It never fails to amaze me the number of times I hear "Now that's a good idea" when talking with colleagues in the Pro Audio Industry or the Pro Tools Expert Team about some of the workflow ideas we individually take for granted. One such moment of genius was my use of Dropbox for online music collaboration.
I use DropBox every day as a means of shipping data (normally audio and Pro Tools sessions) around the world to clients. On both my Mac Pro and my new HP Z840 workstation PC I have a number of internal drives for audio, video and samples. I also have what I call my Sandbox drive.
Normally when working on a client project I would copy their uploaded files, be that a part finished Pro Tools session or a single audio file from the Dropbox folder to my audio drive and work with that file from the audio drive. This has been working fine, however, it can be a little tedious sometimes moving sessions and their accompanying audio and sometimes video files around the machine. I wanted a smarter solution to all this movement of data around my systems and I think I found it inside the Dropbox preferences.
By default when you install Dropbox the Dropbox folder is created on your system drive. That's fine if you are only moving word documents or images around, but in our sector, we are dealing with vast numbers of audio files and some massive video files which can fill up system drives very quickly. In the SYNC section of the Dropbox preferences, it is possible to move your main Dropbox folder to another drive. Selecting this will then create the new folder on your desired location drive, copy all the data currently in your Dropbox to the new folder and delete the folder from the original location. In my case, I have put the Dropbox folder into my SandBox drive, which is a 4Tb Seagate Iron Woolf Pro and is quite fast enough to be used as a media drive. As long as I make sure the person I am collaborating with does NOT have the session open from the Dropbox, I can open the Pro Tools session directly from the Dropbox folder, do whatever tracking or mixing task I need to then just save the session. The file then automatically updates the other user's system then they can carry on working once I have closed the session
If you have already had this moment of inspiration then well done. If not, and you are struggling with a bloated Dropbox folder on your system drive this could be the answer for you and could speed up any online music collaboration workflow you may use.