The Megabyte Method Demonstration Series Part 1: File Gathering

The Megabyte Method is a new approach to organizing digital photo and video collections. It is so different that many people are skeptical of it. So, I decided that the best way to get people’s attention was to record my screen while organizing a collection so that people would be able to watch a video of me working.

The software I use in the video is Directory Opus 13, by GP Software.

This article and the corresponding video include different information, so it is best to read the article first. The link to the video is at the end of the article.

I hope you have watched previous videos and read previous articles about the Megabyte Method, as they will help you understand the demonstrations.

About File Collecting and File Gathering

File Collecting is the first part of the File Gathering process. File Collecting involves getting folders and files quickly but not selectively from some types of Sources. Because File Collecting is faster than selective gathering files, I can return Source devices like hard drives and computers to my clients relatively quickly.

File Gathering from Sources that were Collected involves selectively and carefully deleting files so that only the photos and videos a client will want included in their organized collection—plus those they may want to review—are Gathered.

When I return to my office after collecting files, I leverage the power of Directory Opus to ensure I gather only the photos and videos my client wants me to organize.

File Gathering is copying, downloading, exporting, or syncing only the photos and videos a client will want included in their organized collection—plus those they may want to review.

When files are gathered accurately and thoroughly, the rest of the organizing process goes much more smoothly.

Preserving Folder Structure

With Directory Opus, I can copy or move files while preserving the folder structure. Preserving folder structure is important even if the client has not placed photos or videos in folders with meaningful names.

Preserving folder structure makes duplicate removal much more efficient. Here’s one reason why:  With the settings available in Duplicate Cleaner Pro, it’s easier to find duplicates with different filenames that are in different folders than it is to find duplicates with different filenames that are in the same folder.

Because folder names often include dates or date clues, preserving the folder structure preserves any date information in folder names that can be used when adding dates to Undated photos or videos. Every digital collection I have ever organized has included at least 5% Undated photos and videos.

Tasks Demonstrated in the Video

Extracting Archives

The first task I demonstrate is locating Archives and extracting files from them. I always collect Archives from my clients’ Sources because they may contain photos and videos.

In Directory Opus, there are several Views to choose from. This video shows how I use Flat View – No Folders to display every file in the entire Files Collected folder and all its sub folders. Then I used the File Types Filter to select only Archives. Because this collection contains a lot of Archives, and because they are spread out amongst many different Source folders, I chose to separate them out before extracting them. I recreated the folder structure when I moved the Archives so that the extracted files could later be returned to where they were before.

Checking PDFs

I once had a client who had scanned a lot of photos herself and had saved them as PDFs. I have checked PDF files ever since. First, I look for clues in the PDF filenames. If a filename suggests it may be a photo, I preview the PDF. In the video, the PDF filenames are blurred to protect the client’s privacy.

Locating Old or Incomplete Libraries

If the client is a Mac user, I collect their System Library, but sometimes I find old or incomplete Libraries elsewhere. In the demo collection, I found an incomplete iPhoto Library on one of my client’s EHDs. I found it by using a filter I created to find typical Library and catalogs folder and file names.

The video does not show that the Library I found could not be opened on a Mac. It had a folder icon, not a Library icon. I used a third-party application in the hope of repairing it, but that was not successful. My only option was to gather the files from the Masters folder.

Using Filters to Control File Gathering

I have created several filters in Directory Opus to help me identify and delete files and folders that should not be gathered. I call them ‘Gather Prep’ filters.

Those filters and all other customizations I have made to Directory Opus can be shared via a configuration file. The configuration file is provided to those who use or are learning the Megabyte Method.  

I don’t need to use the filters for every collection I organize, but this collection is large and has a very deep and complex folder structure, so using the filters is much more efficient than navigating the folder structure to check files and folders that were collected.

I have configured Directory Opus to always show Hidden files and folders, because sometimes Hidden items should be gathered.

A command will be used to select files to be gathered. That command will select photos and videos over 5 KB in size that do not have a System or Hidden attribute. After using each filter, I change the Hidden or System attributes to control which files will be gathered when the command is used.

If XMP or JSON files need to be gathered, there is a separate step for that task.

About the Demonstration Video

This is the first demonstration video showing me organizing a real digital photo and video collection. please remember that the videos are not staged, but they are heavily edited to shorten them.

I realize my video editing and narration skills are not great, but they improving!

Watch the Video on the Photo Organizing Stuff YouTube Channel

Video Part 1: The Megabyte Method Demonstration Series

Part 1 Megabyte Method Demo Series

© Meg Macintyre, Photo Organizing Stuff