I'm trying to make a video like this one:
The creator of this video states that he made it in After Effects.
I'm encountering many problems when I try to do it in AE, because I have to create the animation "on top" of the voice over. As AE is made for short sequences, the preview playback of the animation always freezes after 10 seconds while the VO keeps playing.
However, I can't animate a vector map in Premiere Pro, so it has to be made in AE, but how do I synchonize it to the existing voice over? I could theoretically write down what the VO says at what timecode and then animate based on these notes, but that would be extremely inefficient and tedious. There must be a better way to do it.
How would you guys approach it if you had to create a video like this?
I do a lot of that kind of thing and I break up my comp into sections that are no longer than a sentence, phrase, or idea. Then I do the final edit, sound mix, and polish in Premiere Pro. Even with longer pieces that must be one continuous shot, it is very easy to match the first and last frames in a composition by simply copying and pasting layers.
I think your example trade route map could be significantly improved with some creative cutting and transition moves. If I was grading that example for student work I would give it a low C because there is nothing in the project that does anything to emphasize a point or sustain interest.
It's just like a Pixar movie. You get a team working on a scene, a few of the artists work on each shot in the scene, Individuals work on the various elements and characters in a scene, then the scene is previewed and edited without all of the effects (I call that a pencil test), and when it is good enough, the shots are rendered and the scene is cut, then the scenes are assembled, trimmed, recut, and finally color graded and the sound mixed in the final edit and polish. If they tried to get the entire movie done in one timeline it would never get finished.
Thank you very much for your detailed answer!
So according to that I would create a separate composition for each sentence, right?
I am fairly new to After Effects.
Can you explain in more detail how I can make sure that the last frame of a composition matches the first frame of the composition that follows it?
In the end, the seperate compositions have to flow perfectly into eachother so that the video looks as if it's one single composition.
My usual workflow for this kind of work is to make the composition I am working on about 1 or 2 seconds longer than the sentence or phrase I am animating. I set the work area to where I want the match cut to happen.
Now that the comp is set up I select all of the layers that are going to continue to the next composition, move the CTI (current time indicator) to the out point of the work area and press Ctrl/Cmnd + Shift + D to split all of those layers at the Current time. This includes the audio track.
When the layers have all been split, select them all, Pre-compose moving all attributes to the new composition and then open the new comp. If you trim to the layer length you will get a new comp that is one or two seconds long. Now you just open the composition settings and make the new comp longer.
If you go back to the first (the original) comp and make any changes just set a keyframe at the end of each layer, copy those keyframes, then paste them to the new comp. The whole procedure takes about two minutes and you end up with a new comp that has no extra layers and the action patches perfectly.
Markers on the audio track make this easier. They are incredibly easy to do in Adobe audition.
When each comp is finalized, render it using a visually lossless intraframe (production format) codec and drop them in a specific folder. When they are all rendered you can open a new Premiere Pro project, select all of the properly named clips (part-01.mov, part-02.mov, part-03.mov...), select them all in Premiere, right-click and select "New Sequence From Selected." Your new sequence will be created with all the rendered parts in order. Mute the audio, import your original audio, then start finalizing the soundtrack with the music and sound effects you want to add. Finalize the color grade, and if needed, clean up the edit.
I never make any kind of explainer video that does not have cuts and transitions in them because they strengthen the story. Working with AI (Illustrator) for the graphics, Photoshop for image editing, After Effects for compositing and motion graphics, and Premiere Pro for final editing, and Audition, in most projects, for the final sound mix I can complete a long-form explainer video that is easier to modify to the client requests, tells a better story, is more professional, and takes a lot less time to produce than trying to do the whole project in After Effects. I have had explainer videos with more than 100 layers in a single five or six-second shot. You would quickly run into huge problems in After Effects if you had a couple of dozen shots like that in your half-hour-long project. It would be completely unmanageable.
Good luck with your project. Let us know if you have any other questions.
Thank you very much for the very detailed answer and thank you for being so supportive!
I will try to do it that way and if I have more questions I will come back here.
Add Layer Markers (Layer > Markers > Add Marker) to the Layer with audio as needed to identify key points in your animation. The first line of the Marker Comment appears in the Timeline, so you can indicate what the VO says right in the Marker or any other helpful note.
It can be helpful to reveal the Audio Waveform (press L twice quickly while the Layer with audio is selected in the Comp).
Markers can be added while the Preview is playing.
Control click and drag (Windows) or command click and drag (macOS) to scrub the audio in the Comp.
Control click and hold (Windows) or command click and hold (macOS) to loop just enough audio to make out a phoneme.
You can also manually add Clip Markers to the voice over in Premiere Pro. If the Markers do not show up in After Effects, right-click the Layer and choose Markers > Update Markers from Source.
Something I have started to do recently is use the Transcribe feature in Premiere Pro to create Subtitles, keeping the characer limit low (like 24 charcters or less). Then export that as an SRT file and use the free SRT importer from Digital Anarchy to import it into After Effects (Transcriptive SRT Importer :: Free After Effects Script :: Digital Anarchy). The result is an extremely helpful Text Layer with both type in the Comp and Layer Markers on the Layer based on the trasncript.
Wow, that's really a great idea!
I didn't even think of using subtitles as a reference for animating the voice-over.
Thanks for the suggestion.