While editing a project, are you frequently interrupting editing time to pull music, sound effects, stock, or archival? It is often a tedious multi-step procedure involving downloading, labelling, ingesting, and sorting – and in the heat of the creative process, sometimes some steps get skipped. (I know I’m not the only one who’s imported media in my Downloads folder.)
Enter the Watchtower extension, by Knights of the Editing Table. This small luxury simplifies media management, so you’re able to stay focused on the creative side of editing.
What is Watchtower?
Watchtower is an extension for Premiere Pro that monitors your Finder media folders in real-time. It automatically detects new files and folders and imports them into your Premiere project, mirroring Finder’s folder structure. (It’s similar to Media Encoder’s Watch Folders feature.)
For example, when I’m pulling temp soundtracks for my own edits, I use Watchtower to point my Premiere project’s Music folder to Finder’s Music folder. As I create Finder subfolders for each soundtrack, they automatically appear in Premiere with all assets included. This workflow ensures that files only enter the Premiere project after they’ve been stored in the proper Finder location, and nothing is erroneously ingested from Downloads or Desktop folders.
Furthermore, working as an assistant editor in a shared storage environment, I no longer have to ask my editor to close their project so I can ingest files. With Watchtower running on my editor’s machine, all my pulls will automatically import into their open project, without the need for stopping down.
However, my recommendation comes with a few caveats. The plugin can be finicky, especially when trying to move or rename files within Premiere after ingest. For this reason, it’s best to use Watchtower in a Premiere Productions environment, and dedicate an entire project for a single Watchtower folder and subfolders. For example, if I’m editing a short doc piece, I’ll create an ARCHIVE project and point Watchtower to my Finder’s ARCHIVE folder. The archival assets will auto-import, and I won’t put anything else in the project.
Watchtower can also become confused by files that are still downloading, resulting in a series of import error messages.
If this occurs, disable auto-import in Watchtower settings (see screenshot at right). After all your files have finished downloading, use the refresh button to update your Premiere project.
Overall, Watchtower is a highly useful tool for streamlining media management in Premiere Pro, and I highly recommend it to editors and assistant editors working in Adobe’s environment.
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