Premiere Pro CC: Understand Project Manager

Posted on by Larry

logo_Premiere_CC.jpgIt hasn’t drawn the attention of the new Morph Cut, or the new Lumetri Looks, but the recent addition of project consolidation and transcoding to Premiere Pro CC is a big deal. This is because it simplifies our ability to archive projects, or allows us to optimize existing projects for better playback.

Project consolidation is the easiest way to gather all our project assets into one location for archiving or long-term storage. These archives are stored in a folder that you select, in standard media and Premiere formats. No data compressing or file zipping is involved. (Though you can do that after consolidation, if you wish.)

Transcoding allows us to take all the different video formats that we expect to use, or are currently using in a project, and convert them all to the same format. This can speed playback, decrease export times and assure that all our clips meet the same technical specs.

Let me illustrate, using my latest project – Totally Spaced – as an example. This stunning romantic horror space western is gonna win awards in the future, so I want to preserve it. You know, just in case…

CONSOLIDATE A PROJECT

With my project file open in Premiere Pro CC, choose File > Project Manager. This opens the Project Manager window.

Here, we can do two things:

  1. Collect Files and Copy to New Location. This gathers all the files in the selected sequences and copies, not moves, them to a single new location. This is the best option when a project is complete and you are prepping it for archiving.
  2. Consolidate and Transcode. This gathers all the files in the selected sequences and transcodes them into a single format then gathers all those transcoded files into a single new location. This is the best option at the start of a project when you want to standardize all files into the same format.

In both cases, sources files are not altered or moved.

To start, select the sequences you want to archive. (Shift-click any checkbox to select all sequences.)

Next, determine which of these options you want to include:

Renaming is an organizational issue. It has zero effect on image quality.

NOTE: Consolidating copies entire clips. Even if Exclude Unused Clips is selected, if a portion of a clip is used in the project, the archive will contain the entire source clip. Copying the entire clip prevents image degradation which might be caused by copying a portion of a clip.

After setting the Options, click the Browse button to pick, or create, a new folder to store the archive in. In this example, I’m using the Archive – Space folder. Archive folders can be named anything and stored anywhere; assuming you have enough storage space on that location.

To see how much storage space you need, click the Calculate button. In my example, the archive will take about 118 MB of space. (Um, yeah, there are not a lot of clips in my project…)

Click the OK button to create the archive.

The archive was created in the selected folder, containing all used media files, a new Project file which is linked to the new media locations, plus all preview and cache files.

NOTE: Project Manager does not collect and copy After Effects compositions that are dynamically linked to an Adobe Premiere Pro project. Project Manager does save the Dynamic Link clip in the trimmed project as an offline clip, however.

CONSOLIDATE AND TRANDSCODE

Both Collect Files and Consolidate and Transcode gather your clips from wherever they are and store them in a new location of your choosing. However, the Transcode option allows you to easily convert the files into a “mezzanine” codec which is often a better choice for editing than the camera native file.

NOTE: Transcode means to “convert.” You transcode clips to convert them into a different video or audio codec/format.

When Transcode is selected, you can specify which format you want the clips converted into.

Sequence is the best choice if your sequence settings exactly match your final deliverable.

Individual clips is the best choice to convert a variety of clips into a common codec, without altering other clip settings in each clip.

Preset is the best choice if you have a wide variety of clip formats and you want to convert them into a high-quality mezzanine format to preserve as much image quality and editing flexibility as possible.

There is no one “right” choice that works for all, but my general preference is to use the Presets option.

If you are struggling to figure out which Preset to select, here are my recommendations:

If you are on a Mac:

If you are on Windows:

The GoPro Cineform codecs are excellent and are designed for transcoding.

NOTE: Using the GoPro … at Maximum Bit Depth setting will create the largest files with potentially the highest image quality. However, unless you are using high-end cameras with professional film lenses, you probably won’t see a difference between the two Go-Pro settings.

TRANSCODE OPTIONS

NOTE: The only preset that supports alpha channels is the GoPro CineForm With Alpha preset. All other presets flatten (remove) any alpha channel.

As with Consolidation, select a storage location and click OK.

NOTE: As with Consolidate, when transcoding, entire clips are transcoded, even if you are only using a portion of the clip in the selected sequence.

SUMMARY

The Project Manager is a powerful tool to gather all the different project elements into one place for final archiving. And the ability to quickly and easily transcode media into a single unified format from within Premiere is a huge benefit over having to use a separate utility for file conversion.

For both these cases, Project Manager is worth learning about.


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37 Responses to Premiere Pro CC: Understand Project Manager

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  1. William Julião says:

    The Premiere CC collect function definitely doesn’t work. It copies the media to a new location, if the files have the same name it generates a copy with an underline,for example, 00004.MTS, 00004_1.MTS, however, this new renamed copy does not match the file that should be, that is, 00004_1.MTS is equal to 00004.MTS. Any help??

    • Larry says:

      William:

      I don’t have an immediate answer – I suggest you contact Adobe Support. If this feature really is broken, Support will notify the product team to get this fixed.

      Larry

  2. Tess says:

    Thanks this was helpful!
    But for the transcode function it seems like if the original setting is a Apple ProRes codec/Quicktime format, it can’t perform the transcode function. I saw that you noted that “When the source format cannot be matched, the clip is only copied and not transcoded” – do you know why this is or a way around this?

    • Larry says:

      Tess:

      You are correct. Transcoding is only necessary for video formats (codecs) that are not optimized for editing. ProRes, AVC-Intra, Cineform and others are already optimized so no transcoding is necessary.

      Larry

  3. Randall Martin says:

    I would like a list of the locations of the raw files in my premiere project. Is there software for this? it seems like it ought to be a part of Project Manger, but doesn’t seem to be.

    • Larry says:

      Randall:

      Easy to do.

      After your clips are imported, go to the Project panel.

      Right-click any of the column headers – for example “Media Start” or “Media End” – and click Metadata Display.

      In the list that appears, twirl down “Premiere Pro Project Data”.

      Check the box for File Path, then click OK.

      Now, every file in the Project panel will display the path to the source file. (You may need to widen the column by dragging a dividing line between column headers to see the entire text.)

      Larry

      • Randall Martin says:

        Larry,

        Great!!! Been looking for that for a long time. Being very disorganized, this gets pretty close to what need.

        As Columbo says: “One more thing.”

        Is it possible to save the list to something like Excel, word, or just print it?

        Thanks very much!

        • Larry says:

          I don’t know of any way to print it – other than screen grabs – or export it. But doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

          See what a Googles search tells you. Adobe is pretty flexible with its metadata.

          Larry

  4. Kath says:

    Hi Larry, thank you for the description! I am searching the internet to find a solution for a problem with the project manager that I have. It does not collect files just from the sequence that I select but it collects the whole project, which is huge. Do you know anything about an issue like that? Thank you very much!

  5. JDB says:

    Is there any way to only export parts of the clips in the sequence? I don’t understand why they even give an option of handles since the entire video clip is transcoded and consolidated. I am prepping a sequence for color correction.

    • Larry says:

      JDB:

      If you are prepping files for color grading, try exporting an XML file – no media involved and DaVinci Resolve can easily read it.

      Larry

      • Rich Mqrchewka says:

        I am prepping for telecine for resolve but need to transfer video via ftp for someone else is correcting.
        I too would only like to give 1 second of handles and not the whole take. Is that possible? Also, is there a way that it is taking the original shoot ftg (arri) and giving that as a source? Or is what the timeline is set to?

        • Larry says:

          Rich:

          The only way to limit handles is to copy all your media, which raises the possibility of artifacts and errors lost due to making a copy.

          As to using the source footage, this depends upon how you created your copies, whether file names and timecode match and where the files are stored. The answer is “potentially yes, depending…” Your colorist will have good advice on the best way to do this, as well as the best way to set the timeline.

          There’s no one process that works for everyone.

          Larry

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