The sound design documentation question has me thinking about something that I don't really put much effort into, though maybe I should.

Lets say you've just wrapped a long, in-depth sound design project like a short or film or something of that nature. It's signed off on, delivered, and you're free to just let it fade away.

Do you spend any time outputting and archiving any custom sound design or other recordings made to picture before deleting the project from your drives? What's your post-project workflow?

I'm speaking less from an "I need to be able to restore this project in the future" standpoint and more from an "I made a bunch of cool sounds that I may be able to use on other things" standpoint.

My personal workflow is to just set aside any custom recorded elements for documentation as the project is ongoing, then adding those elements to my library after the fact, or as I get a moment (ex. setting aside the raw motorcycle tracks used to build the motorcycle scene.)

Sometimes I'll create an sfx palette (ex. vampire teleportation sounds) before or during tracklay, and in those cases the palette gets added to the master sfx library as I go along.

The one big hole in my game is foley archival. That stuff is cut to picture, so I have a hard time motivating myself to go through it all, sort the stuff that'll be interesting and spit it out into a format that I can catalog and find again later. So much foly is so specific to what the picture is, I'm not sure that spending the time on it will be worth the effort, though I certainly could be wrong.

The other thing I don't tend to do is bounce out heavily designed things like monster vocalizations or specialty weapons. Again, so much is specific to the picture that I'd think I just want to build a new one from scratch in the future. Again, I could be wrong on this.

Time is money, so where do we run into diminishing returns with regards to going over a project and pulling pieces for future use, and how do you go about setting stuff aside?


3 Answers 3


I know DVDs aren't perfect, but they meet my budget... I take EVERYTHING related to the project (all audio tracks, project files, finished videos, ect.) and throw it on a DVD. Label the DVD by date first, project second, and throw it in a box of archive DVDs.


Hard drives are cheap and copying several hundred gigs is easy and fast. So when it comes to the end of a project I will usually save a copy of the PT sessions that were used in the final mix, with all media, to an external drive with the intent of referencing them in the future. I don't attempt to break all of the elements out and catalog them in, say, Soundminer; rather, if I ever go back to those sessions I will know what was created, where it was created, and why it was created. I will have access to all of the layers and can pick and choose what I may need on that future date. Regarding design elements or the sessions used to create them, I tend to archive those separately and will probably drop those into Soundminer to be cataloged.

 The other thing I don't tend to do is bounce out heavily designed things like 
monster vocalizations or specialty weapons".

I will disagree with you here. I've found that certain designed sounds have real uses outside of their intended purposes, for example: Temp dubs, quick design sessions, inspiration, etc. You can even grab snippets of said heavily-designed sounds and get a big sound happening really fast without having to go back to the design phase and start from scratch. This approach will not apply to every project, of course, but don't throw away that stuff you worked so hard to create just because you feel it is one-of-a-kind.

Regarding foley, you don't want to let that go either since it is custom recorded sound. If the files are thoughtfully named, it's easy to throw them into a database program (soundminer), do a little metadata and then have them easily accessible for whatever project you're working on later.


I keep everything. I make DVD copies of the session, and all of the assets. I also have them stored on hard drives, SSDs and in the cloud. I would definitely spend the time to log the foley and add it to my database, you will get some jobs just on the strength of your sound library.

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