How to avoid SFK and SFL files?

Videojohn wrote on 6/9/2009, 9:40 AM

Why dos Vegas creates .sfk and .sfl files each time you import, render, capture footage?

I usually clean those extra files via explorer because so many files confused the viewing and searching of files (and it did not change anything - does it mean these files are useless?)

Is there any way to tell Vegas (I'm using vegas 8.c) to stop creating these files?

Thank you


JohnnyRoy wrote on 6/9/2009, 9:49 AM
They are metadata files. Some of them contain the information to draw the audio wave forms while others maintain the marker locations when you save with markers. There is no way to not create them and they are useful in that you don't have to calculate the wave file each time you open a project. So while there is no harm in deleting them (Vegas will just recreate them as needed) they are a required part of Vegas' functionality.

We have a tool in VASST Ultimate S Pro that will clean them up for you. It can detect orphan files and just delete those or delete all of the files from a given folder on down the folder tree.

Nick Hope wrote on 6/9/2009, 11:37 PM
You can click "cancel" at the far bottom left of the screen to stop sfk files getting created after you load clips.

I recall something about turning .sfk into a hidden file type so they don't clutter up your view, but I've never done it.
John_Cline wrote on 6/9/2009, 11:45 PM
Just sort by extension and they won't be in your way.
TimTyler wrote on 6/10/2009, 6:32 AM
Note To Sony:

It's too bad there's not a option to designate a specific folder for SFK and SFL files.

The ability to aim them at a temp folder and away from project folders would be great.
musicvid10 wrote on 6/10/2009, 6:58 AM
"It's too bad there's not a option to designate a specific folder for SFK and SFL files."

There needs to be a logical naming and storage scheme to associate the data files with their parent media files. The logical naming scheme is to use the same name, but with a different extension, as the parent file. The logical storage scheme is to look for them in the same directory as the parent file, which is important since you cannot have identically named files in the same folder, but you can have identically named files in different folders.

Otherwise Vegas would get very confused and open the wrong files or ones with the same name in other folders. How would it differentiate ballgame.sfk in one project from ballgame.sfk in another project? Think about it.

The folks at Pinnacle learned the folly of such an approach long ago, when they used render the transition files for every project with the same names. Often, you would have transitions from your raunchy Saturday night party showing up in your Sunday church picnic video!
TimTyler wrote on 6/10/2009, 7:16 AM
Fortunately it's easy for software developers to incorporate date-time strings and random characters into filename creation routines.
musicvid10 wrote on 6/10/2009, 7:25 AM
So you're suggesting a dissimilar naming scheme to associate data files with parent files that could have identical names in different projects and in different folders, and which could be moved?

Good luck with that one.
TimTyler wrote on 6/10/2009, 8:43 AM
I am suggesting that there would not be file naming difficulties if multiple projects' SFK's were in a single folder.

the associations are already managed by the VEG project files and that wouldn't need to change.
musicvid10 wrote on 6/10/2009, 8:56 AM
Then I suggest you go ahead and offer your theory as a feature request to Sony. However, practical implementation of your idea is not nearly as simple as you suggest, for reasons already stated. Personally, I prefer the KISS approach. Good luck!
wm_b wrote on 6/10/2009, 11:49 AM
Sonar generates a picture file (.wov) of each waveform created with a filename that's the same as the original wave file. It keeps them in a user selectable folder in any location you like. It's a global setting and you can tell it how large the folder contents can be. It manages it independently and will delete files that haven't been accessed in the longest amount of time. I rarely have to think about it.

I also understand the in most cases sonar is creating the files, both wav and wov and has exclusive control of the file nomenclature. The waveforms are still named after the track where it was created. Vegas deals with camera files that might be imported by means other than itself therefore the naming structures are more random. In any case it seems like managing these files away from the source video would be a bit more tidy.

I find file managment with video to be one of the most challenging tasks in the whole process. I shoot about 100/1 so what to do with the other 99 is tough.
Laurence wrote on 6/10/2009, 12:56 PM
I used to be quite frustrated with SFK and SFL files until I started using the file manager built into Vegas to manage my video files. When you use the Vegas explorer window, all that shows up are the main video and project files. The SFK and SFL files are hidden. Any changes like moving, copying, renaming, etc. that are done from the Vegas explorer window are done in the background on the SFK and SFL files so you don't have to worry about doing it yourself.

If you like the feeling of doing this in a separate window, just grab the Vegas explorer window and drag it away to separate it from the rest of Vegas and resize it to a comfortable size. That way it will feel just like a separate Windows file manager window, but you won't have to worry yourself with all this housekeeping.
musicvid10 wrote on 6/10/2009, 2:46 PM
That's the way I've always done it, Laurence. Guess that's why I never felt bothered by them, except when I've been creating a project on-the-fly on my desktop. Then they can get a little annoying, but then again I should be working inside a folder and not being lazy.
rmack350 wrote on 6/10/2009, 4:08 PM
Making this work for *only* the people using the Vegas Explorer is a bit limiting. Better design is to make it work for everyone. In the areas where Vegas does work for everyone it's a much better program.

The programmatic advantage of the current system is that Vegas doesn't have to actually keep track of the names of the SFK files, it just needs to know that they have the same names as the media files. This keeps the veg file smaller, I'm sure.

Probably the simplest way for Vegas to clean this up is to use an /SFK folder in every media folder. Then it just needs to store the SFK files there that match the media in the parent folder and there shouldn't be any worry about duplicate file names. Simple, and it looks less cluttered.

Rob Mack
blink3times wrote on 6/10/2009, 4:52 PM
There does need to be some form of control on sfk.... of that I will agree.

I work with 5.1 surround files now (because of my SR11) and I generate a SFK0 and a SFK1. One is a peak file stereo downmix in case you want to work with stereo downmix audio and the other is a AC3 peak file.

For 800 clips I end up generating a whopping 1600 SFK files (which takes time). I only need the AC3 peak files because I don't work with stereo downmix. I wish I could turn off the downmix files!
Jøran Toresen wrote on 6/10/2009, 5:32 PM
Rob Mack, I think your suggestion is an excellent idea. (But as John Cline said: “Just sort by extension and they won't be in your way.) Another possibility is that SCS hides these files (like some of the Windows file types / directories are hidden). Of course, if you disable “View hidden files / directories” (translated from Norwegian) in Windows Explorer, this is not a solution

Jøran Toresen
Jøran Toresen wrote on 6/10/2009, 5:45 PM
You can do this to hide these files:

1. Sort all your files by extension in Windows Explorer (I’m using Vista).
2. Select all your SFK-files.
3. Right click on your files, and then go to properties. Change the attribute to hidden.
4. If you have disabled “View hidden files and directories” (translated from Norwegian) in Windows Explorer, the SFK-files will not show up in Explorer.

Jøran Toresen
Laurence wrote on 6/10/2009, 6:53 PM
The trouble with hiding the SFK and SFL files is that if you rename or move or copy the video files, Vegas will need to regenerate the corresponding SFK and SFL files, which wastes a lot of time and leaves you with a bunch of little orphan files. If you do it all in the Vegas explorer window, your SFK and SFL files are hidden, and any changes you make in the main video files are reflected in the helper files. You don't have to wait for unnecessary redraws, you don't lose markers within the video files, and you don't end up with a lot of extra orphan files. It is better all the way around. Once you try it, you'll see that it is by far the superior way to work.
Chienworks wrote on 6/10/2009, 7:10 PM
There's another very good reason for keeping these files in the same directory as the media files. If you decide to use the media file in another project or in Sound Forge then the .sfk file is already built and won't have to be built again. If they were stored elsewhere and linked via project files then this wouldn't be possible.

For that matter, i suspect that most media used/saved in Sound Forge probably never gets an associated .frg project file. I know i've never created one.
rmack350 wrote on 6/10/2009, 7:27 PM
Our house edit system is PPro. Three suites. I use Vegas for convenience at work on some projects, but it's not the edit system.

The problem with Vegas's SFK files is that it creates them in the media directory that will be used for our edit suites. It's a bit like farting in someone else's house. I'd look like a much better citizen if I didn't leave sfk files all over the place.

Rob Mack
rmack350 wrote on 6/10/2009, 7:39 PM
Except that it's not at all superior in a mixed environment where other people using other software need to access the same assets. Then it's an annoyance to have 200 SFK files there that everyone has to look at.

Also, I use Windows Explorer for a LOT of tasks throughout the day. It's fast, it's easy, and it's already open and where I want to be.

Granted, if you're creating regions in Vegas' trimmer then Vegas' Explorer is invaluable for browsing those regions, but Vegas' explorer can't search media bins - a feature I use a LOT.

There are good reasons to use Vegas Explorer but using it as a substitute for managing these metadata files is just a poor workaround that only helps in specific workflows.

Rob Mack
rmack350 wrote on 6/10/2009, 7:43 PM
Putting them all in a child directory would clean things up a bit and it'd be consistent for Sound Forge, except that every Sony app that creates these files would need to get an update at the same time. That's awkward.

The child directory idea wouldn't make everyone happy either but it'd be a lot less annoying than it is right now.

Rob Mack
chucky wrote on 1/28/2014, 1:36 AM
I would love to see the back of sfk files, cluttering my folders..... My computer isn't solely for sony products.
Preference should just allow users to not create them.
They are a blight on an otherwise great product.
relaxvideo wrote on 1/28/2014, 3:24 AM
Yes, i also sort by extension in Total commander.

My problem is with 3D editing.
Say i have one hour video, separate left and right big files.
When i import it, sfk files are generated. Ok.
I pair to stereoscopic 3D on the timeline, save the project.
And when i restart Vegas and load the project, the sfk file will be generated again. For 3d subclip?
Why? Use the left file's sfk for example..
Adam QA SCS wrote on 1/31/2014, 11:37 AM

The bug has been entered into the database for consideration of being fixed in a future release. Thanks for notifying us of this issue.