Hey all you professional peers,

I am curious how you organize and keep track of different versions of Pro Tools sessions.

How do you write the date?

Do you have a standard naming convention you use?

Do you use a Revision system? Like "R1", "R2", etc. tagged at the end of the session file name?

What are some common abbreviations you use?

Do you have a naming scheme that keeps the most recent session file at the bottom of the list when in alphabetical order? (That's what I do - curious to what other people do).

Do you keep the film split up by reel and each reel gets it's own Pro Tools session? Or is it all in one session?

How often do you Save As?

Appreciated - Ryan

  • Pro Tools doesn't take care of revision control or datestamps for you?? How much does it cost again?
    – endolith
    Jul 10, 2010 at 0:32
  • Ah. Revision control is manual with just a save-as command. It gets datestamped and date-modified in the Finder... But it's not foolproof (which is what happened recently and I want to eliminate any chance of it happening again. Someone edited the wrong session, lost 10 hours of work).
    – Utopia
    Jul 10, 2010 at 1:14
  • endolith, i cross to the world of programming every so often, and i would hate to see all the complicated versioning brought from there into the world of audio. Save As with a naming scheme is enough. last (up to) 99 versions are always available anyway, as resources are not modified (unless you force PT). it costs anywhere from $250 to $25k ;)
    – georgi
    Jul 12, 2010 at 9:31

3 Answers 3


Regular naming convention for features I work on is:



  • ROAD_R2_V0405_FX

I normally don't go beyond that unless I am trying something new that I don't want to commit to, for example:

  • ROAD_R2_V0405_FX_alt car engine

I have ProTools setup to autosave 99 backups with each backup occurring every 1-3 minutes, so I have no worry of losing data. I rarely do Save Copy Ins unless I am finished with the reel and sending it to the stage or to another editor for additions/revisions. Lastly, I do a full backup at the end of each day using Chronosync.

  • How many of those daily full backups do you keep? And what is the advantage of Chronosync vs. doing a Save Copy In at the end of the day? Jul 12, 2010 at 22:17
  • 1
    @Steve, I keep only 1 copy which is continuously re-written each time I synchronize. The advantage of Chronosync is that you don't re-write the entire session every time you sync; only the new data is copied. Huge time saver. Also, you will never lose any data; anything you've deleted in the master session can be saved to an archive folder for later if you think you'd ever need it. Highly recommend this software. Jul 12, 2010 at 22:39
  • @birdhousesound Would V0405 mean April 5th or May 4th?
    – Utopia
    Jul 13, 2010 at 1:33
  • I label year-month-day. So april 5 2010. Jul 13, 2010 at 1:38

Hey Ryan,

I personally don't need to keep different versions, I have only rarely needed to go back a step and PT has it's automatic backup.

I use a naming convention though....

e.g. Hero:108, series 1, episode 3 would be H103 e.g. Hero:108, series 4, episode 5 would be H405

That's as complicated as I make it.

On rare occasions I merely use the date. e.g. The Art of Time 02FEB2010

I try to remember to copy the entire folder of mixes onto my backup drive each night and onto an external each week. However my system is setup thus...

MacHD - system drive SCSI A/B/C - external Avid SCSI, 1 per show Audio - SFX library on internal SATA Video - MXF & QT on internal SATA Backup - 1TB internal SATA Backup - external FW drive.

Once a show is complete it is archived onto either DVD or BluRay and the HDD wiped.

This means the worst that can happen is I loose a days work. Even if the computer explodes, chances are the work will be fine.

  • Nice system! Do you Save Session Copy In when you archive? Before then do you clear (delete) unused files?
    – Utopia
    Jul 9, 2010 at 22:03
  • I do indeed, remove all unused regions and Save Copy In. The only thing I don't save is the video, not my department ;)
    – ianjpalmer
    Jul 10, 2010 at 9:26

Usually I don't need to have different versions of the same reel. I make only a copy of my session file everyday and change the progressiveLetter (a progressive letter, from a to z): it's more to keep track of the working days and the changes but I rarely need to open an older session.

My session name is something like:


Where id is an identifier of the editor (if I'm working in team) and versionDate is the date of the conformed video I'm working on.

I've autosave set every 3 minutes, 99 copies.

I started writing in max an app to track version number and comment and renaming file and retrieving them. It works, but I never needed to actually use it in a real production.

I have Carbon Copy Cloner set to clone the project folders every day at lunch time and in the evening when usually my working day is over.

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