I'd add the voiceover audio track to the comp, Then make markers on the audio layer with the asterisk key at the spots where things should happen. It's lot easier to move things around that way.
I just finished this history video and just finished recording the voice over. How to I make the video go along with the voice. The main problem is that I have so many layers for this video, so it gets confusing, and if I extend one part then I have to push all the other layers after it further so they won't overlap, if that makes sense.
by looking at your screenshot and the way you describe your problem, I think this is more of workflow problem. specifically - project orientation and management problem. seems you are still getting to know your way around the software. editing and syncing your animation can be strange at first because in Ae because you can run out of timeline panel real estate fairly quickly and with that also lose orientation in your project. audio and video playback requires caching the frames most of the time so you have to be clever in the way you handle syncing to audio.
this is your timeline
this is mine
notice the differences?
here are a few tips I can give you right of the bat
- trim your layers. if a layer has finished it's part in the animation of have not begun - Trim it
- color label your layers to improve differentiation of different elements
- remove unnecessary timeline columns: clear room in the timeline - you have the switches panel, the modes panel and parent. you don't need all of those together. if you don't use parent, remove it (you can always shift+f4 to bring it back), you can toggle between switches and modes (F4) so only leave one.
- when you can, work in stairway editing - steps all the way up.
- set your audio layer to be the first one and show it's waveform (LL). maybe you don't need markers.
- don't waste time with previewing (Numpad 0) when you can preview just audio (Period key) or scrub while hold and drag your CTI and pressing Ctrl/Cmd
- use shortcuts for revealing just the modified properties. you don't need to see all the properties of a layer if you don't plan to use them. press U to reveal all the modified properties.
- use the transform shortcuts for each property (P,R,S,T)
- learn to manage your compositions by using precomps when you can. for example the flags are precomps in my composition. anything that does not interact with my scene and serves as a self-contained scene is a candidate for pre-composing to save some real estate.
- use shy layers to reduce clutter in the timeline of layers you don't need to have a visual cue of.
if this still does not solve your issue please be more specific as to the exact problem you are facing
Your first mistake was to put the entire voice over and all of the layers in a single comp. I've been doing this for a very long time and most of my comps are 7 seconds or less because After Effects is not an editing program, it is a compositing and motion graphics program designed specifically to do things to a shot or short sequence that you cannot do in a Non Linear Editor like Premiere Pro.
If I have dialogue to cover and with images or graphics (think dynamic text animation or as is sometimes called lyric video) and the project can't be done in Premiere Pro then the best thing to do is import your fairly polished audio track into AE and then cut it up into single sentences or phrases and put each of these sentences or phrases in a separate composition. Now you can go ahead and make the adjustments to that comp and get it to work fairly well. Your comp will usually be about 10 seconds long or less. When you're done, render all of the pieces and put them into Premiere Pro where you can easily and quickly add things like sound effects and music. You can also polish the transitions between thoughts and clean up the timing of the entire edit. If you really want control over the final project you load your PPro sequence into Adobe Audition and polish up your sound mix. When you're done you jump back to premiere for your final render.
I know that sounds like a lot of extra work but in reality you'll get more done in less time and the polish and final edit will be a bunch faster that you could ever do in After Effects alone.
Your first mistake was to put the entire voice over and all of the layers in a single comp.
I am assuming you are responding to OP
(I know you sometime hit "reply" to one poster but actually referring to another). we actually don't know how long is Op's comp. he has many.
most of my comps are 7 seconds or less because After Effects is not an editing program, it is a compositing and motion graphics program designed specifically to do things to a shot or short sequence that you cannot do in a Non Linear Editor like Premiere Pro.
I agree. it is also true you should divide your work into manageable sections (I suggested Op should use precomps), but I can think of many cases where a timeline can be more than 7 seconds. your timeline is usually as long as your shot. sure in vfx a shot usually do not last more than a few seconds but in info/motion graphics this could very well be different. I see Op has a world map, and a shot of an animated world map when highlighting countries in accordance to a voice over that has to be synced to a certain audio and stay in the same shot only different animations overlap could easily be 30 seconds or maybe more.
I do transcripts and infographics and motion-graphics and animated maps for many years for news companies and documentaries. I sometime work alone and sometime in studios with other designers and I see how the work gets done professionally, mostly all in AE. for animated maps the average timeline is about 20 seconds maybe 30. transcripts could last a minute, sometimes even 2 minutes. some info/motion graphics could last a minute. sometime a minute of voice over has to be animated in certain fashion that requires all elements to stay in the comp. not "edited", but ANIMATED and syncing the animation the audio. many times you can't get around it because all the elements must be in the same composition, animated to the audio, one shot, no cuts, no way around it but work efficiently as possible in Ae. infographics templates are also a case where a main comp can last almost a minute (bars, graphs, pie's that have to be synced to a guide of 1 minute on average).
I know some studios and media companies don't even have an NLE for the motion designer. you work in Ae because it's pretty short sequences (30 seconds -> one minute) and that's what you got.
I am sure you got a very efficient way to work. I say this with great respect since your experience with this software and contribution to this community is unmatched, but 7 second comps in my opinion is not that common for many uses and many users (again we're not talking VFX) and I think making it as a general guideline, or calling making one timeline composition with a full voiceover a MISTAKE, could be misleading Op and other users reading this thread to think there is something wrong with their workflow if their comp is often longer than 7 seconds.
here's an example of an animated piece I did for a news story that has a voice over of 45 seconds. I do these quite often and they range from 20 sec to 1 minute. everything has to be assembled, composited and animated in the same scene and no way around it.
here is the video:
this is the timeline:
manageable, pre-comped when possible of little scenes, color tagged, trimmed, named properly, efficient
to conclude if you don't mind: Op should divide his work into manageable sections and work as efficient as he can while in Ae through many tips and suggestions here and in other places online. if Op can take some of the work to an NLE then all the better but in my experience the problem more often than not (and could possibly be Op's problems) is to learn to work efficiently while in Ae.
My point about 7 second shots not intended to suggest that everybody should only be making seven second comps, it was and always be that AE is not designed as a video editor. I said clearly that it is more efficient to divide up a project into manageable sections. That usually means that a comp should not include one phrase or thought in the narration. If I had a single background element, like a map, that needed 30 or more seconds to explain, and that explanation would not benefit from a closeup or a different angle, then I would put all of that scene in a single comp. In most films 30 seconds is an eternity. Most stories benefit greatly by cutting up the action into manageable sections that punctuate the points you are trying to make.
I've found that when I show a class a completed project like a recent product demonstration and training series that I did for an industrial client, and they see that 90% or more of the final editing is done in a NLE, even when most of the scenes (sequences) require After Effects work, and I demonstrate how the entire structure of the film can be quickly changed by dragging around a few sequences in the master timeline a light bulb goes on and they almost universally say "Oh, now I get it."
My students also are amazed when I show them a couple of the feature films that I have cut. Every scene in the film is it's own Premiere Pro sequence (timeline). The sequences are are assembled master sequence that is used for final color grading and sound mixing. I then go through a scenario where the entire structure of the story line can be changed by simply re-arranging the order of the scenes in the master sequence so the bad guy changes from Bob to Charlie an the ending is completely changed - in about 20 seconds. Most folks I have met that did not grow up in the documentary or feature film world try and edit everything in one timeline and then give up on a polish way to early because it's so difficult to move everything around to improve the story. More than 90% of the AE users that attend any of the classes I have taught routinely put their entire project in a single After Effects comp that may have dozens of nested comps (pre-comps) in the timeline of the master. It is so cumbersome to fine tune films that are edited this way that the quality of the final product or the budget will suffer.
There are very few Alfred Hitchcock's out there that can prepare a script, shoot only the shots they prepared for, then edit the final film and include more than 90% of the camera angles they shot on the set in the order visualized on the set in the final production. In simple terms, there are few film makers who possess the social skills required to be a director and still have the magical ability of a savant that is required to start at act1 scene one and proceed to closing credits in a single sitting. At least some of that is required to create an effective 100 shot sequence in an After Effects comp.
If you have time let me tell you a short story.
I was fortunate enough to take some advanced training in editing from Verna Fields in 1976, a year after she edited Steven Spielberg's Jaws. She told us about the total mess Jaws had become. She had to go to the set and work on the scenes in a hotel room with the director where change after change was made to scenes that ran for less a minute or two. There was so much material, so many angles, and so many takes, and so many things that did not work out as planned that everything had to be recut several times to create scenes that could be assembled into a story that was close to the story Spielberg wanted to tell.
She contrasted that with an experience she had with John Jympson, the fellow that edited Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy. There is this scene in frenzy where the bad guy is crawling around the back of a potato truck looking for evidence of his crime still with the body he hid in the truck. There were nearly 100 angles filmed on the set over several days. After the filming was completed Hitchcock sat down with the editor and dictated, without referring to notes, the shot order and take number for each shot he wanted in the scene. Something like, start with 27b take 3, then cut to 48c take 2, then 58b take 1...
A week or so later the edited scene was shown to Hitchcock. After the screening Hitchcock said something like this to the editor, "Check your notes. You have reversed shot 76 and 75. The scene will play better if you fix the problem." The editor carefully checked the edge numbers (something only a film editor would know about) and Hitchcock was right. He fixed his mistake and the scene played better.
The reason I tell that story, and the reason that Verna told it is that unless you are Hitchcock and you possess the social skills to be a director and the magic of a savant that allows you to completely visualize your final product, you have a very small chance of starting at the beginning and finishing at the end on a film that will tell the story you really want to tell. It is extremely important not to lock yourself into a workflow that makes it difficult and time consuming to retell the story from a different perspective. That's what happens when you try to cut a 5 minute story in After Effects. That is what happens when you try and cut a 30 minute film in a single sequence in Premiere Pro. Breaking things up into manageable pieces sounds like more work and more trouble, but it really is not. It's the only smart way to work.
Thanks for taking the time to further explain.interesting read. if I get a chance to visit the U.S again, I will try to enter discreetly to one of your classes just to say hi and take notes.
Op's main comp is set to 5:30 minutes so this does support your assumption that he is trying to edit a too long piece of animation right in Ae and that would be difficult to manage. I have had comps that last that long but these are specific cases where a very pedantic project management was needed utilizing proxies.
Op hope you got something out of all of this. we will be waiting for hearing back from you
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