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Tutorial: Collecting and Consolidating Adobe Premiere Pro CC Projects

This tutorial looks at two key features of the Adobe Premiere Pro Project Manager that make current projects easier to collaborate on and older projects easier to reopen and revise.

One challenge I’ve encountered with certain types of Adobe Premiere Pro projects over the years is revisiting projects that combine media (video clips, photos, rendered After Effects comps, audio tracks, other stock media) from multiple hard drives and locating all of the media. Often this happens when I work on the same project on different computers, when I need or I’m producing conference promo videos that may include content captured in different years.

For Streaming Media, I’ve had projects that drew media from distinct drives for B-roll and full-session videos from a given event; B-roll or timelapses from a previous year’s event; and buyout media downloaded from Storyblocks.com or Pond5.com at different times over the years and stored in different locations altogether. Even when all the files are close at hand, it can become unwieldy just to work on a project that requires keeping 4 or more USB drives connected throughout the edit.

It’s especially frustrating to find myself missing necessary files in a sequence when I have just small tweaks to make that would otherwise go relatively quickly and require minimal interruption to more current projects. Most editors know how annoying it can be to spend valuable time in the Locate Media dialog trying to track down files scattered hither and yon. And it can prove particularly problematic if I start a project like this in my home office and need to continue to work on it while traveling.

Fortunately, Premiere Pro offers a great solution to this problem that’s especially helpful when you have a project that’s basically complete and simply need to archive the project and all of its assets in one place just in case you need to go back and make a change even after your client has signed off on it. It’s also a great help if you need to pass off a project to another editor. This is not a new feature in Premiere Pro CC, but it’s one I’ve recently begun to use frequently with certain types of projects.

Choosing Options in the Project Manager Dialog Box

For this project, I’m consolidating files for a promo video I did for the Data Summit 2018 conference. This was a project I edited and submitted for client review before traveling in August, but didn’t get signoff before I left. In this project, I had files on one external hard drive and a few on a local drive on the desktop where I started the project. My goal in this case was to get all of the relevant files on my laptop before I left. Not only was I looking to consolidate project media so I didn’t have to travel with an external hard drive, but also to pack up only the files used in the project so they wouldn’t consume too much storage on my laptop’s internal media drive.

To consolidate and archive a Premiere Pro project or sequence when the proper time arrives, begin by navigating to File > Project Manager (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1. Opening the Project Manager dialog

The Project Manager dialog opens (Figure 2, below). In the Project Manager dialog, you have several options. The first is to decide whether you want to collect files used in all of the sequences in the project, or just one or more selected sequences. Naturally, this depends on how you expect to work with the project in its new location, and if you plan to edit more than one sequence going forward. If you select only one sequence as I have in Figure 2 (note that I didn’t actually select that sequence; by default, the Project Manager dialog opens with the current sequence selected, and if you want other sequences, you’ll have to select their checkboxes manually).

Figure 2. The Project Manager dialog box

If you select just one sequence, Premiere Pro will collect only files used in that sequence. If you have media used in multiple sequences in the project, Premiere Pro will include them in the collection, but it will not collect files used exclusively in other sequences.

The two Resulting Project options, as shown in Figure 2, are Collect Files and Copy to New Location and Consolidate and Transcode. Collect and Copy simply gathers all of the files used in a sequence and copies them to a location that you specify under Destination Path. Consolidate and Transcode will also collect your files in a single location, but it will also transcode all of your video clips to a single format. With Consolidate and Transcode, you also have the option of working with all individual clips in the Project panel or all of the clips in a sequence.

For my purposes, I just want all of the files in one place, so I choose Collect Files and Copy to New Location.

Over on the right side of Figure 2, you can see a list of Options. Figure 2 shows the options selected by default. First is Exclude Unused Clips, which leaves out clips imported into the Project panel but not used in the selected sequence. This one presents an interesting quandary. If you have a lot of imported files that you didn’t end up using in the sequence you’re collecting and copying, or if you have a lot of other sequences in the project using a lot of large files not relevant to your selected sequence, and/or storage space is at a premium in your destination location, you’ll want to select the Exclude Unused Clips option. On the other hand, if you’re working with a large pool of short video clips as I do with conference promo videos and one of things that typically happens during client review is that somebody doesn’t like a particular clip (so-and-so has left a company, so-and-so doesn’t want to be shown drinking, too much camera movement, background isn’t interesting or flattering, etc.) and it gets swapped out for another one, it’s good to have some other options in reserve. This can be a problem if you’re collecting and copying to a location where you won’t have other files available.

Including Audio Conform and Preview Files is a good choice to get things up and running faster when you resume work on the project. Likewise, Rename Media Files to Match Clip Names is a great option of it fits with your working style of giving clips more descriptive names while you’re editing—e.g., renaming “Clip0320.MXF” as “MCU interaction at Vertica booth” and that will serve you or others on your editing team well when they re-open the project.

Convert After Effects Compositions to Clips is also a nice option if you work with unrendered AE comps in your projects via Dynamic Link, but note that this option is available only if you’re going the Consolidate and Transcode route, since it requires a specified transcode option.

The next step is to click the Browse button under Destination Path and navigate to the drive and location where you want to store your collected and/or consolidated and transcoded files.

The last step before proceeding is to click Calculate to get an estimate of how much storage space your collected or consolidated sequence(s) will require on your destination drive, to make sure you have enough room (Figure 3, below). Like airplane maintenance and guitar tuning, it’s always worth it (to paraphrase the great contemporary bluesman Eric Bibb), and Premiere Pro calculates quickly.

Figure 3. Ready to collect and copy

Then click OK. The Project Manager analyzes and collects your project (Figure 4, below), then copies it to the new location. Expect it to take as long as copying the required amount of data typically takes. If you’re going the transcode option, add significantly more time for transcoding, particularly if your system doesn’t support hardware/GPU-based transcoding.

Figure 4. Analyzing the project

When the copying and collecting process is done, your collected files should look like Figure 5 (below), and be primed for future edits should the need arise.

Figure 5. My collected and copied sequence

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