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…


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.


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.


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.


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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44 Responses to Premiere Pro CC: Understand Project Manager

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  1. Gloria Messer says:

    Thank you for the info on Premiere. I would very much appreciate additional articles on Premiere. Especially on File Management – and where are all the files stored?
    thank you.
    Gloria Messer

  2. Ken says:

    Regarding this:

    If this is the case why is there an option in the Project Manager to include handles of a selectable length? If the entire master clip is included, there is no need for handles.

  3. Rick Lavon says:

    “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”

    This is exactly the reason I dislike FCPX. If I use :15 of an hour long clip, why do I need the entire hour? It make the entire process unwieldy. Why can’t it work like FCP7 and take only the portions that were used?

    • Larry says:


      As it was explained to me, the reason FCP X acts the way it does is that in order to save only a portion of a clip, it would need to copy the portion you want to save into a new clip. Copying always runs the risk of introducing artifacts or other errors, especially when you would never review clips after you archived them, meaning that if errors were introduced you’d never spot them until you needed to re-edit a project. At which point, it would be too late.

      So, to keep your media as close to pristine as possible, FCP moves the entire clip, thus you keep exactly what you shot.


      • bryce hoover says:

        Are you saying that in Adobe’s world, “Consolidation” just means gathering, not trimming down and keeping only what is used? I have totally misinterpreted things if this is true. If Adobe’s Project Manager isn’t capable of doing the type of consolidation that Avid and FCP have done for over a decade, then that’s something that should be made much clearer.

        To be clear, if I have 4-1hr shows that I’m using for a single :30 promo, if I Project Manage and choose “Consolidate and Transcode”, 30fr handles, Premiere Pro will simply gather the 4 sources and will NOT MAKE new clips based on what I used from each source creating 1-2GB of media from the 100+ GB of source material. Instead, I’m stuck with having a single :30 promo with 100+ GB of source material. Do I understand this correctly?

  4. Charles says:

    So I used this method to copy a project with media from a Mac to a PC. When I tried to open the project on the PC and re-link the media, the EXACT same media I had been happily editing with the day before, I got an error that says “The selected file cannot be linked because its type (audio) does not match the original file’s type (audio and video).”

    The clips were in ProRes LT and I already have the ProRes decoder installed on my PC.

    Any ideas?

  5. Roman says:

    Hi! Im working now in Premiere Pro Project Manager and experiment with some render presets in there. I imported some presets, created in media encoder and now I decided to delete them. I cant found the way to do this (((

    • Larry says:


      Most Adobe settings are found in your Home Directory Library. I would look there first.

      [ In the Finder, press the Option key, go to the Go menu and choose “Library.” ]


      • Roman says:

        Thanks! I forgot to mention my operation system that is windows… ( I have already tried to scrub through the files with .epr extension to find the actual folder. But nowhere exist preset file with my name and in same time that preset exists in Project Manager dialog (( OOOHHH

      • Roman says:

        I find the answer with help of Adobe support. You can find the windows folder with your imported Project Manager presets here:
        [default documents folder]\Adobe\Premiere Pro\9.0\Profile-CreativeCloud-\Settings\Consolidate And Transcode Presets
        Delete the unnecessary and that’s all.

  6. bryce hoover says:

    I’ve been having the same issues.

    My current issue is a project that somewhat consolidates, but will always copy the entire full length source into the new project; it creates consolidated files but doesn’t change the links in the sequence to the new files. So all the clips in my timeline still reference the full length source. If I force it, video reconnects, but the audio doesn’t follow it and shows blank (no waveforms). PP will not rebuild the wave forms for the missing audio. If I mach frame back, the consolidated file has audio but didn’t make it into my timeline. This has happened on 2 different projects. One project PP wouldn’t consolidate from 3 different 1hr sources. The project was over 100GB for a handful of :30 spots.

    After spending an 1hr 25m on the phone with bottom level Adobe support, it was recommended that I export an XML from CC2015 (9.1), import into CC2014.2, project manage there, then open the newly consolidated project back in CC2015 (9.1). It worked for that project. It doesn’t work for my current project.

  7. Emily says:

    Hi all – I’ve just had a major issue with the Project Manager for a broadcast project in the UK – it was a fast turn around sports highlights show from a motor racing desert rally. We didn’t have time to transcode but worked natively. Then it came to export and we got ‘could not compile movie’ errors constantly. So I decided to do a full sequence transcode using the project manager. However when we opened up the new sequence, it had lost the audio mix, and some of the filters on the pictures and I had to re do all the ‘warp stabilise’ filter. Has anyone had this? Is there a way to transcode and keep the sequence filters intact? Audio mixing an entire 52 minute show is a very long job!!
    Thanks all

  8. This is one of the most lacking features in Pr in my opinion. If you try to use the Project Manager in any kind of serious workflow with lots of elements and complex sequences is can’t get the job done. It either crashes, or gives a generic error or skips some files and not others.

    This alone has caused a serious problem with my LTO workflow, because there’s no easy way to consolidate complex projects into a single location for backup.

    • Sarah says:

      I also had had this problem. Just kept failing and crashing unable to do the consolidation. Spoke to Adobe – they implied it was a known and common issue, offered various solutions, none of which worked, then they just gave up and stopped responding. Useless.

  9. Sarah says:

    Thank you for a great resource Larry.

    “If you are on a Mac:
    And shot the footage with a video camera, use ProRes 422 or GoPro Cineform YUV 10-bit.
    And shot the footage with a digital cinema camera, use GoPro Cineform RGB 12-bit with alpha.”

    I am not sure if you classify canon 5D as a video camera or digital cinema camera.
    Be great if someone could clarify this.

    Thank you,


  10. JOHN SPIROU says:

    So, is there any way to do a real consolidation in Premiere, as with Avid ?
    I only want to collect the segments of used clips in an sequence with some handles….

    • Nick Varley says:

      There seems to be some confusion here. The Consolidate and Transcode option definitely does not give you entire source clips. That would make no sense. It just gives you the portion of each clip used in the edit plus handles.

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