looks like you are not familiar of how editing is done in after effects. not sure but it appears that you want NLE capabilities within a Compositing app and that's not how it works.
here's a nice tutorial about the differences between Ae and Premiere and when to choose which:
here's another one for workflow techniques to combine the two:
you need to distinguish between 3 comp viewers:
Layer Window: the source as it exist in your project window. the CTI will not be linked to the CTI in your timeline
Footage Window: the source placed in your composition and viewed with in and out points corresponding to the ones in your timeline - the CTI is then linked and if you change it - it will change both.
Composition window: the source placed in your composition with effects and transformations. you can edit directly on the timeline this way.
these links could be helpful also:
you can edit in Ae and use slipping, trimming, make in and out points from source material and use Ripple insert Edit or Overlay Edit and that could go a long way. but if you need real editing capabilities, with real time preview, making fine cuts and more - use an NLE.
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I have a 34 minute clip that's loaded into the footage panel. I'm adding 5 sec segments into a 1 min comp.
It sounds like you're doing things the (very) hard way. You should edit in an editing program (like Premiere Pro) and then bring the edited timeline into AE for motion graphics, compositing, or whatever you were bringing it into AE for. Heck, you can even copy and paste your edit from Premiere into an AE comp. It's much, much faster and easier to edit in Premiere first!
After I load the first 5 sec sub clip - how do I get rid of the lighter shaded areas in the timeline that signify the handles?
I'm not sure what you're talking about, but if you're referring to the rest of the layer past the in/out points, you can't. That's just how AE is. It shows you the content of that layer. AE is not editing software, so each cut is going to be its own layer and each one is going to show you the rest of the layer's content.
Why is the CTI in the footage panel ganged to the CTI in the timeline and can this be unganged?
It usually isn't. Can we see a screenshot?
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As others have said your workflow does not take advantage of a NLE or After Effects.
AE is for creating shots and occasionally short sequences. 90% of my comps are under 10 seconds because 90% of the shots in the films I work on are under 10 seconds. Some of these composite shots have dozens of layers. On rare occasions I may have more, but I never edit video in AE.
If you are just cutting the shots up into 5 second pieces use a NLE like Premiere Pro.
Layers in AE can only contain one asset. The lighter areas show footage that extends beyond the in and out point of the layer if the layer contains footage (movies) or nested compositions. That's the way AE and basically all compositing apps work. Each asset is it's own separate element in the timeline.
If you are adding effects, compositing elements or adding motion graphics to your shots then the best approach is to create a new comp for each shot and add those effects, then if the comp is relatively simple use Dynamic link to bring the shot back to Premiere Pro. If the shot is complex, like one that I worked on last night - 7 seconds, about 40 layers that involved motion tracking, adding lighting effects, rotoscope, and a bunch of other work, then render your comps to a suitable DI (digital intermediate - NOT an MP$) and replace the footage in your NLE.
Thanks so much. This is a big help. Many thanks again.
you're welcome. thanks for tagging the suggestion so others will find help too.
Thank you very much for your reply. It has been very helpful. Again, thanks so much.