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Chapter 3. Managing Footage > Proxies and Placeholders

Proxies and Placeholders

Sometimes it is necessary to use stand-in files to take the place of actual footage. For example, you may need to start working even though all your source footage isn't ready. (Your client forgot to send the disk, or another production artist is behind schedule —sound familiar?) For the present, you may have to settle for a temporary placeholder. On the other hand, maybe a high-quality image is slowing down previews. A low- quality version of the footage might work just as well for draft versions, and speed up your work-flow. In such cases, you may choose to use a proxy instead of the actual footage. When you and your footage are ready, you can easily replace placeholders and proxies with the actual footage.

Placeholders

A placeholder is simply a generic still image that takes the place of missing footage. As pointed out in Chapter 2, After Effects automatically creates placeholders for missing footage. This section shows you how to use After Effects to create your own placeholder. In the Project window, the name of the placeholder appears in italic type. Placeholder footage appears in the thumbnail image and in the Composition window as television color bars (Figure 3.36 and Figure 3.37). (Depending on your background, you'll either recognize color bars as one of the standard test patterns used to calibrate video equipment for color and brightness, or as the weird show TV stations broadcast after 2 a.m.) Naturally, the image size and duration of the placeholder should match that of the footage it's temporarily replacing. If you're familiar with nonlinear editing programs, you might equate the term placeholder with the term offline file.


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