New with the 2018 update to Adobe Premiere Pro CC are Shared Projects. Unlike Team Projects – which are also new – Shared Projects can be created by any Premiere editor. In fact, also unlike Team Projects, you can lock a Shared Project so that only you can make changes to it, while anyone else can see what it looks like.
NOTE: I’ve put together detailed video training on Team Projects. See the details here.
Before we start, though, it is very easy to screw things up with a Shared Project. And, while Adobe keeps telling me that their Help files are improving – which is true, the content continues to improve – FINDING something is darn near impossible. Do a search for “Shared Projects” or click the Help button in Preferences and nothing relevant appears.
It surely can’t be THAT hard to add a few more keywords to help new users find actually relevant information, rather reading the top-rated article from 2014 which has nothing to do with either preferences or shared projects. Especially because there is a BIG GOTCHA in shared projects that you need to know – I’ll explain more below.
While you can use File > New > Shared Project to create a shared project, my recommendation is to create a normal Premiere project because there is no ability to specify where a Shared Project will be stored.
You are always better off creating stand-alone projects which can be shared anytime after they are created.
NOTE: Shared projects are stored in, as far as I can tell, the last folder that you used to create a private project. In my case, this was a local folder. If you create a Shared Project, be sure to resave it immediately into a location that is accessible to other members of the workgroup.
Shared projects assume all editors who need to view the project have access to the location where both the project and media are stored. In other words, this is designed for a workgroup of editors where all projects and media are stored on a server which everyone in the workgroup can access.
Another BIG note is that you need to set Collaboration preferences before sharing your first project. Otherwise, chaos ensues.
Before we start there’s a new Preference pane in this version: Collaboration. While most of these options specifically refer to Team Projects, the bottom checkbox applies specifically to Shared Projects. It is unchecked by default – which is a serious mistake.
If this is NOT checked, everyone will have the ability to open any project at the same time, make whatever changes they want, then save the project. This will result in the most recent save by any editor replacing all changes from previous editors, without version control and without the ability to resolve conflicts. Oh, and it does this without warning.
This is very, very bad.
NOTE: Project locking only applies when two, or more, editors open the same project at the same time. When a single editor opens a project – regardless of whether they created it or not – they can safely make whatever changes they want.
Shared Projects should always be created with Project Locking turned on. Always. If you need more flexibility, create a Team Project.
REVIEW A SHARED PROJECT
Reviewing any project is easy. Open the Media Browser, and double-click the project you want to review.
The Dynamic Link database starts, then opens the project into the Media Browser.
You can now review both sequences and media.
Double-click a sequence to display it in the Source monitor. This also shows the sequence in the Timeline. Here you can review what’s there, as well as copy and paste clips, but not display them in the Program monitor or make changes to the Sequence in the timeline.
We’ve been able to do this for the last version or two. We aren’t really “opening” the project, we are simply reviewing it.
When Project Locking is NOT turned on, or when you actually open a project when no other editor is using it, the padlock icon in the lower left corner of the Project panel lights up and turns green.
This means that you have the ability to make changes and save them. If you are the only one working on the file, this is not a problem. If you are part of a group, it can be a big problem.
BIG, BIG WARNING!! If project locking is not turned on and two editors open the same project, then EVERYONE has the ability to make changes and save them using the same file name – thus erasing all changes that were made by anyone earlier.
Again, this is generally considered bad.
When Project Locking IS turned on – remember, this needs to be done in Preferences for ALL systems, not just yours – when you open a project that someone else has open, the padlock icon turns red.
This means that you can open a project, play a project, copy media and sequences out of the project, even export the project, but NOT make any changes. If you try to make a change, whatever you attempted to do is ignored.
When you open a project that another editor has open, this message appears. However, it goes by REALLY fast. A better indicator that the project is open by someone else is the red padlock.
BIG NOTE: If no other editor has the file open, you are able to open the file without restrictions and make changes. This system does not prevent changes, it simply prevents two editors from changing the same file at the same time.
In my tests, even when the first editor closes the file, it remains locked on the second editor’s system; the padlock is not dynamic. The way to unlock it is to click the red padlock. However, this requires that the two editors talk to each other to clarify the hand-off.
ANOTHER COOL THING
The latest version of Premiere allows multiple projects to be open at once. Here you can see at the top of the Project Panel that I have four projects open at once, with the first project locked, which allows me to review it, but not make changes.
Any Premiere project can be shared between other editors on the same local network. It is easier to create and share a standard Premiere Project than go thru the hassle of creating, then resaving a Shared Project to move it into shared storage. Any project that you want to share requires that all media and projects be stored on a server, not on storage attached to local systems.
To prevent chaos, it is important that the Project Locking preference be enabled for ALL systems that expect to create or share projects. Otherwise there is the very real risk of one editor erasing the edits of another editor.
Once Project Locking is enabled, the ability to safely review projects is very nicely implemented and a big speed boost to smaller workgroups. The first editor opening a project controls file locking.
It is to be hoped that Adobe will improve their Help files so that less trial and error is necessary in figuring this out. In the meantime, however, experiment using a small project within your team to see how this works.
It is really, really cool – once you figure this out.
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