A disabled copy of the clip above the dynamically linked clip serves as an "undo"
On the Creative Cow Premiere Pro Basics forum, editor Gates Bradley ran into a common problem affecting Premiere Pro users that use After Effects via Dynamic Link. Editor Jacob Kerns had the issue in the other Premiere Pro forum at Creative Cow. James Graham had the same issue on that forum, as well. This seems to be a common misunderstanding among Premiere Pro editors.
What is Dynamic Link first of all? Dynamic Link is the protocol that is used to translate clips and sequences between Adobe Premiere Pro, Encore, and After Effects. For example, you could replace a clip with an After Effects composition directly in the Premiere Pro timeline. The problem is that Gates and other users wish to get the Premiere Pro timeline back to its original state: before the clip was dynamically linked to an After Effects comp.
Why would he want to do this? After all, After Effects is the epitome of powerful software for video compositing. Well, there are times when you’ve gone far down the path of using After Effects with dynamically linked clip(s), and then you change your mind. Perhaps you wish to keep things simpler and rework the effect in Premiere Pro. Maybe you weren’t aware of the lowered playback performance of a dynamically linked After Effects comp in a Premiere Pro timeline. It’s also possible that a client comes in with a change that forces you to alter the shot well after you’ve started the project. For these cases (and others not mentioned here), you’ll sometimes need more than a simple “undo”, you’ll need a strategy to get you out from under Dynamic Link if you need to. Let’s take a look at some of the techniques to help you get there.
First and foremost, if you are working in a current project, you can simply choose Edit>Undo back in Premiere Pro after sending a clip to After Effects via Replace with After Effects Composition. Simple. The clip will be restored to its original state.
If you are beyond Edit>Undo, you can try one of the following:
- Jeff Greenberg and Alex Udell offer that you can Edit>Copy the clip in After Effects and then Edit>Paste it back into the Premiere Pro timeline.
- Tom Daigon recommends that you copy and paste the clip to an upper video track (and then go to Clip>Disable to turn it off) to act as a safety before you send the original clip to After Effects via Dynamic Link.
- Ann Bens advises you to create a copy of the clip in the Project Panel for later use.
- I suggest that you can delete the After Effects composition from the timeline, perform a matchframe using the audio portion of the clip, perform a mark clip, and then overwrite the clip back into the timeline.
With these pointers, you’re sure to be able to restore your timeline to its original state. Thanks to Colin Brougham, Jeff Greenberg, Alex Udell, Tom Daigon, and Ann Bens for their input on this topic.