Audio Field Definitions

The list below must be viewed in conjunction with the AudioDeliverablesNaming Excel spreadsheet. On the Sound Naming Guide tab, one sees the various fields that comprise a file name. In each field there is a pulldown tab that links to the Sound Data Validation Lists tab.

At the top of the Sound Naming Guide tab there are two lines, one indicating how the tab should be considered in pre-final, work-in-progress versions, and the more definitive recommendations for final deliverables.


It is strongly recommended that files use the CamelCase format (aka PascalCase or UpperCamelCase) for titles.

First and foremost, it deals with spaces between words in a title in a simple manner: RemoveThem! By having the title tight, and not using underscores to separate the words (this is called “snake case”!), one is clarifying that “all this goes together” because elsewhere in the file name, underscores are used only to delineate mandatory fields.

Second, by capitalizing the various words which are strung together, they are more clearly understood at a glance than either the shouting ALLUPPPERCASE or the equally problematic alllowercase alternatives.

In addition to spaces, all punctuation (most commonly, commas and apostrophes) is removed, and at the head of names, all articles (“the,” “a,” “an”) are omitted.

As to the maximum length, we believe in following the 14-character title limit that is recommended by the InterSociety Digital Cinema Naming Convention. (

This length limit has some words (in addition to leading articles) that might need to be omitted; prepositions and later articles are top candidates on the chopping block. Readability and intuitive clarity are the goals.

Before final deliverables, however, in the interest of saving space and operator sanity, it’s perfectly acceptable to use acronyms for titles to help reduce the size of file names.

Field delimiter: hyphen


This only applies to series or miniseries for home video, and not to movies which have sequels. In those instances, the number of the sequel should be tight, at the end of the title.

Among the common nomenclature options are NNN, in which the first number is the season, and the next two are the episode numbers. It’s recommended that the episode numbers be two digits, even if there are less than nine episodes. Thus: 109. If you go to 10 or more seasons, good for you!

If the series ties to the calendar in any way, the four-digit year should be at the head, followed by either have mmdd or by a hyphen and a two- or three-digit number, depending on the number of episodes per year.

Field delimiter: hyphen


Documenting the year has many, sometimes seemingly contradictory, options.

The most obvious need for the year is when the title has been used previously, regardless of whether it’s a completely different story (Crash 1996 and Crash 2004) or is a remake (Ocean’s Eleven 1960 and 2001). It’s really only essential when the same studio has made and released both movies, as in the case of Ocean’s Eleven, because of the potential confusion in an inventory system.

Noting the year can be very useful for restorations. The original release year can be used for legacy files that are used to do the remastering, distinguishing them from the files named of the year of the work being finished.

Field delimiter: hyphen


This is to be used when a delivery company’s internal system requests it; such as Netflix’s Package ID on some elements and Twentieth Century-Fox’s “Worldwide Product Registry Number” (pre-Disney).

Some facilities will have a client or project ID at the head of files that they create. This is of course their call, although they should be removed before actual delivery of final files to the client. And even if it’s not at the head, and in this position, it should probably still be removed because it will be ephemeral and will have no meaning or use to anyone in the future. For the same reason, it’s also recommended that files do not contain purchase order numbers, as is sometimes done.

This field can also be used for a UUID (Universally Unique Identifier), although those 36 characters might be 36 too many for most. Again, it’s up to the user.

However, if a file is a transfer from a previously existing master (as in from magnetic film or optical), then that inventory number could be included in Field 7d, dedicated to “other” version information.

Field delimiter: underscore


“Version” in its many forms is a crucial element of proper file naming, and thus there are three noted here.

During post-production, the picture editorial crew names each new edit as they choose, with the most common methods being versions, with a lowercase “v” followed by a number (with or without a decimal point), or the date of the edit.

It is not recommended to use either version number or dates of version once the movie is locked, mixed, color timed, and delivered.

At this point it is recommended to call this the “domestic” version. If the movie changes for international release, for example with different head and tail logos, then those would then be substituted.

Note that the abbreviations here for countries, when an edit is made for a specific territory, are all lowercase, where the language in Field 2b is uppercase. (For visual consistency, the names of distributors and networks are also all lowercase.) This roughly follows the DCP naming convention in which the spoken language is uppercase, where subtitles are lowercase.

The list here is a starter, to be polished in consultation with distribution personnel from around the world.

The name of the primary/initial releasing studio should not be in this field; only add such a name if the edit or technical delivery specification has changed for them.

Field delimiter: hyphen


This pertains to the language of the mix at hand.

One school of thought would say that the master “domestic” version is clear and obvious: EN in the U.S. or FR in France, and therefore does not need to be noted.

It is recommended that one approach both the editorial and language version fields in the same manner: either use both dom and EN (for a U.S. movie) in their respective fields, or omit the language, adding the language abbreviation only for dubbed versions (assuming that the domestic edit is used).

Also following with the DCP naming convention, the language abbreviation should be in all uppercase.

Note that it can be convenient, in the case of dubbed versions, to have the 2a (editorial) version field be in two parts, with both the picture version (normally still “dom”), followed by “dubbed,” with the language following in the next (2b) field. Should a dubbed version be of a different edit than the domestic/God version, the version fields would read: “fr-dubbed FR” to note that within the French dubbed version was of a different, unique edit. Or, dom-dubbed-FR if it’s the domestic cut.

Field delimiter: underscore


This is a new idea, one that has no precedent that we’re aware of in movie industry file naming conventions. We think when applied to all deliverable elements created in post-production it could help give organization to the mountain of files created.

In its simplest form, following the title would be a three-letter acronym to delineate whether the element is a picture (Pix), sound (Snd), subtitle (Sub), or a document (Doc) file.

The thought is to take this further, with each one followed by a two-digit (00-99) number, their subjects having been divided into 10 groups of 10 categories.

Although all food groups for sound elements can very comprehensively be organized in 100 categories, the system should allow for future expansion, adding another digit for more granular naming. Thus, for example, the “Snd32” series of immersive stems and printmasters could extend to become a new “Snd320” category. For future discussion.

Also with respect for future expansion: on the accompanying Excel sheet, each of the fields ties to a list in a Data Validation tab. Very few fields needed more than 100 options in their lists, and to keep it matching the number of element codes, we’ve stopped there.

BUT, users should feel free to add their own items in the data validation lists, although for industry standardization sake, renaming items in the lists is not recommended!

In this manner, Pix00-09 and Snd00-09 would comprise original picture or sound files. To be clear, the naming of such production files is, and will probably always be, the Wild West; in this example, the codes would pertain to the folders that contain them. They can be archived either by shoot date (the date itself, not “day 01, day 02, etc.) or as organized in nonlinear picture and sound editing systems.

But for the “latter” elements—the groups would be very useful to organize in groups of 10 such items (in sound) as pre-mixes, stems, printmasters, immersive printmasters, etc. For picture the similar groups would be DCPs, ProRes files, IMPs, etc.

Field delimiter: underscore


In most instances, there are only two options here, Theatrical, for mixes designed for movie theater exhibition, and nearfield, for those designed for home video playback.

During post-production, this does not need to be noted, as the crew is quite aware of what they’re working against.

Once a movie is finished, and there is only one mix, and is deemed sufficient for both theatrical and nearfield uses, then then “NearNThea” should be selected for unambiguous clarity.

Within the world of nearfield monitoring, there are various existing standards worldwide. Many of these are also listed.

Field delimiter: underscore


The options here are pretty clear: pre-mix, final mix stems, printmasters, and M&Es. The latter includes the various pieces and parts such as optional tracks and dialogue guides.

Added here is a category for worktracks/guide tracks from picture departments and accommodations for various music needs.

Field delimiter: hyphen


This is a necessary addition to the main category field, noting (for example) the individual stems that comprise the final mix.

The only time when this field is not necessary is for a standard printmaster, where “PM” is in the Main Category field, and the specific form of the printmaster is in Field 16, the sound format.

When the main category is Pre-Mix and the Sub Category is Sound Effects or Music, there is almost always the need for further delineation. In these instances, it’s possible to omit Sound Effects and Music and go from the Pre-Mix main category to the type of pre-mix. Thus, Pre-Guns, for gun sound effects or Pre-GTR (i.e., Guitar) for music will be very clear. Also: Pre-FXA, Pre-FXB.

Field delimiter: underscore


This would normally be the place to note the reel number, although sometimes crews originally work in parts or longplay, the latter being standard industry-wide for home video masters.

Field delimiter: underscore


Even if a movie is shot and finished at only one sample rate (23.97 for home video-only movies) and 24.0 for both streaming and theatrical movies, it is still recommended that all deliverable files note the frame rate, given the widespread use of both rates, especially in the U.S.

Field delimiter: hyphen


In instances where everything is at the world standard of 48 kHz, this field would normally be left blank.

In the event that any elements (from the final mix forward) are at, say, 96 or 192 kHz, then for clarity’s sake, all elements should indicate their sample rate.

Field delimiter: hyphen


As noted above, this should always be 24, and thus is almost always left blank for mix elements and deliverables.

Field delimiter: hyphen


This field is a very variable catch-all location for additional information that is needed to clarify the provenance of the element, either past (such as noting Academy mono pre-emphasis) or present (such as it’s been sped up from 24fps to 25fps, but the pitch has or has not been corrected).

This field will often result in the longest character string of them all—so be it. Conveying the information clearly to anyone who handles the file in the future takes precedence over the usual brevity goal.

It’s recommended that, when making up your own new ones, that the material be written CamelCase.

There will be many instances, such as in restoring legacy material, where there would be another note. For example, indicating how it was transferred from the original or that it’s a legacy printmaster, and is either for reference only and not to be used, or is to be heard for comparison purposes.

Field delimiter: underscore


During post-production there is no need to note the year, unless the post process indeed is designed to span multiple years, as in the Avatar movies

The date which appears on deliverable elements is the date that the mix is recorded.

Field delimiter: underscore


This is placed at the end of the file name so that it will appear directly before the channel ID.

Field delimiter: period


If mono Broadcast Wave files are used, and multichannel channel elements have separate files, then the channel name would go here, with <<.channel name>> inserted by the user. In polyphonic/interleaved files, when the file is expanded in a workstation, the individual channel IDs “appear.”

If it is a single-channel mono track, it would be named as <<_Mono.C>>.

Field delimiter: period


The last is the easiest: this would almost always be .wav and is self-created when the file is recorded.