Finding the Best Workflow Between Premiere Pro and After Effects
Since switching to Premiere Pro, my editing workflow has been to lock picture in Premiere and then finish in After Effects. To date I've been using a workflow similar to the one I'd use when editing in Final Cut Pro, which was to import a final sequence into After Effects (either as an XML or by using Premiere Pro as an intermediary), and apply color correction, titling, and other effects in AE. While this approach gives a very high quality output, a problem rears its head if you want to make changes to the edit after "locking" picture. So what's the best workflow between Premiere and After Effects?
Dynamic Link is the answer, as the tutorial above demonstrates.
Once I change the coloring and add the final titles and effects, I find my picture lock often becomes unlocked. But now if I make changes to my edit in Premiere, they aren't reflected in AE, and so I find myself making edits in AE, which is far from ideal given the program's lack of real-time editing features (and editing tools like trim, slide, etc). And then if I need to revisit the edit in Premiere, I in fact have a newer edit in AE than I do in PPro. It's a version control nightmare. However, it's hard to beat from a price:quality perspective -- this is the reason this workflow is spotlighted in Stu Maschwitz's DV Rebel's Guide. In theory, Adobe has designed Dynamic Link to solve this problem. And in Premiere selecting "Replace with After Effects composition" is the best solution available anywhere to this issue.
Dynamic Link gives you a few options, which are: one, you can create an After Effects composition within Premiere Pro, and have that comp dynamically update in your Premiere sequence when you make changes in AE. The second option is to use Dynamic Link to open a Premiere project in After Effects, at which point you can import sequences and have them show up in AE -- as a single object. There's no way to drill down to the individual clips to make changes unless you import a Premiere sequence, at which point I'm back in the same boat I was in before when using Final Cut (though it's worth noting that Premiere's integration is far more advanced, as most effects and transitions carry over flawlessly). While I'm happy to have the ability to open a Premiere Pro sequence in After Effects, one can't but wonder if the two programs could be combined in order to prevent this non-ideal workflow. As it is, once you go AE, it's hard to go back. At least, this is my understanding -- am I missing something? Is all of this just confusing? Please share your experiences in the comments.
Rather than just focus on my own experiences, however, I'd like to share a tutorial on how to use Dynamic Link. Andrew Devis at CreativeCOW has recorded a tutorial highlighting the different options for using Dynamic Link to roundtrip between Premiere, AE, and Encore. While he focuses on adding a title to Premiere Pro from After Effects (and then outputting through Encore DVD), he also mentions the other way of using Dynamic Link (a more After Effects-centric method). You can find a link to the tutorial below (it's not embeddable), and here's his blurb:
Dynamic link allows you to use the power of After Effects in Premiere Pro, but it is something that many people do not understand and so it is under-used. However, with dynamic link you can bring the power of motion graphics to your titles in PP with hardly any effort at all. In this tutorial Andrew Devis will explain the basics of dynamic link and then show you how to start a new AE composition in PP and use powerful motion graphic templates to animate your text. He then covers how to replace an item in your sequence with a new AE composition (i.e. a title) and lastly, how to use dynamic link to take the whole thing into Encore ready to make your DVD - all without rendering.
For me personally and my working style, I often find myself wishing After Effects and Premiere Pro would just merge and become the same program.