Get rid of SFK files, Sony!

mbelli wrote on 6/21/2004, 4:02 PM

I know sfk files have been mentioned before, but I wanted to really urge Sony to get rid of them next version of Vegas.

No other software NLE generates zillions of little files everywhere, without the option at least of asking in what folder they should be placed. They are really annoying and make folder maintenance and organization a pain. I wind up deleting them all the time.

I know they're used for the audio portion of Vegas, but if anything, Sony should incorporate what they do with Sound Forge, that is, have the option to hide the sfk files or have the option to have Vegas delete them on closing.

Being new to Vegas and anal about folder maintenace, I hate browsing through my folders and seeing these little files all over the place. It just seems sloppy for a program in this day and age to do that. I mean, I can see the idea of temp read only files like MS Office uses, but on closing the application the files are deleted.

No computer application should generate this amount of files all over your drives and Vegas and Sound Forge are the only ones I've ever encountered that do this.



planders wrote on 6/21/2004, 4:47 PM
Come up with a viable alternative, then. The SFK file contains the peak data for your sound events, so that the waveform can be viewed and edited quickly--while being able to leave the actual audio data on your hard drive rather than in memory, saving system resources for editing. The first time you load a .WAV or DV file, Vegas has to generate this data, which can take quite a long time if the source file is large. By keeping the SFK file you only have to wait through this once. A preference allowing you to deactivate these would be easy enough I'm sure, but then you'd spend an awful lot of time waiting before being able to start editing.

As for "cluttering up your hard disk", as far as I've seen SFKs are consistently saved in the same place as their associated sound or video file, which makes perfect sense from an organizational perspective. These aren't "temp" files, after all; they're required in order to edit the associated file. Besides, they're generally pretty small.
ibliss wrote on 6/21/2004, 4:48 PM
sfk files are a necessary evil.

They can't be put into one folder because they relate to specific files - if you have to audio files call 'recording 1' in different folders, they will have need seperate sfk files, so the sfk files have to stay with them in sepearate.folders.

However, the fastest way to get rid of sfks is to open 'my computer', hit F3 and search for ".sfk" - all will be found and you can delete them in one go.
farss wrote on 6/21/2004, 4:50 PM
And where and how else do you propose to store the waveform data? If the files were deleted when the app closed then they have to be rebuilt next time you opne the project and that'd be a right royal pain. Putting them into a separate folder would raise many issues. For example you may have more than one project with Tape-01.avi.
Its no big drama to sort by file type, highlight all the sfk files and hit delete, the alternatives would be much more difficult to live with.
If you want to work in video get used to thousands of little files everywhere. I agree you need to be pretty anal about how you manage assets otherwise things can very quickly get out of hand, particularly when you work on multiple projects but getting rid of the sfks wouldn't make that any different.
BillyBoy wrote on 6/21/2004, 5:01 PM
Actually its YOU that put files 'all over the place' so when Vegas is told to worlk on such and such file if you have them scattered in a hundred different folders that's where the file Vegas generates ends up.

One solution is start with a project folder, move everything you think you'll need to it BEFOREHAND and no more scatter.
Cheesehole wrote on 6/21/2004, 5:01 PM
We definitely need them, but it would nice to be able to turn them off or have them auto-delete. If you work with small files in a CDROM or WEB deliverable you don't want any extra files and the speed gain from having cached audio peaks is negligable.

This bit me in the ass once. I delivered a CD and it had SFK files on it. The extra 4 characters in the file name was enough to put a bunch over the client's limit and I had to fix it and send a new master. I knew about the problem but it is hard to remember to delete them every time they are auto-generated.
ibliss wrote on 6/21/2004, 5:33 PM
Here's a slightly OT thought - SFK presumably stands for 'Sonic Foundry peaK' file - perhaps one day they WILL dissapear to be replaced by SKF files or something... Or maybe Sony have better things to spend their programming man-hours on?
Erk wrote on 6/21/2004, 5:54 PM
I don't mind the current system whereby the SFKs are automatically created in the project folder, but an alternative might be the way Sonar handles what it calls "picture" files: Upon installation, Sonar creates a special folder where all these files go, regardless of project. You can move this folder around at will (as long as you tell Sonar in the preferences). And since they are just small peak files like SFKs, its no biggie if the picture folder is on your application drive or wherever.

Just a thought.

Also, as a partial way to avoid these files, in the the Vegas Explorer window, you can turn off "show all file" and the SFKs and certain other files are hidden.

mbelli wrote on 6/21/2004, 6:16 PM

All good points, but I'd still suggest that Sony provides some management tools for these files. As I say, Sound Forge does this pretty well, it has the following options:

- delete temporary files
- hide new temporary files

I think creating a software that just splatters little files all over the place is just sloppy. You got to give an option to the user (users that hate those little files of course), to be able to hide or delete them, even if it takes longer to load up those files in Vegas.


TheHappyFriar wrote on 6/21/2004, 6:25 PM
But they don't splatter them all over the place. If you have a video (or audio files called cyberdude.wav, the peak file will be cuberdude.wav.sfk. So, when you list the files they will be side by side.

But, it would be nice if they would automaticly be deleted if you delete the files they're accociated with (like if you save a web page it saves the HTM & a folder with the assocaited files. Delete the HTM & the folder goes poof too).

And these files just don't save a second or two, they save hours. If you've got lots of audio open on Premier & move the timeline view, you could be waiting many minutes for it to update. But, they probley don't care about audio because they're video editrs and "pro"s always just save "give it to the audio guy". :)

Next you'll be complaing that the autosave doesn't delete the file you're working it, it makes backups, which are useless files. :)
p@mast3rs wrote on 6/21/2004, 6:26 PM
I am also a user of Premiere Pro. Ill gladly take the sfk files anyday over the conformed audio files of Premiere Pro. PP converts ALL audio and fills up your hard drive.

Again, its not Vegas that scatters them all over, its where you store your files. Vegas creates an sfk file in the same location as your video file. If you dont like having them all over your hard drive, why not put all your video files in one directory. There! Problem solved and you dont need a patch for it.
Sol M. wrote on 6/21/2004, 8:07 PM
IMHO, the more important issue here is what mbelli briefly referred to in the original post: Project Management.

Coming from a mostly FCP background, I find Vegas lacking in this area. While FCP was not a perfect NLE, it did have very good Project Management from day one. When a new project is created in FCP, a new folder with the Project's name was created. Within this folder lay subfolders that were used to organize the various assets of a project (waveform cache files, thumbnail cache files, captured media, etc.). Each had their own folder. The result of this was that there was no mixing of 'types'-- that is, audio peak files were separated from captured media, etc. IMHO, isolation of different project files is very integral to proper project management.

I agree wholeheartedly that SFK files should not be done away with. Any decent NLE will create a file of some sort to store waveform data (note that Premier doesn't do this ;P).

However, I would gladly welcome a change in Vegas where Media Management was given a higher priority. For instance, a change to SFK file spec could include a reference to the source file so that it can be placed in a different directory than the source file (thus, the SFK files could be placed in their own directory).
mbelli wrote on 6/21/2004, 9:16 PM

It's funny, you give an opinion in this forum and you almost get your head chewed off. Is it not posssible to make a simple personal criticism of this program, which I love as much as anyone else in this forum?

I totally get the SFK files, I've been dealing with them way before Vegas, with Sound Forge that I've used for years -- so yes, I'm aware of where they are saved, their use and so forth. I've just wrapped a 6-part series for IFC where Vegas and Avid weres my prime post tools, the series features Peter Bogdanovich, Conrad Hall, Christian Bale, Robert McKee, Norman Jewison among other actors and filmmakers -- I'm not unfamiliar with a professional post production cycle.

I just hate going to a folder, where I'm going to do some simple maintenance and find these sfk's there. It makes the folder harder to read and when I want to move stuff around and selectively flag files and so forth they to me, are a pain. I have to move two files instead of one -- if I just move the video file, then I have to erase the sfk. However, like everyone here, I've learned to live with them, but questioned their use and the thought of a slightly more attractive implementation of them by Vegas..

I still think that Vegas based on Sonic Foundry's awesome ground work, never gave media management much priority and focused on making a wonderful codec and a reallly inovative user interface. Media management at a pro level is maybe the most important thing and the ability to select how you want your NLE software to work for you, equally as important in my opinion. Something Final Cut has done right for awhile.

Fine, sfk's are needed, just throw in the options to work with them as in Sound Forge. Obviously if they thought it was necessary to implement that into Sound Forge, there must of been more people then just me complaining about them.

MUTTLEY wrote on 6/21/2004, 9:33 PM
mbelli, I think that those of the tried an true school of Vegas ( self included ) are so used to defending it against the rest of the world's NLEs that we may perchance get a bit defensive at times. I agree it gets a bit messy and sounds like the FCP way of handling projects may be a bit better. After reading this post ( something I was aware of but usually ignore ) I did a quick search for sfk files ... 1440 !!! And yes, they are smattered about as I usually am a bit messy till I save it all to one folder at the end.

Regardless, not one of my biggest worries but ... it would be nice if Vegas organized a few of the more obvious things a little more efficiently.

- Ray
busterkeaton wrote on 6/21/2004, 11:20 PM

You didn't just give an opinion. You issued an command, complete with exclamation point. You shouldn't be surprised when people respond with similar passion.
farss wrote on 6/22/2004, 5:27 AM
I've worked on 8 projects at once for the one client with many common bits of media and no matter how you approach it media management is a nightmare.
Sometimes they want the same ad at the end of all of them and it uses a few clips from the tapes used for project 1, so I have a separate folder for all the assets for project 1 and the ad, render the ad out and drag it into project 1. The go onto project 2 but by the end they decide they want to change the ad, no problemo, edit ad and re-render project 1 and 2, except by the time I get to project 8 and project 1 is long gone I still cannot delete project 1 cause if I do and they want to change the add again I have to recapture tapes for project 1. If instead I copy all the assets for each project into that projects folders then I loose the ease of updating all projects at once.
When you get into this kind of mess the annoying .sfk files are the least of your problems, what about when you start rendering to new tracks?
And then there's the time factor, the client is watching over your shoulder, man I hate that. He's wondering why I'm spending so much time shuffling files around and creating folders instead of editing his video and then he decides he needs a new VO, so he starts rehearsing that in your ear while your trying to check audio from something else.

/end of rant/
NickHope wrote on 12/23/2004, 3:33 AM
Windows command script boffins, I'd love to see a script that would delete all sfk files if the associated sound file does not exist (i.e. has been deleted). If that's too tall an order, what would be the syntax of a script that would run in Windows XP that would delete all sfk files on your hard drive that haven't been accessed in say 6 months?

DigVid wrote on 12/23/2004, 12:56 PM
MB, I agree...

Sony (or SF) made a concerted effort to address this annoyance in Sound Forge by offering options to deal with those pesky SFK files and the same should be true of Vegas (in an update not in V6). There seems no logic that this wouldn't get taken care of and it would make Vegas virtually perfect IMHO. So, Sony please put this on your list...
vitamin_D wrote on 12/23/2004, 2:30 PM
MB --

I'm with you -- the SFK files should all be saved to a single folder of your choosing, like a scratch disk in PShop or captured media folder in Vegas. This idea that it's "your fault" for saving media to different folders and moving things around is ridiculous.

Recently, I burned a data DVD for someone not realising that I'd used Sound Forge to rip the audio tracks -- when I looked over a copy of the DVD after the original had already been put in the mail, only then did I realise that the .sfk files were there mixed in and around the .wav's. And this person runs a Mac -- no telling what the .sfk's will look like to him :O

- jim
scottshackrock wrote on 12/23/2004, 4:36 PM
i definately like them...seeing as how they make it all load faster. i hate while it builds them - so i'm pretty glad it only has to do that once (usually..ha).
MJhig wrote on 12/23/2004, 5:01 PM
While I have no real problem with .sfk files and I'm as anal as anyone pertaining to file housekeeping (simply search for *.sfk and delete them all if they bother me or sort by file type) I wouldn't mind at all the ability to search from within Vegas (similar to Sonar) for un-associated .sfks. Sonar displays "orphaned" .wav files for deletion if the "Cakewalk" .wav files are no longer associated with a project file.

As far as file management goes, I'm not keen on Vegas forcing me to start every session as a "project" as many apps. do. There are many times where I simply want to "send to" or otherwise open one file to check specs. or make a minor edit and being forced to start a project and select all the project parameters would be extremely annoying.

I like it the way it is, I can start a project and assign all the parameters or or just open Vegas and do some quick work without having to define a project.

SteveBall wrote on 5/29/2006, 5:09 PM
This thread is two years old and I've not seen or heard a peep about work from the Sonic Foundry team to address this annoyance. Like others on this thread, I find these files to be useless noise --- so why not just set them as 'Hidden' files before writing them out to the disk. This would solve the problem for everyone -- Vegas still has ability to open sessions quickly, and users don't have to wade through them in the file system?

Sound Forge gives us the ability to disable them -- why not Vegas? Also, I don't care about the extra 're-build peaks' time during launch.

Can someone at SF/Sony address this? This is so annoying (esp when working w/ customers) that I'd easily pay for an upgrade that fixed this.

* * *
TheHappyFriar wrote on 5/29/2006, 6:03 PM
if Sony made them hidden files they'd be accused of trying to fill up the system with hidden files.

I find them annoying as putting my shoes on before I go to work.
mrBun wrote on 5/29/2006, 7:01 PM
I am a sound designer , working in the games industry.
So my needs differ from those of you working with large chunks of video.
I use Vegas to assemble my foley and BG music, which has to be synched to thousands of short animations, in several languages etc.
My output is placed on a server, where it goes to our technical people...I guess what I am saying is that we have a pipeline, and these sfk files just add clutter and confusion if I forget to delete them from the folder before posting.
Not to mention the fact that my SFX archive (1.5 TB)
is littered with tens of thousands of these files.
FWIW Adobe Audition does it too with "pk" files.
I understand the why of it all.
If we had the option to choose a central location/folder for them I for one would be emotional...
at least 2 salty tears worth ;)