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Adobe Premiere Pro - Advanced Training

What are Watch folders in Adobe Media Encoder

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi everyone, in this video we're going to look at what a Watch folder is. It's this thing here, in Media Encoder. Why it's handy, the short version, is if I add stuff to this folder, that's been watched by Media Encoder, watch what happens, look at that, Media Encoder, jumps into gear and goes, "Hey, there's something in the folder, I'm going to start producing all these things that you asked me to do, and put them in the folders that you asked me to put them." It's pretty handy, let me show you how to get it set up, and its use cases, 

First up, let's open our Watch folder, go to 'Window', and go to 'Watch Folders'. We need to create the folder first, so hit the little '+' button, I'm going to put mine on my 'Desktop' for this exercise, I'm going to call this one 'Social Media - Watch folder', so that I don't mistake it for something else. Now I'm going to use social media here as an example, because it's a good use case for this, just, whatever your industry you're in, think, "I could use this for making, you know, bulk 4K versus HD, maybe Low Res, High Res", all these different kind of presets in here would apply. 

So we'll just do a real basic one to start with. So I've got a folder, I'm going to say that, when something goes into that folder, it makes it to h.264, and let's say that we make it, I don't know, 'High Quality HD', I just need to turn it from 4K to HD, that's all this folder is going to do. Let's have a look in the folder, let's have a look, where is it, there it is there. That's the folder that I made, my Watch folder, it automatically created this Output folder for me. 

What I need to do now is, I need to find a file, I've recorded this 4K or rendered out of Premiere Pro, this 4K version, it's too big, it's 4K, if I drag it in here now, you can either-- I'm going to copy it into here, you could just drag it in there and leave it in there, watch what'll happen to Media Encoder in the background, it'll go, "Hey, there's something in my folder," what am I going to do? I'm going to apply High Quality HD to it, and what is it going to do when it's finished? It's going to do a couple of things, it is going to output that file, that HD file into here, its lower file size as well as physical size, where did the source file go? It puts it in here and goes, I'm just tucking it away in here, because I'm done with it, and that's where they end up. 

Now Media Encoder needs to be open for this whole process to work, don't be dragging anything into the Watch folder, and hoping Media Encoder will start up, just needs to be on all the time. Now let's take it a bit further, because yeah, that's, is that helpful? Kind of is, where it gets more helpful is, if you've got more options in here. So let's say that in this Watch folder, I do need a high quality version? I also need a low quality version, so maybe it's going to stay 4K, so 'Match Source', and go 'Adaptive Low', but I also, remember, another output. I also need to go to social media, and I need to go, I'm going to HD for all of these, actually let's do 'Full HD', for Facebook, but let's get this specific one for Twitter. Let's give them all what they want. 

Who else is in here, YouTube, you can create your other ones, for the different social medias that are excluded in here, and now if I go back into this, and I say, actually, I'm going to drag it out of my Source folder, put it back into the kind of Root again, it's going to say, "Hey, there's another thing in that folder, what do I do?" It's going to run through all of these, and look, parallel encoding. Let's zoom this along, oh, good point, how do I stop it? I'm just practicing, I don't know, I just quit encoder, that stops it, there's no like pause, stop looking. 

Even if you drag the file out it's still, I don't know, I don't feel like there's an official way, I just cut it, and you say, it says, "Hey, I'm rendering," you say, "Yep, that's okay," and it just kind of dies halfway through. There's probably a better way, I can't find it. 

So what happens now, in that same Output folder, look, we've got all these other versions. My only trouble is, in here I can't work a way of adding an extension, to the outputs of these, so you can't say, like, set up a preset that outputs a prefix or a suffix, suffix, on the end here, that gives it the kind of name. There might be a way, let me know in the comments, if you do know. 

The way to kind of do it, though is - I'm going to bin all of these, - is to actually, when you are setting up your Watch folder, because you can have more than one, social media one, you might have one for broadcast, you might have some sort of editing workflow, when you're going to all the stakeholders, to create a bunch of different versions, or maybe your website needs a bunch of different speeds and formats, depending on what you're doing. 

So what you can do here is, you can actually output them, not just the output folder, you might keep the Output folder, but you might say, within this Output folder, you've got a YouTube, I can't remember what the first one was. I'm going to get rid of this one, this is my Low Bitrate, ah, we'll keep him, this is my low res version, and work your way through, you get the idea. Output, I'll do one more with you, then we'll speed it up. 

I can't remember what it is, Facebook, maybe; success. So now at least, when I do drag this in, so that guy there, I'm going to drag him back to the kind of Watched folder, and now these guys are going to go through it, and they should, end up in their folders, let's have a little look as they appear, there they are, starting to do their thing. So we're getting better, Watch folders, going into separate folders, that's pretty cool. 

All right, the kind of next step in, where I feel the most value will come from Watch folders, is when you are using more than one computer. Now it's going to be a little bit of hand waving, and you have to use your imagination, because I don't have this setup at home, but let's say that this drive here, is shared on two computers, for instance. It's on a network and it can be seen by multiple computers, maybe multiple editors, but let's say, for this instance, it's just me in my office, I've got two computers, my other one, that is kind of maybe set up for, I don't know, it's not my daily one, it's just another computer that I have, maybe an older one, maybe it's the new one, because it's going to do all the rendering, regardless, I have two computers, my daily driver, which I'm using right now, and this other thing set up in the corner. 

What I can do is, on my daily driver here, I can add things to this Watch folder, and on my other computer have Media Encoder running, have a Watch folder like this going, and as soon as I add stuff to it from my daily driver, it springs into action and starts doing all this rendering. We're doing these small social media things, and they're not that long, but if you're doing documentaries, TV shows, maybe long format "How To's", you can see, how you can just drag stuff from your computer into this network drive, that's shared by both computers, and the other computer goes, "Hey, there's something in my folder." 

It doesn't have to be a local network either, you could be doing it via Dropbox or Adobe's Creative Cloud, or all the different file sharing ones, you just have to make sure that you get it set up where, if I add one file to my Dropbox folder here on my computer, it gets synced to another computer, and you just make sure that gets synced into a Watch folder, and that Watch folder goes, "Hey, there's something in it," and the computer can fire into life, and either, it's like a reject old computer, that you're happy, that it just, the fans are running, and it's noisy, and it runs downstairs, and it chugs away, or it might be a dedicated machine you buy, like a Mac, Mini, which is, they're really powerful, really cheap in comparison to say, like my Macbook Pro here, and it's purely a render folder. 

You can take this further, and you could have the whole team using a machine. So we all are on a network, we all add our files to this folder, and we all share a render machine, did that make sense? I hope so. 

Now let's forget networkiness now, and just go back to the Watch folder, because let's say that, because we talk about rendering it to this machine, and then it's splitting it off, you don't have to render it to it, it'll actually accept Premiere Pro file, so I've got, where is it? Let me find it, that's the file we made earlier in this course. You can actually add project files now to it, rather than just, like finished clips or mp4s, or movs, you can actually do this. I'm going to copy it, and I'm going to go to my Shared folder, which is on my Desktop, it's this one here. Closing my Output, I can paste this in here, and watch what happens in the background here. It will actually look inside my project, you could have a clean and tidy project for this to work, it will start trying to find all the different sequences in my project, hmm, mine's not working, let me figure out why.

All right, I worked it out. I did a lot of opening and closing, and restarting, that didn't work. I thought I found it in Premiere Pro, because I had like a missing link, that didn't fix it, turns out it will not. We're trying to dump this Premiere Pro file in it, and it's going to dig in and try and find any sequences we have, this particular one only has one. The problem is it's hiding in a folder or a bin within here, it needs to be in the Root, can you see, I-- this is like, Dan, with his bad file management, these should all be in there, it's my footage, my sequence, there it is there. That's the one I want rendered, can't be inside this bin, so to drag it out, just drag it to the left, here we go, and now if I save it and I close it, so it'll, it'll do multiple sequences, which is really cool. 

So that's a bonus, you can do lots of them, they just need to be in the kind of root of that Project panel. So now let's give it a whirl, this one here, I'm going to make a copy of it, just because it ends up moving it out of my file structure, I don't want that, but now, hopefully, Media Encoder, oh look, in the background it's firing away, here we go. So you can do that with After Effects raw files as well, or the kind of, like a-e, is that a-e-p? Set the file extension for After Effects, anyway, you can dump them in and it will render out the different comps. 

So remember, Media Encoder is shared by a couple of different programs, and yeah, so I could be dumping my Premiere Pro file in there, because I'm working on a network drive, and it could, instead of like having to render it out first, it will go through and you can create in here. you might have your, like Adaptive High 4K, you might have your Adaptive High HD, all the different social media ones, and they potentially could be running on another computer, either on a local network in your office, or if you're doing it via the world wide web, you could be using something like Dropbox, or another more complicated file sharing service. 

All right, that's going to be it for Watch folders, they are not used by everybody, you might have a great project now that might work for it, or one in the future, and now you know what they do, Watch folders. All right, let's get on to the next video.