: Mike Cohen's Blog
: This video project is barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.
One year ago, I completed a project for a new client. Turnaround time was fast.
Recently, anticipating some revisions, upon inserting the eSATA drive containing the project, I was dismayed to learn that the drive was no longer viable. All it did was spin up, click and repeat. Bummer.
Luckily I had saved a backup of the project to my laptop - not the final project, but close enough.
Not since 2003 when I cut my final Media 100 project have I needed to batch digitize a video project. Media 100's original LVD ultra-wide SCSI2 drives were originally quite expensive. Thus, we did a lot of deleting of raw footage and batch re-digitizing/babysitting from 1999 until about 2002.
eSATA drives on the other hand are quite inexpensive, so Premiere projects and video tend to stay put where they live. Thus, the need to batch digitize a Premiere project has been a rare occurrence. Until now.
First I copied the backup of my Premiere CS3 project and associated non-video assets (photos, music, narration) to a new drive and imported the old project into a new CS4 project.
Next I right clicked on each video file (offline in the project) and performed a batch digitize. Crazy as it sounds, it worked great. One file however would not digitize due to the clip's in-point being so close to the start of a tape. I manually captured this tape, did a "replace media" and no worries, worked like a charm.
Turns out the version I saved to my laptop did not include the final narration or music, so I had to find those elements and manually insert those. What I did have, thanks to our robust client review website was a WMV file of the absolutely latest edit. I downloaded the WMV file and imported it into Premiere. I placed this file on the uppermost video track and lower most audio track, set the video opacity to 60% and the scale to match the project, and hit play. Because the sequence and the WMV were 80-90% the same, I saw basically a blurry image as it played, and it was obvious where the edits were. Same goes for the audio. It became immediately obvious that the music was different. That was easy to fix.
Finally, having lined up the narration and music, I used the Razor tool to cut the WMV at each edit point representing the difference between the old and the new versions. I deleted the portions of the WMV that were the same, and then proceeded to rebuild titles and two PSD files to make the sequence perfect.
I then saved a copy of the project in 10 different locations both at the office and at home, e-mailed myself a copy and forwarded this e-mail to all of my e-mail addresses.
Ok that last part was made up, but the important lesson here is to backup final projects, something I do religiously now.
Thanks for reading.