Tutorial: How to Create Data-Driven Titles in Adobe Premiere Pro
Data-driven title templates deployed in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 are a powerful tool that will help most editors in some small ways and some editors, particularly those who produce a lot of data-driven graphics, in very big ways. In this tutorial, you’ll learn what data-driven templates are, where to find some, and how to apply and customize them.
As an overview, you build these templates in After Effects and save them as MOGRT (MOtion GRaphics Template) files that you can deploy in After Effects and Premiere Pro. Note that you have to be running the 2019 versions of both programs, which don’t run on Windows 7. If you resisted Windows 10 up until now, that’s likely $199 you’ll have to pay for the privilege of working with data-driven MOGRT files. In Premiere Pro 2019, you can customize the data within the template and change those aspects of the template that the After Effects designer allows you to change.
For example, Figure 1 (below) shows the Adobe template on the left, and the version I customized is on the right. As you can see, I changed the data, the background color, the main title, and for those particularly sharp-eyed viewers, the “k” suffix in the template to “%” on the right. To be clear, I changed all this in Premiere Pro, not in After Effects.
Figure 1. MOGRT template on the left, the customized version on the right
Moreover, I input the data by dragging a CSV file into Premiere Pro and syncing the contents, as you’ll see later in this tutorial. You don’t need to do it this way; you can edit the numerical content and other data directly in Premiere Pro without creating a spreadsheet. However, if you’re creating a video with multiple graphs, tables, or other data-driven graphics, you can deploy the MOGRT multiple times and drag a different spreadsheet to customize each.
The traditional alternative was to create the charts in Google Sheets or Excel, save the graphic, and input and deploy that in Premiere Pro. This wasn’t always a horrible workflow, but if the numbers changed, you’d have to repeat the process. If the numbers change when deploying a MOGRT, you simply modify and save the CSV file and the graphics update. Clearly, this is interesting for producers of videos with lots of math-driven graphics.
What does this mean for the rest of us? Do you frequently add credits to your productions? You can use the same schema to populate a credits MOGRT, entering names in a spreadsheet and dragging in the CSV (see Figure 8). Back when I was producing two ballet videos per year for my wife’s ballet company, I stopped adding credits because it was cumbersome, time-consuming, and error-prone, and there was no way to delegate the work.
With this feature, I could send a spreadsheet to my wife and ask her nicely to fill in the data and return the spreadsheet. One quick import and I’d be done. That’s something anyone who produces a video with credits should get excited about.
The other scenario that may be interesting to some producers is creating an animated lower-third or similar template that you can populate by dragging in a CSV file and selecting the correct name or other descriptors by row number in the CSV file. As near as I can tell, Adobe didn’t create any templates that enable this schema, so I couldn’t test it.
Step 1: Find and Choose a Template
To a great degree, your ability to use data-driven templates is tied your ability to either find useful templates, create them yourself, or pay (or otherwise convince) someone else to create them for you. At the time of this writing (February 2019), there were very few templates.
This article was assigned with no budget for custom production, and I find After Effects only slightly less confusing than Sanskrit. So, my testing was limited to the free templates that Adobe provides.
To begin accessing templates in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019, switch to the Graphics workspace by choosing Window > Workspace > Graphics. There are two ways to see and browse available templates. One is to search for them in the Essential Graphics panel by clicking Adobe Stock and searching for “data-driven MOGRT,” which will deliver the result shown in Figure 2 (there are four pages of these templates; Figure 2, below, just shows the first page). Then you can drag them into your projects and deploy them as described below.
Figure 2. Hunting for data-driven MOGRT templates in Adobe Stock
The other approach is to download datadriven MOGRT templates from Adobe Stock (http://go2sm.com/stock) and manually input them into your project as described in Adobe’s Help documents at go2sm.com/motion. It’s pretty simple; just download the templates to a known location, click My Templates in the Essential Graphics panel, and use a barely visible plus (+) sign on the bottom right of the panel to import the MOGRT.
After I found a magnifying glass and located that plus sign, I used this approach because I knew where I stored the MOGRT files. This allowed me to open them in After Effects. Why was this a positive?
Interestingly, the biggest hassle I encountered when using these templates was creating the CSV file. If you don’t format it correctly, you can’t use the data, and that happened to me multiple times. When inputting the MOGRT files into After Effects, you have to choose a folder where the program opens and stores the template. If you dig into the folders, you’ll notice the CSV file that populates the data in the template (Figure 3, below). Once I started using this CSV as the starting point for my spreadsheets, most, but not all, of my problems disappeared.
Figure 3. After importing the MOGRT into After Effects, I found the CSV file that simplified the entire process.
I’m guessing that if you drag the MOGRT directly from the Adobe Stock tab in the Essential Graphics panel into a Premiere Pro sequence, the MOGRT file is stored somewhere on your hard drive where you can access it and import it into After Effects. But I liked the certainty of downloading the template into my Downloads folder so I knew where it was. So, I downloaded the MOGRT files from the Adobe Stock website and imported them manually.
Step 2: Deploy the Template
Either way you get it done, once you do, the template will appear in the Essential Graphics panel. From there, drag it into the sequence like you would any other template (Figure 4, below).
Figure 4. The template deployed on the timeline