolution scans of each page on negatives. I use a flatbed scanner that takes 4 x 6 neg strips at a time so that part is quite quick. No after work is done on them as it is not necessary and transfer the results onto a memory stick with the main subject as a title for each file. I lable each page after scanning with a number and add that number into the corresponding file on the memory stick.

    I have several thousands of negs, both B&W and colour to do, so it may, sorry, will take a while to complete. But already I have an easy record of what I take and it doesn't take long to find something I am looking for. An 8 gig stick will certainly take all my files with ease.
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I put the contact sheets with the negative pages. Contacts on the left, negatives on the right when I open to a page. Negative pages have date/description/camera/lens. Contact prints get scribbled on, marked up , etc..
     
  7. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    My physical storage is just printfile sleeves in a binder with a numbered index tab for each sheet. Black and white and slide film go into the same binder in the order I put them in, so things get somewhat out of order as the slide film goes to the lab every few months while B&W is done shortly after I shoot it. I just number my rolls 2012-XXX so 2012-025 is my 25th roll this year.

    I scan all my film and import it into Lightroom which is where I keyword it all. My digital library is a disaster but I keep my film scans in their own library and have managed to keep up on the keywording. I also create collections for my different projects so I can keep track of them.
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Paged, put in binders, and the binders are labeled with date range and theme. It's simple and reasonably effective.
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I keep all my stuff in the house somewhere.


    Steve.
     
  10. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!
     
  11. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I prefer organizing my film by theme and by film type. So all 6x6 shots in one binder, 35mm in another, and colour in another one yet. Then, organized by theme (often travel) or film/camera type (all infrared, Holga shots, etc). I find it easier to go to a specific themed binder to look for a shot, rather than try to remember what year I shot something in.
     
  12. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Books of negs and a Filemaker Pro database. It took time to set up the database, but it saves immeasurable time in searching for negs, and also stores development and printing info.
    Of course this is for 8 books, mostly full, multi-formats, and 50 years of shooting. All of the books hold Printfiles.
     
  13. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    "ChristopherCoy does not happen to be a pseudonym for Mitt Romney, does it?

    Sorry, I could not resist.
     
  14. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    No it most certainly isn't. I most certainly did not vote for him either...
     
  15. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Christopher: I hope that I did not offend you. I was referring to the statement Romney made in one of the debates about "binders full of women."
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Well since I went to medium format work a few years back, I created an Excel spreadsheet where I use one page per roll and record frame number, a brief description, exposure and any filters used in vertical columns. I also have a header area where I record the film, camera and possibly some metering info (which meter etc.) and a bit about the general subject; also the lens if the camera has interchangeable lenses. At the bottom I have a note area for processing - developer, time and temp, or what lab if color. I also record a general comment about the results and can place notes about individual shots on the line for each frame if the mood strikes me. I use a small voice recorder to make field notes as I shoot (unless overcome by laziness).

    I have the pages grouped for my assorted and sundry cameras with a hint in an index number 'SQ063.10' is frame 10 in roll #63 from my SQ-A, etc. Negatives go in Printfile pages with separate ring binders for 35mm, 120, and 4x5 (which generally only happens on Worldwide Pinhole Day!) The pages are identified with film type, roll number corresponding to the Excel sheets, shoot date and subject, set in chronological order.

    In Excel, one can create links just like on a webpage, so I have a master index and then a subject index, divided by year and grouped for the camera model (except little used cameras are together in a 'Misc' group). I also have a film type index which allows me to see and click to sheets for TriX or FP4 or whatever. Each film page has three links to go back to the master index, subject index or film index so one can click back and forth. (Yes, I'm a retired software type and have too much time on my hands.) D!git@l shots go into a file hierarchy with actual image files in a folder named 20yy_mm_dd_subject which are then grouped into folders by year and maybe subdivided into two-month sub-folders. (It sounds more complicated than it is.) I also scan some of my film negatives and insert them into the same file hierarchy.

    It works for me, but then I also don't generally shoot 300 shots a week either.
     
  17. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Oh no! not at all! Trust me, it takes WAY more than that to offend me!! LOL
     
  18. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Like almost everything else in a cluttered house, I have a place For all of my film, and all of it some place or other. Digital files are easy to organize. Memory cards are uploaded to a folder named with the date, YYMMDD, and the subjects in each folder are noted in a word processor file. A word search can quickly locate all folders with any subject.