OK, to most of you from FCP land, keeping media separate by project is a no-brainer.  Because FCP did that for you.  In your Capture Scratch drive you had a Capture Scratch folder, and render folders, and in there you’d have different folders for different projects:

If you wanted to manage it even more, you could make folders with project names to point FCP to as the CAPTURE SCRATCH.  So that you could just back up the entire folder, capture scratch and all the render files.  So instead of “Captures and Renders” like I have above, you’d have CAPE MAY, and then Audio Renders, Capture Scratch, Renders…and so on.  Keeping media separate was easy.  And if you wanted to manually organize the footage on the Finder level even more, you could.

But Avid Media Composer does things a little differently.

Avid MC will make one folder on your media drives and call it Avid MediaFiles. And inside that will be MXF, then numbered folders.  Inside those numbered folders are your media.

When a project gets really big, there will be more than the “1″ folder. There will be a “2″ and “3″, because there is a file limit of 5000 media files.  But the main point is that no matter what project you have going on, ALL of the media from multiple projects will be stored in that one file path.  All of the organization is done internally in the Avid MC app.  If you need to delete media, you do it in Media Composer.  Move media from one drive to another, you use CONSOLIDATE…inside Media Composer. (Avid’s “Media Manager” for all you FCP people)

But what if you want to copy all of the media used in a project…including render files and precomputes (titles)…to another drive to give to another editor?  Or what if you want to delete all of the media and render files for a certain project.  Well, if you had to do this internally in Avid MC, it could be quite a pain.  You would use the Media Tool, but it does take quite a few steps. A lot of work.  (Or you could get Media Copy by Automatic Duck…that’s pretty slick!) But I have a tip that I can show you how to keep all of your media separated by project.  It’s something you do on the Finder level (or whatever the desktop is called in PC/Windows land).

Let’s say you have only one project going at the moment, so all of the media for that one project is in the Avid MediaFiles folder.  But now you want to start another project up, and you want to keep all of the media separate.  So, all you need to do is change the name of the Avid MediaFiles folder to something else.  Because if the folder is named anything other than “Avid MediaFiles,” Media Composer will not see the media inside.  It’s like playing peekaboo with a baby.  You cover your eyes and suddenly the baby can’t see you. “Where the devil are you?!” Well, that’s what happened to Stewy on FAMILY GUY anyway.  What I do is just add the name of the project to the end of the current name.  So “Avid Media Files X Games,” for example:

Now when I make a new project and start importing media, Avid MC will make a new Avid MediaFiles folder and put the new media in there.  And when I want to switch back to the other project, I just add the project name to the current Avid MediaFiles folder, and take off the added name from the first one, and then launch Avid MC.  Then if I want to copy all of the media and renders associated with the project, I simply drag and drop the entire folder onto another drive.

EDIT: OK, for an even better way of doing this, read the first comment by Ian Johnson.  How to keep your media separate, but online at the same time.  Even better than my tip.  Thanks Ian!  And another by Paul.  Great tips below.