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Pro Tip: Figure Out Which After Effects Project Rendered a Video

By Andy Needham
After Effects

Need to figure out which After Effects project rendered out a video clip? Here's a nifty tip that utilizes Adobe Bridge. I'm dead serious...

Have you ever been asked by a client, "Can you make some changes to that project from last year? Here's the video file for reference..."
Even if you are an organized person, it can be tricky to figure out which After Effects project was used to render "v04_without_map". The deadline was probably tight and you probably did loads of changes at the end because the client needed some additional options... so your historical file structure might be a bit of a mess.
Well, this is where being organized comes in. You should always archive your projects at the end of a project... but don't worry, there's another way of finding out if you've not completed this step.

Adobe Bridge: The After Effects Project Finder

Eh? What's this? Adobe Bridge is going to tell me what After Effects project was used to render the movie file?
Yes it is! It's all down in meta data!
Even Walter White is shocked that you're using Adobe Bridge.
If you're not familiar with the term, metadata is simply little snippets of information that are tagged onto your video files. Metadata is used for categorizing all sorts of information like frame rate, resolution, duration, audio channels, and more.
Anytime you render a video using an Adobe tool metadata will be attached to the video file. In addition to the normal video metadata information (resolution, duration, date, etc.), After Effects stores the name of the project file as well as it's location at the time of rendering into the metadata of a video file rendered in After Effects. The awesome thing about this is even if you've used Adobe Media Encoder to transcode the footage to say an MP4, the meta data travels with the file!

How to Find Which After Effects Projects Rendered a Video with Adobe Bridge

If you don't have Adobe Bridge installed, for the love of all things creative... get it installed right away! After that just follow these steps to find which After Effects project rendered out your video.
  1. Open Bridge
  2. Drag the movie file onto the App icon or navigate to the folder within Bridge.
  3. Press CTRL / CMD+I or right click and choose show info
  4. In Bridge CC you need to check the Meta tab and scroll towards the bottom. There, you'll find the After Effects project file and file path.
  5. Perform your #happydance
So now you know what to do, just check the coast is clear before you do your #happydance.
If you want to learn more After Effects tricks check out the blog and tutorials page here on School of Motion.