How To Send Your Edit To Grade With Adobe Premiere

We work on a lot of projects for other production companies who have come to us for our post production services. One of the questions we get frequently asked is, how do I get my edit/project to you?

Internally or in some cases where the footage is already located on our system a copy of the project file or better yet an XML can be sent. This small, lightweight file may look like nothing but when loaded by the editing software it will rebuild the edit almost identically. I say almost, because variations in plug ins, platforms and even things as simple as installed fonts can all cause an XML to cause problems. So be sure to render a frame accurate video file of your edit so that we can check the rebuild is correct.

Note: It’s best practice (and honestly polite!) to flatten and tidy your timeline as much as possible before exporting an XML or performing a media manage. Not only do you reduce the chance of something not being rebuilt correctly but you also make our job much easier in the grade. With an XML we also strongly recommend you remove any transitions or effects/plug ins you’ve applied to the footage. These should be discussed with the team specifically.

Messy Timeline vs a Tidy Timeline

So what if your footage is too large to easily send? Or for simplicity sake you only want to send us the footage you actually used and ignore the 200 shots that landed on the cutting room floor?

Here you would typically go through a process called Media Management. Media management is the means by which the editor collects together all the media that has been used in the project before discarding all the content which fails to make it into the edit.

Your editing program of choice does this by duplicating the clips you have used in your timeline and putting them into a separate directory. It is important to acknowledge what is going on under-the-bonnet as you will need adequate storage on an external drive to move the content from your edit suite to the post-production facility.

So how do you perform a media manage? Thankfully we have prepared this 7 step guide:

1. Choose File > Project Manager

2. In the Project Manager window, under Sequence, select the checkbox next to each sequence that you want to Send. To check all boxes, shift-click any one box.

3. Pick whether to Copy or Transcode

Ok, here’s where your first real decision lies. Going to grade? It is almost always better to consolidate and copy your original footage. While some transcodes can work perfectly fine in the grade; one wrong click and you could be about to waste a whole lot of time converting all of your used footage into something we can’t work with in the grade. Play it safe and send us copies of your original footage unless otherwise discussed with the team.

4. Premiere Pro creates a new project file that links to the selected media please click the following tick box options:

Exclude Unused Clips
Specifies that Project Manager will not include, or copy, media you did not use in the original project.

Include Handles – 24 frames
If you’re asked by our team to transcode rather than copy make sure you tick this box! This specifies the number of additional frames to retain before the In point and after the Out point of each transcoded clip. This will give us a little room on the cut should slight adjustments be required.

Include Audio Conform Files
Ensures that the audio you conformed in the original project remains conformed in the new project.

Include Preview Files
Specifies that effects you rendered in the original project remain rendered in the new project.

Convert After Effects Compositions To Clips
While Adobes dynamic link functionality is great, it can cause havoc when you have to send the project to grade. Our team will likely discuss this with you if you have a vfx or graphic heavy project. For most people however ticking this option & preserve alpha will help us see your project the way you intended.

5. Destination Path

Designates where Project Manager saves the files you specified. Click Browse to navigate to a location other than the default.

When copying a project, Project Manager creates a folder named “Copied_[Project Name]” and copies the project, footage files, and other specified files into the folder.

When consolidating a project for transcoding, Project Manager creates a folder named “Transcoded_[Project Name]” and saves the project, footage files, and other specified files into the folder.

6. Disk Space

Displays a comparison between the size of the current project’s files and the estimated size of the copied or consolidated files. Click Calculate to update the estimate. Make sure your destination has enough space, copying a long form project can consume large amounts of space.

7. Click OK

Don’t forget that in addition to the media managed files, it is critical that you also send over frame accurate time coded mp4 which can be used as vaisual reference to ensure the timeline recreated in grading suite is spot on.

If you have any issues media managing your project drop us an email at and we can work through the problem. If you’re looking for further resources to help you prepare your project for the grade, have a look at our other blog ‘5 things to send your colourist before you grade

About the Author

Alan Parry

Alan Parry is the Post-Supervisor at Element 26 Ltd. Alan is an expert in all areas of post-production including pipeline management, production formats and broadcast delivery. A proud South Londoner, Alan is also hugely into his rugby and enjoys playing for his local club... for as long as his knee holds out.

How To Store Your Media For Long Term Archive

Believe me when I say that we get it, you’ve seemingly finished your video project only to confront the next big decision; do you hold on to the original footage, or free up that precious space for your next opus?

Whilst it’s true that storage continues to get cheaper every year, I’m yet to meet anyone who likes the idea of buying new hard drives every time they want to make a new video.

At Element 26 we deal with Terabytes of data everyday. Whether it’s a feature film shot in 4K across multiple cameras, or a corporate video shot in a day. All this data needs to be stored, backed up and secured.

I wish it wasn’t so, but I’ve heard countless horror stories about video content being stored on hard drives for long periods, only for this material to eventually become corrupted. I’ll never forget a story I heard from a friend who works for a financial services business in North London. She told me about a decision they had made to delete their “old” footage from their drives. “It felt like a logical decision at the time” she told me, however, only a few weeks later, the higher-ups decided they wanted to use that material again. An awkward conversation then ensued.

Thankfully there is a solution, LTO.

What is LTO?

Developed in the 1990s, LTO (Linear Tape-Open) is a tape based format which presents a cost effective and reliable way to overcome the problems of securely storing large amounts of data for the long term.

From the moment footage arrives at our facility and is ingested onto our systems, it is copied onto an LTO cartridge, which is then kept safe and secure for the duration of the project within our fire proof safe.

This is what an LTO Tape looks like.

Once a project is completed and signed off, the footage and project files (as well as any other assets such as voice overs, graphics and final renders) are copied on to the tape(s). This allows us to to confidently remove the project from our server freeing up valuable space for the next project, whilst allowing us to retrieve the project from archive should the client wish to revisit it or reuse the footage in the near or distant future.

Why LTO?

Each tape can store approximately 2 Terabytes of data, and is physically smaller than your average hard drive. This allows us to store large amounts of data within a relatively small physical footprint. LTO tapes also provide much greater longevity when compared to hard drives, due to an absence of moving parts (LTO tapes are essentially comprised of a spool of tape within a plastic housing). Furthermore, as opposed to a hard drive, LTO tapes don’t need to be turned on or read regularly in order to prevent any degradation.

Our LTO system keeps track of which tapes belong to which projects allowing us to easily identify which tape we need to load in order to revive an archived project. The system also keeps track of EVERY individual file copied to tape, which makes it easy for us to revive individual shots, entire projects or anything inbetween.

Got any questions about LTO, data management or how we secure our clients work? Get in touch with us here.

About the Author

Alan Parry

Alan Parry is the Post-Supervisor at Element 26 Ltd. Alan is an expert in all areas of post-production including pipeline management, production formats and broadcast delivery. A proud South Londoner, Alan is also hugely into his rugby and enjoys playing for his local club... for as long as his knee holds out.