19 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2009 9:31 AM by Stan Jones

    Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links

    OsakaWebbie Level 1
      I've tried to search for this question, but I can't find the right terms, I guess. If the same asset (video clip, still image, etc.) is imported more than once into a given project (into different bins, the user unaware that it's already there), is there a way to find that out? I know that for a given clip listed in the project pane, a column tells how many times it is used in sequences, but if there are multiple copies of the clip (same file on hard disk, but multiple instances in the project pane), the usage number (and the little triangle at the top that lists where it is used) only reflects sequences where that instance was applied, not other instances pointing to the same file.

      Background: I am working on the first of several projects that each will consist of multiple sequences (12, to be exact - each a song video) that I'm working on one at a time. Each time, I import things from my common video/stills collection that seem appropriate for that song, use some of them, import others, and when I'm done with that song, delete the unused clips from the project pane. I'm now half way through and starting to forgot what I have already used in previous songs - I might remember considering using a clip, but whether I really did in the final version or not I'm not sure without checking all the bins and subbins. These 12 songs will be on the same DVD, so I don't want to repeat images any more than necessary. I am keeping all 12 sequences in the same project (even though the project is already starting to get sluggish to open and save because of too much data) in the hopes of keeping track of what I have used in each whole DVD overall, but now I realize that there may be no easy way in PPro to get such a tally.
        • 1. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
          Jim_Simon Level 8
          I don't think there is any way to do this.

          You might consider a different organization. Create bins for each song that will hold only original media used only in that song. Create a Common bin for all the common clips that may get used in any song. That way you'll only need to check the one bin each time.
          • 2. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
            OsakaWebbie Level 1
            Thanks for the reply. That's a nice thought, but since I don't want to repeat anything if I can avoid it, even if I used your suggested organization, nothing would ever go in a "Common" bin. There is no footage that was shot specifically for a particular song (it's all generic footage like nature), but when I import a clip, I have no intention of using it in multiple songs, so it would always go in the Unique-to-this-song bin (or a sub-bin under that, in the case of songs that have so many clips that I need to separate further, like "Verses: sunrises and sunbeams" and "Chorus: leaves, trees, and forests").

            I guess the best I can do, perhaps when I'm doing final "proofreading" for the whole DVD, would be to save my project, and then temporarily move all the clips from all the bins into one bin, sort that bin by name, make note of duplicates (and which sequences they are used in), close without saving, and then go back in and replace clips with more variety as needed.
            • 3. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
              the_wine_snob Level 9
              Karen,

              I was given a Project already setup with confusing folders (on an external), many duplicate files scattered about, and most Assets already Imported into the Project. I had a similar problem to yours.

              The only answer that I could find for the problem was to go back to the OS level and create specific folder for specific Assets. Then, create a Bin in PP for each folder. I'd Import all files in each folder to the correspondingly named Bins.

              I finally did this, as I got tired of the poor housekeeping by the previous editor. It was not an easy task, given that so much had been done.

              However, I learned from this to set up my folder structure with forethought and then set up my Bins in the same manner, with the Import of all Assets in each folder to the appropriate Bin. Lot of work, but saves a lot of headaches down the line.

              Good luck,

              Hunt
              • 4. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                OsakaWebbie Level 1
                Hi, Bill! Good to hear from you.

                I can imagine the mess you had to clean up, and if this was the only project I was using these clips for, it would be a good way to do it. But in my case, although I only want to use these clips once in a given project (in this case a DVD of 12 song videos), I will use them again in other projects, as they are general purpose clips. In fact, some of them are even for sale as stock footage on DVArchive (if you're curious, mine start with 072) and I'll be submitting lots more for possible inclusion soon, and plan to shoot a ton more in February, which will be after this DVD is done, but gearing up for its sequel (there is a plan of at least three of this type of DVD, and perhaps other similar series'). So I need to keep them organized by type of image, like aerial, underwater, animals, flowers, sky/sunsets, NASA stills, etc. That structure is not the same as the structure of which songs on DVD #1 are using which clips.

                But I appreciate the various ideas - we can all learn from each other for future "good practices" even if a particular idea isn't applicable at the time.
                • 5. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                  akribie Level 2
                  In the project window for CS4 you will find a search window just above the LH column of clips. Enter the filename in the search box, click, and you will get a quick list of each instance of that clip by bin in the project window. Better than nothing, but not as good as 'find duplicate source clips', for which you might want to submit a feature request.
                  • 6. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                    OsakaWebbie Level 1
                    Unfortunately I have CS3. :-(
                    • 7. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                      akribie Level 2
                      Not so unfortunate. Now I loook it works in CS3, too.
                      • 8. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                        OsakaWebbie Level 1
                        By golly, you're right - I should have checked before replying (I assumed, since you made a point of mentioning CS4, that it was a new feature).

                        I can't try it out right now, as my video computer is busy encoding something, but I'll check it out later. Most of my clips I know for sure I have only used one time, so your suggestion may be handy for checking ones I'm not sure of as I go along. I assume that the Find function looks at the clip name in the project, not the original filename, but so far I have not changed any names, so I'll make sure I don't in the future either.
                        • 9. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                          Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                          I started to suggest the search, but it would be too laborious to check them all. But for a quick way to check a limited number of clips it will work well. Note that it will find a file in any bin. Once you find a clip, you can see not only its usage, but which sequence it is in.

                          Also, you can search any column, so you could consider putting information in the description, comment, or other column as you add files that might allow you to track usage. Test this with some searches, because I don't think it is optimal. For example, typing an "S" will find any file (description, whatever column you choose) that has an S anywhere in the content of that column field. (E.g. the name "storm" and "used.") Add a "1", and it will only find S and 1 together. You might create codes for your clips directories that would make this possible. But by the time you are done sorting this out and then using it to check for duplicates, you might as well create a separate document to track usage.

                          If you want to pay me a lot of money, I'll create an XML script that will look through the project file and create the list you're looking for. Ha, ha! I'm convinced this can be done, but it would be a mess to figure out.
                          • 10. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                            the_wine_snob Level 9
                            Karen,

                            Back up to your post #4. I have similar "standards," that are stored on a single drive. When I go to use them in a Project, I always Copy them to the appropriate folder within that Project. Yes, this does occupy some HDD space, but keeps Assets with the Project. Then, when I Archive, everything goes to the archive external, including my standards.

                            I wish you luck with finding a way to get your Assets organized and flagged.

                            Quick question, is there anything in Bridge, that might help you?

                            Good luck,

                            Hunt
                            • 11. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                              OsakaWebbie Level 1
                              > (Stanley) Also, you can search any column, so you could consider putting information in the description, comment, or other column as you add files that might allow you to track usage.

                              I'm not sure how that would help look for duplicates, but it brings up another question I've been wanting to ask someone: I assume those fields can be stored in the file header somehow, so that when the clip is imported, that information will appear. But where can one write the information? When I do what I call "slice and dice", which is where I take a captured tape of nature or other hodge-podge footage and slice it into only the clips I want to keep, and write them to the hard drive ("Export Movie"). At that time, I would love to include comments about the clip, but I don't see a way in PPro. Is that done in Bridge or somewhere else? Tutorials mention doing it in On Location, but I don't capture live (there is nothing interesting to film in the room with my video machine!), so I haven't even installed that software.
                              > (Stanley) If you want to pay me a lot of money... Ha, ha!...

                              And if I had a lot of money I would probably have one of those fancy turnkey video systems that not only tells you where you used all your files, but also washes your dishes while it renders your feature-length film in 2 minutes... ;-)
                              > (Bill) I have similar "standards," that are stored on a single drive. When I go to use them in a Project, I always Copy them to the appropriate folder within that Project.

                              Hmm, I see merit in that idea for a different reason. Sometimes I get the urge to reorganize general clips (like when recently I decided that there were too many files under "Plants", so I made a "Flowers" subfolder - when I went back to my project I had to answer several complaints of "where is...") or rename one to add a little more description. If I bought another hard disk and did what you are doing, that would solve that problem. But I'm pretty far into this project - I don't know if I want to try to do that for this one and have to relink every single clip. And this method would require a lot of patience - currently, when I want to try out a clip in my sequence, I just have to drag it from Windows to the project pane, and then from there to the sequence (or source monitor if it's a long clip and I want only a short piece); with Bill's method, I would first need to make a copy of the AVI file (don't ya love the pretty green color of the progress bar?). I can see plusses and minuses.

                              Question: are the link's file paths "relative"? That is, if I make a folder in which I put the project files as well as copies of the assets, and later move the whole folder somewhere else, will the links still work?

                              Also, I have never used it, but I understand that there is a feature in PPro that can actually delete assets from the hard drive that are not used in a project - I would need that feature if I start using Bill's method, because I import way more possibilities for a song then I actually use in the end. Right now, all I need to do when I'm done is delete the unused entries in the project pane, but if I make copies of all those clips, I'll want to only keep the ones I actually use.
                              > (Bill) Quick question, is there anything in Bridge, that might help you?

                              I don't know - I almost never use Bridge, as I haven't quite determined what it does for me that simple Windows doesn't, and I'm just not used to its interface (I'm not "diss"ing Bridge - I just haven't figured out how it fits in my workflow). Perhaps there are heavy-duty Bridge users out there who can tell me: Does Bridge know how many times an asset has been imported into PPro projects, or is it able to check an existing project for links to a given asset if I ask it to (or list all the links in that project)? If only there was a "Links" window in PPro like there is in InDesign and the like, we wouldn't even be having this discussion; but it's reasonable to ask the question of whether an outside tool like Bridge can look in on the project file in ways that PPro itself doesn't.

                              Also, one more question related to Bridge: Is that where one would add things to fields like description, comments, take, "good", etc.? I see those fields in PPro, but I don't know how to populate them (not just for that instance, like Stanley was talking about
                              • 12. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                                the_wine_snob Level 9
                                Karen,

                                I will create a new set of folders within my Project hierarchy. If, as in your example, I've got "plants" and "flowers," I might create the sub-folders for these. With just a handful, not so likely, but they will still be in my "Still Images" folder within the Project.

                                PP has a utility to Remove Unused, but ONLY from the Project, not your system. This, IMHO, is a very good thing.

                                For doing what you are discussing, I use two programs, Dupe File Finder (freeware, IIRC), and Cerious Software's ThumbsPlus Pro. The former goes by the contents of the file and will match files pretty closely, even if the names are not even close. Really good little utility, and handles all sorts of files.

                                ThumbsPlus is an image viewer/organizer. It will Sort>Similar, and will also do a good job, just not up to par with the non-viewer DFF. The biggest difference with ThumbsPlus, is that IS a viewer, too. I use it more often than Bridge, unless I'm doing a quick Browse from within an Adobe App. Have not experienced the new Bridge, but hear that it is much more powerful. Also, ThumbsPlus has a new version #8 out. I declined to beta-test it, as I was too busy, but I hear that it is about to be released and is also much imporved.

                                Yes, Bridge (and ThumbsPlus) will allow all sorst of additional metadata. Bridge also has a couple of "ranking" categories. Seems that it's a number of "stars," and also a color scheme for things like "used," etc. You can sort on either of these two rankings.

                                With the Production Studio (or most of the "suites") you get Bridge included. I do not know if it shows up with any of the stand-alone products. With the suites, it's available from all of the apps, File>Browse.

                                Did I miss anything?

                                Good luck,

                                Hunt
                                • 13. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                                  OsakaWebbie Level 1
                                  > I will create a new set of folders within my Project hierarchy.

                                  I don't think I would bother with that, for two reasons: (1) the temporary project folder on the hard disk is not where I would be doing organization, so it would just be extra work, and (2) that would defeat the purpose of it for preventing duplicates (unless I repeatedly use one of the tools you mentioned). If they are all in one folder, I will immediately know if I'm trying to add another copy of the same one.

                                  The organization as Plants, Flowers, etc. is in my permanent collection. In my project pane, I organize by song, and by verse, chorus, interlude, etc. - totally different.
                                  > PP has a utility to Remove Unused, but ONLY from the Project, not your system. This, IMHO, is a very good thing.

                                  Normally I would agree (when I read something that I thought meant that there was the ability to actually delete the files, it gave me the creeps, frankly), but if I make copies of clips before importing them into my project, I will end up with about twice as many clips in that folder as I actually used in the project, because I tend to change my mind a lot as I go along. So it will be difficult to know which files are there because I actually used them in a final version and which ones are there because I tried and rejected them for a song somewhere along the way. So perhaps your method won't really help my current problem.

                                  The "sort/similar" feature you mentioned intrigued me, so I visited the ThumbsPlus website. But it only works with stills - that's of no use to me (I certainly take photos like anyone else, but they are organized completely differently from my videos, and I rarely use my photos in video projects).
                                  > Yes, Bridge (and ThumbsPlus) will allow all sorst of additional metadata.

                                  I decided to have a closer look at Bridge, and there is actually another forum thread going on about this. I've learned that what I label in Bridge does not actually appear in PPro, even though the fields have the same name (like Description, Log Comment, and Good, etc.), which seems quite strange to me.
                                  > With the Production Studio (or most of the "suites") you get Bridge included. I do not know if it shows up with any of the stand-alone products.

                                  I can tell you that it did come with standalone PPro CS3.

                                  Today I got some news about this project that will make my already insane production schedule even tighter, so I better focus on editing video instead of writing on forums... ;-) Thanks!
                                  • 14. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                                    Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                    > I better focus on editing video instead of writing on forums

                                    Your questions got me thinking, and I learned a few things trying to see why metadata isn't already doing a better job.

                                    Don't reply; get to work!
                                    • 15. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                                      the_wine_snob Level 9
                                      Karen,

                                      When you are done, and sanity returns, please post what scheme you used, and how it worked. Folk have a lot of organizational questions and most of us only have the "how I do it," or "how it did not work for me," to base their answers on. Sometimes, that is all the OP needs, but other times (like your case), you need more.

                                      Good luck,

                                      Hunt

                                      PS Stanley, it would be interesting to see what your tests reveal. Please keep us updated and thanks.
                                      • 16. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                                        OsakaWebbie Level 1
                                        I can probably go ahead and close my part of that loop. Because of the amount of indecision I have when I choose clips, and the extra work involved in making a copy of a clip before trying to use it, I don't think Bill's workflow will work for me in this case. But David J's suggestion of using the search bar has proved helpful - it does some sort of trick with the project pane that still shows the bin structure but hides all assets except the ones that match the search criteria. Since I organize my bins by song and sometimes part of song, that is enough to tell me where the duplicates are, and then I can look at how I used them and decide if I want to replace one of them with something else for variety. As Stanley pointed out, it's too laborious to do the check for every asset, but if I use it regularly as I go along (and in many cases I don't have to, as I know for sure I'm using the asset for the first time), it isn't a big deal. So that's the "scheme" (as you call it) that I am using at the moment. Perhaps in the future there will be more clever features in PPro for dealing with this, but for now, this will suffice.
                                        • 17. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                                          Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                          Thanks for the feedback Karen.

                                          Bill, I reported all that I tested in a separate thread at about the same time. Too pressed to find it at the moment.
                                          • 18. Re: Usage count by file, or indicator of multiple links
                                            OsakaWebbie Level 1
                                            I think Stanley is talking about the thread where Bill was having fun with Jim Simon's typos - here is a link to Stanley's post there: Stanley Jones, "Preserving tape name and media start/end" #6, 13 Jan 2009 10:20 am (if I'm wrong and he said more about it elsewhere, he can give us that link when he has time).