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January 2, 2010

100101-1001; A Beautiful Number


My left brain, the orderly one, got great pleasure yesterday assigning the first image number of the new year and new decade. I love that number. It looks, well, almost binary.

Forgive my musing and read on. I'll be brief.

Since most image database software requires a unique filename for every image, I became an advocate of using a chronological shoot date and a four-digit number to generate unique numbers many years ago. It is surviving the test of time nicely.

Every new shoot folder get numbered using the shoot date in the format: yymmdd_BriefNameOfShoot. Using a 2-digit year gives me 99 years before I have a numbering year duplications. If anyone feels their image files will span 100+ years, they could use a 4-digit year that would format like this: yyyymmdd. Note: it's important to have the year first so the files sort properly.

Each image coming from the camera gets renamed with the shoot date followed by a dash and the 4-digit number generated by the camera. The four digits allow 9,999 images in a shoot. If multiple camera bodies are used and numbers might cross each other, the re-name software can sequentially number batches uniquely from each of the bodies. In the days of film, the four digit number was rrff for Roll and Frame.

One day, camera manufacturers will allow us to define a starting number at the time of capture. Why it is taking so long is already beyond me.

We also append an "A" at the end of the number which allows us B-Z to uniquely identify another 25 post-production versions of an image.

So, you see, numbers are totally under control here and I love the look of 100101-1001A.CR2 and 100101-2001.3FR. Happy New Year again.

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