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Creating Dailies String-Outs in After Effects with Burned-In Timecode and File Name

June 17th, 2012 / By Angelo Lorenzo / No Comments

Along with running Fallen Empire, I am a man of many hats. I recently camera/sound operated on a web clip for NBC that will stream around the time of the Olympics. As part of the hand off to other editors I decided to also provide them with a dailies string-out and story edit to save them some time.

Now Adobe After Effects and Premiere both have timecode effects that will burn in the clip’s timecode and that’s all well and good. With dailies string-outs it’s more advantageous to have the file name burned in along with the timecode. In After Effects this is fairly easy to achieve. I originally posted this on Creative Cow and it has graciously been added to their After Effects forum FAQ.

1. Import all your footage.
2. Select all of your footage in your bin and drag it on the New Comp icon.
3. Select “Sequence Layers” with overlap turned off. This will layout each piece of video one after the other.
4. Create a new blank text layer as layer #1
5. Add this expression to the text layer’s “Source Text”:

for(i=2;i<=thisComp.numLayers;i++){ if(thisComp.layer(i).inPoint <= time && thisComp.layer(i).outPoint >= time){ text.sourceText = thisComp.layer(i).name +" -- "+ timeToCurrentFormat(thisComp.layer(i).sourceTime()); } }

6. Adjust the size, position and color of your text layer to taste.
7. Render out and send to your client.

The code should copy/paste without any line breaks. It’s an oldie but a goodie and has saved myself and other editors a lot of time. You can save even more time by saving the expression as an effect/animation preset in After Effects.

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