Monday, 12 August 2013

Why You Should be Using Adobe Bridge for File Organization

There’s a lot of software out there meant to help keep your files nice and neat. Some of these cater more to documents while others are more purposed for media, but they all offer the same basic functions: move to location, copy to location, rename, etc. Some of the better softwares offer batch functionality that lets the user organize hundreds (or even thousands) of files at once.

Today I want to focus specifically on a program call Bridge. This program comes with the Adobe Creative Cloud (formerly known as Master Suite for anyone who hasn’t made the transition) and I’m here to tell you you’re probably missing out on great features that you should be using. After all, you are paying for them. Here are a few of the reasons I think you should be using Bridge for all of your file organization needs.

1. Real Time File Organization: That’s right, move a file in Bridge and it will be moved just as if you clicked and dragged in Finder or File Explorer. For me this is one of the most powerful features Bridge offers because there’s so much more information available to me than if I was simply moving files within Finder or File Explorer. Information I would normally need to retrieve by right clicking and selecting the “Get Info” (cmd/ctrl + i) is displayed in a module simply by clicking the file. More importantly, there’s much, much more information listed. You can open or expand different drop down menus to really customize what kind of information you see when you select different files. This is great because I can filter items by file size, dimensions, exposure, date, and pretty much anything else. This makes organizing files into various folders a breeze. More importantly, all the files I organize in Bridge will be organized on my computer, so if I were to import into Premiere for example, I’d already have everything right where it needed to be.

2. Metadata: This is all the data your camera saves when you snap a photo or video.

You may not normally have a need for all of this information but it is there. This can make learning a much easier process. Maybe you took a photo and thought it looked good in camera. Well now that you have it on the screen you’re noticing a slight blur over the whole photo. If you were to check your shutter speed you’d see it was at 1/30 sec, but your focal length was 50mm. Following the reciprocal rule, your shutter speed should usually be at least 1/focal length otherwise you get camera shake. Bridge didn’t reinvent the wheel on this or anything, Metadata is available from other programs, but Bridge presents the information in a manner where it’s available if you need it but not in the way or cluttered if you don’t. You could also download an image by a photographer you really like and check out the metadata on their photo to get a better idea of how they captured it.

3. Batch Rename: This is by far my absolute favorite feature of Adobe Bridge.

This feature allows you to rename hundreds or even thousands of items, all at once. Going down the menu we see that we can create presets, which is a pretty standard feature from Adobe, or go ahead and manually set our parameters each time. You have the ability to rename files in their location, move them to a different location, or copy the files. The filename section allows you to build the filename using different pieces. You can add text, numbers, letters, metadata, and many more.

These are just three of the features Bridge offers that keep me using it day after day, but honestly I'm barely scratching the surface of what this program has to offer. The real power of Bridge comes from its incredible integration with Photoshop. You can import files into layers, set up panoramas, create contact sheets, etc.

When you incorporate Bridge into your workflow, be it photo, video or even both, you’ll definitely notice a smoother transition between production and post. Batch rename alone can help keep you from having to click through countless clips to try to find “that one clip you swear you remember seeing.”

What key features of Bridge do you think should have been included? In what ways has Bridge helped you redesign the ways you handle post-production? What other programs do you use to help keep your workflow running smoothly and efficient?

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