Each video scene may have one or more placeholders. Placeholders are animated layers holding a place for changing content. Placeholders are created and animated in After Effects by the artist who made the scene.
There are three types of placeholders:
- Text placeholders
- Audio placeholders
- Media placeholders, which support flat colors, images & videos
Audio placeholders can also be created directly in the Storybuilder.
When editing a storyboard one of the main things you do is configure your placeholders to behave as you want. You can make a placeholder always show the same thing, or make it accept changing data. You can also change some stylistic elements like fonts, alignment and so on.
Using Placeholders With Static Content
The most basic use of a placeholder is to make it show the same thing to all customers, in all generated videos. We call this a static placeholder. One option is to leave the placeholder as it was coming out of After Effects. The other option is to set the placeholder to something new, and leave it like that. To set a placeholder to something new, follow these instructions:
- For media and audio placeholders click the pencil icon, then choose a new asset from your asset libraries or a new color from the color picker. Click OK and you're done.
- For text placeholders, click the pencil icon and edit the text in the center of the advanced text properties panel that opens. Click OK and you're done.
Using Placeholders With Dynamic Content
The power of personalized videos come when making a placeholder accept external data. When you configure a placeholder to accept data, we call this making a placeholder dynamic. To do that you attach a named parameter to the placeholder. You later send a value to that parameter, either by using a CSV spreadsheet file or an API call, and that value will be inserted in all placeholders this parameter was linked to. A single parameter can be used in several places, so that data has to be sent only once, and can be used several times.
- For media and audio placeholders, click the lock icon, then in the Select Parameter drop-down menu click Create New or click an existing parameter you already made.
- For text placeholders, click the pencil icon, then in the list of text parts, at the far left, change Text to Parameter, then choose or create a parameter in the Select Parameter drop-down menu.
Sometimes the data you receive is not what you want to display. There are many ways you can manipulate the data before it's inserted into the placeholder. Here's a list with links to relevant articles:
- Use mapping to map a parameter to a folder of assets. Works with media and audio placeholders. The article is here.
- You can map one value to another value using properties files. Learn how to do that with all types of placeholders here.
- Use parameters to build a path to a location around the web. This feature is called Edit Path, it works with media and audio placeholders, and the article is here.
Changing Stylistic Properties of Placeholders
Aside from filling a media placeholder with this image or that video, or filling a text placeholder with this word or that sentence, you can also make some stylistic decisions about your placeholders. Things like alignment or scaling of an image, or the font a text placeholder uses: