AE looks at the file names in the file path and uses whatever is there; when you import a project file, it uses the footage in the file paths described in the imported project. It does not store footage in the project file, for example.
This can be a good thing if your footage is a work in progress, like a not-yet complete photoshop document originally imported into AE as merged footage.
But it can also be a bad thing, if a photoshop document is a work in progress and it was imported as a comp. If more layers are added to the photoshop document, AE won't see them.
If the footage on the network will remain changeless, you should be good. But I don't believe in changeless, so the footage for each of my projects gets copied to a special Footage folder within an AE project folder, where the AE project file is located.
Appreciate the input, Dave. But it's not really answering my question.
Perhaps Todd could chime in? When consolidating footage, how does AE decide which one to keep? Modification date? Local vs. remote volume? Date imported?
It's very simple really. Choose a layer in your timeline. Right click on the layer and click on Locate in Project. That's the footage that will be consolidated. Anything not used in a timeline will be discarded.
Respectfully, I think you may be thinking of Reduce Project or Remove Unused Footage?
Scenario: I import the exact same item (same creation date, same file size, same name) from two different souces (one from a server, one from a local drive), and use them both in various comps. Running Consolidate Footage eliminates duplicates and automatically replaces the single remaining source file into all comps that were using the duplicate(s).
But which one does AE decide to keep if they are all the same?
To be honest, I've never run into such a situation. I appreciate your dilemma: I have no clue how AE would react.
If you have an obsolete project file containing footage as you describe, you could always run a test.
I am just doing axactly this at the moment.
I imported a duplicate of a project into another, as it seemed to be the quickest way to deal with a situation (versioning of the same ad, into different languages etc)
This isn't exactly an answer to the question of which file AE chooses, but its a way of having control of what files you want it to use.
But my way of dealing with having the same files from different locations is to consolidate all footage. Then do a collect of the project. Then if you still want to link the original files, (either from a server, or local.. or HD or whatever) rather than having a collected folder. I delete the source clips from the collect. Then when you open AE, just link the file you want AE to use. It then links all clips form that area of your HD. Thus leaving you with 1 clip/image for each asset.
Hope this helps slightly?
Interested to know the logic behind what clip AE chooses - so hopefully someone will answer your question.
If it's some super trade-secret sauce ninja algorithm code, just tell me. Otherwise, I'd really like to know.
I just did a test, and it got rid of the files from the imported project.
It's a little scary to me that it would get rid of assets that have completely different paths. Lots of raw video footage shot at completely different times has the same filename (0000.MTS, 0001.MTS, etc). Hypothetical example: I sure hope it knows the footage from a movie I shot last year (named 0000.MTS) on my desktop is different from the commercial footage I shot yesterday (also named 0000.MTS) on my server!