Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Video File Naming

Sorry, can't think of a snappy opening line for this post, so we'll get right into it.

First, file names, paths and maximum lengths.
     If you look around on the internet for more than one or two responses, you will find that everyone seems to have their own ideas as to file name and path lengths.
     So to start with, use your common sense.  Both file names and paths should be succinct and relevant.
     Unfortunately, the above advice will not always provide error free naming conventions.

Unless you are in a case involving George Foreman and family (six people all named "George Foreman"), you can probably get by with a nice naming convention of FirstInitialLastNameFileNumber or LastNameFirstInitalFileNumber.  Such as JJones01 or JonesJ01.   You can add the date in there if it makes sense.  Or not, since all the video files are for a single person, there is no reason to not just keep incrementing the FileNumber portion for subsequent depos.

Having done this for more than a decade, I have found that in some strange combination of circumstances, there is a lower limit on unique file names.  By that I mean that file names must be unique within "x" characters.  File names such as "JimJonesDepoDated14Aug2013TapeNumber1FileA.mpg" and "JimJonesDepoDated14Aug2013TapeNumber1FileB.mpg" will sometimes confuse the Operating System.  The result is that video playback will appear to reference the wrong file.  Besides, that file name looks bad.

Some off-the-cuff figuring seems to indicate the upper limit to maintain uniqueness is about 14 characters.  Since this situation has only occurred on computers owned by someone else (and they only contacted me for support), I have never been able to get an exact count.

Just another example of the things that we need to keep an eye on.

Have a great day.


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