Ghost Audition Memos I – Managing Footage

footage premiere 2

Alright so I recently came to realize how quickly I forget some of the most interesting stuff I’ve often been forced to do for my videos to tackle some technical challenges. As I don’t want that to happen anymore I’ve decided to record the cool making-of stuff from my recent videos. It will probably be a whole lot, so this is only the first of maybe quite a few posts.

With the Twixtor guide I’ve really tried hard on the writing and overall structure, but that was so much work I doubt I’ll try to maintain that quality. Hope you can follow the shit I’m saying here anyway.

Managing footage

For the last 5 years or so, I have been using only After Effects for all my editing related tasks, including managing the footage.
However, for this project I realized that the After Effects media browser just simply isn’t good enough for what I was trying to do.

Given the amount of footage generated by collecting over 2000 clips from every Ghibli movie it’s very hard to keep track of what scenes I have available. I wanted to avoid not using clips that would fit very well simply because I overlook them when I really should’ve used them. On top of that the concept of the video demanded very precise scene selection, as one chapter of the video required me to sort the scenes with increasing age of the depicted characters. I had nightmares about putting that into practice with AE only.

So the simple solution was to use software that actually has a good media browser. As I’ve come to learn recently – Premiere Pro is one of them. When I last used Premiere in like 2012, the media browser wasn’t as good, so this really came as a surprise to me.

Premiere’s footage browser allows you to view your project files in thumbnail view (@ a huge thumbnail size too), and, most importantly, these thumbnails can be scrubbed through by hovering over them with the mouse. This feature makes it so much more efficient and faster to go through a large amount of footage.

footage premiere 2

To really further enhance my editing workflow, I decided to use tags for every single collected clip. I came up with a naming convention for my clips in order to find stuff quickly when I needed it.

The most important aspect for this was to beforehand come up with chapter titles for my video according to my plan. My video would be made up of these (semi-)chapters:

Melone (“Melody”)
Sturm (“Storm”)
Forum Romanum (“Romance”)
Melone Andreas (“Melody Adrenaline”)
Landschaft (“Landscape”)
Wachstum jung (“Aging young”)
Wachstum nsjung (“Aging not so young”)
Wachstum mittel (“Aging middle aged”)
Wachstum nsalt (“Aging not so old”)
Wachstum alt (“Aging old”)
Tot (“Dead”)

Quite soon after collecting footage, I would load those clips into premiere and start naming them according to my convention. I would of course put in the anime title and then what chapters I intend to use them in. After that I had a number of other tags that would help me for anything more specific. For example “parallax” indicated that the camera pans quickly sideways and stuff at different depths in the shot is moving at different speeds. “langer ton” would indicate that the scene can be used at a part where the melody stalls for quite a bit of time. “Hitlergruß” would indicate waving hands. “Michael Bay” indicated action, explosions and fire. “vip” was for footage that I really really wanted to use because it was good looking or something. There’s a lot more, but you get the point.

footage names

Here’s how that looked I guess

Now when I finally got around to editing the actual video, the 3-4 months of preparing footage really showed so much merit I was ecstatic. I was so astonished how quickly I could edit simply by typing the name of the chapter I’m currently editing, looking through all of it with just hovering with the mouse and then simply copying the clip from Premiere and pasting it into my After-Effects-timeline. It’s as simple as that and as a result I had something like a minute of the timeline already finished on my first day of editing, which is unheard of from me. Btw the result after one day can be seen here.

Another advantage of doing it like that is that my After Effects project didn’t get cluttered with all 2000 footage files, but rather with only those which I actually used. That increased the loading time for the project file by a lot, and that made me happy.

3 thoughts on “Ghost Audition Memos I – Managing Footage

  1. So that’s the reason behind the funny naming in your projects. This is a really cool way of managing those pretty pictures indeed.
    How do you keep yourself motivated, looking for footage for that long without getting to actual compositing.


    • Ghost Audition was the first project where I did it like this. The motivation came from me being pretty convinced of the video concept and knowing that the editing would go by so much more smoothly If I went through with footage organization like this.
      I will certainly keep doing it like this for complicated scene selection tasks like this. But for more simpler projects, it would probably not be necessary to go quite that far.


  2. Maybe you’re about to release the new stuff? I would be excited about this, cuz u r truly something.
    Anyways, I know it’s not about money and shit, but do you sustain yourself with these editing skills?


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