I spend pretty much all of my time in front of a computer when composing for film and TV, so having a reliable system that runs smoothly is essential. As an OSX user, I find the operating system very stable, but, fighting with technical issues when you are working to a deadline isn’t ideal.
Here are the things that I do to ensure all my computers are clean and reliable.
I install software updates regularly. The only exception would be new OS releases as they can be unreliable and some software packages aren’t supported. But, I do install all other updates, as well as checking for sample library and plugin updates. EastWest releases new libraries as part of the cloud bundle, and it’s always good to see what they produced.
So, now the computer is up to date, I like to make sure that I’ve organised all my files.
File naming and folder structure are crucial. Being able to find files makes things much more manageable. I have this folder structure I use for all projects. Even if some of the folders remain empty, I keep the same structure for every project.
I also have a file naming process to ensure that I can find everything quickly, and I have previous versions stored.
So I use this naming structure:
- Date (year, month, day)
- Client Name
- Project Name
- Reel & Cue name (3M1 would be the 1st bit of music on reel 3)
- Versions Number
- Revision Number (in 3 digits – 003, 009 etc.)
A Cubase file would look like:
- 20190924 – Template – Website – 3M1 – V2 – R003
I have a backup server which I use to back up all completed projects, as well as Time Machine backups of the computers.
I run the Time Machine backups at the end of each day, so it’s not always running in the background while I’m working. It usually takes about 20 minutes, but should anything happen to a computer I can restore everything quickly.
I also move all completed projects to another system. Mainly to free up space on the main studio computer. I also remove all the autosave files from the folders – Cubase is excellent for auto-backing up, but I can end up with a lot of data I don’t need. So, I remove these once I know the project is done.
I run a system clean up weekly. It might be a little over the top to do this weekly, but it gives me peace of mind, and also my system clean.
Weekly I clean up:
- System junk
- Photo junk
- Main attachments
- iTunes junk
- Empty trash
- Clean out downloads folder
- Clean up the desktop
- Free up RAM
There are some system maintenance tools that you can run, but it’s not recommended to that you keep running this, so this is done every three months or so.
I have the 5.1 macs, which you can open it up very quickly, and so, I do. Each week I push the two clips and pop off the side, and use a bit of compressed air to make sure that no dust is collecting inside. I do think that this is probably pointless each week, but I have peace of mind, and I happy to exchange the 3 minutes it takes for that.