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Work-In-Progress version burn-in?

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Guy ThompsonWork-In-Progress version burn-in?
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 5:26:47 am

Ok this is a weird question. I want to drive the contents of a text object, by using an expression - to match the file name of the video clip below the text object - at the current point in the timeline. I want this to be dynamic, so that I can have an edit of several pre-rendered movie clips (from any source) and the text overlay will feature the file name, (along with current frame number and date), all in one tidy overlay which changes whenever a new clip is dragged into the timeline below it.

The aim of this is so I can have a work in progress video clip, featuring lots of shots in progress, but you get the version of each clip ( actually burned into the edit - without having to manually type it out or relink things each time and explain to a client which shots have been updated.

Ideas, examples and comments welcome.

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Chris WrightRe: Work-In-Progress version burn-in?
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:11:08 am

This source text layer has to be right above the footage for it to work. At the splice point of a new layer, it will update the name automatically.

Also, set file project settings to frames. You can also get the date of the file if the clip was captured with the date in the filename or use a simple parsing expression after using batch renamer software. Premiere's plugin might be an option too.

Then, it's just a matter of adding another +. Good luck to you.

txt = "";
for (j = 1; j <= thisComp.numLayers; j++){
if (j == index) continue;
L = thisComp.layer(j);
if (! (L.hasVideo && continue;
if (time >= L.inPoint && time < L.outPoint){
txt =;
txt =
txt + " " + timeToCurrentFormat(time)

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Guy ThompsonRe: Work-In-Progress version burn-in?
by on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:26:02 am

Wow, thats fantastic and quite terrifying at the same time - I'm guessing this is Java? Anyway, I inserted this into the Source Text attribute field. (After alt-clicking the stopwatch) and it works great, as long as there is only 1 text layer, and only 1 layer below, with no over lapping layers. (splice points only, as you mentioned) Left justifying the text object stops if from changing position on the x axis as the text width changes on each frame.

I couldn't quite work out the syntax for getting the sequence frame number first, then the file name, then the clip timecode(source frame number only), if thats even possible?

Is there a line of code to use the current system time, it doesn't have to be the creation time/date of the source, just the date when this output movie is being generated. (Or even just a "Insert Text Here" entry in the code.)

Fantastic tip, thanks a bunch.

Guy Thompson

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Chris WrightRe: Work-In-Progress version burn-in?
by on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:09:19 pm

I don't believe you can ask AE the system time, file creation date, or sequence info(unless you use a new comp name + as a custom sequence). It's extremely limited, hence the long code just to simply get a filename and frames. You can try asking in the expression forum though.

The free way is to use batch renaming software; shouldn't take too long, a few seconds, then your date and time will only be off by a few seconds in the new video filename. That's not bad right?

You should really be using metadata from professional applications for logging and organizing. AE is a composite application.

Anyway...just add another + "Insert Text Here" to the last line to manually add text.
so, frame first, then sequence comp name, then layer name, then custom text would look like this.

timeToCurrentFormat(time) + " " + + " " + txt + " " + "Insert Text Here"

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Chris WrightRe: Work-In-Progress version burn-in?
by on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:51:03 pm

preferences-general, allow scripts to write files, then use this custom script I wrote. It will take the dimensions of the selected comps and add a new text layer with full date in the lower right automatically.

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Riku NaskaliRe: Work-In-Progress version burn-in?
by on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:23:37 pm


I would need exactly this script (the expression). However when I try to use it, I get an error message: "After Effects error: Layer has no source."

What could I be doing wrong? I have a footage layer under the text layer in which I'm applying this expression.

What I need to do, is get layer names into this burned in text layer.

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