How to Replace Footage With Adobe After Effects


When you are using After Effects and a file associated with the project is deleted or moved, a placeholder icon will appear in its place as a still image of colored bars. You can apply effects, keyframes and attributes to placeholder, and then replace the footage later. When you replace the placeholder with the actual footage, any changes applied to it will be transferred to the replaced file.

  • Open your project in After Effects. If the source footage of an associated file is missing, the footage when you open a project, the footage will appear in the Project panel under the colored bar icon, labeled Missing, with the name of the missing file in italics.

  • To use a placeholder clip, go to your File menu at the top of your workspace, and choose Import, and then Placeholder. You may also go to File, then Replace Footage, and then Placeholder. Here you must give a name to the placeholder, and specify its size, frame rate, and duration. Select the same size, frame rate and duration of your original clip. Click OK when you are finished.

  • When you are finished making changes and ready to replace a placeholder with the footage, go to the Project panel. Double-click with your mouse on the placeholder you want to replace. You may also go to the File Menu and then Replace Footage, and then File.

  • Use the windows navigator to locate your footage in the location it was moved to. Select the clip you want to replace the placeholder, and click OK.

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