How best to organize material for shows that do heavy 'crossboarding'

A recent trend in television production is that shows often do a lot of ‘crossboarding’ where they shoot for multiple episodes at the same time. How this is done exactly may differ from one show to the next. A typical case is that shows shoot 2 at a time. So they are shooting episode 1 and 2, and then 3 and 4, and the 5 and 6, etc.

Some shows are now shooting in even more loosely organized ‘blocks’ that don’t necessarily fit into pairs of episodes. It’s almost like they are shooting at 13 or 20 hour feature, that is just split up into hour long acts.

The question is, how best to organize your media for these types of productions.

The answer is, of course, “it depends”.

Cortex’s Project Manager was designed initially with the idea that normally shows shoot an episode at a time. So you have this list of ‘Episodes’ and you create 1 for each episode they are shooting. If you follow that strictly, that means you may have to create multiple jobs each day, and import your media into each one separately.

But depending on the show, that may not be the best fit.

For a show that does heavy crossboarding where they shoot two episodes at a time, this alternative is worth considering:

  1. Create episodes named like 101_102.
  2. Create a single job each day named by the date as YYYY_MM_DD
  3. Only separate material from different episodes when adding them to reels

Each deliverable is generated from a Reel in Cortex so they are a natural container for separating clips. You can create a separate reel for each hour of material, or a separate one for each scene or camera roll.

Each Reel gets its own ALE and its own folder for Avid Media.

It makes sense to come up with some reel nomenclature and organization the best fits the job, and that works best for those next in line in the workflow (usually editorial). For instance, if separate reels for each scene makes sense, you could go with something like 101S42 for season 1, episode 01, scene 42.