Descript Project Structure

general descript topic Apr 22, 2024

Descript's project structure can seem complex at first, but it's worth taking the time to learn the basics.

Understanding the concepts and terminology will help you communicate effectively with editors, virtual assistants, and customer support.

Projects - the largest containers

A project in Descript is like a folder that contains smaller units.

From your Workspace view, the first thing you create when you hit the big blue "+ New" button is a project. Either an Audio Project, Video Project, Quick Recording, or Remote Interview.

Think of your project as a container where you'll store all your smaller units. When you first create a project, it consists of one composition. However, projects can hold multiple compositions.

Compositions - the publishable or exportable elements of your Project

As mentioned, when first create a Project, it consists of one Composition. However, Projects can hold multiple Compositions.

To add Compositions to your Project:

1. Click on the Project name in the top left corner of your Descript window.

2. In the dropdown, click on "Enable Multiple Compositions."

3. Click on the Composition name (to the right of the Project name and after the slash (/))

4. In the dropdown, click on "Add new composition"

You have now created a second Composition and have a total of two Compositions inside of your Project. Repeat the steps above to create as many Compositions as you want. (I'm sure there's a limit to the number of Compositions you can have but I haven't found it.)

Why would you want to create multiple Compostions?

Since Projects are like folders, Compositions are like your individual files. I use multiple Compositions ALL THE TIME for the following situations:

  1. Client work: Create a Project for each client then place all their Compositions in that Project
  2. Courses: Create a Project for each Module of the course then each Lesson is a Composition
  3. Youtube Playlist: Create a Project for a specific topic that will become a Youtube playlist then each video is a Compostiion

You get the idea. Compositions are a highly useful way to organize and breakdown big Projects.

Also, all compositions within a Project share the same media files that have been added and used throughout the Project.

Is there a risk to using Compositions?

Yes, there is.

If one Composition in your Project becomes corrupted, there is a chance that it could corrupt the entire Project.

I've had Projects with 20+ Compositions and NEVER had this happen but it's worth mentioning. Use Compositions but don't trust them 100% and keep them to a reasonable size (i.e. 10 Compositions or less per Project is a good Rule of Thumb).

Scenes - the sub-parts of Compositions

When you create a blank, new Composition, by default it is one composed of one Scene.

Scenes are a way to compartmentalize your Composition such that a change made in one Scene does not effect the properties of another.

To break your Composition into multiple Scenes, you simply find the place (on either the transcript or the timeline) where you want to add a new Scene, place your cursor at that point, and type / (forward slash) on your keyboard. You now have a new scene. Everything before the / is Scene 1 and everything after it is Scene 2.

How you use scenes is a matter of preference. Some editors never add Scenes. Personally, I add Scenes for EVERYTHING. A 60 minute video might have 500+ scenes if I'm editing.

Clips - the smallest editable unit in Descript

Clips are simply all the small parts of media inside of your scenes.

You can split clips (Hotkey: S) to make them smaller such that changes to their properties won't effect other clips.

To see our video on Project Structure, here it is on Youtube:

Check out the Descript Mastery course - a project-based, hands-on course designed to take you from beginner to professional content creator without the tech headaches.

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