Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video Browse to import, part of After Effects Tips and Techniques: Shortcuts, Navigation, and Project Management.
- There are couple of ways to import footage into After Effects. First, you can double click on this gray area in order to invoke the import command. Then, you can go to the File menu and under Import you've got couple of other options, such as Multiple Files, Premiere Pro Projects, Pro Import After Effects if you want to bring up XMLs or AAF from an editing system. You can use the Vanishing Point option of Photoshop an couple of others but none of these options are giving you the ability to preview the footage before you import it into After Effects.
You can do it to some level using the preview capabilities of your operating system. For example, if I'm going to go to the File menu and choose the Import File command. Then I'm going to highlight one of these clips from the exercise folder. and under Mac OS, I can tap the space bar. I will be able to see the preview of it but this is not the case for most of Windows users. So here are two alternatives. The first one is more of a trial but I'm afraid it's not really there yet.
The second one is a little bit more solid. So first let's just cancel out of these import dialog and I want to show you the relatively new media browser window which you can find of course under the Window command. I'm just going to select it over here. This will allow you to navigate in your hard drive structure so in this case I'm going to select one of my folders which is the Footage folder. I'm going to open up this CAMERA CARDS folder. Now, this is something that you are not getting with the exercise files.
These are just couple of cards which I've copied from couple of different cameras. So, I'm just using it in order to demonstrate how this new media browser window works. Let's just open it up and select, for example, the Blackmagic pocket camera and you can see that you indeed can select the files and you can even double click if you want to import them. Let's just double click on this guy. It will show up here in the Project panel but unfortunately this is not similar media browser to Premiere Pro so we can't really see the previews of the files.
In the red example here, we are basically just seeing the icons which are a little bit more helpful than just browsing into the whole structure of the card, but it's not the most intuitive feature. Once again, I can double click on this item in order to open it inside After Effects. This is true for everything that you see here. This is all nice and well but I want to show you another alternative and this is using Bridge in order to browse the footage before you import it into After Effects.
Now, note that Bridge CC, Creative Cloud is not an automatic download which means that you need to go to the Adobe Creative Cloud and download Bridge on it's own. As soon as you have it installed on your system, you will be able to go to the File menu over here and invoke the Browse in Bridge command. This, of course, will launch Bridge and will allow you to actually go to the same folders or even define some of them as Favorites.
Let's just do the same thing. Let's open up one of my hard drives and under the Footage folder I'm going to select the CAMERA CARDS and I'm just going to drag it to the Favorites over here. Now, once again, you will not have access to this folder. It's just for the sake of demonstration. Bridge cannot preview all the footage inside but it will give you at least a better representation of each one of those clips. In this example, we can actually use this play in order to see the footage itself here in the Preview panel of the application.
Let's just hop one level up and let's take a look at this one. Of course, this is also true for the GoPro. Bridge can preview a lot of other formats. Unfortunately it will not be able to preview the red 3D file but it is better than working with the not so intuitive media browser inside After Effects. If you want to import something, and you just want to make sure that you are seeing it before you are clicking on the import button...
I'm just going to turn down the sound for now. This is the way that I recommend to do it. So, in this case, I'm just going to double click on this shot in order to bring to my project and, from this point onward, we can start to work with it. This is how you use the Browse in Bridge command in order to preview your footage files and video clips before you import them into the Project panel of After Effects.
- Using a reference monitor for color testing
- Browsing to import
- Dragging and dropping imports
- Selecting and moving layers
- Rendering regions of interest
- Exposing properties on the Timeline
- Finding missing fonts, footage, and effects
- Collecting files