Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours

Teach Yourself
Premiere Pro
Jeff Sengstack
800 East 96th St., Indianapolis, Indiana, 46240 USA
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe® Premiere® Pro
in 24 Hours
Copyright © 2004 by Sams Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced, stored in a
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International Standard Book Number: 0-672-32607-8
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2003094092
Printed in the United States of America
First Printing: February 2004
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Contents at a Glance
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Part I: Getting Started
1 Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2 Camcorder and Shooting Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
3 Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
4 Premiere Pro Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
5 Scene Selection and Video Capture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
6 Creating a Cuts-Only Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Part II: Enhancing Your Video
7 Adding Transitions Between Clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
8 Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
9 Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
10 Adding Video Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
11 Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Part III: Acquiring, Editing and Sweetening Audio
12 Acquiring Audio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
13 Editing Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
14 Sweetening Your Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
15 Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe
Audition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
Part IV: Higher-End Visual Effects and Editing Techniques
16 Using Higher Level Video Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
17 Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
18 Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417
19 Tips, Tricks and Techniques—Part 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451
20 Tips, Tricks and Techniques—Part 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 479
21 Third-Party Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509
Part V: Working with Other Adobe Products and Exporting Your Videos
22 Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance
Your DV Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 531
23 Exporting Premiere Frames, Clips, and Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 559
24 Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
Table of Contents
Part I: Getting Started
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Premiere—A Nonlinear Editor
Touring Premiere Pro’s Workspace
Premiere Pro’s Workspace Layout
Project Window
Monitor Window
Timeline Window
Tools Palette
History and Info Palettes
Premiere Pro’s Special Features and Technologies
Native YUV Video Processing
Color Correction
New Audio Technologies and Tools
Tight Integration with Photoshop CS and After Effects 6
Effect Controls Window
Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts
Diagramming the Digital Video Workflow
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
Going Digital
Choosing a Camcorder
Camcorder Selection Tips
Legacy Analog Camcorders
Eighteen Tips on Shooting Great Video
Adhere to the Rule of Thirds
Get a Closing Shot
Moving Up (Way Up) to High-Definition Video
Stripe Your DV Tapes
Get an Establishing Shot
Keep Your Shots Steady—Use a Tripod
Let Your Camera Follow the Action
Use Trucking Shots to Move with the Action
Try Out Unusual Angles
Lean Into or Away from Subjects
Try to Match Action in Multiple Shots
Shoot Sequences to Help Tell the Story
Get Wide and Tight Shots to Add Interest
Avoid Fast Pans and Snap Zooms
Remember to Shoot Cutaways to Avoid Jump Cuts
Make Sure That You Don’t Break the Plane
Get Plenty of Natural Sound
Use Lights to Make Your Project Brilliant
Plan Your Shoot
Expert Advice from Karl Petersen
Quiz Answers
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
Getting the Story Right
Bob Dotson’s Storyteller’s Checklist
Keep It Simple…and Short
Writing in the Active Voice
Mackie Morris’ Writing Tips
The Good Writer’s Dazzlin’ Dozen
Stephen Black and Henry Stern’s Scriptwriting Tips
Unblocking Creativity
Stepping Up to Film
Story-Creation Tips from Bob Dotson
Storytelling with Video
Charly Steinberger’s Tips for Prospective Filmmakers
The Business of Video Production
Sam Prigg’s Tips on Starting a Video Production Company
Doing the Video Production Thing
Joe Walsh’s Event Shooting Tips
Premiere Pro Setup, Video Capture and Scene Selection
My System Recommendations
Configuring a Powerful DV Workstation
Premiere Pro’s Minimum Specs
Video Capture Cards—Adding Video Editing Magic
Reviewing the Alienware DV Workstation
Starting Premiere Pro for the First Time
Organizing the Workspace
Use Workspace Pre-sets
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Quiz Answers
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Selecting Video Clips
Getting Good Bites
Listening for Effective Natural Sound
Capturing Digital Video
Preparing for Video Capture
Using Premiere Pro to Control Your Camcorder
Using Video Clip Naming Conventions
Tackling Manual Analog Movie Capture
Using Scenalyzer to Automate Video Capture
Managing Your Assets
Quiz Answers
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Video Editing: From Engineers to Artists
Old-Fashioned Editing
Using a Storyboard Approach
Arrange Your Storyboard
Taking a Timeline Window Tour
Editing Clips in a Sequence
Changing a Clip’s Length
Removing a Clip
Closing the Gaps—Ripple Delete
Using the Ripple Edit Tool
Lifting and Moving a Clip
Using a Keyboard Modifier to Extract and Move
Adding a Clip Inside a Sequence—Overlay or Insert
Using Other Editing Tools
Quiz Answers
Part II: Enhancing Your Video
HOUR 7 :
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Using Transitions with Restraint
Trying Some Transitions
A Plethora of Transitions
Manipulating Transitions in the A/B Window
Using the A/B Mode to Fine-tune a Transition
Dealing with Inadequate (or No) Head or Tail Handles
Using Transitions on Your Clips
Quiz Answers
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Using Supers to Help Tell Your Story
Using a Template to Examine Properties
Working with the Template’s Geometric Shapes
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Creating Text
Adding Motion and Putting Text on a Path
Creating Crawling Text
Using the Path Tool
Creating Geometric Objects
Quiz Answers
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Adding a Professional Touch to Your Project
Using Establishing Shots
Using Matching Shots
Using Wide and Tight Shots
Playing Clips Backward, Changing Speed, and Freezing Frames
Going in Reverse and Altering Speed
Unlinking Clips
Using Freeze Frames
Rolling, Slip, and Slide Edits
Creating Special Transitions
Adding News-Style Cutaways
Using the Image Mask Transition
Creating a Gradient Wipe Transition
Editing Tips from an Expert—John Crossman
Quiz Answers
HOUR 10:
Adding Video Effects
Introducing Premiere Pro’s Video Effects
Changing Effects Over Time—Keyframing
Keyframe Manipulation
Multiple Keyframable Attributes
Using Keyframe Interpolation Controls
Non-Keyframable Effects
Quiz Answers
HOUR 11:
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
Applying Motion and Changing a Clip’s Size
Enhancing Motion—Changing Size and Adding Rotation
Giving Clips a 3D Look
Layering Clips in Motion
Working with Still Images—Special Issues
Zooming in on a High-Resolution Image
Quiz Answers
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Part III: Acquiring, Editing, and Sweetening Audio
HOUR 12:
Acquiring Audio
Handheld Mic
Lavaliere Mic
Selecting the Right Mic for the Job
Shotgun Mic
Boundary or Surface Mount Mics
Wireless Systems
Connecting Mics to Your Camcorder or PC
Making the PC Connection
Simple Approach
Not-So-Simple Approach
Getting the Most from Your Mics—Expert Audio Tips
Building a Simple and Inexpensive Voice-Recording Area
Voicing Solid Narrations
Ripping Music CDs
Creating Custom Music with SmartSound Movie Maestro
Quiz Answers
HOUR 13:
Editing Audio
Audio Track Layout
Conforming Audio
Premiere Pro—A New Aural Experience
Basic Premiere Pro Audio Editing
Adjusting Volume
Higher-Level Audio Editing
News-Style Audio Editing: Using J-Cuts and L-Cuts
Making an Automated Music Video Using Timeline Markers
Quiz Answers
HOUR 14:
Sweetening Your Sound
Sweetening Sound—Premiere Pro’s Audio Effects
Revealing the Power of VST Plug-ins
Other VST Effects
Adding Multiple Audio Effects to a Clip
Following Premiere Pro’s New Audio Tracks
Adding and Sending Audio Tracks
Working with the New Audio Mixer
Changing Track Gain and Balance or Pan
Surround Sound Panning
Quiz Answers
HOUR 15:
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and
Adobe Audition
Making Music with SmartSound Sonicfire Pro
Introducing Adobe Audition
Auditioning Audition
Audition’s Audio Effects
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Using Audition to Craft a Tune
Loopology Creation
Audition—An Audio Recording Studio
Quiz Answers
Part IV: Higher-End Visual Effects and Editing Techniques
HOUR 16:
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Making Sense of the Plethora of Video Effects
Technical Fix Effects
My Favorite Technical Fix Effect: Levels
Other Technical Fix Effects
Blur & Sharpen Effects
Convolution Kernel Overview
My Favorite Blur & Sharpen Effects
Duplicate Blur/Sharpen Effects
Distort Effects
Pinch, Shear, Spherize, and ZigZag
Bend, Lens Distortion, Ripple, and Wave
Mirror, Polar Coordinates, and Twirl
Horizontal Hold and Vertical Hold
Noise—Give Your Clips That Old VHS Feel
Camera View
Basic 3D—Create That Glint Shot
Bevel Alpha, Bevel Edges, and Edge Feather
Duplicate Distort Effects
Color and Appearance Effects
Color and Appearance—Painting Effects
Color and Appearance—Color-Manipulation Effects
Color and Appearance—Color Shift Effects
Find Edges
My Favorite Color and Appearance Special Effects
Introducing the Color Corrector
Color and Appearance Effect—Limited Use
Adobe After Effects: Astounding Visual Effects
Adding Multiple Action Images Using Echo
Giving Your Project Flash with the Strobe Light Effect
Adding Dazzle to Your Project with the Lightning Effect
Quiz Answers
HOUR 17:
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
Making Compositing Part of Your Projects
Your Assignment: Grab Shots for Compositing
Working with the Opacity Effect
Superimpose Two Clips
Keying Clips
News-Style Cutaways and Multitrack Audio Rules
Multitrack Audio Rules
Using the RGB Difference Key
Using the Chroma Key
Using the Luma Key
Using the Multiply and Screen Keys
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Using the Blue Screen and Green Screen Keys
Using the Non-Red Key
Quiz Answers
HOUR 18:
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Working with Alpha Channel Transparencies
Using Video Effects with Alpha Channel Transparencies
Video Effects with Alpha Channels
Alpha Channels—Straight or Premultiplied
Put Alpha Channel Graphics in Motion
Effects That Work Well with Graphics That Have
Alpha Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 428
Using the Motion Effect to Make Pictures-in-a-Picture
Two Multiple Track Video Effects: Blend and Texturize
Using Blend to Combine Two Clips
Using Texturize to Add an Embossed Look to Another Clip
Creating and Working with Mattes
Using a Track Matte Key
Using Mattes to Build Split Screens
Working with the Garbage Matte Key
Using the Garbage Matte Key to Make a Split Screen
Using a Difference Matte
Quiz Answers
HOUR 19:
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
Highlighting a Portion of Your Clip
Applying Realistic Drop Shadows to Rotating Objects
Applying Drop Shadow to Transform
Using Camera View with Drop Shadow
Working with Nested Sequences
Enhancing Two Effects Using Nested Sequences
Giving Motion to Two Immovable Effects
A Slicker Means to the Same End
Obscuring Someone’s Identity
Fine-tuning Keys Using a Nested Sequence
Quiz Answers
HOUR 20:
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Adjusting Color—Three Color-Correcting Effects
Using the Broadcast Colors Effect
Creating a Consistent Look with Color Match
Venturing into Color Correction
Working in the Trim Window
Trim Window Rolling Edits
Trim Window Ripple Edits
Four Fun Editing Techniques
Fixing a Slanted Scene
Creating Real Animated Mirrored Effects
Using the Razor Tool with Effects
Creating Animated Text
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Five Fast Editing Tips
Set Your Ending Keyframe First
Using Title Designer for Tinting
Working with Still Images
Reducing Noise in Low-Light Clips
Using Multiple Transparencies
Timeline Window Keyboard Shortcuts
Timeline Window Shortcuts
Checking Out Several Workspace Shortcuts and Tools
Tips from an Adobe Corporate Premiere Pro Evangelist
Quiz Answers
HOUR 21:
Third-Party Products
Exciting Effect and Transition Plug-ins
Red Giant—Movie Looks
2d3—SteadyMove and SteadyMove Pro
Plugin Galaxy from The Plugin Site
ViviClip Video Filters 3
Other Third-Party Plug-in Providers
Innovative Graphics—Editor’s Toolkit from Digital Juice
High-Definition Video—Cineform’s Aspect HD
Multiple-Camera Editing with Multicam
Creating Multimedia Movies with CyberCam
Speeding Up Editing with Contour Design’s ShuttlePRO V.2
Part V: Working with Other Adobe Products and Exporting Your Videos
HOUR 22:
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
Introducing Photoshop CS
Using Photoshop CS in Video Production
Expert Tips
Introducing After Effects
Tight Adobe Video Collection Integration
Animating Text with After Effects
Per-Character Animation
Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects
Vector Paintbrush Tools
Animated Effects
New Professional Edition Tools
Follow Action with the Motion Tracker
Quiz Answers
HOUR 23:
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Introducing Exporting
Two Other Export Options
Recording Your Sequence to Videotape
Creating Basic Media Files
Exporting a Movie
Video Options
Keyframe and Rendering Options
Using the Adobe Media Encoder
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Windows Media
Using the Adobe Media Encoder to Export MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
Encoding an MPEG File
Using Premiere Pro to Burn a Video to a DVD
Quiz Answers
HOUR 24:
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
Introducing the Authoring Process
Authoring Your DVD
Organizing Your DVD’s Menu Structure
Overview of Adobe Encore DVD
Tour Encore DVD’s User Interface
Assembling Assets and Editing Media
Editing Menus in Encore DVD and Photoshop
Encore DVD and Photoshop Integration
Linking Menus, Buttons, and Media
Setting First Play
Setting End Actions
Setting Overrides
Changing Button Navigation
Previewing Your Work So Far
Burning the DVD
About the Author
Jeff Sengstack has worn many hats: TV news
reporter/anchor, video producer, writer focusing on PC
technology, high school math/science teacher, radio station disk jockey, music publisher marketing director and
(presently) school board trustee. As a news reporter he
won a regional Emmy and two Society of Professional
Journalists first-place awards. He’s an Adobe Certified
Expert and Trainer on Premiere and wrote Adobe’s Higher
Education Digital Video Curriculum Guide. He’s written 300
articles and five books, including Sams Teach Yourself DVD
Authoring in 24 Hours. His focus these days is creating family tree DVDs and video tutorials to supplement this book.
Visit his Web site at
My hat’s off to Adobe and the Premiere Pro development team. They have created a
terrific product. One reason Premiere Pro is so much better than the competition is
that Adobe listened to and addressed user and beta tester comments and concerns.
Adobe is the only company I know of that gives so much weight to its customers’
Several members of that development team fielded many questions from me during
the beta testing and book writing process. I appreciate their help.
This book’s technical editor, Douglas Dixon, and the editorial staff at Sams worked
hard to make this book better. I appreciate that.
Tell Us What You Think!
As the reader of this book, you are our most important critic and commentator. We
value your opinion and want to know what we’re doing right, what we could do better, what areas you’d like to see us publish in, and any other words of wisdom you’re
willing to pass our way.
You can email or write me directly to let me know what you did or didn’t like about
this book—as well as what we can do to make our books stronger.
Please note that I cannot help you with technical problems related to the topic of this book,
and that due to the high volume of mail I receive, I might not be able to reply to every message.
When you write, please be sure to include this book’s title and author as well as your
name and phone number or e-mail address. I will carefully review your comments
and share them with the author and editors who worked on the book.
Mark Taber
Associate Publisher
Sams Publishing
800 East 96th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46240 USA
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours is different from the rest of the
dozen or so other Premiere how-to books. Those books tend to be highly detailed or
greatly simplified reference manuals using impenetrable vernacular, or collections of
step-by-step instructions focusing solely on Premiere functions. Both types fail to create lasting impressions, and they don’t teach you how to make videos.
What’s missing is context. I think of those books as sort of like instructing budding
artists how to use a paintbrush by telling them to swab the brush in paint and
slather it on a canvas. Where’s the art?
My goal with Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours is to help you create
high-quality, professional-looking videos. Rather than simply presenting a collection
of disconnected tutorials, I’ll frequently remind you of the big picture and what
you’re trying to accomplish. That said, I haven’t skimped on useful nuts-and-bolts
instructions. I’ve tried simply to present them in a logical, easy-to-follow manner
that reflects the way most Premiere users approach editing.
A Collaborative Effort
In a departure from traditional Premiere Pro how-to books, I turned this into a collaborative project. I contacted several of my friends and former colleagues in the TV
and video production business who provided dozens of expert tips to supplement this
book’s coverage of Premiere Pro functionality. For instance, they provided advice
about shooting high-quality video, writing effectively, and creating professional
The timing is right for this book, both on a personal level and in the marketplace. It
fits my career path to a T. I’m an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in Premiere and have
extensive television production credentials—TV anchor, reporter, photographer, and
editor—plus I’m a recipient of a regional Emmy award and two Society of
Professional Journalists first-place awards. I’ve written hundreds of articles, written
or worked on eight books, and have been a high school science and math teacher. I
tapped all that experience to create what I think is a logical, instructional flow using
readily digestible chunks of information placed in a real-world context. Sams Teach
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours
Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours will ensure that you can track how each new
task fits into your project goals.
The market is primed for Premiere Pro. Convergence might be an overused word
(third only to paradigm and epiphany), but it applies. Adobe continues to bring a reasonably priced, increasingly powerful video production tool to Windows users. Highquality digital video (DV) camcorders have dropped in price. Anyone with a laptop
and a DV camcorder can operate as an independent video producer or TV news
Premiere Pro: Built from Scratch
With Premiere Pro, Adobe has raised the bar, thrown down the gauntlet, and upped
the ante (yep, three clichés, but they all apply). Premiere Pro clearly is the PC video
editor of choice for budding video producers and professionals alike. Two-and-a-half
years in the making, Adobe created Premiere Pro with entirely new code. The development team’s goals were ease-of-use, fast editing, and compatibility across Adobe’s
entire DV product line. While testing early beta versions and reading comments
from other beta testers, I enjoyed seeing how some experienced users first felt that
Premiere Pro’s workflow changes were a bit awkward. But light bulbs soon began
switching on as the online testing community started to discover the logic behind
the changes and the improved functionality they fostered.
Premiere Pro signals a tidal shift in Adobe’s approach to the digital video market. It
now offers a tightly integrated, five-product DV suite: Premiere Pro, After Effects 6,
Photoshop CS, Encore DVD, and Audition. The latter two products you might not
have heard about.
While working on Premiere Pro, Adobe teamed up with the DVD authoring industryleader, Sonic Solutions, to create a professional DVD authoring product: Adobe
Encore DVD. Anything you create in Premiere Pro, you can use within Encore DVD
as part of a full-featured DVD project. I’ll cover DVD creation with Encore DVD in
Hour 24 of this book.
In addition, in mid-2003, Adobe bought Syntrillium Software, producers of the professional-level audio editing tool named Cool Edit Pro. Adobe added 5,000 music
loops to Cool Edit Pro and released it in the fall of 2003 as Adobe Audition. I give
you a brief overview of Audition in Hour 15, “Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound
Sonicfire and Adobe Audition.”
Adobe After Effects is the industry-leading text animation and 3D graphics product.
The latest revision works smoothly with Premiere Pro. And Photoshop continues to
dominate the graphic creation landscape. I show you how to use both products in
Hour 22, “Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project.”
Book Organization
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere Pro in 24 Hours consists of 24 “lessons.” Each
should take about an hour—more or less—to complete. That’s not to say that at the
end of each lesson you’ll have mastered its particular topic. To really become proficient in Premiere Pro you’ll need to reinforce what you’ve learned with practice. I’d
suggest moving through a lesson, doing some additional work, and then taking a
breather before tackling the next lesson.
I’ve tried to follow my own video production advice and keep it simple—and short—
but I do know that some of you want higher-level Premiere and video production
tips. So, I’ve scattered such advice throughout all the chapters in the form of notes
(“By the Way”), tips (“Did You Know?”), and cautions (“Watch Out!”).
By buying Premiere Pro, you’ve joined the ranks of more than 750,000 video editors
who recognize a high-quality video production product when they see one. Now,
with the help of this book, you soon will be able to fully exploit all the powerful
tools Premiere Pro brings to bear. The ultimate goal is that you’ll create videos that
Conventions Used in This Book
This book uses the following conventions:
Text that you type and text that you see onscreen appears in monospace type.
By the Way presents interesting information related to the discussion.
By the
Did You Know? offers advice or shows you an easier way to do something.
Did you
Watch Out! alerts you to a possible problem and gives you advice on how to avoid it.
Getting Started
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
Premiere Pro Setup
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Touring Premiere Pro and
Presenting the DV Workflow
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Premiere Pro—a nonlinear editor
Touring Premiere Pro’s workspace
Premiere Pro’s special features and technologies
Diagramming the digital video workflow
You probably want to dive right into Premiere Pro. I don’t blame you. If you’ve had
any experience editing videos with Premiere or other PC video editors you may be
able to do a lot with Premiere Pro right off the bat. However, formal, hands-on work
with Premiere Pro in this book doesn’t begin until Hour 4, “Premiere Pro Setup.”
That said, in this first hour, I take you on a tour of Premiere’s workspace and, if
you’re so inclined, you can fire up Premiere and follow along. I explain how video
editing on your PC with Premiere Pro is a tidal change from editing on videotape
machines. I show you that Premiere Pro’s workspace organization helps you edit
quickly, efficiently, and creatively. Its developers gave it numerous, clever features
and incorporated new technologies that place it head and shoulders above all other
PC-based video editors.
Premiere Pro is the hub of a digital video workflow involving four other Adobe products. I outline how you can work with all of them to enhance your video projects.
Hour 1
Premiere—A Nonlinear Editor
Premiere is a nonlinear editor (NLE). It looks and feels a whole lot different from
standard, nondigital (or analog) linear videotape-editing systems. This might be
patently obvious to you, but bear with me a bit.
On tape systems, you need to lay down edits consecutively and contiguously. If
you decide to expand a story already edited on tape by inserting a sound bite in
the middle, you simply cannot slip that bite into the piece and slide everything
after it farther into the story. You need to edit in that sound bite over your existing
edits and reedit everything after it. Alternatively, you first can make a dub (or
copy) of the story segment after the new edit point and lay that down after
adding the sound bite (causing generation quality loss in the process).
By the
Mid-Story Changes—The Horror
Makes me shudder to think of the news stories I produced, back in the days of
videotape-only editing, that screamed for some minor mid-story fixes. But I knew
those fixes would have taken too much time and caused too much reporter/editor
grumbling. Such is life in deadline-driven TV news.
As newsrooms have moved to NLEs, reporter/editor tension (at least over silly
little things such as adding a sound bite in the middle of a piece…ah-hem) has
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Premiere Pro and other NLEs like it have come to the rescue. Now you can make
changes with a few mouse clicks. If you want to edit the all-important production
closing shots before editing anything else, that’s fine. It’s nonlinear. Feel free to do
things nonsequentially.
The other overwhelming improvement over videotape-editing systems is immediate access to your video clips. No longer do you need to endlessly fast forward or
rewind through miles of tape to find that one snippet of natural sound. With
Premiere Pro and other NLEs, it’s all a mouse click away.
Touring Premiere Pro’s Workspace
Before diving into nonlinear editing (in Hour 6, “Creating a Cuts-Only Video”), I
want to give you a brief tour of the video-editing workspace.
Try it
Checking Out Premiere Pro’s Interface
This is the first of many tasks I present in this book. In most cases, they’re
detailed, step-by-step instructions. The best way to get some value out of this book
is to complete those tasks. In this particular case, this is kind of a task-lite. You
don’t have to open Premiere Pro at this point, but if you want to, feel free. In
either event, here’s a look at Premiere Pro’s workspace:
1. Install Premiere Pro. It’s fairly straightforward, but you’ll need to restart
your PC.
2. Double-click the Premiere Pro icon on your desktop to open it. After the
splash screen disappears, the opening interface displays, as shown in
Figure 1.1.
Premiere Pro’s
opening dialog box
enables you to
quickly access projects-in-progress or
start a new project.
By the
Hour 1
3. Click New Project to open the New Project dialog box shown in Figure 1.2.
Out with the Old
I can’t say it enough (and I do say it several more times throughout this book):
Adobe built Premiere Pro from the ground up to streamline the video creation
process. The New Project dialog box is a case in point. Previous Premiere iterations
presented about two dozen choices. Premiere Pro offers up eight: four each for
NTSC and PAL (you can create your own customized project settings). Why so few?
Briefly stated, it’s because of new internal video and audio processing. I explain
more in a later section, “Premiere Pro’s Special Features and Technologies.”
This simple interface exemplifies
the streamlined
workflow in
Premiere Pro.
4. If you’re working with NTSC (see following By the Way for more information on TV standards) select DV-NTSC, Standard 32kHz (kHz is the audio
sampling rate). If you’re a PAL user click the plus sign (+) next to DV-PAL
and select Standard 32kHz. Give your project a name at the bottom of the
screen and then click OK. That opens the Premiere Pro user interface (UI)
shown in Figure 1.3.
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Premiere Pro’s
workspace might
seem daunting to
first-time NLE
users, but you’ll
soon see the logic
behind its layout.
TV Standards
NTSC, PAL, and SECAM (although it’s not an option in Premiere Pro)—what’s with all
the different (and incompatible) standards?
. National Television Standard Committee (NTSC) is the TV standard for most of
North America and South America as well as Japan. It’s clearly the worst of
these three TV standards. It has only 525 lines of resolution and displays at a
nearly incomprehensible 29.97 frames per second (film displays at 24 frames
per second [FPS]).
. Phase Alternate Line (PAL) at 625 lines has better resolution and displays at 25
frames per second. It’s available in Western Europe and Australia.
. Sequential Couleur A’memorie (SECAM) has the highest resolution—819 lines—
as well as a separate channel for color information. Like PAL, it runs at 25 FPS.
It’s used in France and in scattered locations around the Middle East and
Because of NTSC’s tendency toward color variability, engineers jokingly refer to it as
“Never The Same Color.” There is a glimmer of hope: North America is grudgingly
elbowing the higher-resolution PAL and SECAM folks aside with High-Definition TV
(HDTV), which is set for full adoption in the United States by 2006.
Hour 1
Premiere Pro’s Workspace Layout
If you’ve never seen a nonlinear editor, this workspace might throw you for a
loop. Not to worry. The layout reflects many years of experience on the part of
Premiere Pro’s development team. It understands the NLE workflow and has put
innumerable fixes into Premiere Pro to further refine it. I’ve identified its principal
elements in Figure 1.4.
Project window
Monitor window
Premiere Pro’s
workspace windows
and palettes.
Tools palette
By the
Timeline window
Info & History
Windows, Palettes, and Dialog Boxes
Premiere Pro’s developers use a potentially confusing nomenclature for elements of
this NLE. They sometimes exacerbate that by using different terms for the same
thing. I’ll try to clarify those items as they arise. In this case, windows are resizable
work areas in which you take some action, palettes present essentially unchangeable items like effects and editing tools, and dialog boxes request user input such
as preferences.
In the following sections, I briefly explain the salient elements of the Premiere Pro
user interface (UI). I go into greater detail in later hours.
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Project Window
Start by taking a look at the Project window in the upper-left corner of the UI in
Figure 1.4. This is where you store and access your original video clips—your raw
footage—as well as audio files, graphics, and sequences (Adobe’s new name for
timelines). It uses bins (Adobe’s name for file folders) to organize your assets.
Figure 1.5 shows how it looks after I add a few files to it and expand the view to
display the characteristics of the those video, audio, and image files.
Adding Files to the Project Window
I explain this process in detail in Hour 5, “Scene Selection and Video Capture.” If
you want to add some files now, select File→Import, navigate to some media files,
select them, and click Open. You can also use a shortcut: In the Project window,
double-click in the blank area below the word Sequence to open the Import window.
After you’ve added a few files and expanded the width of your Project window, it
should look something like Figure 1.5.
Did you
The Project window
is the storage
space for all your
project’s media
assets and
sequences (timelines).
In Figure 1.5, the Project window displays characteristics such as media type,
length, video resolution, and audio information. You can sort on characteristics
by clicking their column names and click-drag columns to new locations. Note
that the Project window uses icons and label colors to further differentiate media
Clicking the Effects tab in the Project window opens the Effects palette. As Figure
1.6 shows, effects include scene transitions, such as dissolves and wipes; video
effects to alter the appearance of your clips; two audio crossfade transitions; and
numerous audio effects to spice up your sound. I’ll begin covering these powerful
(but frequently overused) tools in Hour 6.
Hour 1
Dockable Palettes
Palettes, such as the Effects palette, are dockable. That is, you can drag their tabs
to other windows or palettes if those new locations suit your workflow. This is a
good thing. The reason I’m pointing this out now is that your version of Premiere Pro
(as opposed to the beta version I used to write this book) might have the Effects tab
in a location other than the Project window. If so, it’s probably in the Monitor window.
The Effects palette
gives you immediate access to
dozens of transitions and effects.
You apply an effect by dragging it to a clip and you place transitions between
clips and—new to Premiere Pro—on clips. That nifty new trick, combined with
another very cool new feature—the ability to apply transitions on any track
instead of only on clips on track one—means that you can create all sorts of animated effects. That’s particularly true with geometric shapes created in Premiere
Pro’s Title Designer. I cover that in Hour 8, “Tackling Text: Using the Title
Monitor Window
You use the Monitor window to view and trim raw clips (your original footage)
and view your project-in-progress. You can open the Monitor window with only
one screen—the Program screen—or, as shown in Figure 1.7, with two screens—
Program and Source.
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
You view your raw
clips in the Monitor
window’s Source
screen (left) and
your finished product in the Program
screen (right).
The controls at the bottom middle of each screen work much like your VCR with
the addition of a very nice shuttle (the wide button in the middle of that group).
The other controls are principally for editing. I start covering them in Hour 6.
Timeline Window
This is where you’ll do most of your actual editing (because this is Premiere Pro,
there are always multiple means to perform any one task). Figure 1.8 shows the
Premiere Pro timeline window.
Timeline or Sequence?
In my view, this is Premiere Pro 1.0, not Premiere 7.0. It’s a new product with new
code and new terminology. This is an opportune time to establish crystal clear naming conventions.
In the case of sequences, I think Adobe slipped up. Sequences are timelines. All NLE
video editors work with timelines. The window where you work with sequences in
Premiere Pro is called the Timeline window. So, I think those things in the Timeline
window should be called timelines, not sequences. I asked the Premiere Pro team
leader why they chose to use sequences. Here’s his reply:
“The name sequences is designed to reflect the new functionality. Since
timelines/sequences are now nestable, they can be used to segment a video edit and
enable a production to be broken up into manageable ‘sequences.’
The word timeline seemed very self-contained, so we changed it to sequence to reflect
this extra capability.
The variation in terminology (in the manual and marketing literature) is largely due to
the fact existing Premiere users will be familiar with timeline and so…we use both terminologies as we felt this was easier for our existing customer base.”
By the
Hour 1
The Real Version Number
When I wrote this in the fall of 2003, Adobe hadn’t decided what version number to
give to Premiere Pro (even though it had already shipped). I clearly see Premiere Pro
as a new product; therefore, calling it version 1.0 makes sense to me. But some in
the Adobe community think calling it version 7.0 shows that it’s a revision of a wellrespected and strongly established franchise.
The sequences
(timelines) in
Premiere Pro’s
Timeline window
will look familiar to
anyone who has
worked with other
nonlinear editors.
The Timeline window can have multiple sequences, each accessible via a tab at
the top of the window. In this case, in Figure 1.8, there are two sequences: one for
my project and the other for the Photoshop PSD file I added to the Project window. Basically each sequence is a collection of video and audio tracks.
Anyone who has edited with an NLE will feel comfortable working with Premiere
Pro’s sequences (although there is a bit of a learning curve that I cover in Hour
6). Anyone coming from the linear, videotape-editing world might find sequences
a bit daunting at first but soon will come to love them.
You can layer—composite—video clips, images, graphics, and titles in up to 99
tracks. Clips in higher-numbered tracks cover whatever is directly below them on
a sequence. Therefore, you need to give clips in higher-numbered tracks some
kind of transparency or reduce their size if you want to let clips in lower tracks
show through. I start covering those topics in Hour 17, “Compositing Part I—
Layering Images and Clips.”
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Tools Palette
This thin, vertical palette, shown in Figure 1.9, is a refinement of a similar tools
collection found in previous versions of Premiere.
The Tools palette is
another example of
Premiere Pro’s
streamlined editing
Each icon represents a tool that performs a specific function, typically different
kinds of edits. What makes this updated Tools palette better than its predecessors
is that there are no hidden submenus within this palette. What you see is what
you get. The reason for the change? A new context-sensitive cursor. Depending on
the situation, the cursor in Premiere Pro changes to indicate a new function that
matches the circumstances. If you choose, you can press keyboard shortcuts to
change the cursor.
History and Info Palettes
Here are two useful tools:
. The History palette (shown in Figure 1.10) tracks every step you take in your
video production and lets you back up if you don’t like your latest efforts. If
the History palette isn’t showing up in your workspace, select
Window→History from the main menu. Note that when you back up to a
previous condition, all steps that came after that point remain in the
History palette but are grayed out. That means you can move around without obliterating all your work. The one caveat: You cannot extract a single
misstep buried within the current list.
. The Info palette has a limited purpose. It offers only a brief data snapshot
of whatever element—clip, transition, or effect—you’ve currently selected in
Hour 1
a sequence or the Project window. In the case of Figure 1.11, it notes that
the selected clip is an AVI (audio/video interleaved) file with stereo audio.
One neat little feature: The Info Palette notes the location of your cursor (as
opposed to the Current Time Indicator—edit line). As you move the cursor
around a sequence, the Cursor readout notes your location within the
The History palette
tracks every step—
large or small—you
make as you edit
your project.
Figure 1.11
The Info palette
displays facts
about whatever clip
you’ve selected.
By the
The Navigator Has Lost Its Way
If you worked with a previous version of Premiere, you might note the passing of the
Navigator palette. It was a small, graphical representation of the entire timeline that
enabled you to jump around in a project without having to scroll through the timeline. One Premiere Pro keyboard shortcut, the \ backslash, puts your entire project
within the width of the displayed portion of the sequence and is a good work-around.
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Premiere Pro’s Special Features and
Previous versions of Premiere had a kind of cobbled together, hodgepodge feel.
Some things worked elegantly, others did not.
For me, what sets Premiere Pro apart from its predecessors and the competition is
how carefully the development team worked to create a consistent look and functionality, to incorporate industry-standard technologies, and to aim high.
Premiere Pro Developer Comments
During beta testing, Premiere Pro’s development team frequently commented on the
product’s new features and functionality. I asked Adobe if I could use some of those
quotes in my book. Adobe declined, citing legal issues, but said paraphrasing developer comments without attributing them to specific individuals would be fine.
By the
It’s exciting to work with such carefully crafted software. That so much effort went
into getting the fundamentals right and that the development team took the high
road in terms of technology demonstrate that Adobe is making a long-term commitment to creating a powerful, compelling, market-leading product.
The following developer comment, which came the day Adobe informed the beta
team that Columbo (Premiere Pro’s code name) had gone gold master, reinforces
Developer Comment—Technology
Premiere Pro is set to go forward. By modernizing the code we laid the groundwork for
rapid future development. I think we will surprise the video editing community by how
quickly we will incorporate new features into future versions. Premiere Pro is not the
end. It is the beginning.
Here are a few examples of Premiere Pro’s special features and technologies.
Native YUV Video Processing
Previous versions of Premiere converted video to the computer-friendly RGB (red,
green, blue) color scheme. Then, when exported, Premiere converted it back to a
TV standard called YUV (Y is luminance and UV is color). These multiple conversions caused some visual quality degradation. Now all video is stored on your
hard drive in its native YUV scheme. Only when displaying video on your PC
monitor does Premiere Pro convert YUV to RGB.
By the
Hour 1
Color Correction
Premiere lacked a true color correction tool. Premiere Pro rectifies that. Its new
color corrector, coupled with the vector scopes shown in Figure 1.12, help you
maintain a consistent look for your project (despite changing lighting conditions
during a video shoot) or give it a hue that helps set a mood. I cover the color corrector in Hour 16, “Using Higher-Level Effects—Part 2.”
Use these vector
scopes plus a color
corrector to ensure
the highest visual
quality for your projects.
New Audio Technologies and Tools
Audio quality and editing in Premiere Pro nearly matches that found in high-end
audio-only production suites. There are two reasons: audio conforming and sample-level editing.
As you add—import—an audio clip or a video clip with audio to your Project window, Premiere Pro conforms it (you might note the little conforming progress bar
in the lower-right corner, shown in Figure 1.13).
As you add audio,
Premiere Pro conforms it to match
the audio project
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Conforming converts your audio into a separate file instead of keeping it interleaved with video. It also converts it to 32-bit, floating-point quality (see the following By the Way) and up-converts all audio to match the kHz rate set for your
Floating-Point Versus Integer
Converting audio to 32-bit floating-point ensures that it remains at its absolutely
highest quality possible—even after applying effects and volume changes. For
instance, CD audio is in a 16-bit integer format, which limits it to 65,536 increments. 32-bit floating point represents sound using a full-range of numbers using a
variable number of decimal places, thereby giving the audio reproduction more accuracy.
By the
What this all means is that no matter what changes you make to audio within
Premiere Pro, all your audio will remain at its original quality. Instead of editing
audio only at video frame junctions (one every 1/30 of a second), you can edit
audio at the sample rate (at every 1/32,000 or 1/48,000 of a second depending on
your selected kHz setting). This leads to absolute audio editing precision. These
changes lead to better real-time performance. No longer does Premiere need to
process video as it plays audio since audio is now kept in separate files.
The small downside is the conversion time (during which you can still edit and
listen to whatever portion of the clip that has been conformed) and the use of
additional hard drive space—typically about 1.4GB per hour of DV.
Premiere Pro enables you to work in mono, stereo, and 5.1 Dolby Digital. One
other major improvement is the audio mixer, shown in Figure 1.14 and accessed
by selecting Window→Audio Mixer.
Maximize the Audio Mixer
Sometimes when opening the audio mixer using Window→Audio Mixer, only a little
Master Meter displays. If that’s the case, click its wing-out triangle and select Audio
Mixer (your only choice)—doing so opens the full audio mixer.
The Audio Mixer makes it possible for you to combine audio tracks into separate
sub-mixes, to apply audio effects to entire tracks to improve consistency, and to
add a real-time voice over narration. I cover audio topics in Part III: “Acquiring,
Editing, and Sweetening Audio.”
By the
Hour 1
The revamped
Audio Mixer gives
you greater control.
If you want to take your audio editing to even higher levels or to create custom
music using loops or your own compositions, you might consider working with
Adobe Audition. I give you some hands-on instructions on that product in Hour
15, “Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition.”
Tight Integration with Photoshop CS and After
Effects 6
Back in Figure 1.5, you might have noticed a file folder called Postcard. That file
folder holds a Photoshop PSD file. Figure 1.15 shows an expanded view.
If you’ve worked with Photoshop, you know you can create graphics in layers—
typically one graphic element or effect per layer. If you import a layered PSD
graphic into Premiere Pro, it gives you the option of breaking it down into those
separate layers so that you can manipulate them individually on sequences. This
is a very powerful tool and is new to Premiere Pro.
Likewise, when you import a Premiere Pro project into After Effects 6, Adobe’s
industry-standard graphic animation tool, it displays it in its separate tracks. I
demonstrate how to use Photoshop and After Effects for Premiere Pro projects in
Hour 22, “Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project.”
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
When you import
layered Photoshop
PSD files into
Premiere Pro, you
have the option of
splitting that file
into its constituent
Effect Controls Window
Another workflow improvement is how Premiere Pro displays and enables you to
customize effects, transitions, transparencies, and motion control. Its revamped
Effect Controls window gives you absolute control including changing clips over
time. Figure 1.16 shows one example of a transition applied between two clips (in
this case, the Doors transition).
The Effect Controls
window enables
you to control all
aspects of effects
and transitions.
Instead of opening separate windows or dialog boxes for different effect, transition, transparency, and motion control elements, Premiere Pro puts all controls in
the Effect Controls window (ECW).
For instance, in its upper-right corner, the ECW displays transition placement.
Elsewhere in the ECW, you control the color and width of the transition edge border and its duration. You can watch all these changes in real-time in the monitor
or use the Play button in the upper left corner of the ECW. The Effect Controls
window is a very powerful tool. It’s the hub of Premiere Pro’s workflow.
Hour 1
Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts
This nice feature (shown in Figure 1.17), accessed by selecting Edit→Keyboard
Customization from the main bar, enables editors to create their own comfortable
workflow. As topics come up throughout this book, I’ll fill you in on the applicable keyboard shortcuts.
The Keyboard
Customization dialog box enables you
to set a workflow
that matches your
Diagramming the Digital Video Workflow
Premiere Pro is the hub of a newly expanded, five-product Adobe suite of tools
geared to digital video production. All five tools feature tight integration and
complement and enhance each other. Here’s a brief rundown of Premiere Pro’s
four teammates:
. Photoshop CS (Creative Suite)—The latest update to this industry-standard
graphic creation and editing product.
. After Effects 6—The tool-of-choice for video editors looking to animate
graphics and text.
. Encore DVD—A new DVD-authoring product built from the ground up to
work closely with Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop CS.
. Audition—A professional-level audio editing and sweetening product.
Adobe purchased it (Cool Edit Pro) from Syntrillium Software in the summer
of 2003 and supplemented it with 5,000 loops—music snippets that editors
can use to create entire musical selections.
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
This book is about Premiere Pro, but I would be remiss if I didn’t demonstrate
how you can use these other Adobe products to improve the quality of your video
It might sound like I think Adobe is the only company that makes video, audio,
and graphics-editing products and DVD-authoring tools. I recognize there is plenty of competition. But taken individually and collectively, nothing can come close
to the power, productivity, creativity, and integration these Adobe products will
bring to your video projects.
That became apparent as I was working on the Premiere Pro beta. Adobe let beta
participants take a look at these upcoming products. As we got our hands on
them, they blew us away. One tester noted that “as the sun came up,” he figured
he better stop playing with Audition and get some sleep.
In particular, as the author of Sams Teach Yourself DVD Authoring in 24 Hours, I’ve
tested more than a dozen DVD authoring products. Adobe Encore DVD is the best
of breed for its price point. Built with a team augmented by engineers from DVD
authoring industry leader, Sonic Solutions, Encore DVD is an excellent, carefully
engineered, and powerful product with a solid pedigree.
I cover each of these products in separate hours later in this book. For now, take a
look at Figure 1.18 to get an idea of how they all work together.
Digital Video Workflow
The digital video
workflow using
Adobe’s Video
Hour 1
Your workflow might vary depending on your production needs. Basically,
Premiere Pro assembles raw and finished parts into a completed whole. Here are
a few mini-workflow scenarios:
. Photoshop CS captures and touches up photos from a digital camera or a
scanner and then exports them to Premiere Pro.
. Photoshop CS creates images from scratch or edits still images created in
Premiere Pro and then sends them on to Premiere Pro.
. Audition enables you to create custom music and edit existing music and
sounds either to an existing video clip or production or as a separate audio
file. That audio might come from digital video captured by Premiere Pro. Do
fine-tuning in Audition and send it back to Premiere Pro.
. Premiere Pro captures raw video from a camcorder or VCR. You then edit it
and can record it to tape using a camcorder or VCR.
. Send sequences created in Premiere Pro to After Effects 6 to apply complex
motion and animation, then send those updated motion sequences back to
Premiere Pro.
. Use After Effects 6 to create and animate text in ways far beyond the capabilities in Premiere Pro.
. Send Premiere Pro–created video projects to Encore DVD to use in DVD projects. You can use those videos as the foundation of a project or as motion
. Create menus and menu buttons for Encore DVD in Photoshop CS or use
Photoshop CS to edit menus created using Encore DVD templates.
. Use After Effects 6 to build motion menus for Encore DVD using Photoshop
CS or Encore DVD-created static menus.
Premiere Pro is a nonlinear editor. That means you can place audio, video, and
graphics anywhere on a sequence (timeline), organize sub-tasks in separate
sequences to focus on them, rearrange media clips within a sequence, add transitions, apply effects, and do any number of other video editing steps in basically
any order that suits you.
Premiere Pro has a logically laid-out workspace that facilitates a smooth and efficient workflow. At its center are the Effect Controls and Timeline windows.
Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow
Premiere Pro now puts many of its editing tools in the ECW, giving you immediate access to many features that heretofore required a lot of rummaging around
in various windows and dialog boxes.
Premiere Pro’s developers clearly focused their attention on planning and looking
long term. Premiere Pro uses industry-standard technologies and always aims for
the highest common denominator. That means there is no degradation in quality
at any stage of the production and that Adobe will be able to upgrade Premiere
Pro quickly and effectively.
Finally, Premiere Pro is the central processing unit for a five-product digital
video–editing suite from Adobe. That company pulled out all the stops in the second half of 2003 to put together a complete package of the industry’s best tools
that give you limitless possibilities.
At this point in each hour, I normally present a Q&A, a quiz on the hour’s tasks,
and some suggested exercises as a means to reinforce what you learned and to
give you opportunities for extra credit work. Because this hour had no in-depth,
step-by-step tasks, I’m leaving out the quiz.
Hour 1
Q I don’t see any reason to display two monitor screens. One that shows
your finished product seems to be enough.
A Many editors work with only one monitor screen. When working on an
effect, I’ll frequently switch to a single-monitor view to save screen real
estate. But the second monitor—the Source Monitor—comes in real handy.
You’ll end up doing a lot of editing with the Source Monitor. One standard
workflow is to place raw video clips in the Source Monitor, trim those clips
using the Source Monitor editing controls, and then place those trimmed
clips on a sequence.
Q That comment from the Premiere Pro team leader mentioned that the
sequences are nestable. What did he mean by that?
A I cover this concept in Hour 19, “Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1.”
Basically, nested sequences replace an awkward editing process called virtual
clips. It was fraught with gotchas and was a difficult concept to grasp.
Nested sequences give you that same ability, but function much more elegantly. In essence, you can create a segment on one sequence and place
that sequence in another sequence. There are several reasons for that,
including using the same sequence several times but applying a different
effect to it. I’ll go over the other reasons to use nested sequences in Hour 19.
1. I’m a real believer in learning from experts. You’d be surprised how willing
most experts are to give you some tips. Contact local video production companies, ask whether they use nonlinear editors (even if they’re not Premiere
Pro), and make an appointment to watch an editor at work. You’ll learn a
2. Take your own tour of Premiere Pro’s workspace. Open menus, check out
preferences (Edit→Preferences—and—Project→Project Settings), take a look
at the keyboard shortcuts, and examine the various pre-set workspaces
(Windows→Workspace→Effects—and—Audio—or—Color Correction.
3. Go to the Adobe Web site and visit the Video Suite section— There you can download trial
versions of the four other Video Suite products. Later in this book, I’ll suggest you do that individually for each product covered, but now is as good a
time as any.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Going digital
Choosing a camcorder
Moving up (way up) to high-definition video
Eighteen tips on shooting great video
Expert advice from Karl Petersen
To make an excellent video production, you need to start with high-quality raw
material—the original footage. Most books on Premiere Pro gloss over this subject,
but no amount of clever, whiz-bang editing can turn mediocre raw video or audio
into a dazzling final product. The old computer-programming adage applies:
garbage in, garbage out. In the TV world, that adage has a slightly different twist:
You can’t fix it in post. That is, postproduction techniques will not resurrect reels of
video junk.
I have 15 years experience in broadcast TV and video production. I’ve done my own
shooting and have worked with some of the best photographers in the business. In
this hour, I pass along some of their video-shooting tips to start you on the right
track to a finished product you can be proud of.
Going Digital
Great video quality aside, the true coup de grace to the high-end video production
world is that today’s top consumer and prosumer (a step up from consumer, but still
not broadcast quality) camcorders are digital. This might be yesterday’s news to
some of you, but for those of you just getting your feet wet in the video production
world, listen up. Digital video (DV) changes everything.
Hour 2
In the old days (a couple years ago), analog was it. DV was ridiculously expensive
and definitely not a budget video production option.
An analog video signal is a continuous waveform. Small disruptions to that otherwise smooth, continuous signal lead to degradation in image and color quality.
Simply dubbing (recording) an analog tape to another tape results in some quality loss. With each additional dub—each added generation—images look less
defined, colors become increasingly washed out, and the pictures get grainy.
Audio quality also suffers with each generation.
In tape-only editing systems, to make simple scene transitions such as dissolves or
to add special effects such as showing videos in moving boxes means doing multiple edits or recording passes. Each pass adds more video noise to the tape.
Editors using analog tape machines have to plan carefully to avoid creating projects with obvious shifts in video quality from one section to another.
DV makes generation quality loss a thing of the past. DV is a binary signal—a
stream of ones and zeros. Unlike an analog signal, which has a wide range of
data possibilities and many ways for electronic equipment to misinterpret it, a
digital signal rarely loses quality during transmission and doesn’t suffer from generation loss.
By the
Long-Distance Digital Video
Home satellite systems that use those pizza-sized dishes are digital. To reach your
home, those digital TV signals travel from an earth-based transmitter to a satellite in
geosynchronous orbit (22,000 miles into space) back to your parabolic pizza pie
receiver—44,000 miles and the picture is crystal clear.
Although some noise might creep into the signal, electronic equipment easily can
filter this out because all it’s looking for are zeros and ones (see Figure 2.1). Little
ragged edges on the signal are rarely large enough to lead to obvious signal quality loss.
More importantly for our purposes, multiple DV edits or dubs do not lead to generational loss. The signal simply remains zeros and ones. You’re no longer constrained to limiting your creative considerations to ensure low-noise video. No
matter how many edits you perform, no matter how many layers of elements you
pile up in a clip, there should be no discernible noise or degradation to fidelity.
Therefore, your first order of business is to buy, borrow, or rent a DV camcorder. A
purchase will run you between $500 and $4,000 (see the upcoming sidebar for a
rundown of several prosumer camcorders). Three things drive camcorder prices:
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
lens quality, features, and whether they have one or three image gathering and
processing integrated circuits or chips. As you move up the price range, you’ll see
an increasing number of competitive features—longer focal length lenses, larger
LCD screen viewfinders, programmable settings, and fast shutter speeds. But the
biggest differentiator is that top-end camcorders have three chips versus a single
chip for lower-priced products.
Signal noise can
dramatically affect
analog signals but
has virtually no
affect on binary signals.
Analog signal with noise
Digital (binary) signal with noise
Choosing a Camcorder
First up is your gear—and topping the list is your camcorder. This is an exciting
time. For years, video pros have lugged around shoulder-numbing Sony Beta SP
and Ikegami broadcast-quality cameras. Their rich colors and low-light capabilities used to put prosumer and consumer prosumer camcorders to shame.
Not any longer. Some might quibble and say today’s top prosumer camcorders
are not true broadcast quality, but only the most highly trained eye can discern
an appreciable difference between the $3,300 Canon XL1S or the $2,300 Sony
DCR-VX2000 and anything a $15,000+ broadcast camera can crank out. See
Figure 2.2 for some high-quality prosumer camcorder models. In the meantime,
even lower-priced prosumer and consumer models are more than acceptable and
work fine with Premiere Pro.
Camcorder Selection Tips
Camcorders use a charged coupled device (CCD) chip to convert brightness and
color to a digital signal. Single-chip camcorder CCDs have to crunch a lot of data.
Three-chip camcorders use a prism to divide incoming light into separate red,
Hour 2
green, and blue (RGB) hues, thus letting each respective CCD gather more information within its designated segment of the color spectrum. Even though singlechip camcorders use special RGB filters to help their one CCD interpret color data,
three-chip cameras have distinctly better color and low-light capabilities.
Top-of-the-line prosumer DV camcorders: the Canon
XL1S (estimated
street price
$3,300), the Sony
($2,300), and the
Panasonic PVDV953 ($1,300).
You can’t go wrong
with any of these
Panasonic PV-Dv953
Canon XL1S
Sony DCR-VX2000
Your choice in camcorders comes down to your audience. If your videos are only
for home or Web page viewing, a single-chip camcorder will work fine. If you’ll be
projecting your videos on large screens for sales presentations or shareholder
meetings, you should give strong consideration to a three-chip camcorder. And if
you want to move into the professional video-production business, a three-CCD
camcorder is a must. Showing up at a client’s office with a palm-sized, single-chip
camcorder is a sure way to jinx a deal.
Prosumer Camcorder Rundown
Camcorder buying is one of those things that might simply come down to feel. You
pick up a camcorder and it fits well in your hands, the controls are logical and
accessible, the menus make sense, and the images look right. Or not. When you
start digging into the details—all those features—it becomes brain numbing.
So, here are the basics: Top-of-the-line gets you three CCDs and plenty of manual
override options: focus, iris, shutter speed, and white balance. If you’re serious
about shooting high-quality videos, you’ll want to have that level of control. For example, setting a higher shutter speed—the Panasonic PV DV952 I tested for this book
has a super-fast 1/8000th of a second shutter speed—means that you can capture
very crisp images of a very fast subject. Race cars and sprinters all look sharp at
such shutter speeds. You do need plenty of light to make this work, though.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
Other features of importance include the following:
. Substantial optical zoom—at least 10×, but 25× is better.
. Input and output capabilities. IEEE 1394 (the industry-standard means to transfer digital video) is a given, as is a means to record from and to a VCR or other
camcorder (S-Video connectors are better than composite). Analog-in enables
you to record analog video to DV and/or pass it through directly to your PC via
the IEEE 1394 cable.
. An external mic plug is a necessity as well as a headphone plug.
. Optical image stabilizing using prisms or some other means (versus the less
desirable electronic stabilization).
Superfluous features—and there are many—include the following:
. Digital zoom. All you get are chunky pixels. Use Premiere Pro’s Motion or
Transforms effects to handle this.
. Titler; fade-in, fade-out; digital effects (picture in picture, wipes, multipicture
mode, sepia, and so on). Premiere Pro handles all these without forcing you to
fumble with awkward on-camera controls and menus.
. Widescreen view (unless it’s a true 16:9—few offer this). Faux widescreen simply adds black bars to the top and bottom of the screen covering parts of the
image. Again, you can create this look in Premiere Pro.
. Built-in lighting compensation modes, including back-lit, low light, portrait,
sports, and extremely bright settings (surf and snow). You should use the manual features to more accurately handle these situations.
The prosumer industry de facto standard camcorder is the Canon XL1S, followed
closely by the Sony DCR-VX2000, the Canon GL2, and the Panasonic PV-DV953.
Stepping down a notch, but still a prosumer-quality 3CCD camcorder, is the Sony
Panasonic PV-DV953
The Panasonic PV-DV953 is a high-end prosumer camcorder. Although Sony and
Canon grab plenty of prosumer mind share, the DV953 might just muscle its way
into that vaunted group.
Panasonic loaned me the PV-DV952—the predecessor to the PV-DV953—to review.
The PV-DV953 is nearly identical. The two significant improvements are 50% more
pixels on its CCDs (leading to better image quality) and a lower price. The PV-DV953
is the first three-CCD prosumer camcorder with a list price less than $1,500.
Outstanding standard features include three CCDs with 2.4 mega pixels (the Sony
TRV950 is 1 mega pixel, or one million pixels), 30× optical zoom, 3.5'' color LCD
monitor, color viewfinder, easy-to-access manual controls, easy-to-use VCR controls,
and a comfortable feel.
Other good features: The provided battery charges quickly and runs the camcorder
for about two hours, the thumbwheel/pushbutton menu control is effective, audio
quality is very good and minimizes sound from behind the camera, and the USB connection allows easy downloading of still images and audio to your PC.
Hour 2
Some minor nitpicking: The DV953 tries to be the be-all, end-all prosumer/consumer
camcorder. There are just too many superfluous features that probably jack up the
price without giving much added benefit. The digital photo quality cannot match standard digital still cameras, the memory card audio recording feature is unnecessary
(just use the DV tape and an IEEE 1394 connector), the zoom mic appears only to
increase the recorded audio volume without narrowing the focus of the sound, image
stabilization had no obvious effect, and the low-light video quality is noisy.
The PV-DV953 represents a significant leap forward for Panasonic. Its predecessor—
the DV51D—was bulky and had a small monitor, a cheap feel, and some awkward
controls. The PV-DV953 has resolved all those flaws.
Legacy Analog Camcorders
You might own a legacy analog camcorder—VHS (dread the thought), S-VHS, or
Hi-8—and aren’t ready to shell out the cash for a DV camcorder. Your old clunker
might get the job done, but the results will be several cuts below pure DV video.
Image quality from most legacy camcorders falls below today’s DV camcorders
(Hi-8 still looks pretty good, and professional Beta SP is better than prosumer DV).
But no matter how good the original video looks, the final edited product will not
look that great. That’s largely because when loading the analog video into your
PC (video capture), Premiere Pro converts it to a digital video file (losing some
quality in the process). When recording it back to analog tape for viewing, it will
lose even more quality. Because Premiere Pro stores video digitally, there will be
no generation loss for converted analog video (or DV) during editing.
One other minor fly in the ointment: You’ll need to buy a video capture card (see
Hour 4, “Premiere Pro Setup”) with analog input connectors. A straightforward
DV-only capture card will not work.
Moving Up (Way Up) to High-Definition
High-definition TV (HDTV) is imminent. Sort of. It’s been imminent for nearly two
decades. Back in 1987, I did a news story about how KSL-TV (my employer at the
time) in Salt Lake City was going high-def. The consumer response since then has
been decidedly underwhelming.
That’s about to change. Top-down pressure from the Federal Communications
Commission on TV networks, their affiliates, and independent stations, to switch
to digital TV (including high-def) by 2006 is one reason.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
But I think bottom-up pressure will be the main reason we move to HDTV. Video
producers, advertisers, independent filmmakers, and consumers will lead the
charge to HDTV.
HD image quality nearly matches 35mm film, comparable quality cameras and
editing equipment are less expensive (about $200,000 for top-end HDTV versus
$400,000 for a high-quality film camera), and high-def videotapes cost much less.
With processing included, film costs about $5,000 an hour. A one-hour HD tape
costs $60.
Premiere Pro can handle HDTV, but it takes some specialized hardware and software to do it. As of this book’s release, only one company had announced an
HDTV-style product for Premiere Pro: CineForm’s $1,200 Aspect HD software plugin (a separate piece of software that works within Premiere Pro) coupled with the
$4,000 JVC JY-HD10U prosumer HD camcorder (see Figure 2.3). I present an
overview of these products in Hour 21, “Third-Party Products.”
is the first prosumer-priced HD
HD is a small part of Premiere Pro’s current feature set. So, I’ll limit my overview.
But that feature set won’t stay limited for long. Adobe says it’s working with several camcorder manufacturers and high-definition video card companies and
expects to announce several partnerships in the near future.
Hour 2
Eighteen Tips on Shooting Great Video
With your camcorder of choice in hand, it’s time to venture off and shoot videos.
Here are my video-shooting axioms:
. Stripe your DV tapes
. Adhere to the “rule of thirds”
. Get a closing shot
. Get an establishing shot
. Keep your shots steady—use a tripod
. Let your camera follow the action
. Use trucking shots to move with the action
. Try out unusual angles
. Lean into or away from subjects
. Get wide and tight shots to add interest
. Try to match action in multiple shots
. Shoot sequences to help tell the story
. Avoid fast pans and snap zooms—they’re for MTV only
. Remember to shoot cutaways to avoid jump cuts
. Make sure you don’t break the “plane”
. Get plenty of natural sound
. Use lights to make your project brilliant
. Plan your shoot
I’ve jammed a lot into these 18 items. All will help make your video shine with a
professional glow. I’ve discussed each in detail in the following sections.
Stripe Your DV Tapes
This is a tedious but ultimately timesaving step. Your DV camcorder lays down
timecode as it records. Later, as you transfer DV to your computer, you’ll likely
use that timecode to create a video clip log. After you’ve completed logging your
tape or tapes, you’ll tell Premiere Pro to automatically retrieve the logged clips by
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
automatically shuttling the tape to the timecodes noted in the log and then
record them to your hard drive.
Most camcorders, when powered up, reset their timecode to zero seconds. If you
do that more than once using the same videotape, you’ll end up with several
instances of the same timecode on one tape. As a result, Premiere Pro probably
will retrieve the wrong clip. Striping your tapes before doing any shooting resolves
that. You stripe tapes by simply placing a fresh tape in your camcorder, capping
your lens, pressing Record, and waiting for your camcorder to stripe the entire
tape. Rewind the tape and you’re ready to go. Now, as you use your camcorder,
it’ll record new video over the black video you taped but won’t change the timecode.
Adhere to the Rule of Thirds
Composition is the most fundamental element of camerawork, and the rule of
thirds is the textbook. When composing your shot, think of your viewfinder as
being crisscrossed by two horizontal and two vertical lines. The center of interest
should fall on one of the four intersections. See Figure 2.4 for a simple diagram.
The standard amateur photographer mistake is to put the center of attention at
the center of the image. The most common is portraits in which the eyes of the
subject are dead center in the photo. One rule of thumb is to look around the
viewfinder as you shoot, not just stare at its center. Check the edges to see
whether you’re filling the frame with interesting images. Avoid large areas of
blank space.
The rule of thirds:
Putting your
image’s most
important element
at one of these
intersections will
make it more pleasing to the eye.
Hour 2
Get a Closing Shot
This might seem like I’m taking things way out of order, but the one shot that
should be uppermost in your mind is the closing shot (the opening shot or shots
are important but have a much less lasting impact). Your closing images are
what stick in people’s minds. They’re what your audience takes away from your
video production. If you start a shoot without knowing what your closing shot
will be, you should be constantly on the lookout for that one shot or sequence
that best wraps up your story.
By the
Dotson’s Rule
The importance of the closing shot came through loud and clear at a seminar I
attended given by NBC-TV feature reporter Bob Dotson (see Hour 3, “Story Creation,
Writing, and Video Production Tips”). He and his photographer never fail to find a
closing shot. It could be as simple as someone closing a door, capping a pen, petting a dog, turning out the lights, or releasing a butterfly from their cupped hands. If
you happen to see a Dotson feature story, consider its close. It’s sure to be memorable.
Get an Establishing Shot
An establishing shot sets a scene. It doesn’t have to be the opening shot. One of
the greatest establishing shots of all time is in Robert Redford’s The Natural. Those
who have seen this marvelous film know what I’m talking about: The shot from
the top row of the baseball stadium during a night game that takes in the entire
field with blazing lights ringing the park. Anyone who has been to a major
league ballpark gets goose bumps when that image appears onscreen. It tells a
dramatic story in one image.
That should be your goal for your project’s establishing shot or shots (you might
need several if you’re covering several topics in one video).
Did you
Think Different
Although super-wide works sometimes—aerials make great establishing shots—it
pays to think “outside the box.” Don’t fall back on the old standbys, such as the
scoreboard, the corporate sign, or the medium shot of a hospital operating room. Try
something different: a tight shot of a soccer ball with natural sound of children’s
voices, a low-angle image through a glass table of someone using your client’s product, or a close-up of a scalpel with light glinting off its surface.
Each grabs the viewer’s attention and helps tell your story.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
Keep Your Shots Steady—Use a Tripod
We all know that photographers take the images we view on TV, and that they
uses a camera to create them. But, as video producers, we don’t want to remind
viewers of that. We want to give them the sense that they’re looking through a
window or, better yet, are there on location.
A shaky camera shatters that illusion.
Despite a recent trend away from the use of tripods—MTV started it and shows
such as 48 Hours have run with it—there’s plenty to be said for smooth-looking
video. If you’re doing a sit-down interview or grabbing close-ups, put your camcorder on “sticks.” When possible, use a tripod with a fluid head. That’ll enable
you to make smooth pans or tilts. Good tripods aren’t cheap. Reasonably highquality sticks start at about $150. See Figure 2.5 for a top-of-the-line example.
The Sachtler DA 75
L aluminum tripod
(right) weighs only
2kg. Its DV 2 fluid
head works well
with lightweight
Makeshift Tripods
If a tripod is too expensive, cumbersome, or inconvenient; if the action is too fast
paced; or if you need to move the camera during the shot, try to find some way to
stabilize the shot. For still shots, lean against a wall, put your elbows on a table, or
place the camcorder on a solid object. For moving shots, get the camcorder off your
shoulder, hold it about waist high, and let your arms work as shock absorbers.
Another alternative is to buy or make a Steadicam. A Steadicam Jr—complete with a
built-in monitor—that works with prosumer camcorders costs $900. See
Here’s a Web site for a home-built steady cam: http://www.student. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper.
Did you
Hour 2
Let Your Camera Follow the Action
This might seem obvious, but keep your viewfinder on the ball (or puck, face,
conveyor belt, and so on). Your viewers’ eyes will want to follow the action, so
give them what they want.
One nifty trick is to use directed movement as a pan motivator. That is, follow a
leaf’s progress as it moves down a stream and then continue your camera motion
past the leaf—panning—and widen out to show something unexpected: a waterfall, a huge industrial complex, or a fisherman.
Use Trucking Shots to Move with the Action
This is an excellent way to follow action (so named because using a camera on a
moving vehicle is one way to get this shot). Truck right along with some action. If
you’re shooting a golf ball rolling toward the cup, tag along right behind, in front
of, or beside it. When walking through tall grass, dangle your camcorder at knee
level and walk right through it, letting the grass blades smack into the lens. Ever
wonder how they get those cool downhill snow-skiing shots? The cameraperson
skis backwards with a heavy electronic news-gathering (ENG) camera on his
shoulder or dangling from his hand at snow level (see the next section). I’ve
watched my good friend Karl Peterson (see the upcoming section, “Expert Advice
from Karl Petersen”) do that amazing maneuver several times.
Try Out Unusual Angles
Move your camcorder away from eye level. Shoulder shots have their place—they
represent probably as much as 80% of all video—but getting the camcorder off
your shoulder leads to more interesting and enjoyable shots. Ground-level “ferretcam” shots are great for cavorting puppies or crawling babies. Climb a ladder or
use a tall building to get a crane shot. Shoot through other objects or people
while keeping the focus on your subject.
Did you
Stop Action Tips
You’ll need a tripod to create stop-action or time-lapse photography. Both methods
require that the camera remain steady. The other requirement is that the focal
length and aperture cannot change. So, when you set up your camcorder to shoot
the same scene for a long time, planning to compress time during editing, make
sure that your auto-focus, auto-white balance, and auto-iris are turned off.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
Lean Into or Away from Subjects
Too many shooters rely too heavily on the zoom lens. A better way to move in
close or away from a subject is simply to lean in or out. Lean way in and start
your shot tight on someone’s hands as he works on a wood carving; then lean
way back (perhaps widening your zoom lens as well) to reveal that he is working
in a sweatshop full of folks hunched over their handiwork. It’s much more effective than a standard lens zoom and a lot easier to pull off.
Get Wide and Tight Shots to Add Interest
Most novice videographers create one boring medium shot after another. The reason: It fits our experience. Our eyes tend to take in things the same way. Instead,
think wide and tight. Grab a wide shot and a tight shot of your subject. It’s much
more interesting.
Get Close to the Subject
When you grab your tight shots, try to avoid relying on your zoom lens. Instead, get
as close as practical to your subject and then grab that tight shot. Unless you want
your shot to look like you took it from a distance, it’s much more interesting to
change positions rather than simply toggle that zoom button. Also, audio is much
better when you’re closer to the subject.
Try to Match Action in Multiple Shots
Repetitive action—running assembly-line machinery, demonstrating a golf swing,
or working in a barbershop—lends itself to matched action shots. A barber clips
someone’s hair and it falls to the floor. Get a shot of the scissors, the hair hitting
the floor, a wide shot of the entire shop, and a close-up reflection of the scissors in
the mirror or the barber’s glasses. You’ll later edit those separate shots into one
smooth collection of matched action.
Shoot Sequences to Help Tell the Story
Shooting repetitive action in sequence is another way to build interest and even
suspense. A bowler wipes his hands on a rosin bag, dries them over a blower,
wipes the ball with a towel, picks the ball up, fixes his gaze on the pins, steps forward, swings the ball back, releases it, slides to the foul line, watches the ball’s
trajectory, and then reacts to the shot. Instead of simply capturing all this in one
Did you
Hour 2
long shot, piecing these actions together in a sequence of edits is much more compelling. You can easily combine wide and tight shots, trucking moves, and
matched action to turn repetitive action into attention-grabbing sequences.
Avoid Fast Pans and Snap Zooms
These moves fall into MTV and amateur video territory. Few circumstances call
for such stomach-churning camerawork. In general, it’s best to minimize all pans
and zooms. As with a shaky camera, they remind viewers that they’re watching
If you do zoom or pan, do it for a purpose: to reveal something, to follow someone’s gaze from his or her eyes to the subject of interest, or to continue the flow of
action (as in the floating leaf example earlier). A slow zoom in, with only a minimal change to the focal length, can add drama to a sound bite. Again, do it sparingly.
Did you
Keep on Rolling Along
Don’t let this no-fast-moves admonition force you to stop rolling while you zoom or
pan. If you see something that warrants a quick close-up shot or you need to suddenly pan to grab some possibly fleeting footage, keep rolling. You can always edit
around that sudden movement later.
If you stop recording to make the pan or zoom and adjust the focus, you might lose
some or all of whatever it was you were trying so desperately to shoot. Plus you’ll
lose any accompanying natural sound.
Remember to Shoot Cutaways to Avoid Jump Cuts
Cutaways literally let you cut away from the action or interview subject. One
important use is to avoid jump cuts—two clips that, when edited one after the
other, create a disconnect in the viewer’s mind.
Consider the standard news or corporate interview. You might want to edit together two 10-second sound bites from the same person. Doing so would mean the
interviewee would look like he suddenly moved. To avoid that jump cut—that
sudden disconcerting shift—you make a cutaway of the interview. That could be a
wide shot, a hand shot, or a reverse-angle shot of the interviewer over the interviewee’s shoulder. You then edit in the cutaway over the juncture of the two
sound bites to cover the jump cut.
The same holds true for a soccer game. It can be disconcerting simply to cut from
one wide shot of players on the field to another. If you shoot some crowd
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
reactions or the scoreboard, you can use those shots to cover up what would have
been a jump cut.
Make Sure That You Don’t Break the Plane
This is another of those viewer disconnects you want to avoid. If you’re shooting
in one direction, you don’t want your next shot to be looking back at your previous camera location. For instance, if you’re shooting an interview with the camera peering over the left shoulder of the interviewer, you want to shoot your
reverse cutaways behind the interviewee and over his right shoulder. That keeps
the camera on the same side of the plane—an imaginary vertical flat surface running through the interviewer and interviewee. To shoot over your subject’s left
shoulder would break that plane, meaning the viewer would think the camera
that took the previous shot should somehow be in view. Figure 2.6 shows an interview with correct and incorrect (broken plane) camera placements. This also
applies to larger settings, such as shooting from both sides of a basketball court or
football field.
In general, you want to keep all your camera positions on one side of that plane.
This isn’t true for all situations. Consider a TV show of a rock group performance.
Camera crew members typically scramble all over the stage, grabbing shots from
multiple angles, and frequently appear on camera themselves. That’s much different from breaking the plane in a formal sit-down interview.
Switch Sides
If you conduct formal, sit-down interviews with more than one person for the same
piece, consider shooting each subject from a different side of the interviewer. That
is, if you shoot one subject with the camera positioned over the left shoulder of the
reporter, position the camera over the right shoulder of the reporter for the next
interview. That avoids a subtle jump cut that happens when you edit two bites from
two individuals who are both facing the same way.
Get Plenty of Natural Sound
This is absolutely critical. We tend to take sound for granted. However, relying on
your camcorder’s built-in mic and taking extra steps to improve the audio quality
will dramatically improve the production value of your projects. I’ll cover audio
issues in depth in Part III, “Acquiring, Editing, and Sweetening Audio.” For now,
think in terms of using additional mics: shotgun mics to narrow the focus of your
sound and avoid extraneous noise, lavalieres tucked out of sight for interviews,
Did you
Hour 2
and wireless mics to get sound when your camera can’t be close enough to get just
what you need.
The plane is an
imaginary vertical
wall running, in this
case, through the
reporter and interviewee. Breaking
the plane—particularly when shooting
a reverse cutaway—leads to
camera shots that
cause viewer disconnects.
Incorrect placement
“breaks the plane”
Use Lights to Make Your Project Brilliant
Lights add dazzle and depth to otherwise bland and flat scenes. An onboard camcorder fill light is a convenient way to brighten dull shots. And a full (but admittedly cumbersome) lighting kit with a few colored gels can liven up an otherwise
dull research laboratory. If you don’t have the time, money, patience, or personnel to deal with adding lights, do whatever you can to increase the available
light. Open curtains, turn on all the lights, or bring a couple desk lamps into the
room. One caveat: Low-light situations can be dramatic and flipping on a few
desk lamps can destroy that mood in a moment.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
Watch Your White Balance
No matter what kind of lighting situation you’re in, you always need to watch your
white balance. Different lights operate with different color temperatures. Your eyes
automatically compensate for those color differences, but your camcorder is not that
proficient. These days, most camcorders have auto–white balance, and many have
manual–white balance as well. Auto–white balance works in most situations. As you
move from room to room or from inside to outside, the camera “assumes” that
everything in its field of view is gray and adjusts its color balance accordingly.
Tricky Lighting Situations
Problems arise when you shoot indoors and have a window in the scene. In that circumstance, whatever you see through the window probably will have a blue tint. The
other tricky white balance situation is when you shoot a scene with a predominant
color, such as doing product shots using a solid-color background. The auto–white
balance will think that solid color is gray, and the image will look horrible. That’s
when you need to place a gray or white card in the scene, fill the viewfinder with that
card under whatever lighting you plan to use for the product shots, and click the
manual–white balance button. For a fun practical lesson in the value of a
manual–white balance, roll tape throughout this procedure or when you walk from
indoors to outdoors to watch the colors change.
Plan Your Shoot
When you consider a video project, plan what you need to shoot to tell the story.
Videotaping your kid’s soccer championship match, a corporate backgrounder, or
a medical procedure each require planning to ensure success. Know what you
want your final video project to say and think of what you need to videotape to
tell that story.
Even the best-laid plans and most carefully scripted projects might need some
adjusting once you start rolling and recording in the field. No matter how you
envision the finished project, be willing to make changes as the situation warrants.
Expert Advice from Karl Petersen
Karl Petersen is my favorite TV news photographer. We met in Boise, Idaho,
where we worked at competing stations. We later worked together at KSL-TV in
Salt Lake City. We formed a video production company in Oregon called Glint
Video (we always tried to get a “glint” shot in all our news pieces). Then Karl
moved on to KGW-TV in Portland, where he is now chief photographer.
Did you
Hour 2
Karl Petersen—
Chief Photographer,
KGW-TV, Portland,
Karl has seen and done it all. Absolutely nothing fazes him. He’ll venture into the
tensest situation and shoot with aplomb. When we went out on stories, we had
an unspoken understanding: I never had to tell Karl what kind of images and
sound I needed. I knew he would always get exactly what would make the story
work. Karl’s regular beat these days is chopper photog. “Sky 8,” KGW’s Bell 407
helicopter, has two Flir cameras. One is infrared and can operate in total darkness. Karl’s advice is worth much more than the price of this book. Take it to
. My first shooting advice is, don’t do it. Pursue a career of doctor, lawyer,
teamster, stevedore, bordello piano player, whatever.
. Having failed that, my first tip is always to shoot as an editor. Always think
about how to get from one shot to the next. Try to get some kind of transition shot with either an entry or exit. Close-ups are especially helpful in
editing to get from point A to point B.
. Get a good shot mix—wide, medium, close-up (extreme close-ups work
well), and unusual angles. Get lots of shots. Variety is an editor’s friend.
. Get an establishing shot that tells viewers where you are.
. Fundamentals: Make sure that you have freshly charged batteries, always
monitor audio by wearing an earpiece (if you don’t you’re guaranteed to
get burned), and watch your color balance.
. For all indoor interviews, I recommend using at least two lights, three if you
have time (I usually don’t—TV news is hectic). If I’m to the reporter’s right, I
place a light with an umbrella reflector slightly to his left. That means the
interviewee is looking toward the light. I place a Lowel Omni with “barn
doors” (to keep it from shining into the lens) behind and over the left shoulder of the interview subject (that is, to my right). This adds nice highlights.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
If I have time, I place a third umbrella well behind the camera to add fill
(see Figure 2.7).
A Lowel Tota with
an umbrella (left)
and a Lowel Omni
with barn doors.
Images courtesy of
. If I’m shooting in a room with sunlight coming in a window, I use blue
gels—especially balanced for daylight—and then color balance for sunlight.
. For underwater photography, I recommend using an Ewa-Marine plastic
bag video camcorder housing (see They’re good to a depth of about 30 feet, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive (about $350).
When shooting from “Sky 8,” I sit in the warmth and comfort of the back seat
and operate the cameras with a laptop and a joystick. Not many video producers
have this luxury. For those who must shoot from a side window, here are some
. Think safety first. Make sure that nothing can fall off the camera—such as
a lens shade—or out of the back seat and possibly hit the rotor. That makes
the chopper spin like crazy, so you get real dizzy before you die.
. Shooting with the door off is ideal (remove it before you take off).
. Try to keep the camera slightly inside the door frame to keep it out of the
Hour 2
. Have the pilot “crab” (fly sort of sideways) so that you can shoot straight
ahead. That’s much more dramatic. It’s a great way to fly along a river for
. Have the pilot fly low. This allows cool reveal shots, such as flying over a
ridge to reveal an expansive vista.
Finally, don’t forget to grab that “glint” shot.
A high-quality video production must start with excellent video. Your gear is
paramount—high-end camcorder (preferably DV or broadcast-quality analog),
lights, mics, and sticks. When shooting your raw video, think outside the box.
Don’t settle for standard, boring shoulder shots. Get in close, get down low, look
for that unusual angle. Natural sound is essential, and lighting adds sizzle.
Camcorder and Shooting Tips
Q When I do quick interviews in the field using my handheld camera, people
always stare in the camera and act. Is there a way to fix that?
A You bet! You need to stop staring—at the viewfinder, that is. Try to frame up
your man on the street (MOS in TV news parlance) in the viewfinder as
casually as possible and then move your head away from the camera. Look
your subjects in their eyes and instead of interviewing them—talk to them.
They’ll return the favor.
Q How am I supposed to keep my camera steady if I’m doing a trucking
shot? What about videotaping something such as whitewater rafting?
There’s no way to keep it steady then.
A Correct! One powerful element of video is that it can transport viewers to
someplace besides their living room or office. You keep your shots steady to
avoid shattering that illusion. But if that place is full of action, any camera
movement simply mirrors what it would be like for the viewer to be there
and to experience that excitement. Camera movement in moments of
action, especially from a first-person perspective, is tremendously effective.
1. If you’re shooting a formal sit-down interview and the camera is positioned
over the left shoulder of the interviewer, where should you place the camera
for reverse cutaways?
2. What’s the principal advantage of digital video over analog video?
3. Why should you stripe your tapes?
Quiz Answers
1. Place the camera behind the interview subject and shoot over his right
shoulder. You can shoot a wide two-shot of the reporter and interviewee and
a tight shot of the reporter to use as cutaways. If the reporter isn’t going to
be part of the story (typically the case in corporate productions), keep the
camera in its original location and shoot tight hand shots and wider establishing shots.
Hour 2
2. Digital video is simply a collection of zeros and ones. There is no signal
quality degradation during transmission or generation loss after multiple
edits. Analog video suffers from both maladies.
3. Striping your tapes—that is, laying down continuous timecode from beginning to end before doing any videotaping—ensures that there will be no
duplicate timecodes on the same tape. That means when Premiere Pro later
does an automated video transfer of selected clips, there will be no confusion about selecting between clips with the same timecode.
1. Grab your camcorder and shoot some video. Keep my tips in mind.
Remember the rule of thirds. Get wide, tight, and trucking shots. Follow the
action, use unusual angles, and record plenty of natural sound.
2. Critically view your videos, looking for poorly framed shots, shaky camera
work, and lousy lighting. Learn from your mistakes.
Story Creation, Writing, and
Video Production Tips
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
. Getting the story right: story creation tips from NBC-TV correspondent Bob
. Writing in the active voice: Mackie Morris’ writing tips—”The Good Writer’s
Dazzlin’ Dozen”
. Storytelling with video: scriptwriting tips from Hollywood screenwriters
Stephen Black and Henry Stern
. Stepping up to film: expert advice from cinematographer Charly Steinberger
. The business of video production: Sam Prigg’s tips on starting a video production company
. Doing the video production thing: Joe Walsh’s event shooting tips
Premiere Pro is a powerful video production tool. By choosing Premiere Pro, you’ve
made a commitment to take your video production quality up several notches. To do
that requires more than learning new editing techniques. You also need to hone
your story-creation skills, writing style, and even business acumen. By moving to
Premiere Pro, you’re showing the kind of interest in video production that frequently
leads to a profession within that industry.
This hour addresses those issues. I’ve turned to some colleagues and friends in the
TV news, film, and video production industry and asked them to offer expert tips
within their specialty.
Hour 3
Getting the Story Right
I worked in the TV news business as a reporter and anchorman as well as shooter
and editor. In my 11 years working on-camera and off, I constantly critiqued my
work and asked others to do the same. Some offered their advice in writing and I
hung on to those words of wisdom:
. An NBC producer who ran the affiliate feed—a daily collection of stories
made available to local network stations for their use—once wrote about a
prison counseling piece that I submitted to him. He said that my “story
talked about” the subject “but showed nothing” about it. My tape “cried out
for some natural sound of a session in progress.”
. A Seattle TV news director wrote that my stories had a sameness—a voice
track, a sound bite, more voiceover, another sound bite, and a standup
close. “Mix ‘em up,” he suggested.
. And a consultant took me aside to tell me to “break up my on-camera pacing with pauses.”
I took all those tips to the bank. The NBC producer ended up buying about a
story a week from me. The news director helped me get a job in a much larger
market. And the consultant’s advice helped me land an anchor job at that station.
I’m a believer in heeding expert advice.
In putting together this book, I’ve had the enjoyable opportunity to contact many
of the people who have given me advice or from whom I have gained a lot of
practical knowledge. Each agreed to provide expert tips focusing on their specialty. You’ve already met photographer Karl Petersen in Hour 2, “Camcorder and
Shooting Tips.” In Hour 7, “Applying Professional Edits and Adding Transitions,”
you’ll hear from editor John Crossman. And in Hour 12, “Acquiring Audio,” Chris
Lyons, an audio engineer from the world’s leading microphone manufacturer,
Shure, Inc., offers up his expert advice.
For this hour, I compiled six expert columns. I think they all speak to enhancing
your skills beyond the fundamentals of camerawork, editing, and simply learning
how to use Premiere Pro’s toolset. Further, you might want to take what you do
with Premiere Pro and move into a career in video production. These experts
speak to that.
Up first, Bob Dotson.
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
Story-Creation Tips from Bob Dotson
Bob Dotson,
NBC-TV Today Show correspondent Bob Dotson is, I think, the best
human-interest feature-story TV reporter. Dotson has received more
than 50 awards. The National Press Photographers Association
award committee wrote, “Bob Dotson’s reports help us understand
ourselves a bit better. They show that all our lives are important and
really matter. After all, this country was built not by great heroes or
great politicians, but by ordinary people—by thousands whose
names we don’t know, may never know, but without whose influence America wouldn’t exist.”
Although you probably aren’t a TV newsperson, you’ll probably create humaninterest stories—Dotson’s forte. If there’s a storyteller out there you should
emulate, I think he’s the one. During my TV reporting days I tried to watch all
his stories, and when a station I worked for offered me the chance to attend one
of his seminars, I jumped at it.
I’ve reproduced my notes, with his approval, here. I took many things away from
his class. Three points stand out:
. Give viewers a reason to remember the story.
. When interviewing people, try not to ask questions. Merely make observations. That loosens people up, letting them reveal their emotional,
human side to you.
. Make sure that you get a closing shot. Most video producers look for
dramatic opening shots or sequences (and that’s still a good thing), but your
viewers are more likely to remember the closing shot.
Bob Dotson’s Storyteller’s Checklist
Dotson’s Storyteller’s Checklist inspired his book Make It Memorable (Bonus Books)
and a companion videotape of all the stories in the book. He prepared his list
(and book) with TV news reporters in mind, but his tips apply to professional, corporate, and home video producers as well:
. Always remember that the reporter is not the story.
. Make sure the commitment is present. Commitment is your description of
the story, stated in one sentence. That is, what you want the audience to
take away from the report. You should be able to state the commitment as a
Hour 3
complete sentence with subject, verb, and object. “Outside money is altering
the city’s architecture,” “This cow has never taken an order in her life,” “You
can’t murder a pumpkin,” and so on. You formulate this commitment to
yourself to help guide the story creation. Then you use your images to prove
the commitment visually. Very seldom will you state the commitment verbally in any story.
. Write your pictures first. Give them a strong lead, preferably visual, that
instantly telegraphs the story to come.
. The main body of the story should usually be no more than three to five
main points, which you prove visually after you’ve identified them.
. Create a strong close that you can’t top, something you build toward
throughout the story. Ideally, the ending is also visual.
. Write loose. Be hard on yourself as a writer. Say nothing in the script that
your viewers would already know or that the visuals say more eloquently.
. Throughout the story, build your report around sequences—two or three
shots of a guy buying basketball tickets, two or three shots of a husband
and wife drinking coffee at a kitchen table, and so on. Sequences demand
matched action.
. Allow for moments of silence. Stop writing occasionally and let two or
three seconds or more of compelling action occur without voiceover. For a
writer, nothing is more difficult to write than silence. For viewers, sometimes
nothing is more eloquent.
. Use strong natural sound to heighten realism, authenticity, believability,
and to heighten the viewer’s sense of vicarious participation in the events
you’re showing. Some reports merely enable you to watch what happened.
The best reports make it possible for you to experience what happened.
. Tell your story through people. People sell your story. Try to find strong
central characters engaged in compelling action that is visual or picturesque.
. Build in surprises to sustain viewer involvement. Surprises help viewers
feel something about the story; surprises lure uninterested viewers to the
screen. Surprises can be visual, wild sounds, short bites, or poetic script.
Always, surprises are little moments of drama.
. Short sound bites prove the story you are showing. Don’t use sound bites
as substitutes for more effective storytelling.
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
. Address the larger issue. “A trailer home burned down.” Such a story fails
to meet the “so what?” test. “The trailer home burned down because the
walls are full of flammable insulation” describes the larger issue and meets
the “so what?” test.
. Finally, make your story memorable. Can your viewers feel something
about the story and its subjects? If feeling is present, the story will be memorable. It will stick in the viewers’ minds.
Keep It Simple…and Short
As a coda to Dotson’s advice, I’ll add that you need to remember, this is only TV.
You need some mighty compelling or entertaining material to keep viewers glued
to the tube for more than a few minutes. Think about whatever message you’re
trying to get across in your video project and consider what images, sound, and
graphics will convey that message in the briefest, most effective manner. Then
shoot with brevity in mind.
That’s not to say that you don’t grab unplanned video that looks great. Or that
you cut interviews short even if you haven’t heard some compelling sound bites.
Videotape is expendable. Feel free to shoot plenty. Although it’s true that you
might have to wade through a lot to find the best shots, the advantage of DV is
that after these shots have been located, you can simply capture them to your
hard drive and they become immediately accessible.
Writing in the Active Voice
It’s a rare classroom experience that can cause a tidal change. One of those for
me was a seminar with Mackie Morris (see the upcoming section). Morris makes
his message clear: “Write in the active voice.” For example, instead of writing
A bill was passed by the Senate.
write this instead:
The Senate passed a bill.
Put the receiver of the verb’s action after the verb. Instead of the passively voiced
“John Doe was arrested by police” (Doe is the receiver of the action and is ahead
of the verb), change that to “Police arrested John Doe.”
Hour 3
Morris emphasizes that passive voice deadens, complicates, and lengthens writing. It’s not ungrammatical, but it’s more suitable for print than television copy.
You use passive voice sparingly in everyday conversation, and you should use it
sparingly in video productions. You’re asking people to listen to your words, not
read them. Make it easy. Make it active.
It takes some effort to make the shift from passive voice to active. Simply recognizing passive voice takes extra attentiveness. The biggest giveaway is some form
of the to be verb in a verb phrase. The following sentences are all in the passive
The students were praised by the teacher.
The unruly customer was told to leave by the maitre d’.
The forest was destroyed by fire.
Make them active by moving the receiver of the action to after the verb:
The teacher praised the students.
The maitre d’ told the unruly customer to leave.
Fire destroyed the forest.
That one fundamental technique makes your sentences simpler and shorter.
Morris calls it straight-line meaning. The listener understands the copy better
because it flows in a straight line. You know that when you read a newspaper you
frequently go back and reread some sentences because something didn’t add up.
Video viewers don’t have that luxury.
Besides simply switching the sentence around (relocating the actor, as Morris puts
it), you can fix passive sentences in three other ways:
. Identify the missing actor and insert it into the sentence. Change “The
airplane was landed during the storm” to “A passenger landed the airplane
during the storm.”
. Change the verb. Instead of writing “The bell was sounded at noon” write
“The bell rang at noon.” (Or tolled, pealed, chimed—using active voice fosters the use of more descriptive words.)
. Drop the to be verb. Change “The spotlight was focused on downtown” to
“The spotlight focused on downtown.”
Not all to be verb phrases are passive. “The man was driving south” contains a
verb phrase and a to be helper. But the man was performing the action, not
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
receiving it. Therefore, the sentence is active. A sentence is passive only if the
receiver of the verb’s action precedes the verb.
Writing in the active voice forces you to get out of your writing rut. Instead of saying the same old things in the same old to be passive way, select new active verbs
and constructions. You’ll write more conversationally and with a fresher and
more interesting style.
That’s not to say that you’ll write exclusively in the active voice. You should write,
“He was born in 1984,” or “She was injured in the accident” because that’s what
people say.
Focusing on active voice makes your copy more interesting and easier to understand.
Mackie Morris’ Writing Tips
Few if any media consultants match Mackie Morris’ 25-year
record as a journalism and communications seminar leader,
teacher, coach, and practitioner. Founder and president of Mackie
Morris Communications, he works with a wide range of corporate
and public service clients to enhance their communication skills.
Morris previously served as chairman of the Broadcast News
Department at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He
later worked as a vice president and lead consultant for Frank N.
Magid Associates, a major media consulting firm, where he implemented a series
of instructional workshops for broadcast professionals. It was at one of those seminars that I became a devotee of Morris’s “active voice.” Morris continues to be
one of the most sought-after broadcast writing seminarians ever.
Mackie Morris.
The Good Writer’s Dazzlin’ Dozen
At his seminars, Morris relentlessly hammers home his active voice message. But
peppered throughout his presentation he interjects other useful writing tips. He
calls them “The Good Writer’s Dazzlin’ Dozen”:
. Write factually and accurately. The best technique and the finest form
mean nothing if your copy’s wrong.
. Write in the active voice. This technique makes your copy tighter, complete, easier to listen to, and more interesting. Do whatever you must to
avoid the passive voice.
Hour 3
. Write in the present or present perfect tenses. They make your copy more
immediate, and immediacy is more interesting. Avoid the word today. If you
use past tense, make sure that you give a time reference to avoid confusion.
. Keep your writing simple. Choose positive forms over negative forms.
Write one thought to a sentence. Don’t search for synonyms; repetition is
not a sin. Don’t search for complicated, intellectual language. Give the
audience the best possible chance to understand the story.
. Be complete and clear. In your quest for brevity and conciseness, don’t
omit necessary information.
. Be creative. Stick to the rules, but develop your own style. Try to say the
same old thing in a different, new way. Make use of writing devices that
make copy easier to listen to and more interesting, such as using the “rule
of threes” (that is, grouping items by threes, such as red, white, and blue;
left, right, and center; over, under, and through). Saying things in groups of
three always sounds better. Pausing before saying the third item is even
more effective.
. Write to be heard. Maintain a sense of rhythm in your writing. All life has
rhythm, and rhythmic writing is easier to hear. Avoid potentially confusing
homonyms. Always, always test your copy by reading it aloud.
. Avoid interruptives. Don’t force the listener to make difficult mental connections. Put modifiers next to what they modify. Don’t split verb phrases
(split infinitives).
Incorrect: Will eventually decide.
Correct: Eventually will decide.
Incorrect: Doctors only gave him six months to live.
Correct: Doctors gave him only six months to live.
. Avoid commas. A comma demands a hitch in reading and the resulting
jerkiness frustrates the listener. Avoiding commas also eliminates subordinate clauses. Such clauses kill the impact of copy, especially if they come at
the top of a story or sentence.
. Avoid numbers. The listener has trouble remembering them.
. Avoid pronouns. If you must use a pronoun, make sure that the pronoun
agrees with its antecedent and appears close to the antecedent. For example, “John Doe hit Bob Smith on the head and paramedics took him to the
hospital.” In this case, instead of him use Smith.
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
. Write to the pictures but not too closely to the pictures. Remember that
more specific video requires more general writing, and vice versa. Utilize the
touch-and-go method, wherein you write directly to the video at the beginning of a sequence, and then allow the writing to become more general
with background information and other facts as the video continues.
Storytelling with Video
That’s what you do. You’re a storyteller. In most cases, you might go out on a
shoot with only a basic idea of what you’re going to tape and how you’re going
to piece it together. That kind of approach will get you only so far.
As you up the ante in your work, there will be times when you’ll want to work
from a script. It may be as straightforward as a corporate safety production with
employees doing the acting, or you may have aspirations to create a dramatic
In either case, some fundamental scriptwriting skills will help you raise the bar of
your production. I’ve tapped two of Hollywood’s top writers to do the honors.
Stephen Black and Henry Stern’s Scriptwriting Tips
I count myself fortunate to have Stephen Black and
Henry Stern as neighbors and friends. Their TV
scriptwriting and producing credits would fill this
page. They forged new directions in episodic dramas
with their work on Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Flamingo
Road, Matlock, and Knot’s Landing. Their work as head
Stephen Black (left) and Henry
writers on As the World Turns and consultants for One
Stern (right), TV scriptwriters
to Live stirred things up and added sizzle to both
and producers.
of these long-running daytime staples. They’ve had a
hand in a half-dozen TV movies, including the only TV film starring Audrey
Hepburn, Love Among Thieves.
They got their start as a writing team doing comedies in the mid-1970s. Stern had
been one of Broadway’s youngest producers, and Black had written a couple
plays. Despite failing to sell their first comedy script to The Mary Tyler Moore Show,
they were given free access to the set where they watched rehearsals and show
tapings, all the while taking copious notes. That led to a brief stint writing for a
new show called The Love Boat (“It paid the bills and got us in the Writers Guild”)
Hour 3
and finally landed them a job with Norman Lear Productions, the company
behind All in the Family.
These days they’re working on their second novel and a movie script. Here’s their
advice to aspiring scriptwriters:
. The most important thing is that we like to tell stories.
. And the most important thing in stories is the characters. The best kind
of character is one with the ability to surprise you. The audience is not
dumb. You’ve got to come up with something unpredictable. You don’t want
a white hat or black hat. You want people wearing gray hats. People you
can’t read. You want to be interested in what happens to them.
. It’s not a good idea to start your script writing with a plot. It’s better to
start with a theme. Know what you want to say, how you want to say it,
and where you want to be at the end. The theme of our current film script
is, How does the death of someone affect his three closest friends?
. With the theme in hand, we next create the characters. What is their arc
and how will that change throughout the story? We invent detailed character bios. Where did they go to school? What were their parents like? What
was their childhood like? We don’t have to use all that in the script, but it’s
good for us to know to help craft the story.
. Next we sit down with a yellow legal pad and make 30 to 40 story
points, such as guy robs bank, hides in mother’s house, falls in love with
neighbor, and so on.
. Then we write an extensive narrative outline—30 pages or more. We
include texture—the tone and detail. We take time to describe settings and
characters. Instead of merely using physical descriptions of characters, such
as Bob is 6'2'' with the torso of a long distance runner, we’re more likely to
write, “As John was driving up Canyon Avenue, he looked out his rain spattered window and caught sight of Bob, one more time, running in the rain.”
That says a lot. We love doing that. It makes it easier to do the script.
. It’s really crucial that you learn how to structure a piece so that your
story makes sense. Know where your story is going and how plot elements
and character elements will build on each other so they peak at certain
points. An excellent film example of structure is Two for the Road, with
Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. Even though they use multiple flashbacks, you know that from beginning to end this is a story of a marriage on
the skids.
. Tell as much of the story as you can without dialogue. Tell it cinematically. Don’t give camera directions such as wide, tight medium. That’s the
director’s job and disrupts the story flow. But it’s okay to script camera
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
angles. We wrote a scene where a woman was about to tell her husband
their son was killed in combat. The husband ran a steak house and happened to be in the walk-in freezer when his wife arrived. We directed the
camera to look through the window and, without any dialogue, watch the
woman tell the husband and see the reaction.
. You can’t write if you’re not an observer. We’re constantly eavesdropping
in restaurants. We’re acutely aware of dialogue going on around us. Our
characters have to speak in the vernacular of the time.
. Dialogue is more than just writing down what two people say to each
other. Good dialogue is succinct, crisp, entertaining, and rich. It’s a level
above conversation.
. Bury the “pipe.” The pipe is the exposition, the conduit of information, the
stuff that the audience needs to know to make sense of the story. Say the
character’s been divorced three times, has six kids with six different women,
and runs a grocery. You don’t come out and say that. You impart it to the
audience in an interesting way.
. Scriptwriting is collaborative. Everyone has a hand in it. A screenplay will
go through 10 to 15 drafts before shooting begins.
. Writing is hard work. To sit there in front of a blank, empty computer
screen knowing that you have to come up with compelling characters and
stimulating plots, week after week after week can be daunting. Back in
1970, we were working with Leon Uris on a musical production of his novel
Exodus. After several tiring meetings with potential backers, Stephen asked
him if he had any advice for aspiring playwrights. He said, “Put your ass in
a chair in front of a typewriter.” This was the most succinct, valuable information we were ever given.
Unblocking Creativity
Writer’s block strikes us all. As Black and Stern noted, it’s darned hard to sit down
in front of a blank computer screen and start putting words in the computer.
Here are some ways to get the creative juices flowing:
. Bounce ideas off others. Simply talking about your project typically will
give you a whole new perspective. Listening to questions posed to you about
your work will help you focus your writing.
. Change your work environment. I have the luxury of going outside and
sitting on a rocking chair overlooking a lovely valley. That moment in the
fresh air helps bust loose a few cobwebs.
Hour 3
. Scribble down some ideas. Turn away from your computer and grab a yellow legal pad and a felt-tip pen. Connect the thoughts on paper.
. Take a break. Listen to a great tune. Take a jog. Then get back to work—
you’re on deadline!
Stepping Up to Film
Steinberger, cinematographer.
I count myself fortunate to have one of Germany’s top cinematographers, Charly Steinberger, as a friend. He’s served as
director of photography on scores of movies and TV shows. His
films have won numerous prestigious awards, including German
Film Award – Best Cinematographer, Venice Film Festival – Best
Film, and the New York Critics Award – Best Film.
Steinberger has worked with some of Europe’s most famous
actors: David Niven, Roger Moore, Kim Novak, Gina Lollobrigida,
Sophia Loren and, topping his personal list, Marlene Dietrich. Few readers of this
book will have the opportunity to work at this top end of the film production
scale, but I think everyone can take Steinberger’s advice to the bank.
Charly Steinberger’s Tips for Prospective
Steinberger’s guidance comes from the perspective of a filmmaker who has seen
absolutely everything. He has a pragmatic view. Here are his filmmaking tips:
. The most important component of a film is a good script. Unfortunately
that happens only rarely.
. Next in importance is a solid budget.
. A good production team can make or break a film. Topping the list is the
director and the cinematographer, followed by the set designer, costume
designer, makeup artist, lighting specialist, grip, and editor. Overseeing it all
should be a producer with a reputation for spending money wisely. Too
many producers try to cut corners and save money by hiring less experienced (that is, cheaper) crew members.
. The photographer’s primary responsibility is to use the camera to tell
the story well. Too many cinematographers get lost attempting to create
brilliant and grand images.
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
. A point that often gets neglected is the critical search for and selection
of locations—be they cafes, apartments, or offices—to help give characters
their correct motivation. The right settings bring life and depth to your characters.
. In the post-production world, there is no longer any difference between
film and video. Both now use nonlinear digital editors.
. I still work with film instead of video because film has higher resolution,
truer colors, more accurate reproduction, more brilliance, and solid contrasts. That said, it won’t be long before video will equal film in quality.
The Business of Video Production
I’ve been here. In the early 1990s, photographer Karl Petersen and I started Glint
Video in Portland, Oregon. We had two good-sized clients and occasionally picked
up smaller gigs along the way.
We sought advice from our mutual friend, news photographer Sam Prigg, who
had turned some weekend freelance assignments into a growing video production
business—with an office and his own gear and even employees! When we saw all
that he had done to get where he was, it gave both Karl and me the jitters.
We stuck to what amounted to a freelance, on-call arrangement. Soon there were
dry spells and too many wannabe competitors with NewTek Video Toasters and
low-ball bids. Karl got an offer to be chief photographer at the local NBC-TV affiliate, and one of our clients asked me to write a book. So, we parted ways.
It’s tough to get into any business, especially into a high-tech, creative field such
as video production, where client expectations shift as quickly as the technology.
Despite that, Sam Prigg is still at it. While other production firms in Utah have
folded their tents, Prigg has adjusted to the shifting landscape and grabbed
greater market share. Here’s his advice.
Sam Prigg’s Tips on Starting a Video Production
Sam Prigg, the “Head Wabbit” at White Rabbit Productions in Salt Lake City
( has never taken himself too seriously.
That hasn’t stopped him from creating one of Utah’s most successful video production houses. His client list and “statues,” as he puts it, make that clear. He’s
Hour 3
Sam Prigg, “Head
Wabbit,” White Rabbit
worked for all the major networks, plus Disney, Apple,
Intel, and many other big-name clients. During the
2002 Winter Olympics, he had eight crews working fulltime for folks such as Jay Leno, David Letterman, and
MTV. His “statues” include Emmys, ADDYs, Tellys,
DuPonts, and “Most Improved” in bowling.
Sam Prigg is one of the good guys. I thoroughly enjoyed
working with him in the mid-1980s during my 4-year
stint at KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. He has a degree in broadcast journalism and a
minor in cinematography. For the first half of his 27-year TV and film career, he
thought he was going to live and die working for a TV station. But then the business changed and so did he.
Local news operations cut staff while adding news shows (news is relatively inexpensive programming), and TV networks found it was cheaper to make layoffs
and hire local freelance crews instead. Sam began shooting on the side and soon
started making more money working on weekends and vacations than he was in
his day job.
Since he also was becoming disenchanted with that TV news job, he knew it was
time to leave. How hard could it be, he thought, to do freelance full time and
make a killing? He soon found out, and along the way, acquired a few tips that
others might use to not make the same mistakes. Here’s what he has to say:
. Learning about business is essential to survival. I have a degree in communications and lots of worldly experiences, but the business world is a
whole different animal. You’ll need to learn about insurance, taxes, bonding, business plans, advertising, equipment purchases or leases, office space,
phones, faxes, furniture, marketing, pricing, invoicing, bad debts, good
demo reels, production schedules, contracts, the IRS, accounting, hiring freelance workers, firing freelance workers, security, and credit. It’s no surprise
that most small startups fail after a few years.
. Working with a partner…or not. I started our company with a partner,
thinking our skills complemented each other. Turns out we had conflicting
ideas about how to run a business, and I ended up buying him out.
Dissolving a partnership can be like getting a divorce. Partner up if you
must, but be aware of the ramifications. Put your expectations in writing.
Spell out the roles each partner will take, where the money will go, and be
prepared to review the contract frequently.
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. When I started my business, I had
one client that accounted for most of my work. It was great. I traveled
around the United States, shot all kinds of neat stuff, edited to my heart’s
content, and enjoyed life in the freelance world. Two years later, the client’s
company got sold and everything stopped. I forgot to broaden my base and
to do that marketing thing. I had to scramble to find some new clients. It
took a couple of years until I felt comfortable again, but I learned a few
things. One is that eggs-in-one-basket rule, and the other is that the time to
do your marketing is when you’re busy with the project that you’re currently working on.
. Figure out what kind of video production company you are. When I
started out, I was going to offer to do anything at the highest possible level.
I planned to shoot, write, and edit commercials, news, documentaries, corporate videos, sports, accident re-creations, school plays, weddings…well, no
weddings, but just about anything else. My market was the world. And I
could do it on film or video—I thought. It took a long time to discover who I
was, but now I can say our mission statement in one sentence: We shoot
high-end video for television networks, news magazine shows, and corporations, and we specialize in making people look good. After we figured that
out, it was easier to focus our marketing and purchase the right equipment.
. Create a demo reel. Your demo reel represents who and what you are. It is
your most valuable marketing tool. There are plenty of views about what
makes a good reel. My take is that you may have only 30 seconds to make
a favorable impression. Why? I know of TV news directors who view aspiring reporters’ demo reels—chock full of stories, on-camera stand-ups, and
clever on-set repartee—for all of 30 seconds. That’s all the time they need to
make such important decisions. Make sure that you gear your reel for your
target audience and have it quickly demonstrate your core values. Our reel
has a fast-paced introduction with several shots of well-lit people, wellcomposed shots of a variety of subjects, and lively music. It includes a few
graphics-laden segments and ends with contact information. It runs about
seven and a half minutes. I like to watch it. And it has helped us get lots of
. Educate your clients. When I meet a new client for the first time, I usually
have to educate them about the steps involved with producing an effective
video. It starts with identifying the audience members—their ages, educations, and preconceived attitudes about the subject. I then outline the dozen
or so steps involved with most productions—concept, writing, storyboarding,
casting, location scouting, crew, equipment, production shoot, narration,
editing, graphics, and music.
Hour 3
. Don’t burn a client. If you make a mistake with some clients—bad lighting, poor composition, arriving late, faulty equipment, dead batteries—they
might forgive you once. TV networks are less forgiving. One mistake and
they won’t come back.
. Adapt to change because things will change. I try to stay up on the
newest trends in equipment and technology, such as new recording formats
and delivery systems. It’s important to understand why they have been
developed and how they change the way we do business. Many clients now
ask about having their video streamed or converted to DVDs or CD-ROMs.
High-definition formats are now being offered at the high-end and low-end.
New recording formats include hard drives, memory sticks, and rerecordable DVDs. As a means to stay current, subscribe to technology magazines and join an industry organization such as the International Television
Association for its conferences and seminars. View the work of others to see
what kind of competition you might be facing and what kind of markets
you might be missing.
. Deciding what to charge. For the high end of the video production market,
it’s easier to determine what to charge because TV networks, union contracts, and a universal fee schedule set the parameters for what the market
will pay. In the television news, news magazine, and corporate worlds,
using broadcast Betacam SP cameras, professional audio equipment, extensive lighting, and grip equipment and being backed by 15 to 20 years of
experience, a two-person crew, consisting of a camera person and audio
tech, can get between $1,200 to $1,500 for a 10-hour day. You can charge
additional fees for the use of a wide-angle lens, matte box with filters, HMI
or daylight-balanced lighting, and other production tools. Beginning photographers can usually charge $200 to $350 a day plus $150 to $200 for a
mini-DV camera, a small lighting package, and a selection of microphones.
. Consider working for someone else. It’s easier and much less expensive to
work for the kind of company you would like to become. Get your experience with another production company that has its own equipment and
clients. Perfect your techniques and broaden your knowledge by working for
someone else. Then, as you understand the market and maybe find your
niche, you can branch off on your own with a better understanding of the
business and where your market might be. Our company is always looking
for a photographer with a good eye as well as audio techs, gaffers, grips,
teleprompter operators, writers, producers, and just about anyone else who
can help make us look good.
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
Doing the Video Production Thing
White Rabbit’s specialty is making interviewees look great. Painting them with
the right lights, placing them in visually appealing settings, and creating a
film-like look using videotape—normally a harsh and all-too-realistic-looking
Other production houses have other specialties. One focus for Cinemagic Studios
in Portland is on-location, multicamera videotaping. Corporate roundtable discussions, live musical performances, and sporting events all fall into this realm. It
takes a team of pros who have worked together for years to pull off something
this fraught with complexities and possible snafus.
Joe Walsh’s Event Shooting Tips
Joe Walsh,
Studios, CEO.
Joe Walsh and his team at Cinemagic Studios were my go-to
guys when I worked as an independent video producer in
Portland. I knew I could count on Cinemagic Studios to tackle
whatever I threw at them. Walsh founded Cinemagic in 1980.
His truly dedicated team, several of whom have worked for him
for many years, has gained the confidence of a broad range of
clients by meeting their unique needs and solving their communication problems.
Cinemagic offers a full range of film, video, animation, and multimedia services
for commercials, documentation, promotion, training, instruction, seminars, business meetings, and corporate backgrounders. Their work has garnered 30 Telly
Awards (
One of Cinemagic’s fortes is shooting events using multiple cameras and switching them live. Here’s Walsh’s checklist:
. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your client’s expectations
and budget. Crew prices vary depending on the market. In Cinemagic’s
case, we charge $1,500 per day for a standard DVCAM or Beta SP camera
package with a cameraman and an audio person.
. Do a site check and rehearsal to determine the best camera locations.
For two-camera remotes, it’s best to have a back and front position. Place
the cameras on risers so that you can shoot over people’s heads. Position the
cameras so that you don’t “cross the plane” and shoot toward each other.
Use the rehearsal to iron out details with the people in charge of the location.
Hour 3
. Use multiple cameras and switch the event live to minimize editing
afterward. Later, if the budget allows it, you can improve the product by
tossing in some post-production editing and graphics. Cinemagic’s remote
multicamera setup includes a digital switcher, intercom system, audio
mixer, studio recorder, and monitors for each camera crew, plus preview
and program feed monitors. Budding producers take note: To buy the equivalent gear that we use for your own two-camera remote setup would cost
about $75,000.
. Always have the cameras record separate tapes. Even though we switch
events live, if the technical director makes a bad switch or a cameraman
makes an awkward move, we can fix it in post.
. “Jam sync” all recorders before starting to record. Setting the timecode to
match all recorders makes it much easier to find footage that you need if
you have to fix something in editing (see Hour 21, “Real-World Applications
and Third-Party Products,” for a review of Multicam, a product that enables
you to “live edit” multiple-camera shoots).
. Have a pre-production meeting with your crew to discuss the project
and assign their responsibilities. Onsite setup usually takes one hour for a
single camera and two hours for multiple cameras. Make sure that all the
cables are tucked away or taped down. After the setup, do a test record and
playback check. During the event, we always monitor the audio and video
. Ensure that your location is well lit. For a lot of our events, the house
handles the lighting, which makes our job a lot easier. If not, we typically
turn to our basic light kit: a Lowel light system with two broad throw Tota
lights and one wide-focus-range Omni to use as a key- or backlight (see
Figure 3.1).
Lowel Tota light
(left) and Lowel
Omni light. (Images
courtesy LowelLight
Manufacturing, Inc.)
Lowel Tota
Lowel Omni
Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips
. Audio is crucial. When events handle their own audio, we take a line feed
from their soundboard and use shotgun mics for backup and ambient
audio. Otherwise, we rely on our standard mic kit: camera mic, shotgun,
lavaliere, handheld, and PZM (pressure zone microphone, useful for a conference table with several speakers).
. When using wireless mics, select UHF instead of VHF to avoid frequency
conflicts. All sorts of fun stuff can go wrong with wireless mics. Your receiver can pick up other sources on your channel, such as radio stations (I
always get country music), pizza delivery guys, or other wireless mics from
local commercial TV stations. The UHF wireless mics have multiple channels
at the higher MHz frequency range, so there is less chance of interference.
Always keep fresh batteries on hand. As the batteries grow weak, reception
problems occur.
Our favorite wireless mic story happened when we were taking an audio
line feed from the house. The house audio man placed a wireless mic on the
presenter. Just moments before he was to go on, the presenter went to the
bathroom. Not only did we pick up the very graphic audio, so did the 500
people in the auditorium.
Premiere Pro is not like a word processor. You didn’t buy it just to do some writing
and not worry about all those other hard-to-decipher bells and whistles. You
bought it because it offers so much more power than, well, those lower-priced
The likelihood then is that you want to do something other than create vacation
movies to show your (ungrateful) relatives. To up that production ante means
improving your story creation, writing, and video production business acumen.
The advice given here comes from folks who’ve been in the trenches for years.
They know from where they’re speaking.
Hour 3
We’ll dispense with the usual Q&A and Quiz for this hour. However, some exercises are in order.
1. Scriptwriter Stephen Black’s dad fostered his writing from very early on. One
exercise he asked his son to do while they were working on a novel together
was to sit down during a large family gathering and invent characters for
the novel using the characteristics of the gathered guests as his inspiration.
It worked for Black. It’s also a great way for you to avoid the usual idle family chitchat.
2. Take a local newspaper story about an event or breaking news. Read it
aloud with an ear for passive-voice phrases, such as “She was hit by a
speeding car,” “The house was destroyed by the blaze,” and “The budget
was presented by the governor.” Rewrite the story in active voice.
3. Contact a local TV station or production company and get permission to tag
along during a remote, multicamera taping. They might let you help set up
(it’s called gaffer’s tape, not duct tape) and sit in the control room. That will
be an eye-opening and educational experience.
Premiere Pro Setup
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Configuring a powerful DV workstation
Video capture cards—adding editing magic
Reviewing the Alienware DV workstation
Starting Premiere Pro for the first time
Organizing the workspace
Adobe created Premiere Pro with high-performance PCs—or, more aptly, DV workstations—in mind. To get the best out of Premiere Pro, you need a PC DV workstation
with plenty of horsepower. In this hour, I give you some tips on what to consider
when buying a DV workstation or upgrading your PC.
While testing the Premiere Pro beta and writing this book, I used a PC loaned to me
for those purposes by Alienware (that’s its logo on the cover). I give you a rundown
of what that Alienware DV workstation has to offer later this hour.
That workstation has a specialized video capture card that enhances the Premiere
Pro editing experience. I cover that card and its competitors later in this hour. And I
conclude this hour by showing you how to start up Premiere and make a few user
interface tweaks to get you ready for editing.
Configuring a Powerful DV Workstation
Premiere Pro’s developers aimed high. If you have anything less than a truly top-end
PC, you will not see Premiere Pro operate at its best.
Hour 4
As I wrote this book, I used two PCs: the Alienware DV workstation powerhouse
and a PC that slightly exceeded Premiere Pro’s minimum specs. The differences
were dramatic.
Premiere Pro’s Minimum Specs
If you’ve looked at your Premiere Pro retail box, you might already know the
minimum specs. Here’s a quick rundown:
. Intel Pentium III 800MHz processor
. 256MB of RAM
. 800MB of hard-disk space for installation
. Dedicated, large-capacity 7200RPM hard drive for media assets
. 1024×768 32-bit color video display adapter
. Microsoft Windows XP
If your PC barely meets these minimum specs, you’ll end up working with a very
sluggish machine. Here’s what you can expect with such a PC:
. You’ll have to scale Premiere Pro back to a lower-resolution display to
achieve real-time playback.
. Rendering—converting any files with special effects applied or that don’t
match the project audio and video data rates—will take a long time and
will consume 100% of your processor’s cycles.
. Audio conforming will take a long time and will bog down performance.
. As you move around on a sequence or work with effects, there will be
noticeable lags between mouse clicks and on-screen actions.
My System Recommendations
Premiere Pro takes advantage of certain technologies. Here’s a few to keep in
mind, starting with the top three, most effective performance enhancers:
. RAM. The more RAM you have the better. Premiere Pro uses 90-120MB of
RAM simply to function. As you scrub through a video project, Premiere Pro
consumes even more RAM for media caching, thereby creating smoother
playback. By design, Premiere Pro will use up to about one-third of your
total RAM for caching. On a 1GB RAM PC, total RAM usage will peak at
about 400MB, or several video frames. If you have 2GB, that’ll more than
Premiere Pro Setup
double the number of cached frames, meaning even better playback performance.
. Hyperthreading. Premiere Pro takes advantage of Intel Pentium 4’s hyperthreading technology. That is, if Premiere Pro detects that you have a hyperthreading CPU, it divides its processing into multiple streams to work faster
and more efficiently. The corollary to this is that it also takes advantage of
PCs with multiple processors (both nonhyperthreading and hyperthreading—such as the Alienware DV workstation described later in this hour in
“Reviewing the Alienware DV Workstation”). Theoretically (at least until
someone makes such a PC), Premiere Pro can use up to 16 threads!
Dual CPUs and Hyperthreading in Action
To see graphic evidence that dual CPUs with hyperthreading really are doing their
job, take a look at Windows Task Manager (shown in Figure 4.1). Access the Task
Manager by right-clicking the task bar (or pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete) and then clicking
the Performance tab. In the case of the Alienware DV workstation, two Intel P4s with
hyperthreading means the PC functions as if it has four CPUs.
By the
Windows Task
Manager displays a
CPU utilization
graph for each
CPU—two hyperthreading CPUs
equals four graphs.
. RAID. Using a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive—or Independent—
Disks) array opens the tightest bottleneck on your PC, your hard drive’s
throughput. Premiere Pro frequently asks your hard drive to max out. With
a RAID, that max is significantly higher than with a single hard drive. A
typical two-drive RAID makes a huge difference in video performance.
By the
Hour 4
Developer Note—Hard Drives
If you don’t go with a RAID, you still will get better performance with two hard drives
(two 60GB or two 120GB drives, for example) instead of one. To get that performance boost, break up your file storage so that Premiere Pro pulls from both drives.
For instance, you could put the conformed audio and video preview directories on
one drive, and keep your captured media on the other. Doing so balances which
drives you’re seeking from to get media. You set those file locations by selecting
Edit→Preferences→Scratch Disks.
. Dual monitors. Premiere Pro demands screen real estate. To create screen
shots for this book, I worked with only one monitor running at 1024×768 (a
higher resolution would have led to images with typeface and icons too
small to reproduce in this book). That meant repeatedly opening and closing windows and palettes to avoid clutter, to make room for edits, and to
find clips. Two monitors is the standard, professional editing setup and will
make your life a whole lot easier. To do that, you’ll need a dual-monitor
video card. My Alienware system uses an NVIDIA Quadro FX 1000 with
dual DVI (digital video interface) plugs.
. ASIO audio hardware. Audio Stream In/Out (ASIO) technology, developed
by Steinberg (the Germany-based audio subsidiary of Pinnacle Systems),
ensures that sound cards have much lower latency and are more responsive.
Such cards give you a much better feel for the final product when mixing
audio, especially when working with 5.1 Dolby Digital. The SoundBlaster
Audigy in my Alienware system is ASIO compliant and works like a charm.
By the
Premiere Pro uses another Steinberg technology: VST (Virtual Studio Technology).
This nearly ubiquitous software technology ensures that third-party created, VSTcompliant audio plug-ins work smoothly in Premiere Pro. Plug-ins are mini programs
that, in this case, augment Premiere Pro’s audio effects suite. The Premiere plug-in
industry is surprisingly robust. I cover the VST plug-ins in Hour 14, “Sweetening Your
Sound,” and some others in Hour 21, “Third-Party Products.”
. Video capture card. Full-featured video capture cards serve three primary
functions: analog (as well as DV) video capture, hardware-based MPEG
encoding (converting video into the compressed MPEG format used on DVDs
and digital satellites),and real-time video effects and transitions. The three
main contenders on the PC side are Canopus, Matrox, and Pinnacle. I present an overview of those cards in the next section, “Video Capture Cards—
Adding Video Editing Magic.”
Premiere Pro Setup
These components are not inexpensive. A fully tricked-out DV workstation will
cost about $6,000. If you’re a PC hobbyist, you can take the build-it-yourself route
but the price difference between buying the components separately and purchasing a turnkey system is much less than it was a couple years ago.
You can take a middle road. That is, upgrade your existing PC. The biggest performance boosts will come from additional RAM, RAID, and a hyperthreading
CPU (Pentium 4 Xeons).
If you choose the turnkey approach, I recommend looking first at Alienware
( I take the system Alienware loaned me for a test
drive later this hour in “Reviewing the Alienware DV Workstation.” There aren’t
many other PC makers that focus on this high-end market. Here are two companies with product lines that approach the full-featured Alienware DV workstation:
Dell’s Dimension XPS series ( and Falcon Northwest’s Mach
V high-end gaming PCs (
Video Capture Cards—Adding Video
Editing Magic
Video cards are a specialized part of a DV workstation. You can spend several
thousand dollars for a high-end, broadcast-quality card. But the more likely scenario is to buy a mid-priced but still very powerful and feature-rich card for $500
to $1,100. Keep in mind that most of these cards come bundled with full versions
of Premiere Pro, which has a retail price of $700.
There are only two principal competitors: Canopus ( and
Matrox ( each offer two excellent cards (Pinnacle’s ProOne card works with Premiere 6.5, but Pinnacle is not supporting Premiere Pro):
. Canopus DVRaptor RT2, $600 (list price)
. Canopus DVStorm2—$1,088 without Premiere, DVStorm2 Plus—$1,200 with
. Matrox RT.X10 Xtra, $500
. Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme, $1,100
I won’t attempt to dissect all the strengths and weaknesses of these cards. They all
offer amazing functionality for the price.
Hour 4
I tested the Canopus DVStorm2 that came installed on my Alienware DV workstation (see Figure 4.2). I’ll use it to introduce you to the kind of capabilities you can
expect from a full-featured capture card.
The Canopus
DVStorm2 features
smooth multitrack
video playback and
dozens of special
effects and transitions.
The DVStorm2 has both a hardware card and a faceplate for the front of your PC.
That faceplate has in/out connectors for DV (digital video) and analog video
(consumer-ish composite and higher-quality S-video). The hardware card has an
MPEG encoder that enables you to convert incoming DV and analog video to
MPEG on the fly. That card also has video processors that relieve your PC’s CPU of
some work and allow for smoother multitrack video and special effect real-time
playback within Premiere Pro.
DVStorm2’s video capture software helps busy production houses or newsrooms.
With it you can capture up to three separate DV streams concurrently (you’ll need
two additional DV ports—also known as IEEE 1394 or FireWire ports).
Where DVStorm2 really shines is with its package of video and audio special
effects and transitions. These include some eye-popping, exciting 2D and 3D visual effects as well as some innovative transitions and audio sweetening tools.
Adding the DVStorm2 suite of effects nearly doubles the number shipped with
Premiere Pro.
Here’s a quick rundown:
. 2D effects. Take a look at Figure 4.3. Those three 2D effects are representative of what DVStorm2 has to offer. You can instantly change a scene into a
pencil sketch, blur the action, or give your video the look of an old film.
. 3D effects. DVStorm2 facilitates putting pictures in pictures. You can apply
motion, change shapes, and add a 3D feel to those moving video clips.
Premiere Pro offers similar features, but some video producers might find
the DVStorm2 controls, shown in Figure 4.4, to be more intuitive.
Premiere Pro Setup
Canopus DVStorm2 2D Effects
Three DVStorm2
video effects:
Pencil Sketch,
Motion Blur, and
Old Movie.
Pencil Sketch
Motion Blur
Old Movie
DVStorm2’s PIP
offers some intuitive controls and
other elements,
such as shadows
and borders.
. 2D transitions. Most of these are a bit gimmicky. But gimmicky can be
good—fun even—when used in a video project. The Jet Wipe, shown in
Figure 4.5, is one of many such object-style transitions that move you from
one video clip (usually called the A-clip) to the next clip in a sequence (the
B-clip). Its control panel gives you numerous options to control its behavior.
. 3D transitions. This is where a video capture card like the DVStorm2 really
shines. Its Cube Spin, shown in Figure 4.6, is one of a dozen or so super-slick
3D transitions. Both the A-clip and the B-clip play in real-time on the cube’s
sides. You can adjust all the parameters of how and where the cube spins
Hour 4
and use a custom background (or select a solid color). Other DVStorm 3D
transitions include page peels in which the back of the page reflects the
next video clip—very cool. And you can combine all of these effects. For
instance, apply page peels to a bunch of pictures-in-pictures.
Fun, creative, and
sometimes gimmicky DVStorm2
wipe transitions
add zest to a video
DVStorm2’s 3D
effects, like this
cube spin, are its
biggest selling
Premiere Pro Setup
Reviewing the Alienware DV Workstation
I’m a long-time fan of Alienware, from its early days in the late 1990s as a maker
of PCs geared to hardcore PC gamers to its position today as a market leader in
high-performance PCs. I purchased Alienware to use while writing my previous
book on Premiere, Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere 6.5 in 24 Hours. (See
Figure 4.7.)
leading PC maker
for hardcore
gamers and DV
This time around, with Premiere Pro’s new tack as a technology-driven NLE, I
knew I’d need even more PC power. So, I turned once again to Alienware. I proposed that the company provide a loaner DV workstation with the understanding
only that Sams would include an Alienware logo on the book’s cover.
Alienware obliged. And I’m darned glad it did because the DV workstation those
folks provided—the MJ-12 model shown in Figure 4.8—has every technological
component available to enhance the Premiere Pro experience. Running side-byside with a reasonably powerful PC dramatically demonstrates the performance
enhancements it provides.
The Alienware MJ12 DV workstation
It has every element I enumerated earlier this hour:
. Dual Pentium 4 Xeon 2.8GHz CPUs
. Two GB Corsair DDR SDRAM
Hour 4
. A two-disk RAID array (plus a third system drive) using Seagate Barracuda
120 GB hard drives
. An NVIDIA Quadro 1000 dual-monitor video card with dual DVI (digital
video interface) connectors that support the latest digital flat panels and
also work with standard analog PC monitors
. An ASIO-compliant SoundBlaster Audigy 2, 6.1 digital surround sound card
with six speakers and a subwoofer
. A Canopus DVStorm2 video capture card
. A Plextor PX-504A DVD recorder
These are more than vanilla components; they all are the best of breed at the
moment Alienware built my MJ-12. And Alienware doesn’t just cobble these components together. What sets Alienware apart from other system builders is its
attention to detail. The company cuts no corners. From the high-quality case and
extra strength power supply down to the multi-fan cooling system and neat and
tidy “cable management,” Alienware consistently delivers the best DV systems.
Starting Premiere Pro for the First Time
If you performed the task in the first hour, “Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting
the DV Workflow,” you’ve already installed and opened Premiere. In this section,
we take a closer look at Premiere Pro’s opening screens.
Premiere Pro’s developers greatly simplified its project settings, limiting the
default choices to various flavors of DV—digital video. The only other choice—
Video for Windows (VFW)—is for projects that use a variety of PC or analog video.
Adobe gives this VFW option short shrift. The printed manual merely refers readers to the online help file. And the online help file has only one line about VFW:
“The Video For Windows editing mode can be useful for projects based on
analog video or a square-pixel aspect ratio.”
In my Sams Teach Yourself book on Premiere 6.5, I explained all the various VFW
and other non-DV settings in great detail. In hindsight—way too much detail.
This time I’ll take the hint from Adobe and focus on DV while giving you only a
glimpse into the VFW options.
Premiere Pro Setup
Try it
Checking Project Preferences
The basic rule of thumb when selecting project settings is this: match settings to
your source material and not to the final output. Even if your goal is to create a
low-resolution video to run on the Internet, wait until you finish editing and then
reduce the output quality settings. One other advantage to matching your source
material settings is that you have more output options later. Here’s how this
1. Open Premiere Pro by double-clicking its icon on the desktop. That pops up
the Welcome screen I showed you in the first hour. If you started a project
then, your welcome screen will look something like Figure 4.9. It lists recent
projects. Clicking on one takes you to the workspace as you left it when you
previously worked on Premiere Pro. For this task, start anew by clicking New
Project to open the New Project dialog box.
How the Welcome
screen looks after
you’ve worked on a
couple projects.
2. Your only obvious options are NTSC or PAL, 32 or 48kHz, and Standard (4:3
aspect ratio) or Widescreen (16:9). Most of you will simply choose the setting
that matches your original DV and move on. In this case, though, click the
Custom Settings tab circled in Figure 4.10.
Many DV camcorders give you two audio quality options: 16-bit audio recorded at
48kHz or lower quality 12-bit audio recorded at 32kHz. The latter lays down two
By the
What kHz Setting to Choose
Hour 4
stereo tracks: one with audio recorded by the on-camera mic and the other giving
you an option to insert a narration or some other audio. Kilohertz refers to the
number of samples recorded per second. More is better. CD audio is 44.1kHz.
MPEG audio for DVD playback is 48kHz. Bottom line, select 32kHz or 48kHz depending on how you set up your camcorder. If you recorded at 32kHz and set your project
to 48kHz, that is not a problem. Premiere Pro will simply take a little longer to upconvert your audio during the conforming process.
The New Project
screen offers up
only three basic
choices. Clicking
the Custom
Settings tab presents many more
3. The Custom Settings dialog box has dozens of options, most of which you
might never access. So, I’ll simply gloss over them. Select Video for Windows
from the drop-down list shown in Figure 4.11.
4. After you’ve selected VFW, many options become available (DV has very
few options because it’s a standardized video format). Click through the various drop-down lists, basically just to see what’s available. Your choices fall
into frame rate and size plus extra audio quality options.
VFW: Not Fully Functional in Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro’s developers failed to fully implement VFW editing. What’s missing is
edge view. That feature makes it possible for you to see exactly what frame you’ve
selected to cut or move or edit in some other fashion. This is one of about a
Premiere Pro Setup
half-dozen features found in Premiere 6.5 that did not make it into Premiere Pro,
largely due to time constraints (I’m guessing it’ll show up soon in a point release).
Although the lack of edge view is an inconvenience, it’s not what developers (or
users) would call a show stopper.
The Custom
Settings dialog box
enables you to finetune your project
6. Click the Load Preset tab to return to the default dialog box, select a DV preset that matches your source material, give your new project a name
(change that file’s disk storage location if that suits you), and then click
OK. That opens the main Premiere Pro user interface—UI—shown in
Figure 4.12.
5. Click through the three other dialog boxes by selecting in turn: Capture,
Video Rendering, and Default Sequence. Under Capture, unless you have an
analog video capture card like the Canopus DVStorm2, your only “choice”
will be DV/IEEE 1394 Capture. Video Rendering offers up several codecs
(COmpression/DECompression algorithms) to convert analog video or other
video files to DV for use in Premiere Pro. Default Sequence has nothing to
do with DV or VFW; it’s how a newly opened sequence (timeline) will look.
Hour 4
Premiere Pro’s
default, new project
user interface.
Organizing the Workspace
After you’ve worked with Premiere Pro for a while, you’ll want to organize the
workspace to suit your needs. Here’s an approach I use.
Because I’m working in 1024×768 for this book, I need as much editing screen
real estate as I can get. For starters, I combine the History and Info palettes by
dragging and dropping the Info tab next to the History tab. It ends up looking
like the palette in Figure 4.13. Then I close it by clicking the little x in its upperright corner. If I need to open either History or Info, I select Window→History—
Combine History
and Info by dragging and dropping
the Info tab next to
the History tab.
Premiere Pro Setup
Then I get rid of the Tools palette by using an Adobe keyboard shortcut that
works on all Adobe digital imaging products: Tab. Pressing Tab removes the Tools
palette and pressing Tab again brings it back. That way, when I need a tool, I
simply press Tab, select the tool, use it, change back to the default Pointer tool,
and press Tab again to lose the Tools palette.
Tab Shortcut Key Behavior
If I had not clicked the little x to close the combined History/Info palette, pressing
Tab would have closed it along with the Tools palette. Pressing Tab again would then
pop open both palettes. That’s not the behavior I want. So, by manually closing the
History/Info palette, Tab then opens/closes only the Tools palette. Premiere Pro is
nothing if not insanely configurable.
Did you
With the History, Info, and Tools palettes gone, I drag the edges of the Timeline
window all the way to the right and left sides of the screen as shown in
Figure 4.14.
My personal workspace features a
wider timeline and
closed History, Info,
and Tools palettes.
There are other means to adjust the look of your workspace. As shown in Figure
4.15, you can change from a dual-monitor view to a single-monitor view by clicking the wing menu (sometimes called the fly-out menu) triangle in the upper-right
corner and selecting Single View. (Figure 4.15 shows how the Monitor window
looks after making that selection.)
Hour 4
Wing menu triangle
Switch between
dual- and singlemonitor views.
I prefer a dual-monitor view, but some editors do not. In any event, when I’m
working on a complex effect, sometimes it’s good to work in single-monitor view
and expand the Monitor window. In particular, when working with Motion
Control settings, sometimes you need to drag motion paths outside the monitor
screen. For example, expanding the Monitor window, clicking the little Fit wing
menu triangle at the bottom of the screen, and selecting 50% places the screen in
the middle of a lot of empty space, giving you room to create your off-screen
motion path. I explain motion settings in Hour 11, “Putting Video and Still Clips
in Motion.”
Use Workspace Pre-sets
Did you
Save Your Customized Workspace
Because I’m the only one who uses my PC, I don’t need to worry about some other
editor messing with my customized Premiere Pro workspace changes. If you share
your computer with other editors who don’t like your layout, you can save your workspace by selecting Window→Workspace→Save Workspace. Then type in a name and
click Save. To open your custom workspace, select Window→Workspace and then
select your named workspace.
Different editing modes demand different workspaces. As shown in Figure 4.16,
Premiere Pro accommodates those needs with four workspace pre-sets. Access
them by selecting Window→Workspace and then choosing from the four pre-sets.
Premiere Pro Setup
Click through all four (Editing is the default opening screen) to see how they differ. Effects brings the Effects Palette and Effect Controls window front and center.
Audio opens the Audio Mixer. And Color Corrector opens a second reference
The four workspace
pre-sets work well
for their specific situations.
Finally, take a look at the General Preferences dialog box. It has a nice feature
that enables you to set the brightness level for Premiere Pro’s overall look. Access
it by selecting Edit→Preferences→General from the main menu bar. That opens
the screen shown in Figure 4.17.
Use the
Preferences dialog
box to set screen
brightness and to
access a plethora
of other options.
Move the User Interface Brightness slider to adjust brightness. This comes in real
handy for those production studios that keep their NLEs in a dark room to
emphasize the quality displayed on the monitor(s).
While in the Preferences dialog box, click Scratch Disks to set the locations for
where you’ll store captured audio and video as well as conformed audio and
Hour 4
audio and video previews. If you have two hard drives but no RAID, it’s a good
idea to put captured audio and video on one drive and the conformed audio and
previews on the other.
By design, Premiere Pro exploits the latest PC technologies. More RAM, RAID
arrays, and hyperthreading dual CPUs top the list. Dual monitors, ASIOcompliant audio cards, and high-end video capture cards (with all their exciting
special effects) also enhance Premiere Pro’s performance.
Of all the PC DV workstation system makers, Alienware tops my list. It understands what the DV enthusiast needs, builds workstations with only the best components, and uses extra care in how it assembles those high-performance
When you fire up Premiere Pro for the first time, you need only choose a project
setting that matches the source material. If you venture from DV, you’ll need to
adjust some VFW settings.
Premiere Pro is eminently configurable. Tweak to your heart’s content and work
style. The more you edit, the more likely you’ll create a collection of personal
Premiere Pro Setup
Q As PCs get more powerful, why do I need to buy a video capture card as a
way to boost performance?
A My message is not that you must buy a high-end video capture card. That
said, consider that a card’s performance boost is only one benefit. Most
cards also offer analog video in/out capability, hardware MPEG encoding,
and a boatload of special effects that you’d pay hundreds of dollars for if
purchased separately from third party plug-in providers.
Q ASIO, VST, RAID, and MPEG. Help! I’m getting acronymed out. Do I need to
know all these terms?
A My teaching (and book writing) philosophy is that I want students (and
readers) to at least have a feel for why developers make certain decisions.
And what sets Premiere Pro apart from its competition and predecessors is
the care its developers put into building its foundation. A large part of that
decision-making process was choosing to support current (and likely coming) industry standards. You don’t have to know how ASIO reduces latency
(thus improving audio responsiveness), just that writing code that supports
it makes Premiere Pro a faster racehorse.
1. How do you make palettes disappear?
2. What three changes will give your PC the greatest performance boost when
working with Premiere Pro?
3. If you’re using DV and building your video project to run in low resolution
on the Internet, should you select VFW for your project settings?
Quiz Answers
1. Either click their little x’s to close them (then use Windows→[Palette Name]
to reopen them), or use Adobe’s ubiquitous keyboard shortcut: Tab.
2. Ranked from biggest boost down (depending on your system): RAM,
Hyperthreading and/or Dual Processors, and RAID.
Hour 4
3. No. Match your project settings to your original video. In this case, DV set to
whatever audio level you used in your camcorder. If you don’t know the
audio kHz level (32kHz or 48kHz), choose DV 48kHz to ensure maximum
quality. When you complete your project, select output settings to suit the
output medium. I cover outputting projects in Hour 23, “Exporting Premiere
Frames, Clips, and Projects.”
1. Experiment with the Premiere Pro workspace. Click every main menu dropdown list. Check all the preferences by selecting Edit→Preferences and
Project→Project Settings (the latter are the same items as in the opening
New Project dialog box).
2. Visit and to check on their video capture cards.
Prices and features change rapidly in this exciting DV editing environment.
Both companies frequently offer special bundles that throw many additional special effects into the mix.
Scene Selection and Video
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Selecting video clips
Capturing digital video
Tackling manual analog movie capture
Using Scenalyzer to automate video capture
Managing your assets
The editing process begins as you plan and shoot your video. But even the best photographers get more material than they need. And there are always those shots that
just don’t turn out right. So, the next step in editing is when you review your original videotapes. Before you transfer, capture your video in NLE parlance format to
your PC.
Premiere Pro offers some tools to take some of the manual labor out of that process.
You can set up Premiere Pro to simply record your entire videotape as one long clip,
mark individual clips for automated capturing later, or have Premiere Pro use its
scene detection feature to analyze your tape and automatically create separate clips
whenever you press the Pause/Record button on your camcorder.
What Premiere Pro’s scene detection process does not do is detect visual scene differences when you did not press the Pause/Record button. A typical example is a wedding when the photographer keeps the camera rolling while panning quickly to get
a different angle. A third-party program—Scenalyzer—does just that. I demonstrate
that program in this hour.
Hour 5
Finally, after you’ve captured your video to your PC, it’s best to organize it. That
is, give the different clips descriptive names and place them in applicable folders
to make them easier to find as deadlines loom.
Selecting Video Clips
Before you use Premiere Pro to capture—or transfer—video to your PC’s hard
drive, critically view your raw footage. You want to look for “keeper” clips and
sequences, the best interview sound bites, and any natural sound that will
enhance your production.
The purpose is twofold: to better manage your media assets and to speed up the
video capture process. The latter is an example of how DV really shines—the
capability to automatically transfer selected video clips to your computer. You
simply create a list of video clips, tell Premiere Pro to transfer them, and then
take the dog for a walk while Premiere Pro handles the chores. Nice.
Before you grab the leash, I want to run through some scene-selection tips.
By the
Shoot Plenty of Video
The basic tenet in the video or film production world is that you’ll shoot a whole lot
more raw footage than you’ll put in your final production (probably at least five times
what you’ll need). You’ve heard of film scenes hitting the cutting room floor. Next
time you watch a DVD movie, check to see whether it has deleted scenes. You’ll be
amazed at how many difficult-to-shoot, well-acted, and expensive scenes did not
make it into the final cut.
Your task now is to critically review your tape(s) and weed out the chaff while
retaining the grain. True, you can transfer entire tapes to your hard drive and do
weeding later. But an hour of DV and Premiere Pro’s associated conforming audio
consume about 14GB of hard drive space. Having a collection of named clips
makes finding those special shots much easier than scanning through a one-hour
video file.
You want to transfer only the best sound bites, the coolest scenes, and the highestquality natural sound. If you did more than one take of a scene, find the one that
works best. If you videotaped that soccer championship game, select all the goals,
great plays, and enthusiastic crowd reactions, skipping most of the up-and-downthe-field ball handling.
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Getting Good Bites
My view is that the video producer or writer can do a much better job telling the
story than the folks you interview for the story. It’s your job to distill factual information and create a coherent, cohesive story.
So, it’s best to use interview sound bites not to state facts but to present emotions,
feelings, and opinions. You should be the one to say, “At the bottom of the ninth,
the bases were loaded, with two outs.” Let the batter, who is recalling this dramatic moment say, “My legs felt like jello.”
Even in a corporate backgrounder, employees should be the ones stating how
enthusiastic they are about a new product. Your job is to say what that product
In general, keep sound bites short. Let them be punctuation marks, not paragraphs.
Exceptions for Idiosyncratic Characters
A caveat: None of these admonitions are carved in stone. Some characters you’ll
videotape are so compelling, quirky, or humorous that your best bet is to let them be
the primary narrator. Then you’ll want to consider what scenes you can use to illustrate their commentary. You don’t want to fill your entire video with a “talking head.”
Listening for Effective Natural Sound
As you review your raw footage, you should keep your ears tuned for brief
instances of dramatic sound: a wire cutter clipping a piano wire (one of the most
memorable for me—see “Editing Tips from an Expert—John Crossman” in Hour 9,
“Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools”), the crack of a baseball bat,
a gurgling brook, a hawk screeching.
You’ll want to transfer these as separate clips even though you might also transfer
a long clip of the soaring hawk with that sound somewhere in it. Why? Later,
when you edit in that soaring hawk, you easily can find and edit in the screech
nat-sound (which means natural sound in TV news parlance) to give the image
more punch.
Capturing Digital Video
Capturing or transferring video from your camcorder to your PC can be mindlessly easy or maddeningly difficult. Digital video—DV—transfer falls on the easy end
of the scale.
By the
Hour 5
On the other hand, analog video capture is fraught with potential snafus. You
need a video capture card with analog video inputs and you cannot automate
the capture process. It’s completely manual. If your only camera is analog—Hi-8,
SVHS, or VHS—read the following section, “Preparing for Video Capture,” and
then move on to the “Tackling Manual Analog Movie Capture” section later in
this hour.
Preparing for Video Capture
Before you transfer your first frame of raw video to your PC, you need to decide
where to store your clips. It all depends on your computer’s hard drive configuration. Ideally, you have more than one hard drive: one for your Windows XP operating system (OS) and program files (including Premiere Pro), and another for
video, images, graphics, and sound—your A/V (audio/visual) drive. The OS frequently accesses its hard drive even in the middle of an edit or video capture.
Having separate OS and A/V drives ensures a smoother operation. Regularly
defragmenting your hard drives as well as closing background applications will
also improve performance.
Sufficient Throughput
Your A/V drive should be able to sustain a throughput of 4MBps (more if you’re
working with analog video). Most recent hard drive models can handle that easily,
typically operating at more than 10Mbps.
If you have only one drive and it’s reasonably fast, you should have no noticeable problems during video capture.
Now it’s time to tell Premiere Pro where to store your video clips and to make sure
that Premiere Pro and your DV camcorder can communicate with each other.
After that has been resolved, you can view, log, and transfer video to your computer.
Try it
Tell Premiere Pro Where to Store Your Clips
First you’ll tell Premiere Pro where you want to store captured clips. In a bit of
confounding legacy nomenclature, Premiere Pro calls these hard disk locations
scratch disks. That’s a holdover to the days of massive, removable storage devices.
Now, 120GB internal hard drives are common, and removable storage is not that
critical to computerized video editing. Here are the steps to follow for this task:
1. Open Premiere Pro. In the Welcome dialog box, select one of your projects.
Scene Selection and Video Capture
2. From the Main Menu bar, select Edit→Preferences→Scratch Disks to open
the Preferences dialog box with the Scratch Disks entry already selected (see
Figure 5.1).
Use this dialog box
to tell Premiere Pro
where your scratch
disks are.
3. Click the Browse button next to Captured Video. Navigate to the directory
you want to use to store your captured A/V files, click Make New Folder,
type in a name (I suggest Captured Video), and click OK.
Use the Make New
Folder feature to
set a location for
your captured A/V
4. Do the same thing for Captured Audio (in the same Scratch Disks dialog
box). You’ll use that file folder to store music ripped from CDs, narrations
recorded directly to your PC, and other audio created in programs like
Adobe Audition.
Hour 5
Confirm Your Folder Location
Did you
Use Default Locations for Other Media
When you select Make New Folder to create the Captured Audio file folder, Premiere
Pro will automatically want to create a subfolder in the Captured Video folder. So,
before you click Make New Folder, select the main directory where you want that file
folder to reside.
You might go through the same new file folder process for Video and Audio Previews
as well as Conformed Audio, but leaving them in the default project file location will
work fine. The project file storage location defaults to your Premiere Pro directory in
My Documents. Your project file does not actually hold your original clips—only data
noting their location and any edits you’ve made to your project. Because My
Documents is on your system disk, make sure that you have sufficient space to handle these files.
Using Premiere Pro to Control Your Camcorder
Transferring digital video to your hard drive is a two-step process: logging and
capturing. You can log clips manually or have Premiere Pro do it using its Scene
Detection feature (see the following By the Way). We’ll take the manual approach
and you’ll start the process by using Premiere Pro to control your camcorder.
By the
Scene Detection: A Partial Solution
Premiere Pro’s Scene Detection reads a videotape’s time stamp—as opposed to its
timecode. The time stamp is the original video’s date and time of day, recorded in a
data track (timecode is the time relative to the length of the video you’ve shot—
that is, elapsed time). Virtually all DV camcorders have the data time stamp feature.
Premiere Pro detects any discontinuities—times when you pressed the
Pause/Record button on your camcorder—and creates new clips at each juncture. It
does not notice those instances when you pointed your camcorder at a new scene
without clicking the Pause/Record button. If that’s the level of scene detection you
need, a third-party product called Scenalyzer might be what you’re looking for. I
demonstrate it later this hour in “Using Scenalyzer to Automate Video Capture.”
For Premiere Pro’s time stamp scene selection to work well, it’s best if you follow
the advice I gave in Hour 2, “Camcorder and Shooting Tips”: stripe your tapes.
Failing that, do not eject a tape and then put it back in your camcorder to shoot
more video. Doing so will create a time stamp discontinuity.
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Try it
Remotely Controlling Your Camcorder
The fun is about to begin. If you haven’t used a computer to control a DV device,
this task is guaranteed to elevate your heart rate:
1. Turn your camcorder to VCR/VTR (playback) mode (as opposed to Camera
[record] mode).
Use AC, Not a Battery
When firing up your camcorder, use its AC adapter, not its battery. Here’s why: When
using a battery, camcorders go into sleep mode after a while. And the battery will
invariably run out in the middle of an automated transfer.
Did you
2. Using an IEEE 1394 (FireWire) cable, connect your camcorder to your PC’s
video card, IEEE 1394 card, or other DV outlet. That probably will cause
Windows to display the dialog box shown in Figure 5.3. If it does, keep
things simple and click Cancel.
Avoid Nagging Windows Queries
You can get Windows to stop bugging you whenever you plug in a DV device (or any
other piece of hardware like that). When that dialog box pops up, select the Take No
Action icon and click the Always Perform the Selected Action check box.
Did you
3. Open Premiere Pro, select an existing project (or start a new one).
The Digital Video
Device AutoPlay
dialog box opens
when you connect
your camcorder to
your PC.
Hour 5
4. Open the Capture window by selecting File→Capture. Figure 5.4 represents
what you should have in front of you: a TV screen with standard videoediting-style VCR controls.
What to Do if You Don’t See Your Video
DV camcorders have become standardized such that just about any DV camcorder or
other DV device will connect flawlessly with your PC. You’ll know yours is not making
the connection if the word Stopped does not appear at the top of the capture screen
or if the VCR controls have no effect. If that’s the case, click the Settings tab and
then click Device Control / Options (I’ve circled it in the lower-right corner of the
Capture window). That opens a drop-down list of camera manufacturers (Device
Brand) and camcorder models (Device Type). Select yours and see whether that
clears things up.
The Capture window. Using standard VCR and
controls, you easily
can scan through
your tape to find
“keeper” video
clips to transfer to
your hard drive.
5. Click the Play button (circled in Figure 5.4). Is this not cool? There is your
raw video playing on your computer.
6. Try out some of the other buttons: Fast-forward, Rewind, and Stop.
Scene Selection and Video Capture
If you’re not sure what just about any button or icon in Premiere Pro does, simply
place your cursor on it. As shown in Figure 5.5, after a moment, that object’s
tooltip—and keyboard shortcut (if any)—will appear.
By the
Use Pop-up Tooltips
Use the tooltip popups to help you
identify each button’s name and
keyboard shortcut
(if it has one).
7. Now try some of the special buttons: Shuttle (the wide button in the middle)
enables you to move slowly or zip quickly—depending on how far you move
the slider off center—forward or backward through your tape. You also have
frame-at-a-time Step Forward and Backward buttons, Forward and Reverse
Slow Play, and a single-frame Jog control (the ruled line beneath all the
other controls).
Using Video Clip Naming Conventions
As you log your clips, you’ll give each clip a name (you can let Premiere Pro do that
automatically, such as Clip01, Clip02, and so on, but doing so is ineffective). Think
through how you’re going to name your clips. You might end up with dozens of
clips, and if you don’t give them descriptive names, it’ll slow down editing.
You might use a naming convention for sound bites such as Bite-1, Bite-2, and
so forth. Adding a brief descriptive comment, such as Bite 1 Laugh, will help.
With natural sound, you could say Nat 1 Hawk screech.
Automatic Naming Not So Helpful
If your video clip naming convention uses numbers at the end of each clip name,
Premiere Pro will automatically add one to that number when you return to the
Logging page (I cover that process in the next Try it Yourself task, “Log and Capture
Your Clips.” So, if you name a clip Home Run-1, when you click Log In/Out, Premiere
Pro stores that clip information in the Project Window and then returns to the
Logging page and automatically places Home Run-2 in the File Name window.
Nice? Sort of. Turns out that you don’t necessarily have all the home runs back-toback on your tape, so the next clip you log might be Crowd Reacts-3 and you’ll
have to type that over Home Run-2.
Did you
Hour 5
With all other scenes (that is, besides natural sound and sound bites), you can
drop the prefixes and just give them consistent yet descriptive names: Goal-3,
Crowd React-2 Applause, Hawk Soaring-4, and Interview cutaway-1 reverse.
Did you
Using a Naming Convention Eases Project Window
Later, just before you make your first edit, you’ll organize your clips in file folders
(Adobe calls them bins). My suggestion is to put each category of clip into a separate folder—for example: natural sound, sound bites, and scenes. Depending on
your project’s size, you might want to use subcategories for scenes. Using a consistent naming convention will help in other areas. Because you can sort clips alphabetically, you can find all the nat-sound clips, select them all, and easily place them
in the Nat-Sound file folder (bin).
Try it
Log and Capture Your Clips
The standard operating procedure is to log a number of clips and then have
Premiere Pro automatically transfer them to your PC. Or you can simply mark
the in-point and out-point for a single clip and capture it.
As you log your tapes, you give each clip a name (or Premiere Pro does that automatically) and then Premiere Pro stores each clip’s in-point and out-point data in
your Project Window under each clip’s name. You specify in which folder you
want to store that data (you can change the folder for each clip if you choose) so
that when you do the actual capture, Premiere Pro places that clip’s reference
information in that Project Window bin.
Here are the steps to follow:
1. In the Capture window Setup area, click the Logging tab.
2. As shown in Figure 5.6, select where you want to store each clip’s in- and
out-data. By default, the Capture window displays whatever bins you have
in your Project Window. Because you probably haven’t created any bins,
your only choice will be your project’s main bin. In my case, it’s Sams Book
Test.prproj (prproj is the file extension for Premiere Pro projects).
Select a bin from
the Project window
list to store clip
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Using the Mouse Drag Method to Change Numeric Values
You can type in a figure—I recommend at least 30 frames or 1 second—or just
place your cursor over the handles number and drag it left or right to change the
value. This method to change a numeric value is used throughout Premiere Pro,
especially in the Effect Controls window, so give it a try here to get a feel for it.
3. Change the Handles setting (found in lower right of Logging tab in Capture
window—see Figure 5.7). This adds a user-specified number of frames (using
30 FPS) to the start and finish of a clip. By adding handles to each clip,
you’re guaranteed to have enough extra video to add transitions without
covering up important elements of the clip.
Did you
Add handles to
ensure that you
have enough slop
at the start and
end of your clip for
a transition (if
4. In the Clip Data section, as shown in Figure 5.8, give your tape a unique
name (Premiere Pro remembers clip in/out data based on tape names). And,
if you know what your first clip will be, add its name.
5. Start logging your tape. To do that, rewind it and then play it. When you
see the start of a clip you want to transfer to your PC, stop the tape, rewind
to that spot, and click the Set In button, as shown in Figure 5.9, at the
beginning of that clip. When you get to the end of that clip (you can use
Fast-forward or simply Play to get there), click Set Out. The in/out times will
display as well as the clip length.
Give your videotape
a name (write it on
the tape as a
reminder) to begin
Hour 5
Use the Timecode
section of the
Capture window to
log in/out times for
each clip that you
want to capture.
Did you
Three Other Ways to Set In/Out Points
As is the case with just about anything you do with Premiere Pro, there are other
means to set in-points and out-points for selected clips. You can click the brackets
shown in Figure 5.10 on the play controls, use the keyboard shortcuts—I for in and
O for Out—or you can change the in/out time directly in the Timecode area by clicking on the timecode and dragging your cursor left or right.
You can set inpoints and outpoints using the
brackets next to
the VCR controls.
Note the keyboard
shortcut shown in
the tooltip: O.
6. Click Log Clip. That opens the Log Clip dialog box shown in Figure 5.11.
Change the name, if needed, add appropriate notes if you want, and then
click OK. That adds this clip’s name with its in/out and tape name info to
the Project Window. You’ll go there later to do the actual capture.
Use the Log Clip
dialog box to add
any additional information about your
clip before adding
its name to the
Project window.
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Capture? Not Really. More Like Transfer.
Before you capture your first clip, I want to clarify one point. Capture is a somewhat
misleading term used throughout the NLE world. On the digital video (DV) side of
things, transfer would be a more descriptive term. Because DV already is digital, all
Premiere Pro does is tell your camcorder to transfer the selected digital clip data
through the IEEE 1394 interface and onto your hard drive. Done. No capturing necessary. It does use a codec to place the clip into a file wrapper that Premiere Pro
can recognize, but that codec does not change the original DV data.
7. Log clips for the rest of your tape using the same method.
By the
In the analog world, transfer, conversion, compression, and wrapping would more
accurately describe the capture process. In that case, your camcorder transfers the
video and audio as analog data to a video capture card. Then that card’s built-in
hardware converts the waveform signal to a digital form, compresses it using a
codec, wraps it in the AVI file format, and then stores it to your hard drive. It’s a
much less user-friendly process made even more tedious by the inability to remotely
control your camcorder (in most cases). I’ll explain that process in the next section,
“Tackling Manual Analog Movie Capture.”
8. To perform the actual capture, open the Project Window (see Figure 5.12)
and select all the clips that you want to capture (see following Did You
Know? for three methods to do that). As shown in Figure 5.12, Premiere Pro
calls already captured video clips movies and gives them a film/speaker
icon (they have both audio and video). Uncaptured clips are called offline
and have a different icon. You can sort them by media type to group all
offline clips.
Windows and Premiere Pro offer three ways to select more than one object. If they
are contiguous, mouse-click on the top one and Shift+click on the last one in the
group, or click to the left and above the top click and drag to the last one to highlight a group. If the objects are scattered about, click first one and then Ctrl+click on
each additional one in turn.
Did you
In the Project window, Premiere Pro
identifies captured
(movie) versus
ready-to-be-captured (offline) clips.
Three Ways to Select More Than One Item
Hour 5
9. Select File→Batch Capture. That opens a very simple Batch Capture dialog
box that asks whether you want to override the camcorder settings. Leave
that box unchecked and click OK.
10. The Capture window opens, as does another little dialog box telling you to
insert the proper tape (in your case, it’s probably still in the camcorder).
Click OK.
Did you
11. Premiere Pro now takes control of your camcorder, cues up the tape to the
first clip (or to whatever number of frames ahead of it if you set using handles), and transfers that clip and all other clips to your hard drive. You can
monitor the capture process by watching the PC screen or your camcorder’s
display. When completed, take a look at your Project window to see the
results. Offline files have become movies.
Discontinuities Lead to Capture Breakdowns
If your tape does not have continuous timecode and you logged clips from different
areas of the tape, Premiere Pro might not be able to automatically capture your
clips. Your tape will not have continuous timecode, for instance, if you eject the tape
then reinsert it. To avoid this inconvenience stripe your tapes.
Tackling Manual Analog Movie Capture
If you need to transfer analog video—consumer-level VHS, SVHS, Hi-8, or
professional-grade video such as Beta-SP—you need a video capture card with
analog inputs. Most such cards, like the Canopus DVStorm2 covered in Hour 4,
“Premiere Pro Setup,” have consumer-quality composite connectors as well as
S-video and sometimes top-of-the-line component plugs.
Did you
Convert Analog to DV to Automate That Capture Process
If you have access to a DV camcorder, there is one way to avoid the manual analog
capture process: dub your analog tapes to that DV camcorder. That’s a fairly straightforward procedure. Most DV camcorders have analog inputs (composite or S-video
outlets). After your tapes have been dubbed over, you can use the DV camcorder to
automate the capture process. One side benefit: you have a digital backup of your
analog tape.
You’ll need to use your card’s documentation to set up the capture criteria.
Typically you do that when you first open Premiere Pro and refine the criteria
Scene Selection and Video Capture
later when you open the Project Settings, Capture dialog box. The drop-down
menus will display options with your card’s manufacturer listed.
You’ll then go through the movie-capture process in a much more hands-on fashion. For starters, the only way that you can log clips for later automated capture
is if your camcorder records industry-standard timecode on the tape and has
device control. Most consumer analog camcorders do not do that. If you do have
such a camcorder—it’s probably a broadcast-quality Beta-SP device—follow the
capture process used for DV. If not, you’ll manually transfer each clip, one by
Try it
A Typical Video Capture Card Scenario
If you do step up to a specialized video capture card, each has its own set steps to
capture video. But they typically match those listed here:
1. Make sure that your camcorder is turned on and set to VCR/VTR.
2. Open the Capture window, click the Settings tab, and change the Device
Control setting to your capture card.
3. Press Play on your camcorder (again, unless yours is a professional grade
camcorder, there will be no means for Premiere Pro to control it).
4. If your video card installation and setup went smoothly, you should see the
video in the Movie Capture window.
5. Using the controls on your camcorder, search for a scene you like, back up
the tape a few seconds, press Play, and then click the Record button on the
Movie Capture window.
Analog Capture Processing
Your capture card converts that analog video signal into a digital format, compresses
it, and sends it to the designated file folder on your hard drive. Some capture cards
will split the signal into video-only and audio-only files (you easily can sync them up
during editing).
By the
6. When you reach the end of that particular scene, press Esc or click the
Record button to stop the recording.
7. Premiere Pro will ask you to name the clip, just as it did during DV movie
8. Click OK to return to the Movie Capture window and continue selecting and
transferring clips, one at a time.
Hour 5
Using Scenalyzer to Automate Video
Premiere Pro’s scene detection algorithm works only by noting discontinuities in
the time stamp. It cannot detect visual scene changes. Scenalyzer can. This easyto-use $39 program is available for download from the Vienna, Austria-based
Web site:
Its interface, shown in Figure 5.13, offers intuitive controls and tips.
Scenalyzer takes
scene detection to
its most helpful
You can simply accept the default conditions and click the Capture Video to Your
Harddisk button or, as shown in Figure 5.14, tweak the heck out of it.
The caveat is that scene analysis is tricky. It’s often better than nothing, but it can
miss many scene breaks or create too many clips. That said, if you want greater
control and more automation during video capture, Scenalyzer is the right choice.
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Scenalyzer’s many
options make it
possible for you to
fine-tune your video
capture to the nth
Managing Your Assets
You used naming conventions to make accessing your video and other media
assets easier. One additional step will enhance that ease-of-access: organizing
your Project window.
The Project window is simply a means to access your assets—video clips, audio
cuts, and graphics. Each listed media asset is basically just a link. The files themselves—the video clips and so on—remain in their scratch disk file folder(s).
Project Windows Holds Only Small Bits of Data
It’s a good thing that the Project window contains only links and not actual asset
files. It saves disk space by not copying assets to a new location. This means that
you can have multiple projects access the same assets without duplicating them. It
also means that you can delete a project file without mistakenly deleting your precious video clips.
By the
Even when you trim a clip, the original clip remains untouched. Premiere Pro doesn’t
lop off the unwanted sections, it merely records the data that describes how you
trimmed the clip. Premiere Pro is nondestructive.
Logically arranging your assets in the Project window is simple. It’s not much
more than adding a few bins then doing some dragging and dropping. Here’s
how it works:
Try it
Organize Your Assets
Hour 5
1. Take a look at the Project window. You should see all your newly captured
video clips. Expand the view of that window by dragging its lower-right
2. Change the display to Icon (more accurately, thumbnail) view by clicking the
Monitor button, circled in Figure 5.15.
Use the Icon view
to get a visual representation of your
3. Test the Project window media viewer by selecting one of your clips and
clicking on the Play triangle next to the screen in the upper-left corner of
the Project window.
4. Create new file folders (bins) by clicking the folder button to the right of the
Icon view button (also circled in Figure 5.15). That displays a bin in the
Project window. Give it a name that matches your planned video clip organization. Do that for all the bins you planned for your clips.
5. Select and drag video clips to their respective bins. You can select more than
one clip using the methods described earlier: Shift+click or click+drag to
select contiguous clips or Ctrl+click to select scattered clips. After the clips
have been selected, click on the image portion of a clip (as opposed to a
beige border) and drag the clip collection to its respective bin. Repeat that
for all your clips. As with folders in Windows Explorer, you also can drag
folders into other folders to create nested folder collections.
Scene Selection and Video Capture
Before you can edit your video, you need to capture it—transfer it to your PC. That
process can be as simple as copying an entire tape to your hard drive and storing
it as one long clip or it can take a more selective route. That latter approach gives
you the chance to review your raw footage to choose keepers and to give your
chosen clips descriptive names that will make it easier to track down elusive clips
Premiere Pro has a scene selection feature that relies on breaks in a DV tape’s
time stamp. If you want to split your tape automatically into clips based on visual scene changes, Scenalyzer handles that well.
Finally, after you’ve captured your clips, organize your clips into bins in the
Project window.
Q I get a report that there were dropped frames during the batch capture.
What’s going on?
A If you experience dropped frames, you might have too many programs running in the background that are interfering with video capture. In Windows,
press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open the Task Manager, and take a look at the
Applications tab and the Processes tab to see what programs and processes
are running in the background. If it’s more than three or four programs,
you might disable some of them. Also check what programs load automatically during startup by selecting Start→Run, typing in msconfig, and clicking OK. That opens the System Configuration Utility. Click its Startup tab.
I’m a firm believer in not having anything running in the background
(except virus checking software). You can probably unclick everything else
there to free up some resources. One other point: If you’re capturing analog
video, you might be using an outdated codec or one with too high a data
Q When I open the Capture window, I don’t see an image in the video moni-
tor and I can’t control my DV camcorder. Why not?
A This could be one of several things: Your camcorder is not turned on (if
you’re using a battery, it might be in sleep mode); you have it in Camera
mode instead of VCR/VTR; or you haven’t inserted your tape.
Hour 5
1. During the capture process, it’s a good idea to add some extra frames to the
start and end of each clip to ensure that you have enough footage to do
transitions. How do you do that?
2. You want to capture a clip for its video plus a portion of that clip for a snippet of natural sound. How do you do that?
3. Why should you store your captured video and audio files on a hard drive
other than the one your operating system is on?
Quiz Answers
1. Put some number of frames in the Handles option in the Capture section of
the Capture window. A reminder: One second of video equals approximately 30 frames for NTSC or 25 frames for PAL.
2. Simply log that entire clip and then go back and log the natural sound portion. It’s not a problem to capture a video from the same location on your
original tape more than once. Premiere Pro simply treats each instance as a
separate clip and shuttles the tape to the proper in- and out-points, whether
or not it’s been there before.
3. Your operating system regularly accesses its hard drive, even when your
computer is otherwise idle. If that happens while you’re viewing or transferring a clip, it might interrupt the flow. You also should install Premiere on a
drive other than the one you’re using for your video clips.
If you have any analog tapes, now is as good a time as any to convert them to
DV. Obtain a DV camcorder with analog video inputs (S-video is better than composite) and dub your tapes to DV. DV lasts longer than analog and is much easier
to work with.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Video editing: from engineers to artists
Using a storyboard approach
Taking a Timeline window tour
Editing clips in a sequence
Video editing has come a long way from massive tape machines operated only by
engineers to desktop PCs offering anyone an opportunity to enjoy the art of video
editing. A good introduction to nonlinear editing is via the storyboard. I explain
that in this hour. After you’ve organized your clips on the storyboard and then
moved them to a timeline—or sequence in Premiere Pro parlance—you have countless options to trim, move, add, and delete clips. Those topics conclude this hour.
Video Editing: From Engineers to Artists
Premiere Pro and other nonlinear editors like it have opened new opportunities.
Anyone with a PC, even a laptop, now can do broadcast-quality video editing. What
was once reserved for high-end video production studios and well-equipped TV stations, has now reached the mass market (at least those willing to spend $2,000 for
software and a digital video (DV) camcorder).
Old-Fashioned Editing
To gain some perspective on the video editing process, a little history is in order. In
the early days of TV, engineers did the editing. They had to. They were trained to
deal with unruly, bulky, and complex tape machines. They had to monitor things
such as color framing, sync timing, and blanking.
Hour 6
Here’s how John Crossman, a long-time editor friend of mine, puts it (see “Editing
Tips from an Expert—John Crossman” in Hour 9, “Advanced Editing Techniques
and Workspace Tools”):
The logic was that the same people who pushed the “record” and “playback” buttons in the tape room should be the ones to run the editing machines. Videotape
editing then was considered a very technical job, not an artistic job.
Microprocessors eventually resolved and automated many of those technical
issues, and nonengineering people—folks with an eye for editing—started populating the editing bays. However, prohibitive costs limited access to those
As recently as a few years ago, whenever I created a video that called for some
special transitions, I worked offline (that is, I used copies of my original master
tapes on a lower-priced editing system to create an edit decision list [EDL]). Figure
6.1 shows an example created in Premiere 6.5.
By the
An EDL created by
Premiere 6.5.
EDLs—On Their Way Out
Premiere Pro no longer creates EDLs. Adobe chose to migrate to an emerging crossplatform technology called AAF—Advanced Authoring Format. It resolves two drawbacks to EDLs: They’re text only and they have limited transition and effect options.
According to the AAF Association (, “AAF is a
multimedia file format that enables content creators to easily exchange digital
media and metadata across platforms, and between systems and applications. The
AAF simplifies project management, saves time, and preserves valuable metadata
that was often lost when transferring media between applications in the past.”
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Then I took my original raw footage and that EDL data file, with all the transition commands built in, to an expensive online facility that automatically (with
some manual labor) cranked out a polished product. That process, although more
time-consuming than working online from start to finish, saved a ton of money.
Today the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme, and you’re riding that
pendulum. Anyone can work solely online (that is, use the original video footage
from start to finish). No longer do video producers need to rely on high-priced
production houses. Heck, now you can do it at home. The purpose is to do it well,
and that starts with getting your assets arranged.
Using a Storyboard Approach
I think the easiest way to take your first steps into nonlinear video editing is by
using a storyboard. You’ve probably seen how feature film directors sometimes
use photos or call on artists to sketch out scenes to help visualize story flow and
camera angles. I’ve seen animated feature film storyboards that filled several conference room walls.
Few video editors rely on the storyboard. It’s more a bridge to editing than a true
productivity tool. In previous versions of Premiere, it was a separate feature.
Premiere Pro’s developers chose to drop the storyboard, but changed the Project
window to replace most of the storyboard’s functionality.
Missing Storyboard Features
What’s missing in Premiere Pro’s implementation of the storyboard versus previous
versions are little arrows showing the storyboard flow (it’s still left-to-right and top-tobottom), a total running time for the selected clips, and the capability to remove
clips without deleting them from the Project window. (I offer up a workaround for that
latter issue in the coming Try It Yourself tasks.) It also has some confounding usability issues that I explain in a moment.
You can display video clip thumbnails in the Project window—in storyboard fashion—to help structure the flow of your production. This approach can come in
handy by revealing gaps in your story—places that need fleshing out with more
video or graphics. It’s also a way to note redundancy. It’s also an easy way to
quickly place a whole bunch of ordered clips on a sequence. But for most folks, it
serves solely as a one-time introduction to nonlinear editing. Use it once and
move on.
By the
Try it
Hour 6
Creating a Storyboard
The methodology is fairly simple, but there are some limitations. The first limitation is that switching to Icon view in the Project window displays thumbnails of
clips only from a single bin (folder). Because you have multiple bins, this makes
creating a storyboard darned inconvenient. Here’s a workaround for that as well
as an explanation of the rest of the storyboard creation process:
1. In the Project window, create a Storyboard bin by clicking the new Bin button and naming it Storyboard.
2. The goal is to place copies of all the clips you intend to use in your storyboard in this newly created bin. Open a bin with clips that you intend to
use and select all the needed clips from that bin.
3. As shown in Figure 6.2, right-click (context-click in Premiere Pro parlance) on
one of the selected clips to bring up the context menu. Select Copy (that will
copy the entire collection of clips).
By the
Open bins one at a
time, select clips
you want to place
in your storyboard,
and use the rightclick context menu
to copy them.
Premiere Pro is rife with context-sensitive menus that are accessible by right-clicking
on objects or within windows. Feel free to right-click on scattered items in the
Premiere Pro workspace. You’ll find that clicking in the Monitor, Timeline, and Effect
Controls windows presents you with numerous options.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Audio Re-conforming
The unfortunate side effect of all this copying is that Premiere Pro will re-conform all
the audio for these clips, which consumes extra hard drive space and ties up your
processor for a while. This behavior was one of the regular gripes among beta
testers. We’ll watch to see whether Adobe fixes this in future versions of Premiere
4. As shown in Figure 6.3, right-click on the Storyboard bin and select Paste.
Repeat this for all the clips you want to place in your storyboard.
By the
Highlight the
Storyboard bin with
a right mouse click
and then paste
your clip copies
6. For reasons unknown, this causes Premiere Pro to close any opened bins and
display bin icons only. Remedy that by double-clicking the Storyboard bin to
display all its clips. Your Project window should look like Figure 6.4. If the
thumbnails don’t display, click the wing menu triangle (in the upper-right
corner in Figure 6.4), and select Thumbnails→Large, Medium or Small.
5. With your Storyboard bin loaded to the brim, expand your Project window
view as wide and tall as you can and change the view to display clip
thumbnails by clicking the Icon button (circled in Figure 6.4) at the bottomleft corner of the Project window.
By the
Hour 6
No Word Wrap
Here’s another limitation to Premiere Pro’s storyboard implementation. The old
Premiere storyboard used something like word wrap. If there were too many thumbnails for the Project window screen size, they’d fill the screen width and then scroll
down the window (standard behavior for most windows). You could at least see a
group of consecutively placed thumbnails in the window.
With Premiere Pro, the thumbnails generally run past the right side of the window,
meaning that you have to use the slider on the bottom of the window to see consecutively placed thumbnails. To gather them within the width of your expanded Project
window, open the wing menu (the little triangle in the upper right corner) and select
Clean Up.
Expand your Project
window and convert
it to Icon (thumbnail) view by clicking the circled Icon
button. Use the
wing menu and
select Clean Up to
remove any empty
storyboard frames.
If you choose to do
so, you can change
the thumbnail
poster frame image
by using the small
video screen and
camera button.
Wing menu
7. A clip’s thumbnail image—or poster frame—defaults to the first frame of
video for that clip. You can set a new thumbnail image by selecting the clip
and then playing it in the little Project window video monitor. When you
see a more representative image, click the camera button highlighted in
Figure 6.5.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Arrange Your Storyboard
Now you can look over the storyboard and do two things: rearrange and delete
clips. Remember, you’re just deleting clips from the Storyboard bin. The original
clip references remain in their respective Project window bins.
To move a clip, simply drag it to a new location. A black vertical line indicates
To use the same clip or portions of the same clip in more than one location, rightclick on that clip and select Duplicate. That instantly adds a copy of that clip
(adding the word Copy at the end of its filename) someplace in the storyboard.
Track it down and place it where it suits you. I tell you how to trim it in the next
To remove a clip from the Storyboard, select it and press Delete (or right-click and
select Cut). That leaves an empty placeholder. You can remove such gaps later by
opening the Project window wing menu (the triangle in the upper-right corner)
and selecting Clean Up.
It’s helpful to trim clips before moving them from the Storyboard to the sequence.
Do that by double-clicking a thumbnail to display it to the Source Monitor window and trim it there. Here’s how it’s done:
Try it
Trim Clips in the Source Monitor
1. With your Storyboard still open, double-click a clip you’d like to slim down.
The Monitor window pops up (depending on your screen resolution, it might
pop up on top of the storyboard) with your clip’s first frame on display on
the Source screen (another way to open a clip like this is to simply drag it
from the storyboard to the Source Monitor window).
3. Refer back to the Storyboard bin (see Figure 6.5) and you’ll see that the clip
duration displayed below the clip thumbnail has changed to reflect the new
in-points and out-points.
2. As shown in Figure 6.6, play the clip to where you’d like it to start. Use the
Play button or scrub through the clip using the Current Time Indicator
(CTI). Mark that in-point by clicking the Set In-Point “{“ bracket (or pressing
the I shortcut key). Do the same for the out-point. No need to be too exact.
You can make more precise edits when you work in the Timeline window.
Hour 6
You can trim your
storyboard clips in
the Source Monitor
window using the
in- and outmarkers.
Feel free to trim down as many of your clips as you like (you always can adjust
those in-points and out-points later in the timeline).
When you’re satisfied that your clips are in the right sequence and that you’ve
weeded out the redundancies and trimmed the fat, it’s time to send your project to
the timeline window for additional editing.
Try it
Automate Your Storyboard to a Sequence
Now you’re going to move your storyboard clips to the timeline window—placing
them contiguously, in sequential order. Premiere Pro calls this automate to
sequence. Here’s how you do it:
1. Select the clips to place on a sequence. You probably want to select all clips.
To do that, select Edit→Select All. You can Ctrl+click to select scattered clips
or drag a marquee over a group of contiguous clips.
2. Click the Automate to Sequence button in the lower-left corner of the Project
Window. I highlighted it in Figure 6.7.
The Automate to
Sequence button
will place your storyboard clips on
the timeline.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
3. In the newly opened Automate to Sequence dialog box, shown in Figure 6.8,
you face several options:
Ordering—Sort Order puts clips on a sequence in the order you established
in the Storyboard. Selection Order places them in the order you selected
them by Ctrl+clicking on individual clips.
Placement—Places your clips sequentially on the timeline as opposed to at
unnumbered markers (something we haven’t covered anyway).
Method—The choices are Insert or Overlay. I discuss both concepts later this
hour in the “Editing Clips in a Sequence” section. Because you probably are
placing the clips on an empty sequence, both methods do the same thing.
Clip Overlap—Here’s where I suggest that you deviate from the defaults.
Overlap presumes that you’ll put a transition such as a cross-dissolve
between all clips. The goal this hour is to create a cuts-only video; that is, a
video with no transitions or special effects. Set Clip Overlap to zero.
Keep Transitions in Check
I will mention more than once in this book that transitions (and special effects) are
overused and distracting. Fewer is better.
By the
Apply Default Audio/Video Transition—Because you’ll opt for no transitions, uncheck these boxes.
Ignore Audio/Video—Because you want to put both the audio and video
portions of your DV clips on a sequence, keep these boxes unchecked.
Adjust settings in
the Automate to
Sequence dialog
box to complete
the process.
Hour 6
Did you
Checking the Destination Sequence
Before you click OK, check your Timeline window. Premiere Pro will place your clips
on whatever sequence is open, starting wherever you have placed the CTI in that
sequence. If you’ve followed this book to a T, there should be one empty sequence
in the Timeline window. If not, cancel out of the Automate to Sequence dialog box,
select File→New→Sequence, and click OK in the New Sequence dialog box. Now
return to the Automate to Sequence dialog box, make the appropriate adjustments,
and go to step 4.
4. Click OK. This places your clips in order on the Sequence in the Timeline
Taking a Timeline Window Tour
The Timeline window and its sequences are the heart and soul of Premiere Pro.
Everything you do in Premiere Pro relies on the timeline sequences. You do further
editing of your clips here, add special effects, and place transitions between
clips—and your output emanates from it.
The first thing you’ll notice is that your ordered clips residing on Video Track 1
and their audio (in this case, natural sound) is on Audio Track 1. It should look a
lot like Figure 6.9. The name of each clip appears right after each edit point.
Current Time Indicator – CTI
The timeline immediately after completing the
Automate to
Timeline process.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Timeline Window Keyboard Shortcuts
Depending on the length of your project, you probably see only a few of the clips you
automatically added to the sequence. You can change the scale of the sequence to
show more clips (or fewer—your choice). Here are three keyboard shortcuts:
Did you
./ (backslash) will display your entire project within the width of the Timeline
.- (hyphen key—not the numeric keypad minus sign) incrementally increases
the time displayed in the timeline, thereby showing more of your project
assets. This is the same as the Zoom Out—small mountain—button in the
lower-left corner of the Timeline window.
.= (equal key) incrementally reduces the time displayed. The + is an uppercase
=, but you don’t need to use the Shift key for this shortcut. It’s the same as
the Zoom In—double mountain—button.
To take a look at your masterpiece in action, drag the CTI (noted in Figure 6.9) to
the beginning and press the spacebar (the keyboard shortcut for Play/Pause). Your
cuts-only video will display in the Monitor window’s program screen. You can
stop it by pressing the spacebar again. You also can use the VCR button controls
in the program screen.
You quickly can scrub through your project by clicking and dragging the CTI (or the
edit line below it and outside any clips).
Editing Clips in a Sequence
In a departure from standard Premiere Pro how-to books, I think the best way to
learn about using the sequence is to experiment with it a bit. When I first learned
to use earlier versions of Premiere by reading how-to books, their narrow, specific,
step-by-step explanations kept me from seeing the big picture. I think the way
around that is for you to take Premiere Pro’s sequence for a test drive by doing a
few straightforward edits.
And don’t worry. There’s really no way you can mess up your storyboard handiwork. Premiere Pro is fairly forgiving. If you do something that looks wrong, you
always can click Edit, Undo to fix it (or the standard Windows shortcut: Ctrl+Z).
Do several things wrong and you can use the History palette to move back as
many steps as you like, even as far back as to the original Automate to Sequence
(see Figure 6.10).
Did you
Hour 6
If things get out of
hand, use the
History palette to
back up any number of steps, even
all the way back to
Automate to
One of the beauties of Premiere Pro is how easy it is to add clips anywhere in the
project, move them around, remove them altogether, and change their lengths.
Here’s how you do all that.
Changing a Clip’s Length
Note that as you move your Selection tool (the default arrow cursor) across a clip,
it changes shape to a left or right red square bracket—either [ or ]. This little tool,
shown in Figure 6.11, enables you to change the length of a clip.
The Selection tool’s
Trim mode makes it
possible for you to
change the length
of a clip by moving
the beginning or
end of a clip.
Move the bracket to the end of a clip directly before the edit point with the next
clip. Notice that the bracket faces left. If you click and drag it to the left, you’ll
trim the end of that clip. You can look for an appropriate trim edit point by
watching the Program Monitor screen. Release the mouse and your clip shrinks,
leaving a gap where the trimmed footage used to be. I explain how to get rid of
that gap in a few minutes.
By the
Trimming Changes Audio, Too
As you trim your video, its associated audio gets trimmed as well. You can trim only
the video or only the audio portion of such a linked clip. I show you how in the next
hour, “Applying Professional Edits and Adding Transitions.”
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
To trim the beginning of a clip, do the same thing except make sure that the
bracket faces right—into the clip. Then drag it to the right and release when you
reach an appropriate edit point.
Snap to Edges
Premiere Pro has a tremendously useful attribute called Snap to Edges. It’s a default
setting, and in only a few instances will you want to deselect it. Snap to Edges
means that as you drag a clip toward another clip, it’ll jump to the edge of the clip
to make a clean, unbroken edit. With Snap to Edges turned off, you’d have to slide
the new clip very carefully next to the other clip to ensure there is no gap.
Did you
Snap to Edges is also useful when making precise edits. Using the Selection tool (in
its trim mode) to trim a clip is a bit inexact. You can make it frame specific. Locate
the frame you want to edit to by dragging the CTI through your sequence to that
frame’s approximate location and then using the Step Forward/Back buttons (keyboard shortcuts: right-arrow key and left-arrow key) in the Program Monitor window to
move to the specific frame. That places the CTI right at that frame on the clip in the
timeline. Use the Selection tool and drag the edge of the clip toward the CTI line.
When it gets near it, it will snap to the CTI, and you’ll have made a frame-specific
You can use this technique in all sorts of circumstances.
Removing a Clip
Select a clip by clicking it and pressing Delete. Gone. There’s that gray gap again.
We’ll fix that later. If you want your clip back, select Edit→Undo (Ctrl+Z).
Closing the Gaps—Ripple Delete
By now, you might have left a few gaps in your production. Removing them and
closing the gaps is a snap. As shown in Figure 6.12, right-click a gap and click
Ripple Delete (so named because its effect ripples through the entire sequence).
Ripple Delete removes the gap by sliding all the material after the gap to the left.
Do this for all the gaps, and your production will play back smoothly.
Ripple Delete
slides everything in
a sequence, on all
video and audio
tracks, to the left
(earlier in the production) to fill a
Hour 6
Save yourself a step by applying Ripple Delete to a clip. Right-click on a clip; that
opens the lengthy context-sensitive menu shown in Figure 6.13. I cover some of
that menu’s commands later in this book. In this case, select Ripple Delete. Doing
so removes the selected clip and slides everything else on the sequence (video and
audio clips) over to the left to fill the gap.
Right-click on a clip
to open this extensive context-sensitive menu. In this
case, use it to
Ripple Delete the
Using the Ripple Edit Tool
Another way to avoid creating those gaps is to use the Ripple Edit tool. It’s one of
the 11 tools in the Tools palette. I’ve highlighted the Ripple Edit tool in Figure
6.14 (keyboard shortcut: B).
The Ripple Edit
tool. Using it saves
you the extra step
of doing ripple
deletes on gaps in
your timeline.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
You use the Ripple Edit tool to change the length of a clip. It works much like the
Selection tool (its icon is a thicker Selection tool bracket). The basic difference
between the Selection and Ripple Edit tools is how the rest of the clips on a track
behave once you change the length of a clip.
You know that when you use the Selection tool to shorten a clip by dragging in
one end of that clip, doing so leaves a gap between two clips. To close that gap,
you right-click it and select Ripple Delete.
If you use the Ripple Edit tool instead, there’s no need to do that final step. When
you use the Ripple Edit tool to lengthen or shorten a clip, your action ripples
through the sequence. That is, all clips after that edit slide to the left to fill the
gap or slide to the right accommodate a longer clip.
Position it at the beginning or end of a clip you want to shorten and then click
and drag it accordingly. If the edit point abuts another clip, Premiere Pro shows
adjacent frames in the Monitor window as you are dragging. After you’ve found
the point where you want to make your edit, release the mouse button. The
Ripple Edit tool shortens the clip and slides everything on every track (audio and
video) of the sequence over to the left to close the gap. I introduce the other Tools
palette items later in this hour, in the “Using Other Editing Tools” section.
Lifting and Moving a Clip
There are two kinds of moves: lift and extract. Lift leaves a gap. Extract is the
equivalent of what is usually referred to as a ripple delete in that other clips move
over to fill the gap. Extract uses a keyboard modifier (see next section). To lift and
move a clip (both the video and its linked audio), click and drag the clip from
one point on the Video 1 track and drop it at the end of your clip collection. The
behavior should match that shown in Figure 6.15.
Overlaying a Clip
If you lift a clip and then place it on top of another clip or clips, the moved clip will
cover those clips and its audio will replace what was on the sequence before. That’s
called an overlay edit and I discuss that a bit more later this hour in “Adding a Clip
Inside a Sequence—Overlay or Insert.”
Using a Keyboard Modifier to Extract and Move
Extract introduces something new to Premiere Pro: keyboard modifiers. By holding
down Ctrl or Alt+Ctrl when adding, removing, or moving a clip, you change how
By the
Hour 6
the rest of the clips on the sequence behave. At first it might seem confusing, but
the behavior is logical and predictable. You use the Alt key only for sequences
with clips on more than one set of tracks. I cover it in Hour 17, “Compositing
Part 1—Layering Images and Clips.” We’ll stick with using the Ctrl keyboard
modifier in this hour.
Lift and Move
The lift and move
By the
Third-Biggest Beta Group Gripe
The Premiere Pro development team dropped a number of tools in lieu of adding keyboard modifiers. For some members of the beta testing group, these new behaviors
caused a fair amount of confusion and consternation. All that came to a screeching
halt when one member posted a brief video on his Web site, giving a practical
demonstration of this new functionality. Light bulbs began clicking on and it didn’t
take long before the beta folks began singing the praises of keyboard modifiers.
Extract is the same as ripple delete. You remove a clip and all other clips slide to
the left to fill the gap. In this case, because you’re doing an extract and move,
those sliding clips include the extracted clip.
Take a look at Figure 6.16 to see how this behavior plays out. You click on a clip
and hold down the Ctrl key as you extract it from its place on the sequence. You
now can release the Ctrl key and move it to the end of your sequence. When you
drop it there (release the mouse button), the moved clip and the clips ahead of it
slide to fill its former position—an extract and move.
By the
Modifier Key Feedback
Note that as you drag a clip to or from the Project window to a sequence or from
one place on a sequence track to another, Premiere Pro displays a little text message at the bottom of the user interface. If you aren’t using the Ctrl key, it’ll say,
Drop in Track to Overwrite. Use Ctrl to enable insert. Press the Ctrl
key and Premiere Pro will let you know that you can use the Alt key to limit the
tracks that shift.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Extract and Move
The extract and
move behavior.
Adding a Clip Inside a Sequence—Overlay or Insert
No matter how carefully you selected clips for your storyboard, you can add clips
to your sequence later (see Figure 6.17).
Overlay and Insert
Overlay (no keyboard modifier) and
insert (using Ctrl
modifier) behaviors.
Overlay (no modifier key)
Insert (with Ctrl modifier key)
An overlay (or overwrite) does just what it says. Here’s how it works. Drag a clip
from the Project window to the sequence. As shown in Figure 6.18, the Monitor
window Program screen changes into two images. The left side is the new outpoint of the clip that precedes your newly positioned clip. The right side is the inpoint of the clip that follows your newly placed clip (you don’t see an image of
the clip you’re positioning). As you slide the clip left and right, those side-by-side
images change accordingly.
If you want to position your new clip at an edit point or at the CTI edit line, Snap
to Edges will take care of that and give you a visual reference by popping up a
thin, black, vertical line at those points as you move close to them. When you’re
satisfied with the new position, release the mouse button.
Hour 6
Use the Monitor
window Program
split-screen to
locate the new inpoints and outpoints for the overlaid clip.
By the
Razoring Behavior
This overlay (as well as insert) behavior—positioning a clip anywhere within an existing clip or set of clips—is called razoring. In one step, you’re making two razor
slices, removing the stuff between the cuts, and dropping a new clip in that gap.
This is a new, very powerful, time-saving feature in Premiere Pro.
Take a look back at Figure 6.17 to see how an insert edit behaves. In this case, it
does not overwrite a clip or set of clips; it razors a clip at the left edge of the new
clip, slides everything to the right of that razor cut to the right, and drops the new
clip on the sequence in that newly created gap. Nothing is covered up. All previously placed video and audio remain on the sequence.
To perform an insert edit, follow the same process as you did with an overlay. But
this time, hold down the Ctrl key as you position the clip in the sequence. In this
case, the Monitor window Program split-screen will show the same image on both
sides (unless you position the left edge of the new clip at an edit point). When
you find an edit point that suits you, release the mouse button. Voilá—an Insert
Using Other Editing Tools
The Tools palette has lost weight in Premiere Pro. Previous versions of Premiere
packed 18 tools in an even smaller space than the current Tools palette. Premiere
Pro places only 11 on that vertical bar. Table 6.1 shows a quick rundown.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Tools Palette Tools
Tool Name
Keyboard Shortcut
Multipurpose, all-around aide
Track Select
Discussed later this hour
Ripple Edit
Already discussed
Rolling Edit
See Hour 9
Rate Stretch
See Hour 9
Discussed later
See Hour 9
See Hour 9
Discussed later this hour
Discussed later this hour
Discussed later this hour
Track Select
Not to be confused with the Selection tool, the Track Select tool enables you to
select all clips to the right of wherever you click it on a video or audio track. You
can Shift-click to select other tracks. After they’ve been selected, you can slide
them, delete them, cut/paste them, or copy/paste them.
Edit Tools
I’ve already explained the Ripple Edit tool. I’ll cover Rolling, Rate Stretch, Slide,
and Slip in Hour 9. The one you might experiment with now is the Rate Stretch
tool. Select it and then click and drag it on a clip to stretch or compress that clip
and in the process slow it down or speed it up.
Hour 6
Razor slices a clip or clips in two. It has multiple uses, and I’ll cover them in several different hours.
A very limited use tool used to add, select, move, or delete keyframes on a
sequence. I briefly explain it in Hour 14, “Sweetening Your Sound.”
A limited-use tool. Use the Hand tool to move an entire sequence by grabbing a
clip and sliding it to one side. It works the same as moving the scrollbar at the
bottom of the Timeline window.
This works like the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons in the lower-left corner of the
Timeline window and the Zoom bar at the top of the sequence above the time
ruler. Default is Zoom In (the + cursor). Hold down Alt to change that to Zoom
Out (the - cursor). When you want to see a set of clips in greater detail, click and
drag the Zoom tool around those clips.
Video editing has moved from an engineering function to art. Nonlinear editors
(NLEs) have opened this art form to anyone with a PC and a camcorder. An easy
introduction to nonlinear editing is a storyboard. It enables you to visualize the
flow of your production as it moves from one video clip to the next.
Premiere Pro’s Project window storyboard implementation is not as elegant as the
dedicated storyboards in its predecessors, but it achieves the same results. You can
use the Project window’s icon view to arrange clips and then trim them in the
Monitor window Source screen.
After you’ve automated the clips to a sequence, it’s easy to trim, delete, add,
extract, and insert clips. Premiere Pro’s new keyboard modifier—Ctrl, in the
instances covered this hour—gives you more control without the need to change
tools or perform extra steps.
Creating a Cuts-Only Video
Q The storyboard is fine as an introduction to nonlinear editing, but I want to
skip it and work directly on the timeline. How can I do this?
A This is the approach you’ll probably end up taking as you gain experience
working with Premiere Pro. Instead of opening a new storyboard each time
you start a new production, just drag clips from your Project window and
drop them on the timeline. Drop them all on the Video 1 track. You can
select a number of clips at once in the Project window and drag them all to
the timeline. In that case, they’ll appear in the same order they appeared in
the Project bin or in the order you selected them.
Q Because Premiere Pro can have up to 99 video and audio tracks, why
can’t I place video in some other track besides Video 1?
A You can place your clips on any track you want. And as you gain experience, you will do that for every project. It’s just that placing clips on multiple tracks introduces a level of complexity that might be more than you
want to tackle at this stage. Feel free to experiment. The basic rule is that
video clips on higher-numbered tracks cover whatever is below them on a
sequence, whereas audio tracks all play at once. Later in the book, I show
you how to composite—or layer video—and how to mix multiple audio
1. You set up the Project window to display thumbnails. But one thumbnail is
black. Why? What can you do about it?
2. You’ve created a storyboard, but several clips are obviously too long. How
do you trim that excess baggage?
3. How do you trim a clip in a sequence without creating a gray gap?
Quiz Answers
1. It’s black because the first frame of that clip is black. The thumbnail
defaults to the first frame. To change the thumbnail image, select the clip,
play it in the little Project Monitor window, and when you see an image
Hour 6
that represents the clip, click the little box in the lower-right corner. That
sets a new thumbnail image. It should show up right away in the Project
Bin window.
2. Double-click each extra-long clip to open it in the Source Monitor. Play it or
drag the CTI to where you want the edited clip to start. Click the left inpoint bracket ({). Then do the same for the out-point. Notice that your clip’s
new time shows up in its storyboard thumbnail caption.
3. Use the Ripple Edit tool. You’ll find it in the Tools palette. It’s the third one
down—a fat vertical line with arrows sticking out both sides. Move it to the
end of the clip you want to shorten. Drag it to the new edit point and
release. The clip will shrink and the rest of the project automatically will fill
the gap.
1. Take the right-click menu for a test drive (you’ve already used this technique
to use Ripple Delete). Right-click a clip in the timeline and check out the
various options. Speed/Duration and Frame Hold are both excellent editing
tools that I’ll cover later. Try them out on some clips.
2. Grab your camcorder and head out looking not for a subject but rather for a
sequence. For example, go to a public place such as a park and tape someone tossing a ball to his dog. Get wide and tight shots and various angles
(oh, and get permission). Then transfer that video and build a sequence.
This is a real test of editing skill because it involves editing techniques such
as wide/tight and matching shots.
3. Practice, practice, and practice all the various editing moves described in
this hour. Trim, delete, overlay, insert, lift, and extract. Use the Ctrl modifier
key. Note that that Insert/Overlay icon changes as you press and release the
Ctrl key. The more you work with this new functionality, the more it will
become second nature.
Enhancing Your Video
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Adding Video Effects
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
Adding Transitions
Between Clips
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
. Using transitions with restraint
. Trying some transitions
. Manipulating transitions in the A/B window
Applying transitions between clips—dissolves, page wipes, spinning screens, and
many more—is a nice way to ease viewers from one scene to the next or to grab
their attention.
Adding transitions is a simple drag-and-drop process. Most transitions offer additional options and all let you fine-tune their exact placement between clips and duration. Editors new to Premiere Pro’s wealth of transition possibilities might opt to
overuse them. I strongly suggest restraint.
Using Transitions with Restraint
Watch some TV news stories. Most use cuts-only edits. I’d be surprised if you see any
transitions. Why? Time is a factor. But more and more stations these days have
ready access to nonlinear editors such as Premiere Pro, and it takes almost no time
to add a transition using an NLE.
The principal reason for the dearth of transitions is that they can be distracting. If a
TV news editor uses one, it’s for a purpose. Transitions typically take what would
have been a jarring edit—such as a major jump cut—and make it more palatable.
An oft-heard newsroom phrase applies: “If you can’t solve it, dissolve it.”
Hour 7
On the other hand, consider the Star Wars movies. Remember all the highly stylized transitions? Obvious, slow wipes for example. George Lucas knows what he’s
doing. Each of those transitions has a purpose. In general, they are reminiscent of
old serialized movie and TV shows. Specifically, they send a clear message to the
audience: “Pay attention. We’re transitioning across space and time…”
Transitions can add whimsy. Here are a few examples:
. Start on a tight hand shot of someone cutting a deck of cards and make a
Swap transition—one image slides to one side and another slides over it—to
another card-related shot.
. Start with a tight shot of a clock (analog, not digital) and use the aptly
named Clock Wipe—a line centered on the screen sweeps around to reveal
another image—to move to another setting and time.
. Get that James Bond, through-the-bloody-eye effect using the Iris Round
. Take a medium shot of a garage door and use a Push—one image moves off
the top while another replaces it from below—to transition to the next shot
of the garage interior.
. With some planning and experimentation, you can videotape someone
pushing against a wall while walking in place and use that same Push transition (after applying a horizontal direction to it) to have that person “slide”
the old scene off screen.
Transitions can work with your video to add visual interest:
. Take a shot of a car driving through the frame and use a wipe, synchronized with the speed of the car, to move to the next scene.
. Transition from a shot of driving rain or a waterfall using the Slash Slide
transition, in which streaks, like driving rain, slice through an image revealing another image behind it.
. Use the aptly named Venetian Blinds transition as a great way to move
from an interior to an exterior.
. A Page Peel transition works well with a piece of parchment.
The possibilities are truly endless. During this hour, I’ll encourage you to experiment with all that Premiere Pro has to offer.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Trying Some Transitions
Premiere Pro ships with more than 70 transitions. Some are subtle, and some are
“in your face.” The more you experiment with them, the more likely you are to
use them well.
Applying a transition between two clips starts with a simple drag-and-drop. That
might be enough for many transitions, but Premiere Pro gives you a wide variety
of options to fine-tune transitions. Most of that work takes place in the Effect
Controls window. Some transitions have a Custom button that opens a separate
dialog box with sets of options unique to each.
In the following Try It Yourself tasks, I’ll start you off on simple transitions and
gradually introduce you to the extra options available.
Try it
Prepare Your Workspace to Test Transitions
I want to keep things simple. In this task, you’ll work on a very basic sequence
with only two video clips. After you’ve complete that setup I’ll introduce you to
the Effects palette. Here’s how:
1. Open Premiere to your current project.
2. Select Windows→Workspace→Effects to change the workspace to Effects.
That makes it easier to work with transitions.
3. Open a new sequence by selecting File→New Sequence. That opens the New
Sequence dialog box shown in Figure 7.1.
4. Change the number of video tracks to 1 and click OK. That opens a second
sequence in your Timeline window.
Use the New
Sequence dialog
box to open a very
basic, one-track
By the
Hour 7
Transitions on Any Track
New to Premiere Pro is the ability to add transitions between two clips on any track
in a sequence. This is a very useful improvement that saves several awkward steps
that were needed to accomplish the same thing in previous versions of Premiere. I
limit you to a single track here to simplify things and because transition behavior on
track one is the same as on any other track.
5. Open your Project window (if it’s closed or you can’t find it, select Window→
Project). Select two short clips and, by clicking on their icons, drag them to
the newly created sequence. Press the \ (backslash) key to display both
clips within the Timeline window. Your Timeline window should look like
Figure 7.2.
By the
Head and Tail Handles Make for Smoother Transitions
Take a look at the junction of your two clips. Because you probably haven’t trimmed
them, the clips are their original full length. If that’s the case, small triangles, like
those circled in Figure 7.2, will be in the top right or left corners of any untrimmed
edges of a clip. For transitions to work smoothly, you need handles—some head and
tail overlap between the clips. That is, trimmed video that will be used in the transition (see step 6 for a how-to). Head and tail room are not absolutely necessary.
Premiere Pro gives you several options to deal with in the event you have no slop. I
discuss this whole issue in the upcoming section, “Manipulating Transitions in the
A/B Window.”
A basic sequence
with only one video,
one audio, and one
master audio track
plus two clips. Note
that the little triangles mean there
are no handles
available to do a
smooth transition.
6. You need to make sure that your clips have sufficient handles—or head and
tail room overlap (see previous By the Way). Use the Ripple Edit tool (third
icon from the top in the Tools palette) to drag the right edge of the first clip
to the left to shorten it (to give it tail room handles—at least a second) and
drag the left edge of the second clip to the right to give it some head room
handles. By using the Ripple Edit tool, these two trims should leave no gap.
If there is a gap, right-click on it and select Ripple Delete.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
7. In the Effects palette (if you changed to the Effects workspace, it should
already be open), click the Video Transitions tab. Note that the transitions
are organized into 10 folders or bins. Click the triangle next to the Dissolve
folder to open it, and, as shown in Figure 7.3, note that Cross Dissolve has a
red box around it. That means it’s the default transition. Drag Cross
Dissolve to the edit between your two clips on the sequence.
Opening the Video
Transitions folder
and all its subfolders will reveal more
than 70 transitions. Note that
Cross Dissolve has
a red box around it
to signify that it’s
the user-set default
Changing the Default Transition
There are two primary uses for the default transition: when automating a storyboard
to a sequence or as a quick means to add a transition using the keyboard shortcut—Ctrl+D. As you gain experience with transitions, you might want to set a different default transition. To do that, select the transition you want to use, click the
Effects palette’s wing-menu triangle, and select Set Default Transition. A red box will
appear around that transition. If you select Default Transition Duration, you open the
General Preferences dialog box where you can change that setting.
Did you
A Plethora of Transitions
Where to begin? The many choices can be a bit mind-boggling. To bring some
order to this chaos, I’ll take you through several transitions, each of which offers
some additional options.
You’ll start with the Cross Dissolve transition, and then move on to Page Peel,
Wipe, Iris Round, and Pinwheel. Here’s how you add transitions and adjust their
Try it
Testing Transitions
Hour 7
1. Click on the Cross Dissolve icon and drag it to the junction between your
two clips. That junction should look like Figure 7.4.
By the
Transition Placement Counts
By the
Sequence Display Changes
If you drag the transition slightly to the right or left of that junction, Premiere Pro will
display little icons showing that your transition either ends or begins at the junction.
You can make that placement later in the Effect Controls window, so it’s not critical
at this point. For now, center the transition on the cut point between the two clips.
Two things about how your sequence should look:
. A short red horizontal line will appear above any new transition. That red
line means that this portion of the sequence must be rendered before you
can record it back to tape or create a file of your finished project. Rendering happens automatically when you export your project, but you can
choose to render selected portions of your sequence to make those sections
display more smoothly on slower PCs.
. If your video or audio tracks are taller than those in Figure 7.4, the little
purple transition marker might be too small to select with your Selection
tool. Switch your video track to its shortest setting by clicking the little triangle to the left of Video 1. Doing so should flip the triangle so that it points to
the right, reduce the height of the track display, and more prominently display the transition in the video track. You also might have to zoom in on
your sequence to expand the width of the transition to enable you to
select it.
Dragging a transition to your
sequence adds a
little purple box
with a diagonal line
running through it.
2. Click on the transition marker in the sequence to select it. That displays the
transition settings in the Effect Controls window (ECW). Your ECW should
look like Figure 7.5. I’ve expanded the Monitor window to make adjusting
transitions settings go more smoothly. You should do the same.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
If the Timeline section of the ECW is hidden, click the Show/Hide button annotated
in Figure 7.5.
By the
Open the ECW’s Timeline Display
Show/Hide button
Make adjustments
to the transitions
settings in the
Effect Controls
3. There are several ways to preview your transition. The most effective is to
view it in real-time in the Program Monitor screen. In the ECW, click on the
timeline ruler just ahead of the transition (I’ve circled that spot in Figure 7.5)
to move the Current Time Indicator (CTI) to that point. Then press the spacebar to do a real-time preview. You’ll see the first clip dissolve—or fade—into
the second clip. Neat.
Try two other preview methods: First, click the small triangle in the upper-left corner
of the ECW. That plays a representation of transition using the A & B color boxes.
Second, drag the slider below the large A rectangle. To view those transitions using
your actual video clips, click the Show Actual Sources box.
Note: Leaving the slider in that new position will cause your dissolve to start at that
point in the dissolve process. So, for now, slide it back.
By the
Other Preview Methods
Did you
Hour 7
Dissolve Up from—or Down to—Black
To ease in or out of a video, most producers dissolve—or fade—up from or down to
black. You can do both with simple transition drag and drops. Just drag Cross
Dissolve (or any other transition, if you want a different look) to the beginning of your
first clip and/or the end of your last clip. Done. I show you how to adjust the length
of that fade up or down—making it more dramatic or more abrupt—in the next task,
“Manipulating Transitions in the A/B Window.”
4. Change the transition to Page Peel by opening the Page Peel folder, clicking
on the Page Peel transition icon, and dragging it to the Cross Dissolve transition in the sequence. Doing so automatically replaces the Cross Dissolve
with the Page Peel. Click on the transition (the purple marker with the diagonal line) to open the Page Peel transition in the ECW.
5. Page Peel offers additional options. In this case, as shown in Figure 7.6, you
can change the direction of the Page Peel by clicking the triangles around
the preview screen. Click the little Play button to see the changed transition
behavior. Click Reverse to change from a Page Peel that reveals the second
clip to a Page Peel that covers the first clip. You’ll see both motion direction
triangles and the Reverse option in many transitions.
Clicking the triangles around the
preview screen
changes the Page
Peel direction.
Clicking Reverse
changes the transition from a peel
away to a peel
6. Change to the Wipe transition by locating it in the Effects palette’s Video
Transition Wipe folder and dragging it to the Page Peel transition in the
sequence. Click on the purple marker to select it and display it in the ECW.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
7. As shown in Figure 7.7, Wipe offers four more directions (eight in all) for the
transition movement, plus a new feature: a border and anti-aliasing (see
the sidebar titled “Clean Up the Jaggies with Anti-Aliasing”). Experiment
with the border width and give it a color by either clicking the rectangular
Border Color swatch and selecting a color from the standard Windows Color
Picker shown in Figure 7.8 or clicking and dragging the Eyedropper tool to
the Monitor window Program screen. As you roll the Eyedropper tool over
the images, it picks up a color from the scene and displays it in the color
swatch. Releasing the mouse button grabs the current color. Selecting a
color this way keeps the border color from clashing with the images.
Easy Search Tool
If you know the name of a transition but have forgotten its folder, simply start typing its
name in the Effects palette’s Contains window. As you type, all transitions and effects
with those starting letters will display in the Effects palette. The more letters you type,
the more your search will be narrowed. That the transitions and effects appear in realtime as you type (as opposed to after you press Enter) is a laborsaving feature.
Did you
Wipe offers more
movement directions plus a border.
Eyedropper tool
Hour 7
Use the Color
Picker (shown here)
to select a color for
the border or use
the eyedropper tool
to select a color
from the Monitor
window Program
screen. Make sure
that they’re NTSC
safe by avoiding
colors (those that
cause the caution
sign to pop
Clean Up the Jaggies with Anti-Aliasing
Every transition that offers a border option also has an anti-aliasing option.
Aliasing is the jagged edge common along sharply defined diagonal lines in computer graphics and TV sets. If you look closely enough at a diagonal line, even in
your PC monitor (which has a higher resolution than your TV set), you’ll see stair
steps—that’s aliasing.
To get rid of aliasing, you select, ahem, Anti-Aliasing. Premiere’s default setting is to
disable anti-aliasing. I don’t get this. Aliasing looks bad, so the default should be
anti-aliasing. Nevertheless, on an effect such as a vertical or horizontal wipe, there
should be no noticeable aliasing, whether or not you’ve opted for anti-aliasing. But if
you click one of those little white triangles in the corners of the little ECW preview
monitor and switch to a diagonal wipe, you’ll probably want to turn on anti-aliasing.
You do that by clicking the little Anti-aliasing Quality triangle and, as shown in Figure
7.7, selecting Low, Medium, or High. You get immediate feedback in the Monitor window Program monitor. The diagonal border edges become increasingly softer as you
ratchet up anti-aliasing.
Stay Safe
If you click around the Color Picker long enough, you’ll eventually select a color that
prompts Premiere to pop up a little yield/exclamation mark sign (see Figure 7.8).
That’s because you’ve selected a non-NTSC-safe color that will not display well on a
standard TV set (it’ll work fine on your PC monitor, though). For instance, selecting a
highly saturated color value of 250 or more for the red, green, or blue (the R, G, or B
number) color components, with a very low number for one of the other two colors
Adding Transitions Between Clips
will create an oversaturated color that will smear on an NTSC monitor. You can fix
that by clicking on the yield sign a few times until Premiere Pro finds a similar but
NTSC-safe color. You can click around the Color Picker to find a safe color or type in
a lower number (249 or less should work) in the offending color’s box.
8. Change to the Iris Round transition. You’ll find it in the Iris folder. You
know the drill by now; just remember to click on the transition in the
sequence for it to show up in the ECW.
9. What sets Iris Round and several other similar transitions apart (see the
next By the Way) is the option to set a start or ending location—or both—
within the video image. As shown in Figure 7.9, simply drag the tiny start
location icon in the Start windows (circled in Figure 7.9) to a place that suits
the scene. You might start the Iris Round transition on a circular object in
the scene, for instance.
Other transitions that allow a custom starting or ending point are 3D Motion Tumble
Away, Iris Cross, Iris Diamond, Iris Square, Zoom, Zoom Cross, and Zoom Trails.
Go in Reverse
Try Reverse on Iris Round (and on any other transitions, if you like). Instead of starting as a small dot and growing to reveal the next clip, selecting Reverse means that
the circle starts large and shrinks to that spot. So, by using Reverse, Iris Round
actually has a startpoint or an endpoint—it’s your choice.
By the
Did you
Some transitions
enable you to set
the specific start
point or endpoint
for extra dramatic
Similar Transitions
Hour 7
10. Change to the Pinwheel transition (it’s in the Wipe folder) and check it out
in the ECW.
11. Pinwheel, as well as about a dozen other Premiere Pro transitions, has a
Custom button. Click it. In this case, your only option is the Number of
Wedges. Type in a number (32 is the maximum allowed in this case) and,
as shown in Figure 7.10, if the CTI is somewhere within the transition, you’ll
get real-time feedback on how your number selection looks.
12. Save your project; I want to keep this setup available for use in the next
section, “Manipulating Transitions in the A/B Window.”
13. Try out some other transitions with custom settings: Venetian Blinds,
Random Blocks, Slash Slide, Iris Shapes, Band Slide, and Swirl.
Did you
Fiddle with Flip Over
Give the Flip Over transition a test drive. It’s in the 3D Motion folder—a collection of
transitions that use perspective to give your transitions greater depth. The Flip Over
transition takes the A clip and spins it like a flat board horizontally or vertically and
then reveals the B clip on the board’s other side. That flipping motion briefly leaves
an empty space behind the board. You can change the color of that space and split
the board into as many as eight slats by opening the Custom dialog box.
The Pinwheel transition and about a
dozen other
Premiere transitions offer special
custom settings
unique to each of
those transitions.
I’ve touched on most of the primary types of transitions, but have purposely
skipped two. They are specialized transitions that require a little more editing
experience to tackle, so I’m saving them for Hour 9, “Advanced Editing
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Techniques and Workspace Tools,” which is a catchall for other editing techniques.
There, I’ll go over the Image Mask and Gradient Mask transitions.
Manipulating Transitions in the
A/B Window
Because Premiere Pro’s developers created this product from the ground up, they
had the opportunity to make some fundamental decisions. One was to no longer
include A/B editing in the Timeline window.
A/B editing is old-school, film-style editing. Film editors frequently use two reels of
film: an A-roll and a B-roll, usually duplicates made from the same original. The
two-reel approach permits nice, easy-on-the-eyes cross-dissolves, gradually fading
down the images from one reel while fading up the other (see sidebar: “Still
‘Grabbing B-Roll’ After All These Years”).
There was one advantage to having A/B editing in older versions of Premiere. You
could more easily modify certain transition characteristics—the exact locations
where the transition began on one clip and ended on the other, the length of the
transition, and its midpoint—more intuitively in an A/B mode interface layout.
Well, here’s the good news for both A/B and single-track editing camps: Premiere
Pro includes all of that functionality in its Effect Controls window. I take you
through its paces after the following three notes in “Using the A/B Mode to Finetune a Transition.”
To A/B or Not to A/B
In my book on the previous version of Premiere, Sams Teach Yourself Premiere 6.5 in
24 Hours, I recommended that readers simply ignore the A/B mode. In my view, in
this NLE era, it’s counterintuitive.
But there are some editors who swear by it, including some Premiere Pro beta
testers. Removing A/B editing was the single most discussed (to the point of derisive name-calling) decision in the beta group.
To Adobe’s credit, it stayed the course. Not only because A/B editing is archaic but,
more importantly, because removing A/B editing meant Adobe could design Premiere
Pro to allow transitions on any track (see next By the Way).
This is such an improvement over previous versions of Premiere that even the naysayers should recognize that its benefits far outweigh any lost functionality.
By the
By the
Hour 7
Developer Comment—Dropping A/B
The development team had to field a lot of questions about dropping A/B editing.
Here is a compilation of their responses:
“We knew when we made this decision that it would be controversial. Editors are
passionate about the way they work.”
“When we made the change it was for very legitimate reasons. It avoids a great deal
of complication when allowing the application of effects to clips on tracks other than
just Video 1.”
“To ease in this method of operation we elected to represent the A/B method of display in the Effect Controls window. We believed that the controls in this window provide the same level of adjustment that A/B mode offered in previous versions.”
“When we made this decision, our goal was to have a net gain in terms of features,
functionality, and flexibility as well as solve a problem.”
“We are bringing Premiere into the 21st century. This is not just about the product
that we are building today, but the construction of a solid foundation, which we can
continue to build on.”
Still “Grabbing B-Roll” After All These Years
In the TV news business—back when everyone used film and didn’t have time to
make duplicate reels—the A-roll typically was the interview and the B-roll was everything else. They relied on two reels because the audio and images were not synchronized in the same place on the film. Older film projectors use a sound track that is
20–26 frames (about a second) ahead of the associated images because the sound
pickup in the projector is not in the lens. If you’ve ever threaded a film projector, you
know how important it is to get just the right size loops to ensure the sound synchronizes to the images.
So, in the old TV news film era, to get a sound bite to play audio at the right time,
that clip had to play behind the B-roll for about a second to allow enough time for
the sound to reach the audio pickup device. Only then would a director cut to the Aroll image to play the interview segment and then would cut back to the B-roll once
the sound bite ended. Despite this now-outmoded means of editing or playing back
news stories, news photographers still say they’re going to go “grab some B-roll.”
When stations began switching to ENG (electronic news gathering) video gear, there
was no longer a need to use A/B-rolls. Audio and video were on the same place on
videotape, but the only way to do those smooth cross-dissolves was to make a copy
of the original videotape (leading to some quality loss), run it on a second VCR, and
make the cross-dissolve with an electronic switcher. That was a time-consuming and
cumbersome process fraught with timing problems. Older VCRs frequently were not
frame-accurate and you ended up with spasmodic-looking dissolves.
DV changes that. No more dubbing, no more generation loss, no more timing problems, and no more need to edit using ancient A/B-roll methods.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Using the A/B Mode to Fine-tune a Transition
Basically, A/B editing splits a single video track into two sub-tracks. What would
normally be two consecutive and contiguous clips on a single track now display
as individual clips on separate sub-tracks, giving you the option to apply a transition between them and to manipulate their head and tail frames—or handles—
and other transition elements.
Try it
Working with the ECW’s A/B Feature
This is yet another very clever, useful, and powerful new feature in Premiere Pro.
After you’ve gotten a sense for its functionality, I think you will see what an
excellent little tool it is. Here’s how it works:
1. If Premiere Pro is open to where you left off (with the Pinwheel transition
loaded), that will work fine. If not, select File→Open Recent Project and
select the project you saved in the previous task. You can use any transition
for this task.
2. Take a look at Figure 7.11. Take note of a few things:
. The light green color on each clip is the portion of that clip that will
display during playback.
. The darker green portion is the extra head or tail handles or frames
you have available if you want to lengthen the transition duration.
Clip A (the first clip in the two-clip sequence) has tail handles. Clip B
has head handles.
Miscue in Color Scheme?
A minor gripe here: The dark green sections of the clips don’t delineate the full extent
of the head or tail handles. They are truncated. I think the display would be more intuitive if those dark green sections extended all the way to the edit point (the thin white
line), the spot where you made the original cut edit before adding the transition.
By the
The other side of coin is that the light areas do show that tail and head frames from
both clips contribute to the transition.
Its default position is centered in the transition. You can move that edit
(keeping the transition centered over it) and you can move the transition
off-center without adjusting the Edit Point.
. The thin white line is the Edit Point where you butted the two clips together.
Hour 7
. The purple rectangle is the transition. The box width shows its relative duration. A display to the left of the Timeline Display notes the actual duration
. You can move the CTI within the purple transition box to display how the
transition will look at any point.
A/B Transition Edit Mode
Tail handles/frames
The elements of
the A/B transition
Clip A
Clip B
Head handles/frames
Edit point
3. There are two ways to lengthen the transition: First, position your cursor
over either end of that purple box and it will change to a Trim tool. Just as
you would with a clip, drag the end to lengthen or shorten it. Second,
change the duration time by typing in a new time or clicking on the time
display and dragging your mouse left or right to change the duration.
4. To change the position of the transition relative to the edit point, simply
move the cursor over the transition box until it changes into the Slide
Transition icon shown in Figure 7.12 and then drag left or right. You might
notice that if you move the transition, the Alignment display (to the left of
the Timeline display window) changes from the default Center at Cut to
Custom Start.
Move the transition
relative to the edit
point by simply
positioning the
cursor over it until
it changes into the
Slide Transition
tool, and then dragging it left or right.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
By the
Placing the Beginning or the End of the Transition at the Cut
Junction of the Two Clips
Instead of dragging the transition to position it at the exact beginning or end of the
original cut edit (aligning it with the edit point), use the Alignment drop-down list.
Click the triangle and select Start at Cut or End at Cut. If you’ve moved the transition at all, the alignment will be called Custom Start.
5. You can change the Edit Point by positioning the cursor over that thin white
line (as shown in Figure 7.13, the cursor turns into a Rolling Edit tool) and
dragging it right or left. In essence, you’re changing the out- and in-points of
the adjacent clips without changing the overall length of the two clips taken
together. A split-screen display in the Program monitor (see Figure 7.14)
shows you the new out- and in-points as you drag the Rolling Edit tool.
Drag the Edit Point
(the Rolling Edit
tool appears there
automatically) to
change the edit
point between the
two clips.
A split-screen view
pops on automatically to show you
the new in- and outpoints as you move
the centerline.
Dealing with Inadequate (or No) Head or
Tail Handles
Eventually, you will want to place transitions at edit points where you don’t have
adequate head or tail handles. This might be because you paused the camcorder
too soon or didn’t get it started fast enough. You might want to add a transition
to ease what would be an abrupt cut edit. Premiere Pro deals with that elegantly.
Try it
Hour 7
Working Without Handles
What you’ll do here is un-trim a clip. Drag its in- or out-point as far as it will go,
butt a trimmed clip up to that point, and then apply a transition. Then you’ll see
how Premiere Pro deals with that differently than two clips with adequate head
and tail room. Here’s how it works:
1. On your sequence, grab the B-clip (the second clip) and drag it to the
right—far enough to let you un-trim the A-clip.
2. Drag the A-clip’s out point as far as it will go. If you deselect it by clicking
outside that clip, you’ll see it has those little triangles I discussed earlier this
hour, showing that there are no frames left to use as handles. Now slide clip
B back to the right edge of clip A. Your sequence should look like Figure 7.15.
The little triangles
indicate clip A has
no tail handles.
Clip B has no triangles; therefore, it
does have head
3. Drag a transition to that edit point (I recommend Wipe because it’s easy to
see the freeze frames Premiere Pro is about to make to ensure this transition
works). You’ll notice that you cannot center the transition on the edit point.
Premiere Pro forces you to locate it completely to the left of the edit point
because the A-clip has no extra tail handles to make the transition.
Premiere Pro also displays a transition icon that represents a transition that
ends at the clip junction. Select the transition so that it shows up in the
ECW (refer to Figure 7.16). You’ll see that the ECW already has identified
this as an End at Cut transition.
By the
No Head Handles—Start at Cut Placement
If, instead, your B-clip had no head handles and the A-clip had enough handles,
Premiere Pro would have forced placement of the transition starting at the edit
point—a Start at Cut transition.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Premiere Pro automatically creates
an End at Cut transition for a clip that
has no tail handles
(I added a border
to better display
the transition).
4. Drag the CTI to see that the transition works smoothly. It starts sooner than
it would have if you had two clips with enough tail and head handles, but
viewers probably will not notice the subtle shift.
5. You can extend the transition farther into the B-clip. Drag the transition’s
right edge or the entire transition to the right. As shown in Figure 7.17, parallel diagonal lines appear. These signify that Premiere Pro has created
freeze frames of the last frame of the A-clip, to make the transition.
I think the diagonal line display indicating the use of freeze frames to create the transition makes sense. But in my mind, those diagonal lines are in the wrong place. To
be more informative, those lines should display on the portion of the specific clip to
which they are being applied. This is my second minor gripe about this new ECW, A/B
display. Perhaps Adobe might make these small fixes in the next revision.
6. Drag the CTI and note that once it passes the edit point, Clip A becomes a
still image. Because most transitions happen quickly and most viewers’
attention will be on clip B, they might not even notice that clip A has
become a still image. It works similarly if clip A has tail handles and clip B
does not.
By the
Freeze Frame Marker in Wrong Place?
Hour 7
Freeze frames
If you extend a
transition from clip
A (with no tail handles) into clip B,
Premiere Pro adds
freeze frames to
the transition.
7. Finally, extend both of your clips to their original untrimmed state and butt
them together. Now, neither has any tail or head handles. Apply a transition to them and, as shown in Figure 7.18, you get an information message
that there is insufficient media and parallel diagonal lines appear in the
purple transition rectangle.
Applying a transition to two clips
with no tail or head
room leads to this
8. Take a look at this transition in the ECW. Slowly drag the CTI to see how it
works. Clip A plays fine until the edit point (halfway through the transition)
and then changes to a still image. Meanwhile, clip B starts as a freeze
frame, but goes into motion at the moment Clip A becomes a freeze frame.
Using Transitions on Your Clips
Now is the time to experiment. Look for clips that lend themselves to specific
transitions. Try out a variety. After you’ve had some fun, be sure to use transitions
judiciously. Restraint is a good thing when it comes to transitions.
To give you an overview of virtually all the transitions Premiere has to offer, take
a look at the next few pages of transitions. I have grouped them in Figure 7.19 by
their respective file folders (bins).
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Virtually every transition available in
Premiere Pro.
Cub Spin
Flip Over
Fold Up
Spin Away
Swing In
Swing Out
Tumble Away
Random Invert
Image Mask
Hour 7
Iris Cross
Iris Diamond
Iris Points
Iris Shapes
Iris Square
Iris Star
Iris Round
Page Peel
Peel Back
Roll Away
Page Turn
Cross Zoom
Zoom Trails
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Band Slide
Slash Slide
Center Media
Center Split
Sliding Bands
Sliding Boxes
Stretch In
Stretch Over
Hour 7
Band Wipe
Barn Doors
Paint Splatter
Random Blocks
Random Wipe
Spiral Boxes
Venetial Blinad
Zig-Zag Blocks
Transitions can make a video move more smoothly or snap the audience to attention. Some can be whimsical, others draw attention to a portion of the scene, and
still others create a frantic mood. Fun stuff but use restraint.
Applying transitions takes not much more than a simple drag and drop. You can
add things such as colored borders, change directions, and start and end locations. Plus some have custom options unique to those individual transitions. The
Effect Controls window’s A/B timeline display makes it easy to move transitions
relative to the edit point, change the transition duration, and apply transitions to
clips that don’t have sufficient head or tail handles.
Adding Transitions Between Clips
Q All the transitions I add last for only one second. I want all of them to last
longer. I know I can change them one at a time, but is there an easier way
to do this?
A Two ways to do that: One, select Edit→Preferences→General and change the
Video Transition Duration from the default 30 frames (one second) to whatever length you want. Two, with the Effects palette tab open, click the wing
menu, select Default Transition Duration. That too opens the General
Preferences dialog box.
Q Finding transitions by name is cumbersome. I remember seeing some
with descriptive names but searching through all of the Video Transition
folders is tedious. Is there a better way?
A You bet. Simply start typing in the Contains field. As you type, Premiere Pro
displays all effects and transitions (audio and video) that contain that letter
combination. The more you type, the shorter the list becomes.
1. You apply a transition to a clip but it’s not what you’re looking for. So, you
want to replace that transition. How do you do that?
2. You have a clip with no tail handles and you want to use every frame.
However, the next clip looks very similar so to avoid a jump cut you need a
transition. How do you do that?
3. The Iris Square transition starts as a square somewhere on clip A with clip B
inside the square. It then expands to fill the screen to reveal the next clip.
You want it to start as a full screen square and shrink, revealing the clip B
behind it. How do you do that?
Quiz Answers
1. Drag and drop the replacement transition on top of the rejected transition.
The new one automatically replaces the old one.
2. Just apply the transition as you would normally. Premiere Pro will automatically end the transition at the edit point. You can slide that transition to
Hour 7
the right, ensuring that special video snippet gets its full due. If you move
the out-point of the transition, Premiere Pro will add freeze frames of clip A’s
last frame to use as tail handles.
3. Simple. Check the Reverse box. That switches the movement from starting
small and ending full screen to starting full screen and ending small.
1. Scan your video collection for clips that lend themselves to transitions.
Those could be cars or other things moving horizontally or vertically
through the screen, rain splattering in a puddle, curtains, playing cards,
clock faces (analog clocks, that is), or kids’ alphabet blocks. Try some transitions on them and see what works and what does not work.
2. The Effects Palette enables you to create a personalized collection of
favorites. Do that by clicking the Effect palette’s wing menu and selecting
New Custom Bin. That creates a folder called Favorites 1. You can change its
name by clicking on it twice and typing in a new name. Then you can drag
and drop individual transitions or entire folders. All the original transitions
remain in their original folders but your Favorites folder makes the ones you
use more accessible.
Tackling Text: Using the Title
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Using supers to tell your story
Using a template to examine properties
Creating text
Adding motion and putting your text on a path
Creating geometric objects
Onscreen text helps tell your story. Using a location super (superimposed text) sets
the scene and saves the narration for other relevant points. Displaying an interviewee’s name and title at the bottom of the screen reminds viewers who this person is.
Using onscreen bulleted points reinforces the message you’re trying to get across. Or
you can give your production an opening title screen or rolling credits at the end.
Premiere Pro’s Title Designer is such a full-featured product that you might never
fully tap its potential. With the Title Designer, you can create simple text, rolling
credits, and colorful shapes. You can use any font stored on your PC, your text can
be any color (or multiple colors), any degree of transparency, and darned near any
shape. Using the Path tool, you can place your text on the most convoluted curved
line you can imagine. The Title Designer is an engaging and powerful tool.
Anything you create in the Title Designer, you can save as a clip and use in any
Hour 8
Using Supers to Help Tell Your Story
Consider this opening sequence: A telephoto shot of scorched desert sand with rippling heat distorting the scene. Dry, desiccated, lifeless sagebrush. A lizard slowly
seeking shade beneath a small stone. And a small plume of dust in the distance.
Attention-getting stuff.
Now a narrator intones, “The summer heat beats down on the Bonneville Salt
Flats.” Effective. But what might work better is a super (onscreen text)—something
such as Bonneville Salt Flats. Then, as the plume of dust moves toward the camera, add another super: Speed Trials—Summer 2003. Then a rocket-shaped vehicle screams through the scene.
Rather than interrupt the building suspense with a dulcet-toned narrator, save
him for later. Instead, simply slap on a couple supers to set up your story.
Here are a couple other sample instances in which text can be an effective alternative to voice-overs:
. Instead of using a voice-over to say, “John Jones, president of the XYZ
Association for the Preservation of Salient Sayings,” put that information in
a super at the bottom of the screen.
. Instead of simply saying a collection of statistics, such as 12 drummers
drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a-leaping, and so on, use a collection
of bulleted points that you pop onscreen with each new numbered item. If
you have small graphic images of each element, you can add them along
with the text.
Text strengthens your project.
Using a Template to Examine Properties
Open Premiere Pro to your workspace and locate the Title Designer. It’s not where
you might expect—under the Windows drop-down menu along with Audio Mixer,
Navigator, History, and the like. Instead, it’s in the File menu.
Select File→New→Title (or use the keyboard shortcut: the F9 key). Doing so pops
up the Title Designer. The default opening view displays whatever video frame is
under the CTI. For now, turn that display off by unchecking Show Video at the
top of the Title Designer window (see Figure 8.1).
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
The background now consists of a grayscale checkerboard. That signifies a transparency. That is, if you place text created in this window on a sequence video
track above other video, that video will display wherever you see that checkerboard. As you create text or geometric objects, you can give them some transparency. In that case, you’ll see the checkerboard through an object, which
means the video will show through but it’ll appear that it’s covered with smoked
or tinted glass.
Premiere Pro’s new
Title Designer with
the Templates button and the Show
Video checkbox
I’m going to take a different and, I think, more intuitive approach to explaining
this Premiere Pro functionality. Instead of having your first tasks be to build text
from scratch, you’ll start by dissecting a finished product. In that way, you’ll get a
practical view of a number of title creation methods.
You’ll work with some of Premiere Pro’s built-in title templates. These are tremendously useful. Simply open one in the Title Designer and replace the placeholder
text with your own copy, change a color to suit your project, or change a shape to
suit your style. You can select Lower- or Upper-Third templates and use them to
identify an interviewee or a location. Select a matte to frame part of a scene. Or
you can use a bulleted list template to add such a list to your project.
Try it
Hour 8
Dissecting a Template’s Text
In this task, my expectation is that you’ll do lots of experimenting. I’m going to
ask you to click on just about every title option and change just about every title
characteristic. The purpose is to give you an idea of the breadth and power of the
Adobe Title Designer. Here we go:
1. Open the Templates dialog box by clicking the Templates button highlighted in Figure 8.1.
2. As shown in Figure 8.2, open as many template folders and click through as
many templates as you like. When you’ve seen enough, open the Lower
Thirds folder, select lower third 1024_7, and click Apply.
By the
Why This Template?
I chose this particular template because it has a number of features, including fourcolor gradient, transparency, sheen, and outer strokes. I explain these in the upcoming steps.
Use a template to
see how to create
3. Back in the Title Designer, click the Selection tool (the keyboard shortcut is
V) and then hover it over the template. As you move it around, bounding
boxes will appear, delineating the three elements of this title. Grab each box
in turn and drag each element up the screen so you can see the template’s
components. Your screen should look like Figure 8.3.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Breaking a template into its constituent parts clarifies the title creation process.
4. Select Title One to display its bounding box with its eight sizing handles.
That opens up its Properties listing in the Object Style window on the right
side of the Title Designer window (see Figure 8.4). Note the various
Properties’ elements, including Font, Font Size, Slant, and Underline.
5. Click on the Font drop-down list. Overwhelming, isn’t it? To give you some
clarity, select Browse from the top of that long list to open the dialog box
shown in Figure 8.5. You can drag its top and bottom to see more fonts at
once and select a new one if you want.
Selecting the template’s Title One
text opens its
Properties listing.
Hour 8
Use the Font
Browser to get a
clearer picture of
what will work well
with your project.
6. Check the Small Caps and Underline check boxes to see how they work.
Then select the numeric properties in turn and drag your cursor left and
right to change their values noting the effect on the Title One text. Here is a
brief rundown of what those items do:
. Aspect changes the width of the individual characters.
. Leading is the amount of space between lines of type. In the case of
this template, there is only one line of type, so changing the Leading
value has no apparent effect.
. Kerning changes spacing between characters’ pairs.
. Tracking changes spacing between groups of characters.
. Baseline Shift moves selected characters vertically. It’s useful when
you want to use superscripts or subscripts.
. Slant adjust and angle of an object.
. Small Caps, Small Caps Size, and Underline are all self-explanatory.
. Distort stretches or shrinks text along either the X-axis, Y-axis, or both
(to see it, click the disclosure triangle).
7. Click the Fill disclosure triangle to open that collection of Properties (see
Figure 8.6). Click the Fill Type drop-down list and scroll through its options.
I’ll cover gradients in the next task. For now, select Bevel and experiment
with the various options (Bevel gives each text character a 3D feel). You’ll
quickly see that the possibilities are endless. Clicking one of the color boxes
opens the standard Premiere Pro color picker.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Use the Fill properties to change the
text’s interior characteristics.
8. Click the Strokes disclosure triangle. This template’s text has no inner
strokes, but does have three outer strokes. Click the second Outer Stroke disclosure triangle (it has more features applied than the other two).
What Are Strokes?
Strokes is Adobe’s term for inner or outer text or graphic borders. These strokes or
borders have the same collection of properties available as are available for text
and other Title Designer objects.
By the
9. To get a better feel for how strokes work, drag the corner handles of the Title
One bounding box to expand it. To see additional stroke features, select
Depth from the Type drop-down list and click the Sheen disclosure triangle.
Your window should look something like Figure 8.7.
Strokes give outer
or inner borders to
text or graphic
objects. Selecting
Depth adds unique
shading to those
Hour 8
10. Experiment with the size and angle of the outer stroke. By using Depth and
a larger size, plus adjusting the angle, you can create true 3D text.
11. Sheen is a soft-edged color that typically runs horizontally through text or,
in this case, through only the outer stroke. You can change that angle plus
its size and where it’s located in the stroke text by altering the size, angle,
and offset. Check out Figure 8.8 for an example of how you can use all
these stroke options.
How your text can
look after giving it
some depth and
apply a sheen to
its outer stroke.
12. Finally, as far as this Title One text goes, click the Shadow disclosure triangle to reveal its properties and click the Shadow Angle disclosure triangle to
open that feature, too. You might note that Title One doesn’t have an obvious shadow. That’s because the shadow opacity is 100% and its size is only
2 points. Change all the characteristics to see how the Shadow feature
works. Take a look at my example in Figure 8.9.
Everything is self-explanatory, with the exception of Spread. Increasing the
Spread value softens the shadow.
Working with the Template’s Geometric Shapes
The lower-third template has two other elements: rectangles. The graphics artist
who created this template used the Title Designer to make these as well. As with
the text dissection, taking a look at why these shapes look the way they do will go
a long way to showing you how to do it on your own.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Changing the
Shadow characteristics gives your
text even more
Try it
Dissecting a Template’s Shapes
Shapes can have the same set of features that you can apply to text. In this task,
I take a look at those features that were not used in the template’s text line or
were not used in an interesting fashion. Here’s how these objects were put
1. Continue where you left off in the previous task. Either grab a handle of the
Title One bounding box and drag it to shrink it and get it out of the way, or
simply select it and press Delete. You can always start fresh by reopening
the Templates dialog box and reselecting this or any other template.
2. Select the black rectangle. As shown in Figure 8.10, doing so opens its
Properties display. It has very few properties, so I close the disclosure triangles for all the unused properties to clean up the workspace.
The black rectangle gradually becomes transparent on its left side. This is a nice
way to give text a slightly more dramatic look. To create that effect, use the fourcolor gradient’s four color stops—the colors you set for each corner. In this case
they are all black. Then apply transparency to the stop(s) of your choice (see
step 3).
3. To achieve that graduated transparency look, the Adobe graphics artist
selected the upper and lower left color stops and then set their Color Stop
Opacity values to 0%. Click on all the color stops and adjust their opacities
to see how that works.
By the
Why Use Only Black in a Four-Color Gradient?
Hour 8
The black rectangle
has only a couple
properties of interest: 4 Color
Gradient and Stop
Color Opacity.
4. Drag the black rectangle out of the way (or delete it) and slide the
yellow/brown rectangle into the workspace. Drag the bounding box corners
to dramatically expand it. Take a look at its properties and you’ll see it has
a lot going on with it: 4 Color Gradient, Sheen, and two Outer Strokes. I
expanded those outer strokes to better display the sheens applied to them.
This rectangle
(expanded to better
display its characteristics) has two
outer strokes, each
with a sheen.
5. Double-click on each of the four color stop boxes around the 4 Color
Gradient display. Note that each color is just slightly different than the
other four and that the colors at the top are slightly darker than the bottom
colors. This gives this rectangle some extra depth. Feel free to change the
colors and reduce the opacities a bit.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Instead of using the Color Picker to change the color stop color (or any other colored
item), use the Eyedropper tool to select a color from your video. To see the video,
click the Show Video check box at the top of the Title Designer window. Move to a
clip you want to use by clicking on the timecode and dragging left or right. Click the
Eyedropper tool next to the color swatch and drag it into your video scene. Note that
the eyedropper acts in real-time. The color in the 4 Color Gradient window (in this
case) changes as you move around the video clip in the window.
Did you
Lift a Color from Your Video
6. Note the sheen running horizontally through the rectangle is a dark brown
to complement the other colors. Change its color and angle to see what else
works well.
7. Uncheck and recheck the two Outer Stroke check boxes to see how those two
strokes look. Note that both are only 3-points wide and fall on top of one
another. The artist used two as a means to apply two sheens to the box
Nothing Is Cut in Stone
As is the case in anything you do with Premiere Pro, you can always undo an editing
step. In the case of the Title Designer, step back any number of steps by using the
History palette (select Window→History), selecting Edit→Undo, or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z.
Creating Text
Up to this point, you’ve worked with a template. In upcoming tasks, you’ll create
text from scratch. One admonition: As with video transitions, it’s mighty tempting to go overboard and create text using some wild styles. The purpose is to
make your text interesting but readable. Splashy, 3D-style text with sheens,
strokes, and drop shadows can distract viewers from whatever message you’re trying to get across. And if you’re applying text over video or still images, you need
to take care that the text stands out from the video without clashing with it.
8. Take a look at the Outer Strokes Sheens’ properties. Note that the angle is
281 degrees for the first and 81 degrees for the second. That is, the sheen
appears just a bit above the center line on one side and a bit below the center line on the other. If the sheens ran through the box, they’d form a flat X.
This is a clever bit of visual artistry. When you’re done experimenting,
delete all the objects and text to create a clean slate for the next task.
Did you
Hour 8
The Adobe Title Designer offers three text creation approaches: anywhere within
the title window, within a text box, or along a path. In each of those instances, as
shown in Figure 8.12, you can orient your text horizontally or vertically.
Three text types
from top to bottom:
Point, Area, and
Path. Selecting an
icon from the left
or right side determines whether the
text will orient
horizontally or vertically.
Here’s an explanation of each type:
. Point Text—This style builds a text bounding box as you type. If you change
the shape and size of the box after you stop typing, that action correspondingly changes the shape and size of the text. Stretching the box stretches the
. Area Text—In this case, you set the size and shape of your text box before
entering text. After selecting this tool, you need to define your text boundary by dragging and dropping a box in the text window. Changing the box
size later displays more or less text. It does not change the shape or size of
the text.
. Path Text—You can build a path for your text to follow by clicking and
moving your cursor around the text window. This is not an animation tool.
It merely creates a line—albeit as contorted as you want—for the text to set
on. You can use Path Text style to create something simple, such as a
rainbow-shape curve of text. After it has been built, you can grab a path’s
handles to reshape it. And after adding text to a path, you can change its
font size.
Try it
Create Point Text
If you’ve worked with just about any graphics program, you’ll get the hang of
manipulating text in the Adobe Title Designer. Here’s how to get started:
1. Select the horizontal Text Tool (the capital letter T) or use the keyboard
shortcut: T. Click anywhere in the Title Designer window on top of the
grayscale checkerboard.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
2. Clicking in the Title Designer window switches on the text property display.
Click the Font drop-down list, select Browse, and select a wild font, such as
3. In the Premiere Pro main menu bar, select Title to open its drop-down menu
(see Figure 8.13). Open the various wing menus to see what’s offered. In this
case, see to it that Word Wrap is checked. Also, note menu items that are
not available in the Title Designer window:
. Type Alignment enables you to choose left, center, or right.
. Word Wrap means that as you type and reach the title-safe margin
(the inner box defined by the thin white lines), the text automatically
continues on the next line instead of running off screen to the right.
. Tab Stops opens a little window that enables you to state how far the
cursor will move each time you click Tab.
. Logo enables you to add images or graphics to the Title Designer,
either within a text box or as a separate object.
. Select is useful if there are several objects on top of one another and
it’s difficult to select a specific one.
. Arrange takes a selected object and moves it front or back one layer
or all the way depending on the command you choose.
. View lets you choose whether to display the title-safe and action-safe
boxes (both are on by default), the text baselines (the line that shows
where the bottom of the text will run), and tab markers.
NTSC TV sets cut off the edges of the TV signal. How much they cut varies from set
to set. To ensure that your text is completely within the edges of everyone’s TV
screens, keep your text within the title-safe zone (the inner box) and any action you
want viewers to see within the action-safe zone. Despite this admonition, it’s still
okay to extend the background graphics, like the rectangular boxes used in the template earlier in this hour, to the edges of the screen to fill the frame for viewing on
TV monitors and computer screens.
4. Start typing. Because you selected Wingdings (or a nutty looking equivalent)
and word wrap, you should get some crazy-looking text filling your screen
within the confines of the title-safe area—something like what’s shown in
Figure 8.14.
By the
Title and Action Safe Zones
Hour 8
The Title menu
offers additional
Title Designer features.
Taking the Title
Designer for a test
drive with
5. Click the Selection tool (keyboard shortcut V) and click inside the text
bounding box to switch on its handles. Move your cursor to the corners of
the bounding box. As you approach each corner, the cursor turns into a
double-arrow to indicate that you can stretch the box. But if you move the
cursor a bit farther out of the box, it changes into a curved double-arrow
like the one in Figure 8.15. Use that to spin the box to any angle you
6. As you spin the box, look at the Transform section in the lower-right corner
of the Title Designer window. I’ve highlighted it in Figure 8.16. Note how the
Rotation values change.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Instead of dragging bounding box handles, you can change values in the Transform
window. Either type in new values or place your cursor on a value and drag left or
right to set a new value. You will get immediate feedback as whatever object you
selected adjusts its position as you change values.
By the
More Than One Way to Move a Box
Move the cursor
just outside the
bounding box handles to turn it into
a rotation tool.
As you rotate or
move the box, note
how the values
change in the
Transform widow.
7. Move the box around the text window and watch the X-position and Y-position change.
8. Finally, change the box shape and watch Width and Height values change.
Saving Text
At any point in your text creation process, you can save your work by selecting
File→Save from the main menu bar. Doing that would normally save your project, but
with the Title Designer window open, Premiere Pro saves your text.
Doing so places that new title in your Project window. Once there, you can drag it to
a sequence either on a track above a clip or clips or on Video 1 to display as a
standalone object.
Did you
Did you
Hour 8
Reediting Text—Retaining a Style
After your text has been saved, you can always reedit it. If you create a unique text
and graphic style that you think will help viewers recognize your productions or give
them some consistency, you can simply change the wording in saved text files while
retaining the style. This comes in very handy if you’ve created a standard way to
superimpose locations or interviewees’ names. Or you can save that text format as
a style by selecting the text’s bounding box, clicking the Styles wing menu triangle,
and selecting New Style. Give your style a name, click OK, and it will appear as a
two-letter icon in the Styles thumbnail collection.
In this case, there’s no need to save this work, so delete all your text by clicking
the Selection tool, clicking inside the bounding box, and pressing Delete.
Alternatively, you can use the Text tool, drag it over the text to highlight it, and
then press Delete or Backspace to remove all the selected text.
Try it
Test the Area Text Style
To experiment with the Area Text style, follow these steps:
1. Try Area Text by selecting its tool—the T in a lined box. In this case, before
you can start typing text, you need to create the text bounding box. Position
your cursor in the text window, click to set an upper-left corner to your
bounding box, and then drag your cursor down and to the right to create
the bottom-right corner.
2. Fill the box with text. You’ll notice the first difference between Area Text and
Point Text. Instead of expanding to accommodate more text, as the Point
Text box did, the Area Type box has your type disappear off the bottom of
the screen. Figure 8.17 demonstrates that.
3. If you expand the box, the text doesn’t change shape or size, but the altered
box reveals the text that ran outside the box’s original confines.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
The Area Text
bounding box does
not expand laterally
to accommodate
more text. Rather,
your text runs down
and off the screen.
Vertical Text
While you’re doing your text testing, try the two vertically oriented text types. They’re
the two large T’s with arrows pointing down. There really is hardly any difference
between these two and their horizontal partners. True, as you type, the letters run
from the top of the bounding box to the bottom, but they still display side by side,
not standing on top of each other. The only difference is in the rotation. Instead of
rotating on an axis at the center of the box, as do the horizontally oriented text
tools, the vertical text boxes rotate on a point outside and above the boxes. Give
that little feature a try.
Adding Motion and Putting Text on a
You’ve seen opening and closing movie and TV show credits hundreds of times. In
Premiere Pro, that’s rolling text—words that scroll vertically up or down the
Also, you’ve seen news bulletins that slide horizontally along the bottom or top
edges of the page. In the TV news business, we used to call them Chyron crawls
after the once de facto industry-standard, text-creation tool (Chyron Corp. is still
a major player in the graphics and TV production world). In Premiere Pro, they’re
crawling text.
In either case, they take only a couple additional text-creation steps to make.
Did you
Try it
Hour 8
Set Up Rolling Text
To set up rolling text, follow these steps:
1. In the upper-left corner of Title Designer interface, click the Title Type dropdown list and select Roll. I’ve highlighted this in Figure 8.18.
By the
A Scrollbar Appears
When you select Roll, the Title Designer adds a scrollbar on the right side of its window that enables you to view your text as it runs off the bottom of the screen. If you
select the Crawl option, that scrollbar will appear at the bottom to enable you to
view text running off the right edge of the window.
Title Type with Roll
2. Click the Type tool (the capital T) instead of the Area Type tool. Type in
your rolling text. If you don’t press Enter and word wrap is on, you’ll continue typing down the page. At the end of each line of text, you can press
Enter to start a new line or let the word wrap take care of that for you.
3. When this is done, click the Roll/Crawl Options (next to the Title Type dropdown list) to open the dialog box shown in Figure 8.19 (alternatively, you
can select Title→Roll/Crawl Options from the workspace’s main menu bar).
You have the following options (note that rolling text always moves up the
. Start Off Screen—Specifies whether the credits start completely off the
screen and roll on
. End Off Screen—Indicates whether the credits roll completely off the
. Pre-Roll—Specifies the number of frames before the first words appear
. Ease-In—Indicates the number of frames to get up to full speed when
the first words appear
. Ease-Out—Slows the credits down at the end
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
The Roll/Crawl
Options dialog box
enables you to control the timing of
moving text and, in
the case of crawling text, whether it
moves from right to
left or from left to
Creating Crawling Text
You create crawling text the same way as rolling text, only you start by selecting
Crawl in the Title Type window. As you type, your text rolls off the right side of
the text window. In this case, the scrollbar appears at the bottom of the text window, enabling you to see all your text.
Using the Path Tool
The Path Text tool is both elegant and tricky. It enables you to build simple or
complex, straight and/or curved paths for your text to follow.
If you’ve worked with the Pen tool in Adobe Photoshop, you know how to use the
Path Text tool. Basically, you define a path by clicking a number of locations in
the Title Designer window and dragging handles at each point to use to define
the curves. Here’s how it works:
Try it
Text on a Path
1. Delete any text in the Title Designer window and select the Path tool (the T
on a slope).
3. Click, hold, and drag somewhere else to create another anchor point and
handles. The Title Designer automatically connects the two anchor points.
Move the cursor to the handles. Your cursor will change to a black arrow—
use it to drag the handles. Make them longer, shorter, or move them around
to see how this works.
2. Click and hold down the mouse button anywhere in the text creation window.
Drag the mouse to create long handles. You’ll use these to define the curve’s
Hour 8
4. Adjust the curve by clicking on the handle endpoints and dragging. Your
text window should look something like Figure 8.20. You can add as many
anchor points as you want. Move your cursor near the curve and it will
change to a black arrow to signify that you can grab the curve and drag it
to reshape it.
Figure 8.20
Create a path by
clicking and dragging to form handles and then
repeat that for as
many anchor points
as you want.
5. When you’ve finished your path creation work, change the cursor to the
Selection tool (click the Arrow or press V), place your cursor somewhere
inside the newly created bounding box, and click. Doing so places a text
cursor at the beginning of the curved line. Type some text. That text will
position itself on your line. I created a simple three-anchor point curve for
Figure 8.21. It takes practice to perfect this technique, but if you give it a
few tries, you’ll get a basic idea how it works.
Did you
Grabbing a Path Can Be Tricky
To change the shape of the curve means clicking on the path line—the little handles
on the path or at the end of each handle’s extension lines. It can be tricky to make
those connections. Try one of these methods:
After setting all the path points, you can roll the cursor on that path, note when it
turns into a black arrow, and grab the line or a handle to move it.
Or you can click the Selection tool, double-click in the path bounding box to redisplay
the path line, and know that if you inadvertently click off the path, you will not create
a new path point.
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Did you
When you use the Pen tool and click anywhere in the Title Designer window, you activate the three other Pen tool icons for the Add, Delete, and Convert Anchor Point
tools. Select one and then click on any path point to make the respective changes.
Other Pen Tools
The Path Text tool
can create a twisting text display.
Creating Geometric Objects
If you’ve created shapes in graphics-editing software such as Photoshop or
Illustrator, you know how to create geometric objects in Premiere Pro. Select from
the various shapes to the left of the text window, drag and draw the outline, and
release the mouse. The Line tool creates line segments and curves by using the
same procedure you used with the Path Tool. Click to set a starting point and
then drag and click to set the endpoint. Each segment has its own bounding box.
As you learned when working with templates, you can use the numerous properties to give your shapes special characteristics. In Figure 8.22, I drew a few shapes
and added some gradients, various opacity levels, strokes, and shadows to
demonstrate what you can do.
Hour 8
Some graphic
objects created
with gradients and
various opacity levels.
When you draw objects, they appear as solid white with no borders. Add a border
with an inner or outer stroke.
Did you
Special Drawing Keyboard Shortcuts
If you want to create a square, circle, right triangle, or a square clipped rectangle (as
opposed to a rectangle, oval, non-right triangle, or stretched clipped rectangle), hold
down the Shift key when dragging the shape’s border. If you want to maintain the
aspect ratio for a shape you’ve already made, hold the Shift key before resizing that
It’s fairly easy to build layers of graphic objects and add text as well. You can
send an object backward or forward by highlighting it, selecting Title→Arrange
and then choosing from Bring to Front (that is, on top of all other objects), Bring
Forward (on top of the next highest object), Send to Back (that is, make it the bottom/deepest object), or Send Backward (behind the next lower object).
Using transparent layers as backgrounds for supers is an excellent way to create a
production studio or product line identity. When you have a look you like, save it
as a style or save an entire text design, including graphics, and reuse it like a
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Adding text or supers to your video project gives it another element and adds
depth. Text sometimes can send a message much more succinctly and clearly
than a narration. It can reinforce narrated information or remind viewers about
the people in your piece and the message you’re trying to convey.
The text tools in Premiere Pro are similar to those in standard graphics/text programs, with several extra features tossed in. The infinite customizability of your
text’s appearance means that you can create a look unique to your productions.
Hour 8
Q When I resize my text bounding box, the text changes shape and size. How
do I change the box without changing the contents?
A You’re using Point Text, Premiere Pro’s default text style. Instead, select the T
in the lined box (Area Text), drag and drop a text bounding box, and start
typing. If you need to increase the size of the box, the text will remain the
same shape and size.
Q I want to make a circle in a square, but all I get are ovals in rectangles.
A You need to hold down the Shift key before you define the size of the quadrilateral or round figure. Doing that keeps all sides equal and forces your oval
to be a circle.
1. How do you keep text from running outside the viewable area on a typical
NTSC TV set?
2. There are too many typefaces! How can you wade through all that and
quickly find one that works for you?
3. How do you create a rectangle with a gradient inside it and a two-color
Quiz Answers
1. Use the Title Safe Zone option, which is accessible in the Title menu or in
the Monitor menu for viewing in the Source and Program Monitors. If you
select the Word Wrap option, the Title Designer automatically keeps all text
within the title safe zone as you type.
2. Browse. Go to Title→Font→Browse and scroll all the font samples. Or click
the Font drop-down list and select Browse.
3. Open the Title Designer. Create a rectangle by selecting the Rectangle tool
and clicking and dragging within the text window to define a rectangle. In
the Properties window, click the Fill disclosure triangle, select Linear
Tackling Text: Using the Title Designer
Gradient from the Fill Type drop-down list, and select two colors in turn.
Select Strokes, Inner and Outer Stroke, in turn, and give each inner and
outer border a color and other characteristics to suit you.
1. Create rolling credits with different font sizes and text alignments. Main
headings could be aligned left and individuals’ names centered.
2. Make a rainbow using the Line tool. Click one side of the text window and
then click the other, making a straight line. Then drag the center handle to
make a curve. Repeat this three or four more times and color each line to
create a rainbow look. Now add text along another arc over the rainbow.
Do you feel a song coming on?
3. Create a three-layer collection of rectangles with varying transparencies and
drop shadow values. Create the three rectangles by dragging and dropping
them in separate locations. Make the large one opaque (100% opacity) with
a drop shadow of 50% opacity, the middle one 40% opacity with a drop
shadow of 20% opacity, and the small one 25% opacity with a drop shadow
of 30% opacity. Then select colors and gradients that give a contrast so that
you can see one through the other. One other suggestion: Give one or two of
the rectangles a Repeat value to create parallel lines to make them stand
out even more. Also, pick a drop shadow that is similar in color to the
object on which the shadow falls.
4. Watch TV news stories and note how their interview supers look. Attempt to
emulate those styles by creating a standard interviewee super with one font,
two text sizes (larger for the name, smaller for the title), a colored line running between the two text lines, and three overlapping and transparent
boxes on the left, acting as a unique production studio identifier. Make sure
that you save this—you actually might want to use it.
Advanced Editing Techniques
and Workspace Tools
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Adding a professional touch to your project
Playing clips backward, changing speed, and freezing frames
Adding cutaways
Rolling, slip, and slide edits
Special transitions: masks and gradient wipes
Editing tips from an expert—John Crossman
I believe that you should start specializing only after you learn the fundamentals. If
all a basketball player practices is a spinning, reverse, wrong-handed flip shot, he’ll
make no more than a bucket a game. Not many opportunities for that shot arise.
By now, given enough practice, you might have mastered straightforward Premiere
Pro cuts-only editing techniques. You’ve worked with transitions and all their
options, and have created text and geometric shapes.
That being the case, this hour ramps up those fundamental techniques a bit. I
explain some standard professional editing concepts, show you some other ways to
manipulate clips, go over some time-saving editing tools, and explain two higherend transitions. Finally, I believe in learning from experts. The best video editor I’ve
worked with offers up his advice at the conclusion of this hour.
Hour 9
Adding a Professional Touch to Your
One reason to use the video shooting tips in Hour 2, “Camcorder and Shooting
Tips,” is to open up more creative opportunities during editing. Right now you’re
doing fundamental, simplified editing, but trying out some standard professional
editing techniques will help as we move to more complex editing later.
Using Establishing Shots
Do you have establishing shots? As I mentioned in Hour 2 you need them to let
viewers know where they are. Try to place establishing shots near the beginning
of any new setting or location.
Using Matching Shots
If you shot any repetitive action, look for matching shots. You might have a wide
shot of someone typing at her computer and a tight shot of that person’s hands
on the keyboard. Edit them together and make sure you avoid jump cuts. The
person in the wide shot might take her hands off the keyboard for a moment. If
the tight shot is of her hands on the keyboard, make sure that you trim the wide
shot to the point where the person still has her hands on the keyboard.
Using Wide and Tight Shots
These shots add interest. You might have a wide shot of a football game with the
quarterback barking out signals. The next edit could be a tight shot of his face.
You could have shot these two clips during two different plays, but by editing
them back-to-back, they appear to be one play.
This is a great way to build interest. The fish shops at Seattle’s Pike Place Market
provide a nonstop sideshow full of repetitive action. Most videographers would
opt for a medium shot or two. Instead, put together a sequence of a tight shot of
hands grabbing a fish from the display case, a medium shot from behind the
shopkeeper as he tosses the fish to an employee, that employee catching the fish
and placing it on a scale, and so on. Look for sequences like that in your raw
video. Build your sequences well by using tight and wide shots and matching
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Avoid putting two very similar shots together. Two wide shots of the same soccer
game, for instance. Instead, between the two wide shots edit in a cutaway—a
crowd shot, a parent shouting encouragement, or the scoreboard—to avoid creating a viewer disconnect. The same holds true for interviews. If you “butt together”
two bites from the same interviewee, put a cutaway between them—a hand shot
or a reverse cutaway of the interviewer.
Resolving Cutaway Audio Conflicts
When using cutaways, you usually lay only video over the edited video and audio
clips. For instance, if you use a reverse cutaway of an interviewer during a sound
bite, you don’t want to hear whatever sound is on that cutaway clip. But in the case
of the soccer parent shouting encouragement, you do want to mix both the shout
and the original game natural sound. The techniques in this hour’s “Adding NewsStyle Cutaways” section covers the first method. I leave the audio cutaway to Hour
13, “Editing Audio.”
Playing Clips Backward, Changing
Speed, and Freezing Frames
By the time you finish this section, you’ll know how to create a video sequence
that incorporates all three of these concepts.
Going in Reverse and Altering Speed
First, two fun and simple techniques: playing a clip backward and changing its
speed. Consider the possibilities. Kids diving out of a pond, a pitcher retrieving his
fastball, and a reverse replay of an explosive building demolition. Combine that
with slow-motion or speed things up and you can add drama or humor.
You can apply both effects within the same dialog box. This small interface
updates a less user-friendly process in previous versions of Premiere. It now packs
a lot of fun into a small package. Here’s how it works:
Try it
Play a Clip Backward and Change Clip Speed
2. Right-click on that clip to open the context menu and select
Speed/Duration. As shown in Figure 9.1, that opens the Clip Speed/Duration
dialog box. Here are its features:
1. Select any clip, either on a sequence or in the Project window.
Hour 9
. Speed—set a percentage of the original clip speed here. 200% doubles
the speed, whereas 50% slows things down by half. As you change the
percentage, the duration changes as well. 200% cuts the duration in
. Link/Unlink—If you want to retain the length of the clip on the
sequence, but want to change its speed, click this icon to unlink the
percentage with the duration.
Unlink Doesn’t Always Work
Premiere Pro can override your unlink command. That happens when you increase
the clip speed and there aren’t enough unused head or tail frames to accomplish
the change without changing the duration.
Doubling the speed normally shortens the clip by half. To keep the clip the same
length, Premiere Pro uses those head or tail frames to fill in the clip length. If there
aren’t enough head or tail room frames, Premiere Pro behaves as if the Link icon
were unbroken and changes the clip length accordingly.
. Reverse Speed—Does what it says: plays the clip backward at whatever speed you set. It also plays the audio backward. You can disassociate that audio by unlinking it from the video (not to be confused with
the Link/Unlink feature in the Clip Speed/Duration dialog box). In this
case, you’re unlinking the audio and video elements of an A/V clip. I
explain that in the next task.
. Maintain Audio Pitch—This is a very clever feature. When audio
speeds up, it normally sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks. When it
slows down, it’s a slow drawl. Maintaining the audio’s pitch means
that the audio changes speed, but keeps the original pitch.
You can dramatically change the
nature of your
video using this
simple Clip
dialog box.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
The Maintain Audio Pitch feature is great if you want to speed up an announcer’s
voice to fit his copy into that end-of-commercial disclaimer common to car financing
Did you
Rapid-Fire Narrations
3. Take a look at how Premiere Pro displays your altered clips on the sequence.
Previous versions of Premiere changed the clip name by adding a reference
to the new clip speed. Premiere Pro doesn’t do that. But as shown in Figure
9.2, if you hover your cursor over the clip, a pop-up message indicates the
new speed percentage.
When you hover
your cursor over a
speed-altered clip,
Premiere Pro displays its new rate.
Rate Stretch Tool
You can forgo the dialog box approach to changing a clip’s speed. Use the Rate
Stretch tool (the fifth tool down on the Tools palette). You can use it only on clips
that have no clips adjacent to them on the right. And the audio automatically adjusts
accordingly with the associated pitch change. It is an imprecise tool, but it’s an easy
way to stretch a clip to exactly fill a gap.
Did you
Getting That Slow-Mo Music Video Look
You’ve seen those MTV videos of vocalists lip-synching their tunes while loping in
slow-motion on a beach. How, you ask, can they apply slow-motion and still have the
lip-synch work right?
The video director makes a speeded-up version of the song and plays it while shooting the video. So, the singer lip-synchs at a faster rhythm. Then the video editor
slows down that video to match the beat of the original tune.
For example, if you use Premiere Pro to speed up the original tune to 150% of its
original speed, you’ll need to play back the video at 66.67% to get it to synchronize
to the original tune. Cool.
4. Check your work by playing the clip either by dragging it from the Project
window to the Source Monitor screen or by playing it from the sequence.
Use the keyboard shortcut—the spacebar—to see it play in real-time.
Did you
Hour 9
If the math isn’t clear, here’s a different take:
Use the Clip Speed dialog to change the duration and don’t worry about the speed
percentage. Just shorten it so that the percentage is about 150% (fast enough to
create a slow-mo look without making your singer go into a frenzy to keep up). When
you drop the video you made using the speeded-up song into the sequence, use the
Duration setting to lengthen it to match the original clip length. The speed should
read about 68% in this case.
Unlinking Clips
If you have audio associated with the clip, any speed or reverse direction applied
to the video portion of the clip changes the audio accordingly. You can override
that by unlinking that audio.
All video clips that have audio appear as one clip in the Project window, but
when you place them on a sequence, Premiere Pro divides them into their constituent video and audio portions. As you trim, move, or remove them, the video
and audio act in concert. If you want to deal with them independently, unlink
Did you
Try it
Unlink for Cutaways
Unlinking audio also comes in handy when you add cutaways to your piece. I discuss
that general editing style in Hour 17, “Compositing Part 1—Layering Images and
Clips.” In this hour’s “Adding News-Style Cutaways,” I show you a different way to
add a cutaway without adding its associated audio.
Unlinking Audio and Video
Unlinking and relinking video and audio is a bit nonintuitive. Especially if, after
unlinking the audio, you move it to some other place, and then want to link it
back up to the original video and have the audio and video get back into synch.
Here’s how you do all of that:
1. Take a look at Figure 9.3. Clip A is linked and clip B is unlinked. You can tell
because clip A is underlined, and clip B is not. The unlinked clip B also loses
its video (V) and audio (A) designators.
2. To unlink a linked A/V clip, right-click on that clip to open the context
menu shown in Figure 9.4 and choose Unlink Audio and Video.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Clip B is unlinked
(meaning that you
can edit its audio
and video portions
independent of
each other).
Unlinking a clip
changes the
appearance of its
name in a
sequence, removing the underline
and (V) and (A)
To unlink a clip,
right-click on it and
select Unlink Audio
and Video.
3. That simple right-click and select action doesn’t quite finish the job. As long
as both clips are highlighted, they’ll continue to act as if they were linked.
To finish the task, click anywhere in the sequence besides on the video or
audio portion of the formerly linked clips. That deselects them so that you
can change the video speed without affecting the audio.
There is a handy keyboard shortcut that enables you to briefly unlink audio and
video so that you can trim either one while keeping both in synch. Hold down Alt as
you make that trim. This greatly simplifies what used to be a kind of complex
process to make what are called J and L cuts. I explain both in Hour 13.
Did you
Unlink Keyboard Shortcut
Hour 9
4. Drag an unlinked audio or video segment away from its formerly linked sibling. The two are now out of synch, but Premiere Pro does not note that in
any way.
5. To relink and re-synch those two unlinked clips, select both clips by clicking
on either the audio or video clip and then Shift+clicking on the other clip.
Right-click on either one to open the clip’s context menu, and then select
Link Audio and Video.
6. As shown in Figure 9.5, relinking the clips causes Premiere Pro to display a
time box that notes how out of synch they are. It’s easy to re-synch them—
that is to slide either the audio or video segment so that it realigns with its
partner and makes the audio synch up properly with its associated video.
Choose which clip you want to move, right-click the time code display, and
choose Move into Synch. That moves that clip so that it lines up with the
other clip.
Re-Synch Caveats
Two things: If you trimmed either the video or audio portion of this relinked clip, the
clips will line up to synch the audio so that the ends are not flush. In addition, the
portion of the clip that moves does an overlay edit by default, so it’ll cover up whatever is on its track at its new location.
After relinking a
clip (and before resynching it)
Premiere Pro displays how much
the video and audio
portions are out of
Using Freeze Frames
If you want to create a sequence of clips that starts with a regular-speed clip,
slows down, stops, shifts to a slow reverse, and finishes at full-speed reverse, you
need to create a freeze frame (along with two razor edits).
You also can use a freeze frame as an effective way to close a segment or an
entire production. Freeze the final frame and then fade to black. To do either, you
first need to create a freeze—or hold—frame.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Try it
Working with Freeze Frames
To end a piece with a freeze frame and then a fade to black takes a few steps: clip
trimming, copying, pasting, freezing, and adding a transition. The process to
place a freeze frame in the middle of a series of clips takes a few more steps.
Here’s how to do both:
1. Place a clip on a sequence and trim its end to the frame you want to hold
and then fade to black.
2. Right-click on that clip and select Copy.
3. Move the CTI to the end of your clip or just past the end.
4. Select Edit→Paste from the main menu. That places a copy of the original
clip on the sequence, right after its twin clip.
No Right-Click Paste Option
I’m a big fan of right-click, context-sensitive menus. So, I fully expected to be able to
right-click on an empty space on a video or audio track and see a context menu to
enable me to paste the clip to the sequence. No such luck. Thus, the need to use
the Main menu bar to do the Edit→Paste or the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl-V.
By the
5. Right-click on that duplicate clip, select Rename and, as shown in Figure
9.6, give that clip a descriptive name. In my case: Freeze–Clip A.
When creating a
duplicate clip that
you’ll use as a
freeze frame, give it
a descriptive name.
7. Now if you place the CTI over the first clip and press the spacebar to play
the sequence, the video will get to the end of that clip and then play the
next clip, which is a still image of the first clip’s last frame. In other words,
the video will freeze on the last frame of the first clip.
6. Right-click on the duplicate clip and select Frame Hold. In the dialog box
shown in Figure 9.7, check the Hold On box, select Out Point from the dropdown list, and click OK.
Hour 9
Use the Frame
Hold dialog box to
create a freeze
frame; in this case,
using a clip’s outpoint.
Trim After the Fact
If you want to trim the length of the duplicate clip, don’t trim from the endpoint. If
you do, the freeze frame will change to match the new out-point. Here are two ways
to shorten a clip with a frame hold set to the out-point:
. Use the Ripple Edit tool (keyboard shortcut: B) to trim it from its in-point.
. Use the Selection tool to trim the still frame clip’s left edge (creating a gap in
the process), right-click on the gap, and select Ripple Delete to close that gap.
Did you
Fix the Audio
The audio for your duplicated clip will be the same as the original clip, even with a
Hold Frame applied. So, if you do nothing with the audio on the second clip, you’ll
have an awkward moment as the audio from the first clip jumps back to its start
and plays again. I explain how to fix that in Hour 13. It involves unlinking the
audio/video of both clips, deleting the audio portion of the freeze-frame clip, dragging the right-edge of the audio from the original clip under the freeze frame, and
gradually fading it out.
8. To have that freeze frame fade to black, drag the Cross Dissolve transition to
the end of the freeze frame. You can adjust the length of the Cross Dissolve
in the Effect Controls window.
9. Here’s a quick explanation of how to add a freeze frame in the middle of a
clip (it uses many of the same steps you just completed). Find the frame to
duplicate, use the Razor tool to cut the clip at that point, and right-click.
Copy the portion of the clip to the right of the slice.
10. Slide the right-side clip out of the way, paste the duplicate in front of it, and
rename that duplicate to something like Freeze A-2. Right-click the duplicate, select Frame Hold, check Hold On and In Point, and click OK. Your
sequence should look something like Figure 9.8—a freeze frame in the middle of a clip. You can adjust the length of that freeze frame by using the
Ripple Edit tool on its out-point.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
To add a freeze
frame in the middle
of a clip, slice that
clip, duplicate the
second half, place
that duplicate
between the two
halves, and apply a
Frame Hold to its
Mid-Clip Speed Change Can Be Abrupt
Slicing a clip to change its speed mid-clip is not all that elegant. What Premiere Pro
does not let you do is to gradually change clip speed over time. This takes some
real programming time and energy and did not make it into version one of Premiere
Pro, but it might show up in the first upgrade.
11. For a final bit of legerdemain, split the two outside clips and apply slow
motion and reverse slow motion to them, respectively. I’ve labeled clips in
Figure 9.9 to show you how this works. Delete the right-side clip (you’ll
replace it with the split opening clip). Move the freeze frame to the right to
give the left clip enough room to expand when you apply slow motion to it.
Use the razor to slice the first clip and apply slow motion to the right slice to
ease into the freeze frame. Copy that right clip and paste it after the freeze
frame. Apply reverse motion to it (it already has slow motion applied).
Copy the first clip and paste it at the end. Apply reverse motion to it.
By the
Going from regular
to slow-motion, to a
freeze frame, and
then reverse slowmotion and regular
speed reverse
motion takes several razor slices,
speed changes,
and clip copies.
Adding News-Style Cutaways
To see cutaways in action, simply watch some TV news stories. During some
interviews, the view typically shifts to the interviewer listening intently. This is
Hour 9
primarily used when the news reporter chose to butt-together two brief sound
bites to make one longer one. The editor adds a cutaway there to avoid a jump
cut. Or, if the story is about a football game, for example, the view might switch
in the middle of a play to a tight shot of screaming fans and then switch back to
the play itself.
Both of these edits are cutaways. The first would have no audio added, the second
might mix the crowd audio with the audio from the play. The upcoming task
deals only with the former: nonaudio cutaway. I leave adding cutaways with
audio to Hour 13.
Try it
Editing Cutaways
This task uses the Source Monitor screen as a means to define the in-points and
out-points for a cutaway and then to remove audio before you add the cutaway
to your sequence. Here’s how to do it:
1. Clear your sequence of clips or create a new one. Then add a clip to Video 1.
By the
My Cutaway Task
Because this task is simply for practice, you don’t need to find the perfect cutaway
nor the perfect place to edit it in. In this case, I’ll show you how I did it with my
magic show video. I shot a kids’ magic show and want to insert a tight shot of one
of the trick set-ups. I don’t want to disrupt the audio flow, only insert a brief cutaway
(three seconds typically works well).
2. Drag the video clip with the cutaway you want to use to the Source Monitor
3. Locate that cutaway and mark its in-point and out-point using the brackets
below the Source Monitor screen.
4. To edit in a video-only cutaway, click the Toggle Take Audio and Video button highlighted in Figure 9.10 and select the filmstrip icon. The other choices are video with audio—a filmstrip with a speaker—and audio-only—a
5. Move the CTI on the sequence to the frame where you want to place the
6. Click in the Source Monitor screen and drag that to the clip on the
sequence, using Snap to Edges to line up its in-point with the CTI edit line.
Release the mouse. As a reminder, this is an overlay edit. It replaces whatever was on the sequence at that point and, in this case, does not add audio.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Set the in-points
and out-points for
your cutaway in the
Source Monitor window and then tell
Premiere Pro to
edit in only video by
selecting the highlighted filmstrip
icon in the Toggle
Take Audio and
Video button.
What Happens If You Add Audio Too
If you had selected the audio/video option and dragged the clip from the Source
Monitor screen to the clip on the sequence, it would have overlaid the audio portion
of the selected clip as well. As I explain in Hour 17, the workaround for that is to
add another audio track, target that track, and then use the Overlay button in the
Source Monitor window instead of dragging the clip to the sequence.
Alternative Method to Find Edit Location
You don’t have to mark the cutaway location with the CTI edit line. You simply can
drag the cutaway to the clip and then drag it left or right, watching the split-screen in
the Program Monitor to find a good location.
Rolling, Slip, and Slide Edits
You’ll tap this set of editing tools when you want to preserve the overall length of
your program. They come in handy for precisely timed projects such as 30-second
By the
Did you
Hour 9
In many cases, it might be easier to make individual edits and forgo these special
tools, but it’s good for any professional editor to know how to do rolling, slide,
and slip edits. It can be a challenge to remember what each tool does (during one
demo I attended, a Premiere Pro team member struggled in vain to remember
which tool did what). So, here’s a quick run-through. Table 9.1 provides a slightly
different overview of these three specialized edits:
. Rolling edit—Rolls the cut point between two adjacent clips
. Slide edit—Slides the clip along its track in the sequence.
. Slip edit—Slips the in—and outpoints of a clip without moving it along its
Try it
Rolling, Slide, and Slip Edits
Clip Length(s)
Clip(s) In/Out
Rolling edit
Changes the duration and in-points
and out-points of two adjacent clips.
Slide edit
The selected clip remains unchanged, Unchanged
but out-points, in-points, and lengths
of both adjacent clips are changed.
Slip edit
Changes only the selected clip’s
in-points and out-points.
Make Rolling, Slide, and Slip Edits
We’ll start with the Rolling edit (the easiest of the three) and then move on to
Slide and Slip edits. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Place three clips side by side on a sequence’s Video 1 track. Make sure that
all of them have plenty of head and tail frames to allow for the edits. The
easiest way is to shorten each clip by dragging in the beginning and end
(the in-points and out-points) with the Selection tool.
2. Select the Rolling Edit tool from the Tools palette (keyboard shortcut N).
Move its cursor between the two clips that you want to edit. I’ve highlighted
the Rolling Edit Tool palette icon and its edit-point cursor in Figure 9.11.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
The Rolling Edit
tool on the Tools
palette and positioned between two
3. What makes this Rolling Edit different from any you’ve done to this point is
that you’ll use the Program Monitor screen to make the edit. Click the
Rolling Edit tool at the cut between the two clips and drag it in either direction. If you drag it left, you’re shortening the first clip (clip A, in my example) and lengthening clip B. As shown in Figure 9.12, as you move the
Rolling Edit tool, the monitor shows the new out-point and in-point of the
adjacent clips.
Rolling Edits Change Adjacent Clip Lengths
Simply to confirm what you just experienced: The Rolling Edit tool preserves the
overall project length, but rolls the out-points and in-points of two adjacent clips—
shortening one clip while lengthening the other.
By the
As you drag the
Rolling Edit tool,
use the Program
Monitor to view the
changing out-point
and in-point of the
two adjacent clips.
5. Click on the middle clip and drag it left or right. Take a look at the Program
Monitor screen shown in Figure 9.14. The two top images are the in-point
and out-point of the selected clip. They will not change. The two larger
images are the out-point and in-point of the adjacent (left and right, respectively) clips. As in a Rolling Edit, these edit points do change as you move
the selected clip.
4. Switch to the Slide Edit tool and place it over the middle clip (not at an edit
point) as shown in Figure 9.13.
Hour 9
The Slide Edit tool
on the Tools
palette and positioned on a clip.
As you drag the
Slide Edit tool, the
Program Monitor
displays the changing out-point and inpoint of the two
adjacent clips and
the unchanged
selected clip’s inpoint and out-point.
6. Switch to the Slip Edit tool and place it over the center clip (you can place it
over any clip because it affects only the selected clip, but the center clip
presents a more descriptive example). Use Figure 9.15 for reference.
The Slip Edit tool
on the Tools
palette and positioned on a clip.
7. Click on the middle clip and drag it left or right. Take a look at the Program
Monitor screen shown in Figure 9.16. The two top images are the out-points
and in-points of the two adjacent clips. They will not change. The two larger
images are the in-point and out-point of the selected clip. These edit points
change as you move the selected clip left or right.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Using the Slip Tool at the Beginning or End
Although the Slip Edit tool is intended to adjust the in-point and out-point of a clip
between two other clips, you can use it on the first or last clip of your piece. Give
that a try to see how it works.
Did you
As you drag the
Slip Edit tool, the
Program Monitor
displays its shifting
in-point and outpoint, and the
unchanged out- and
in-points of the
adjacent clips.
The Rolling, Slip, and Slide Edit tools work with both cuts-only edits and transitions. However, I recommend you remove any transitions before using these tools
and then reapply those transitions to make sure that they work the way you
expected. One example: You might have created a transition with a move that
starts at a specific point in clip A and moves to a point in clip B. Those start
points and endpoints will likely shift as you make adjustments using a rolling,
slip, or slide edit.
Creating Special Transitions
Back in Hour 7, “Adding Transition Between Clips,” I skipped two of the moreinvolved transitions: Image Mask and Gradient Wipe. I’ll run them by you here.
Using the Image Mask Transition
This is more like a special effect than a transition. Basically, you use any image—
black-and-white, grayscale, or full color—as a means to display part(s) of clip A
and part(s) of clip B at the same time.
For instance, you might want to display part of an image in the sky of another
image or have a clip play in a frame on a wall or through a window. In each
case, you’d create a black mask to match the area where you want the video to
show through the first video.
Hour 9
Clip A shows through the black area of your image (or any part of it that is 50%
or more gray), and clip B shows through the white area (or any part that is less
than 50% gray). To reiterate, when using the Image Mask transition, Premiere Pro
sees the mask only as black or white. Even if you use a mask with color, Premiere
Pro makes the transition by converting the color image to grayscale and then calculating which portions are more or less than 50% gray.
To do this, you’ll need a mask. To get some hands-on experience, I’d suggest you
make a rudimentary mask using a tool such as Microsoft Paint or Premiere Pro’s
Title Designer. Create your mask and save it on your Premiere Pro scratch disk.
Figure 9.17 shows how a mask might look. It’s basically a stark black-and-white
graphic. Remember that the black area lets that part of clip A show through, and
the white area displays that section of clip B.
A rudimentary
mask created in
Microsoft Paint for
use with the Image
Mask transition.
Try it
Create an Image Mask Transition
To create an Image Mask transition, follow these steps:
1. Delete the three video clips from your sequence or create a new sequence.
2. To make it clear how the Image Mask transition works, I’d like you to make
two color mattes—solid color graphics that you can use as clips in your project. As shown in Figure 9.18, click on the New Item icon in the Project window and select Color Matte (or right-click on any blank space in the Project
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
window to open the context menu and select New Item→Color Matte).
Select a color from the Color Picker and give your matte a descriptive name.
Do that again for a distinctly different color.
Color Mattes Are Useful Objects
Now that you know about how to make color mattes, consider using them in your
projects. For instance, use them if you want a simple color background for text or for
Did you
Create color mattes
by clicking the New
Item button.
4. Locate the Image Mask transition in the Special Effect folder in the Effect
palette’s Video Transitions folder and drag it to the edit point between the
two mattes. This pops up a small Image Mask Settings dialog box, as illustrated in Figure 9.20. This is a tad confusing because you’d expect to see a
standard Transitions Settings dialog box with a Custom button instead
(we’ll get to that dialog box in a moment).
3. Drag each matte to the Video 1 track of your sequence. Your sequence
should look like Figure 9.19.
Hour 9
The Image Mask
sequence setup.
The preliminary
Image Mask
Settings dialog box.
5. Click Select Image, locate your mask, and double-click it. When this brings
you back to the Image Mask Settings dialog box, click OK.
6. Now open the Effect Controls window and click on the purple Image Mask
transition rectangle on the sequence to select it. Ah-ha. This looks more
familiar (see Figure 9.21), but you’ll notice that there is no A and B preview
window, there’s only a window that combines both clips. Although this is
called a transition, it’s really a way to let parts of one clip show through on
The actual Image
Mask Effect
Controls window
7. You can give your mask transition a border. Note that whatever portion of
the original Image Mask graphic was black shows the A clip and whatever
was white shows the B clip.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
As with most transitions, if you click the down arrow, you’ll switch how Premiere
Pro performs this transition. Instead of letting clip A show through the black portion of your mask, clip A now shows through the white and clip B shows through
the black.
Creating a Gradient Wipe Transition
This is more like what you’d expect to see in a transition. It works like the Image
Mask transition in that it lets parts of clip A and clip B display together using a
custom mask, but the Gradient Wipe transition actually moves from one scene to
the next using a smooth animation. It’s like other Wipe transitions, but in this
case you control the shape of the edge.
In a reversal of the Image Mask transition, clip B shows through the black area,
whereas clip A shows through the white area. Also, in this case, Premiere Pro does
see things as gray—gradually. As the transition progresses, the gray areas darken
and more of clip B shows through until at the end of the transition only clip B is
As in the previous task (the Image Mask transition), I suggest that you create a
grayscale gradient mask. Figure 9.22 shows a very rudimentary example using
black, two grayscale areas, and white.
A rudimentary
grayscale mask created in Microsoft
Paint for use with
the Gradient Wipe
Try it
Hour 9
Create a Gradient Wipe Transition
To create a Gradient Wipe transition, follow these steps:
1. Return to your timeline and replace the Image Mask transition with the
Gradient Wipe transition (it’s in the Wipe folder).
2. This, too, pops up a little preliminary Gradient Wipe Settings dialog box, as
shown in Figure 9.23. Click Select Image, locate your gradient graphic, and
double-click it.
The preliminary
Gradient Wipe
Settings dialog box.
3. This returns you to the preliminary Gradient Wipe Transition dialog box.
Select a Softness setting (this smoothes sharp edges in your gradient graphic). Click OK.
4. As with the Image Mask transition, click the transition on the sequence to
display its settings in the Effect Controls window. As shown in Figure 9.24,
this display has all the trappings of a real transition, including separate A
and B clip windows.
The Gradient Wipe
transition works
like other transitions with the extra
feature of a usercreated gradient
5. Click Show Actual Sources and drag the slider under clip A to see how this
transition works. As you move the slider, Premiere Pro is in effect making
the Image Mask graphic darker and letting more of clip B appear in the
increasingly black areas of the graphic you created for this transition.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Similar to the Image Mask transition, you can change how this transition works
by clicking, in this case, the R button. This starts the transition from the top
instead of the bottom.
Sequence and Project Window Label Colors
As you’ve worked with the Project and Timeline windows, you might have noticed that
objects in both windows follow a certain color scheme (Adobe favors pastels). Those
colors are customizable. Here’s a rundown of the default color scheme:
Video-only clips are blue.
Audio-only clips are green.
Linked or formerly linked video/audio clips are cyan.
Graphics or mattes are violet.
Sequences are gray.
Red bar(s) near the top of a sequence indicate segments that need rendering
before the project is completed.
. Project window bins are orange.
The one small flaw is that there is no distinctive color for the unlinked portions of a
formerly linked A/V clip.
In any event, if the pastels don’t resonate with you, you can change the color
scheme by selecting Edit→Preferences→Label Colors. Then select new colors using
the Color Picker. Associate those new colors with their labels by selecting Label
Defaults from the same Preferences dialog box.
Editing Tips from an Expert—John
Forever seared in my brain is one edit. It was in my first “magazine” piece for
KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. This was back in the mid-1980s. The national Radio and
Television News Directors Association had just named KSL the TV news station of
the year—an honor that KSL would win an unprecedented two years in a row.
KSL had the highest-rated (by percentage of viewers) news shows in the country. It
was a TV news powerhouse. I had just moved there from a medium-sized market
and was in awe of the professionalism, the scope of the news operation, and the
array of high-tech goodies.
Buried deep in the editing bays was something akin to the command center of
the Starship Enterprise. At its helm was John Crossman, KSL’s chief editor. For me,
having come from a station with no editors (the photographers did all the
Hour 9
editing), this was a tad overwhelming. One of my first assignments was a long
feature story on a local piano manufacturer. I’d never done a magazine-style
piece and handed John a straightforward news-style voice-over. He barely batted
an eye.
A couple hours later he called me into his realm wanting to show me how the
piece was coming together. It sang. It danced. It had rhythm. I was confounded.
The segment ended with a Billy Joel piano crescendo followed by a loud “clip” of
a wire cutter snipping a piano string. I looked at John and at all his whiz-bang
electronics and said one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever muttered in my TV
career: “This equipment is amazing!” Fortunately, he forgave me my egregious
error and we got on famously after that.
John spent eight years at KSL and now runs Crossman Post Production ( just outside of Salt Lake City. He provides video editing, graphics, and
computer-generated animation for a lengthy list of corporate, educational, and
broadcast clients. He’s won five regional Emmys, 26 national Tellys, and a slew of
other awards.
John is a wonderfully talented guy who has a true passion for the art of editing.
Here are his editing tips.
To begin, good editors need certain basic talents:
. Rhythm—Life has a rhythm, so does editing. If you can’t feel it, it’s very
hard to learn.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
. Visualization—Good editors can see the completed project before they start.
The actual editing is just the detail work. The images are already completely
edited in their minds.
. Patience—Even when you can see it in your mind’s eye, you’ll have to
make compromises on every project. The true test of an editor is whether he
can make compromises work well. The best editors make it look like every
single choice was the best choice.
. Positive attitude—Your attitude will go a long, long way toward determining your success. You’ll spend numberless hours editing in a small dark
space, usually on a deadline, and always with budget pressure, client pressure, spouse pressure…you name it. And the better the attitude, the better
the job will go.
. Team player—You’re part of a team. Try not to criticize the other members.
Remember, you didn’t have your eye in the viewfinder when the bomb went
off. Thinking you could have had that shot when you’re looking at the tape
hours and miles away is easy, but not productive. Let the producer say, “I
wish he had gotten closer.” You say, “Well, let’s do it this way and it will
still work.” That’s where the editor earns his money, his reputation, and his
To edit well, you need to do the following:
. Use motivation and logic. This is the most important concept in editing.
Your editing should be motivated. You should have a reason for the shots
you select and the order in which you select them. There should be a purpose to why you dissolve, why you use a wipe, as well as why you cut. Your
goal is to communicate clearly what has happened. Your shot selection and
the time spent on each shot should reinforce the narration while conveying
. Plan as you digitize. As you digitize the video, you should see in your
mind’s eye how the pictures are going to line up to get you to where you
want to be at the end. Is the shot a great scene-setter (beginning)? Is it
incredibly beautiful (possible ending shot)? Is it self-explanatory or incomprehensible (possible cutting-room floor material)?
. Build new skills. If you’re in the professional ranks, or want to be, you
must budget a considerable amount of time and money toward keeping current. At the very least, you’re going to need to learn about how to incorporate graphics, animation, compositing, and special effects into your editing
to serve the demands of your clients.
Hour 9
. In the world of broadcast television, you are surrounded by people who
know how to create good stories. In corporate production, you might be
working with someone who has no clue. At this point, you become 90%
teacher and 10% editor. Your attitude will win you a loyal client or lose you
a lifetime customer.
. Like music in a movie, good editing helps communicate your message and
shouldn’t really stand out to the viewer. The editing is not the message, but
the editing can make the message work, not work, or work better than it
Professional video editors have a handful of editing tricks up their sleeves: establishing shots, wide and tight, sequences, and cutaways. Editors are so accustomed
to adding these nifty touches to their projects, they are almost second nature.
Keep them in mind as you shoot your raw video and do your initial edits.
As you use those techniques, you’ll come to rely on several Premiere Pro editing
tools. Adjusting clip speed and direction plus adding freeze frames expands your
editing possibilities. Rolling, slip, and slide edits take that cuts-only style even further. The two mask transitions enable you to use custom images to display two
clips at once. Adding cutaways makes it possible for you to add some visual interest to an interview or other video clip.
Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools
Q When I use the Rolling, Slip, and Slide Edit tools, the clip frames shift in
the monitor screens, showing the new edit points, but after a while they
stop and won’t let me move the edit point any farther. What’s up?
A You’ve reached the end of the line—the beginning or end of the original
clip. There are no additional head or tail frames to enable you to move the
edit any farther.
Q I create a freeze frame by selecting Frame Hold and checking Hold On the
Out Point. That freeze holds for a bit too long, so I trimmed it and now the
freeze frame image is different than the one I wanted. What’s going on?
A You trimmed your clip by dragging its out-point. Because that’s the image
you told Premiere Pro to hold, it updates that freeze frame as you change
the out-point. To avoid this issue, use the Ripple Edit tool and trim the clip
from its in-point.
1. You’ve completed a project that is exactly one minute long and needs to
stay that length. You like one clip, but you want to shift its position slightly
between two other clips. What edit tool do you use? Why?
2. What are the principal differences between the Image Mask and Gradient
Mask transitions?
3. You want to make sure that when you drag a cutaway from the Source
Monitor screen, it doesn’t alter the audio of the original clip. How do you do
Quiz Answers
1. The Slide Edit tool. It enables you to slide a clip between two others, changing their in-points and out-points while keeping the selected clip intact.
2. The Image Mask transition sees everything in black or white—no gray area
for that guy. And it’s not a true transition. It’s merely a means to sandwich
two clips together. The Gradient Mask transition has a built-in transition
Hour 9
motion, revealing the next clip from either the bottom of the screen going
up or from the top and going down, and sees things in shades of gray.
3. Click the little Toggle Take Audio and Video button until it turns into a filmstrip icon without a speaker (that button is below the lower-right corner of
the monitor screen). Now drag the image in the Source Monitor screen to
the Video 1 track of your sequence. The original clip’s audio should remain
untouched. Take care not to click it one time too many—that turns it into
an audio-only edit.
1. I demonstrated the process to create a sequence using regular forward
motion, slow motion, stop action, reverse slow motion, and reverse fullspeed motion. Now, find a clip of your own that would work well with those
edits and apply them.
2. To really get a feel for the four edit tools presented in this hour—Rolling,
Slide, Slip, and Rate Stretch—plus the Ripple Edit tool, you need to use
them. I guarantee that if you use them a half-dozen times each, they’ll
become second nature. And you’ll see the beauty of how well Premiere Pro’s
developers implemented all this functionality. It’s a marked improvement
over previous versions of Premiere.
3. Combine two concepts presented in this hour: professional editing techniques and the Ripple, Rolling, Slide, and Slip Edit tools. Use these tools to
make matching edits and build sequences. What makes these tools so powerful is that you can view just how the edits will work in the Program
Monitor screen.
Adding Video Effects
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Introducing Premiere Pro’s video effects
Working with simple video effects
Changing effects over time—keyframing
Using keyframe interpolation controls
Premiere Pro’s video effects give you more ways than you can imagine to jazz up
your video and dazzle viewers. You can put clips in motion, distort them, shrink
them, fly them across other clips, and change their color, style, and overall appearance.
You can apply these effects—video and audio—gradually over time or immediately.
You can combine effects. For instance, you can posterize a clip, flip it around, and
fly it off screen. It’s a cliché, but it applies: The only limit is your imagination.
Introducing Premiere Pro’s Video Effects
This hour marks the first of several during which I cover Premiere Pro’s many video
effects. I introduce the Effects palette here and go over some of the simpler effects;
those that have few, if any, options. I present most of the remaining video effects in
Hours 15 and 16, “Using Higher-Level Video Effects—Parts 1 and 2” (see following By
the Way: “Keying—Newly Categorized As an Effect,” for an explanation about the
remaining effects).
Premiere Pro ships with 93 effects and dozens more are available from third-party
providers. If you have Premiere Pro open, click in the Effects tab in the Project
window and open the Video Effects palette. I’ve illustrated part of that palette in
Figure 10.1.
Hour 10
The Video Effects
As a convenience, Adobe created 14 categories to organize these video effects, but
you’ll find that one category can sometimes seem a lot like another, and video
effects in different palettes can be very similar.
By the
Keying—Newly Categorized As an Effect
Until this release of Premiere Pro, keying was not considered an effect. Keying falls
more into what most editors would call a compositing tool. That is, it’s a means to
give a video clip some transparency to enable layering—or compositing—it with
other clips. Keying is a concept that takes some explanation as well as a shift from
single-track editing to multiple tracks. I introduce keying in Hour 17, “Compositing
Part 1—Layering Images and Clips.”
There are three basic types of video effects: Standard, Photoshop, and After Effects.
Adobe used to differentiate the After Effects group by giving it effects a special
icon. No longer. The only obvious way you can discover which effect falls into
which group is by looking in Premiere Pro’s main file directory.
Digging into the Effects
If you’re so inclined, navigate to wherever you installed Premiere Pro. If you opted for
the default installation, you’ll find it at C:/Program Files/Adobe/Premiere Pro/.
Open the Plug-ins folder. In it, among other things, you’ll see a collection of files that
all start with the word Filter and have PRM file extensions. Those are the old
Premiere stand-by video effects (they called them filters in previous Premiere iterations).
Adding Video Effects
You also might notice a collection of AEFilter files with AEX file extensions. Most of
these are the keying filters discussed in the previous By the Way. New to this group
and to Premiere Pro are the Color Corrector and ColorMatch After Effects filters, (for
some programming reason, they’re stored in the Plug-ins folder, not the After Effects
folder) and Motion and Opacity After Effects filters. The latter two are called fixed
effects because they are always available for your use in the newly revamped, all-inone, Effect Controls window (ECW). I cover opacity in Hour 17, and I explain motion
in the next hour, “Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion.”
Dig a little deeper into separate AEFilters and PSFilters folders, and you’ll find the
After Effects and Photoshop effects used in earlier versions of Premiere. The
Photoshop effects (all have 8BF file extensions) tend to have few options, so I’ll
cover some of them in this hour. Basically, they’re lifted straight from Photoshop
where they are used on static graphics or photos. Premiere Pro gives you the opportunity to use them on moving pictures and change their characteristics over time.
This keyframing capability, even with only a few parameters, can be very powerful.
The After Effects’ effects tend to be a little wilder and more involved. Many have
built-in animations and multiple features. I take you through that group in Hour 16.
You apply video effects by simply dragging and dropping them to a clip on a
sequence or in the Effect Controls window. You can add multiple video effects to a
single clip. Doing so can produce surprising and unpredictable results.
I concentrate on the simplest video effects in this hour to give you a taste of their
variety and value. Then I show you one of the real strengths of Premiere Pro: the
capability to change effects over time. Even static effects like those lifted from
Photoshop can be animated.
I’ll begin with Premiere Pro’s simplest video effect: Black & White. It converts any
clip to grayscale (shades of gray). Follow these steps:
Try it
Convert a Clip to Grayscale
1. You can open Premiere Pro to your own workspace, but make sure that
we’re on the same plate, switch to the Effects workspace by selecting
2. Add a brief video or linked video/audio clip to your timeline by dragging it
from the Project window.
4. Note that the name of the clip shows up in the Effect Controls window (it
should be open in the Source side of the Monitor window by virtue of your
having switched to the Effects workspace).
3. Select the video portion of that clip by clicking it with the Selection tool.
Hour 10
5. In the Video Effects folder (under the Effects tab in the Project window), open
the Image Control file folder and drag and drop Black & White on the clip
on the timeline or to the left side of the Effect Controls window. This action
adds the video effect name to the Effect Controls window, below Motion and
Opacity and above Volume (if you’re using a linked audio/video clip). I’ve
illustrated this in Figure 10.2. Note that there’s a little f icon on the left side.
Clicking this turns off the effect while keeping it in the ECW.
Did you
Finding Effects (and Transitions)
By the
New Horizontal Lines in the Sequence
With the many video effects file folders, it’s sometimes tricky to locate an effect. If
you know an effect’s name (or part of its name), type it in the Contains: line at the
top of the Effects palette. Premiere Pro immediately displays all effects that match
those letters, narrowing the search as you type.
You might note that when you add an effect to a clip, two thin horizontal lines show
up in the sequence. A red line below the Time Ruler indicates that this clip will need
rendering before final output. And a line at the bottom of the clip in the sequence
serves simply as a reminder that you’ve added an effect to this clip. That line is
green when the clip is selected and purple when it’s not selected.
After the Black &
White video effect
is applied to a clip,
it appears in the
Effect Controls window.
6. The Black & White video effect happens immediately. Place the CTI edit line
on the clip and note that its image in the Program Monitor screen shifts
instantly to a grayscale image. Preview your clip (press the spacebar) to see
the Black & White effect in action.
Adding Video Effects
Try it
Try the Camera Blur Video Effect
7. Using the Black & White video effect can be abrupt. To make this clip gradually shift to black-and-white, use the Razor tool to slice it, put the Black &
White video effect on the second section, and add a cross-dissolve on the
sliced edit between the two clips.
Black & White is as basic as Premiere Pro’s video effects get. To move things up a
notch, try the Camera Blur video effect:
1. Remove Black & White from the Effect Controls palette by clicking on its
name and pressing Delete (or right-click on the effect name and select Cut).
2. Open the Blur & Sharpen file folder and drag and drop Camera Blur onto
the timeline or the Effect Controls window.
3. Note that as I’ve illustrated in Figure 10.3, there are three extra items in
expanded view of the Camera Blur section in the ECW: a little window icon,
two disclosure triangles, and a stopwatch (the latter is to set keyframes,
which I cover in the next section, “Changing Effects Over Time—
Keyframing”). The window icon and the disclosure triangles both access this
effect’s one control: Percent Blur.
Accessing Parameters
Virtually all effects have a disclosure triangle. Clicking it typically displays a list of
nested parameters, most of which have disclosure triangles of their own.
Did you
However, only some clips have the little window icon that accesses a separate settings dialog box.
Settings Dialog Box Opening by Itself
When you add this effect, and others that use a settings dialog box (see step 4), the
dialog box should not open until you click its little window icon in the ECW. But, as a
result of what might be a minor glitch in Premiere Pro’s code, sometimes when you
add such an effect to the ECW, its settings dialog box opens on its own. It’s a nonissue really, but this is just a heads-up in case it throws you the first time it happens.
5. Move the percentage slider to see its effect in the Settings dialog box preview
window (see Figure 10.4). Click OK.
4. Click the window icon to view the Camera Blur Settings dialog box.
Hour 10
Camera Blur has
three additional
features in its
Effect Controls window display: a window icon to access
a setup dialog box,
a disclosure triangle to access that
setup info within
the ECW, and a
stopwatch to switch
on keyframes.
Camera Blur has
only one option:
Percent Blur.
Did you
Preview Frame Behaviors
When you preview an effect in its Settings dialog box, the image displayed might not
be what you expect to see. If you have the CTI (current time indicator) on the clip
(clicking on the clip to select it does not move the CTI to it), the Settings dialog box
displays the frame under the CTI. If the CTI isn’t on the clip, the Settings dialog box
displays a frame from the clip, but there does not appear to be any rhyme or reason
as to which frame. If you instead preview your work in the Monitor window’s Program
screen (see steps 6 and 7), you’ll need to move the CTI edit line to the clip to see
the effect in action.
6. To see how the controls in the ECW work, click the disclosure triangle next
to Camera Blur and click the disclosure triangle below and to the left of the
first one. Your screen will look like Figure 10.3 shown earlier.
Adding Video Effects
That these settings dialog box controls are also available in the ECW means that
you can apply keyframes to any or all of them. This is a major improvement in
Premiere Pro over its predecessors.
ECW Controls—Eminently Keyframable
By the
Photoshop Video Effects
Camera Blur is the first of several Photoshop video effects you’ll work with. Most
have similar, simple settings dialog box interfaces and offer most of those dialog
box controls in the Effect Controls window. This demonstrates the elegance of
Premiere Pro. Previous versions of Premiere presented effects in myriad ways; now
all are accessible within the ECW as well as in their former interfaces.
For your information, here’s a list of the Photoshop video effects: Crystalize, Lens
Flare, Pinch, Pointillize, Polar Coordinates, Radial Blur, Shear, Spherize, Tiles, Twirl,
Wave, Wind, and ZigZag. All but one use a Settings dialog box and most are simple
and fun.
Experiment with the following simple video effects. Although you can apply multiple effects to a clip (sometimes with unpredictable and exciting results), in this
case it’s best to delete each effect before moving on to the next one:
Crystallize—Found in the Pixelate file folder, this effect creates a distorted
mosaic by placing adjacent pixels into solid-colored polygons. Choose a
value from 3 to 300 pixels per polygon. A setting of 5 works nicely.
Facet—Found in the Pixelate file folder, this effect is reminiscent of Gauguin
paintings. It creates a smooth oil painting–like effect by clumping together
pixels of similar color values. As with Black & White, there are no options.
Pointillize—Found in the Pixelate file folder, this effect is reminiscent of a
Seurat painting. But even at the lowest setting (3), the chunky points don’t
match his fine style. Pointillize does work well with landscapes.
Replicate—Found in the Stylize file folder, this effect divides the screen into
tiles and displays the whole clip in each tile—from a 2×2 grid to 16×16.
Solarize—This effect is found in the Stylize file folder. By blending between
a negative and a positive image, Solarize makes your clip look like film
briefly exposed to light during developing. A setting of 0% leaves your clip
unchanged, whereas 100% turns it into a negative image.
7. Move the CTI to your clip to see it in the Monitor window Program screen,
and then move the slider to change the percent blur. Note the immediate
change in the Monitor.
Did you
Hour 10
Before moving to keyframes, I want to fill you in on a few more basic, but useful
Try it
Apply the Spherize Video Effect
The Spherize effect distorts your image, making it look as if someone’s pushing a
basketball against it. Here are the steps:
1. Remove Camera Blur (and all other effects) from the Effect Controls window
by selecting it and deleting it.
2. Open the Distort file folder and drag and drop Spherize into the Effect
Controls window or on to the clip in the sequence.
3. Click on the settings dialog box icon to open it (if it hasn’t opened automatically). As shown in Figure 10.5, this video effect has a numeric value, an
adjustable screen size, and an additional control: Mode. Adjust these as
desired. Here are some points to keep in mind:
. Amount—A setting from –100 to +100 either pushes or pulls the clip
into a spherical shape.
. Mode—You have three options: Normal, Horizontal Only, and Vertical
Only. Normal looks like a ball, whereas Horizontal Only and Vertical
Only expand out and squeeze in along their respective axes.
. Preview Window—The little buttons (+ and –) beneath the preview
Spherize offers two
options to create
the appearance of
a basketball
pressed against
your clip.
window let you zoom in on or away from your subject to more clearly
see the change in shape, but this does not affect the final effect.
Adding Video Effects
ECW Missing Controls
In the case of Spherize (and several other video effects), not all its dialog box controls or options show up when you twirl down its disclosure triangles in the Effect
Controls window. What’s missing in this case is the Mode option. It pays to check
both sets of controls. Whichever dialog box controls are not listed in the ECW are
therefore not available for keyframing. I cover that topic in a moment.
Take a look at three other effects from the Distort file folder:
Pinch—The pull move squeezes/pinches the center of the image. The push
move bulges out the image like Spherize.
Shear—This is the fun-house mirror effect. It distorts your clip along a line
that works much like the Path Text tool. Drag the line’s two endpoints
around the perimeter of the box, create handles anywhere on the line, and
drag and contort that line. The effect of your handiwork shows up immediately in the preview window.
ZigZag—You can create pond ripples and other radial effects with ZigZag.
The Amount setting (–100 to 100, with 0 being no distortion) represents the
magnitude of distortion and the reflection angle. Ridges is the number of
ripples (direction reversals), and Style sets the general appearance (Pond,
Out from Center, or Around Center).
Changing Effects Over Time—Keyframing
Keyframing has changed dramatically for the better in Premiere Pro versus previous versions. Virtually all options for all effects are keyframable. That is, you can
change the effect’s behavior over time in myriad ways.
For instance, you can have Camera Blur gradually “rack” the scene out of focus
or start out of focus and gradually sharpen the image. Or you can use the
Spherize effect to bulge out a scene a little at the start and gradually make the
entire scene blow up like a balloon.
This new functionality has the same look and feel as Adobe’s very powerful
motion graphics and text animation product: After Effects. This duplication of
functionality is purposeful. Adobe has gone whole hog to create a tightly integrated suite of DV tools—Premiere Pro, After Effects 6, Photoshop CS, Audition
and Encore DVD—that look and behave similarly (Audition has not yet received
an Adobe face-lift, but the other four do feature similar user interfaces).
Try it
Hour 10
Try Out Video Effect Keyframing
To see keyframing in action, you’ll apply it to the Crystallize effect, gradually
increasing and decreasing the cell size over time. To see how keyframing works,
follow these steps:
1. Remove Spherize and any other effects from the ECW.
2. Drag the Crystallize video effect (from the Stylize file folder) to the Effect
Controls window. Twirl down the disclosure triangle.
By the
Skip the Effect Settings Dialog Box
If the Crystallize Settings dialog box opens, simply click OK (you’ll select actual settings in a moment).
3. Move the CTI to somewhere near the middle of your clip (either drag the
CTI within the ECW or in the Timeline window).
4. As shown in Figure 10.6, click the Keyframe stopwatch to turn on
keyframes. When you do you’ll note several changes:
. The stopwatch displays a sweep hand to let you know that you have
activated keyframes.
. A set of icons appears on the right side of the display. You use them to
move from one keyframe to the previous or next one in a collection.
The diamond in the middle enables you to set a keyframe wherever
the CTI edit line is at that moment.
. A little diamond appears in the ECW timeline area. That marks this
new keyframe. At the moment, it’s solid gray. That will change when
you add the next keyframe.
Switching on the
keyframe stopwatch
adds a keyframe at
the current CTI
location plus turns
on the keyframe
navigation controls.
Adding Video Effects
5. Change the Crystallize Cell Size setting to a large number. Something
greater than 150 pixels will do.
6. Move the CTI edit line to the beginning of the clip either by using the Home
keyboard shortcut or dragging the CTI to the beginning in the ECW or the
ECW’s Mini-Timeline
One other very cool feature of the ECW is its mini-timeline—that section on its right
side. If you don’t see it in your ECW, click the little chevron button in the upper-right
corner to open it. You can drag its left edge to widen its view and use the zoom
icons at the bottom of the ECW to change its view. It’s a very handy tool.
By the
7. Decrease the Cell Size setting to something very small (the smallest value is
3 pixels).
What Just Happened?
When you move the CTI and change the effect’s value, Premiere Pro automatically
adds another keyframe icon in the ECW. Simply moving it without changing an effect
value does not set a new keyframe. In this case, the keyframe icon is a triangle
pointing to the right, indicating that it’s marking the keyframe for the first frame in
the clip. (When you apply a keyframe to the last clip, it’ll be a triangle pointing to the
left.) All other keyframes are diamond-shaped unless you apply interpolation controls
to them (see “Using Keyframe Interpolation Controls” later in this hour).
By the
8. Move to the last frame of your clip either by using the keyboard shortcut
End or by dragging the CTI in the ECW mini-timeline or in the sequence.
When End Means Beginning
Using the End shortcut key can be disconcerting. When you use it on a clip, it
doesn’t take you to the last frame of that clip, it takes you to the first frame of the
next clip (if there is no clip at the end of the selected clip, it’ll display black).
The team members admit it’s not ideal and they’re working on fixing it for the next
release. In the meantime, if you want to go to a clip’s last frame, press End and
then press the Left Arrow key once to move back one frame so that you can see
your work.
Premiere Pro’s development team queried the beta group about this behavior and I
voiced my opposition to it. As it turns out, there apparently was a programming reason that forced their hand and they had to stick with this counterintuitive approach.
By the
Hour 10
Watch Those Keyframe Icons
With two keyframes in your clip, notice how their appearance changes. The one on
the left is a white (actually, a very light gray) triangle. The one in the middle is white
on the left and dark gray on the right. The dark gray indicates it’s the last
keyframe—chronologically—in this clip. If you now put a keyframe after it (and you
will in step 9), it’ll turn completely white to indicate there are keyframes on both
sides of it.
9. Add another keyframe by changing the cell size back to something small
like three. Your ECW should look something like Figure 10.7.
After adding
keyframes at the
beginning, middle,
and end of a clip,
your ECW should
look something like
10. Play your clip. Your video clip transitions from a lovely postimpressionist
painting to a screen full of animated solid-color polygons and then back to
that lovely painting again.
Keyframe Manipulation
After you add keyframes, they’re not immutable. You can move them, delete
them, add more, and change their attributes. Here’s a rundown of those methods:
. Add a Keyframe—You already know that you can add a keyframe by moving the CTI to a new location and changing an effect value there. Another
way is by moving the CTI to a frame where you want to add a keyframe
and clicking the little diamond between the two triangles. You can change
the value now or come back to it later.
. Move a Keyframe—First, move the CTI to the new location so that you can
see that spot. (If the effect is so drastic that you can’t see the video well
Adding Video Effects
enough, turn off the little f icon until you find the right spot, and then click
the effect f icon back to its on state.) Click and drag the keyframe to position it directly under the CTI edit line. Unfortunately, Snap to Edges does not
work when moving keyframes, so you might not get absolutely frameaccurate placement.
. Delete a Keyframe—Click on the keyframe and press Delete or right-click
on it and select Cut.
. Delete All Keyframes—Click the stopwatch. Premiere Pro will prompt you
before removing all keyframes from the ECW.
. Move to a Keyframe—Move to a keyframe by using the two little keyframe
navigation triangles or moving the CTI to a keyframe and noting when the
little diamond between those two triangles changes its appearance, which
indicates that you’ve landed on a keyframe.
. Change a Keyframe’s Attributes—Move to a keyframe and then adjust
whatever setting(s) you’ve already applied.
Multiple Keyframable Attributes
Most video effects offer more than one adjustable attribute. Lightning, for
instance, has 25! The ECW makes it easy to set keyframes for each attribute at
any number of points within a clip. This is a huge improvement in Premiere Pro
over its predecessors. I present many of those multiple-feature video effects in
Hours 15 and 16.
For now, feel free to experiment. I suggest using ZigZag. It’s in the Distort folder. It
has two attributes that create a very cool, pebble-dropped-in-a-pool effect. When
animated with keyframes, you can start with a few ridges, increase that number,
and then decrease it. Follow the same procedure for the size of the ridges.
Using Keyframe Interpolation Controls
Another very slick additional tool new to Premiere Pro is keyframe interpolation.
You use this to adjust the way an effect attribute behaves as it moves away from
a keyframe and approaches the next keyframe. Adobe likes to say you use interpolation controls to change the way an effect behaves both spatially and
temporally—in space and time.
Effects normally change linearly over time. That is, if you were to graph an
effect’s values on the Y axis and time on the X axis, it would define a straight
Try it
Hour 10
Using Keyframe Interpolation
Using keyframe interpolation, you can turn the start points and endpoints of that
line into curves; that is, ease out of a keyframe and quickly accelerate into the
next one. Here’s how it works:
1. If you still have the Crystallize effect applied to a clip, use that for this exercise. Otherwise, add some other simple effect covered in this hour (other
than Black & White—it’s not keyframable) and give it at least three
2. Right-click on the first keyframe and take a look at the context menu (refer
to Figure 10.8). You have five options:
. Normal Out—Straight line interpolation
. Fast Out—Accelerate then slow down to a linear rate
. Slow Out—Gradual acceleration to a linear rate
. Easy Curve Out—A more logarithmic and slower Slow Out
. Hold Out—Holds the current keyframe attribute until the next
keyframe or the end of the clip
Keyframe interpolation tools enable
you to give attribute changes a bit
more of a realistic
3. Select Fast Out. That does two things: It changes the keyframe’s icon to indicate that it’s a Fast Out and changes the next keyframe into a Slow In. This
Adding Video Effects
dual-keyframe behavior happens whenever you use keyframe interpolation.
(See the following Watch Out! and sidebar for additional information on
Rippling Interpolations
I’m not a fan of this automatic, adjacent keyframe interpolation changing behavior.
I think that when you change the interpolation behavior of one keyframe, the next
keyframe should not change. However, this behavior happens for every changed
interpolation value. The adjacent keyframe always shifts to the complement or opposite of its neighbor.
To see that, right-click on the center keyframe and change it to Fast In. That changes
the first keyframe from Fast Out to Slow Out.
This side-by-side keyframe interpolation is by design. What you’re seeing is a compromise that Premiere Pro’s design engineers made to avoid changing the user interface. See the following Developer’s Comment sidebar for an explanation.
Developer’s Comment—Between Keyframe Interpolation
Premiere Pro’s method of interpolation works in the area between two keyframes,
not for individual keyframe (as our user interface tends to make you believe—each
keyframe seems to have its own settings in the UI).
For instance, if you change a keyframe to Easy Curve In, this actually applies to the
whole interval between this keyframe and the previous one, and that is why you see
the previous keyframe settings change to Easy Curve Out. The same applies in the
other direction: If you change a keyframe to Hold Out, the next keyframe automatically changes to Hold In.
Here’s an implementation detail that might help clarify this: We never store the In
value for a keyframe anywhere in memory during an editing session (for example,
Ease In, Normal In, Hold In, and so on). It’s always derived from the Out value of the
previous keyframe.
Table 10.1 shows how we find the In value for a specific keyframe, by looking at the
previous keyframe.
To be fair, the interpolation mode should not have been set on the keyframes themselves but rather as a property of the interval between the two keyframes. But that
would have required a new user interface. Our UI design team is very aware of these
issues in the interface, and we’ll be looking into them in the future.
4. Check your handiwork by previewing this clip. Note that if you have more
than two keyframes, you can change the interpolation behavior between
them as well.
Hour 10
TABLE 10.1
Keyframe Interpolation Pairings
Left Keyframe Setting
Try it
Right Keyframe Setting
Normal Out
Normal In
Fast Out
Slow In
Slow Out
Fast In
Easy Curve Out
Easy Curve In
Hold Out
Hold In
Keyframe Parameter Values in Action
Here’s a nifty way to help you get a grasp on what’s really happening to the
keyframe parameter values over time:
1. Expand the video track by twirling down the disclosure triangle next to the
track’s eyeball icon.
2. Drag the top of the track to expand it even more.
3. Simplify the clip view by clicking the Clip Display icon below the track eyeball and selecting Show Name Only.
4. Click the next icon to the right and select Show Keyframes.
5. Click the Effect Keyframe drop-down list at the top of the clip by clicking the
word Opacity and selecting Crystallize→Cells.
6. Change the first Crystallize keyframe in the ECW to Easy Curve Out.
7. Your clip display in the Timeline window should now look like Figure 10.9.
By adding interpolation, the Cell values now change along a curve both
moving from the left keyframe and moving into the right keyframe.
8. To check this out even more, change the interpolation controls. In particular, choose Hold Out and note that a straight line appears in the clip display, meaning that the Crystallize cell count remains unchanged until it
reaches the next keyframe.
Adding Video Effects
Use a clip’s
keyframe display to
see how interpolation controls
change an effect’s
parameters over
time. The arrows
point out the
curved lines associated with Easy
Curve Out and In.
Non-Keyframable Effects
Not all video effects are keyframable—they simply do something with no parameters. Here’s a list:
Anti-Alias—This effect is found in the Blur file folder. Just as anti-aliasing in
transitions blurs sharply defined diagonal lines, this effect softens the edges
between highly contrasting colors.
Black & White—Found in the Image Control file folder, this effect converts
color clips into grayscale.
Facet—Found in the Pixelate file folder, this effect creates the oil-painting
Field Interpolate—Found in the Video file folder. This is a technical fix, not
a creative tool. It re-creates missing scan lines dropped during capture.
Gaussian Sharpen—Found in the Sharpen file folder, this effect is supposed
to dramatically sharpen a clip, but it looks more like the Crystallize effect.
Ghosting—Found in the Blur file folder, this very nifty effect creates a
“comet tail” on any moving object (including camera moves). It’s great for
showing the flight of a thrown/hit/kicked ball. A steady camera is a must.
Horizontal Flip—Found in the Transform file folder, this effect reverses a
clip left to right but still plays the clip forward. Use it if you broke the plane
while shooting a cutaway.
Sharpen Edges—Found in the Sharpen file folder, this effect looks just as
odd as Gaussian Sharpen. Apparently, it’s only effective for very soft focus
Vertical Flip—Found in the Transform file folder, this effect flips clips upside
Hour 10
Vertical Hold—Found in the Transform file folder, this effect makes your
clip look like the vertical hold is out of whack.
Premiere’s video effects run the gamut from mundane and technical to dazzling
and exciting. Adding video effects is a simple drag-and-drop process. It’s easy to
combine a variety of effects on one clip.
By putting virtually all the effects’ features in the Effect Controls window,
Premiere Pro makes it easy to set the behaviors of those effects. In addition, you
can change those behaviors over time by using keyframes. And you can apply
keyframes individually and independently to every attribute listed in the ECW.
Using keyframes to control those effects make them that much more entertaining
and effective.
Adding Video Effects
Q When I apply a video effect to a clip it doesn’t show up in the Monitor win-
dow’s Program screen. How am I supposed to see any changes I apply to
this clip?
A Even though you’ve selected that clip by clicking on it or dragging an effect
to it, you still need to move the CTI’s edit line to that clip for it to display in
the Monitor window Program screen.
Q I’ve selected a clip and am working on it in the ECW. I clicked End to
move to that clip’s last frame, but all I see is a black screen in the Monitor
window Program screen. What’s going on?
A This is a Premiere Pro anomaly. Pressing End takes you to the first frame of
the next clip. To see the last frame of the selected clip, press the Left Arrow
key once.
1. You want to make a clip gradually shift to black-and-white for the duration
of that clip. How do you do that?
2. How do you make an effect start within a clip rather than at the beginning?
3. You want your effect to jump out of the gate but slide gradually into the
next clip. How do you do that?
Quiz Answers
1. Razor the clip somewhere near the middle. Apply Black & White to the second half. Apply a Cross Dissolve transition to the edit. In the ECW, drag the
ends of the Cross Dissolve transition all the way to the beginning and end
of the razored clips. If you can’t see the entire clip in the ECW, expand your
view by clicking the little hill icon at the bottom of the window.
2. Use a keyframe. Move the CTI to the frame where you want to start the
effect and click the keyframe stopwatch. That sets the first keyframe. You
can add other keyframes after that point if you want.
Hour 10
3. Use keyframe interpolation controls. Right-click on the first keyframe and
select Fast Out. That automatically sets the next keyframe (the last
keyframe in this case) to Slow In.
1. Layer multiple video effects on the same clip. You might try Crystallize,
Solarize, and Replicate. Alternatively, apply Horizontal Hold and Vertical
Hold to the same clip. Change the order to see whether that makes any difference.
2. With those or some other multiple effects, apply keyframes to turn them on
and off at different times. You might set Pointillize to start changing off the
top, and then bring in ZigZag later to give that animation a “ripply” feel.
The more you experiment, the better the chance that you’ll discover some
very cool effect combos that work well for you.
3. Use video effects to make apparent video transitions. To do that, apply the
same effect to adjacent clips. Use keyframes to gradually change the effect
in the first clip until, in the case of Crystallize, for example, it’s a jumbled
mess by the end of the clip. Then start the next clip at that same jumbled
mess setting and gradually minimize the mess to reveal the true clip
Putting Video and Still Clips
in Motion
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Applying motion
Enhancing motion—changing size and adding rotation
Giving clips a 3D look
Working with still images—special issues
Applying Motion and Changing a
Clip’s Size
You’ve seen videos with clips flying over other images or that spin video clips
onscreen—having them start as small dots and expanding to full-screen size. You
can create those effects using Premiere Pro’s motion settings.
Premiere Pro’s Motion effect is a significant improvement over the Motion Settings
window used in its predecessors. That previous, separate interface presented editors
with some arcane and nonintuitive controls. For me, its two redeeming features were
its looping preview mode that gave immediate feedback for any changed motion
settings and its Skew feature.
With Premiere Pro’s capability to play every effect in real-time in the Monitor window Program screen, the loss of the looping preview is inconsequential. And you can
use the Transform effect to apply Skew to a clip.
Hour 11
What you gain is three things:
. All your motion control work takes place within the Effect Controls and
Monitor windows
. Direct motion settings using either onscreen drag-and-drop methods or
numerical values in the Effect Controls window
. Precise keyframe control over several motion aspects
To see motion controls in their best light means displaying them over a background. To do that in Premiere Pro means placing the clips in a track other than
Video 1 and using some other clip on Video 1 to serve as a background. This is an
example of compositing or layering. I’ll cover that subject in detail starting in Hour
17, “Compositing Part 1—Layering Images and Clips.” For this coming exercise,
you’ll keep things simple and use a solid color matte as that background.
Try it
Setting Up Premiere Pro to Apply Its Motion Effect
As you become more comfortable with Premiere Pro, working with the Motion
effect will become second nature. But I believe in starting with the basics and that
means, for now, I want to present the Motion effect in its simplest form. To do
that, you first need to set up your sequence, Effect Controls window, and Monitor
window to get a clear picture of how this effect works. Here’s how to do that:
1. Switch to the Effects workspace by selecting Window→Workspace→Effects.
Then clear your sequence by deleting all clips on it.
2. Create a color matte by clicking the New Item button in the Project window,
selecting Color Matte, choosing a color, clicking OK, giving it a name, and
clicking OK.
3. Drag that color matte to Video 1.
Did you
Why a Color Matte for a Background?
You could place a video clip or still image on Video 1 to serve as a backdrop for the
clips you’ll put in motion over that backdrop. I prefer using a matte at this point
because it’s less distracting and makes it easier to see how the Motion effect works.
4. Drag a video or linked video/audio clip to the Video 2 track (if your
sequence does not have a Video 2 track, drag the clip to the gray area
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
above Video 1 to automatically create a new video track). This will be the
clip you’ll put in motion. Trim it to about 20 seconds.
5. Extend the color matte to equal the length of the video clip. Your sequence
should look like Figure 11.1.
How your sequence
should look to
carry out this
6. Click on your clip in Video 2 to select it.
7. Open the Effect Controls window. Click Motion to switch on that effect and
twirl down all the disclosure triangles. As shown in Figure 11.2 that opens
up five, “keyframable” options:
. Position—The screen location of the clip’s anchor point (its center
unless you change the anchor point). Because the NTSC screen size is
720×480, the default starting values of 360 and 240 place the center of
the clip at the center of the screen. 0,0 puts the center in the upper-left
corner and 720, 480 puts it in the lower right. You can drag the clip
completely off-screen, meaning that the values can be less than 0 and
greater than 720 and 480.
. Scale—The relative size of the clip. The slider has a range from 0% to
100%, but you can use the numerical representation to increase the
clip size to 600% of its original size.
. Scale Width—You need to uncheck Uniform Scale to make that active.
Doing so changes Scale to Scale Height and enables you to change the
width and height independently.
. Rotation—The first figure represents the number of full 360-degree
spins. A positive number is clockwise and a negative number is counterclockwise. The maximum value for each direction is 90, meaning
that you can apply up to 180(!) full rotations to a clip. The second figure represents a partial rotation and goes from –360 to 360 degrees.
the clip. You can set the clip to rotate around one of its corners or
around a point outside the clip, if you so choose.
. Anchor Point—The center of the rotation, as opposed to the center of
By the
Hour 11
8. To work more effectively with the Motion effect, change the zoom level of
the Monitor window Program screen by clicking the drop-down list highlighted in Figure 11.2 and selecting 50% or less. This will give you more
screen real estate when dragging a clip completely off-screen.
Effects with Motion Controls
Several video effects have a Motion Control component. I cover them in Hour 16,
“Using Higher-Level Video Effects.” For now, if you want to see what I’m talking
about, take a look at Transform, Twirl, or Crop. Each sports that little bounding box
icon that indicates it offers motion controls.
Each of those effects has its own unique application of motion controls. Of particular interest is Transform. It’s the video effect used by Premiere Pro’s design team to
serve as the foundation for the fixed Motion effect. The team included it as a separate video effect, in part, because it offers additional features such as the capability
to skew the clip and enables you to add a drop shadow that works properly with a
rotating clip.
Select Motion and
twirl down the disclosure triangles
to view the five,
keyframable motion
settings’ options.
Reduce the Monitor
zoom level to better display how
Motion parameters
Try it
Applying Motion to a Clip
Working with the Motion effect is a lot like working with a text bounding box.
Switching on the Motion effect places a bounding box around the perimeter of
the video clip or still image. Not only can you adjust it using numeric values in
the ECW (Effect Controls Window), but you also can manipulate it directly in the
Monitor Program screen. You can drag it to a new location, change its shape and
size, and rotate it. Here’s how it works:
1. Press Home to put the CTI (current time indicator) edit line at the beginning
of your clip.
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
2. Turn on keyframes for position by clicking on its stopwatch.
3. Click on the word Motion to switch on that effect. That places a bounding
box around the clip in the Monitor window Program screen. Click on its
center crosshairs and drag the bounding box (and the clip inside it) completely off the left side of the screen. Use Figure 11.3 as a reference.
Checking Position Numeric Values
In my example (shown in Figure 11.3), the Position numeric values in the ECW are
–360 and 240. That means the clip’s center is 360 pixels to the left of the left edge
of the screen, which puts the full-screen clip just off screen. The 240 means the
center of the clip is on the extended horizontal centerline of the screen. Because
you’ve slid the entire clip off screen, the Monitor window Program screen should display a full-screen view of the color matte on Video 1.
By the
Click on the clip
bounding box
crosshairs and
then drag the clip
off screen. Note
the Position numeric values that correspond to moving
the clip off the left
side of the screen.
4. By moving the CTI, turning on keyframes, and dragging the clip to a new
location, you automatically added a keyframe at the start of the clip. You’ll
do the same for the clip’s last frame. Move the CTI edit line to the end of the
clip by clicking End and clicking the left arrow once.
5. Instead of dragging the clip to a new location, change the numeric values
to 1080 and 240. That will put it completely off the right side of the screen—
720+360=1080—and keep it on the screen’s horizontal center line.
7. Now you’ll add two more positions toward the middle of the clip to make
the clip move from the left to above the center of the screen, straight down
6. Press Home and the spacebar to play the clip. It should start completely off
screen to the left then gradually work its way horizontally until it slides off
screen to the right.
Hour 11
to the bottom and angle off beyond the right side of the screen. Start that
process by moving the CTI edit line about a third of the way into the clip
and then dragging the clip bounding box or inputting numeric values to
move the clip off the top center of the screen (numeric values: 360, –240).
When Up Is Negative
By the
Developer Comment—Why Upper Left Is 0,0
The vertical Motion effect numeric value is a disconnect for me. Premiere Pro’s design
engineers chose to set 0,0 as the upper-left corner of the screen (for those into
Cartesian coordinates, that’s the junction of the X and Y axes) and then determined
that any point above the screen would be a negative number. To keep things intuitive,
they should have set 0,0 at the lower-left corner of the screen and had anything above
be a positive number and anything below that be negative—just as you’d expect.
There’s no official answer, but the likely reason has to do with the standard way
coordinate systems work on Windows, which has the (0,0) coordinates point to the
upper-left corner of the screen. This has been the case since Windows 1.0.
There are more evolved (some might say resolution-independent) coordinate systems
available on Windows that have the lower-left corner defined as (0,0), but most app
developers never use these, since it makes it harder to design good-looking interfaces with that system.
8. Move the CTI edit line about two thirds of the way into the clip and then
drag the clip or input numeric values to move the clip off the bottom center
of the screen (numeric values: 360, 720).
9. Take a look at the motion tracking lines in the Monitor window’s Program
screen. Figure 11.4 shows how yours should look with the CTI set to slightly
past the mid-point of your clip. Move the CTI and note how the tracking
line display moves with the CTI, always showing the motion path before
and after the current location of the CTI. Also note that the dotted line indicates the relative speed of the clip along the path. The wider the spacing
between dots, the faster the motion.
What Happened to the Motion Tracking Lines?
If you click somewhere outside the Motion effect portion of the ECW, the motion
tracking lines disappear (as will the clip bounding box).
The reason? By clicking elsewhere, you deselect the Motion effect. To switch those
lines and the clip bounding box back on (along with other motion features), simply
reselect Motion by clicking its name in the ECW.
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
The motion tracking
dotted lines show
the Position path
starting a bit before
the current location
of the CTI and continuing to a few
seconds after it.
10. Press Home and the spacebar to see the animation. You should see the
lower-right corner of the clip slide diagonally from the left side to above the
screen, move vertically straight down the screen (filling the view edge to
edge at its midpoint), and then move diagonally off and up to the middleright side.
Enhancing Motion—Changing Size and
Adding Rotation
Simply sliding a clip around only begins to exploit Motion effect’s possibilities.
What makes the Motion effect really cool is the capability to shrink or expand the
clip and to spin it.
In particular, you can start a clip full-screen (or zoom in even farther) and then
shrink it to reveal another clip. You can spin a clip onto the screen starting as a
small dot and then spin it off the screen, having it grow as it moves away. And
you can layer multiple clips, creating several pictures-in-a-picture. I cover that
latter technique in Hour 17.
1. Clear the Motion Position settings you created in the previous task by clicking the Position Keyframe stopwatch icon. Premiere Pro will prompt you to
make sure that this is what you want to do. Click OK.
The steps you follow to add these features are not much different than setting the
position values. But there are some keyframe timing issues that you can use to
enhance these motion features. Here’s a basic rundown of how to enhance motion:
Try it
Changing the Clip Size
Hour 11
2. To remove any changed Motion setting vestiges, click the Reset button
(located to the right of the word Motion in the ECW).
Why Not Use Reset to Clear All Motion Settings?
The Reset button can be a handy tool or an aggravating nuisance. Clicking Reset
leads to one of three results:
. If you haven’t set any keyframes (or have cleared keyframe settings by switching
off all the keyframe stopwatches), clicking Reset returns all changed motion settings to their default values.
. If you’ve set keyframes for only one motion setting (such as Position, for example), moving the CTI to a keyframe and clicking Reset returns the values at that
keyframe to their default setting.
. Things can get aggravating if you have set keyframes for more than one Motion
feature (or multiple features for any other video effect). If you move the CTI to a
keyframe and click Reset, Premiere Pro returns that keyframe to its default settings—and—creates keyframes at that point for all other motion settings that
have keyframes turned on and sets all those new keyframes to their default settings. This can be a royal pain, so be careful when using Reset.
3. This part of this coming complex Motion effect will be to have the clip start
as a tiny dot in the upper-left corner, grow to full-screen, and then shrink
down to the lower-right corner. Start by pressing Home to place the CTI at
the beginning of the clip, switch on keyframes for Position, and move the
center of the clip to the upper-left corner (position 0,0).
4. Switch on the keyframe stopwatch for Scale and drag the slider to zero (or
change the numeric value to zero). That sets the size to zero for the beginning of the clip.
By the
Uniform Scale—As It Pleases You
Feel free to uncheck the Uniform Scale box. Doing so means that you can set Width
and Height independently and keyframe them separately.
5. Move the CTI about a third of the way into the clip and press Reset (yes, the
Reset button can come in handy) to create two keyframes with default settings (clip at full size and centered in the screen).
6. Move the CTI about two thirds of the way into the clip and press Reset
again. Doing that causes the clip to remain centered and at full screen for
the time between the two keyframes.
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
7. Move the clip to the lower right (720,480) and change the Scale back to
zero. At this point, your ECW should look like Figure 11.5.
How your motion
settings should
look after setting
the fourth set of
keyframes for
Position and Scale.
Finally, you’ll add rotation using some new keyframes as well as change the
rotation center—or anchor point. In the end, you’ll impart your clip with some
complex characteristics. This is the most detailed of all the tasks in this hour. Its
purpose is to give you a complete look at rotation characteristics. Here’s how to
wrap up this effect:
Try it
Adding Rotation
8. Preview this Position/Scale combo Motion effect by pressing the Home key
and the spacebar. The clip should grow from a tiny dot in the upper left and
move to full-screen in the center, hold there for a while, and then shrink to
a dot while moving to the lower-right corner.
1. Add Rotation to this clip by pressing Home to position the CTI edit line at
the beginning of the clip. Switch on the Keyframe stopwatch for Rotation.
That sets a starting keyframe for Rotation without applying any rotation to
the clip.
3. You can manually rotate the clip a few times by moving the cursor to just
outside the bounding box to switch on the rotation icon (as shown in Figure
11.6) and dragging it around the clip a few times (for this exercise, do it
clockwise). The easier and more exacting method is to change the first
Rotation value to something like 4 (for four full clockwise rotations). The
second number is degrees and represents a partial rotation.
2. To have the rotation stop just before the clip reaches full-screen size, move
the CTI to just before the second set of keyframes.
Hour 11
You can manually
rotate the clip by
moving the cursor
until this icon
appears and then
dragging it around
the clip bounding
4. Move the CTI to just past the third set of Position and Scale keyframes and
click the little Rotation keyframe diamond (between the two keyframe navigation triangles) to create a new keyframe without making any changes to
the rotation settings.
5. Move to the end of the clip (press End and the left-arrow key—or—click
either the Position or Scale keyframe right navigation triangle). Rewind your
clip rotation by manually spinning it counterclockwise four times or changing the first Rotation setting back to 0 (four counterclockwise rotations to
return it to its default position). If you set it to –4, it would rotate counterclockwise eight times.
6. Return the CTI to the clip’s first frame by pressing Home.
7. Turn on the anchor point’s keyframe stopwatch and set the numeric values
to 0,0 (the clip will spin around its upper-left vertex).
8. Move to the Rotation’s second keyframe by clicking its keyframe navigation
triangle and then change the anchor point’s numeric values to 720,480 (setting the clip’s rotation vertex to its lower-right corner).
Changing the Anchor Point Changes the Position
If you preview at this point, the results might surprise you. The clip will not settle in
the center of the screen. Rather, it will end up in the upper-left corner. The reason?
Changing the Rotation’s anchor point sets that location as the point the Position
“thinks” is the center of the clip. In this case, to get the clip centered in the screen,
you’ll need to change the Position values. Do that in step 9.
9. Move to the Position’s second and third keyframes and change those values
from 360,240 to 720,480. Because the anchor point is the clip’s lower-right
corner, using these values places that corner at the bottom-right corner of
the screen, thereby placing the entire clip squarely in the center of the
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
10. Use Rotation’s keyframe navigation controls to move to that feature’s third
keyframe and then click the anchor point’s keyframe diamond to set a
new keyframe there without changing its current value (using Rotation’s
keyframes to set an anchor point keyframe means that they’ll fall at the
same place in the sequence).
11. Move to the clip’s last keyframe by pressing End and the left-arrow key.
12. Change the anchor point to the clip’s upper-right corner by changing its
value to 720,0. Your ECW timeline should look something like Figure 11.7. (I
moved the CTI edit line to a position near the beginning of the clip to better
display its motion path in the Monitor window.)
13. Preview your motion settings by pressing Home and the spacebar. If all goes
well, the clip will spin on screen from the upper-left corner, its vertex will
shift as it spins, the clip will grow to full-screen size, and will then spin
down to the right with the vertex shifting once again.
How your ECW
timeline should
look after adding
keyframes for all
Motion elements.
Note that the position of the CTI sets
the portion of the
motion path you
see in the Monitor
window Program
Giving Clips a 3D Look
Pictures-in-pictures have a much more realistic feel when those pictures have
drop shadows. And adding borders or frames further enhances that look. You’ll do
both in this coming task.
Adding these two characteristics to moving clips is surprisingly easy. You simply
use two video effects: Drop Shadow and Bevel Edges. Here’s how you do this:
Try it
Adding Shadows and Frames
Hour 11
1. Clear all motion characteristics by clicking each keyframe stopwatch and
clicking the Reset button.
2. Shrink your clip by changing its scale to 50% (you can’t see the drop shadow if your clip is full screen).
3. Apply the Drop Shadow video effect to your shrunken clip by dragging it
from the Perspective folder to the ECW.
4. Twirl down all of Drop Shadow’s disclosure triangles to reveal its six options:
. Shadow Color—Set it to any color you want. You might want to have
it be a darker version of your matte color.
. Opacity—Most shadows aren’t opaque. You can vary to match the
lighting of the original clips.
. Direction—The point indicates in which direction the shadow will fall.
Using keyframes, you can vary that direction such that the shadow
spins around the clip.
. Distance—How far the shadow falls from edge of the clip.
. Softness—Give your shadow hard edges or let them disappear gradually.
. Shadow Only—Switch off your clip and display only its shadow.
5. Give your shadow some distance and some softness (values of 30 for both
features work well). Your settings and Monitor window display should look
something like Figure 11.8.
Use Drop Shadow’s
options to create
a more realistic
look for your
motion effects.
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
6. Use Position keyframes to give your clip some motion. Preview your work
and note that the shadow follows the clip perfectly.
Motion Effect’s Rotation Does Not Work with Shadows
If you use the Motion effect to apply rotation to your shadow and clip, the shadow
will rotate with the clip as a single unit. That’s unrealistic. It should always fall away
from the rotating clip in the same direction. To get a realistic drop shadow with rotation applied, you need to use the Transform video effect. I cover that in Hour 19,
“Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1.”
7. Add a very nice frame to your clip by dragging Bevel Edges from the Video
Effects, Perspective folder to the ECW above Drop Shadow and below the
Video Effects section label. Twirl down its disclosure triangles. Your setup
should look like Figure 11.9.
Video Effects—Order Counts
You need to place the Bevel Edges effect above Drop Shadow because Premiere Pro
applies effects in order from the top of the Video Effects group and down. Therefore,
if Drop Shadow were at the top, Bevel Edges would apply its frame effect to the clip
and the shadow. Not a desirable result.
8. Change the Light Angle value to the complement of the Drop Shadow
Direction (add or subtract 180 degrees from the Drop Shadow Direction
value) so that the bevel and shadow look realistic.
Use Bevel Edges to
give your moving
clip a nice framed
Hour 11
9. Adjust the Edge Thickness setting to suit your tastes and change the Light
Intensity value so that it works well with your drop shadow’s Opacity and
Softness qualities.
10. Preview your work.
Did you
Making an Opaque Frame
Did you
Another Framing Option
It can be a bit disconcerting to have animated beveled edges. If you want to turn
those edges into solid color (or at least darker) frames, simply select a dark light
color (yes, the nomenclature can be confusing) and increase the Light Intensity value
to bring out the 3D beveled look.
Premiere Pro is chock-a-block with multiple means to an end. Along those lines, try
the Clip video effect to make a frame. It adds a border using a color or colors (this
feature is keyframable) you select to a solid rectangular border. That border steals
pixels from the edge of your clip, so this is not a perfect solution, but it’s easy and
effective. I cover it in more detail in Hour 16.
Layering Clips in Motion
Placing one clip in motion—with a drop shadow and a frame—is a reasonably
cool effect. It becomes much more interesting if you fly a collection of clips
around the screen. I cover that technique in Hour 17.
In one of the upcoming end-of-hour exercises, I suggest you experiment with that.
The basic procedure is to place several clips, one above the other, on separate
video tracks. Then give motion settings, drop shadows, and beveled edges to each
in turn.
Working with Still Images—
Special Issues
Unlike its predecessors, Premiere Pro does not automatically change the size and
aspect ratio of imported still images and graphics to match the project settings (in
most cases 720×480 pixels). Rather, Premiere Pro preserves those clips’ original
sizes and aspect ratios.
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
That means if you import a large image (greater than 720 pixels wide or 480 pixels tall in most cases), Premiere Pro centers it in the Monitor window screens and
truncates it. Unless you take some steps to shrink that image to fit, only the center portion that fits the project resolution will end up in your final project.
On the other hand, if you import a small image, Premiere Pro does not blow it up
to fit. Premiere Pro centers the image and displays it in its original resolution.
Blowing Up Small Resolution Images Can Be Messy
When possible, always use still images that are at least as large as your project
resolution. If you use smaller resolution images and then zoom in on them, they
lose visual quality. Sort of like a digital zoom on a camcorder. You end up with
blocky chunks.
Did you
This resolution retention is an excellent development. It’s predicable and, more
importantly, it enables you to put large clips in motion while maintaining a relatively high screen resolution. You’ve seen those Ken Burns public TV specials with
all their stills-in-motion. Premiere Pro lets you do the same thing easily.
Rather than take you through a Try It Yourself task, I’ll briefly explain how to do
it and illustrate that process with a few figures.
Zooming in on a High-Resolution Image
I like to make family tree videos and DVDs, so I frequently work with old family
photos and documents. Figure 11.10 shows a portrait that I captured at
1150×1650 resolution. When placed on a sequence and displayed in the Monitor
window Program screen, only the center 720×480 pixels display.
FIGURE 11.10
When working with
a large format
image, Premiere Pro
displays only the
center 720×480
pixel portion.
Hour 11
Here’s how I turn that large format image into an attention-holding zoom:
1. I place the still image on Video 2 and drag its right edge to lengthen it from
the default 5-second duration for still images.
2. I create a new color matte using a color that complements the photo’s sepia
tone and place it on Video 1 beneath my image clip.
3. I want to start wide on this image and zoom in on the faces of the two
young men. To do that, I use the Motion effect and reduce the Scale setting
(in this case to 30%).
4. As shown in Figure 11.11, I also switch on the Safe Margins display to
ensure that I don’t put important parts of the image outside the viewing
area of most NTSC TV sets.
Did you
Turning on the Safe Margins Display
As a reminder, to turn on the Safe Margins display, click the Monitor window Wing
Menu disclosure triangle and select Safe Margins.
FIGURE 11.11
Use the Motion
effect Scale feature
to zoom out from a
image. Turn on
Safe Margins to
avoid clipping
important photo
5. I place the CTI edit line on the photo’s first frame and switch on the Position
and Scale keyframe stopwatches to set the zoomed-out view as the starting
6. I move to the end of the clip. There I change the Position and Scale settings
(thereby setting new keyframes) to zoom in on the portrait to the point
shown in Figure 11.12.
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
FIGURE 11.12
Use the Motion
effect to zoom in to
add a little drama
to a still image.
You can use the Motion effect in myriad ways to add interest to still images. Pan
across wide shots, zoom out to reveal an interesting detail, or zoom in on an individual in a family portrait and then add an oval highlight (I show you how to do
that effect in Hour 19).
Premiere Pro’s new Motion effect is a wonderful tool. It can add drama to static
images and it allows you to change image sizes, fly them anywhere on and off
the screen, as well as rotate them. You can further enhance those motion characteristics by adding drop shadows and frames to your animated clips.
The Premiere Pro implementation of the Motion effect is a significant improvement over its predecessors. Now all the motion work takes place within the Effect
Controls and Monitor windows, you can apply motion settings using a simple
drag-and-drop method or the more precise numeric value approach, and all of its
features are keyframable, giving you a full range of control.
Hour 11
Q I rotate a clip two times when bringing it on screen, and then set the rota-
tion value to –2 to spin it back off. But it spins four times, not twice as I’d
expect. What’s going on?
A The number of spins equals the difference between two keyframe rotation
values. So, you rotated the clip twice to bring it on, using a Rotation numeric value of 2. But when you set the numeric value to –2 to spin it off, the difference between the two settings is 4—four counterclockwise spins. Set the
Rotation value back to 0 (zero) to have it spin counterclockwise twice.
Q I import a photo but when I view it in the Monitor window, I see only part
of it. I changed the View Zoom Level value and the screen size changes,
but I still see only that same portion. What’s up?
A Previous versions of Premiere used to shrink or expand still images to fit the
project resolution and aspect ratio (usually standard TV—4:3). Fortunately,
that behavior is now a thing of the past. Now you can import images as
large as 4000×4000 pixels. But Premiere Pro will display only the center
720×480 pixel portion of such large format images. To see your entire
image, use the Motion effect Scale setting to shrink it to fit the screen
1. You want a clip to appear full screen for a few seconds and then spin away.
How do you make the Motion effect Rotation feature start within a clip
rather than at the beginning?
2. You use Motion’s Scale feature to shrink a clip and then add a frame using
Bevel Edges. How do you give those edges a solid (or nearly solid) color
while retaining the beveled look?
3. Using a high-resolution photo, how do you start tight on an individual,
hold that position for a while, and then pull back to reveal the entire
Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion
Quiz Answers
1. Use keyframes. Move the CTI edit line to the point at which you want to
start spinning the clip off screen and click the Rotation keyframe stopwatch
to set its starting keyframe at that position. Then move the CTI edit line to
the end of the clip and change the rotation setting to suit your purposes
(update the clip Position and Scale settings if needed). That will automatically add an ending Rotation keyframe with its new values applied.
2. Although the nomenclature makes this sound counterintuitive, choose a
dark light color and then increase the Light Intensity value to emphasize
the beveled frame corners. You might also play with the Light Angle setting
to find the direction that gives the greatest 3D look. Settings at the compass’s cardinal points—0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees—work well for me.
3. Use the Motion effect Scale and Position settings for the initial tight view
and proper framing, and then move the CTI edit line to the point at which
you want to begin pulling back and switch on the keyframe stopwatches for
those two motion elements (that will set keyframes using the Scale and
Position values you set for the first frame). Move the CTI to the location in
the clip where you want the move to end and change the Scale and Position
values. That automatically sets new keyframes and concludes the move. You
can use interpolation controls to have a Slow In or Easy Curve In effect to
add even more drama.
1. Do some extensive work with the Motion effect and its keyframes. Try moving keyframes around by clicking and dragging them. Change values for
the five Motion effect features. Experiment with Rotation, Anchor Point, and
Position to see how they interact. The more you work with this very powerful and important part of Premiere Pro, the more likely you are to use it
2. Try creating multiple pictures-in-a-picture. The basic way to do that is to
start with a background matte, image or video on Video 1 and then place
multiple clips, one above the other, on ascending video tracks. To create
those additional tracks, simply drag each clip to the gray area in the
sequence above the existing uppermost video track and Premiere Pro will
Hour 11
automatically create a new track. Switch off all the video track eyeballs
except Video 1 and Video 2. Shrink the clip on Video 2 and put it in motion.
Then switch on the eyeball of Video 3, shrink that clip, and give it motion
(you’ll see how it works with the clip on Video 2), and continue working up
through the video tracks.
3. Scan in some photos in relatively high resolution—1,500×1,000 works well
because it’s about double DV resolution—and apply some pans and zooms
to them, aiming to create a dramatic effect. Either reveal something or
zoom in to draw attention to a subject.
Acquiring, Editing, and
Sweetening Audio
Acquiring Audio
Editing Audio
Sweetening Your Sound
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe
Acquiring Audio
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Selecting the right microphones for the job
Connecting microphones to your camcorder or PC
Expert audio tips from a Shure, Inc. engineer
Building a voice recording area
Voicing professional narrations
Ripping music CDs
Creating custom tunes with SmartSound’s Movie Maestro
Audio is crucial. The best images will lose their impact if their audio is mediocre.
Premiere offers plenty of ways to give your project a sonic boost.
You’ll need to acquire some of that audio during on-location taping. Relying solely
on your onboard camcorder microphone (or mic, for short) might lead to disappointing results. Choosing and using additional mics will sweeten your sound. After
you’re back in your studio—be it at home or work—you’ll likely add a narration.
There’s no need to rent an expensive audio studio—your camcorder or soundcard
and a simple makeshift audio recording area will do the trick. Some professional
narration techniques will help as well. Finally, there’s no need to hire a composer
and musicians for noncommercial-use music: Rip CDs or use the fun music creation
product that I introduce at the end of this hour.
Selecting the Right Mic for the Job
The first order of business: Get a good headset—one that covers your ears to block
out extraneous sound. Plug it into your camcorder. As you record, listen. Is that how
you want your video production to sound?
Hour 12
Onboard microphones take the middle ground. They pick up sound from everywhere, including camera noise and wind. If you zoom in on a subject, onboard
mics don’t zoom with you. They still pick up noise from all around you. Crowd
noise, sound reflecting off walls, the hum from the air conditioner, the zoom lens
motor—as well as noise you create while handling the camcorder.
What you need are some external mics; specialized mics that serve narrow but
useful functions. I’ve illustrated them in Figure 12.1. Here are the five basic types:
. Handheld
. Shotgun
. Wireless
. Surface mount
. Lavaliere
Five standard-issue
mics: handheld,
shotgun, wireless
handheld, boundary, and lavaliere.
(Products provided
by Shure, Inc.)
Handheld Mic
If you own only one external mic, make it a handheld. They’re the rugged workhorses of the audio industry. Built with internal shock mounts to reduce handling
Acquiring Audio
noise, you’ll use these mics for interviews, place them on podiums to record
speeches, and use them to create narrations.
Many handheld mics are omnidirectional, meaning that they pick up sound
from all directions. So, they’ll pick up ambient room noise as well as close-up
audio. To minimize that unwanted noise, keep the mic as close to your subject as
practical—about a foot from the speaker’s mouth works well.
A top-of-the-line, rugged, durable handheld costs from $150 to $250. Shure, Inc.
(, the world’s leading mic manufacturer, loaned me a handheld—
as well as a lavaliere and a shotgun mic—to test while writing this book. (A senior engineer with Shure provided the expert sidebar later in this hour.) The Shure
handheld SM63LB performed flawlessly within a wide frequency range, accurately
capturing low and high voices. It retails for $225.
Most handheld mics use what’s called a dynamic transducer. As Figure 12.2 illustrates, the transducer is a thin diaphragm attached to a tiny coil. As sound waves
vibrate the diaphragm, the wire moves over a magnet, which converts that physical energy into an electrical signal. Dynamic transducer mics do not require any
electrical power to operate.
Shure Inc., notes that “Dynamic mics are rugged and can handle high sound
pressure levels, like those delivered by kick drums, snare drums, and high volume
guitar amps. They’re also good for loud, aggressive vocals. Most people start out
recording with dynamic mics because of their lower cost and high durability.”
The other type of mic—the condenser transducer, also shown in Figure 12.2—needs
“phantom” power to be provided by a mixer or batteries. It uses a thin, flat plastic or metal diaphragm layered over another piece of metal or metal-coated
ceramic. This type of mic is typically very small and has an extremely weak signal that requires preamplification before sending it to your camcorder or a mixer.
Shure adds that “Condenser mics are more sensitive than dynamic mics and are
very responsive to high frequencies produced by an acoustic guitar or cymbals on
a drum-kit.” Condenser mics are excellent for interviews, narrations, and performance or studio music vocal recordings.
Lavaliere Mic
Most lavalieres use condenser transducer technology. They’re perfect for formal,
sit-down interviews. Their tiny size means that you can conceal them to minimize
that “Oh, we’re watching TV” disconnect. The downside is that most require batteries. As you know, batteries invariably fail at critical moments, so always use
Hour 12
fresh, high-quality mic batteries. It is possible to power lavalieres directly from
some mixers, but few budding video producers will use mixers.
Cutaway views of a
dynamic transducer
mic (left) and a
condenser transducer mic.
(Illustration courtesy of Shure Inc.,
I tested Shure’s WL50B. The clear and crisp sound was a cut above the handheld
and is reflected in its higher price: $316.
Shotgun Mic
So-named because it resembles a shotgun barrel, the shotgun mic’s unidirectional
barrel (called an interference tube) narrows the focus of the audio field to about 30
A shotgun mic can handle a number of tasks. I picked up one idea from top freelance photojournalist John Alpert. He’s a one-man band who ventures into
uncomfortable and frequently dangerous situations and uses his affable
demeanor to get some amazingly revealing sound bites. Instead of shoving a
handheld mic into his subjects’ faces—which frequently leads to “mic-stare” and
other nervous reactions—he uses a shotgun mic tucked under his armpit. He
leans his head away from the camera viewfinder and simply chats with his subjects in his unique, gee-whiz kind of way. It works like magic.
One thing shotgun mics don’t do is zoom. As Chris Lyons, the Shure engineer
who wrote the audio expert sidebar says, “They’re more like looking through a
long tube at someone.” They narrow your “view” of the sound.
By the
A Telephoto Mic
The telephoto lens equivalent in the microphone world is a parabolic dish. You’ve
seen networks use them along the sidelines of NFL games to get those great
crunching hits.
Acquiring Audio
Good shotgun mics will set you back about $1,000. I tried out Shure’s superb
SM89 ($1,180). This is a condenser mic and needs phantom power that a standard prosumer camcorder cannot provide. A $100 (list price) PB224 portable
phantom power adapter from the Rolls Corporation ( will take
care of that.
Boundary or Surface Mount Mics
You’ll use these very specialized mics to pick up several speakers at a conference
table or on a theater stage. They’re built to be placed on a flat surface and pick
up sound waves in both the air and from the hard surface. A good omnidirectional boundary mic costs about $160.
Wireless Systems
A wireless system is a major purchase that might set you back about as much as
a medium-quality DV camcorder. And it can be a battery hog. But it can make
your life a whole lot simpler and give you some incredible audio.
Wireless mics open a whole new spectrum of possibilities—a presenter at a trade
show, the priest at a wedding, or a football coach working the sidelines. Wireless
mics enable you to grab sound from a distance. After you’ve used one, you’ll
wonder how you got along without it. Wireless mics are a luxury, and good ones
are priced to match. My Shure UP4 test unit, including receiver and an M58 mic
with a built-in U2 transmitter, retails for $2,086 (see Figure 12.3).
The Shure UP4
wireless receiver
with a combo mic
and wireless transmitter.
Hour 12
Connecting Mics to Your
Camcorder or PC
Surprisingly, this is the place where most mic problems arise. Most consumer and
prosumer camcorders do not have decent mic input connections. They typically
do not have enough amplification to “hear” standard handheld mics. What’s
more, they use mini-plugs, whereas most professional mics use rugged, reliable,
three-pronged XLR jacks.
What you might need is a transformer with an XLR-to-mini–plug cable to
increase the impedance and enable you to connect your mic to your camcorder.
Such transformers are passive, meaning that they don’t require electricity. Shure
has just such a transformer—the A96F—for $54. If you use a powered mic such as
a lavaliere, you might need only the XLR-to-mini–plug converter cable.
Making the PC Connection
Premiere Pro makes it possible for you to add a narration track to your project,
live, as you watch your video play. To do that, you need to connect a mic to your
soundcard. (I cover that recording process in the next hour, “Editing Audio.”)
Voice-overs created with soundcards generally can’t sound as good as those
recorded with professional equipment in a recording studio or even as good as
those made using a mic plugged into your camcorder. But they still can sound
good enough for basic production work. You can take two routes: simple or notso-simple.
Simple Approach
The simple approach is to visit your local Radio Shack and spend $20 to $30 on a
mic. You’ll have two basic choices:
. Dynamic mics come in two models. One is combined with a headset.
Gamers and those who use their PCs to make phone calls like this handsfree approach. The other is a long-neck version that sets on your desk,
which minimizes extraneous noise.
. Condenser mics offer slightly better voice-over quality and require a battery. They typically are lavaliere-style.
Buy a mic with a 1/8'' (3.5mm) stereo mini-jack connection so that it can plug
directly into your soundcard. Figure 12.4 shows a typical soundcard rear panel.
Plug the mic into the correct jack (usually marked Mic or with a mic icon) and
Acquiring Audio
not the Line-in jack used with amplified devices such as CD players and sound
Line In
Mic In
Plug your mic into
the Mic jack on
your soundcard’s
back panel. Use
the Line-in jack only
if you’re using an
amplified mixer
with your mic.
Whichever mic you choose, make sure that you also get a headset. As I mention
later this hour in “Voicing Solid Narrations,” it’s important to hear how the mic
hears you.
Smooth Voice-over Recording
Recording a voice-over while editing video is a system-intensive process. To ensure
glitch-free recording, free up resources: Close antivirus software, system-monitoring
products, and other programs that might be running in the background with the
exception of those required for the video, audio, and system components to function
Not-So-Simple Approach
Here’s how you can up the soundcard voice-over ante. Buy two professional omnidirectional mics. Most come with 1/4'' or the much larger XLR connectors.
Connect them to a pre-amplifier and a mixer. The pre-amp will improve the
“color” of the sound. The mixer enables you to increase the stereo effect or sweet
spot. To achieve that sweet spot, place the mics a few inches apart and then voice
your narration into both of them. Doing so will better approximate the human
ear spacing for stereo recording. You’ll need an adapter to connect the mixer to
the soundcard’s 1/8'' plug.
Did you
Hour 12
Getting the Most from Your Mics—
Expert Audio Tips
When I considered whom I’d tap for audio expertise, only one name came to
mind: Shure, Inc. Throughout my TV news and video production career, Shure
mics have been the staple in our audio kits.
This 78-year old company is a world leader in microphone technology, playing a
role in audio history from the Japanese surrender ending World War II and
President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address to Woodstock and the 2002 Winter
Olympics, where Shure’s wireless systems captured all the opening ceremonies’
audio moments. You heard Shure mics at the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival, the
2003 Country Music Awards, and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
Shure’s “Elvis mic,” the Unidyne, kicked things off when the company first introduced it in 1939. Frank Sinatra and the Rolling Stones field-tested the SM58—the
world’s best-selling, all-purpose vocal mic, which was introduced in 1966. And
now groups such as N*SYNC and D’Angelo rely on Shure’s Beta Series.
Shure put me in touch with Chris Lyons, a senior engineer in Shure’s Applications
Group. In his 12 years with Shure, he has served as technical liaison for Shure’s
broadcast customers and as product line manager for Wired Microphones. Chris
has presented hundreds of audio training seminars to broadcasters, educators,
government agencies, and audio/visual production specialists. He has written and
edited numerous articles and technical papers, including the booklet Guide to
Better Audio for Video Production, available for free download at
Chris offers this expert advice:
. Advice on the position of the microphone: Always place the microphone
as close as is practical to the sound source. Every time the source-to-mic distance increases by a factor of two, the sound pressure level (SPL) reaching
the mic decreases by a factor of four, making clear sound pickup progressively more difficult. This is called the inverse-square rule, and it applies
Acquiring Audio
whether the distance increases from 6 inches to 12 inches or from 6 feet to
12 feet. This means that the talker-to-mic distance must be cut in half to
cause a significant improvement in sound quality.
. Advice on the number of microphones used: Use the fewest number of
microphones necessary for the situation. People sometimes have a tendency
to over-mic a shot, using three or four microphones when one or two would
be sufficient. Using excess mics means more background noise pickup, a
greater chance of feedback or “tin can” sound, and more levels for the operator to keep track of. If additional mics don’t make things sound better,
they’ll probably make things sound worse.
. Advice for using a handheld mic: Whether held in the hand or mounted
on a stand, place this mic about 6–12 inches from the talker’s mouth, pointing up at about a 45-degree angle (see Figure 12.5). With some types of
microphones, holding the microphone very close (3–6 inches) will cause
additional emphasis of the lower frequencies (known as proximity effect),
resulting in a warmer, bass-heavy sound.
. Advice for using a lavaliere mic: For best results, clip a lavaliere mic on
the outside of clothing, about 6 to 8 inches below the chin. You can clip the
mic to the collar of a shirt or blouse, but sound quality in this position tends
to be somewhat muffled because some high frequencies (which contain consonants) do not fully wrap around to the area under the chin.
. Advice for concealing a lavaliere mic: Concealing the mic gives your production an extra level of quality. Make sure that you keep both the microphone and the first few inches of cable from rubbing against either the body
or clothing, which will cause noise. Try taping the “lav” under the shirt collar near the opening in front. The cable can be routed around to the back of
Proper placement
for a handheld mic.
(Illustration courtesy Shure, Inc.
Hour 12
the neck, over the collar, and under the shirt. Alternatively, tape it to the
interviewee’s eyeglasses on the inside by the temple. Route the wire over the
ear and down the back.
. Advice for using a surface mount mic: These are great for panel discussions and work best when positioned on a smooth, flat surface, such as a
table or desk. A thin piece of soft foam rubber or a computer mouse pad
underneath the mic helps minimize problems created by surface vibrations.
Small surfaces—less than 3-feet square—reduce the pickup of low frequencies and might improve the clarity of deep voices by reducing “boominess.”
. Advice for using a shotgun mic: Avoid aiming shotgun mics at hard surfaces such as tile floors, brick walls, and flat ceilings. These surfaces reflect
background noise into the microphone or cause the sound to be slightly hollow. Place a heavy blanket on a reflective surface to provide some sound
absorption. Shotgun mics are more sensitive to wind noise than standard
microphones, so use a foam windscreen and don’t move them too rapidly. A
rubber-isolated shock mount will help control handling noise.
. Use only low-impedance microphones. Low-impedance or “low-Z” mics
(less than 600 ohms) enable you to use very long runs of cable (more than
1,000 feet) with negligible loss of sound quality. “High-Z” mics (greater than
10,000 ohms) lose high frequencies and begin to sound muffled with 20-foot
cables. The impedance of a microphone should not match the impedance of
the input to which it is connected. Matching the impedance causes significant signal level loss. Always connect low-impedance microphones to
higher-impedance inputs—preferably 5 to 10 times greater. Inputs on professional mixers typically have an impedance of 1,000 ohms or more.
. Tips on using wireless systems: Try to keep the distance from the transmitter to the receiver as short as possible. Always do a walk-around with the
mic before the event. If dropouts occur, try moving the receiver a few feet
and repeat the walk-around. Dual-antenna diversity receivers minimize
dropout because it is unlikely that the signal to both antennas will be interrupted at the same instant. If possible, do your sound check at the same
time of day as the event to discover whether there are any nearby users of
your wireless frequencies. When using belt-pack-type transmitters, make
sure that the antenna cable is hanging straight. Coiling it up in the wearer’s
pocket significantly reduces transmission distance. With handheld transmitters that have an external antenna, discourage users from holding their
hands over the antenna to avoid reducing transmission range and increasing dropout.
Acquiring Audio
. Use balanced cables and connectors. Their metal shielding keeps the
audio signal free of interference from things such as fluorescent lights, dimmer switches, and other audio or electrical cables. Use cables with braided
or mesh shielding. They are more resistant than metal foil shielding to
cracks or tears, which cause electrical shorts.
. Plan ahead. This is the most important thing you can do to improve the
audio quality of your productions. When you set up your equipment, look
for things that might cause a problem with your audio—air conditioning
ducts, noisy doors, fluorescent lights, and so on. Check for things that you
can use to your advantage—sound-absorbent carpeting or a built-in PA system. Experiment with different mic placements, but don’t gamble an important project on a method you’ve never tried. Monitor your audio and listen
carefully for anything that sounds unnatural. As the saying goes, “If you
notice the sound, there’s something wrong with it.”
Building a Simple and Inexpensive
Voice-Recording Area
To create your voice-over narration, you’ll need a quiet, sound-absorbing location. I touched base with the industry leader in sound absorption material:
Auralex Acoustics.
Auralex suggests that the easiest solution is to build a temporary recording area
simply by hanging some thick blankets or fiberglass insulation on two joining
corner walls. It is an old audio myth that egg cartons, carpeting, and foam rubber work well. Avoid them. If you can create something like a four-sided, blanketed cubicle, so much the better.
If you drape the blankets only in one corner, point the mic toward that corner,
place yourself between the mic and the corner, and speak away from the blankets.
It seems counterintuitive, but the mic is sort of like a camera. It “sees” what’s in
front of it (even if it is omnidirectional). In this case it “sees” your face and the
hanging, sound-absorbing blankets.
If you want to take your voice-recording area quality up several notches, consider
purchasing Auralex’s studio foam sheets or a portable recording area kit. These
kits range in price from $159 to $999. Figure 12.6 illustrates two of these acoustic
environments, as Auralex calls them. The company emphasizes that these kits are
not true isolation booths. Those are intended to keep sound out and require some
Hour 12
serious construction. Visit for product and dealer info, plus a
contact phone number. Auralex is very customer-service oriented and will help
you find a solution.
Acoustic environments from
420 (left) and MAXWall 1141VB.
(Photos courtesy
Auralex Acoustics.)
Voicing Solid Narrations
Creating narrations is as easy as turning on your camcorder. If you have a handheld mic (or some other external mic), plug it into your camcorder. Otherwise,
you can use the built-in, onboard camcorder mic.
Before you record your voice-over, go over this checklist to make sure that you’re
. Read your copy out loud. Listen to your words. They should sound comfortable, conversational, even informal.
. Avoid technical jargon. That demands extra effort from your listeners, and
you might lose them.
. Short sentences work best. If you find yourself stumbling over certain long
phrases, rewrite them.
. Stress important words and phrases. As you review your copy, underline
important words. When you record your voice-over, you’ll want to give
those words extra emphasis—more volume and punch.
. Mark pauses. Go through your copy and mark logical breaks with short
parallel lines. They’ll remind you to pause at those points. Avoid overly
smooth and constant pacing. That’s characteristic of a scripted delivery and,
once again, you don’t want to remind viewers that this is TV. It’s real life.
It’s conversational.
Acquiring Audio
. Break up your copy into shorter sentences. Always be on the lookout for
convoluted, wandering sentences. Too many modifiers can be unwieldy.
Break long sentences into several shorter ones. Shorter sentences tend to
have only one key point. It’s easier to emphasize one key point in one sentence versus multiple points in a rambling speech.
. Punch up your voice. When reading copy, it’s too easy to slip into a dull,
monotone voice. Instead, add some zest and enthusiasm to your narration.
As one consultant told me, “Pump up your projection.” You want people to
pay attention. You do that by speaking as if the subject truly interests you.
On the other hand, you aren’t trying to be a professional announcer. No
need to put on airs or use a basso profundo voice.
. Practice. Record a couple narrations and listen. Have others listen. Most
first-time narrators mumble or swallow words. Have you made yourself
. Use a wind screen. Although you need to record close to the mic for best
effect—12 inches away or so—getting too close can lead to “popping P’s.” As
you say P-words, you project a small blast of wind at the mic. Using a wind
screen minimizes that, as does not speaking directly into the mic.
. Wear earphones. In this case, the purpose is not to make sure that you’re
actually getting audio; rather, it’s to hear yourself. That might seem a bit
odd. You can hear yourself just fine without a headset. But you need the
headset to see how the mic “hears” you. You’ll also discover whether you’re
popping any P’s or speaking with too much sibilance—an overemphasis on
the S sound.
Ripping Music CDs
The easiest source for video production music is next to your stereo: your personal
music CD collection. All CD cuts are digital and easily ripped to your hard drive.
Once ripped—converted from CD audio a digital file on your hard drive—it’s a
simple matter to import CD music into Premiere Pro.
Beware the Copyright Police
Those tunes on your CDs are all copyrighted. I’m not an attorney and don’t pretend
to understand copyright law. That said, I’d suggest treading carefully when using
someone else’s music. Generally, if it’s for personal use, it’s considered fair use and
there are no copyright issues. But just about any other use can step outside fair
Hour 12
To be on the safe side, compose your own music (see “Creating Custom Music with
SmartSound Movie Maestro” later in this hour for one means to that end) or license
or buy royalty-free music. To find out more about the latter, search on for music licensing or royalty-free music. I’ve worked with three such
firms:,, and
Try it
Use Windows Media Player to Rip CD Cuts
No, the book is not taking a violent twist. Ripping is just how some describe the
process of transferring music from a CD to a PC.
Several products are available to do that. The one most likely to be at your fingertips is Windows Media Player. Here’s how it works:
1. Open Windows Media Player. It’s probably in the Start menu under
Accessories. If not, its default location is C:\Program Files\Windows Media
Player\wmplayer.exe. You can open My Computer, go to this location,
and double-click wmplayer.exe. Doing so opens the interface shown in
Figure 12.7.
Did you
Automatically Opening Windows Media Player
You can open Windows Media Player another way. Simply insert a music CD into your
DVD or CD drive and, depending on your version of Windows, either Windows Media
Player automatically starts playing that CD or you’re given an option of playing the CD
with one of several programs that you have installed on your PC.
2. Click Copy from CD, as highlighted in Figure 12.7. That pops up a message
asking you to insert an audio CD.
3. Insert a music CD. Either Windows will ask you which CD player you want
to use (select Media Player) or Windows Media Player will automatically
start playing the CD. Click the Stop button, at the bottom of the interface.
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Online Album Details
All music CDs have unique identification numbers. Those numbers are generated by
examining track times. If you’re connected to the Internet, Media Player will send
your music CD’s number to (going through www.windowsmedia.
com along the way). That site (owned by All Media Guide) is a repository of a huge
database on music CDs. It uses that identifier number to retrieve your CD’s information—title, artist, and track names—and then Windows Media Player displays them.
As shown in Figure 12.8, click View Album Info for a full listing plus a review.
Acquiring Audio
Use Windows
Media Player to rip
tracks from music
Windows Media
Player’s Copy CD
interface displays
information about
your CD retrieved
from the Internet
(to avoid any possible copyright conflicts, I created a
dummy screenshot
using my choir’s
Did you
Hour 12
4. By default, all tracks are check marked for copying to your hard drive. You
can uncheck any that you don’t want to copy.
Preview a Tune
If you want to preview a track, click it to select it and then click the Play button.
5. The default copy location is C:\Documents and Settings\current user\My
Documents\My Music. Windows Media Player creates a folder for the artists
and a subfolder for the selected album. If you want to change that location,
select Tools, Options from the menu bar. Doing so opens the Options menu,
shown in Figure 12.9. Select the Copy Music tab and change the directory.
Use the Options
interface to change
the file folder storage location for
your selected
music tracks.
Did you
Avoid Vocals for Background Music
When selecting music for use in video or DVD productions, instrumentals generally
work best. Vocals can step on your narration, natural sound, or voices in your
6. When you’re ready to copy the tracks, click the Copy Music button at the
top of the interface. That opens two dialog boxes: The first reminds you to
not make illegal copies and the second asks you about setting the recording
quality level. It’s best to use the highest quality setting for tunes you’ll use
in a Premiere Pro project. When you’re past the dialog boxes, Windows
Media Player displays progress bars to let you know how things are
Acquiring Audio
Now that you’ve ripped a few tunes, you can use Media Player to burn a music
CD. As shown in Figure 12.10, access that feature by clicking Copy to CD or
Device, select the tracks you want to burn, place a recordable CD in your drive,
and click the Copy button. This is a great way to create personalized CDs of your
favorite tunes.
FIGURE 12.10
Use Windows
Media Player to create personalized,
customized music
Creating Custom Music with
SmartSound Movie Maestro
Even if you can’t carry a tune, you can create professional quality music.
SmartSound Movie Maestro helps you compose custom music that fits not only
the style of your video production, but also its exact length. The $50 retail version
comes with 26 customizable songs (additional music collections, with themes such
as Sentimental, Sports, and Vacation, retail for $30).
Here’s what sets Movie Maestro created songs apart from any you’d receive from
a licensing agency or royalty-free firm:
. SmartSound Movie Maestro can change the character of each tune to fit
your needs by rearranging song segments in several distinct ways.
Effectively, you get about eight songs for every one in the package.
Hour 12
. Using those same song segments and some smart software, Movie Maestro
gives each song a clear, decisive ending right when you want it. There’s no
need to fade it out at your video’s close.
By the
Movie Maestro Music Usage Restrictions
Songs you create with the demo and retail versions of Movie Maestro are for noncommercial use only—meaning for home or school. If you want to use Movie
Maestro for other purposes, such as business promotions, DVDs for retail sale, or
in-house training DVDs, you must purchase music from SmartSound’s Audio Palette
or Edge series.
There are two ways to acquire the software needed to complete this upcoming task. You can download the demo version of Movie Maestro from
Or, if you upgraded to Premiere Pro from version 6 or 6.5, you can use the slightly
different version of SmartSound, called Quicktracks, that shipped with those earlier versions of Premiere. Quicktracks comes on a separate CD that shipped with
your retail version of Premiere. When installed, it resides in the Premiere 6 or 6.5
plug-ins folder (the default location is: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Premiere
6\Plug-ins). To use it with Premiere Pro, simply copy the SmartSound folder
(right-click on it and select Copy) and paste it in your Premiere Pro plug-ins folder
(right-click on that folder—default location: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Premiere
Pro\Plug-ins—and select Paste).
To access the SmartSound Quicktracks plug-in, start Premiere Pro and then select
File→New→SmartSound from the menu bar. The interface shown in Figure 12.11
looks different from the Movie Maestro demo, but the process to create music is
very similar. Two significant advantages to using the Premiere plug-in are that it
comes with 28 songs and the product does not expire. The downloaded demo has
only 3 songs and times out 30 days after you first use it.
As we went to press, SmartSound was testing a beta version of a $99 retail
Quicktracks plug-in for Premiere Pro.
Acquiring Audio
FIGURE 12.11
If you upgraded
from Premiere 6 or
6.5, you can use
its bundled
Quicktracks Movie
Maestro in
Premiere Pro.
Try it
Use Movie Maestro to Add Music to a Video
The downloaded version works the same way as its retail big brother. Here’s how
to use it:
1. Install the Movie Maestro demo by double-clicking the following file:
2. Open the program by double-clicking the SmartSound Movie Maestro icon
on the desktop. That starts a brief musical introduction (as shown in Figure
12.12; you can click Skip to bypass it) and then the main user interface
opens. A small dialog box, shown in Figure 12.13, pops up.
FIGURE 12.12
Create custom
instrumental music
in minutes with
SmartSound Movie
Hour 12
FIGURE 12.13
You can create
music to fit a particular video or as
a standalone tune.
3. Click Create Music for a Movie, as shown in Figure 12.13. Doing so opens a
file selection window with a default location of My Videos. If you have a
video there, feel free to use it; otherwise, navigate to Movie Maestro’s file
folder (the default location is C:\Program Files\Movie
Maestro\Documentation) and select Sample
By the
Try the Tutorial
Feel free to use Movie Maestro’s built-in tutorial by clicking the Tutorial button on the
left side of the screen. It, too, uses the Sample file to demonstrate the
software’s functionality.
4. Click the Add Music button in the lower-left corner of the main interface to
open the dialog box shown in Figure 12.14. This screen offers several musical styles as well as other means to make a musical selection.
FIGURE 12.14
You can narrow
your Movie Maestro
music search using
this interface.
However, the demo
version has only
three songs, so
don’t expect too
many choices.
Acquiring Audio
It might appear that you have several choices in music, but this demo version has
only three songs, so the various options don’t have much meaning. If you click
through the categories, you’ll find little choice is available. If this were the retail
product or the Premiere plug-in, there would be several tunes for each category,
more than 25 in all.
By the
Demo Music Selection Limitations
5. Select a category and then select one of the three songs. Preview it by clicking the Play button at the bottom of the screen (see Figure 12.15). If it suits
your needs, click Finish to automatically add it to the movie timeline and
set its length to match the video.
Small Variation Between Products
At this point, the Premiere plug-in asks you to select a particular arrangement of this
song. The downloaded demo version offers that option later.
By the
FIGURE 12.15
6. Try your newly edited video (you might need to drag the Play Indicator to
the start of the video—see Figure 12.16), by clicking the Play button.
Listen to your
selected tune by
clicking the Play
Hour 12
FIGURE 12.16
Use this timeline
interface to listen
to how well your
composition fits
the video style.
Did you
Change the Length to Suit Your Needs
You can adjust the song’s length by simply dragging and dropping its start and endpoints. As you move the cursor, the video moves as well, so you can fine-tune the
music to start or finish with a specific shot in your video. As you change the song’s
length, Movie Maestro automatically makes internal changes to the tune to ensure
that it plays and ends smoothly and on time.
7. As the music is playing, try the variations by clicking the drop-down menu
shown in Figure 12.16. Select any variation you want, and the video clip
jumps back to the beginning. Each variation has a distinctly different start.
8. After you’ve chosen a variation, save your musical selection by clicking the
Stop button and then click the Save Sound button in the upper-left corner of
the screen. You have several save options: the sound file itself, as separate
musical segments, or combined with the video. You also have three levels of
audio: less than music CD quality (22KHz), music CD (44KHz), and digital
video (48KHz).
Acquiring Audio
Take Care When Saving with a Video
If you choose to save the combined movie and soundtrack, the Save window uses
the original filename as the default saved filename. Be careful: You don’t want to
overwrite your original video file. Give this file a new descriptive name, such as oldfilename with soundtrack.avi.
Other Save Options
The Advanced Save button enables you to convert the original video file into several
other video formats. Some selections give you more options than you might have
believed possible. For instance, select Export Movie to QuickTime Movie and then
open the Use drop-down menu. None of these options is particularly suited to
Premiere Pro video production, but feel free to experiment.
Boost Your Music Creation Level
You can take your music creation to a higher, more customized level with
SmartSound’s Sonicfire Pro and Adobe Audition. I’ll take you through both product’s
paces in Hour 15, “Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe
Audio is critical to a high-quality video production. Most important is the original
footage. Take some extra measures to ensure high-quality audio. Select the right
mics for the job, turn to wireless audio if your budget allows, and use professional
voice-over techniques.
Strapped for cash and you need music for a video for personal use? Not to worry:
Rip music from CDs or create custom music using SmartSound.
Did you
By the
Hour 12
Q When I videotape indoors, my audio has a “tin-can” quality. What’s
going on?
A This happens for one of two reasons. The simplest reason is that the mic is
too far from your subject and you’re in a room with reflective surfaces such
as flat walls and an uncarpeted floor. Move the mic closer and, if possible,
hang blankets where they won’t show up in your video. The other is more
complicated and involves what audio engineers call the 3-to-1 Rule. If you
use more than one mic for several speakers, as in a panel discussion, you
need to place the mics three times as far apart as they are to the speakers.
That is, if a mic is 2 feet from a panelist, the next mic should be at least 6
feet away from the first mic. Otherwise, the mics pick up audio at about the
same time, cancel each other out, and create that tin-can sound.
Q I bought professional-quality mics, but I can barely hear them in my
headset and later when I listen to my tape. Why?
A Unlike with professional camcorders, there are no mic standards for consumer and prosumer camcorders. If you read your camcorder’s spec sheet,
you probably won’t see anything about the mic input, whether it’s stereo or
mono, and whether it needs external amplification. If you’re using a lowimpedance mic, such as a professional handheld mic with a cable longer
than 20 feet, you’ll probably need a transformer for most camcorders. That
should resolve your low-volume problem. If you’re using an unpowered condenser mic, such as a shotgun, you’ll need phantom power, from a battery,
a mixer, or a portable phantom power adapter.
1. Why should you use external mics?
2. If you had a budget for only one professional mic, what would it be?
3. When you set up a voice recording space in the corner of a room, which
way do you face to voice the narration and why?
Acquiring Audio
Quiz Answers
1. Your camcorder’s onboard mic is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.
It picks up sound all around you, including noise you make when handling
the camcorder. External mics capture sound at the source. Using external
mics is invariably better and greatly improves the quality of your production.
2. This is kind of a trick question. I think the best bet is a wireless shotgun mic.
On news stories, a wireless shotgun gives reporters much greater mobility
and puts interviewees at ease. Working with a shotgun mic means there’s
no need to stick a mic in someone’s face. And going wireless obviates that
awkward pause to plug a cable into the camera.
3. As counterintuitive as it seems, face away from the sound absorbing material. The mic picks up sound from the direction it’s facing. The absorbing
material minimizes the reflections it would pick up if the mic faced away
from that material.
1. Build a simple two-wall voice recording area using the methods described in
this hour. Experiment with mic placement, distance from your mouth, and
whether the mic points toward or away from the sound-absorbing material.
Listen critically to the audio quality; tinny, noisy, muffled, too much echo or
just right. Find what works best for you.
2. Work on your narration style. Do several voice-overs using the same script.
Listen to your inflection, cadence, and pauses. Do you sound interested in
the subject matter? Do you enunciate clearly without sounding pedantic?
Try to find a comfort level between overly enthusiastic and bored. And feel
free to combine narration segments from different takes. No one take has to
be perfect.
3. Check the Yellow Pages for Recording Service or Recording Studio and pay one
or two a visit. I took some high-school students to a studio in Portland,
Oregon and we had a blast. The sound engineer demonstrated some amazing voice sweetening tricks.
Editing Audio
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Premiere Pro—a new aural experience
Basic Premiere Pro audio editing
Higher-level audio editing
Making an automated music video using markers
Premiere Pro—A New Aural Experience
As I mentioned in Hour 1, “Touring Premiere Pro and Presenting the DV Workflow,”
Premiere Pro features many new technologies. Heading the list is audio.
Adobe hired an audio software engineering expert to completely revamp Premiere
Pro’s take on audio. You can see (and hear) his work throughout Premiere Pro.
Here’s a rundown of the changes he implemented (I go into more detail in upcoming sections and in the next hour):
. Two audio track types: clip and submix.
. Three audio track flavors: mono, stereo, and 5.1 surround sound
. A separate master audio track
. Conforming audio
. Sample-specific edits
. A new audio mixer
. Live voice-over recording
Hour 13
In addition, Premiere Pro’s compliance with two audio industry standards: ASIO
(Audio Stream In/Out) and VST (Virtual Studio Technology) ensures that it works
smoothly with a wide range of audio cards and accepts dozens of audio effect
plug-ins. I give you a taste of those plug-ins in Hour 14, “Sweetening Your Sound.”
Audio Track Layout
There are now two distinct kinds of audio tracks in Premiere Pro: regular clip
tracks and submix tracks.
Audio clip tracks are very similar to audio tracks in previous versions of Premiere.
They are where you put your audio clips or audio portions of A/V clips. The new
wrinkle is that you need to match the channel type of your clip to the track on
which you are placing it—stereo to stereo, mono to mono, and 5.1 to 5.1. To simplify that, Premiere Pro automatically creates the proper track flavor, if necessary,
when you drag a new clip to a sequence.
Submix tracks are completely new. They don’t take clips at all. You use them to
route or combine the output of multiple clip tracks and other submix tracks into
a separate submix track so that you can apply effects, volume changes, and other
characteristics to the group as a whole. I explain more about why you’ll want to
use submix tracks, how to create them, and how you route other tracks to them
in the next hour, “Sweetening Your Sound.”
Premiere Pro now enables you to place effects on entire tracks and submixes as
well as on clips. You can edit keyframes on tracks in a sequence. In this way, you
can create a consistent sound quality for an entire track rather than a clip at a
time. For instance, you might lay down several narration segments on a track.
Instead of applying the Reverb audio effect to each clip, you can apply it to the
entire track.
Conforming Audio
Premiere Pro converts all audio to 32-bit floating-point data and matches audio
to the project audio sample rate settings. (48kHz is the standard DV sample rate
and 44.1kHz is CD audio.) If the original audio clip is at a lower quality setting
than your project, Premiere Pro “up-converts” it. That audio conforming ensures
that there is no loss in quality during any subsequent edits or when you apply
audio effects to your clips.
To conform audio takes some time and consumes some disk space. Here is the
basic hard disk space calculation:
Editing Audio
Time in seconds×4×sample rate×number of channels = bytes
So, one hour of DV footage in a 48kHz project consumes
3,600 seconds×4×48,000×2 = 1,382,400,000 = 1.38GB
Taking that to its logical extreme, if you have a one-hour, 5.1 audio segment at
96kHz (the highest available setting), your conforming audio (CFA) file will be
On a PC with a 2.8GHz hyperthreaded CPU, here’s approximately how long it
takes to conform a one-hour DV clip with 32k audio:
. Conforming into a 32k project—44 seconds
. Conforming into a 48k project—2 minutes
In the first case, Premiere Pro simply reads the audio from the DV clip and writes
it as a 32-bit floating-point file to your hard drive. In the second case, Premiere
Pro resamples the audio to 48kHz, which takes longer.
Conforming is a background process, which should not interfere with your work.
It automatically pauses while you’re playing or scrubbing through video. And
you can place clips that are still conforming in a sequence.
As soon as Premiere Pro finishes conforming, you can switch on that clip’s waveform in the sequence (I show you how to do that in “Basic Premiere Pro Audio
Editing,” later this hour).
Developer Comment—Conforming Audio File Management
The biggest conforming audio development issue came down to the management of
these files. There’s no easy way for the user to know which files are associated with
which projects. If you clean one project, will you regret it because you lost your CFAs
for several other projects? Do we clean only those files that have not been used for
some time?
Anyway, we know that Premiere Pro has some media management issues that need
a comprehensive solution. This is on all of our lists of needed additions to subsequent revisions.
As for deleting the CFA files, simply find the folder (specified in the scratch disk preferences) and delete it. Of course, when you reopen the project, you’ll have to regenerate them, which will take place in the background as it did originally.
I cover the other new developments—sample-specific editing, the audio mixer,
and live voice-over recording—in the following sections and the next hour.
By the
Hour 13
Basic Premiere Pro Audio Editing
Before you add scintillating sound to your project, I want to show you a few
audio fundamentals.
Try it
Experiment with an Audio File Waveform
To experiment with an audio file waveform, follow these steps:
1. Open Premiere Pro, clear your sequence of clips, and select
2. If the Effects tab does not display in the Project window, you’ve run into a
small bug. Take care of that by selecting Window→Effects to add the Effects
palette to your workspace and then drag its tab to the Project window. Your
workspace should look like Figure 13.1.
3. For future use, save this workspace as a slightly improved default audio
workspace by selecting Window→Workspace→Save Workspace, giving it a
name such as My Audio Workspace, and clicking Save. Next time, you can
select that workspace from the Window→Workspace list.
One way that your
personalized audio
workspace could
look before you
complete the following steps.
Editing Audio
4. Drag any audio clip or linked A/V clip to your empty sequence. Premiere
Pro handles most standard audio types, including AIF, AVI, MP3, M2V,
MPEG, QuickTime (MOV), WAV, and Windows Media Audio (WMA).
5. Expand the audio track on which your new clip resides by clicking its
Collapse/Expand Track triangle (to the left of Audio # and circled in
Figure 13.2). Then greatly expand the height of the Timeline window by
dragging its top and/or bottom edges. Finally, as shown in Figure 13.2, drag
the bottom of the audio track to fill the screen.
6. By default, the clip’s waveform should be visible. If not, click the little Set
Display Style button circled in Figure 13.2 (below the speaker icon) and
select Show Waveform.
Expand the audio
track to see the
clip’s waveform.
Note that in this
stereo track, the
top row is the left
channel and the
bottom is the right.
I explain the various highlighted
items in steps 5,
6, and 8.
7. Experiment with this waveform for a while. Drag the CTI edit line to the
beginning and press the spacebar to play the waveform. The amplitude of
the waveform reflects the volume of the original clip: The fatter/taller the
line, the louder the sound.
Nothing that you do in Premiere Pro will affect the visible waveform of a media clip.
Even if you change a clip’s volume or apply audio effects to it, the waveform will
always display the clip’s original volume levels.
By the
Waveforms Are Immutable
Hour 13
8. Press the =/+ key a couple times to expand—or zoom in—the view of the
audio clip on the sequence. This will give you a clearer take on your audio
levels. In my case (refer to Figure 13.2), the sudden drops in volume are
when I pressed pause/record on my camcorder.
9. As shown in Figure 13.3, you change the audio time ruler markers to
sample-level units by clicking the Timeline window wing menu and selecting Audio Units.
By the
Sample Unit Time Ruler Markings
Take a look at Figure 13.3. With Audio Units selected, the time ruler markings
change to hours:minutes:seconds:samples. In my example, the project setting is
32kHz, or 32,000 audio samples per second. Note that I have placed the CTI at 1
second and 31,999 samples—one sample shy of 2 seconds. This sample-specific
editing enables you to precisely cut audio. Previous versions of Premiere let you cut
audio only at each video frame, or every 1/30 of a second.
Change the time
ruler to samplespecific editing by
selecting Audio
Units from the
Timeline window
wing menu.
At its highest zoom
level, you can make
edits and only a
few-thousandths of
a second fill a
sequence width.
10. Zoom in on the sequence view to its highest magnification: individual samples. The sequence width displayed in Figure 13.4 is 20 samples or 3/5,000 of
a second. In my case, this spot is where the audio drops off dramatically.
Premiere Pro makes it easy to cut one sample before that drop, if I so choose.
Editing Audio
Adjusting Volume
You might want to decrease or increase the volume of an entire clip or parts of a
clip. For example, you might want to bring the natural sound down by half while
you narrate, gradually fade up the audio at the start or end, or fade up an interview just as the narrator completes a segment. The latter is known as a J-cut. I
explain that in the next section, “Higher-Level Audio Editing.”
Try it
Adjusting the Volume
To do any of those audio edits, you use the Volume audio effect in the Effect
Controls window. Here’s how it works:
1. To give yourself a little more screen real estate, reduce the size of the audio
track and the Timeline window so that you can see the Effect Controls
2. Click the Show Keyframes button circled in Figure 13.5 and select Show Clip
3. Select your clip by clicking either the video or audio portion to display it in
the ECW.
Can’t Select the Audio Clip? Uncheck Track Audio Options
When you open the Show Keyframes menu, you could select two track options:
Show Track Keyframes and Show Track Volume. If you select either of these and you
have an audio-only clip (no linked video associated with it), Premiere Pro will not
allow you to select the audio clip to apply any volume changes or effects to it. If you
have a linked A/V clip, the only way to select the audio portion is to click on its
video partner. With either of these track options checked, you can apply volume
changes and effects only on an entire track basis using the mixer. I explain that
process in the next hour.
5. Return the volume to 0.00dB.
4. Raise or lower the overall volume of this clip by moving the level slider to
the right or left. As shown in Figure 13.6, as you make those changes, the
volume level indicator line moves to a higher or lower position.
Hour 13
Select Show Clip
Volume both to see
your work in the
clip’s waveform and
to ensure that you
can apply a volume
change to the clip,
as opposed to only
the entire track.
Volume level line
As you change the
clip volume by moving the level slider
in the ECW, the thin
yellow volume line
in the clip moves
up or down accordingly (I darkened
and thickened the
line in this figure to
demonstrate that).
Editing Audio
Whatever changes you make to the clip volume in a sequence won’t change the original clip’s volume. They change only how the clip plays back in your project. The
default volume setting is zero decibels. That is, Premiere Pro plays source audio
clips at their original volume unless you tell it to do otherwise.
By the
Changing Volume Does Not Change Original Clip
6. Take the first step to manually add a fade-in and a fade-out to your clip (in
the next section, “Higher-Level Audio Editing,” you use an audio transition
to automate this) by pressing the Home keyboard shortcut, turning on
keyframes by clicking the level stopwatch, and moving the level slider to the
far left (-∞).
7. Move the CTI into your clip (about 2 seconds works well) and increase the
Level to 0dB.
Consistent Workflow—But Missing Two Features
Changing clip audio volume in the ECW is new to Premiere Pro and a giant leap forward for this application. Previously, you had to use what Adobe called audio volume
rubberbands in the timeline. Doing your volume (and audio effect) work in the ECW
means that you have a consistent workflow.
By the
There is one fly in the ointment: You cannot change the dB numeric value by selecting it and typing in a new number. The slider is your only choice.
8. Finish this process by moving the CTI to about 2 seconds from the end of
your clip, clicking the keyframe diamond (between the two keyframe navigation triangles) to set a new keyframe without changing the volume level,
and then moving to the end of the clip, and dropping the volume level back
to the far left (-∞).
An Updated Waveform Display
Take a look at the clip’s waveform display. Note two things: The yellow line (I darkened it in Figure 13.7 to make it easier to see) now has keyframe handles about 2
seconds from the start point and endpoint, and that line moves from the bottom (-∞)
to the center of the clip (0dB) and back to the bottom.
By the
9. After you’ve added keyframes, you can use the volume handles in the clip’s
waveform display (annotated in Figure 13.7) to change those keyframe settings. Simply grab one and drag it to increase or decrease volume and to
Figure 13.7 also shows what happens if you drag a volume keyframe to a new
location, as described in step 9.
Hour 13
change the keyframe location. Note the real-time readout of your changes
in the box at the bottom of the clip display.
As you make
changes to the clip
volume in the ECW,
it changes the volume line in the clip
waveform display
(the lower line in
this figure). You
can grab and move
the volume handles
(keyframes) to
change their location and dB level
(the top line).
Volume Handles
10. Add some interpolation values to your audio to make the volume changes
more appealing. As a reminder to do that, right-click on a keyframe in the
ECW and select from the five choices. Applying Fast Out to the starting
keyframe gets to the action more quickly and works well for my go-cart
video. A Fast Out on the ending keyframe also works well.
11. Listen to your fade-in and fade-out by pressing Home and the spacebar.
Higher-Level Audio Editing
Just as you created transitions between video clips, you can make smooth transitions between audio clips. Premiere Pro offers only two; both are crossfades and
they work just like a video cross-dissolve in that the audio in the first clip fades
down as the audio in the next clip increases in volume. They add a real nice
touch to your project. I recommend using them virtually every time you make
some kind of smooth video transition.
On the other hand, you might want to have greater control over your transitions
than the two crossfades offer. In that case, you need to place audio clips on separate audio tracks and use their individual volume controls to create the transition.
You’ll do both in this section.
Try it
Crossfade Between Two Audio Clips
New to Premiere Pro is the audio crossfade. You used to have to follow an elaborate manual crossfade process. Now you apply the Crossfade transitions to two
audio clips just as you applied a cross-dissolve to two video clips. Here are the
steps to follow:
Editing Audio
1. Add another audio-only or linked A/V clip to your sequence and butt it up
against the first clip. Make sure that you’ve trimmed both clips to allow for
some overlap.
2. Clear out the volume changes that you applied to the first clip by clicking
the keyframe stopwatch to turn off keyframes, and then dragging the level
slider to 0dB or press the Reset button.
3. Drag the Constant Power audio transition from the Crossfade folder in the
Effects palette to the edit point between the two clips. To display it in the ECW,
click on it in the sequence. Your sequence and ECW should look like Figure 13.8.
How your sequence
and ECW should
look after applying
a Constant Power
Crossfade between
two audio clips.
4. As with video transitions, you can change the center point of the transition
or change when it starts and ends by dragging it in its entirety or dragging
its edges.
5. Lengthen it a bit to get a better feel for the transition and then listen to it
and note how the volume levels change.
Just as you can use the video Dissolve transition to ease into or out of the start or end
of a video (fade from/to black), you can use the audio Crossfade to achieve the same
results. Simply apply either Crossfade audio transition to the beginning or end of a clip.
By the
Use Crossfade to Start or End a Piece
Hour 13
6. Replace the Constant Power transition with the only other audio transition
by dragging Constant Gain to the transition on the sequence.
7. Lengthen and listen to it as well. You’ll note that it does not have quite the
same high level of sustained volume level as Constant Gain. Save your project so that you can use it in the next task.
News-Style Audio Editing: Using J-Cuts and L-Cuts
Frequently, you’ll want to start a clip by having its sound play under the previous
video clip and then transition to its associated video. This is a great way to let
your audience know that someone is about to say something or that a transition
is coming. It’s kind of like foreshadowing. This is called a J-cut, so named because
it looks like a J on the sequence.
Conversely, another slick editing technique is to let the audio tail off under the
next video clip. This is an L-cut (it looks like an L).
Try it
Making J-Cuts and L-Cuts
To do either of these cuts requires that you unlink the audio and video portions of
a linked A/V clip. After they’ve been unlinked, you can move that audio segment
to another audio track and then extend or shorten the audio portion to make the
J- or L-cut.
Here’s the basic approach you need to follow:
1. Use the project you saved in the previous task. Delete the crossfade by selecting it on the sequence and pressing Delete.
2. Using Figure 13.9 as a reference, unlink the audio and video portions of the
second clip by right-clicking on it and selecting Unlink Audio and Video (see
the next Did You Know? for a keyboard shortcut unlinking method).
3. Deselect that clip (this confirms the unlink) by clicking somewhere in the
sequence besides on that clip.
4. Drag the audio portion of the second clip down to the gray area below the
audio master track. Premiere Pro will indicate it’s about to automatically
add a new audio track to accommodate this clip; you can then release the
mouse. Your sequence should look like Figure 13.11.
Editing Audio
Figure 13.9
Right-click on a clip
and select Unlink
Audio and Video to
enable you to separately edit the audio
and video portions
of an A/V clip.
Stay in Synch
As you move the audio portion of a clip in the sequence, take care that you don’t
slide it left or right when you drag it. Otherwise, the audio and video will get out of
synch. Premiere Pro gives you a visual cue to help you line up your clips: As shown
in Figure 13.10, if you see a black line with a triangle, your clips are properly lined
up. If that black line disappears, you’ve moved out of synch.
FIGURE 13.10
When dragging an
unlinked audio clip
to a new audio
track, keep it in
synch with the original video segment
by noting when the
highlighted black
line pops on
Here’s a nifty keyboard shortcut that you can use to unlink and move a clip. Hold
down the Alt key while you click on the portion of a clip that you want to move (that
unlinks it), drag it to the new track (or, in this case, below the master audio track to
make a new audio track), and drop it (see Figure 13.11).
Did you
An Easy Way to Unlink and Move a Clip to a New Track
Hour 13
FIGURE 13.11
Drag the audio portion of the unlinked
clip below the audio
master track to add
it to an automatically created new
audio track.
5. Drag the end of that second audio clip under the end of the previous clip
(refer to Figure 13.12).
Drag the End—Don’t Slide the Clip
Don’t slide the audio clip. Doing so will un-synch it with its original video portion.
Rather, drag the clip’s starting point to the left to extend its duration.
6. Open the volume effect for that clip, switch on keyframes for level, move
the cursor to the starting point, and decrease the volume to about –8dB (you
can adjust this volume later to make it fit your purposes).
7. Move the CTI edit line to just before the end of the first clip and set a
keyframe there by clicking the keyframe diamond between the two
keyframe navigation triangles. This sets a keyframe with the same –8dB
Did you
8. Drag the CTI to the end of the first clip and increase the level to 0dB (automatically setting a new keyframe in the process). That is a J-cut. The audio
in the second clip plays under the first clip and then increases in volume just
as the second clip appears. Your sequence should look like Figure 13.12.
Use a Video Dissolve to Further Ease the Transition
The purpose of a J- or L-cut is to ease viewers into or out of a clip. To enhance that
transition, add a video Dissolve or some other smooth video transition between the
two clips.
Editing Audio
FIGURE 13.12
A J-cut is used to
lay audio under a
preceding video clip
and then increase
its volume at the
point where its
associated video
pops onscreen.
Play your edited selection to see how that sound-under style works. The volume
might increase too quickly or too slowly. It’s a simple matter to adjust volume levels. Open the audio waveform portion of the audio track, switch on Show Clip
Volume, and drag the volume keyframe handles around. You can also add an
audio crossfade to the end of the first clip (or use the Volume effect) to fade it out
or you might cut it completely just before the edit, depending on your needs.
You can make an L-cut using the same basic technique. In this case, you’ll want
to unlink the audio and video of the first clip, extend its audio segment under the
second clip, and reduce its volume accordingly. Figure 13.13 is an example of an
Use the Alt Shortcut to Extend an Audio Segment
You can use the Alt unlink keyboard shortcut for yet another unlinking use. Because
you’ve already moved the second clip’s audio to a new track and need only extend
the first clip’s audio segment to the right a bit, hold down the Alt key, click on the
end of that first clip’s audio segment, and then drag to the right. By holding down
the Alt key, you’ll extend only the audio segment of the clip.
Did you
FIGURE 13.13
Use an L-cut to
ease viewers out
of a clip. Note that
I added a video
Dissolve, eased
out the audio in
the first clip, and
eased in the audio
of the second clip.
Try it
Hour 13
Freeze Frame and Dissolve to Black
One other L-cut-type edit is to end a piece with a freeze frame, and then dissolve
to black while continuing the audio beneath both video elements. Here’s a brief
rundown of the steps:
1. As you did in Hour 9, “Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools,”
drag the CTI edit line to the ending point of the project’s final clip—the
frame you want to freeze.
2. Right-click on the clip and select Copy.
3. Click End to move the CTI to the end of that clip.
4. From the Main Menu, select Edit→Paste to add that duplicate clip to the end
of your video.
5. Right-click on that duplicate clip and select Frame Hold→Hold
On→OutPoint. Click OK.
6. Unlink the audio portion of that freeze-frame clip and delete that audio.
7. Add black video to your sequence by clicking the New Item button, selecting
Black Video, and dragging that object to the end of your sequence.
8. Hold down Alt while dragging the audio segment of the final motion video
clip all the way to the end of the piece. (You need enough extra, unused
audio on the original clip to do this.)
9. Add a Cross Dissolve video transition between the freeze-frame and the
black video.
10. Use the Volume effect and keyframes to drop the audio, starting at the
beginning of the freeze frame and decreasing it to -∞ by the end of the black
video. Your project should look like Figure 13.14.
FIGURE 13.14
Using a freeze
frame, black video,
and an L-cut to
create a gradual
fade to black.
Editing Audio
Making an Automated Music Video Using
Timeline Markers
I saved the fun task for last. Here, you’re going to place a music clip on your
timeline, add markers to match the beat (or wherever you want to place them),
and then automatically add video clips, one for each marker. Voilá. A music
video. Well, it’s not exactly MTV, but at the very least it’s a great way to make a
Try it
Setting Timeline Markers and Automatically Adding Clips
Follow these steps to set the timeline markers:
1. Clear your timeline by deleting everything on it.
2. Drag a music track to the audio 2 track. (If you don’t have a music track,
return to Hour 12, “Acquiring Audio,” and follow the instructions in the
“Ripping Music CDs” section to use a track from an audio CD.)
Why Audio 2 Track?
You need to keep the audio 1 track free for any natural sound associated with the
clips that you’ll add to the video. When you use the Project window’s Automate to
Sequence feature, it places that nat-sound on Audio 1.
Did you
3. Move the CTI to that clip’s first frame (use the Home key) and press the
asterisk (*) key on the numeric keypad (not Shift+8). That adds a marker on
that first frame. A little pointed icon appears right below the time ruler.
4. Play that audio clip and when you hear a place where you’d like to edit in
a new clip, press the asterisk (*) key again to add another marker. Do that
for each edit point. If you’re using a laptop and don’t have a numeric keypad, you can use Alt+Shift+=.
You can use markers with other audio, notably narrations. As you listen to a narration, press the asterisk key when you hear a logical break in the narration copy or
when the script calls for a specific shot. Even if you don’t use the Automate to
Sequence option, those markers will help you locate edit points.
5. At the end of the song, or when you think you’ve made enough markers,
stop the music. As shown in Figure 13.15, a whole slew of little gray tab
stops will populate your sequence.
Did you
Use Markers with a Narration
Hour 13
FIGURE 13.15
The timeline loaded
with markers, ready
and waiting to
make a music
6. Use the Project window to select clips. You can change it to the Icon view
and rearrange clips as you did in Hour 6, “Creating a Cuts-Only Video,” or
you can simply Ctrl+click on several to set the order in which they’ll end up
on the sequence.
7. After you have your clips arranged, click the Automate to Sequence icon
(third icon in from the left at the bottom of the Project window).
8. That pops up the Automate to Sequence dialog box. Figure 13.16 shows the
interface properly filled in for this music video. In this case, you want to
change Placement to At Unnumbered Markers, set Method to Insert Edit,
and leave the Ignore Audio and Ignore Video boxes unchecked. This means
natural sound will end up on audio track 1, where you can change its volume or delete it to suit the video.
FIGURE 13.16
The Automate to
Sequence dialog
box, filled out to
make a music
9. When you’ve made all the selections, click OK. Your timeline should fill up
with clips. Move the edit line to the beginning and play. Slick.
Editing Audio
Premiere Pro has taken audio editing to a new, much higher plane than in previous versions. By incorporating new technologies, industry-standard plug-ins, and
high-end features such as audio conforming, sample-specific editing, and multiple track types, Premiere Pro gives audiophiles all they need to add a top-notch
aural quality to their productions.
Basic audio editing—typically volume changes and crossfades—is now greatly
simplified and takes place primarily in the Effect Controls window.
Some standard news-style audio-editing L- and J-cuts will take your audio one
step higher. You can also create slideshows with a musical bed or timed to a narration by using markers and the Automate to Sequence option.
Hour 13
Q I adjusted the volume settings. Now my clip sounds different, but the wave-
form hasn’t changed. What’s going on?
A This is Premiere Pro’s default behavior. The waveform always represents the
clip’s original audio volume shape. And no matter how loud or quiet the original clip, the default starting Volume effect level for all clips is always 0dB.
Q Right after I added a music clip to my Project window, I dragged it to the
sequence and tried to view the waveform and play it. But no waveform displayed. Only after I clicked Stop did the waveform pop onscreen. What’s
going on?
A Audio conforming is going on. When you add audio or an audio/video clip,
Premiere Pro creates a new audio file using the project setting audio sample
rate (usually 32kHz or 48kHz) and using 32-bit floating point data. That
can take a little while. During the beta testing, you could not listen to the
audio during conforming. Beta testers complained loudly and Adobe made
some clever fixes allowing the audio to play at a reduced quality. But, it will
not display the waveform until it’s done conforming (you can’t get everything you want). And if you play the clip while conforming is going on, it
won’t display the waveform until you stop playing it.
1. You want to start your piece by fading up your audio. Explain two ways to
do that.
2. Why use an L-cut or a J-cut? What are the basic editing steps?
3. You have a quiet video clip, but in the middle someone honks a car horn.
How could you remove that sound and replace it with the original quiet
background of the original clip?
Quiz Answers
1. Add an Audio Crossfade transition (Constant Power or Constant Gain) to
the beginning of the clip. Or use the Volume audio effect and keyframes to
set the level to -∞ at the start and increase volume to 0dB within a second or
two. Use interpolation controls to smooth what would otherwise be a
straight-line fade-in.
Editing Audio
2. In both instances, you’re creating smooth transitions to either ease a cut with
specific sound into your project or let it fade out. A J-cut starts audio under
the preceding video cut (which also has associated audio) and then fades up
as you transition or cut to the video portion of that clip. An L-cut fades audio
under the next clip as a way to ease out of that audio/video clip. You create
both edits by unlinking the audio from the clip you’re going to extend, moving that audio to a different audio track, extending the audio in the appropriate direction, and then using the Volume effect to create a crossfade. It
sounds best if you make those volume changes on both clips.
3. This one’s kind of tough. First, remove the horn by using the Volume effect
and keyframes to isolate it and reduce the volume to -∞ for that small segment. Then add that same clip somewhere out of the way on the sequence,
unlink its audio, delete the video, drag in the ends of the audio clip to create
a chunk of quiet audio that matches the rest of the original clip, and place it
on the audio track right below the removed car horn. Listen to this passage.
You might need to fade up and later fade out the quiet segment to ease in
and out of it. If that sounds like a lot of work, it’s only a small taste of what
audio engineers do to enhance sound.
1. J- and L-cuts should be a part of every production. The only way that’s
going to happen is if you get comfortable doing them. Make a few of each.
2. When using a narration, typically you’ll lay down some of that voice-over,
put in a clip with some nice natural sound, and then add more narration
and more natural sound throughout your story. Give that process a try by
cutting your narration with the Razor tool and inserting nat-sound clips at
those breaks (hold down the Ctrl key when dragging clips to the razored
point to perform an insert edit, thereby sliding clips to the right). Use J- and
L-cuts liberally.
3. I’ll cover audio special effects in Hour 14, but you can preview that process
by adding effects to an audio clip. The best clip to use is a narration
because you know what it should sound like and any changes you add will
be more obvious. Open the Audio Effects tab in the Effects palette, open the
folder that matches your clip (Mono, Stereo, or 5.1), and drag and drop
Reverb on your audio clip. Select the clip and check out all the Reverb features in the Effect Controls window.
Sweetening Your Sound
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Sweetening sound—Premiere Pro’s audio effects
Revealing the power of VST plug-ins
Following Premiere Pro’s new audio tracks
Working with the new audio mixer
Premiere Pro’s audio effects “sweeten” your sound. They can dramatically change the
feel of your project. As with video effects, you set the parameters of audio effects from
within the Effect Controls window. Some are specialized effects from a family of audio
plug-ins using VST—Virtual Studio Technology—a new feature of Premiere Pro.
Premiere Pro’s audio mixer is a leap forward in controlling audio for your projects.
Combined with Premiere Pro’s new submix track option, track-level audio effects,
and live narration recording, it brings a lot of flexibility to your audio management.
Sweetening Sound—Premiere Pro’s
Audio Effects
Adobe has updated Premiere Pro’s suite of audio effects. Most of the new effects
arrive courtesy of VST software that fosters the integration of audio effect processors
with PCs. In the case of Premiere Pro, it opens the door to a world of third-party
audio effect plug-ins; little mini-programs that show up in the Audio Effects palette.
You can add dozens of VST audio effects to that collection. I cover VST in the next
section, “Revealing the Power of VST Plug-ins.”
Hour 14
Previous versions of Premiere placed the audio effects into seven categories. Now
you access them alphabetically. Unless you’re an audio engineer, some of their
names—Bandpass, MultibandCompressor, and Parametric EQ, for instance—might
be a bit obtuse.
I take you through some of them to give you a taste of what to expect. For more
information on what each effect does, take a look at the Premiere Pro online help
section. Under Contents, select Applying Effects, and then select Audio Effects
Included With Adobe Premiere Pro.
Ultimately, the best way to learn more about these effects is to try them out. They
are nondestructive. That is, you can use them on any clip without changing the
original clip’s audio quality.
Try it
Working with Audio Effects
Before I explain the audio effects function, I want to give you a brief overview of
how to work with them. You’ll start with a couple straightforward effects and then
take a look at some of the higher-level tools. Here’s how to add audio effects to
1. Open Premiere Pro to either your customized audio workspace or the default
workspace by selecting Window→Workspace→Audio—or—Your Audio
2. Clear everything off your sequence and place a short (no more than 30 seconds) audio or linked audio/video clip on the Audio 1 track. The reason for
the short clip duration is your audio playback convenience.
3. Open the Effects tab (its default location is in the Project window). Twirl
down the Audio Effects disclosure triangle to reveal three subfolders: 5.1,
Stereo, and Mono (with only a couple exceptions, such as Balance, all three
have the same set of audio effects). Twirl down the Stereo disclosure triangle
to reveal its 22 effects. Figure 14.1 shows how that should look.
4. Drag and drop the Balance effect on your audio clip. Select that clip to display it in the Effects Control window (ECW). Twirl down the two disclosure
triangles to reveal the two keyframable parameters shown in Figure 14.2:
Bypass and Balance.
Sweetening Your Sound
Premiere’s full set
of 22 stereo audio
How the simplest
of Premiere Pro’s
audio effects looks.
All audio effects (including the fixed Volume effect) have a Bypass parameter.
Basically, checking Bypass means Premiere Pro will ignore any setting for this effect
and play it at its default settings. What makes this an important feature of each
audio effect is that Bypass is keyframable—you can set the exact moments when it
switches off an effect and switches it back on.
Did you
What’s Bypass?
Did you
Hour 14
5. Using keyframes, set the balance completely to the left (-100%) at the start
of your clip and then move it to the right (+100%) at the end. Play the clip.
The audio should move from left to right.
Use Keyframes Liberally
Consider how you could use keyframes. The obvious usage is to change an effect
over time. But consider those obnoxious ads in which the narrator suddenly has a
booming, echoing voice. You too can duplicate those spots. Simply select Reverb
and set keyframes for the beginning and end of that booming delivery.
6. Add two Bypass keyframes somewhere toward the middle of your clip. The
first should have the Bypass box checked, but the second should be
unchecked. Play the clip. The sound should begin to move from the left to
the right, jump to the center, jump toward the right, and finish its move to
the right channel. Bypass tells Premiere Pro to ignore any effect settings.
7. Remove the Balance effect (or click its little f to turn it off) and drag Delay, a
slightly more complex audio effect, to the ECW. Twirl down its disclosure triangles to reveal three parameters (shown in Figure 14.3): Delay, Feedback,
and Mix. Delay creates distinct echoes as opposed to Reverb, which creates
more of a collection of echoes that you’d experience in a closed room.
Delay—or echo—
has slightly more
complexity than
Did you
Delay Equals Echo
The Delay parameter specifies the amount of time before the echo plays. Increasing
the Feedback setting means you get echoes of echoes. And the Mix setting determines the prominence or subtlety of the echo.
Take a look at the Multitap Delay. This creates up to four distinct sets of delays or
echoes using the same parameters as the Delay effect.
Sweetening Your Sound
8. Remove the Delay effect, drag Parametric EQ to the ECW, and twirl down its
disclosure triangles. As shown in Figure 14.4, this effect boosts or decreases
the gain of a selected frequency region. If you want to boost the bass,
move the Center slider to the left (lower frequencies), and increase the Boost.
Cut the bass by moving the Boost slider to the left. Increase the width of the
selected frequencies using the Q slider.
Parametric EQ
enables you to
boost or decrease
the gain for a userset frequency range
at a user-designated
Multiple Uses of the Same Effect
You’ve probably seen an equalizer. Many car and home stereos have them. They
enable you to punch up multiple, preset frequency ranges. Many enthusiasts use
them to boost the heck out of the bass and rattle windshields and nerves of passing motorists.
Parametric EQ lets you select only one frequency range. But you can use Parametric
EQ multiple times and select multiple frequencies. In effect, you can build a full
graphic equalizer within the ECW. Or you can use Premiere Pro’s EQ effect and its
built-in five frequency ranges.
Revealing the Power of VST Plug-ins
Take a look at one more audio effect. This one is guaranteed to make your head
spin. Delete Parametric EQ and drag MultibandCompressor to the ECW. As Figure
14.5 shows, you’ll need to dramatically expand the ECW to see only some of the
Did you
Hour 14
It works best if you drag the Effect Controls tab out of the Monitor window to create a separate Effect Controls window. Then drag the right edge of the parameter
view by placing the cursor over the thin line until it turns into the double-arrow
cursor circled in Figure 14.5.
Did you
Close the ECW Timeline to Free Up Space
To add a little screen real estate to the ECW, close its mini-timeline display. Do that
by clicking the chevron indicated by an arrow in Figure 14.5. Reopen it using the
same chevron button.
The MultibandCompressor audio
effect is one of
several VST plugins. Its primary use
is to reduce a clip’s
dynamic range.
That is, decrease
the gain for loud
sounds and
increase it for soft
This sudden appearance of a rack of control knobs signals your first look at a VST
plug-in. These are custom-designed audio effects that adhere to a standard set by
Steinberg audio. Invariably, those who create VST audio effect plug-ins want them
to have a unique look and offer some very specialized audio effects.
Sweetening Your Sound
Charlie Steinberg—Audio Visionary
To learn more about VST, I suggest you read an interview with Charlie Steinberg, the
man behind VST and other audio innovations. You can start at http://www. or go directly to the interview at
By the
The MultibandCompressor’s purpose is to narrow the dynamic range for up to
three sets of frequency ranges. It works like the Dynamics effect but can create a
softer sound.
Explaining its parameters could take a full hour. Instead, note that it offers a collection of presets. Premiere Pro alerts you to the presence of that collection by adding a
tiny triangle below the reset button. I’ve put a box around it in Figure 14.5.
While the audio is playing, experiment with the MultibandCompressor by grabbing
the diamond-shaped handles in the display screen and dragging the three boxes up
or down or their vertices left or right. Finally, take a look at the mind-boggling array
of additional individual parameters below the knobs. One real important reason to
break them out individually is to let you set keyframes for any of them.
Other VST Effects
Take the Premiere Pro’s other VST audio effects for brief spins:
. DeNoiser—Automatically detects and removes tape noise
. Dynamics—Compresses dynamic range
. EQ—A multiple-band parametric EQ
. Pitch Shifter—Raises or lowers pitch
. Reverb—Simulates various room sounds
Some EQ Uses
You can use EQ to give oomph to a thin vocal by rolling off the high frequencies and
boosting the bass.
If you have isolated recordings of instruments in a band, you can add presence to
each one by boosting portions of their frequency range. Giving them a little more treble increases their “attack.” If you have trouble with audio hum or “popped P’s,”
reducing the low frequencies might help. You can use EQ to “carve out” a vocalist’s
range within an instrumental, giving that singer more “visibility.”
Did you
Hour 14
There is a treasure trove of VST plug-ins available on the Internet. I suggest you
start your quest at Check out Quick Effect Links for a
lengthy listing of VST audio effects, all of which should work with Premiere Pro.
There’s no need to check out K-V-R’s Quick Instrument Links because Premiere Pro
does not support instruments.
Most of these VST audio effect plug-ins cost something, but there are a few freebies. In particular, check out Little Duck. Figure 14.6 shows how it appears in
Premiere Pro. It emulates a classic analog filter bank.
Little Duck’s developer, Land of Cockaigne, offers several other free VST plug-ins
featuring an older analog look at its Web site:
The Little Duck VST
plug-in audio effect
offers five analoglike filters as well
as other controls.
Adding Multiple Audio Effects to a Clip
You can add multiple audio (and video) effects to the same clip. For instance, you
might have a video with a bass player on the left and a guitar on the right. You
could use Balance to start on the left and use Bass to emphasize that instrument.
Then as you move the balance to the right using keyframes, you could reduce
Bass and bring in Treble.
By the
Combine Effects for Surprising Results
For a little fun, add both a Highpass and Lowpass filter to a clip. These effects pass
through high or low frequencies and cut off the rest. Set each high and low cutoff
frequency to the same value. The result should be near or complete silence.
Sweetening Your Sound
Following Premiere Pro’s New
Audio Tracks
Premiere Pro’s new audio tracks open up extra editing opportunities. There are
now three track types: clip, submix, and master. As you work with Premiere Pro,
you’ll begin to see the value of these additional tracks.
Basically, your original clips go into clip tracks. You then can send them directly
to the final master track (that’s the default action) or send some or all of them to
submix track(s). You can set volume levels and apply effects to the clips individually, to entire clip tracks, to entire submix tracks, and to the master track itself.
Anything you do to a clip or clip track changes how it sounds in the submix and
master tracks. Anything you do to a submix track changes how the master track
sounds. To give you an idea of how this might work in real-world productions,
here are two scenarios as suggested by the Premiere Pro development team:
. A two-camera shoot with additional narration and background music. You
have two tracks of audio (one from each camera) and a narration, and then
you have two tracks of music. You would like to be able to control the overall balance of voice and music. To do that, add two submix tracks. Assign
all the voice tracks to one track and all the music tracks to the other. Now
you can use the Volume effect in the voice submix track to control all the
voice levels together and the Volume effect in the music submix track to
control all the music together. This is called stemming. You still can adjust
the relative levels of the clips within their own voice and music clip tracks.
. You want to add reverb to two tracks of vocals. To make this sound right,
you want to use the same reverb parameters for both tracks. Add a submix
track and add the reverb filter to that track. Assign each of the voice tracks
to the submix track. Now you have what is known as a dry (original) signal
in each clip track and a wet (edited) signal on the submix. You can control
the amount of voice going to the reverb by changing the volume on the
original clip track(s).
Adding and Sending Audio Tracks
You’ve noted that if you drag a clip to an empty space in a sequence, Premiere
Pro automatically creates a new audio track that matches the type of audio:
mono, stereo, or 5.1.
Try it
Hour 14
Creating a Submix Track
If you want to add a submix track, you need to take a less automated route. You
can use the same process to add any other type of track. Here’s how you create a
submix and send—or assign—an audio track to it:
1. As shown in Figure 14.7, right-click on an empty area on the left side
(where the track names are) of a sequence and select Add Tracks.
Use the sequence’s
context (right-click)
menu to select Add
2. In the Add Tracks dialog box shown in Figure 14.8, set Add Video Track(s)
and Add Audio Track(s) to 0, set Audio Submix Tracks to 1, select a placement and track type, and click OK.
Use the Add Tracks
dialog box to add
an audio submix
(or other video and
audio tracks).
3. Take a look at the bottom of the audio mixer. As highlighted in Figure 14.9,
Audio 1 (and any other clip tracks you have in your sequence) now has the
option to send its signal to Submix 1. If you select Submix 1, whatever
audio is on Audio 1 will also go to Submix 1. If you send several clip tracks
to Submix 1, Premiere Pro combines them using whatever audio gain levels
and effects you set in their original clip tracks.
Sweetening Your Sound
The drop-down list
at the bottom of
the audio mixer
now enables you to
send an audio clip
track to a submix
Working with the New Audio Mixer
Premiere Pro’s new audio mixer is a giant step up from previous versions. It’s the
focal point of your audio production. In previous versions of Premiere, the audio
mixer’s primary task was to enable you to manually control audio levels (recording your actions as you applied them). This updated version improves on that
functionality as well as offering two big improvements: the capability to apply
effects to entire tracks and a means to record a narration directly to a sequence.
I won’t go into too many details because the Adobe manual explains things well.
However, I do suggest experimenting with the audio mixer:
Try it
Recording a Narration and Adding Track Effects
2. To record a narration, make sure that your PC mic is plugged in to the Mic
input on your sound card and turned on. To do that, open the Control
Panel, and double-click Sounds and Audio. In the Volume tab, click
Advanced and check to see that Microphone is not muted.
1. If you haven’t already done so, expand the Audio Mixer view by clicking
the disclosure triangle circled in Figure 14.10.
Hour 14
FIGURE 14.10
Open the audio
mixer to display all
its features by
clicking the circled
disclosure triangle.
3. Activate the Premiere Pro narration record mode by clicking the Microphone
button in one of the audio clip tracks (you can’t record a narration to the
master or submix tracks).
4. Click the red Record button at the bottom of the audio mixer. It’ll start
blinking. You can move the CTI edit line to where you want this narration
to begin (it’ll cover up any audio at that location) and then click the Play
button to start recording. When you finish recording, click the Stop button
and note that an audio clip appears on the selected audio track.
By the
Watch Your Levels
Watch your voice levels in the mixer’s audio track VU meter—the two parallel vertical
bars next to the volume slider. You want to avoid too much volume (indicated by a
red display in the VU meters) or too little. Occasionally jumping into the yellow zone
toward the top is fine.
Sweetening Your Sound
If you record audio and you have taken no steps to mute the output, you might get
feedback—that lovely screeching noise that happens when a mic gets too close to
a loud speaker. There are several remedies:
By the
What to Do About Feedback
. Use the Mute button on the track in the sequence.
. Drop the master fader bar to -∞.
. Change the assign for the track to a submix track and drop that submix
track fader bar to -∞.
. Turn down your speakers (you can use headphones to hear yourself).
5. You use the audio mixer to add audio effects to the entire track by clicking
the drop-down list triangle highlighted in Figure 14.11 and selecting from
that list (it has all but a few of the clip-based effects).
FIGURE 14.11
Add a track effect
by clicking the triangle to reveal a
drop-down list.
Make adjustments
using controls that
display in the Mixer
By the
Hour 14
6. Each effect offers some level of control at the bottom of the audio mixer’s
mini-window. Some effects, such as Reverb shown in Figure 14.11, have
drop-down lists of presets.
Effects Apply to Entire Track
These effects do not have the detailed control that you find when applying them to
clips. Nor can you use keyframes. These effects apply to entire tracks. That’s the
beauty of track-based effects: their uniformity over an entire track.
Changing Track Gain and Balance or Pan
Premiere Pro’s online help file has a thorough explanation of the audio mixer.
Select Help→Contents→Mixing Audio to open that lengthy and detailed section.
Essentially, the audio mixer makes it possible for you to adjust audio gain and
balance (or pan for mono tracks) on the fly, recording your changes as you make
them. If you don’t like the mix, you can make adjustments using the mixer or, as
shown in Figure 14.12, by dragging the Track Volume handles in the audio track
waveform display. To display those keyframes, click the Show Keyframes button
and select Show Track Volume.
FIGURE 14.12
After using the
audio mixer to set
volume or gain
levels for an entire
track, you can
move the volume
handles in that
track’s waveform
in the Timeline
window to adjust
those levels.
Sweetening Your Sound
You make your audio gain and left/right balance changes after selecting an
automation setting from the drop-down list (shown in Figure 14.13) at the top of
the selected track. You have five automation setting choices:
. Off—Ignores any existing playback settings so that you can preview any
changes as you make them without reverting to previous settings and without recording those changes.
. Read—Plays back any automation changes you’ve made.
. Write—Records adjustments as you make them and creates keyframe handles that display in the sequence’s track waveform.
. Latch—Same as the Write setting except that nothing changes until you
adjust a value; that value then holds until you change it.
. Touch—Same as the Latch setting except if you release the gain fader, the
value returns to its previous setting.
FIGURE 14.13
Premiere Pro offers
five automation
controls in the
audio mixer. Latch,
Touch, and Write
each give you
slightly different
levels of control
over how you
change a track’s
Surround Sound Panning
As far as automation is concerned, the surround panner works just like the stereo
panner. As shown in Figure 14.14, if you create a 5.1 project, the audio mixer
master track will have six VU meters and each clip track (mono, stereo, or 5.1)
will have a panner setting display window.
To manually set panning for a track, set Automation to one of the Write modes,
play your audio track, and grab and drag the little dot (highlighted with an
arrow in Figure 14.14) to move the audio around the 5.1 surround location.
As you set these new locations, they show up as keyframe handles in your
sequence. To view them and manually change them, click the Show Keyframes
button and select Show Track Keyframes.
Hour 14
FIGURE 14.14
When working with
5.1 clips or projects, Premiere Pro
enables you to
manually adjust
surround sound
panner settings by
dragging the little
dot around inside
this little window.
FIGURE 14.15
5.1 panner adjustments done in the
audio mixer show
up as keyframe
handles in the
audio track.
It would be impractical to show all keyframes for all six surround sound locations.
Premiere Pro makes it possible for you to narrow down your view in the clip’s waveform display. As shown in Figure 14.15, use the clip’s drop-down list and select
Panner→Left-Right, Front-Rear, Center or LFE (low-frequency effects that are routed
to the subwoofer) to display the keyframe handles you created in the mixer.
Sweetening Your Sound
You can use the Pen tool (it offers more precise control than the Selection arrow
and enables you to add keyframes) from the Tools palette to add, delete, or adjust
these handles:
. Add a keyframe by holding Ctrl and clicking on the yellow panning line.
. Move keyframes by grabbing and dragging them.
. Use the Pen tool (select it from the Tools palette or use its keyboard shortcut:
P) to drag bounding boxes around groups of keyframes, and then hold
down Shift, grab one of the highlighted keyframes, and drag the collection
en masse to a new location.
. Delete a keyframe by selecting it with the Pen tool and pressing Delete.
Delete a group by dragging a bounding box around them and
pressing Delete.
Panner Seems Jerky—Not to Worry
The surround panner definitely tracks smoothly between points. If your PC is slower
than most, you might see some jumpiness on the display updates in the mixer window but the internals will track smoothly.
Adding audio effects to clips on a Premiere Pro sequence can bring a project to
life. The Effect Controls window tracks each clip’s effects, gives you detailed control over their individual features, and offers keyframes for those attributes. The
addition of VST plug-in support means Adobe was able to include some very powerful and detailed effects.
The new audio mixer and audio tracks open up all sorts of extra control possibilities for Premiere Pro. It’s a simple matter to apply effects to entire tracks and
adjust volume and balance/panning changes on the fly.
By the
Hour 14
Q I worked in the audio mixer for a while then returned to the Timeline win-
dow. When I play my video, I don’t hear anything but I didn’t mute the
audio track. What’s going on?
A You probably muted the track in the audio mixer. Unfortunately, that action
does not make itself apparent in the sequence display. Go back to the audio
mixer and unselect the Mute button for your track. The button is right
above the volume fader bar.
Q I want to get a nice distinct echo effect, but Reverb sounds like a lot of
echoes instead of only one. Is there a way to get only one echo, or at least
some limited number of echoes?
A Yes. Use Delay. It creates an exact duplication of whatever is on your audio
clip. That can be very disconcerting if it’s music—you’ll hear every guitar
strum twice, for instance. But if you have a voice shouting out a word or
phrase, you can adjust the settings to have that echo come back quickly or
with a delay of up to two seconds and have it blend with the original clip
or not.
1. You need to boost treble and bass. You have several possibilities. What are
2. There are at least three ways to make audio move from the right channel to
the left and back. What are they?
3. You recorded a speech but the presenter is too quiet and the waiter’s clattering trays are too jarring. How can you fix those problems?
Quiz Answers
1. Take your pick. The easiest but least precise method is to add treble and
bass to the clip. Using the Parametric EQ effect twice to boost each end of
the audio frequency spectrum gives you a fine level of control. Or try EQ,
turn off the midrange frequency bands, and adjust the low and high ends.
Sweetening Your Sound
2. Use one of two effects: Balance adjusts the overall balance, left or right and
Channel Volume enables you to adjust the volume of each channel individually. If you drop the left to -∞ and the right to full 6dB, you’ve accomplished
virtually the same effect, but the clip will sound louder. To get audio to
switch back and forth, use keyframes. Or use the audio mixer’s Left/Right
Balance control knob.
3. You want to minimize the clattering trays by reducing the high end of the
volume when the clattering happens and remove it when the speaker pauses.
Also, you want to increase the low-volume portions to better hear the speaker. Use Dynamics to do both. Use its Gate feature to cut off the signal when
the speaker pauses, use Compressor to bring up the soft speaker levels, and
use Limiter to cut off any loud sounds.
1. Experiment with the Multitap Delay audio effect. Use it on a solo instrument, a solo voice (record your own, perhaps), and music with a hard beat.
This is a slick and exciting toy that can give some real presence to audio.
2. Create a chorus using a voice. Use your camcorder or PC mic to record yourself (or a volunteer) singing a song. Add it to a sequence. Then use the
PitchShifter audio effect on it. Add several audio tracks. Place the CTI edit
line at the beginning of the original clip, copy the clip (right-click→Copy),
select an empty track by clicking the track name, and then select
Edit→Paste (or Ctrl+V) to place that copy on the sequence. Do that several
times. Select each clip in turn and slightly adjust the PitchShifter’s Fine setting. It takes some trial and error to avoid a warbling sound, but if all goes
well, you’ll turn a soloist into an ensemble.
3. Create a full-featured graphics equalizer by layering several Parametric EQ
effects on the same clip. You can use EQ’s five frequency presets, but using
multiple instances of Parametric EQ is a good way to precisely control some
very specific frequencies ranges. Preview your work as you make changes.
After you’ve created a collection in the ECW, turn one or more of the effects
off (click the f check box) and then listen to the difference.
Professional Audio Tools:
SmartSound Sonicfire
and Adobe Audition
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Making music with SmartSound Sonicfire Pro
Introducing Adobe Audition
Audition’s audio effects
Using Audition to craft a tune
Music can make or break a production. If you aren’t a dedicated musician with
some fairly sophisticated PC music hardware and software, you probably can’t create that music yourself. As I mentioned in Hour 12, “Acquiring Audio,” you can rip
music from a CD, but that raises the copyright infringement red flag. Or you can use
the SmartSound QuickTracks plug-in that shipped with Premiere 6.5 or its new version for Premiere Pro that was in beta while I was writing this book.
None of these solutions is ideal. Two options that are ideal are SmartSound Sonicfire
Pro 3 and Adobe Audition. SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 3 can create professional music
that matches your project style and length. Adobe Audition enables you to take custom music creation further by offering 4,500 music loops that you can tap to create
compositions. Plus it’s loaded with professional audio editing tools and high-end
effects that go beyond those available in Premiere Pro.
Hour 15
Making Music with SmartSound
Sonicfire Pro
This full-featured big brother of QuickTracks from SmartSound (http://, shown in Figure 15.1, makes it possible for you to create
customized soundtracks that exactly fit the style and length of your work. You can
use multiple tunes within a project, edit them to fit certain segments, and build
transitions between them if that suits your production.
Sonicfire Pro 3
enables you to
build customized
original soundtracks that exactly
fit the length and
style of your production—and you
pay no additional
licensing fees.
Sonicfire Pro 3 works much like QuickTracks in that all its music is recorded from
real instruments (as opposed to using MIDI files). QuickTracks transparently
moves, adds, or removes little snippets of the song to make it fit a project length
or user-selected style. Sonicfire Pro 3 offers those same features and enables you to
select different phrases for dramatic effect and build your own arrangements by
mixing and matching those snippets in whatever order and quantity suits you.
The blocking feature, shown in Figure 15.2, is a simple drag-and-drop process.
Blocks that work well at the start, middle, or end of a song are easily identifiable.
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition
Sonicfire Pro 3
uses original tunes
recorded by studio
musicians in such
a way that you can
edit in, remove,
move, and alter the
length of snippets
of music to fit your
video production
Sonicfire Pro 3 ($299) ships with 42 tunes at 44.1kHz (CD audio quality) and the
Bundle Edition ($499) comes with 98 songs. Because you can edit them in
uncountable ways, these songs open up a wealth of possibilities. You access those
tunes directly or, as shown in Figure 15.3, narrow your search using criteria such
as genre, instrumentation, and intensity.
Access the
SmartSound music
library using the
Maestro search
You can limit your search to your existing collection or dramatically expand it by
scouring the SmartSound collection on the company Web site. There you can preview and purchase tunes individually or select from several dozen themed CDs.
CDs typically have 18 songs and retail for $100 (22kHz versions cost $50).
Individual tunes sell for $20. Sonicfire Pro 3 is a great way to add a professional
touch to your projects.
Hour 15
Introducing Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition is a complete, professional, 128-track recording studio that offers
advanced audio mixing, editing, and effects processing. You’ll want to use Adobe
Audition for music productions, radio broadcasts, or to enhance audio for your
Premiere Pro videos.
Audition started its life as Cool Edit, a high-end, professional audio editing tool
from Syntrillium Software. In mid-2003, Adobe bought Syntrillium’s technology
assets and re-released Cool Edit Pro 2 as Adobe Audition ($299).
Although Adobe made no changes to the Cool Edit Pro 2 code, the company did
add one tremendous feature: 4,500+ music loops. The loops are like the song snippets in Sonicfire Pro 3 in that they are typically a few bars of an instrument playing in a certain musical style. What makes Audition much different from
Sonicfire Pro 3 is what you can do with those loops.
Here are some of Audition’s features:
. Change pitch and tempo without losing sonic fidelity—Audition’s beatmarking technology and superior stretch engine enable you to make pitch
and tempo changes while retaining all the characteristics of the original
instrument or voice.
. Audio repair—Noise reduction selectively removes room noise, hiss, hum,
and even camera motors(!) while retaining full audio quality. Automated
and user-defined click and pop removal cleans up vinyl recordings.
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition
. Sound your best—Adobe Audition supports files with sample rates up to
10MHz (that’s 10 MEGAHertz! as opposed to the standard CD-audio sampling rate of 44 KILOHertz), so whether your destination is tape, CD, DVD,
or DVD-Audio, Audition can handle the files. All processing is done at the
maximum 32-bit resolution for the highest quality sound. All edits are
sample-accurate and short crossfades can be added for smooth, pop-free
cuts every time.
. Additional features—It also offers real-time effects, loop creation, audio
analysis tools, and video support.
Auditioning Audition
In the following tasks I’m going to put Audition through a few of its paces. I urge
you to follow along by downloading the trial version of Audition from the Adobe
Web site: There you’ll find links to the tryout
download (30MB) and to the “loopology” content. The content is divided into
musical genres. Knowing that 30MB might be a hefty download for you, I chose a
genre with a relatively small file size: rockabilly (9MB).
Try it
Introducing Audition—Basic Editing
Audition is really three products in one: a single waveform editor (meaning that
you can narrow your audio processing down to a single audio element), a multitrack audio recorder and mixer, and a music creation tool. I give you a taste of
all these elements in this and other upcoming tasks. We begin with a multitrack
1. Open Adobe Audition. If it opens to its default project, you’ll see it populate
its screen with a few music clips and then play the Audition theme. Your
workspace should look like Figure 15.4.
The Audition theme might not appear (typically because you’ve opened Audition
before). To load that project, do the following:
1. Make sure that you’re in multitrack mode. There should be a little waveform icon in the upper-left corner of the user interface (I highlighted it in
Figure 15.4). If the icon has three parallel waveforms instead, click that to
open multitrack.
By the
What to Do If the Theme Does Not Appear
Hour 15
2. Select File→Open Session. Clicking the highlighted Waveform button,
switches to that workspace.
3. Go to the Audition directory (default location: C:\Program Files\Adobe\
Audition 1.0\Audition Theme).
4. Double-click on Doing so will open the file in the
main Audition multitrack user interface.
The Audition multitrack workspace
with the Audition
Theme open.
2. To play this 12-second spot, click the Play button at the bottom of the screen
(or use the spacebar keyboard shortcut). With the exception of the narration, this theme was created using loops from the Audition library.
3. Slow down its tempo from 175 BPM to 125 BPM (or whatever new beat suits
you) by highlighting 175 in the Tempo window in the lower-right corner of
the screen, typing in the new BPM, and pressing Enter. After Audition finishes taking a few seconds to reprocess the audio, listen to the changes by
pressing the Esc key to return the edit line to the beginning of the tracks and
clicking Play.
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition
I hope that what you’re hearing amazes you. Everything slows down, but the instruments’ characteristics remain unchanged. The narrator’s voice still has the same
pitch and he isn’t dragging his words. The drums have the same presence and the
instruments sustain their tonal qualities. This powerful feature opens up myriad possibilities. To whet your appetite, think of doing a 30-second spot with a 35-second
narration. Use Audition to compress that narration without turning it into Alvin and
the Chipmunks.
By the
Changed Tempo—Unchanged Pitch
4. Take the tempo up to 200 BPM. Amazing, isn’t it?
5. Now we’ll change a clip’s volume. We’ll work with a clip in Track 5. To
make it easier to hear your changes, solo that track by clicking the little S,
which is indicated by an arrow in Figure 15.5. Also make sure that the track
is not locked (the word lock should not be grayed out). If the track is locked,
click the word lock to unlock the track.
Click the Solo button to listen to only
that track. Change
a clip’s audio gain
by clicking and
dragging its volume
6. Move the edit line to the beginning of that clip by dragging its small triangle at the top of the multitrack window.
7. To be sure that you can make volume changes within a clip display, select
View and see to it that both Show Volume Envelopes and Enable Envelope
Editing have check marks next to them.
9. Change the Pan settings for a clip by first clicking the Show Pan Envelopes
button at the top of the interface (see Figure 15.6).
8. Select the AmpEgg Bass clip to switch on its volume envelope handles (highlighted earlier in Figure 15.5). Grab them and move them around a bit.
Press the spacebar to play the clip and check out the changes. Do this as
much as you want with this or any other track. When done, switch off the
Solo button.
Hour 15
Turn on the pan
envelope display by
clicking this button
at the top of the
user interface.
10. Audition color codes pan and volume lines: Pan lines are blue and volume
lines are green. If you choose, you can make it easier to see the pan envelope handles by turning off the Volume Envelopes display by clicking its
button (to the left of the Pan Envelopes).
11. Solo Track 6 and select the first clip: PhatFunkyBass14-E. Note that it pans
left-to-right (top of the clip to the bottom). Grab and move those pan handles and listen to those changes. You can add handles by clicking on the
Pan line and dragging it to a new location.
Audition’s Audio Effects
As you’ve heard during the previous hour, Premiere Pro has a wealth of high-end
audio effects. Not surprisingly, Audition does as well. What you’ll note when
working with them is all the extra features they offer.
Try it
Test Audition’s Audio Effects
Applying audio effects is a relatively simple task. But deciding what works well
and when to do it takes a lot of trial and error. A good way to get to know what
Audition can do for you is by sampling its effects. You can add them to entire
tracks or to individual clips. Here’s how:
1. Solo Track 6 by clicking its little S. Note that the track is unlocked (the Lock
button is dark blue), so you can make edits to it.
2. Open its Effects dialog box, shown in Figure 15.7, by clicking the FX 8
3. Play the clip by pressing the Play button and try out a few presets by selecting them from the drop-down list. Classical Cathedral gives your music a
dramatic, rich sound. Move some of the sliders—especially Reverb (wet)—to
see how that changes the sound.
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition
The track FX dialog
box gives you
access to all
effects added to a
track. Most effects
have a several slider controls and
multiple presets.
What to Do When the Music Ends
If you want to play a clip over and over, you have two choices: When the song ends,
click Stop and then click Play to start it over or use the Loop Play button (it’s shaped
like the ∞ infinity symbol).
Did you
4. Add an effect to this track by clicking the Rack Setup button (in the upperright corner) to open the Track 6 Effects Rack dialog box shown in Figure
15.8. Open the Special folder, select Distortion, click Add, and click OK to
return to the FX 8 dialog box.
5. Click the Distortion tab to open its control display, shown in Figure 15.9.
Play the clip and try out some presets. Move the handles on the display.
This effect can give your audio a grungy, garage band sound. You can keep
it by closing the dialog box or click the Rack Setup button, select Distortion
from the Current Effect Rack, click Remove, click OK, and then close the FX
8 dialog box.
The Track Effects
Rack dialog box
enables you to add
effects to a track
or remove them.
Hour 15
The Distortion
dialog box offers
presets plus
something a bit out
of the ordinary:
graphic controls.
Drag the handles
along the curved
line to further
adjust the sound.
Did you
FIGURE 15.10
Even if a track’s FX
dialog box is
closed, you can
add an effect to a
track simply by
dragging it from
this collection to
anywhere on the
Drag and Drop Effects on to Tracks
The alternative means of adding an effect to a track is to simply drag it from the
Effects list on the left side of the Audition user interface, shown in Figure 15.10,
and drop it anywhere on a track.
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When you’re in multitrack view, all effects are applied to entire tracks, not to individual clips. Even if you drop an effect on a clip in a track, it still affects the entire
track. To apply effects directly to clips, you need to open a clip in the Waveform window. I cover that starting in step 6.
By the
Track Effect Versus Clip Effect
6. Double-click the AA-VOICE1v clip to open that part of the narration in the
waveform edit window (see Figure 15.11).
FIGURE 15.11
Double-clicking a
clip segment opens
it in the waveform
edit window. You’ll
use the Chorus
effect on this narration to give the clip
some presence.
7. Add the Chorus effect to this clip by double-clicking it (it’s in the Delay Effects
group). That opens the Chorus settings dialog box shown in Figure 15.12.
Note that it has a different look than the Track Effect settings dialog box.
FIGURE 15.12
When adding
effects to clips—in
this case, the
Chorus effect—the
dialog boxes take
on a different look
but still offer
virtually the same
Hour 15
8. This dialog box also has a Preview button. Click it and try out the various
presets. I like Rich Chorus. When you’re done, click Cancel.
9. Open Time/Pitch and double-click Pitch Bender. This is a very cool effect
(shown in Figure 15.13) that can give a narrator a whole new pitch. Select
Down a Whole Step from the presets and click Preview. A deeper, more
sonorous voice emits from your speakers. You can drag the pitch handles in
the screen and make changes on the fly. Try the other presets as well.
Cancel out of this effect.
FIGURE 15.13
Pitch Blender raises
or lowers a clip’s
frequency, giving a
narrator a high
squeaky voice, for
There is a passel of additional effects. Of particular interest is the Noise Reduction
group. For instance, you can use its Click/Pop Eliminator to analyze recordings
made from vinyl records and automatically remove scratches. Noise Reduction
will analyze a quiet passage of a concert and remove the ever-present audience
background noise from the music. Hiss Reduction will fix old audio tapes.
Using Audition to Craft a Tune
You’ve done multitrack and waveform editing; now you’ll create a tune using
Audition’s loops. To do this, you’ll need to download the Rockabilly loopology collection from the Adobe/Audition site: If you
feel like venturing off on your own, feel free to try a different set of loops.
Try it
Composing Music Using Loops
Creating a tune using loops is great fun. The possibilities are endless. I give you a
taste of that experience in this task. The basic process is to preview loops from an
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Audition library. The loops are a variety of similar riffs (within the selected musical genre) using several different instruments. You’ll want to select some that you
think will play well together.
Feel free to experiment, head off on a different tack, or throw in some special
effects. This is one of those activities where you might find yourself still at it in the
wee hours of the morning, wondering where the night went. Here’s how it works:
1. Close your Theme session by selecting File→Close All (Waves and Session).
2. If you’re not in the multitrack view, click the multitrack button in the upper
left to open a blank multitrack interface.
3. Start a new multitrack session by selecting File→New Session, choose 44100
from the New Multitrack Session dialog box, and click OK.
4. Click the File folder button in the upper left (below the File tab). That opens
the Open a Waveform window shown in Figure 15.14. Things will get a bit
tedious here, but one at a time, open each file folder, select all the loop files
(they have the CEL suffix—a holdover to the pre-Audition, Cool Edit loop
file naming convention), and click Open for each collection.
FIGURE 15.14
One at a time,
open each of these
folders, select all
the CEL files, and
click Open to add
about 115 loops to
your project.
6. Now the fun begins. Click on the Auto-Play button (below the Sort By: dropdown list) to switch it on. Click on a loop to listen to it. Preview as many
loops as suits you to get a feel for what’s to come. You’ll note that most play
for four beats—in this case, one measure of music.
5. When you’re done, you’ll have about 115 loops loaded into your workspace.
As shown in Figure 15.15, select Sort By: Filename to get them into alphabetical order.
Hour 15
FIGURE 15.15
How your workspace should look
after adding the
rockabilly loops to
your project.
Select, Sort By:
Filename to alphabetized these
By the
Follow the Keys
Most of the clip names include their key, as in their musical key signature. It’s a
good idea to place loops in the same key at the same time in the piece. If you’re
not into music and don’t get this, I think it will become clearer in a few steps.
7. Start your piece by dragging IntroPickup to Track 1. Once on the track,
right-click and drag it to the beginning of the track (you use a left-click to
change a clip’s length).
8. Drag Kick&Snr07 to Track 1 and slide it up against IntroPickup. Extend it
another three bars (four in all) by clicking on it to select it and then dragging its right edge to the right by left-clicking on the little diagonal hash
marks in its lower-right corner. As shown in Figure 15.16, the cursor
changes to something like the Premiere Pro Ripple Edit tool. As in Premiere
Pro, Snap-to-Edges makes it easy to create four bars exactly (Audition displays those bar divisions with thin, vertical dashed lines). That five-bar
track segment should look like Figure 15.16.
9. Play that segment and note how the IntroPickup loop moves seamlessly
into Kick&Snr07.
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition
FIGURE 15.16
After adding a loop,
you can grab its
lower-right corner
and drag it to build
additional bars. In
this case, four bars
in all.
10. Add three more drum loops to Track 1: Kick&Snr10 (four bars), Kick&Snr05,
and Kick&Snr04 (two bars each).
11. Here are the loops that I suggest you add to the rest of the tracks:
. Track 2: ChugginA starting at bar four (note the bar number ruler at
the bottom of the multitrack screen) for two bars, Walkdown_A2 (two
loops equaling one bar), WalkUpTo4 (two loops equaling one bar),
ChugginA (two bars), Chuggin5 (two bars), ChugginA (two bars),
WalkDownA_2 (two loops equaling one bar), and
TremBarEndingChord02-E (one loop equaling two bars)
. Track 3: FunkierThanBilly-B starting at bar six for two bars,
HappyGoLuckyB (two bars), and HappyGoLuckyA (two bars)
. Track 4: HonkyTnk04-A starting at bar eight for two bars, HonkyTnk05-B
(two bars), HonkyTnk03-A (two bars), and PianoCmp03-A (one bar)
. Track 5: BowFidl07-A starting at bar four for four bars, BowFidl09-A
(two bars), BowFidl12-B (two bars), and BowFidl10-A (two bars)
12. If you followed my song-building suggestion, your project should look like
Figure 15.17. Play it. I think you’ll enjoy it.
To see what I meant in the “Follow the Keys” note, take a look at the clips in bar 8.
All end with a large letter A. They are all in the key of A. At bar 10, they’re all in the
key of B (Chuggin5 is the exception, but it sounds like the key of B). At any rate, it’s
generally a good idea to match key signatures in the same bar.
Coloring Clips
That the clips are uniformly green is Audition’s default behavior. As in the Audition
Theme session, if you want to give your clips different colors, simply right-click on a
clip, select Block Color, move the slider to a color you like, and click OK.
By the
Did you
Key Consistency
Hour 15
FIGURE 15.17
How your completed composition
should look.
13. Make a waveform edit by double-clicking TremBarEndingChord02-E at the
end of Track 2. Note that it has a little extra scrunch sound at the end of the
waveform. Remove that by positioning the cursor between the stereo waveforms right before the extra noise starts, noting the cursor turns into an Ibeam, and dragging it to the right to highlight the section to remove. Use
Figure 15.18 as a reference. Press the Delete key. Audition automatically
stretches the clip to fit its original two bars.
FIGURE 15.18
To remove an
offending bit of
noise, open the clip
in the Waveform
edit window, drag
the cursor to highlight the offending
segment, and
press Delete.
Loopology Creation
Audition’s 4,500 loops are essentially the product of one man: Jason Levine. As
performer, engineer, and producer, he created, recorded, and mastered this entire
library of original, royalty-free music. Levine has a lengthy history as an accomplished musician and recording studio engineer. He says that the “most exciting
studio experiences of my life involved a two-year engagement working with one
of the industry’s most respected and honored engineers, Roger Nichols of Steely
Dan fame.”
Levine worked for Syntrillium as music director, with a heavy emphasis on Cool
Edit Pro 2’s concept and workflow. With Adobe’s purchase of Syntrillium, he
became Audition’s main “evangelist,” presenting the product at conventions and
workshops across the globe.
During his Syntrillium tenure and before making the move to Audition evangelist, Levine created production-quality music loops. Using his home recording
studio and Audition’s multitrack recording capability, Levine (performing all
keyboards and synthesizers, plus bass guitar and drums) worked with two other
musicians: guitarist and Audition user interface designer Steve Fazio and drummer Fred Fung. Together they crafted the true, ensemble sound of the 4,500 loops
that ship with Audition.
That is a big selling point for Audition. Because Levine recorded the loops as live performances by the three musicians working together in the studio, those loops have a
real, ensemble feel and work well together. No other loop collection can tout that.
14. Click the Multitrack button to return to that window. Feel free to add some
effects to clips and/or tracks, change volume levels to highlight certain passages, and pan the instruments across the stereo field if that suits you.
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition
Hour 15
His recording setup probably has a few more bells and whistles than what you
might have at hand or want to purchase. But if you want to create original audio
content, I think you can learn from his methodology.
Audition—An Audio Recording Studio
Here’s a basic rundown of the audio studio setup that Levine used to record the
. Two M-Audio Delta 1010 audio cards—Street price: $599 each (http:// These have eight analog input/outputs and one pair of
digital I/Os (see Figure 15.19). Audition sees each of those discrete channels
and can record them to individual tracks.
FIGURE 15.19
Jason Levine used
two M-Audio Delta
1010 sound cards
(20 input/output
channels in all) to
capture audio to
his PC.
. Industry-standard Mackie mixers ( to ensure proper
levels and mix. Basic Mackie mixers that will serve most purposes start at
only about $200. The 1202-VLZ Pro has 12 channels and a street price of
. Several different types of preamps captured and enhanced drum, bass, and
guitar sounds. Preamps can be a bit expensive. When in doubt, you can
always turn to the transparent, clean sounds inherent in Mackie mixer’s
built-in preamps.
. A varied collection of microphones rounded out the audio-capture process.
Levine selected each mic to lend its distinctive quality to the many instruments recorded for the Audition content library. These included Shure’s
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SM57 ($147) and SM58 ($188) ( and the ubiquitous,
high-end studio favorite C414 ($799 street price—see Figure 15.20) from
FIGURE 15.20
You’ll find the AKG
C414 microphone
in most professional audio production
Even without all this gear, you can record audio using Audition. Simply plug a
mic or musical instrument into the mic or line input, respectively, on your sound
card. As shown in Figure 15.21, press the R record button on a track to switch to
its record mode, open the Record Devices dialog box by clicking the Rec1 button,
select the input channel (most standard sound cards offer only one stereo line
input), and then click the Record button at the bottom of the multitrack window.
FIGURE 15.21
Access Audition’s
32-track recording
mode by clicking a
track’s Record button and assigning
an input channel to
that track.
Hour 15
Your sound card probably has only one stereo line input, but Audition enables
you to split the channels onto two distinct tracks. This works well for radio
announcers who record a narration on one of those mono channels while listening to the music accompaniment as it’s being recorded to the other channel.
Music adds immeasurably to your video projects’ overall quality. Finding just the
right piece to fit or set a mood can be arduous. Two products that go a long way
to simplifying that search are SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 3 and Adobe Audition.
Sonicfire helps you craft entire songs to fit a segment or project length and style.
You select from a massive library of instrumentals, and then select and arrange
song segments into a tune to fit your needs.
Audition is a much more powerful and higher-level product. It ships with 4,500
music loops that you can place on up to 128 tracks to create your own unique
musical arrangements. In addition, you can add numerous audio effects, record
your own audio (instruments and voice), and use Audition to remove tape hiss,
vinyl record clicks, and ambient noise from live recordings.
Professional Audio Tools: SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition
Q I have the QuickTracks plug-in for Premiere 6.5. Is there any compelling
reason for me to move to Sonicfire Pro?
A It depends on your musical needs. QuickTracks is a fun product, but it has a
limited library and you need to pay a licensing fee to SmartSound to use its
tunes on commercial products. Sonicfire Pro’s tunes are all royalty-free,
meaning you can use them for virtually all productions: personal or professional. And Sonicfire Pro gives you absolute control over the editing of each
tune or you can opt to automate that process.
Q Why use Audition to add special effects to audio when Premiere Pro can
do the same thing?
A It’s true that Premiere Pro has many of the same types of audio effects as
Audition, but overall, Audition’s collection has more control options, more
presets, and better audio restoration capabilities than Premiere Pro. In addition, it ships with those 4,500 music loops and has a multitrack
editor/mixer and a 32-track recording capability.
1. In Audition, how do you display both volume and panning characteristics
for clips?
2. In Audition, you’ve already added QuickVerb to a track but want to swap
that out for the more fully featured Reverb effect (you want to use its Shower
setting—yep, as in singing in the shower). How do you make the exchange?
3. You want to speed up your announcer’s delivery. How do you do that?
Quiz Answers
1. Make sure that the track on which your clips resides is unlocked. Then select
the clip by clicking on it, and click the dB and the L/R buttons at the top of
the screen to display the volume and panning handles. Note that moving
the panning line to the top of the clip sets its value to –100 and places the
audio completely in the left channel.
Hour 15
2. Click that track’s FX button, click Rack Setup, select QuickVerb, click
Remove, select Reverb from the Effects window, click Add, and click OK.
That takes you back to the FX dialog box where you can change the preset
for Reverb to Shower. Don’t forget to sing a few bars: “Soap, soap, soap,
3. The Tempo value at the lower-right corner of Audition’s user interface works
well for music with a beat, but it’s not intended for voice. To change the
speed of your announcer, try the Stretch effect in the Time/Pitch Effects
1. Record some vinyl records to your hard drive. You’ll probably need to use an
amplifier connected to the line-in plug on your PC sound card. Use
Audition’s built-in Clip/Pop Eliminator to automatically remove most of
those annoying clips. Then use the waveform editor to isolate single clicks
(you’ll see sudden, sharp jumps in the waveform) to remove the rest.
2. Jason Levine’s (the Audition loopology creator) favorite loop content is Funk
Rock. Those loop files (contained in two downloadable Zip files totaling
104MB) really lend themselves to the creation of some fun powerful music.
If you have the Internet bandwidth, download them and take your loop
music creation to new levels. After you’ve laid down a few tracks, give the
clips and tracks some special effects—Reverb, Chorus, and Distortion, for
example—as well as adjust their volume and pan characteristics. And try
out some tempo changes.
Higher-End Visual Effects and
Editing Techniques
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Third-Party Products
Using Higher-Level Video
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Making sense of the plethora of video effects
Technical fix effects
Blur/sharpen effects
Distort effects
Color and appearance effects
Selected After Effects effects
I introduced you to several video effects in Hour 10, “Adding Video Effects.” In this
hour, I present most of the remaining effects. The major exception is the set of keying effects that I cover in Hour 17, “Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying
Clips.” I also leave the Color Corrector effect and some effects that work best with
clips on more than one video track for later hours.
Premiere Pro’s 90+ video effects run the gamut from simple to complex. They have a
wide range of uses. Some you might rely on regularly, whereas others fill such narrow niches they might never see the light of day.
With so many video effects staring up at you, it’s darned hard to know when and
why to use any one of them. In this hour, I’ll single out my favorites and try to
make sense of the rest.
Hour 16
Making Sense of the Plethora of Video
It’s not easy wading through Premiere Pro’s 14 video effects categories, trying to
unravel what their 90+ effects do and how they do it (see Figure 16.1). The category names do not necessarily match their functions. And some effects have multiple functions with numerous options.
By the
SteadyMove—In a Category By Itself
If you added SteadyMove when you installed Premiere Pro, that means you have 15
effect categories (it’s in its own bin called 2d3). SteadyMove is a third-party plug-in
that smoothes out shaky camera work. I go over it and its professional version
(available for an extra charge) in Hour 21, “Third-Party Products.”
Premiere Pro’s 15
category names for
video effects do
not necessarily
describe their contents.
The categories themselves can be confounding. The Gamma Correction video
effect is in the Image Control file folder, but is also a parameter of the Levels
effect, which is in the Adjust file folder. Convolution Kernel is in the Adjust folder,
but handles 10 different functions of several single-purpose effects in the Stylize
and Blur & Sharpen folders. And the Transform effect is not in the Transform file
folder, it’s in the Distort folder.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Some effects resolve rarely encountered technical problems, such as missing fields
or interlace flicker. Still others don’t seem to achieve their stated purposes.
To minimize clutter, ease access, and keep things simple, I’ve organized this hour
into my own set of categories. I suggest that you create several new video effects
file folders to match those categories: Technical Fixes, Color and Appearance, and
Selected After Effects. You’ll continue to use the Blur & Sharpen and Distort
To further eliminate clutter, I’ve placed the also-rans in one additional category:
Creating Custom Folders
To create these new categories, click the Video Effects tab in the Project window,
click the fly-out menu triangle, and select New Custom Bin. It creates a folder
named Favorites. Change that name by clicking on it to highlight it and then typing in
a new name: Technical Fixes, Color and Appearance, and so on. To further clarify
this new organization, you might add your initials to each bin name. Later, as I go
over the various effects, you can drag and drop their icons to the new folders.
Even after you drag an effect to a custom bin, the effect remains in its default bin.
You cannot delete effects or bins.
Technical Fix Effects
When you think of video effects, technical fixes do not come to mind. The primary reason you use video effects is to alter the appearance of your video clips—
to blur, emboss, tint, or distort—or to add graphic elements, such as lightning and
lens flare. So, I’ll get this mundane but useful technical stuff out of the way first.
At first, you might use a variety of single-purpose effects from Premiere Pro’s collection of technical fix effects. Eventually, you might settle on the one effect that
can do just about anything those others can do: Levels.
I’ll introduce Levels, list the technical fix effects with brief explanations, and then
go over how to use the Levels effect.
My Favorite Technical Fix Effect: Levels
The Levels effect (shown in Figure 16.2 with all its parameters and its separate
settings dialog box) is one of several jack-of-all-trades video effects. It manipulates the overall brightness and contrast of a clip and of its individual color
Did you
Hour 16
channels, enabling you to adjust the following four image characteristics (each of
which has its own separate video effect):
Brightness & Contrast—This is standard TV control stuff that can significantly enhance your video.
Color Balance RGB—You’ll use this time and time again. No matter how
carefully you use white balance when shooting your videos, some video
clips will turn out too red, green, or blue. The Levels effect enables you to fix
that by adjusting the individual RGB color brightness and contrast levels.
Gamma Correction—Anyone who’s played a video game with a too-dark
setting knows that bringing up the gamma levels brightens the scene without washing it out. This effect accomplishes that by bringing up the midtones while leaving dark and light areas unaffected.
Invert—This switches color information making your video look like a color
The Levels Settings
keyframable parameters and its dialog
box and are not
immediately intuitive.
Using Levels to do these simple tasks might be overkill. Instead you might want to
first use each of those four features’ much more user-friendly, standalone video
effects. In another Premiere Pro conundrum, you’ll find them in two different
video effects bins: Adjust and Image Control.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Using the Levels Effect
To see the Levels effect in action, drag it from the Adjust bin to a video clip (or
select a clip and drag Levels to the ECW (Effect Controls Window). In the ECW,
click on the Levels Settings dialog box icon (the little PC screen icon).
This is not your father’s TV set brightness and contrast control. The interface takes
some explanation. The chart is a histogram of your currently selected frame.
Brightness values from dark to light run along the X-axis. The Y-axis represents
the number of pixels at each brightness value.
Use the drop-down list at the top of the interface to choose whether you want the
tonal adjustments to apply to one of the three color channels or to all three at
once (RGB).
The sliders directly below the histogram control contrast and gamma. Drag the
black triangle to the right to increase the shadows, the white triangle to the left to
increase the highlights, and the gray triangle to control the gamma—the midtones.
The Output Levels slider reduces contrast. Dragging the black triangle to the right
eliminates the darkest values in the clip, whereas sliding the white triangle to the
left eliminates the brightest values.
Other Technical Fix Effects
In addition to Levels and its four siblings, here are the other technical fix effects
that are available to you:
Broadcast Colors—This effect ensures that color values will play back on
PAL or NTSC TVs. It’s a powerful tool with simple controls, but you might
never need to use it.
Clip—Trims away noise from the edges of your videos, replacing the
removed pixels with a user-specified frame color. If you don’t want a frame,
use the Motion effect to zoom in on your video to push noisy frame edges
offscreen. I demonstrate a practical use for Clip at the end of the “Bevel
Alpha, Bevel Edges, and Edge Feather” section later this hour (I do it then
because that’s when I have you open a new project in which this effect
works well).
Color Balance HSL—This alters a clip’s hue, luminance, and color saturation. It doesn’t have the color accuracy of Color Balance RGB. Gamma
Correction and Brightness & Contrast perform similar functions.
Hour 16
Field Interpolate—Rarely used. It’s for instances when field loss (basically,
half a video frame) occurs during capture.
Median—Median’s strength is its oil painting effect (see the “Color and
Appearance—Painting Effects” section later this hour). But its original purpose was to reduce video noise.
Reduce Interface Flicker—Very thin horizontal lines sometimes lead to disruptive flicker on some TVs. This seeks out those trouble spots and softens
their edges to reduce flickering.
Blur & Sharpen Effects
As with the Levels effect and its narrower purpose siblings, at the core of most of
the Blur & Sharpen effects is another jack-of-all-trades, the Convolution Kernel
As shown in Figure 16.3, the Convolution Kernel effect also has a Settings dialog
box and a lengthy list of keyframable parameters. It changes the brightness values of pixels using a three-by-three matrix and a mathematical formula. The formula divides the sum of those pixel values by another user-set variable and then
adds yet another user-selected value to that quotient, thus creating the desired
Convolution Kernel
is fun to experiment with, but it’s
a heck of lot easier
to use individual
Blur & Sharpen
effects than tweak
its matrix values or
So, it’s not surprising the Convolution Kernel effect can handle most of the effects
in this category. But Adobe’s Premiere Pro effects creators recognize that
Convolution Kernel is not for the faint of heart. For all but two pre-set effects, it’s
easier to use individual, narrower purpose Premiere Pro effects rather than the
Convolution Kernel’s matrix calculations or even its presets.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Convolution Kernel Overview
Convolution Kernel is the workhorse of this category. But of its 10 presets shown
in Figure 16.19 and in the following list, only Gaussian Sharpen and Sharpen
Edges work as well or better than their single-purpose siblings. Stick to the other
recommended Blur & Sharpen effects and experiment with Convolution Kernel to
create your own effects.
. Blur—Very subtle. Use Directional Blur or Fast Blur instead.
. Blur More—Directional Blur and Fast Blur work better.
. Emboss—Use the Emboss effect instead. It gives you more control.
. Light Emboss—Use Emboss instead.
. Find Edges—This identifies and emphasizes areas of an image with obvious
transitions/edges. The standalone Find Edges effect is a full-featured and
powerful tool that I cover in the “Color and Appearance Effects” section
later this hour.
. Gaussian Blur—This is nearly the same as Fast Blur.
. Gaussian Sharpen—This is on par with the separate Gaussian Sharpen
. Sharpen—The After Effects Sharpen effect has a slider, so it works better.
. Sharpen Edges—This is the only Convolution Kernel preset that outshines
the specialized effect.
. Sharpen More—Use Sharpen instead.
My Favorite Blur & Sharpen Effects
Each of the following video effects can either soften or sharpen entire clips or elements within clips:
Anti-alias—It softens edges between contrasting colors and light.
Channel Blur—This effect, illustrated in Figure 16.4, shifts RGB (red, green,
and blue) colors individually, creating a blurring effect. It works well with
alpha channels (transparent portions of some graphics), enabling you to
shift the colors of graphics.
Hour 16
The Channel Blur
blurs individual
color channels.
Directional Blur—By smearing pixels in a user-selected direction, this effect
supposedly gives the illusion of motion. I don’t think it’s all that effective,
but it is a good way to simply create a blurred image.
Fast Blur—This creates a much more blurred image than Directional Blur.
Figure 16.5 shows how easy it is to use. Apply keyframes to create an everincreasing blur over time. This works better than Gaussian Blur or Camera
Fast Blur creates
the blurriest
Radial Blur—The “Psycho” look. It creates a whirlpool blur that simulates a
swirling camera. Figure 16.6 shows that you can vary the location, type,
and quality of the blur.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Radial Blur gives a
video clip a soft
swirling look.
Radial Blur—A CPU Cycles Hog
Radial Blur is a processor-intensive effect—thus the three Quality settings. At the
highest quality, Premiere Pro’s Real-time Preview might stutter through the clip.
Rendering Radial Blur at its full quality takes extra time.
Sharpen—This effect sharpens a soft-focus image by increasing contrast
where color changes occur. This effect uses only a single slider. It works better than Gaussian Sharpen or the Convolution Kernel’s Sharpen and
Sharpen More presets.
Duplicate Blur/Sharpen Effects
Feel free to place the following four video effects in your Other folder. Other
effects handle their chores as well or better than they do:
Camera Blur—The Directional Blur effect handles this and adds a direction
Gaussian Blur—Same as the Fast Blur effect.
Gaussian Sharpen—The Convolution Kernel preset is as good as this standalone video effect.
Sharpen Edges—The Convolution Kernel preset is as good as this standalone video effect and has more options.
Distort Effects
With a few exceptions, these effects all do the same kind of thing. They twist
and contort your clip into funhouse mirror shapes. To use them well takes some
Hour 16
experimentation on your part. Rather than explain them in detail, I’ll lump similar effects together and use figure captions to identify them.
I will give brief explanations of the non-funhouse distortion effects at the end of
this section.
Pinch, Shear, Spherize, and ZigZag
You may have checked these effects out in Hour 11, “Putting Video and Still Clips
in Motion.” They all use a similar interface, as shown in Figures 16.7–16.10.
Pinch draws in or
expands an image
in the middle.
Shear creates a
curve along a userdefined wavy line.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Spherize pushes
out or pulls in the
image using a ball
FIGURE 16.10
ZigZag creates several nice wave
effects emanating
from a user
selected point.
Bend, Lens Distortion, Ripple, and Wave
The four effects shown in Figures 16.11–16.14 all create undulating, twisting
FIGURE 16.11
Bend most closely
re-creates a funhouse mirror effect.
It fills the screen
with the distorted
FIGURE 16.12
Lens Distortion’s
primary function is
to reduce distortion
effects; for example, when shooting
at extreme angles
or with special
lenses. In addition,
it has a feature
that enables you to
fill any gaps you
create with a color
selected from the
clip (rolling the cursor over the small
image automatically switches on the
Eyedropper tool) or
from the color picker window.
Alternatively, you
can turn that gap
into a transparent
alpha channel (discussed in Hour 18,
“Compositing Part
2—Alpha Channels
and Mattes”) to
allow clips below it
on the sequence
show through.
Hour 16
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.13
Ripple is like Bend
but leaves gaps
around the curves
that you can fill
with color, just as
you can do with
Lens Distortion.
Except in this case
you do not have an
Alpha Channel
FIGURE 16.14
Wave looks a lot
like the Bend
Mirror, Polar Coordinates, and Twirl
These three effects, shown in Figures 16.15–16.17, are all After Effects effects. For
one thing, that means they do not have separate Settings dialog boxes. Note that
Mirror and Twirl are both motion-style effects (they have a bounding box cursor
before their names in the ECW) and therefore have a crosshair you can drag
around onscreen to set the focal point of the effect.
FIGURE 16.15
Mirror perfectly
reflects the scene
at the crosshair
(switch it on by
clicking on Mirror)
using the angle
selected, where 90
degrees creates a
reflection along a
horizontal line, and
0 degrees creates
a reflection along a
vertical line.
FIGURE 16.16
Polar Coordinates
converts the clip’s
X/Y coordinates
into polar coordinates (or vice
versa) to create
this odd little lens
distortion. The slider intensifies the
FIGURE 16.17
Twirl rotates a clip
around the
crosshair. The
greater the radius
and angle, the
more intense the
twirl. Animate this
using keyframes to
create a real cool
Hour 16
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Horizontal Hold and Vertical Hold
The effects shown in Figures 16.18 and 16.19 give the impression that something
is dreadfully wrong with the viewer’s TV. You can use them both on the same clip
to really make things go haywire.
FIGURE 16.18
Horizontal Hold has
a separate dialog
box with slider control to set its severity.
FIGURE 16.19
Vertical Hold has
no parameters. It’s
either on or off.
When it’s on, your
image just rolls and
rolls and rolls.
Noise—Give Your Clips That Old VHS Feel
You do what you can to create clean, sharp, noise-free video. So, what does Adobe
do? It includes this Noise effect in Premiere Pro to give your videos that low-light,
consumer, analog camcorder look.
The Amount of Noise slider sets the noise level by distorting or randomly displacing pixels. As illustrated in Figure 16.20, at a setting of 20% or so, the effect
creates a very noisy image. Crank it up to 75% and your clip might become
Hour 16
Checking the Use Color Noise box randomly changes the red, green, and blue
values of the image’s pixels. Unchecked means all color values change equally.
Checking the Clip Result Values box creates a more realistic Noise display by letting color values that reach their maximum value wrap around and start over at
0% noise. Leaving it unchecked means color values that max out stay at that
maximum level, making some portions of your scene shimmer with noise.
Did you
Noise to the Max
To completely randomize Noise, turn on Use Color Noise and turn off Clip Result
Values. To reproduce true noise, set the slider to about 20%, turn off Use Color
Noise, and turn on Clip Result Values.
FIGURE 16.20
Noise can give your
tape the look of a
worn out VHS tape.
Camera View
This effect warrants special mention. As shown in Figure 16.21, Camera View
gives the impression of a camera looking at your clip from different angles. It
works a lot like the Basic 3D effect in that it rotates, flips, and zooms a clip. What
makes it stand out from Basic 3D is that it gives immediate feedback in its
Settings dialog box.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.21
Camera View
enables you to
twist, flip, and
zoom your clip, simulating a camera
viewing the clip
from varying
Basic 3D—Create That Glint Shot
This effect is not all that different from the Camera View effect. In fact, Camera
View has more options, the most important being Zoom-in and Roll. What makes
Basic 3D worth your time is its Specular Highlight option. As shown in Figure
16.22, a simulated light source can create a little moving glint on the surface of
your clip as it changes angles and moves around the screen.
A Glint Is Not a Lens Flare
Do not confuse this with Lens Flare (covered later this hour). In that case, the light
is not reflecting off the surface of the clip, it’s simulating a series of refractions that
occurs when a camera lens is pointed at an oblique angle toward a light source.
By the
FIGURE 16.22
Basic 3D’s
Specular Highlight
gives a realistic
touch when tilting a
screen and moving
it in 3D space.
Hour 16
The move takes place on only two axes:
Swivel—Controls horizontal rotation
Tilt—Controls vertical rotation
Go beyond 90 degrees in either direction and you see the back (mirror view) of
your image. The Preview mode switches to a wireframe view. It notes the presence
and location of the specular highlight using a green plus (+) sign (enlarged for
emphasis in Figure 16.23). A red plus sign shows the highlight’s location, but
indicates that it won’t be visible because the image is not tilted toward the simulated light source.
FIGURE 16.23
Switching to
Preview mode turns
on a wireframe
view, making it easier to locate and
follow the specular
Specular Highlight Issues
Basic 3D’s Specular Highlight (the main reason you’d want to use Basic 3D) is a surprisingly processor-intensive effect. Not even a single frame will display it if you have
your Monitor window set to Draft Mode. To see it either switch to Highest Quality
(click the wing menu to access that feature) or render the clip.
Also, it can be very bright if the reflection is straight at you—that is, if the highlight
is at the center of the screen. To avoid that, try to make your moves so the highlight
travels around the edges of the screen. Alternatively, use keyframes to turn on the
highlight only when it reaches an edge.
Bevel Alpha, Bevel Edges, and Edge Feather
These effects create 3D beveled frame-like edges for your clips. Bevel Edges and
Edge Feather are for regular video clips and Bevel Alpha works only with graphics
or videos that have alpha channels. All three are great tools to use when you’re
using motion settings to fly clips over another image. Using them gives those flying clips extra depth.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Try it
Creating Beveled Images
In this case, rather than only showing you an effect, I want you to try both of
these. The purpose is twofold: to show you how to combine effects and to introduce the concept of alpha channels.
1. When you installed Premiere Pro, you also might have copied the Sample
Project NTSC or PAL to your hard drive. If not, you’ll find those projects on
the sample files CD that came with your boxed version of Premiere Pro. To
do this task you need to copy that folder to your hard drive (wherever you
store your media assets is a good location).
2. Open Premiere Pro, click on New Project, navigate to your Sample Project
folder, select Sample Project (NTSC or PAL) and click Open.
The Saleen Assets
The Saleen S7 is a custom-built automobile (still a prototype as we went to press).
Adobe worked out a deal with the manufacturer and the video production studio to
include these assets with Premiere Pro and use them in numerous demos. Feel free
to view this project. Some of the effects are from Premiere Pro and others were built
in Adobe After Effects. I cover that latter product in Hour 22, “Using Photoshop and
After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project.”
By the
3. Select the Saleen_Car_08 clip (you can choose any clip, but this one works
well for the next few steps). Apply Edge Feather to it and, as shown in
Figure 16.24, increase the edge thickness to make the soft frame obvious.
FIGURE 16.24
4. Delete Edge Feather and apply Bevel Edges to this clip. As shown in Figure
16.25, increase the edge thickness to make the bevel obvious.
Edge Feather softens the look of a
Did you
Hour 16
Give Frames to Clips in Motion
When you fly reduced-size clips onscreen using the Motion effect, giving them
frames is a nice touch. Bevel Edges, Edge Feather, or Clip work well.
FIGURE 16.25
Bevel Edges gives
video clips a nice
3D frame.
5. Apply Lens Distortion to this clip by dragging the effect to the ECW below
Bevel Edges. Create a distortion and note that, as shown in Figure 16.26, the
bevel matches that new shape.
Did you
Effect Order Counts
Premiere Pro applies effects starting at the bottom of the ECW and working its way
up. So, in this case, it performs the Lens Distortion and then applies Bevel Edges to
it. Premiere Pro’s two fixed video effects—Opacity and Motion—are last in line. If
you want to apply Motion earlier in the effect chain, use the Transform effect (it has
the same parameters). If you want to apply Opacity earlier (I cover Opacity and other
layering tools in the next hour) use the Alpha Adjust effect.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.26
If you apply another
effect—in this
case, Lens
Edges adjusts its
actions to match
any changes to the
clip’s shape.
6. Remove all the effects (select them one at a time and press Delete) and add
Bevel Alpha to the ECW. Increase the Edge Thickness setting and note that
hardly anything happens. The reason: This effect works only with graphics
that have an alpha channel. That is, a transparent layer. You’ll see that in
action in step 12.
7. The last clip in the sequence (highlighted in Figure 16.27) is not a standard
video clip or graphic—it’s a nested sequence (see the “What’s a Nested
Sequence?” Did You Know? for more information about that). Double-click
that nested sequence to open it in the Timeline window.
What’s a Nested Sequence?
Saleen_logo_Layers is a nested sequence. That is, it’s a separate sequence that
Did you
is placed in another sequence as a clip. In this case, this nested sequence is simply two layered—or composited—graphics that have motion effects applied to them
individually. Any work you do on this Saleen_logo_Layers sequence will show up in
that nested sequence clip.
You can tell it’s a nested sequence because its clip color on the sequence is a light
blue/green, rather than the light blue for video clips, purple for graphics, and light
green for audio (the color differences are subtle). And, as shown in Figure 16.27, if
you select the clip with the Info palette open, it notes that it’s a Sequence.
One advantage to working with nested sequences is that you can apply an effect to
a nested sequence instead of having to do that with whatever number of clips made
up that original sequence.
Hour 16
FIGURE 16.27
The last clip is a
nested sequence—
a separate
sequence added to
this sequence as a
means to simplify
the editing
8. Play the Saleen_logo_Layers sequence and note that it’s simply two graphics that fly in from opposite sides of the screen.
By the
Layered Graphics with Alpha Channels
Two things to note: First, this sequence is an example of composited or layered
clips. The clip on Video Track B (renamed by the Saleen video editor by right-clicking
on the track header, selecting Rename, and typing in a new name) plays on top of
the clip on the track below it.
Second, the reason the clip on top (the word Saleen) does not cover the clip below
is because the Saleen clip is a Photoshop graphic created with a transparent alpha
channel. In other words, only the word Saleen is opaque. The rest of the graphic is
clear, like putting a decal on a window.
Because the default background color for a Premiere Pro sequence is black, that’s
the color that shows through the alpha channel transparency along with the red
Saleen logo on the lower video track. It too is a Photoshop PSD graphic with a transparent alpha channel.
9. Turn off the Video track 2 (the upper track) display by clicking its eyeball to
the left of the track name.
10. Select the red logo clip by clicking it (it’s on the lower video track).
11. Switch on Motion by clicking on it in the ECW. Note that the motion line
appears in the Monitor window Program screen. Expand the size of the logo
by increasing the Scale to about 500%. Change its location to make it fit on
screen. Use Figure 16.28 as a reference.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.28
Adjust the logo
clip’s Motion Scale
and Position
parameters to
expand the graphic
and center it
onscreen (I selected a 25% screen
zoom level so that
you could see the
dotted line, diagonal motion path).
12. Apply Bevel Alpha to this graphic by dragging it to the ECW. Increase the
Edge Thickness and Light Intensity settings and note how the graphic
changes. As shown in Figure 16.29, because the areas between the parallel
red bars are also transparent, Bevel Alpha gives each of those bars a
beveled look.
13. To return this project to its original state, open the History palette (select
Window→History), scroll to the top entry (it should be New/Open) and click
on it.
FIGURE 16.29
Bevel Alpha gives a
3D look to each
parallel bar in this
Test Drive the Clip Effect
I mentioned in the “Technical Fix Effects” section that I’d show you one use for the
Clip Effect. Select the Saleen_Car_07 clip (second to last in the Saleen_Sample
sequence) and apply Clip to it. As shown in the Figure 16.30 before-and-after
images, that clip has a distracting element on the left side. Use the Clip effect to
cover that with black (this works well because the original video has a black background).
Did you
Hour 16
FIGURE 16.30
Use Clip to remove
unwanted junk from
the edges of your
Duplicate Distort Effects
Feel free to place the following three effects in your “Other” folder: Horizontal
Flip, Vertical Flip (Camera View is better), and Roll. Note that Roll is not a duplicate. It’s simply nearly useless. It rolls one edge of the screen around to the other
side. This would be very cool if you could set the amount of the roll or use
keyframes. Unfortunately, you can’t.
Color and Appearance Effects
In Hour 10, I demonstrated several color appearance effects, including Black &
White, Crystallize, and Replicate. Some make your video look like a painting.
Others shift pixels or delay their display creating embossed or ghosting effects.
I’ve created subcategories to clarify differences within the Color and Appearance
category. I briefly explain most effects and go into detail on a handful.
Color and Appearance—Painting Effects
Eight video effects fit into this category: Crystallize, Facet, Median, Mosaic,
Pointillize, Posterize, Solarize, and Tint (I suggest including the Black & White
effect here as well for convenience). All are very easy to apply. You can use
keyframes for all but Facet. I covered three of them in Hour 10. I’ll go over
Median, Mosaic, and Tint here.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
The Median effect replaces pixels with the median value of neighboring pixels. A
radius of 1 or 2 pixels reduces noise (see the discussion of technical fixes), but at
about 5 pixels, a video gets a nice soft-focus painting feel to it.
Try out Median by applying it to a clip. Note that the Radius slider, shown in
Figure 16.31, goes only to 10 but you can type in higher values up to 255. The
higher the number, the softer the focus (my example uses 15). Because you can
use keyframes, you can change this effect over time.
FIGURE 16.31
The Median effect’s
Radius slider creates a soft-focus
painting look.
Mosaic is sort of like Pointillize with rectangles. As Figure 16.32 shows, you select
the number of horizontal blocks and vertical blocks (rows and columns)—between
1 and 200—to create a collection of rectangles. The higher the number, the smaller the rectangles and the closer the image will match the original. At 200, it’s
simply jittery.
The Sharp Colors check box creates more distinct, clearly defined rectangles.
Mosaic—More Than Only an Effect
Use Mosaic as something like a transition. Using keyframes or simply the default
start points and endpoints, start the “transition” near the end of the clip by setting
both Horizontal and Vertical Blocks to 200. Then drop this setting to about 20 each
at the end of the clip. Start the next clip at 20 and quickly build it to 200. Uncheck
the Sharp Colors box; otherwise, the transition from 200×200 blocks to standard
video will be somewhat abrupt.
Did you
Hour 16
FIGURE 16.32
You can use
Mosaic to create a
faux transition.
Tint enables you to give a clip an overall color. Use it to set moods—a blue cast—
or an era—a sepia tone. You select colors, either from within the original clip or
using the Color Picker, and assign them to the image’s black and white zones.
Color and Appearance—Color-Manipulation Effects
Channel Mixer—This effect, shown in Figure 16.33, enables you to modify
each color channel. You can map one color onto another and increase or
decrease a color’s values to create high-quality tinted images.
The default value is 100% of each color. Dragging the sliders or inputting
specific values will lead to sometimes dramatic results. Negative numbers
invert the color.
Using keyframes with distinctly different values leads to some unique, gradual color changes as your clip plays.
Color Pass—You’ve seen those advertisements where one color stands out.
Using Color Pass is one way to do it. Color Pass converts a clip to grayscale,
with the exception of one user-selected color. As shown in Figure 16.34,
select that color by moving the cursor into the image on the left and clicking on a color from that frame. Or select a color from the color picker. The
Similarity slider expands or contracts that color on the spectrum. Use the
right screen to find the sweet spot. Clicking Reverse grays out that selected
color and retains all others.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.33
The Channel Mixer
gives you precise
control over your
clip’s colors.
Tricky Tasks
Color Pass is a super-slick effect that requires some careful pre-production preparation. To do it right, you need to create a setting where the object you want to highlight is a distinctly different color and evenly lit. Painting your object a color such as
lime green will make it much easier to isolate with Color Pass later. Once it’s converted, you can apply Color Replace to the same clip to alter that horrible lime green
color into something more palatable.
Did you
FIGURE 16.34
The Color Pass
Settings dialog
box’s Eyedropper
tool makes it possible for you to
select a color to
Color Replace—This effect works more or less the same as Color Pass except
that in this case it enables you to select a color and then replace it with
Extract—This effect converts a clip to grayscale and enables you to manipulate its appearance—from soft to harsh.
Hour 16
Color and Appearance—Color Shift Effects
Slightly altering or shifting some color characteristics can create dramatic visual
effects. The following six video effects fall into this catchall subcategory:
Alpha Glow—This effect provides a very slick way to give a graphic (with
an Alpha channel) a glowing fringe or shadow by adding color around its
edges. To see it in action, apply Alpha Glow to either or both graphics in the
Saleen_logo_Layers sequence (see Figure 16.35). You can apply keyframes
to have the glow grow then fade away.
FIGURE 16.35
Alpha Glow adds a
fringe around a
graphic. Use
keyframes to animate it.
Color Emboss—This is the one Color and Appearance effect that does not
appeal to me all that much. It’s supposed to give elements within a clip a
full-color embossed look, but it just seems to scramble colors haphazardly.
Emboss—This effect does in fact create embossed images. It offers more
readily accessible controls than the Emboss element within the Convolution
Kernel effect. As Figure 16.36 demonstrates, the “Blend With” slider makes it
possible for you to add color to your image while making very distinct
embossed edges. In that way you can use it to create both black-and-white
and color embossed effects.
Find Edges
Find Edges—This effect locates elements in the image with obvious differences in contrast and color; then, as illustrated in Figure 16.37, it creates
distinct dark edges on a white background. The slider enables you to combine a percentage of the original image with the converted image. Invert
swaps black and white, creating white lines for edges.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.36
The Emboss effect
creates very distinct embossed
effects—in black
and white or color.
FIGURE 16.37
Find Edges creates
what appear to be
sketched outlines.
A Wild Combo: Find Edges and Color Replace
Here’s one totally bizarre application of the Find Edges effect. Use it on any clip, add
the Color Replace effect, and select any of the many black borders created by Find
Edges. Replace that color with something distinct—bright red, for instance. Then
click the Solid Colors check box to replace the black lines with the new color. Looks
like you just strung everything with Christmas lights.
Ghosting—This is a nifty effect where pre-production planning can be a big
help. It creates ghost-like “comet trails” behind anything that moves. It
works great if you hold the camera really steady while something moves
through the scene.
Invert—This multifunction color shifter lets you substitute inverse RGB (red,
green, blue) color information, HLS (hue, lightness, saturation), and YIQ
Did you
Hour 16
(NTSC luminance and chrominance values). It works much more easily
than the Levels effect version. The Effect Controls window’s options are
deceptively simple. Use the drop-down menu, shown in Figure 16.38, to
adjust those elements by their group type or individually.
FIGURE 16.38
Invert packs a powerful color shifting
punch in only a few
My Favorite Color and Appearance Special Effects
My guess is that you will come to use each of the following three video effects,
which create their own unique and nifty visual impression:
Lens Flare—Most of the time you shoot your scenes trying to avoid lens
flare—that sudden appearance of glowing balls and halos, falling along a
straight line. This effect, shown in Figure 16.39, enables you to add those
glowing orbs to a scene. It works well for slow camera moves. If you use
keyframes, you can add the effect gradually and adjust its location and
brightness over time as your camera moves by the sun or other light source.
By the
Crosshair in Dialog Box, Not in ECW
Apply Lens Flare to a clip (I suggest Saleen_Car_08 in the Saleen_Sample
sequence). Open its Settings dialog box and note it has crosshairs to place the
flare. But if you want to add keyframes (true for all but static shots), you need to
use the ECW. However, the crosshair feature is not available in the ECW; you’ll need
to use the Center X and Center Y parameters.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.39
The Lens Flare
effect coupled with
keyframes enables
you to insert a
flare, change its
brightness, and
alter its location.
Replicate—You might have tried this effect in Hour 10. Use Replicate to display your clip in multiple, evenly distributed screens. The minimum setting
is four rectangles—two by two. Maximum is 16 by 16. Each mini-screen displays the entire original clip.
Tiles—This effect slices your clip into jittering tiles, sort of like a mosaic in
motion. As illustrated in Figure 16.40, the Tiles settings in the Effect Controls
window enable you to select the number of tiles per column and how much
space can be between them. You need to use the dialog box to set how you
fill that space: with the background or foreground color (this varies depending on the original clip’s colors), the inverse (like a film negative) of the
original image, or the image itself.
Transparent Tile Gaps
The Tiles effect works well as a transparency, letting whatever is below it on the
timeline show through the spaces between the moving tiles. I explain how to do this
in Hour 18.
Introducing the Color Corrector
The addition of a Color Corrector video effect to Premiere Pro is a big deal. It is
much more than a single, narrow-purpose technical fix effect. Rather, it is a fullfeatured suite of tools that go well beyond simply repairing color balance for
example. I view it more as an artist’s palette that you can use to create different
moods. It’s such a major improvement to Premiere that it has its own pre-set
Did you
Hour 16
FIGURE 16.40
The Tiles effect
slices your image
into shaking
Instead of cramming more into this already fully loaded hour, I’m going to present the Color Corrector in Hour 20, “Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2.”
Color and Appearance Effect—Limited Use
Color Offset fails to perform as designed. Its purpose is to create 3D images to use
with red/blue 3D goggles, but I don’t think it provides a practical means to
accomplish that. Feel free to put it in your “Other” folder.
Adobe After Effects: Astounding Visual
Some of Premiere Pro’s best video effects come straight from another member of
Adobe’s Video Collection—the high-end, motion graphic tool: After Effects. (I give
you an overview of that product’s functionality in Hour 22.) You encountered
some After Effects video effects earlier this hour, including Mosaic, Find Edges,
Basic 3D, and Noise.
Three others—Blend, Drop Shadow, and Texturize—work only with clips on more
than one track, so I cover them in Hour 18. And Transform is virtually identical
to Premiere Pro’s Motion video effect so I won’t cover it at all. What’s left then are
three exciting After Effects effects: Echo, Strobe Light, and Lightning.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Adding Multiple Action Images Using Echo
Echo is an exciting effect with numerous possibilities. It layers multiple sequential
frames of a clip to convert simple action into streaking, smearing, or a sequence.
As Figure 16.41 demonstrates, you control Echo using five parameters:
Echo Time—The time, in seconds, between echoes. Negative values create
echoes from later frames, causing ghosting or streaking to follow the action.
Positive values use earlier frames, laying those echoed images ahead of the
Number of Echoes—The number of extra frames added to the original to
make this effect. Two echoes create three images—the original plus two
other (subsequent or preceding) frames. The slider values go from 1 to 10,
but you can type in a number up to 3,000! From what I’ve seen, any value
greater than 10 creates only 10 echoes.
Starting Intensity—The relative brightness of the first frame in the
sequence. At the highest value (1), the first frame is at normal intensity. A
setting of one half (0.5) displays the first frame at half its regular intensity.
Decay—Notes the decrease in intensity for each subsequent frame. A Decay
setting of 0.5 means the first echo will be half as bright as the original
frame, the second will be one quarter (0.25) as bright, and the third will be
one eighth (0.125) as bright.
Smooth Out Jerky Streaks
To create smooth streaking and trail effects, use a large number of echoes (eight or
more) and a short echo time (one tenth or so).
Did you
Echo Operator—Indicates how Echo combines frames. Here are the options:
. The Add option combines the echoes by adding their pixel values. If
the Starting Intensity setting is too high, your action will turn into
bright, white streaks.
Avoid Intense Echoes
To give the first frame and all echoes the same value while avoiding those bright
white streaks, set Echo Operator to Add, set Starting Intensity to a value equal to 1
divided by the number of echoes, and set Decay to 1. For example, for four echoes,
set Starting Intensity to .25 (1 / 4 = .25). A Decay setting of 1 means there will be
no decay—all echoes will have the same value.
Did you
Hour 16
. Maximum uses the maximum pixel value from all the echoes, which
emphasizes the brighter action elements.
. Minimum uses the minimum pixel value from all the echoes, displaying only the darker values.
. Screen is like Add but does not overload as easily.
. The two Composite options are for video clips with alpha channels (this
will not work on graphics or most video clips). The Composite in Back
option layers them back to front, whereas the Composite in Front
option layers them front to back.
FIGURE 16.41
Echo converts
motion into
streaks, smears,
and repeated
By the
Echo Trumps Previously Applied Effects
Echo is a special video effect. By default, it switches off any other effects applied
before it to the clip (those that appear above it in the ECW). Those that come below
it on the Effect Controls window still work. However, there is a workaround: create a
nested sequence. Apply all the effects you want to apply before Echo to a clip in a
separate sequence, and then use that sequence as a clip in another sequence
(making it a nested sequence) and apply Echo to that.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
Giving Your Project Flash with the Strobe Light
This effect opens the door to numerous creative possibilities. It works like a strobe
light, flashing frames as your clip plays. Those frames can look like a superbright strobe light or be black, transparent, or an inverse image.
The options, as illustrated in Figure 16.42, are listed here:
Strobe Color—This strobe effect can be any flashing color you want.
Because color is keyframable, you can change that color over time.
Blend with Original—This option blends the Strobe Light effect with the
original to adjust the intensity or brightness of the effect.
Strobe Duration—Sets the length, in seconds, for each strobe flash. Less
than a half second is most like a real strobe, but you might want a strobe to
stay on longer to show the inverse image or another image below this clip
in the timeline.
Strobe Period—Sets the time, in seconds, between the start of subsequent
strobes. Setting a strobe period of 2 seconds, for example, and a strobe duration of 0.5 seconds means that you would see the strobe effect for a half second. Then there would be a 1.5-second break until the next strobe effect. If
the strobe period is less than or equal to the strobe duration, the strobe stays
on all the time.
Random Strobe Probability—Set at a value other than zero means the
effect will have a more realistic feel. It’ll cause strobing even if the strobe
period is less than or equal to the strobe duration.
Strobe drop-down menu—This menu has two options: Operates on Color
Only and Makes Layer Transparent. A clearer way to state these options is
Opaque and Transparent. If you choose Makes Layer Transparent, you can
superimpose the strobe effect clip over another, revealing the lower clip during strobes. I’ll cover transparency issues in Hour 18.
Strobe Operator—Gives you extra control if you choose Operates on Color
Only (opaque). Copy is the default setting. Subtract displays a black strobe
screen, and Difference pops on an inverse image. There are 10 other
Hour 16
FIGURE 16.42
The Strobe Light
effect opens up
numerous creative
Did you
Strobe Humor
For a little comic relief, use the Strobe Light effect with Strobe Operator set to
Difference and Duration and Period set fairly low. The resulting strobe effect is reminiscent of a cartoon character sticking his finger in a light socket.
Adding Dazzle to Your Project with the Lightning
Lightning is a wild and wacky effect. It produces a flashing electric arc like those
used in old horror movies. As you’ll see when you drag it to the Effect Controls
window, its creators went overboard in the number of options—25 parameters! To
avoid being equally guilty of overkill, I won’t go over all of them.
As I’ve demonstrated in Figure 16.43, you use its two crosshairs to set start and
end locations for the lightning. Setting keyframes enables you to alter those locations over the duration of your clip. In my case, I set two extra keyframes to have
the lightning follow the car headlights.
The many options make it possible for you to set the size and intensity of the
lightning. Increasing the number of segments, amount of branching, and level of
detail make the flashes more jagged (kind of nastier looking). Choose any colors
you like—both the core and outside colors. The default white/blue scheme works
well but red/yellow provides an evil, organic touch.
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
FIGURE 16.43
Experimenting with
Lightning is great
fun. Try a
red/orange color
I introduced you to Premiere Pro’s 90+ video effects in Hour 10. In this hour, I presented the full spectrum of effects from the mundane (but useful) technical fix
variety to the exciting, high-end After Effects effects.
Premiere Pro’s wide variety of video effects guarantee you’ll have plenty of creative latitude as you build your video projects. You’ll use them to change the
appearance of your video clips or to repair poorly lit or color balanced footage.
Organizing the video effects into new, more descriptive file folders or bins goes a
long way toward easing access. Removing redundant or underperforming effects
further simplifies your video production process.
Hour 16
Q I added an effect to a clip and used keyframes to change its behavior dur-
ing the clip, but I don’t like the result. How can I change this?
A Use the Keyframe Navigator—the diamond with the two triangles on the
right side of each effect parameter—to move to the frame(s) you want to fix.
Change the parameter setting. If you simply want to move a keyframe to a
different time in the sequence, grab it and slide it to a new position. If you
want to make the move frame-specific, put the edit line at your new location and create a new keyframe there by changing the parameter value in
the ECW. Then delete the errant frame by selecting it and clicking the
Keyframe Navigator diamond (or right-click on the keyframe and select
Q I use Echo but the clip becomes so bright it washes everything out. What’s
A You’ve probably selected the Add or Screen option, which means that the
brightness level of each echo adds itself to the original clip and its other
echoes. If the Starting Intensity setting is high—near or at 1—then it takes
only about two or three clips to obliterate your image. To keep the overall
image intensity more or less equal to the original image, set the starting
intensity to 1 divided by the number of echoes. For instance, if you use five
echoes, set the starting intensity to 0.2 (1 / 5 = 0.2).
Q I get that same kind of washed-out look when using Basic 3D to add a
specular highlight to my clip. How do I avoid that?
A Use the wireframe preview and the 3D move to keep the highlight (the
green crosshair) near the edge of your clip. If it moves toward the center, the
effect is like a mirror directly reflecting the sun.
1. You shot an interview indoors but near a window. The interviewee’s face is
blue! How do you fix this?
2. You “broke the plane” in a cutaway. How can you get your interviewer to
face the right direction?
Using Higher-Level Video Effects
3. How do you create an “Electric Horseman”? If you missed this enjoyable
Robert Redford/Jane Fonda flick, Redford rides out on a Las Vegas stage
decked out with electric lights to promote breakfast cereal.
4. You can use the Mosaic effect to create a transition. How do you do that?
Quiz Answers
1. Use the Color Balance (RGB) effect, or if you’re up to the extra level of detail
involved, try adjusting individual Red, Green, and Blue channels in the
Levels effect.
2. Use Camera View to flip the image on its vertical axis (Vertical Flip does this
as well). That way, your interviewer faces the correct direction, and no
longer breaks the plane (of course, her mother might notice that her face is
a mirror image of the real thing).
3. Use Find Edges on a clip to create distinct outlines. Use Color Replace to
swap a bright color for the black outline. Check the Solid Colors box to
make the entire outline take on the new hue.
4. Use the Mosaic effect to give the illusion of a transition. This is not a true
transition. It’s simply a straight cut edit between two adjacent clips that
appears to be a transition. Apply the Mosaic effect to both clips and use
keyframes to have the effect start just a second or so before the end of the
first clip and operate for a second or so at the beginning of the next clip. For
the first clip, set the starting number of horizontal and vertical blocks to 200
and the end to something like 10; then reverse that process for the second
1. Use Lens Flare to create a moving glow that reacts to a light source. A panning shot, a tilt, or a light source moving through the image (a race car’s
headlights for example) all work well. Simply use keyframes in several locations to attempt to equal the light source’s movement. It doesn’t have to be
exact because the lens flare does not have to rest directly on the light
2. Use keyframes to create a radial blur that gradually moves around an
3. Use Color Pass and Color Replace to isolate an object and give it a new
Hour 16
4. Experiment with the Lightning effect using the Saleen_Car_10 clip I used in
Figure 16.43. The goal is to have two bolts of lightning emanating from the
same source above the screen and splitting so that one each hits the car’s
headlights. To do that, you’ll need to apply the effect twice (just drag it to
the ECW two times), switch on keyframes for the start and end points, and
set a few other keyframes for both moving end points. For extra credit,
change the attributes of the lightning over the duration of the clip. Increase
the intensity by changing values for segments, branching, and amplitude.
Also, change the color of the lightning during the clip.
Compositing Part 1—Layering
and Keying Clips
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Making compositing part of your projects
News-style cutaways and multitrack audio rules
Your assignment: grab shots for compositing
Working with the Opacity effect
Keying clips
One great strength of Premiere Pro is its ability to layer (or composite) multiple clips
over one another. Compositing can be as simple as placing a logo over a product
shot or as complex as shooting actors in front of a green screen and then electronically placing them within a scene with both foreground and background elements.
Premiere Pro makes it possible for you to layer up to 99 video tracks. I can’t imagine
any project that would require so many layers, but I think you get the drift that permitting that level of complexity in Premiere Pro demonstrates that compositing can
be a big part of any video production.
There are four basic compositing methods:
. Using the Opacity video effect to reduce the opacity of an entire clip so that a
clip (or clips) below it on the timeline can show through
. Using keying effects to make portions of a clip transparent so that portions of
clips below it on the sequence show through
. Blocking or matting parts of one clip to let parts of other clips show through
Hour 17
. Using a clip’s alpha channel or using video effects with built-in alpha channels to create transparencies
This hour covers the first two topics. I save the latter two for the next hour,
“Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes.”
I start simple with some standard TV news–style cutaways—video clips placed on
a track above an interview, for example—with the express purpose of covering
whatever is below it. When you apply those you need to be aware of the rules
Premiere Pro follows when handling the audio portions of those cutaways.
Some editors would argue that such cutaways aren’t compositing because nothing
on the first layer shows through. But because some cutaways use more than one
video track, I consider it compositing and it’s a good introduction to more complex layering to come.
That introduction begins when you take clips you’ve shot for this hour and make
them partially transparent to let portions of the clips on lower tracks show
Making Compositing Part of Your
If you’ve tried out Premiere Pro’s Title Designer, used the Motion effect, or worked
on video effects that use alpha channels, you’ve already moved toward
compositing—that is, layering graphics or video clips over other clips.
For instance, anything you create in the Title Designer can display over another
clip, layering text onto that clip while letting the rest of that clip show through.
When you apply the Motion effect to a clip, you usually play it over another clip
or a graphic background. And when you work with some video effects that have
alpha channels, such as Lens Distortion, you can use them to combine two clips
with portions of one clip showing around the edges of the distorted clip.
Compositing can add immeasurably to your video projects. Sometimes the effect
is obvious—sliding videos in boxes onto the screen sends a clear message that
you’ve done something out of the ordinary with your production. Other times the
effect is more subtle. We don’t think twice when we see a TV meteorologist gesturing at a map or graphics. As shown in Figure 17.1, in fact, that TV personality
is standing in front of a green or blue wall. The program’s technical director
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
electronically makes that wall transparent and inserts videos, maps, and other
graphics in its place. The meteorologist watches studio monitors to see what he is
pointing at.
Matt Zaffino, chief
KGW-TV, Portland,
Most computer games with live actors and many movies use compositing. “Green
screen” studios enable game developers and film directors to place actors in science fiction and other settings created with 3D computer graphics. Such sets make
it possible for actors to work in relative safety while the finished product has them
dangling from a skyscraper, hundreds of feet in the air.
For most budding professional video producers, such high-budget studio access
might be out of the question. But you can add some nice composited special
effects to your projects simply with a few tweaks of Premiere Pro’s tools.
News-Style Cutaways and Multitrack
Audio Rules
As an introduction to compositing or layering, you’ll start by adding news-style
cutaways over the edit point of two adjacent clips. This is a practical and oftenused technique employed by TV news editors to cover an edit between sound bites
and as a way to show viewers that the reporter actually did the interview.
In the coming Try It Yourself, some of the methods place the cutaway on a new
track (compositing), whereas others cover a clip on the Video 1 track (not truly
Hour 17
compositing). I’ve lumped both approaches together because they both fall into
the cutaway category.
What works best for the upcoming task are two sound bites, from the same person, that you want to place back-to-back. If you don’t have two such clips, you
can use any two clips (plus a cutaway) just to get a feel for how this works. For
instance, two soccer goals plus a crowd shot cutaway will work well. Make sure all
three clips have video and audio.
Try it
Creating TV News–Style Cutaways
There are several ways to add cutaways. I’ll explain three. Here are the steps to
1. Import the linked A/V sound bites (or whatever clips you’re using) plus the
cutaway to the Project window.
2. Delete all the clips in a sequence or open a new sequence
(File→New→Sequence). Keep your sequence simple: one video track and one
audio track.
3. Drag the two clips to the Video 1 track on the sequence, one right after the
other. As shown in Figure 17.2, drag the Timeline window’s top or bottom
edge to expand it vertically a bit, creating some space above and below the
video and audio tracks (you’ll need that room later to automatically add
video and audio tracks). Now play the clips. If this is an interview, there
probably will be a slight image shift—a jump cut—between clip 1 and clip 2
because the interviewee moved a bit or you moved the camera.
How your sequence
should look before
you add a cutaway.
4. Select a short clip from your Project window to use as a cutaway. Drag it to
a point just above the Video 1 track (in the gray area where a new track will
be automatically created). Line up its endpoint with the edit point between
the two clips. As shown in Figure 17.3, Premiere Pro displays two icons: a
black line with a triangle indicating you’ve aligned the end of the cutaway
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
with the cut edit between the two clips and an Insert edit marker indicating
that if you release the mouse button, your clip will end up in the sequence
at that point.
Add a cutaway by
dragging it above
the edit point you
want to cover.
5. Release your mouse and take a look at what just happened. You automatically created two new tracks—video and audio—and your cutaway is positioned such that it covers the end of the first clip.
6. If you play this section, you’ll hear audio from the cutaway “stepping” on
the interview. To remove that audio, unlink the cutaway’s audio and video
(right-click on the clip, select Unlink Audio and Video, and click somewhere
in the sequence to complete the unlink process). Right-click on the audio
portion and select Cut. Now play this edit. You’ve just created a news-style
You might notice that using this technique means the cutaway ends exactly as the
next sound bit begins. That’s a method I like because the second sound bite is usually a new thought and it feels more natural to see the interviewee as he or she
starts a new comment. That’s not always the case, and you might want to slide the
cutaway over clip B—covering the end of clip A and the beginning of clip B—or even
start it right at the beginning of clip B.
Keeping Cutaway Audio
You don’t have to remove the cutaway’s audio. If you’re editing a sporting event and
use a cutaway shot of a screaming fan, you’ll want to leave in that sound and adjust
its volume to fit the crowd noise in the two clips you just covered up.
7. The problem with this method is that the cutaway might not be the exact
shot or duration that suits your needs. To resolve that, use the Monitor
Did you
Did you
Cutaway Locations
Hour 17
window Source screen to create a more accurate cutaway. First, delete the
cutaway from the sequence, and then double-click on a longer clip to open
it in the Source screen.
8. As shown in Figure 17.4, set an in-point and an out-point (use the curly
brackets). I’ve set this cutaway to 3 seconds—a comfortable clip length.
9. Click the Toggle Take Audio and Video button until it becomes a video-only
filmstrip icon, as shown in Figure 17.4. This means that when you add this
trimmed clip to your production, only the video portion will end up in the
Use the Monitor
window Source
screen to trim your
cutaway, and then
set the Toggle Take
Audio and Video to
the video-only filmstrip icon.
10. Click anywhere in the Source screen and drag that trimmed clip to the
sequence. As before, you can drag it above the two clips to the newly created video track. Or, as shown in Figure 17.5, you can drag it right onto those
two clips—positioning it where it suits you (you can always change this edit
later on the sequence track). In either case, only the video portion will end
up in your sequence.
You can drag a
trimmed clip from
the Source screen
directly to the
sequence and easily line it up with the
edit point.
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
If you want to use this method to add a cutaway with its audio, you simply change
the Toggle Take Audio and Video button to the combo filmstrip/speaker icon and
then drag the clip to the sequence. If you drag it to a separate track, the audio will
go to its own separate track. If you drag it on top of a clip, the cutaway audio will
replace that clip’s audio for the duration of the cutaway.
Did you
Use the Source Screen Method to Add Audio
11. Finally, rather than dragging the clip to the sequence, use the Overlay button in the Source window instead. To do that, first set track targets. They are
the track(s) on the sequence where you want the audio and/or video portions of the clip to go. The easiest way to target a track is to click its name
(if you don’t already have a Video 2 track, add one first by right-clicking on
a track name and selecting Add Tracks). In Figure 17.6, I selected Video 2
and Audio 2 (changing the track headers to a darker beige).
Targeted tracks
Clicking on a track
name targets it so
that when you click
the Overlay button
in the Source
screen, the video
or audio portions
go to the tracks
you’ve selected.
Edit Line Placement
Take a look at Figure 17.7. I purposely chose to have this cutaway cover the end of
clip A and the beginning of clip B. I did that by moving the edit line a bit to the left
of this edit point between the two clips (it automatically jumps to the end of the cutaway after it makes the overlay). If I don’t like the exact placement, I can always
slide the clip to the left or right and/or trim it. That’s one advantage to putting it on
a different track than the original clips.
12. Move the CTI edit line to where you want to place the first frame of the cutaway and click the Overlay button (to the left of the Toggle Audio and
Video button). Don’t use Insert. It defeats the purpose of a cutaway because
an Insert edit cuts (razors) the clip at that point, drops in the cutaway, and
shoves everything to the right.
Did you
Hour 17
Position the CTI
edit line to your
edit point and then
click the Overlay
button to drop your
cutaway into your
project (The CTI
jumps to the end of
the cutaway once
you have added it
to the sequence.
Multitrack Audio Rules
You’ve already seen a bit of the Premiere Pro’s rule set when it comes to adding
clips to multitrack projects. For instance, when you dragged a clip above Video 1,
Premiere Pro added new video and audio tracks and dropped the clip’s video and
audio segments there. The new, automatically created audio track also matched
the source material: in your case, it was probably stereo.
But it can get much more complicated. There are two basic circumstances: when
a user is dragging a clip from the Project window to a sequence and when the user
is dragging clips within a sequence.
Dragging Clips from the Project Window
Premiere Pro’s developers gave this a lot of thought. They concluded that when a
typical user is dragging clips from the Project window, the user wants to cascade
his layout (that is, match video track and audio track numbers). So, in this case
only, Premiere Pro associates Video 1 with Audio 1, Video 2 with Audio 2, and so
There are exceptions, of course. Premiere Pro matches audio clips to the next best
track that fits the channel type (mono, stereo, 5.1). If you try to drop an A/V clip
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
onto Video 1 and Audio 1, but the audio types don’t match, Premiere Pro skips
the audio tracks that are not compatible (as well as locked tracks) and finds the
next best one or automatically creates a new track of the right channel type, if
This also means that if you drag a clip to Video 1 and there is already audio in
the same location on Audio 1, the new clip’s audio goes to Audio 1 and covers up
whatever was there.
Dragging Clips Within a Sequence
The rules change when working within a sequence. Again, Premiere Pro’s developers gave this a lot of thought.
With the advent of track-based effects on the audio side, the developers wanted to
give the user the opportunity to move around the video portion of an A/V clip
that is already in the sequence, without changing its audio track assignment. In
this way, you can bump the video portion up/down one track without messing up
your audio mix. The same is true if you want to move the audio portion of the
clip to a new track (with different track effects, for example) without moving the
video around (because, for example, its relative layering is important).
Therefore, if you drag a clip to a new track and slide it off to one side or another,
the audio remains on its original track. If you slide it to a portion of the track
that already has audio, it replaces that audio.
Developer’s Comment—Sequence Philosophy
Let me describe what has been our philosophy of the timeline:
In video, the relative vertical layering of each clip is important (but not the actual
numeric track assignments).
In audio, the absolute track assignment of each clip is important because of track
effects, submix track assignments, and so on, but the relative position of one clip
track with respect to another is not important at all.
The most common reason to move clips to different video tracks is to alter the rendering order. However, audio tracks do not have a similar rendering order concept.
Lower audio tracks do not block the audio on higher tracks.
Because of that, we’re trying to slowly move away from the old paradigm that always
matched V1 to A1, V2 to A2, and so forth. It now matters a lot what audio track you
are on, so we don’t want to make an automatic decision for you, which, in most
cases, is going to mess something up. But we are still trying to be “nice” in some
cases (for example, when dragging from the Project window to a sequence).
Did you
Hour 17
Your Assignment: Grab Shots for
Most of the remaining tasks in this hour involve creating transparencies in clips
by removing certain colors or luminance (brightness). To best see how that works
in the real world, you need to grab your camcorder and tape a few quick shots.
Did you
Locking Down Your Camcorder—Critical to Keying
For images that you intend to key, you’d normally need to have your camera
absolutely locked down. No camera movement at all. In this case, because it’s just
an experiment, don’t worry too much about that. But after you’ve seen how much of
a viewer disconnect there is when a keyed object bounces around over a keyed-in
background, you’ll understand why a rock-steady camera is critical. Use a tripod.
Here’s your assignment:
1. Videotape an inanimate object—preferably a smooth object to minimize
shadows within it—in front of a solid color. That color should be distinctly
different from the color(s) of the object. Otherwise, when you later key out
that background color, similar colors in the object will turn transparent, too,
leading to some odd results.
2. Tape a person talking or moving in front of a solid color background. The
best is light blue because that’s complementary to skin tones. Seek out a
smooth surface, not cloth or anything with obvious texture or shadows. Just
make sure that your subject’s clothes don’t have colors that match or nearly
match the background and avoid fly-away hair and fuzzy clothes (they create blurred edges in key shots). Most production studios use chroma blue (or
green) screens. I’ll highlight the advantages of each in a sidebar later in the
3. Tape a dark object in front of a lightly colored surface (white is best) and a
lightly colored object in front of a dark backdrop. Try this with a person as
well. The greater the contrast between the subject and the background, the
easier it’ll be to make the background transparent.
4. Tape a distinct background with nothing moving in it—that is, no waving
palm trees or soaring birds. Then, without turning off or moving the camera
(this is the one exercise when you need a rock-steady shot), have someone
walk into the left side of the scene, stand around for a while, and then walk
back out the left side. Have that person do the same thing entering from the
right side and then walking out to the right. For a bit of comic relief, have
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
your actor wave toward the center of the scene before walking off camera.
You’ll use this in the next hour to create split screen and difference mattes,
but you might as well shoot it now while you’re at it.
5. Finally, grab a few shots of background locations in which you’d like to
place the objects/people you’ve videotaped. You’ll later key your subjects
onto those locations.
Working with the Opacity Effect
Before keying out colors or working with luminance, I want to cover opacity.
Premiere Pro and other nonlinear editors like it have a general operating practice.
Video tracks above Video 1 trump tracks below them on the timeline. In other
words, whatever appears on the highest track covers up whatever is below it.
However, the object isn’t to use tracks above Video 1 to obliterate what’s beneath
them. It’s to enhance what’s down there. Premiere Pro offers up to 98 of those
superimposing tracks (with Video 1, 99 tracks in all). Their purpose is for layering (compositing).
One easy way to see compositing at work is to place a video or graphic on a
superimposing track and make it transparent—turn down its opacity to let
video(s) on lower track(s) show through. A tool to accomplish this is the Opacity
Here’s one way to see the Opacity effect in action. For this exercise, I’ll have you
place a super (text) in a superimposing track above a clip. Then you’ll use the
Opacity effect to fade that text in (its background is automatically transparent),
display it over your clip for a while, and then fade the text out.
Try it
Use the Opacity Video Effect
Here are the steps to follow for this task:
1. Place a video clip on Video 1. Any clip will do, but trim it to about 15 seconds to simplify things.
3. Save your text (File→Save). It’ll show up automatically in the Project window.
2. Open the Title Designer (File→New→Title) and create some simple text.
Make it large and add color if you like. In my example (see Figure 17.8), I
gave the text an outer stroke and a drop shadow to make it more visible
over the background.
Hour 17
4. As shown in Figure 17.8, drag the text to Video 2, drag its right edge to
make it as long as the Video 1 clip, and expand the Video 2 track by clicking the triangle next to the words Video 2.
5. Click the Show Keyframes button (highlighted in Figure 17.8) and select
Show Opacity Handles. That displays the Opacity line (I lightened it for
emphasis in Figure 17.8), which for the moment is straight and at the top of
the clip display (100% opacity).
Using text is a
good introduction
to the Opacity
video effect. With
Show Opacity
Handles selected
in the sequence,
you’ll be able to
see any changes
you make to opacity show up in the
expanded track
Opacity line
6. Select the text clip by clicking on it and open the Effect Controls window
(ECW). Click the Opacity effect’s two disclosure triangles to reveal the
keyframable Opacity slider. Note that the keyframe stopwatch is turned on
by default. Now set four keyframes:
. Press the Home key andSet the beginning of the clip Opacity slider to
. Move the CTI to about 2 seconds into the clip and set Opacity to 100%
. Move to a couple seconds from the end and set Opacity to 100% (click
the keyframe diamond to set that keyframe)
. Move to the end of the clip (press End and the left arrow key once)
and set the opacity slider back to 0%
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
7. Your ECW should look like Figure 17.9. Note that Opacity handles have now
shown up in the expanded view of the clip in the sequence (I’ve expanded
them for emphasis in Figure 17.9).
8. Play your clip. The title should fade up, hold for a while, and then fade
down. That’s compositing in its simplest form.
Using the fixed
Opacity video effect
with keyframes
enables you to
fade in a super,
hold it onscreen for
a while, and then
fade it out.
Superimpose Two Clips
Try a similar process with two video clips, but choose your clips with some care. If
you select just any two clips, blending the two together can look way too busy.
The purpose is to let the clip on the lower track show through the higher clip in a
pleasing fashion. Try to use a clip on the higher track with a distinct bright or
well-lit area. The reason is that when you reduce its opacity, that bright area will
let clips below it show through more clearly. For my example, shown in Figure
17.10, I used some flowers with the sky as a backdrop. Here’s how this works:
1. Drag the clip you want to show through to Video 1 and the clip with the
bright section to Video 2.
2. Follow the same four-step Opacity keyframe process you used in the previous task on the clip on Video 2.
3. Preview this effect. The lower clip should show through the upper clip, especially in the lighter areas of the upper clip.
Hour 17
FIGURE 17.10
Two superimposed
clips. Reducing the
opacity in the
upper clip lets the
lower clip show
through, particularly
through light areas
such as the sky.
Keying Clips
The Opacity effect works great with text and some videos and images, but most
of the time when you use it with two full-screen clips or graphics it can be an
inexact science. You can get more precise compositing results using keying effects.
Take a look at Premiere Pro’s keying effects by opening the Effects palette, selecting Video Effects, and then selecting Keying. As illustrated in Figure 17.11, that
reveals 13 keying effects (14 if you include Alpha Adjust, which is simply the
Opacity effect).
FIGURE 17.11
Premiere Pro’s 14
keying effects give
you a full range of
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
I’ve grouped them into four categories:
. Color: RGB, Chroma, Blue Screen, Green Screen, Non-Red
. Luminance: Luma, Multiply, Screen
. Matte: Difference Matte, Garbage Matte, Image Matte, Remove Matte, Track
. Alpha: Alpha Channel
In this hour, I’ll go over the Color and Luminance keys. In Hour 18, I’ll explain
the Matte and Alpha Channel keys.
Using the RGB Difference Key
First up is the simplest key: the RGB Difference key. You use it to make a selected
color transparent thereby making a background transparent.
This key works well when you have a brightly lit scene with no shadows, a solidcolor background, and a subject with a color that’s distinctly different from the
background. Not many scenes will qualify. Almost all have some shadows, especially when the subject has texture. But it’s a good way to see how keying works
or—frequently—does not work.
To use the RGB Difference key, follow these steps:
Try it
Use the RGB Difference Key
1. Place the clip from the first item in the assignment list—the inanimate
object shot in front of a solid color—on Video 2.
2. Drag the location clip, the fifth item in the assignment list, to Video 1.
3. Select the clip on Video 2 and drag the RGB Difference Key to the ECW. In
my example, shown in Figure 17.12, I will key out the sky in the right
image (Video 2) to let the left image (Video 1) show through.
5. Drag the Similarity slider to the right and watch the Program screen as your
background disappears—becomes transparent—to reveal the clip on Video
1. Similarity expands or reduces the range of background color keyed out.
However, the more you increase the Similarity value, the more likely you
4. Click on the Eyedropper tool (I’ve highlighted it in Figure 17.13) and drag it
to the clip image in the Monitor window Program screen. Use it to select the
color you want to key out—that is, the color you want to make transparent.
Hour 17
are to key out colors and create transparencies in both the background and
the subject itself. In my example in Figure 17.13, a similarity of 16 removed
the blue sky without removing any colors of my wooden frog and his hovering lily pad.
FIGURE 17.12
Two clips that I’ll
combine using the
RGB Difference
FIGURE 17.13
Use the RGB
Difference key to
remove a color
from a clip.
Did you
Other RGB Difference Parameters
Smoothing enables you remove aliasing or jaggies, those stair-step edges common
to diagonal lines in computer monitors and TV sets. Just as you did with transitions,
you can turn on antialiasing to fix that. It blends the pixels around the edges of your
object. Use the Smoothing drop-down menu, choose Low or High, and check your
results in the Sample screen.
Mask Only turns your keyed clip into a black-and-white image to help you fine-tune
the similarity setting.
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
Drop Shadow adds a thin drop shadow to give your clip a 3D feel. But there are no
user adjustable parameters. It’s either on or off. The shadow always falls down and
to the right. Inconsistencies arise when your background scene has shadows going
some other direction. If that’s the case, you might consider using the Camera View
video effect on the background to flip the image right-to-left to swap its shadow
You might find that it’s darned difficult to get the color and similarity just right.
Welcome to keying. It can take some trial and error to find an approach that
Before using other keying types, try the RGB Difference key on the person you
taped in front of a solid color. Doing so might be more challenging than using it
on an inanimate object. Because the person you taped probably moves around a
bit, it makes finding the right similarity around the edges of that person that
much more difficult.
Using the Chroma Key
Because RGB Difference works only for very limited, well-planned shots, you’ll
likely rely on other color or transparency keying techniques. It’s very easy to try
them out. Chroma-keying is your best all-around method, but it’s not as accurate
as the more narrowly defined green/blue screens I’ll cover later. It has more
options than RGB Difference and therefore gives you a better chance to create a
decent-looking key.
Delete the RGB Difference key from the ECW and replace it with the Chroma key.
As I’ve highlighted in Figure 17.14, in addition to Similarity, you have sliders for
Blend, Threshold, and Cutoff.
Blend—Softens the transition edges between the keyed subject and the clip
below it. Gradually slide Blend to the right and watch as the image on
Video 1 begins to replace the few remaining bits of your object’s single-color
background. Those snippets of background color typically fall right around
the subject’s outline.
Threshold—Controls the extent of shadowing thrown by the subject that
will show up in the keyed clip. To see this in action, take a close look at any
shadow on the solid background color and see how this looks in the composited image.
Cutoff—Darkens or lightens shadows. Its value must be less than the
Threshold value; otherwise, it’ll invert gray and transparent pixels and your
screen will become black.
Hour 17
FIGURE 17.14
offers more options
that increase the
likelihood of a successful key.
Did you
Using Threshold and Cutoff Effectively
A good way to use Threshold and Cutoff to your best advantage is to click the check
box next to Mask Only, which displays only the silhouette of your subject and the
keyed-out color/background. What you want is a black background and a white subject. What you’ll probably start with is a dark gray background and a light gray subject. As you slide Threshold to the left, the background darkens. Try to turn it black.
Then slide Cutoff to the right and try to get the subject as white as possible.
Despite your best efforts, even the Chroma key might not make the entire background color transparent without punching a few transparent holes in your subject.
Try the Chroma key on the person you taped. As with the RGB Difference key, you
probably will find it difficult to make a clean key, especially in and around the
subject’s hair.
Using the Luma Key
To test this key, use the images from the third item in the assignment list—the
dark object with a light background and vice versa. In my case, I’ll combine the
two images shown in Figure 17.15. I’ll use the Luma key to remove the black
background of the image on the right.
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
FIGURE 17.15
The Luma key
works well if you
have a highly contrasting subject
and background
and little texture to
your subject.
Place your high contrast image on Video 2 and apply the Luma key to it. When
you first open Luma, the Threshold setting is 100%, meaning the widest range of
dark values will become transparent. As shown in Figure 17.16, reduce the
Threshold value and you tighten that range. Cutoff sets just how transparent
those dark areas will become. Higher values increase transparency.
As my subjects demonstrate in Figure 17.16 and 17.17, if you taped very contrasting scenes, the Luma key should work smoothly. It’s similar to the Image Mask
transition covered in the next hour. Whatever is dark gets keyed out (that is, it
becomes transparent, letting images below it show through), and light areas
remain opaque, displaying whatever is on the upper clip.
FIGURE 17.16
The Luma key
works well if you
have a highly contrasting subject
and background
and little texture to
your subject.
Hour 17
FIGURE 17.17
Use the Luma key
on a dark object
like this clock shot
against a light
background to create this unique
visual combination.
Did you
Blur the Background—Make It Realistic
To add a realistic feel to any keyed shot, make the background blurry. Typically, you
want to make the subject, which you’ve shot with a key in mind, the focal point of
your composited clip. By using a background that’s a bit out of focus, the subject
stands out even more. To create that illusion, simply use the Fast Blur video effect
on the background clip. I used that effect with the sand dollar clip in Figure 17.18.
FIGURE 17.18
Using the Fast Blur
video effect on the
background clip
makes the keyed
image stand out.
Again, this key takes some planning. When you’re shooting, it’s best to illuminate
the light object or background and work to make the dark area as dark as possible. Objects with fine edge detail, such as hair, are very hard to key under any circumstances, including when you use Luma.
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
Put Keyed Clips in Motion
You can add motion to clips keyed with Luma and other keying effects. Simply click
on the Motion effect to switch it on. Then, as shown in Figure 17.19, move the
keyed clip around the screen just as you would any other clip or graphic (including
rotating it).
Did you
Previous versions of Premiere displayed the entire clip as opposed to only the keyed
subject. If you scaled it down a bit, you ended up with a rectangular box moving
around the screen. You needed to take some extra steps to fix that. Now, thankfully,
that’s no longer necessary.
FIGURE 17.19
You easily can
move, scale, and
rotate a keyed clip
using the Motion
Using the Multiply and Screen Keys
The Multiply and Screen keys are like the Luma key, but they create more subtle
superimpositions. They both examine the clip below the superimposed clip on the
timeline to determine what areas of the keyed clip to make transparent. Multiply
looks for bright areas and Screen looks for dark areas. Then they make portions of
the superimposed clip transparent to match those areas.
Each effect has two sliders: Opacity and Cutoff. Higher values lead to less transparency.
Using the Blue Screen and Green Screen Keys
The Blue Screen and Green Screen keys are your best bets for accurate, relatively
low-budget keying. To use them well, you’ll not only need what are called
Hour 17
chroma blue and chroma green backdrops, but you’ll also need to follow a few procedures as well. Because this is sort of an involved process, I’ve included a sidebar
on the subject.
The Blue Screen and Green Screen keys options work like other Premiere Pro keys,
only they’re simpler because Premiere Pro is looking for very specific chroma blue
and green background colors.
There are only two principal slider controls: Threshold and Cutoff. Again, drag
Threshold to the left to make the entire blue/green screen transparent. Drag
Cutoff to the right to ensure that the opaque areas look satisfactory. I asked Matt
Zaffino, my favorite weatherman, to demonstrate in Figure 17.20 how things look
before and after applying keying effects.
FIGURE 17.20
KGW-TV’s Matt
Zaffino in front of a
Chroma key green
screen (left) and
with the Green
Screen key (right)
turned on to display a weather
Did you
Extra Keying Help Using a Nested Sequence
If at first your key does not succeed, try again. Sometimes, try as you might, you
cannot remove all the jaggies from the edges of your green- or blue-screened actors.
This is endemic to consumer/prosumer DV (technically, DV25) camcorders. To possibly remedy that, key them twice.
However, that won’t work for the original clip on the timeline. Going back to
Transparency Settings and tweaking the existing blue/green screen settings only
changes them—it doesn’t apply the settings twice.
To do that requires creating a nested sequence. I’ll explain that concept in Hour 19,
“Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1.”
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
Making Blue and Green Screens Work
Setting up chroma green or blue backdrops can be a royal pain—especially on location. About 10 years ago, I hired one of Portland’s top production companies to do a
fairly involved blue screen shoot at a local college. They lit the heck out of that blue
screen, got the dolly rails and the trucking move down perfectly, and rolled and
When we got back to the studio, try as we might, we could not completely key out
the blue screen without creating some transparency in the actor. We ended up building an elaborate moving matte (it had to fit the actor’s shifting silhouette). What a
time-consuming hassle!
As someone once said, “It’s not easy being green” (or blue). Here are some tips:
. Blue and green screens require flat lighting—no hot spots. If you can set up
your screen outdoors, overcast or cloudy days work best. No need to overdo the
lighting. Simply make it even.
. The actor’s lighting does not have to be flat. Controlled spotlights or lights with
“barn doors” work well. Using soft lighting with umbrellas and reflectors is less
dramatic but also is effective. A key backlight aimed at the actor’s head helps
more clearly illuminate hair to eliminate or at least minimize blue or green
screen halos.
. If you plan to key in an outdoor background, try to re-create outdoor lighting on
your subject. If you’re working with live actors, further enhance the illusion by
using a fan to blow their hair around a bit.
. Avoid the dreaded blue or green spill. Actors’ skin will pick up the reflected
color of the backdrop if they’re too close to it. Move them at least a few feet
away. One other way to minimize this is to use a backlight.
. Tight shots work better than full-body shots. The closer you are to your subject,
the more realistic the finished product will be.
. If there is fast-paced action in your shot, you might have trouble keying right to
the edges of your subjects.
. Set your camcorder to Manual and open the iris (you’ll probably need to
increase shutter speed to avoid overexposure). A wide-open iris—1.8 or so—
limits the focal plane to your subject and throws the green screen a bit out of
focus, making it easier to key out.
. To build a backdrop on a budget, consider using unofficial chroma blue or green
paint (the real stuff retails for about $40 a gallon). Grab a paint sample collection, videotape it, and then use Premiere Pro’s blue screen or green screen
transparency on it. Find a color that keys well and buy a gallon. Paint that on a
large piece of plywood and you have a portable studio.
Alternatively, you can buy Chroma key fabric or wide rolls of Chroma key paper.
Both run about $10 a square yard. One source is
Hour 17
. Which color to use? With chroma green, you have a reasonable assurance that
no one will have clothing that matches and therefore will key out. Chroma blue
works well because it’s complementary to skin tones. The kind of scene you key
in might be the determining factor. If you will have your actors keyed in to a
scene with a blue sky, use a blue screen. In this case, the dreaded blue spill
could be a nice feature.
. Consumer and prosumer camcorders do not key as well as professional camcorders. The 4:1:1 color sampling compression leads to some quality loss.
Because the green portion of an RGB signal receives extra weight to correspond
to the sensitivity of human eyes to different colors, green screens key more
cleanly than blue. A mathematical analysis done a few years ago showed that
using a green screen with a DV camcorder keys only 15% less cleanly than a
broadcast-quality Betacam SP camcorder.
Using the Non-Red Key
The Non-Red key is your blue/green screen fall back. Both Blue and Green Screen
keys look for very specific colors. They offer no similarity controls to select a color
range. If you just can’t quite dial in a Blue/Green Screen key because somehow
the color is slightly off or there is too much fringing around the edges of nontransparent subjects, try the Non-Red key. It’s a little more forgiving. As you move
the Threshold slider, this key looks for non-red colors (blue/green) to key out.
As I’ve demonstrated in two before-and-after images with Matt Zaffino (Figures
17.20 and 17.21), the Non-Red key offers one other control: Blend. This ostensibly
lets you smoothly blend two scenes together. I’ve found that it doesn’t make much
difference if you already have a reasonably good blue/green screen shot.
FIGURE 17.21
Sometimes, as in
the left image, the
Chroma or
Green/Blue Screen
keys fail to fulfill
their promise. The
Non-Red key (right)
tends to clear up
the jaggies along
the edges of your
opaque subjects.
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
Compositing tools enable you to greatly enhance your projects by adding multiple layers of video and images. First stabs at compositing typically involve adding
cutaways to interviews and other video work.
Then you move on to creating transparencies. The principal transparency compositing tools are the Opacity and Keying video effects. The Opacity effect is
always available in the ECW and has only one keyframable parameter: opacity
The Keying effects come in four flavors: Color, Luminance, Matte, and Alpha. I
covered the first two in this hour, and will go over Mattes and Alpha channels in
the next hour.
Making keys work well takes some extra effort. Proper backdrop colors, lighting,
and keying techniques all come into play. Green/blue screens work best but
invariably take some trial and error.
Hour 17
Q No matter how many different key types I try, I get a halo effect along the
edges of my keyed objects, especially in their hair. What should I do?
A This is endemic to this technology. Using consumer and prosumer DV camcorders and Premiere Pro’s less-than-pixel-specific keying controls means
you might never get rid of those halos. Some video capture cards, such as
the Canopus DVStorm2, and software, such as Adobe After Effects
Professional, have much higher quality Chroma key tools. You might notice
that your local weather forecaster does not have such halos (unless you live
in a tiny TV market that’s behind the technology curve). Many of those stations use a keying technology from Ultimatte ( It offers
incredible flexibility and creates very clean keying in difficult situations,
such as through smoke, hair, water, and glass. Ultimatte offers a $1,495
plug-in that works with three Adobe products: Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and
After Effects. The hardware prices start in the neighborhood of $28,000.
Q When I drag a linked audio/video clip to Video 2, the audio goes to Video
2 as I’d expect. But when I drag a linked A/V clip from Video 1 to Video 2,
its audio stays on Audio 1 and covers up the audio that was there. What’s
going on?
A Your clips are following Premiere Pro’s new multitrack audio rules. When
you add clips from the Project window, Premiere Pro tries to cascade the
audio portions. That is, if at all possible, it tries to put them on track numbers that match where you placed the video. There are exceptions for locked
tracks and mismatched track types (mono, stereo, and 5.1). When you move
clips within a sequence, the audio stays on its track. The reasoning? With
Premiere Pro’s new track-based audio effects and controls, developers want
to ensure any such clip moves don’t lead to surprising results. If you want to
move the audio to a new track, unlink audio and video and move both clips
Compositing Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips
1. How do you blend two full-screen clips?
2. What’s the difference between the two sets of Chroma key sliders—
Similarity/Blend and Threshold/Cutoff? What’s a more descriptive name for
the Smoothing drop-down menu?
3. When do you use the Non-Red key?
Quiz Answers
1. Either of two ways: Use the fixed Opacity video effect (or its non-fixed twin:
Alpha Adjust) to reduce the opacity of the superimposed clip, or use the
Screen (or Multiply) transparency for a subtle blend that lets dark (or light)
areas of the bottom track show through the superimposed clip. Screen more
closely approximates the Opacity effect. Multiply acts more like a real key.
2. Similarity and Blend work together to set a width for the color range to key
out of a superimposed clip and to blend the two clips smoothly together.
Threshold and Cutoff deal with shadows. Threshold controls the amount of
shadows from the superimposed clip that will display on the lower track’s
clip. Cutoff controls how dark or light those shadows are. Smoothing is the
same as antialiasing. It gets rid of the jaggies along the edges of keyed
3. Non-Red enables you to key out, well, non-red backgrounds (that is, green
and blue). It’s a helpful backup if the Green or Blue Screen keys don’t work
as well as you’d like, which might happen if the green or blue are not true
Chroma key colors.
1. Use the Luma key to isolate a ball by keying out a highly contrasting background. Then use motion settings to bounce it around a scene. Use
keyframe interpolation with the bounces and apexes to more realistically
mimic a bouncing ball.
2. Use the Title Designer to create several titles. Place them in various superimposing tracks and fade them in and out of your Video 1 clip at various
Hour 17
times, sometimes displaying more than one title at a time. Remember, you
drag the edges of a title clip to make it any length you want. Finally, give a
couple titles motion using the Motion effect.
3. Experiment with the Chroma and Green/Blue Screen keys. Find a backdrop
color and a lighting setup that works well.
4. Ask to visit a local TV station or production studio to watch how the crew
sets up green/blue screens. You’ll see that they take great pains to light it
evenly and to have the actor stand a good distance from the screen.
5. Start watching TV commercials more critically, looking for examples of compositing. It’s a rare spot that doesn’t use layering. This is a great source of
Compositing Part 2—Alpha
Channels and Mattes
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Working with alpha channel transparencies
Using video effects with alpha channel transparencies
Using the Motion effect to make pictures-in-a-picture
Two multiple track video effects: Blend and Texturize
Creating and working with matte keys
Using mattes to build split screens
In the previous hour, I presented three ways to composite clips: the Opacity effect,
and the Color and Luminance keying effects. Two other ways to make portions of a
clip transparent—creating something like digital holes—are by using alpha channels and mattes. Alpha channels are common elements of graphics created in
programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Premiere Pro makes them transparent.
In addition, several of Premiere Pro’s video effects have built-in transparent alpha
channels that enable portions of clips below them on a sequence to show through.
Mattes used for keying generally are simple black-and-white, opaque graphics, but
Premiere Pro has several ways to use them to create transparencies. Both alpha
channels and mattes are effective, useful means to composite clips in Premiere Pro.
Hour 18
Working with Alpha Channel
Most video clips and many graphics have alpha channels. Coupled with a clip’s
visible red/green/blue (RGB) color channels, an alpha channel defines what parts
of an image are transparent or semi-transparent. You don’t see the alpha channel. Rather, Premiere Pro uses the grayscale information from that channel to set
the level of opacity or transparency.
The alpha channel typically uses 8 bits of information to describe 256 shades of
gray. In typical computer graphic applications, pure white regions of the alpha
channel are opaque—that is, they cover any clips beneath them on the timeline.
Pure black regions are transparent and let any lower clips show through. Finally,
gray regions let some background come through, depending on the level of gray.
On the other hand, a typical video’s alpha channel describes gray values on a
pixel-by-pixel basis instead of by a larger region, making it impractical to use the
Alpha Channel Transparency setting to carve out a transparent hole in a video
clip. That’s why the only work you’ll do with alpha channels will be on graphics
or as a parameter in a Premiere Pro video effect.
Alpha Channels—Straight or Premultiplied
An alpha channel is either straight or premultiplied. A straight alpha channel
stores its transparency information only in the alpha channel. By default,
Premiere Pro automatically makes any straight alpha channel transparent. You
can make that alpha channel opaque if it suits you. I explain how in a moment.
Graphics with premultiplied alpha channels sometimes need some extra attention when working with them in Premiere Pro. The reason? Premultiplied alpha
channels include transparency information in both the alpha channel and the
edges of the graphic. When Premiere Pro makes those alpha channel areas transparent, the graphic elements frequently have halos—blurry edges or stray pixels
of variable color around them. Premiere Pro’s Remove Matte effect can fix that. I
explain it later this hour in the “Fixing Premultiplied Alpha Channel Fringing”
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Try it
Make an Alpha Channel Visible
To see how an alpha channel transparency works, follow these steps:
1. Place any video clip on Video 1 in the timeline. I used Saleen_Car_01.avi
from the sample project that shipped with Premiere Pro.
2. If you have a graphic with an alpha channel (most Photoshop graphics
meet that criterion) import it to your Project window (File→Import). If you
don’t have such a file, use the Saleen_logo_layers.psd file from the sample
Import Layered Graphics as Sequences
If you use the Saleen Photoshop file or any other layered graphic file, when you
attempt to import it, Premiere Pro will pop up a dialog box asking how you want
Premiere Pro to deal with its layers. In this case, select Import as: Sequence and
click OK. Doing so will create a new sequence in your Project window with the graphics layers listed as separate clips.
By the
3. Drag that graphic to a superimposing track—Video 2 or higher—directly
above the clip on Video 1. Your project should look like Figure 18.1 (I used
the Motion effect’s Scale parameter to blow up the logo for emphasis). By
default, Premiere Pro makes the graphic’s alpha channel transparent, allowing whatever is below it on the sequence to show through.
Premiere Pro automatically makes a
graphic’s alpha
channel transparent, displaying
whatever is below it
on a sequence.
Hour 18
4. To see some alpha channel options, apply the Alpha Adjust video effect to
this clip. This effect’s primary function is to enable you to apply the Opacity
effect at some point other than second to last in any collection of effects you
set up (Motion is applied last). As shown in Figure 18.2, it does have some
extra settings that give you a feel for alpha channels:
. Ignore Alpha—Switches off the alpha channel transparency and turns
it into opaque white (its original color is black—the color seen as
transparent by Premiere Pro).
. Invert Alpha—makes the alpha channel opaque and the graphic
transparent. As highlighted in Figure 18.2, this is a very cool effect
and it’s keyframable (as are the other two check boxes). For example,
if you use a graphic with a recognizable shape, you can easily insert
other images and videos into that shape using the Invert Alpha
. Mask Only—Converts the opaque graphic into a solid white opaque
. Opacity—This is the Alpha Adjust effect’s primary function: duplicating Premiere Pro’s fixed Opacity effect.
The Alpha Adjust
effect enables you
to manipulate the
alpha channel and
any associated
graphics. Selecting
the Invert Alpha
parameter makes
the graphic element transparent
and the alpha
channel opaque.
Put Alpha Channel Graphics in Motion
You can apply motion to a graphic using the Motion effect. To do that in this
case, first delete Alpha Adjust from the Effect Controls window (ECW) and then
click Motion to switch it on. Just as you did in Hour 11, “Putting Video and Still
Clips in Motion,” grab the crosshairs and move the graphic’s bounding box
around and change some other Motion parameters.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
As shown in Figure 18.3, even though the bounding box defines the edges of the
graphic’s transparent alpha channel region, you won’t see a rectangular, screensized object moving around the screen. You will see the clip’s opaque graphic element.
It’s a simple matter
to put alpha channel graphics in
Fixing Premultiplied Alpha Channel Fringing
Think of straight alpha channels as cookie cutters. Graphic artists bleed some of
their graphics slightly beyond the edges of the white portion of the alpha channel,
knowing that when they apply an alpha channel transparency, it will act like a cookie
cutter, slicing a sharply defined edge along the graphic and ensuring there will be no
gaps along the border.
In a graphic with a premultiplied alpha channel, the white (opaque) portion of the
alpha channel exactly matches the edge of the pixels in the RGB graphic. In most
cases, premultiplied graphics have either black or white backgrounds. Because of
anti-aliasing, the background color darkens or lightens these pixels along the edge
of the graphics.
If you use graphics with premultiplied alpha channels in Premiere Pro, you might
experience some unpredictable fringing around the edges. To fix that, use the
Remove Matte key. Its only parameter is a drop-down list from which you select
White or Black. Select whichever color matches your graphic’s premultiplied
background color. That will key out that background and create a sharper edge to
your graphic.
Hour 18
Using Video Effects with Alpha Channel
Of Premiere Pro’s 90+ video effects, several have either an alpha channel or have
special adjustments for clips with alpha channels. I’ll go over 10 of them. In previous hours, I’ve touched on all of these effects and noted some of their alpha
channel characteristics so I’ll try to avoid too much repetition. I’ve placed them in
two groups: video effects with alpha channels and effects that work well with
graphics that have alpha channels.
Video Effects with Alpha Channels
Six Premiere Pro video effects have built-in alpha channels:
. Tiles
. Lens Distortion
. Strobe Light
. Motion and Transform
. Basic 3D
. Camera View
By the
Transparent By Default
Typically, these effects move clips around the screen, revealing whatever is below
them on a sequence. It used to be that you could block that see-through view by
selecting one of the effect’s parameters and opting for a background color or some
other action. With Premiere Pro, transparency is the default setting and to block
that, you need to apply the Alpha Adjust effect and select Ignore Alpha. I explain
that further in a couple of the upcoming examples.
To see these effects in action, remove the alpha channel graphic from the Video 2
track and replace it with a video that’s distinctly different than the one below it
on Video 1. In my case, I used the Saleen_Car_01 and Saleen_Car_02 clips from
the sample project. Then select the clip on Video 2 to open it in the ECW where
you will apply video effects to it.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Breaking Up a Clip Using Tiles
This video effect can reveal the clip below it on the sequence. As I’ve demonstrated in Figure 18.4, to display more of the two lower clips, increase the Maximum
Offset setting to something more than 50%. This widens the gaps between the jittering tiles.
When using the
Tiles effect on a
clip in a superimposed video track,
increasing the
Maximum Offset
setting displays
more of the clip
beneath it.
As I mentioned earlier, Premiere Pro sees any gaps between the tiles as alpha
channel transparencies. That means that unless you take an extra step, none of
the Tiles’ four Fill Empty Areas With options will work properly. To use any of
those parameters, as I’ve shown in Figure 18.5, apply Alpha Adjust to the clip
and select its Ignore Alpha parameter. Now when you select Inverse Image (as I
did in this example) it blocks the view through the tiles to the clip below it and
displays an inverse image of the clip on Video 2.
To use the extra
Tile Settings
parameters, add
the Alpha Adjust
effect and click its
Ignore Alpha check
Hour 18
Effect Testing Housekeeping
Before moving on from one alpha channel example to the next, make sure that you
delete the previous video effect(s) from the Effect Controls window.
Twisting Away an Image with Lens Distortion
With this video effect, there is no need to use Alpha Adjust to switch transparency
off. As shown in Figure 18.6, there is a check box to do that in the Lens Distortion
settings dialog box.
Uncheck the Lens
Distortion Fill Alpha
Channel check box
to reveal the clip
below. Checking it
displays a solid
color background.
Check Box Bug
There was a bug in the shipping version of Premiere Pro that disabled the Fill Alpha
Channel check box. Unchecking it made no difference. The gaps around the distorted image remained opaque and filled in with the user-selected color. Adobe does not
announce bug fixes or patches, so there’s no way to know whether Adobe will have
fixed that bug and posted a patch by the time this book ships. Feel free to check for
a download on
Flashing a Second Image with Strobe Light
To have each strobe flash reveal the clip on Video 1 instead of displaying a solid
strobe color, use the drop-down menu highlighted in Figure 18.7 and select Makes
Layer Transparent. You can use Blend With Original to reduce the opacity of the
clip on Video 2, thereby making the strobe changes less abrupt.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Strobe Light flashes can reveal the
layer beneath it on
the timeline.
You know how a strobe light can momentarily freeze a moving object. You can
use Premiere Pro to do the same thing in what appears to be a 3D space. Here’s
Try it
Using Strobe on a Moving Object
1. Add another video track to the timeline (unless you already have a Video 3
track) by right-clicking on a track header and selecting Add Tracks. Move
the clip on Video 2 to Video 3.
2. Strobe Light should remain associated with that clip (if not, reapply it). Set
a short duration (0.2 or so). Set a strobe period about twice as long (0.4 or
so). Put some randomness in (5% works well). Also, set the Strobe parameter
to Make Layer Transparent.
3. Add a graphic with an alpha channel to Video 2 (you can use the Saleen
logo), and drag its ends to match the length of the other two clips.
4. As shown in Figure 18.8, give the graphic on Video 2 some motion, keeping
it within the screen. The faster it moves the better, so feel free to give it a
convoluted and long motion path, forcing it to zip around the screen.
5. Give that graphic a drop shadow to lend a bit of a 3D feel to this set of
7. To make upcoming tasks work smoothly, remove the video clip from Video
3, but leave the graphic on Video 2 and the video clip on Video 1.
6. Now preview that section. The top clip should do the strobe thing, and if the
graphic moves fast enough it’ll be reminiscent of a disco dance nightclub.
Hour 18
Layer a graphic
between two clips
and apply Strobe
Light to the top clip
for a fun, discostrobe-light effect.
Working with Motion and Transform
Motion and its nonfixed video effect twin, Transform, move your clip in apparent
3D space. After it has been displaced from a normal full-screen aspect, both
effects leave transparent gaps around the edges of the clip.
As shown in Figure 18.9, Transform has a few extra attributes not included in the
Motion effect: Skew and Opacity. Once again, you can use Alpha Adjust if you
want to turn off or invert the alpha channel transparency.
By the
Transform’s Disabled After Effects Attributes
Transform is an After Effects effect and it has two parameters that work only in After
Effects: Use Composition’s Shutter Angle and Shutter Angle. Both are included as
parameters in the ECW but are disabled.
Revealing a Clip with Basic 3D
As is the case with Transform and Motion, you can use Basic 3D to reveal a clip
below it on a sequence. As shown in Figure 18.10, this is a good effect to use as
something like a transition. You can spin and tilt the entire screen toward the
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
front or back while changing the Distance to Image slider to move it away from
the viewer. As I mentioned in Hour 16, “Using Higher-Level Video Effects,” Basic
3D’s primary appeal to me is its specular highlight.
Transform can skew
a clip to reveal the
clip beneath it.
FIGURE 18.10
Basic 3D is another tool you can use
to reveal a clip
below it on the
Opting to Reveal a Clip Using Camera View
This effect works a lot like Basic 3D with a few additional controls thrown in. As
shown in Figure 18.11, it has the same type of settings dialog box as Lens
Distortion including a Fill Alpha Channel check box. Unchecking it reveals the
clip below it on the sequence.
Hour 18
FIGURE 18.11
Uncheck the
Camera View
effect’s Fill Alpha
Channel box to display the clip below
it on the timeline.
Effects That Work Well with Graphics That Have
Alpha Channels
Four video effects work well with a graphic: Alpha Glow, Bevel Alpha, Channel
Blur, and Drop Shadow. You briefly encountered all of them in Hour 16. I’ll cover
a few additional highlights in this upcoming task.
Try it
Using All Four Effects At Once
I’ll ask you to take a different tack in this section. Instead of trying each effect
separately, I’ll have you apply these effects to the same graphic, eventually viewing all four at once. Admittedly, by that time, the graphic will be a hodgepodge.
You can use the Saleen logo or any other graphic that has an alpha channel:
1. If you’re using the Saleen logo graphic, enlarge it using the Scale parameter
in the Motion effect—400% works well. Center it onscreen by dragging the
crosshairs or adjusting the position parameters: 400 and 560 work well.
2. Apply Alpha Glow to the graphic on Video 2 and experiment with its settings (use Figure 18.12 as a reference):
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
. Glow—Sets the size of the glow.
. Brightness—Might be a little counter-intuitive. A high value (255 is
the maximum) darkens the glow and a low value makes it lighter and
more transparent.
. Start Color—The color closest to the graphic.
. End Color—The color at the outer edge of the glow.
3. Open Alpha Glow’s Settings dialog box by clicking the little Setup button
next to its reset button. Note that it has one extra option: Fade Out. By
default, Fade Out is checked. Unchecking it gives your glow’s perimeter a
hard edge.
FIGURE 18.12
Alpha Glow creates
a halo around a
graphic that has an
alpha channel.
5. Add Channel Blur to the ECW. This shifts individual color values—
red/green/blue—as well as blurs the graphic. Feel free to make adjustments
using all the sliders. Figure 18.14 shows the results of my parameter adjustments.
4. Drag Bevel Alpha to the ECW. As you did in Hour 16, give this graphic a 3D
beveled feel by adjusting this effect’s parameters. Figure 18.13 shows one
look you might come up with.
Hour 18
FIGURE 18.13
Bevel Alpha adds a
3D edge to the
graphic. Because
this clip also has
Alpha Glow applied
to it, the beveled
edges are not very
FIGURE 18.14
Because Channel
Blur is, for the
moment, the lowest
effect in the Effect
Controls palette, it
blurs all effects
above it.
Did you
Effect Order Makes a Difference
As illustrated in Figure 18.14, as you make changes using the Channel Blur effect
sliders, the Bevel Alpha and Alpha Glow effects change. You might want to experiment as you add even more effects to the same clip.
Turn individual effects off and on by clicking the f in the check box. The order of the
effects also alters the overall appearance of a clip. Premiere Pro renders effects
from the top down (saving the fixed effects—Motion and Opacity—for last), reflecting
the order in which you applied them to the clip.
You can change that order after the fact by dragging effects to new positions in the
Effect Controls window. Try that for these three effects to see what happens.
For instance, as I’ve demonstrated in Figure 18.15, if you place Channel Blur at the
top (below Motion and Opacity), any changes made when it’s in that position will
have a much more dramatic effect than if you place Channel Blur toward the bottom
of the palette.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
FIGURE 18.15
Placing Channel
Blur at the top of
the Effect Controls
palette amplifies
any adjustments
you make to it.
6. Apply Drop Shadow to the ECW. Because the three other effects have softened the edges of the graphic, Drop Shadow won’t have all that dramatic
an effect. If you increase its opacity, as I did in Figure 18.16, you’ll get a
more distinct shadow.
FIGURE 18.16
Drop Shadow has a
subtle feel when
applied to effects
that have already
blurred the image.
Move Drop Shadow to the Top
Because Premiere Pro applies effects from the top of the ECW, down, if you drag
this effect to the top of the effect chain in the Effect Controls palette, it will create a
very distinct drop shadow. Toward the bottom of the palette, it acts much more in
character with the other effects. In this case, because the graphic has soft edges
applied to it, the drop shadow has a soft-edged look as well.
Did you
Did you
Hour 18
Applying Keyframes Within the Sequence
If you’re in a particularly ambitious mood, feel free to apply keyframes to each individual video effect. You can access all the effects within the Effect Controls window
or within the clip itself on the sequence.
To do that, expand the Video 2 track by clicking the Collapse/Expand Track triangle.
Then click the Show Keyframes button and select Show Keyframes. That adds an
effect drop-down list to the clip to the right of its name.
You can select any of the effects, and then select any of that effect’s parameters.
Once selected, you’ll see that particular parameter’s keyframe line. Use the Pen tool
(keyboard shortcut P) to drag keyframes to new locations or create new ones by
clicking it on the keyframe line.
Using the Motion Effect to Make
Pictures-in-a-picture is one of the top uses of the Motion effect. And it’s one of the
easiest ways to see how you can composite more than two clips.
Try it
Pictures-in-a-Picture Fundamentals
Because you worked with Motion in Hour 11, I won’t repeat the basic instructions.
Rather, I’ll give you a few tips:
1. To do this, place several clips stacked one above the other on a sequence
(for my example, I used six Saleen_Car AVI clips from the sample project).
Did you
Automatic Track Creation
There’s no need to add video tracks to your sequence. Simply drag each new clip to
somewhere above the current video tracks and drop it. Premiere Pro will create a
new video track (and an audio track, if you’re adding a linked A/V clip) to accommodate you.
2. To keep things easy, trim them so that they all are the same length and
keep them short.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
It’s best to work from the top clip down because each clip covers the one below it. If
instead you first apply Motion to a clip below the top track, you won’t see it in the
Monitor window Program screen.
Did you
Top-Down Thinking
If you must work from the bottom up, simply switch off the higher tracks’ Toggle
Track Output eyeballs. That way you can see what’s on those lower tracks.
3. Click on the topmost clip to select it. You’ll apply three effects to it then copy
and paste those effects to the rest of the clips to create a uniform look.
4. Switch on Motion by clicking it in the ECW. Scale the clip down to about
25%. As you reduce its size, you reveal the clip in the video track below it in
the sequence. Position it in a corner. Use Figure 18.17 as a reference.
The 25% figure in step 4 refers not to a change in the clip’s area, but rather to its
perimeter. Each side becomes 1/4th its original length, which means the clip’s area
drops to 1/16th or .0625 its original size. That might be a bit counterintuitive to
those who expect that scaling to 25% would create a clip that fills one quarter of a
full screen.
Did you
FIGURE 18.17
Create pictures-in-apicture by stacking
video clips in multiple tracks then
applying motion
settings to them.
Area Versus Perimeter
Hour 18
5. To make your clips stand out from the background, use the Clip effect to
give them frames. Drag that effect to the ECW, open its settings dialog box
(shown in Figure 18.18), give your clips a frame size of five pixels or so and
a color that complements the predominant colors of the clip on Video 1 that
will serve as the background.
FIGURE 18.18
Add a frame to your
clip using the Clip
6. To further distance the moving clips from the background, drag the Drop
Shadow effect to the ECW and create a fairly obvious drop shadow. As
shown in Figure 18.19, an opacity of 80, a distance of 50, and a softness of
25 work well.
FIGURE 18.19
Using Drop Shadow
gives a 3D feel to
the moving clips.
As you add more
moving clips, those
higher on the
sequence will throw
shadows on those
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
7. Right-click on this selected clip in the sequence and select Copy. Right-click
on the clip below it and select Paste Attributes. That will change the scale of
that clip, give it the same size and color frame, and add a drop shadow.
8. By right-clicking that clip, you also select it. Click on Motion in the ECW to
display a bounding box around it (you’ll see the bounding box but not the
clip because the clip on the higher video track is covering it up). Grab the
bounding box crosshairs and drag this clip to another corner (after you start
moving it, you’ll see the clip).
9. Working your way down the video tracks, follow the same procedure for
each clip (right-click, select Paste Attributes, click Motion, move the clip),
leaving the clip on Video 1 alone (it’s the background video—the “picture”—of this pictures-in-a-picture). When you’re done, your Program screen
should look something like Figure 18.20.
FIGURE 18.20
Blend lets a clip
that’s on a lower
video track show
through a clip
above it.
10. You can call it a day or you can take this further by putting each clip in
motion. You can use keyframes to fly the clips onscreen at different times
and then have them fly off. Or you can use the Opacity effect to have them
fade in and then out. You can expand one of them to full screen as a way to
transition to that clip. Using pictures-in-a-picture lends itself to many possibilities.
Hour 18
Two Multiple Track Video Effects: Blend
and Texturize
Two video effects combine clips on two tracks. Blend works something like a crossfade, but gives you extra options that can have some surprisingly colorful results.
Texturize enables you to give a clip something akin to an embossed feel using a
clip below it on the sequence.
Using Blend to Combine Two Clips
As illustrated in Figure 18.21, Blend has several parameters. The one you cannot
keyframe is the track with which you’re doing the blending. It can be any track,
but if it’s a track above the track you’re working on, you need to switch off the
upper track’s eyeball to see the effect.
The Mode parameters drop-down list offers Crossfade, Color Only, Tint Only,
Darken Only, and Lighten Only. Each lets different values of the lower clip show
through. Blend With Original sets a relative percentage of opacity for the selected
clip. A setting of 100% displays only the selected clip. 0% shows only the Blend
With Layer clip, and 50% sets each at 50% opacity. You can use keyframes on the
Blend With Original slider to gradually transition from one clip to another.
Did you
Combine a Graphic and Video
For an unusual effect, use a graphic for one clip and a colorful video for the other.
Selecting anything but Crossfade leads to some bizarre results. Try using the graphic
as the selected clip, selecting Color Only, and moving the Blend With Original slider
to 0%, which converts the graphic to grayscale and colors it using the Blend With
Layer clip.
Using Texturize to Add an Embossed Look to
Another Clip
Texturize has tons of possibilities. You apply Texturize to whichever clip you want
to give some texture to, select the track that has the clip to use to create that texture, and then adjust the Light Direction and Texture Contrast settings to set the
depth of the embossing (see Figure 18.22).
The Texture Placement parameter apparently is disabled; changing it had virtually no influence on the effect.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
FIGURE 18.21
Blend lets a clip on
a different video
track show through
the selected clip.
FIGURE 18.22
Texturize embosses
one clip and
imparts that 3D
feel to a clip on a
different track in
the sequence.
Texturize Has Many Uses
The name Texturize is too narrow. Yes, you can use a clip with obvious texture—rug,
sand, or rippling water—and impart that feel to another clip. But there are many
other uses. You can bring up an embossed version of your logo beneath a product
shot or place one distinctly different setting under another. How about embossed
waving palm trees behind a frozen arctic tundra?
Did you
Hour 18
Texturize Disables Motion Settings
Texturize will not work with motion settings. Therefore, if you want to move around
your embossed logo under another clip, you’ll have to create a nested sequence to
do that. I cover this topic in Hour 19, “Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1.” The
basic approach is to create a new sequence, add only the logo to it, apply the
Motion effect to it and adjust any motion parameters that suit you, drag that
sequence to your other sequence as a separate clip, and then apply Texturize. That’s
a nested sequence—a sequence in a sequence.
Creating and Working with Mattes
On the surface, the matte is a straightforward concept. But confusing terms and
applications can make using one counterintuitive. By definition, mattes are color
or grayscale graphics or images. When used with Matte key effects, they create
transparent and opaque areas in clips.
When you use mattes with Premiere Pro Matte keying effects, they follow standard transparency rules: Black areas are transparent, white areas are opaque,
and gray areas create varying levels of opacity depending on the tone of the gray.
If the matte is a color image or graphic, Premiere Pro removes the same level of
color from the clip you’re keying, thus creating an inverse image. So, if you use a
matte with green in it, the displayed image will look purple (the matte removes
green, leaving red and blue).
You can create basic graphic mattes using Premiere Pro’s Title Designer (except for
image mattes), Photoshop, or any basic graphics program. Or you can use video
clips or still images as mattes. You can use a Premiere Pro video effect to convert a
color clip to a grayscale matte to avoid dealing with color inversions.
Most of the time, mattes are simply black-and-white graphics. In those cases, they
work like scissors on white paper. Any (black) holes cut into the paper let those
portions of the clip below it on the sequence show through and combine with the
clip above it on the timeline.
Try it
Combine Clips with an Image Matte Key
Image Matte keys enable you to cut “holes” in one clip to allow portions of
another clip to show through. For example, you can use an Image Matte key to
highlight an element in a clip or insert a portrait in a frame. I offer up a practical
example in the next hour. Here’s how to use an Image Matte key:
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
1. The Image Matte key works only with graphic files supported by Premiere
Pro. It does not work with files created in the Title Designer. So, open a
graphics program such as Photoshop or Microsoft Paint. Set the image canvas to a resolution that matches your project: 720×540 for NTSC or 720×576
for PAL (see the following Did You Know for more on the canvas size).
Image Matte Photoshop Setup
When using Photoshop to create a graphic to use as an Image Matte key, select
File→New and choose one of the DV Preset Sizes: 720×540 Std. NTSC 601 or
720×576 Std. PAL. As I noted, the NTSC 720×540 does not properly fill the screen
in Premiere Pro. But matching the project resolution means there will be no image
quality loss. When opening a new canvas in Photoshop, set the mode to RGB color
and if you want an opaque background, click the White radio button under Contents.
Did you
2. As I’ve demonstrated in Figure 18.23, start with a white background, create
a simple shape, and fill it in with solid black. Create another shape and fill
it with gray. Save your work and remember where you stored this file.
FIGURE 18.23
Use a graphic program such as
Adobe Photoshop
to create a basic
image matte.
3. Return to the sequence and place two different video clips or still images on
Video 1 and Video 2 (for my example, I used the Saleen_Car AVI clips).
5. Twirl down the Image Matte disclosure triangle and change the Composite
Using parameter to Matte Luma. (If you created a graphic with an alpha
channel, you can leave the Composite Using setting to Matte Alpha.) As
shown in Figure 18.24, your Program screen should now display the clip on
4. Select the clip on Video 2 and apply the Image Matte key to it.
Did you
Hour 18
Video 2 with whatever holes you drew in the graphic showing portions of
the clip on Video 1. Black holes are completely transparent; gray ones are
partially transparent.
Image Matte Key Anomaly
The Image Matte key has an anomaly. No matter what size or aspect ratio graphic
you use, Premiere Pro either expands its edges so that they fall off the right and left
sides of the image, or shrinks its height, leaving gaps above and below it. This
shows up most obviously when you use a matte that extends to the edges of the
graphic. For example, at 720×540 (standard NTSC DV resolution) there are gaps at
the top and bottom. At 720×480, the sides are pushed offscreen. I asked Premiere
Pro’s development team about this and they did not provide an answer. As I explain
later, you need to use Motion’s Scale parameter to expand the clip a bit to compensate for this.
6. If your clip now has gaps (refer to “Image Matte Key Anomaly” earlier)
open the Motion effect and increase the Scale setting enough to have the
clip on Video 2 fill the screen.
FIGURE 18.24
Using an Image
Matte key enables
you to cut holes in
one clip, disclosing
portions of the clip
below it on a
sequence. If you
have gaps like
those shown here,
use Motion’s Scale
parameter to
expand the clip.
Did you
Reversing the Effect
You can electronically swap black with white by clicking the Image Matte Key’s
Reverse check box. That will swap transparent and opaque areas of the clip on
Video 2, letting different portions of the clip on Video 1 show through.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Using a Track Matte Key
A Track Matte key works much like an Image Matte but has a few advantages
and one obvious difference. What makes it different is that you place the matte
on a video track rather than apply it directly to a clip.
As with an Image Matte, a Track Matte slices holes in a clip, revealing whatever
is below it on a sequence. What makes it more convenient is that you can use
Premiere Pro’s Title Designer to create the graphic. What makes it more interesting is that you can use the Motion effect on that matte to turn it into a traveling
Just about every older movie involving “impossible” motion—spaceships,
Superman in flight, or giant spiders (such as the 1955 cult classic, Tarantula, with
Clint Eastwood in a minor supporting role as a pilot)—uses traveling mattes.
Try it
Working with a Track Matte
To give it motion requires using a nested sequence. In the next hour, I explain that
concept plus demonstrate how to use a Track Matte to create a traveling matte
that highlights action and conceals someone’s identity. For now, follow these steps
simply to see how to apply a static Track Matte key to a clip:
1. You can use the Image Matte graphic you created for the previous task or
you can create a new one in Premiere Pro’s Title Designer. To use the Image
Matte, import it to your Project window (select File→Import). If you use the
Title Designer, save your graphic, calling it something like Track Matte
Key. It’ll show up automatically in the Project window.
Both the Image Matte key and the Track Matte key can use graphics that have alpha
channels. When you create a graphic, Premiere Pro’s Title Designer, it’ll have an
alpha channel by default. At this point, things will make more sense if you don’t use
that alpha channel (I show you a cool way to use it in the next hour). So, if you use
the Title Designer, first create a solid white rectangle that fills the screen, and then
place whatever black/grayscale graphics you want to use to create transparencies
on that. In that way, the white area will be opaque and the black/grayscale areas will
be transparent as you’d expect.
2. Use the same two clips from the previous task. Drag whichever graphic you
want to use as a Track Matte key from the Project window to Video 3 and
drag its edges to fit the other two clips.
Did you
Creating Mattes in the Title Designer
Hour 18
3. You need to disable the display of that matte (otherwise, it’ll cover all clips
below it on the sequence). As shown in Figure 18.25, do that by rightclicking on the clip and selecting Enable to uncheck that attribute.
Alternatively, you can unclick the Video 3 eyeball, but that disables the
entire video track, switching off the display for any other clip you might
later put on Video 3.
FIGURE 18.25
You need to
uncheck Enable for
this clip to keep it
from covering up
clips below it on
the sequence.
4. Select the clip on Video 2. Delete the Image Matte key from the ECW and
apply the Track Matte key. Set Composite Using to Matte Luma. Your project
should look something like Figure 18.26.
FIGURE 18.26
Track Matte uses a
matte on a video
track and applies it
to the clip on a different track. The
end result in this
case is strikingly
similar to the
Image Matte key
example, but there
is no need to
resize the clip to
cover gaps.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Using Mattes to Build Split Screens
There are several ways to create a split screen. For instance, you can use an
Image Matte or a Track Matte with black on one side and white on the other, or a
more complicated Difference Matte. But the Garbage Matte is the easiest method,
so we’ll start with that.
Working with the Garbage Matte Key
You’ve seen movies with the same actor playing multiple characters in the same
scene. There are several ways to accomplish this. Using a split-screen matte is
one. Using a Difference Matte key is another. I explain both in the next two tasks.
So, what the heck is a Garbage Matte key doing in a nice place like Premiere Pro?
The Garbage Matte is so named because you use it to get rid of garbage in your
image. Frequently, a boom microphone might be in a shot done in front of a
chromakey screen. Or there might be some video noise around the edges of a
keyed shot. The Garbage Matte key readily removes those things.
Take a look at Figure 18.27. I applied RGB Difference to this shot. That keys out
the single-color background, but not the shadow on the right and that extraneous
stuff in the lower-left corner.
FIGURE 18.27
I can use RBG
Difference to key
out the background
of this shot, but
that doesn’t
remove the detritus—the shadow
and that object in
the lower-left corner.
I apply the Garbage Matte Key to remove those other items. As you can see in
Figure 18.28, it’s a bounding box with four handles in the corners. I can drag
those handles into the clip and cover up those objects.
Hour 18
FIGURE 18.28
Use the Garbage
Matte key to slice
away those unwanted items and
replace them with
Any gaps you create by dragging in the Garbage Matte’s corners become transparent, letting whatever is below them on a sequence show through. You also can
use keyframes to adjust the size and shape of this box over time.
The Garbage Matte has its limitations. It’s good at removing items along the
edges of a clip, but if you try to get at anything toward the middle you’ll probably cut off the object you’re keying.
Using the Garbage Matte Key to Make a Split
This is where task number five from Hour 17, “Compositing Part 1—Layering and
Keying Clips,” comes into play.
By the
Assignment Review
As a reminder, for the task in Hour 17, you were to tape a distinct background with
nothing moving in it—that is, no waving palm trees or soaring birds. Then, without
turning off or moving the camera (this is one exercise where you need a rock-steady
shot), have someone walk into the left side of the scene without crossing the center
line, stand around for a while, and then walk back out the left side. Have that person do the same thing entering from the right side and walking out to the right. For
a bit of comic relief, have your “actor” wave toward the center of the scene before
walking off camera.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Try it
Create a Split-Screen Effect
To create a split-screen effect using your video track assignment from Hour 17,
follow these steps:
1. In the Project window, double-click the assignment clip to display it in the
Monitor window Source screen.
2. Trim the left side of the clip to a point just before your actor enters the
scene. Drag the trimmed clip to Video 1 at the start of the sequence.
3. In the Source screen, trim the clip to a point just before your actor enters the
right side. Drag it to Video 2, right above the clip on Video 1. Move the CTI
edit line far enough into the clips so that your actor has moved onscreen.
4. Apply the Garbage Matte key to the clip on Video 2. As shown in Figure
18.29, drag the corners to reveal the clip beneath it on the sequence.
5. Preview your split screen. Your actor should enter the scene from both sides,
hang around, wave to his/her other self, and then walk off.
FIGURE 18.29
Using the Garbage
Matte key enables
you to place the
same actor in two
locations (or more)
within the same
Obviously, this takes some planning. The actor shouldn’t cross the line that
divides the set in two, for instance (you can keyframe the Garbage Matte box
edges to accommodate some overlap). The lighting can’t change from one shot to
the next, and there can’t be any movement in the vicinity of the scene’s dividing
Hour 18
Using a Difference Matte
Split screens work fine if you can keep your actors from moving across the imaginary line dividing the image or don’t have more than only a few actors (you can
use the Garbage Matte key on more than two clips, but doing so takes some real
You can resort to the Difference Matte when there is just too much action to neatly divide a scene into a few Garbage Matte–defined rectangles. The Difference
Matte behaves more like a chromakey. As with the Garbage Matte key splitscreen, the Difference Matte enables you to tape an actor working in one spot in
the scene and then tape the same or another actor working in another section at
a different time. It doesn’t have to be distinctly left and right sides. And you can
have multiple actors.
Here’s how it works: Just as you did in your assignment, you use a locked-down
camera to avoid any movement, tape a scene with a static background, and create a still image of that scene with no actors present. Then for each scene shot
with an actor, you use the Difference Matte key to look for differences between the
two scenes (in this case, the presence of an actor) and key out everything else.
What you end up with is the actor over a transparent background. You can do
that for any number of action elements, keying out the background and keeping
the action. Then you place the static background on Video 1 and layer all the
action scenes over it.
If you’ve seen the Eddie Murphy film Dr. Doolittle 2 (hey, I’m the father of a 9year-old child), you’ve seen technology like this in action. In one scene, they had
a couple dozen animals all paying rapt attention to another animal. Those animals weren’t all there at the same time. The production crew filmed them in several takes at different times and then combined them using technology like the
difference matte.
Try it
Working with a Difference Matte
Try it out by following these steps:
1. You could use the clips already on the timeline, but it’s easier to start fresh.
Therefore, clear the timeline and place the assignment clip on Video 2 (not
Video 1).
2. Move the edit line to a section of the clip on Video 2 where there are no
actors in the scene. You’ll use that scene for your still image.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
3. To create a still image, go to the main menu and select
File→Export→Frame. Navigate to the Scratch Disk file folder, name the
image something such as Difference Matte, and click Save. The default
image settings (BMP file) should work fine. This new still image automatically appears in your Project window. Leave it there for now.
4. Move the CTI Edit line to the point in the clip on Video 2 where the actor
moves onscreen.
5. Apply the Difference Matte key to the clip on Video 2. Click the Settings button, find your newly created image, and click Open. You’re going to use that
still image to key out that static background, showing only the actor over a
black (transparent) background.
6. Check the Reverse Key box and use the Similarity slider to fine-tune the
removal of the background. In a perfect world, the background would disappear, leaving only the actor. If you’re working with a standard prosumer
DV25 camcorder, its less-than-razor-sharp images make it difficult to
remove all but the actor. Glitches are common.
7. Trim your assignment clip in the Source screen to the point where your
actor enters from the other side of the scene. Drag that to Video 3.
8. Apply the Difference Matte to it, and follow the same procedures used in
step 7 to remove the background.
9. Drag the newly created Difference Matte still image you created in step 3 on
Video 1 and drag its edges to make it long enough to match the action on
the two clips above it.
Preview your project. You should see something akin to the split screen you
worked on earlier. But you’ll probably notice that this is far from a flawless
process. As shown in Figure 18.30, sometimes no matter how you adjust the
Similarity sliders, you’ll still key out parts of your actors. You probably will have
to experiment a lot to find two Similarity settings that allow the actors in both
clips to look reasonably sharp.
Difference Matte Versus Chromakey
You can use a Difference Matte to place an actor or object over a background other
than the one you shot on the original set. But that’s really the wrong technology for
that effect. If you tape actors in front of a static setting, you probably want to use
that setting in the final cut. If you want to place your actors into a different background, you might as well tape your actors in front of a blue or green screen.
Did you
Hour 18
FIGURE 18.30
Using a Difference
Matte on two clips
frequently creates
jagged edges or
gaps in the actor(s)
like the one highlighted here.
Difference Mattes take a very controlled and simple background to pull off. In
most cases, you might want to stick to split screens or blue/green screens.
Did you
Improved Matte Key Previews
One way to see a more accurate preview of any matte or other key is to create a
bright, solid-color matte (yes, the terms can be confusing) and place it on Video 1 to
use as a temporary background. As a reminder, to create a solid-color matte, click
the New Item button at the bottom of the Project window and select Color Matte.
Select a color, name the matte, and save it. It’ll appear in the Project window.
Alpha channels and mattes round out Premiere Pro’s compositing tools. Graphics
frequently have alpha channels built in. Premiere Pro “switches on” those alpha
channels, creating distinct, easy-to-use transparencies. Premiere Pro has several
video effects with alpha channel transparencies built in, as well as some effects
that work only on clips on more than one track.
Matte keys are yet another way to combine or composite clips. They come in several styles. The most common is a simple black-and-white graphic. When applied
to a clip, it makes portions transparent and other areas opaque.
Compositing Part 2—Alpha Channels and Mattes
Q I placed a graphic I wanted to use as a Track Matte on a sequence and I
used the Motion effect on it to move it around the screen. But when I
applied that graphic to another clip using the Track Matte Key, the graphic
doesn’t move. What’s going on?
A To get that Track Matte to move—to become a traveling matte—you need
to put the graphic in a separate sequence that you will later nest inside the
original sequence. I explain that process in the next hour.
Q I tried using the Difference Matte, but when I move the Similarity slider,
my actor disappears, not the background scene. Why?
A The Difference Matte is an odd duck. It looks for differences between two
images and removes them. But that’s not what you want to do. You want to
remove similarities. Therefore, check the Reverse Key box to do just that.
Now when you move the slider, the background should disappear and your
actor should remain.
1. You have a lovely logo created in Photoshop. How do you give it some
sharp, beveled edges and fly it over a clip of your office exterior?
2. If black areas of an alpha channel are transparent, why is black text on a
graphic with an alpha channel opaque?
3. What’s the difference between an Image Matte and a Track Matte?
Quiz Answers
1. Place it in a video track above your office shot. Apply the Bevel Alpha
effect to it. Adjust the Edge Thickness, Light Angle, Light Color, and Light
Intensity settings to suit your needs. Then use Motion’s parameters to fly it
over your video clip.
2. The color of the graphic does not set opacity. The color of the alpha channel
does. Typically, artists create graphics and build an alpha channel stencil to
match the graphic’s borders. In that alpha channel layer, areas beneath the
graphic are white to ensure the graphic remains opaque no matter what
color it is.
Hour 18
3. You apply an Image Matte directly to a clip by clicking that clip’s Image
Matte Settings box and selecting the Image Matte graphic file. Track Matte
is not as direct. You place that matte clip on a separate video track. Then
you apply the Track Matte key effect to a clip and select the video track with
the matte graphic. You use track mattes to create traveling or moving
mattes. I explain that in the next hour.
1. Create a four-segment split screen. You can do this by applying the Garbage
Matte key three times, adjusting its bounding box to display three different
corners. Or you can make three mattes with black covering three-quarters of
each one. Then place the same person/object in each quadrant of the same
2. Use Camera View to have one clip move back to one side then spin away to
reveal a second clip behind it. Then move that second clip back to the other
side to reveal another clip behind it. You can apply the Motion effect to
keep the “hinges” of each door attached to the side of the screen before
twirling the clip off into the distance. On the other hand, you could use the
Swing In or Swing Out transitions. But that would be too easy and your custom version will look much better.
3. Use the Strobe Light effect with keyframes on a clip on Video 2 (above
another clip) to flash white frames, black frames, inverse frames (set the
Strobe Operator to Difference), and transparent frames showing through to
the clip below. For anything but transparent flashes, set Strobe to Operates
on Color Only. For white, set Strobe Operator to Add or Copy; for Black, use
Subtract; and for Inverse, use Difference. To see through to the lower video
track, set Strobe to Makes Layer Transparent. All these parameters are
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—
Part 1
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Highlighting a portion of your clip
Applying realistic drop shadows to rotating objects
Working with nested sequences
Enhancing two effects using nested sequences
Giving motion to two immovable effects
Obscuring someone’s identity
Fine-tuning keys using a nested sequence
In this hour and the next, I’m going to take things beyond the scope of most
Premiere Pro how-to books by presenting tips, tricks, and techniques. These are the
kinds of tools that experienced editors frequently use. But if you’ve never seen them
in action, you probably wouldn’t come up with them on your own. After you’ve tried
them out, you’ll find myriad ways to apply them to your projects.
In this hour, I focus on nested sequences—offering up six specific uses for them—
plus I present two other practical Premiere Pro editing applications.
In the next hour, I take you through Premiere Pro’s most important new video effect:
the Color Corrector. Plus I offer up a couple fun tasks, several keyboard shortcuts,
and a collection of expert tips from an Adobe corporate Premiere Pro evangelist.
Hour 19
Highlighting a Portion of Your Clip
Frequently, you’ll want to draw attention to something within your clip without
completely obscuring that portion of the clip. You might want to apply a graphic
or a super there or highlight an object or person.
You do that by putting the same clip on Video 1 and Video 2, using an image or
Track Matte key on the clip on Video 2 to highlight a portion of the clip, and
applying a video effect to the clip on Video 1 to make the matted section of your
clip stand out.
Try it
Highlight a Portion of Your Clip
How you choose to highlight your clip is up to you. You’ll see what I mean as I
take you through this task. The fundamental process works for a variety of situations. In this case, I go over how to change the color and sharpness of a portion
of your clip so that when you add text it stands out from the image. Here are the
1. Create a new sequence: select File→New→Sequence, name it Highlight a
Clip, and click OK.
2. Using the sample project that shipped with Premiere Pro, drag
Saleen_Car_10 to Video 1 and Video 2 (you can use your own clip: a brief
scene—15 seconds or so—that does not have much action in it). For this
effect to work properly, both clips must be lined up. Figure 19.1 demonstrates what I mean. Drag the CTI edit line into the clip a bit.
To highlight a location on a clip, start
the process by
placing that clip on
both Video 1 and
Video 2.
3. I prefer using the Track Matte key because it works with mattes created in
the Title Designer. So, open the Title Designer (File→New→Title) to create
the matte. Click Show Video to see your clip as you create the matte.
4. In this case, because you’ll put text within the highlighted portion of your
clip, create a black, rounded rectangle to define that area—something along
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
the lines of the one shown in Figure 19.2. Save your title by selecting
File→Save, give it a name like Clip Highlight Matte, and click Save (that
automatically puts it in the Project window).
Matte Creation Suggestions
In my example, I used the Rounded Corner Rectangle tool to create that vertical
oval. By default, the Fill color is black, which works fine. To give it that gray border, I
opened Strokes, clicked Add next to Outer Strokes, set the size to 10, clicked the
rectangle next to the word Color to access the Color Picker to pick gray, and set the
Opacity to 50% to let some of the clip show through when I apply the Track Matte
key in a moment.
Did you
5. Drag your matte clip to Video 3 of your sequence and extend it to fit over
the clips on Video 1 and 2. Switch off its display by right-clicking it and
unchecking Enable.
A rounded rectangle matte works
well to frame text.
Did you
Hour 19
What’s Going on Here?
The object here is to change the appearance of the clip on Video 1 to have that
slightly altered view show through the matte applied to the clip on Video 2. What
you’ll do is blur the clip on Video 1 and change its color. The tinted soft focus will let
that clip’s action show through but will serve as a relatively nondistracting backdrop
for some text.
6. Switch off the eyeball on Video 2 so that you can see your work on Video 1.
7. Select the clip on Video 1 and apply Fast Blur and Tint to it in the Effect
Controls window (ECW). As shown in Figure 19.3, a low blur setting works
well. You have two tinting options: You can select a color to apply to light
pixels in your clip and a color to apply to dark pixels. After these have been
selected, adjust the Amount to Tint. The object is to make things look softer
without losing some detail. You can make adjustments later if necessary.
Give the clip on
Video 1 a slight
blur and a different
tint to make it
stand out when
placed inside the
Track Matte key.
8. Turn on the eyeball for Video 2, select the clip on Video 2, and apply the
Track Matte key. As shown in Figure 19.4, in the ECW, set Matte to Video 3,
Composite Using Matte Alpha, and click Reverse. That latter parameter
makes the alpha channel in this clip opaque (covering the clip on Video 1)
and makes the oval and its border transparent, letting the altered clip show
through. The end result should look something like Figure 19.4.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
Applying the Track
Matte key to the
clip on Video 2
cuts a digital
“hole” in that clip,
letting the blurred
clip on Video 1
show through.
9. Finally, you can add text to this clip by returning to the Title Designer.
Using one of the vertical type tools would work well for this graphic. After
creating the text, save it and add it to the sequence on a track above the
two clips. Figure 19.5 shows one example. The blurred clip on Video 1
makes the text stand out.
Use a vertical type
tool to create text
for this Track Matte
Applying Realistic Drop Shadows to
Rotating Objects
As I mentioned in Hour 11, “Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion,” the Drop
Shadow effect does not throw a realistic shadow when using the Rotation parameter. The shadow “sticks” to the clip, meaning it turns with it as if it were part of
Hour 19
the clip, rather than a real shadow. It’s as if Rotation also moves the position of
the sun. You’ll encounter this any time you create a picture-in-picture or layer a
graphic over another clip. Drop shadows are just about standard for such effects,
and if you spin those pics-in-pics, you want those shadows to behave realistically.
Two effects overcome that minor inconvenience: Transform and Camera View. A
third, Basic 3D, works reasonably well with the Drop Shadow effect but it has two
. It doesn’t have rotation as a parameter.
. As you tilt the clip toward the viewer, the shadow remains the same size
and shape as the clip. You see it as a clip-sized rectangle lying behind and
parallel to the clip. It does not change size and shape to match the move.
Applying Drop Shadow to Transform
Rather than a fully fleshed-out task, I’ll give you a basic run-through of how to
use Drop Shadows with Transform. Using Figure 19.6 as a reference, I put a color
matte on Video 1 and a clip on Video 2. I applied Transform to that clip, reduced
its scale, and used keyframes to have it move across the screen, rotating twice
along the way.
Then I applied the Drop Shadow effect. Now as the clip spins across the screen,
the shadow always falls down and to the right. You need to apply Drop Shadow
after you apply Transform (so it’s below Transform in the ECW); otherwise, it will
stick to the clip just as it does when used with Motion.
Using Camera View with Drop Shadow
You use Camera View when you want to simulate a changing clip viewing angle.
As shown in Figure 19.7, updating some parameters distorts the clip shape, giving
it perspective. Using the Roll parameter works much like Rotation in Transform,
and the Drop Shadow effect works smoothly with that spinning clip.
The one caveat is that, just as with Basic 3D, as you tilt the clip toward the viewer, the drop shadow starts looking unrealistic, matching the shape and size of the
clip and lying parallel to it.
One other point: For the Drop Shadow to work, you need to open Camera View’s
Setup dialog box and unclick the Fill Alpha Channel check box.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
The Drop Shadow
effect creates realistic shadows when
used with the
Transform effect.
Camera View also
works hand-in-hand
with Drop Shadow
to create realistic
shadows to spinning clips.
Hour 19
Working with Nested Sequences
The nested sequence concept is new to Premiere Pro and replaces something
called virtual clips. Nested sequences are a huge improvement. I won’t explain virtual clips; I’ll only say that all sorts of things could go wrong with them and they
were very confusing. Nested sequences greatly simplify the virtual clip process.
A nested sequence is a sequence-in-a-sequence. You can create an entire project
segment in one sequence and drop that sequence—with all its clips, graphics, layers, multiple audio/video tracks, and effects—into another sequence. There it will
look and behave like a single, linked audio/video clip.
You use nested sequences for several reasons:
. Apply an effect or effects to a collection of layered clips. That saves having
to do that to each layer or clip, one at a time.
. Apply more than one transition between clips.
. Build multiple picture-in-picture effects.
. Give motion or apply other effects to immovable effects.
. Reuse sequences, or use the same sequence but give it different looks each
. Simplify editing by creating complex sequences separately. This helps you
avoid running into conflicts and inadvertently shifting clips on a track that
is far from your current work area.
. They’re also very helpful organizationally—for the same reason you might
create subfolders in the project window or in Windows Explorer. They avoid
confusion and shorten editing time.
By the
Developer Comment—Our Take on Nested Sequences
They have so many uses that aren’t immediately apparent. Not only does this feature
enable you to break up your project into more manageable chunks, it also allows you
to treat longer segments as one piece.
A prime example is color correction or other effects. If you want a two-minute
sequence of multiple cuts to have the same dreamy look or be in black-and-white, for
example, rather than apply these effects to the individual cuts, you would apply the
effects to the entire sequence that has been placed in another sequence.
Once nested, a sequence acts just like a clip, which means you can apply one effect
to the entire time span. And if you want to change the settings, you can do it in one
place rather than changing one and then setting the rest of the clips to the same
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
I introduced nested sequences back in Hour 16, “Using Higher-Level Video
Effects.” As a reminder, open the sample project that shipped with Premiere Pro.
In the Saleen_Sample sequence, double-click on the last clip: Saleen_logo_Layers.
That clip is a nested sequence and double-clicking it adds that sequence to the
Timeline window and switches the view to that sequence. As shown in Figure
19.8, this sequence is simply two graphic clips.
Double-clicking a
nested sequence
clip opens its
sequence in the
Timeline window.
The sample project’s editor chose to create this two-layer sequence for a simple
reason: to fade to black. To see that, return to the Saleen_Sample sequence by
clicking its tab in the Timeline window. As shown in Figure 19.9, the last clip, the
Saleen_logo_Layers sequence, has the Cross Dissolve transition applied to it.
When used at the end of a piece, it fades the video to black.
The highlighted
clip, actually a
nested sequence,
has a Cross
Dissolve applied to
it—a minor timesaving step.
If this project’s editor had not used this nested sequence, he would have had to
apply the Cross Dissolve to both clips. In this case, the nested sequence avoided
only a minor inconvenience. But I think you get the idea of how nested sequences
can help.
Hour 19
Enhancing Two Effects Using Nested
In this section, I explain workarounds for two Premiere Pro video effects. Both
have issues that only a nested sequence can address:
. The Echo video effect disables all effects applied above it (before it) in the
Effect Controls window. Frequently, you want to apply some other effects
before using Echo. For instance, you might want to use a key effect to
remove a background before applying the Echo effect. A nested sequence
lets you do that.
. You cannot apply motion to a Track Matte key. This is critical because you
usually use track mattes to make traveling mattes—moving screens that, for
example, follow action or obscure someone’s identity.
Try it
Giving Echo More Attributes
This can be fairly straightforward, but I’ve extended it a bit by adding a few
housekeeping steps to help with upcoming tasks. In this task, you create a new
sequence, add a clip, apply a key effect to it, open that nested sequence clip in
another sequence, and apply Echo to it:
1. To keep things orderly, create a new bin in the Project window by clicking
the Bin button at the bottom of that window. Name it Nested Sequences. It
shows up in the Project window and is automatically selected. This is where
you will store any new sequences.
2. Create a new sequence by selecting File→New—Sequence. Type in a name—
I suggest Nested Sequence Test—and click OK. As illustrated in Figure
19.10, because the newly created Nested Sequences bin was highlighted, this
new sequence shows up in that bin.
3. Follow the same process used in step two and create another sequence.
Name it Echo Effect Sequence.
4. Take a look at the Timeline window. As shown in Figure 19.11, your new
sequence should be open and there should be a tab at the top of the window denoting the presence of the other new sequence. The default new
sequence layout is three video and audio tracks plus a master audio track.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
FIGURE 19.10
Click the highlighted Bin button to
create a new bin to
store the
sequences you’ll
create in the
upcoming tasks.
FIGURE 19.11
As you create new
sequences, they
show up as tabs in
the Timeline window.
5. From the Project window, Sample Media bin, drag Saleen_Car_04 to Video 2
of Echo Effect Sequence (you’ll add a color matte to Video 1 in a
moment). You can drag both ends to lengthen it a bit.
You might notice in Figure 19.11 that the Saleen_Car_04 clip fills the length of the
Timeline window even though it’s only five seconds long. That’s because I used the
keyboard shortcut \ (backslash). That automatically zooms the timescale in the
Timeline window to fit the full length of the current sequence’s clips—which might
shrink or enlarge the current display. In this case, that amounts to one very brief clip
taking up the entire sequence display.
6. Create a color matte by clicking the New Item button at the bottom of the
Project Window, selecting Color Matte, selecting a color (bright yellow works
well), clicking OK, giving that matte a name, and clicking OK. Drag that
matte from the Project window to Video 1 and extend it to match the length
of the Saleen_Car_04 clip.
Did you
Expanding Clip Display—Keyboard Shortcut
Hour 19
7. Apply the Luma Key effect to the Saleen_Car_04 clip. Adjust the Threshold
and Cutoff sliders to remove the black background. As you can see in Figure
19.12, I chose values of 18% and 7% respectively.
FIGURE 19.12
Apply the Luma Key
effect to key out
the black areas of
this clip.
8. Remove the color matte from the sequence by selecting it and pressing
Delete. You used it only as a reference and you don’t want it showing up in
the final project.
9. Switch to the Nested Sequence Test sequence by clicking its tab in the
Timeline window.
10. Drag Echo Effect Sequence from the Project window to Video 2. It will be a
different color than other clips (unless you’ve changed the default color for
sequence clips) and it will display as a linked A/V clip despite the fact that
the AVI clip has no audio.
By the
Unlink and Remove Audio
You don’t have to remove the audio portion of the clip, but it’s helpful to remove useless items. As a reminder, to delete the audio portion of a linked A/V clip, right-click
on the clip, select Unlink Audio and Video, click in the sequence (but not on the
clips) to complete the unlink process, click on the audio portion, and press the
Delete key.
11. Drag Saleen_Car_01 to Video 1. This will be the background for the keyed
out areas of the Echo Effect Sequence clip.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
12. Apply Echo to the Echo Effect Sequence nested sequence clip. Finding settings that reveal the clip while still creating an Echo takes some doing. Use
Figure 19.13 as a guide. Preview your work.
Try Some Other Effects
Apply just about any video effect to the original clip in Echo Effect Sequence. I
like Invert. It reverses color or luminance information, creating a color negative
(inverse) effect. Try the HLS (Hue, Lightness, and Saturation) setting. Make adjustments to the Blend With Original slider. Less than 50% or so creates a dramatic
color shift. Greater than 50% tends to be a more subtle change.
By the
Any changes you make will show up immediately in the clip in the Nested Sequence
Test sequence.
FIGURE 19.13
Using a nested
sequence means
that you can use a
key effect before
applying the Echo
Premiere Pro does not permit more than one transition at an edit point. But you
can use a nested sequence if you want more. Here’s how to do that:
Try it
Using More Than One Transition at a Time
2. Add two clips to that sequence in the Timeline window. Any two will work,
but as long as you have the sample project open, add Saleen_Car_09 and
Saleen_Car_10 to Video 1.
1. Create a new sequence by selecting the Nested Sequence bin in the Project
window, selecting File→New→Sequence, naming that sequence Multiple
Transitions, and clicking OK.
Hour 19
3. Apply an obvious transition to them. I suggest Center Split. For my example, I added a white border.
4. Click on the Nested Sequence Test tab in the Timeline window and remove
the two clips from the previous task.
5. Drag the Multiple Transitions sequence clip from the Project window to
Video 1.
6. Move the CTI edit line to the center of the transition.
7. As shown in Figure 19.14 select the Razor tool (keyboard shortcut C) and cut
the clip at that point.
FIGURE 19.14
Create a double
transition by razoring a nested
sequence clip at
the center of an
existing transition,
and then dropping
another transition
8. Add an obvious transition here. As shown in Figure 19.15, I went with
Center Split again and gave it a blue border. That gave me a very cool looking, split-in-a-split transition.
FIGURE 19.15
Adding the same
Center Split transition to an existing
Center Split transition leads to this
wild effect.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
Giving Motion to Two Immovable Effects
Premiere Pro will not allow you to apply any effects, including motion, to either
the Texturize or the Track Matte key effects. They effectively switch off all other
effects. Nested sequences resolve that.
Try it
Applying Motion (and Other Effects) to Texturize
Texturize has many possibilities, but the only way you can take advantage of
them is by putting the clip you’ll use to create the texture in a nested sequence.
After it’s there, you can apply any effect to it, including Motion. Here’s how to do
1. Just as you did in the two previous tasks, make a new sequence. Name it
2. Drag the Saleen_logo_Layers graphic to Video 1 in the Texturize
3. Apply Motion to it. As shown Figure 19.16, I scaled it up to 300% and used
keyframes to have it move from the upper left to the lower right.
FIGURE 19.16
4. Click the Nested Sequence Test tab to open it in the Timeline window.
Remove all clips, add Saleen_Car_08 to Video 1, and the Texturize
sequence to Video 2.
Apply motion settings to a graphic
to prepare to
demonstrate another use for a nested
Hour 19
5. Apply Texturize to the clip in Video 1. As shown in Figure 19.17, set the
Texture Layer to Video 2 (the track with the nested sequence), adjust the
light direction for maximum texture, and raise the contrast.
FIGURE 19.17
Give Texturize higher contrast to further emphasize a
6. Play the clip and note that the logo gives the Saleen car clip a moving,
embossed look.
7. Return to the Texturize sequence and apply some other motion or effects to
the graphic. Bevel Edges, for instance, will amplify the embossed effect.
Try it
8. Return to Nested Sequence Test, and note that the new effects show up
immediately in the Saleen_Car_08 clip.
Following Action with Traveling Mattes
This method is an exciting way to focus attention on action. Its methodology is
sort of a combination of this hour’s first task, “Highlighting a Portion of Your
Clip,” and the previous task, “Applying Motion (and Other Effects) to Texturize.”
In this case, you’ll use a Track Matte key to highlight an object in motion.
To accomplish this, follow these steps:
1. As you’ve done in previous tasks, make a new sequence. Name this one
Traveling Matte.
2. Drag the Saleen_Car_10 clip to Video 1 and extend it to its full length by
dragging both edges. The clip is just shy of nine seconds long. Move the CTI
edit line to a few seconds into the clip so that you can see the car’s headlights emerging from the fog.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
3. Open the Adobe Title Designer by selecting File→New→Title.
4. As shown in Figure 19.18, switch on Show Video, create a solid color oval
such that it covers the car’s headlights. Choose a color other than black so
that you can see it on a black background. As long as it’s opaque, the color
doesn’t matter. Save this title: File→Save. Name it Traveling Matte. Saving
it automatically places it in your Project window.
FIGURE 19.18
Use the Title
Designer to create
a traveling matte
that will highlight a
moving object.
5. Drag the Traveling Matte clip from the Project window to Video 2 of your
Traveling Matte sequence. Extend it to fit completely above the
Saleen_Car_10 clip.
7. Move the CTI into the clip about five seconds (just before the car turns to its
left) and adjust the Motion Position and Scale parameters again to match
the growing headlights. Doing so will automatically add new keyframes for
those parameters.
6. Now you’ll apply some motion characteristics to the Traveling Matte
sequence to have it follow the car’s headlights. As shown in Figure 19.19, do
that by pressing the Home key to place the CTI on the first frame, reducing
opacity (so that you can see the headlights), selecting Motion, turning on
keyframes for position and scale, and then adjusting the location and the
size of the matte to fit the headlights.
Hour 19
FIGURE 19.19
Apply motion settings to have the
oval move and
expand as the
headlights move
through the scene.
8. Move the CTI to the end of the clip (press End and the Left Arrow key).
Adjust the Motion settings again. Remember, you can set Scale to something
greater than 100% by typing in a value higher than 100 (the slider goes
only to 100%). You can fine-tune this parameter setting process by adding
other points in the clip, but I think setting three points gives you an idea
about how this works.
9. If you want, you can go back to the beginning of the clip and set keyframes
for opacity to have the matte gradually reveal itself over the lights (start at
0% opacity and climb to 100% as lights appear through the fog). If not,
click the Opacity reset button to put it back to 100% (the oval will switch
back to black).
10. Remove the Saleen_Car_10 clip from Video 1 by selecting it and pressing the
Delete key (you had it there only as a guide for your motion settings).
11. Open the Nested Sequence Test sequence, remove all clips, add
Saleen_Car_10 to Video 1, extend it to its full length, do that again for
Video 2 (you can Copy/Paste as well), and drag the Traveling Matte
sequence from the Project window to Video 3. Your sequence should look
like the one in the Timeline window in Figure 19.20.
12. Right-click the Traveling Matte sequence and uncheck Enable.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
13. Select the clip on Video 1, apply the Brightness & Contrast video effect to it
and reduce its brightness to about –65%. This darkens the clip while the
Track Matte key displays the headlight portions of the clip on Video 2 at full
14. Select the clip on Video 2 and apply the Track Matte key to it. Set the matte
to Video 3 and Composite Using to Matte Alpha. Preview your sequence. It
should look something like the video image in Figure 19.20.
FIGURE 19.20
How your Track
Matte key
sequence should
A Slicker Means to the Same End
As is the case with all things Premiere Pro, there is a slightly different, faster
(when you get used to it) way to impart motion to a track matte. If your PC is
reasonably fast, this approach should work smoothly. Slower PCs might require a
little extra effort, but I recommend you try this, fast PC or not.
The principal difference is that you have both the nested sequence and the final
project open in the two Monitor window screens and do your work there. It saves
you a step and demonstrates yet another cool feature of Premiere Pro: ganging
your Source and Program Monitor window screens. It also takes some reverse
thinking because you will put your project sequence in the Source screen and your
original track matte graphic clip in the Program screen.
Try it
Hour 19
Creating a Traveling Matte Using Both Monitor Screens
In any event, this is a very slick way to apply effects to a nested sequence and see
immediate feedback in the final project. The process and setup for this method
are very similar to the task you just completed. Here’s how you do it:
1. Use the same two sequences: Traveling Matte and Nested Sequence Test.
2. Place only your Traveling Matte graphic clip in the Traveling Matte
sequence on Video 1 (there’s no need, in this example, to temporarily use a
video clip as a reference for motion settings).
3. As before, put the clip you want to apply the Track Matte key to on Video 1
and Video 2 of the Nested Sequence Test sequence. And drag the
Traveling Matte sequence clip from the Project window to Video 3 of the
Nested Sequence Test sequence.
4. Drag the Nested Sequence Test sequence from the Project window to the
Source screen.
5. Open the Traveling Matte sequence and put the CTI edit line on that
Traveling Matte clip to display it in the Program screen.
6. As shown in Figure 19.21, gang the Program and Source screens by clicking
either the Source or Program wing menu and selecting Gang Source and
Program. With that feature enabled, when you move the CTI for one window, the CTI in the other window moves in sync.
FIGURE 19.21
Gang the Monitor
Source and
Program screens to
help simplify the
traveling matte creation process.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
Obscuring Someone’s Identity
This is another use for a traveling matte. You’ve seen those TV programs that
hide the identity of a witness or a suspect by making their faces look like animated mosaics (using black rectangles to cover eyes—or other body parts—is so old
school). They typically use a traveling matte combined with an effect such as
Crystallize to accomplish that feat.
Take a look at Figure 19.22. Here’s how I obscured that person’s identity (don’t
worry; she’s neither a witness nor a suspect).
1. I used the Title Designer to create a black oval.
2. Just as you did in the previous task, I put it in motion and adjusted its size
to match the motion of the subject.
3. In addition, I applied Fast Blur to it to soften its edges.
4. In a different sequence, I put the video clip on the first two tracks and the
traveling matte sequence (making it a nested sequence) on the third.
5. I applied two video effects to the clip on Video 1: Mosaic and then
6. I applied the Track Matte key to the clip on Video 2, set the Matte to Video 3
and set Composite Using to Matte Alpha.
7. Finally, and this is the significant difference between this use of the Track
Matte key and the use in the task you just completed, I clicked the Reverse
check box. That reverses the alpha channels. What that does is use the clip
on Video 2 to obscure the clip on Video 1 with the exception of letting the
portion of Video 1 within the track matte oval show through. That means
the Mosaic/Crystallize effect shows only within the oval.
7. Select the Traveling Matte clip. In the ECW, select Motion and move, scale,
or rotate the clip, and add keyframes as needed. On faster machines, you
should see all your motion attributes display in the Source window. On
slower machines, you might need to drag the CTI a bit to force a screen
Did you
Hour 19
A Faster and Easier Alternative
Using Premiere Pro to create a traveling matte and applying motion settings to it can
be relatively simple if the motion is easy to follow and generally falls on a straight
line. Curved or convoluted paths are a trickier proposition. That’s where Adobe After
Effects shines. The Professional version of that powerful video production tool has a
Motion Tracker that automatically builds a traveling matte path in a matter of
moments. I demonstrate that in Hour 22, “Using Photoshop and After Effects to
Enhance Your DV Project.”
FIGURE 19.22
Obscure someone’s
identity by using a
Track Matte key
and a combination
of Mosaic and
Fine-tuning Keys Using a Nested
Keying can be hit or miss. Frequently, you’ll be hard-pressed to remove pixels
near the edges of the subject you want to key over a background. At other times,
hotspots—unevenly lit areas of your green/blue screen—will not key out.
Creating a nested sequence as a means to apply a key twice can help. It’s not a
guarantee, but it sometimes can be the difference between unusable and acceptable.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
Try it
Fine-tune Keys with a Nested Sequence
To fine-tune keys with a nested sequence, follow these steps:
1. Open the Nested Sequence Test sequence you worked on in the “Creating
a Traveling Matte Using Both Monitor Screens” task earlier this hour and
remove all clips.
2. Use a clip from assignment number one back in Hour 17, “Compositing
Part 1—Layering and Keying Clips.” That called for you to tape a subject in
front of a solid—and differently colored—backdrop. Drag that clip to Video
3. Drag any clip that can serve as a background to Video 1.
A Color Matte Can Make Keying Easier
Instead of a video clip background, consider using a color matte. This gives you a
more accurate representation of how well your key is working. As a reminder, to
make a color matte, click the New Item button in the Project window, select Color
Matte, choose a color, give your matte a descriptive name, and click OK. The matte
will appear in your Project window.
Did you
4. Apply a color-based key to the clip on Video 2. Your pick: Chroma, RGB
Difference, Blue/Green Screen, or Non-Red.
5. Use the Eyedropper tool to select the color to key out then adjust the slider(s)
as well as you can without impacting the subject. My example in Figure
19.23 has a hotspot that does not key out without creating a transparency
in the subject. Click OK.
Try Different Keys or a Matte
You might try different keys. RGB Difference might work better than Green Screen,
depending on how closely your green screen matches true chroma green.
Or create a matte to block out the areas that did not key correctly. For example, you
could use the Title Designer, switch on Show Video so that you can see where to
place the mask on the screen, and use the Shape tools to build an object or objects
to cover up the problem area(s).
6. Remove the background clip.
Did you
Hour 19
FIGURE 19.23
A first-time application of an RGB key
shows a hotspot on
the green screen.
7. In a different sequence, drag the nested sequence you just created to Video
2, drag the background color matte to Video 1, and apply a color-based key
to the Nested Sequence clip.
Did you
8. Once again, adjust the sliders to suit your needs. As shown in Figure 19.24, I
managed to fine-tune the key effect enough to clean up those stray pixels.
Leave Room for the Eyedropper Tool to Grab a Color
If you carefully adjust the Similarity or other values in the original clip so that almost
no unkeyed areas are left, you might not be able to use the Eyedropper tool in the
nested sequence clip to select a color to key out. Therefore, go easy on the first
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
FIGURE 19.24
Applying the RGB
key a second time
to a nested
sequence cleans
up most of the
poorly keyed portion of the original
Experienced Premiere Pro users typically have a few editing tricks up their sleeves.
Unless you see them at work, you might not come up with them yourself. In this
hour, I’ve explained two of them: highlighting an area of your clip using a matte
and a couple video effects, and adding realistic drop shadows to rotating clips.
In addition, I explained several uses for nested sequences, taking you through
specific tasks that showed you how to enhance the Echo effect, use multiple transitions at one location, apply motion to the Texturize effect, follow action and
obscure someone’s identity with a Track Matte key, and fine-tune chroma keys.
Hour 19
Q I used the Track Matte key with a graphic I made using the Title Designer.
My purpose was to highlight a portion of a clip by putting that area into a
soft focus. But it’s in sharp focus and the rest of the clip is blurred. Why?
A You need to click the Reverse option check box in the Track Matte key’s display in the ECW. Normally, when using a graphic with transparent alpha
channel regions (almost always the case for graphics created with the Title
Designer), the graphic elements of your matte are opaque and everything
else is transparent. So, when you chose Matte Alpha for the Matte type, that
let the clip on Video 1 show through those alpha channel regions. Selecting
Reverse makes the alpha channel regions opaque and the graphic elements
transparent, thereby creating the desired effect.
Q I put a clip in a sequence, nested that sequence into another, and applied
some effects. Later, I wanted to nest that sequence in another part of the
project but I wanted it to look a bit different. So, I changed the clip’s
appearance before dragging that sequence to the new location. But now
the first nested sequence clip has changed appearance too. What’s up?
A Basically, you defeated the purpose of nested sequences. When you want to
use a nested sequence more than once, you have to make any changes to it
after you apply it to a new sequence. Any changes you make to the original
clip in its sequence ripple through the project to all instances where you
added that sequence to a project.
1. When rotating a clip over another clip, what two effects ensure that Drop
Shadow performs realistically? When do you apply Drop Shadow? Above or
below those effects in the ECW?
2. For the Track Matte key tasks in this hour, you used graphics with alpha
channels. How would using simple graphics that don’t have alpha channels
be different?
3. In the traveling matte task, you reduced the brightness on the clip in Track
1 to make the highlighted area stand out. How can you do that with the
track matte graphic itself?
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 1
Quiz Answers
1. Use Drop Shadow with Transform and Camera View to give rotating clips
shadows that fall in a same relative direction. Apply Drop Shadow after
either of these effects (below them in the ECW).
2. You’d need to keep in mind that white portions of your graphic will be
opaque and black will be transparent. Gray areas will have some transparency. And in the ECW, you’d set the Track Matte key’s Composite Using
parameter to Matte Luma. You can reverse that black/white transparency
behavior by clicking the Reverse check box.
3. When you create a graphic in either the Title Designer or a graphics editing
program, color the entire graphic gray. (In the Title Designer, you can
reduce its opacity and use the Matte Alpha setting or keep the opacity at
100% and use the Matte Luma setting.) Then create a black shape you will
use for the highlight. The only caveat here is that if you use Motion or some
other effect to reduce the size of the graphic, you’ll see that gray area as a
rectangle in your clip. The way around that is to make a very large graphic
or a smaller highlighted area that you expand to fit the area of the clip you
want to highlight. As I’ve mentioned several times, Premiere Pro has so
many options, you can almost always find other ways to accomplish the
same tasks.
1. Get used to working with nested sequences by creating a quad transition.
Apply one transition to a clip. Drop it in a new sequence, add another transition to it, drop that into another sequence, and so on. With each additional transition, lengthen the duration by a second or so. As a means to get a
clearer picture of what’s going on, choose Transitions that have borders and
make the borders thick to further emphasize each transition. When you’re
done, go back and change the attributes of a couple transitions and see how
that affects the final quad transition.
2. Highlight an area of a clip using a track matte. Then try out a number of
different video effects’ combinations on the clip on Video 1 as a means to
alter it and make it stand out. Conversely, try to make it less prominent to
allow something else—a graphic, logo, or text—to stand out on it. Switch
back and forth between using the Reverse option and not using it.
3. Creating traveling mattes that actually follow action should become part of
your standard editing arsenal. They add some real visual interest to your
projects. To gain facility with their creation, make a couple. Experiment a
Hour 19
bit. Change the shape of the matte by giving it a soft focus using the Fast
Blur effect and add a border. Alter the appearance of the highlighted area
using keyframes to fade in that change and fade it out. Try both traveling
matte production methods: working on the matte in the sequence and
ganging the Monitor window screens.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—
Part 2
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Adjusting color—three color-correcting effects
Working in the Trim window
Four fun editing techniques
Five fast editing tips
Using Timeline window keyboard shortcuts
Checking out several workspace shortcuts and tools
Tips from an Adobe corporate Premiere Pro evangelist
Premiere Pro’s depth lends itself to discovery. Experienced editors frequently stumble
across undocumented editing tricks that fall outside those described in the printed
manual and the online help file that accompany your copy of Premiere Pro.
For this hour’s lesson, I’ve assembled several such tips, tricks, and techniques, including a half-dozen favorites from Adobe’s principal corporate Premiere Pro evangelist.
They should help you become a faster, more efficient and creative editor.
I also take you on a tour of Premiere Pro’s most important new video effect—the
Color Corrector—and its two narrower purpose siblings—Broadcast Colors and Color
Match. And I show you how to tap the power of another new and very helpful feature: the Trim window.
Hour 20
Adjusting Color—Three Color-Correcting
The addition of the Color Corrector effect to Premiere Pro, along with its more
specialized partners, Color Match and Broadcast Colors, is a big deal. They are
much more than single, narrow purpose video effects. Rather, taken together, they
are a full-featured suite of tools. The Color Corrector even has its own pre-set
Open a project then open that workspace by selecting
Window→Workspace→Color Correction. Your interface should look like Figure
20.1. Those three graphical displays in the Monitor window are called (in clockwise order starting at the upper left) Waveform, Vectorscope, and RGB Parade.
The one other available option not displayed in this default view is the YCbCr
Did you
Developer Comment—Two Sequence Views
This tip is from Adobe’s Premiere Pro corporate evangelist, Daniel Brown. He provides five more tips in this hour’s concluding section.
Using the Reference Monitor (screen) can give you two different views of the same
timeline. This was created primarily to let you see a vector scope in one window
while you see straight video footage in the other window, but you can have two video
sources as well. As described later in the Color Match effect section, if you want to
match colors across different parts of the timeline, this is tremendously helpful.
Did you
Color Correction Alphabet Soup
Venturing into the color correction arena opens up a whole new can of alphabet
soup. In the case of the Reference Monitor display options, RGB Parade refers to
the red, green, and blue elements used in PC monitor displays. Y, Cb, and Cr refer to
the color mode used by the television industry for digital video. Y is luma and Cb
and Cr are the chroma (color) components.
The power and scope of Premiere Pro’s Color Corrector, Broadcast Colors, and
Color Match effects go way beyond what I can cover in this small section. Entire
books are written on color correction. I recommend Color Correction for Digital
Video by Steve Hullfish and Jaime Fowler. If you become adept at the various color
correction features, you can turn those skills into a marketable commodity. Good
colorists command substantial salaries.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Premiere Pro’s
Color Correction
workspace puts
several new tools
and displays at
your fingertips.
I don’t think of these effects solely as means to correct something. They are also
color adjusters. You can use the Color Corrector to set a mood and Color Match to
ensure that a project has a consistent look as you go from one scene to the next.
What follows is a basic overview of how they work.
Using the Broadcast Colors Effect
Consumer TV sets cannot handle the same luminance (brightness) as PC monitors. To compensate for that, some video editors apply the Broadcast Colors effect
to selected clips or their entire project.
Applying an Effect to More Than One Clip
To apply the Broadcast Colors effect (or any other video effect) to more than one clip
or even an entire project, use a nested sequence. Assemble your clips in one
sequence and nest it into another sequence where it’ll appear as a single clip. Then
apply the effect to it.
You might not need to ever do this. Most TV stations have built-in limiters and
other electronic gear designed to compensate for luminance problems. But in case
you do need to keep your videos within broadcast specifications, give Broadcast
Colors a try.
Did you
Try it
Hour 20
Try Out Broadcast Colors
I applied Broadcast Colors to the clip in Figure 20.2. Here’s how to duplicate that
1. Opening the Color Correction workspace puts a Reference screen in the
Monitor window on the left side (where you’re used to seeing the Source
screen). Switch to its Waveform view by clicking that screen’s wing menu
and selecting Waveform.
2. Gang the Reference Screen to the Program screen by clicking the Monitor
screen’s wing menu and selecting Gang to Program Monitor. That way,
when you move the CTI in your clip, the Reference screen will display the
selected frame’s waveform.
3. Move the CTI somewhere inside your clip and note how the waveform
changes. In my case, the vertical shafts of sunlight on the left show up on
the left side of the waveform. Even the white blaze on the horse’s nose creates a luminance peak.
By the
Luminance Values
Typically, NTSC luminance values should run from 7.5 (dark areas) to 100 (bright
areas) IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers—yes, Radio) units. Japan’s implementation
of NTSC allows for darker blacks and it starts at zero IRE units. Most DV typically
peaks closer to 120—the maximum possible transmission amplitude. 110 is the
default value in the Broadcast Colors effect.
The Waveform display gives a graphical representation
of the luminance
values of your
video. The
Broadcast Colors
effect enables you
to reduce the maximum luminance as
well as to desaturate colors.
4. Apply the Broadcast Colors effect to this clip. As shown in Figure 20.2, you
select either PAL or NTSC as well as a few other features. Rather then enumerate them, I suggest you read about them in Premiere Pro’s online help
file. Select Help→Contents, navigate to Applying Effects and Video Effects,
and then select Broadcast Colors.
5. Change the Maximum Signal slider and note that as you drop that
amount, the clip takes on a duller cast. Selecting the Reduce Saturation
option makes the clip even less colorful.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Creating a Consistent Look with Color Match
This is a great means to avoid the horrible color shifts common to video projects.
Even the best lighting technicians cannot ensure that all scenes will have the
same color temperature.
Fluorescent lights are notorious for giving off varying hues of green. Incandescent
bulbs look orange. Sunlight is blue, and mercury vapor lamps are yellow. Use the
Color Match effect to make all these scenes look as if they had the same lighting
(that is, if that’s the desired outcome).
Figure 20.3 is the typical setup for the Color Match effect. After it has been
arranged, the color match process can become a bit tricky and takes some trial
and error. My goal here simply is to get you started:
Try it
Testing Color Match
1. Place the clip you want fix and the one you want to match it to on your
2. Un-gang the Reference screen so that you can cue up the Master clip independently of the clip needing repair. Do that by opening the Reference
screen wing menu and unchecking Gang to Program Monitor.
3. Using that same menu, set the screen display to Composite so that you can
see the clip instead of the waveform.
4. Drag the CTI edit line in the Source screen to the frame you want to use as
a reference.
6. Expand the ECW Color Match view. This is where the experimentation
begins. Basically, you can match using HSL (Hue, Saturation, and
Luminance), RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) or Curves (in this case, simplified
versions of complex multi-point defined curves found in the Color
Corrector). You use the Eyedropper tools to select reference colors from the
Sample frame (the Source screen) and use the Target eyedropper tools to
select colors to match for each instance in the clip you want to fix (in the
Program screen).
5. Select the clip you want to fix, apply Color Match to that clip, and move the
CTI in the Program screen or the sequence to the frame with subjects that
have colors you can match with the reference clip.
Hour 20
The Color Match
effect enables you
to give scenes shot
in different lighting
conditions a consistent color cast.
Did you
A Counterintuitive Color Match?
Sometimes I found that the standard approach to doing Color Match—using the
Sample eyedropper to select a color from the master clip and using the Target eyedropper to select a color I want to fix in the off-color clip—didn’t work. It might be a
bug. But for an unexplained reason, sometimes when using the RGB setting, selecting a sample color with the Target eyedropper and choosing the target color with the
Sample eyedropper yielded excellent results.
Venturing into Color Correction
This is the real workhorse of this trio. It has more than 40 parameters and subparameters. I can’t begin to cover them all. It introduces concepts such as
Pedestal (akin to Brightness), HSL Hue Offsets (Circular tools to adjust colors in
shadows, midtones, and highlights), and Curves (graphical displays of red, green,
and blue curves with user-added points for more precise control).
For brief explanations of most of the parameters, read Premiere Pro’s online help
section: Help→Contents, select Applying Effects, Video Effects Included with
Premiere Pro, and then select Color Corrector. You apply Color Corrector to a single clip or a nested sequence. Figure 20.4 gives you a taste of its features.
I’ll give you a brief rundown of some of the elements displayed in Figure 20.4:
. I use a Reference screen to clarify any changes I make. I set it to show the
Vectorgraph, Waveform, and RGB Parade displays. As I make changes in
the Color Corrector, those displays update in real-time.
. Split Screen Preview—This is darned near essential. As you make changes,
you can see the before and after in the Program screen.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
. Black/White Balance—In a normal workflow, these will likely be your first,
and perhaps, only adjustments. They work extremely well. Drag each eyedropper in turn to locations in your clip that you determine best represent
black, gray, and white. When you’re done, even scenes shot under fluorescent lights can match sunlit locales.
The Color Corrector
is a powerful new
tool in Premiere Pro
that opens up a
wide range of possibilities but takes
a real commitment
from the user.
To Avoid Instant Color Updating
As you drag the eyedroppers around, the colors in your clip update instantly. In the
split screen, that can be good visual feedback, letting you know how things will look
depending on your selections. But sometimes that can be distracting. If you want to
turn off that constant color shifting, hold down the Shift key while dragging the
Eyedropper tool around.
. Brightness, Contrast, and Gamma—These might be the other most used
controls. You can find them under the HSL and RGB sections.
. Tonal Range Definition—This group of parameters makes it possible for you
to define shadow and highlight zones using sliders and a visual representation of those regions. As shown in Figure 20.5, switch on the Tonal Range
Definition Preview. The Program screen displays black for shadows, white
Did you
Hour 20
for highlights, and gray for midtones. As you move the sliders, those zones
expand or contract accordingly. This comes in handy when working the HSL
Hue Offsets (next point).
With the Tonal
Range Definition
Preview on, it’s a
simple matter to
define the highlight
and shadow
regions of your clip.
. HSL Hue Offsets—These color circles enable you to change the clip’s overall
color value in addition to adjusting colors in shadows, midtones, and highlights. To make the adjustments, click on a color wheel’s center point and
drag in the direction of the desired color. The longer the line, the greater the
color intensity.
. Curves—These enable you to individually adjust the Red, Green, and Blue
color channels as well as the overall color intensity.
I’m barely tapping the Color Corrector’s potential. To go beyond this introduction,
I suggest that you work with it. Start simple by using Black/White Balance to fix
improperly lighted or color balanced scenes. Then create a visual mood for a project. Give your clips a warmer, richer look by increasing the red values and contrast. Or attempt to duplicate the Saleen clips’ green/blue cast.
Working in the Trim Window
The Trim window is yet another very helpful addition to Premiere Pro. It enables
you to fine-tune edits in a sequence, performing either rolling or ripple edits with
great precision and immediate visual feedback.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Rolling and Rippling Reminder
As a reminder, rolling edits do not change the length of your project. They take place
at an edit point between two clips: shortening one and lengthening the other. Ripple
edits do change the length of your project. You apply them to only one clip. Then the
rest of the project slides over to accommodate the change.
By the
Open the Trim window by clicking the Trim button in the lower-right corner of
the Monitor window Program screen (keyboard shortcut—Ctrl+T). I’ve circled it in
Figure 20.6.
Select a Target Track
When you attempt to open the Trim window, you might receive this error message:
Target track must not be empty. To open the Trim window, you need to select a
track by clicking on its name. And that track has to have at least a clip in it.
Open the Trim window by clicking the
highlighted Trim
button in the
Monitor window.
Take a look at the Trim window in Figures 20.7 and 20.8. I’ll give you two views
as a means to explain what it can do. The first will go over some basic clip navigation and rolling edits. The second will display ripple edits.
Hour 20
Rolling Edit Tools
The Trim window’s
clip navigation and
rolling edit tools.
Clip Navigation Buttons
When you open the Trim window, the CTI edit line jumps to the nearest edit
point. The two Trim window screens display the last frame of the clip to the left of
the edit point and the first frame of the clip to the right.
To move to other edit points, use the clip navigation buttons (annotated in Figure
20.7) or the keyboard shortcuts: Page Down for the next edit, Page Up for the previous edit.
Trim Window Rolling Edits
As shown in Figure 20.7 earlier, there are five ways to perform a rolling edit:
1. Move your cursor between the two clip windows. It turns into a Rolling Edit
tool. Simply drag it left or right and note the real-time changes in the two
2. Change the center time code by dragging it or typing in a new value.
3. Shift the edit point one or five frames left or right by clicking on the associated number.
4. Type in the number of frames you want to shift the edit point in the center
boxed number. Use a negative number to shift left.
5. Drag the center jog disk left or right.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Trim Window Ripple Edits
Take a look at Figure 20.8. There are also five ways to make ripple edits:
1. Move your cursor next to or on either clip. It turns into a Ripple Edit tool.
Drag it to the left or right accordingly and note the changing out- or inpoint for that clip.
2. Change the left or right clip’s time code by dragging it or typing in a new
3. Drag the in- or outpoint bracket on either clip’s mini-timeline.
4. Change the left or right time code shift by dragging it or typing in a new
5. Use the left or right jog disk to make the edit.
After you’ve made your edit, you can preview it in the Trim window. Simply use
the Play button. Clicking the Loop button and then the Play button will loop the
Ripple Edit Tools
The Trim window
also offers five
means to make ripple edits.
Four Fun Editing Techniques
There’s no real way to categorize these techniques. They are just some of the little
editing tidbits one picks up over the years. I’ll show you how to fix a slanted
scene, produce true mirrored effects, use the Razor tool with effects, and create
animated text.
Hour 20
Fixing a Slanted Scene
Even the best-planned productions can go awry. One common mistake is a tripod
that wasn’t quite level or the perspective in a scene looks cockeyed. Fortunately, a
simple fix is available. Use the Motion effect to set things right. As shown in
Figure 20.9, switch on the Motion effect for that clip, use rotation to align it properly, and then scale it up just enough to fill the gaps in the corners created by the
Use the Motion
effect’s Rotation
and Scale parameters to fix an askew
scene (I added the
line for emphasis).
Creating Real Animated Mirrored Effects
Premiere Pro has a Mirror video effect. So, why bother trying some other way to
create a mirrored effect? Because the methods I’m about to describe use an entire
clip, whereas the Mirror effect divides a clip along a user-defined line and creates
a reflection of that portion of the clip. In addition, using the upcoming mirror
methods enable you to add mirrored animation to a graphic.
First, try a simple approach. Take a look at Figure 20.10. Here’s how to create
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
1. Place the same clip on Video 1 and Video 2.
2. Apply Basic 3D to one of the clips (I chose the one on Video 2) and set its
Swivel parameter to 180 degrees (minus or plus—it doesn’t matter). That
creates a reverse—mirrored—image.
3. Use Motion’s Scale parameter on both clips to shrink them to 50%.
4. Use Motion’s Position parameter to place the two clips side by side, creating
a true mirrored effect using the entire (albeit smaller) clip.
FIGURE 20.10
A full-clip mirror
effect created
using Basic 3D and
the Motion effect.
Now for the trickier mirrored animation effect that displays two graphics spinning
in opposite directions. Take a look at Figure 20.11. Here’s how I set it up:
1. Place a clip to use as a background on Video 1.
2. Place the graphic you want to use above that clip on Video 2 and Video 3.
Centered Graphics Are Easier
I pulled out a chestnut for this demo: the ubiquitous Veloman graphic from the
Premiere 6 sample media assets. I chose this because the Veloman graphic is centered in its frame, thereby allowing me to rotate it without having to make some
tricky adjustments.
If I had used the Saleen Logo (it’s slightly above the frame’s center point), for
instance, I’d need to apply the Transform effect and carefully adjust that graphic’s
anchor point and position to get that logo to rotate on its center. If that anchor point
were slightly off-center, the graphic would revolve around that anchor point like a ball
on a string.
By the
Hour 20
3. Use Motion’s Position parameter to place the graphics in the upper- and
lower-right corners.
4. As shown in Figure 20.11, I set Basic 3D’s Tilt parameter to 180 degrees to
flip the bottom graphic upside down, creating a mirror image of the graphic
above it.
5. I applied keyframes and Rotation to both clips, giving one clip a positive
spin and the other an equal but negative rotation value. Now they spin in
opposite directions, further reinforcing their mirrored appearance.
6. You can take this approach one step further. Use keyframes and the Position
parameter to roll the graphics across the screen.
FIGURE 20.11
Use Motion’s
Rotation parameter
to rotate the graphics in opposite
Using the Razor Tool with Effects
Keyframes allow smooth changes to an effect. To create sudden shifts or to start
an effect mid-clip, use the Razor tool to slice a clip into smaller chunks and apply
different effects or effect parameters to each segment. Here are some uses:
Apply the same effect to each clip chunk and give each instance drastically different characteristics. Use this method to make quick shifts in color or quick changes
from inverted images back to positive. As I demonstrated in Hour 9, “Advanced
Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools,” the same razor-sliced clip approach
works to make abrupt or smooth transitions from a full-motion clip to fast, slow,
or reverse motion.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Slicing Leaves No Visible Wounds
Such slices do not leave any gaps in the clip, nor are they visible to viewers. With no
effects applied, it appears the sliced clip is actually intact.
By the
Abrupt changes work well when you want to draw attention to movement.
Consider a gymnast’s floor exercise. Just before a twisting flip, slice the clip and
place slow motion on the flip. Or, you could gradually slow down a horse race
photo finish. As the thoroughbreds pound down the straightaway, make two or
three razor slices, gradually slowing the motion in each segment.
No Video Effect Bypass
Unlike audio effects, Premiere Pro video effects do not have a keyframable bypass
option. That is, you cannot turn on or turn off an effect at selected points in a clip.
In addition, most effects start at least partially on, so you can’t apply them with a
zero-parameter state and then use keyframes to switch on a parameter. Thus, the
need to use the Razor tool.
By the
Creating Animated Text
Another use for the Motion effect is to give text some zest. For this example, I
used the Title Designer to create some large font text and placed that in a rounded rectangle backdrop.
Create Title Elements in Any Order
Whether you make the background graphic first or last is not critical. To place it
behind the text, select Title, Arrange, Send to Back (from the main menu bar).
Place your text on Video 2 and place a background on Video 1. I chose a color
matte. As shown in Figure 20.12, I applied the Motion effect’s Rotation and Scale
parameters to the title. In this case, I chose to duplicate that old newsreel effect of
a spinning title appearing from a great distance, zooming to full screen (or
beyond), and then zooming off the page. I also use the Camera View effect to
spin the text like a top.
Did you
Hour 20
FIGURE 20.12
Apply motion settings to your text
for a dramatic
Five Fast Editing Tips
In this section, I give you a quick run-through of some easy and effective editing
ideas on setting keyframes, tinting clips, working with still images, fixing noisy
video, and using multiple transparencies.
Set Your Ending Keyframe First
When using keyframes with effects, your workflow will go more smoothly if you
think in terms of how you want the effect to end (it doesn’t have to be the clip’s
last frame). Move the CTI edit line to that point (either in the ECW mini-timeline
window or in your sequence) and switch on keyframes by clicking the little stopwatch icon in the Effect Controls window. Now set that effect’s ending condition.
Move the CTI to where you want the effect to start and work your way toward
that concluding keyframe.
Using Title Designer for Tinting
Premiere Pro’s Tint video effect does a fine job of creating a two-tone tint. But consider using Premiere Pro’s Title Designer to take a different, single or massively
multihued, approach.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Try it
Create a Unique Tint with the Title Designer
The process is routine. Choosing which color scheme works for you is what will
take some time. Follow these steps:
1. As I’ve illustrated in Figure 20.13, open the Title Designer and create a rectangle that goes well to the edges of the Title window to ensure that it
entirely covers a clip.
2. Create a color matte. Open Fill and select a fill type. Solid gives you a single
color tint, whereas 4 Color Gradient creates a rainbow effect. Couple the latter with a twisting, contorted video effect (I used the Twirl Video Effect) and
it’s the 1960s all over again. Click the Show Video check box to see how
your clip works with this gradient.
3. Adjust the Opacity settings for each color stop to customize your matte further. Or, you can save this color rectangle at full 100% opacity and use the
Opacity effect to change its overall transparency later.
FIGURE 20.13
Use Premiere Pro’s
Title Designer to
create color mattes
to tint your clips.
Working with Still Images
As I mentioned in Hour 11, “Putting Video and Still Clips in Motion,” Premiere
Pro’s Motion effect is a really effective way to make a static shot more interesting.
Here are a few tips to consider when working with still images:
Hour 20
. If you plan to zoom or pan, set your scanner resolution at something
greater than the standard 72 dpi (dots per inch) TV screen display. That
way, when you zoom in, the image will remain crisp.
. Scan some images twice. Use one for your wide shot and the other for a
tight shot. You can place them side-by-side on the timeline and do a crossdissolve between them. Use motion settings to zoom in on each, but add a
pause at the beginning on the tight shot to let the dissolve finish before
starting the zoom.
. Consider putting a frame around your image. The easy way is to use the
Clip video effect, drag in the edges a bit, and give the border a color. If you
don’t want to cut off the edges, place a color matte on the track below the
clip and use the Motion effect Scale parameter to shrink the clip slightly.
You can create a series of clips like this on a sequence, nest that sequence in
another sequence, cut it up into each individual image, stack them on video
tracks, and create a pictures-in-a picture effect.
Reducing Noise in Low-Light Clips
Video shot in low-light conditions typically looks noisy. There are a few tricks you
can use to try and fix that problem:
. Adjust the contrast and brightness.
. Use the slider controls below the histogram in the Levels video effect to
increase shadows and highlights.
. Try using the Color Balance video effect to boost red values a bit.
Using Multiple Transparencies
In previous versions of Premiere, you could apply only one type of transparency
to a clip. Now you can stack multiple transparency effects. This is a slick way to
create a transparent alpha channel in an otherwise opaque video clip.
Using a video clip from your Keying Effects exercises, apply a color key effect to it
to make part of the clip transparent, apply the Alpha Adjust video effect to it,
and then invert the alpha channel. That will make the otherwise opaque portion
of your clip become transparent.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Timeline Window Keyboard Shortcuts
Premiere Pro has more keyboard shortcuts than you can use, much less memorize. And you can create dozens more while customizing existing ones. To get an
idea of just how vast the shortcut opportunities are, select Edit→Keyboard
Customization. That will open the dialog box shown in Figure 20.14.
FIGURE 20.14
The Keyboard
Customization dialog box enables
you to create shortcuts for just about
any function in
Premiere Pro.
Note that the default view listing reflects the main menu options. That is, File,
Edit, Project, and so on. You can open each of those lists and find commands that
match virtually everything available in the main menu.
Many mimic standard Windows shortcuts: Save = Ctrl+S, Copy = Ctrl+C, and
Undo = Ctrl+Z. Some take far too much effort. For instance, when in the Monitor
window Source screen, you frequently want to target a track for an overlay or
insert edit. The keyboard “shortcut” to target the track above the current targeted
track is Ctrl+Shift+=. It’s a heck of lot easier simply to click on the targeted track’s
That said, there are about a dozen shortcuts I use all the time. To see a bunch of
them, as shown in Figure 20.15, click the Keyboard Customization drop-down list
and select Tools.
Note that all the Tools shortcuts are single letters. The reason is obvious. You’ll
use most of them frequently. At the very least, Selection (V), Ripple Edit (B),
Rolling Edit (N), and Razor (C) should be ingrained in your brain. In case you
need reinforcement, roll your cursor over each icon in the Tools palette and
Premiere Pro’s tooltips will pop up, noting each tool’s keyboard shortcut.
Hour 20
FIGURE 20.15
The Tools keyboard
shortcuts are all
single letters.
Editing Keyboard Shortcuts
Feel free to change these shortcuts. Simply click on the existing shortcut letter or
keystroke-combination (or the blank space next to a command that doesn’t have an
assigned shortcut) to highlight it, click again, and then type in your customized
shortcut. But be aware that other Premiere Pro functions have shortcuts and your
new one might match an existing one. As shown in Figure 20.16, if that’s the case,
Premiere Pro lets you know and gives you a chance to opt out.
FIGURE 20.16
Changing a shortcut frequently
means stealing an
existing shortcut.
Premiere Pro warns
you and lets you
click Undo if you
want to rethink that
Timeline Window Shortcuts
Most of your work takes place in the Timeline window. In no time at all, the following shortcuts will become second nature to you:
The backslash (\) key—This is my most frequently used keyboard shortcut.
Pressing the backslash key resizes the timeline to display your entire project.
It’s a great way to get a handle on where you are in the workflow.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Slash Confusion
By the way, don’t confuse the backslash (\) with the forward slash (/). Previous versions of Premiere used the forward slash to delete some clips. In Premiere Pro’s
default collection of keyboard shortcuts, the forward slash key is unassigned. You
might want to use it as one of your customized shortcuts.
Did you
Playback Controls—The J, K, and L keys are great shortcuts. Normally,
when working in the timeline, you play your project by pressing the spacebar. That’s fine, but J, K, and L give you much more control.
The J key plays your project in reverse, the K key stops playback (as does
pressing the spacebar), and the L key plays your project forward. What
makes these shortcuts truly great is that pressing J or L two or three times
incrementally speeds up playback.
The Home and End keys—When you’re in the timeline window and don’t
have a clip selected, pressing the Home key places the edit line at the first
frame of your project. Pressing End instantly moves the cursor to the last
frame. Alternately, if you have a clip selected, Home and End move to the
beginning and end of that clip, respectively.
Add Marker—While you’re playing the timeline, pressing the asterisk (*)
key on the numeric keypad (not Shift+8) adds a marker to the timeline. If
you created a music video in Hour 13, “Editing Audio,” you used the asterisk key. It marks in-points on the timeline for each clip from a storyboard.
I’ll cover markers in more detail when we discuss exporting your project to a
DVD or for use on the Internet.
Snap-to-Edges—If Snap-to-Edges is not on (if the little two-pronged icon in
the upper-left corner of the timeline window is not highlighted), pressing the
S key, even while dragging a clip, switches it on.
CTI Does Not Snap
The CTI does not snap to items. Items snap to it. The reason: If the CTI did snap to
edit points, scrubbing the sequence would become a jumpy mess.
Work Area Bar End Points—AltT+[ and Alt+] set the work area bar ends.
I’ve highlighted the work area bar in Figure 20.17. If you want to render a
part of your project (you might do that to smooth playback of a complex
section), you need to set the beginning and end of that section. Pressing
Alt+[ sets the beginning to wherever the CTI edit line is. Alt+] sets the end.
By the
Hour 20
Note: Double-clicking the work area bar sets the bar ends to the visible area
of the sequence. You can simply drag the ends of the bar to those points as
FIGURE 20.17
Use Alt+[ and Alt+]
to set the beginning and end
points of the work
area bar.
Temporarily Unlink Audio and Video—Press the Alt key as you click on
the end of the audio or video portion of a linked clip and you can drag that
end to make a J or an L edit. This saves the right-click/unlinking process
and, if you drag the ends and not the entire segment, you won’t make the
audio and video get out of sync.
Move to the in or out of a selected clip—Use the Page Up key to jump to
the previous edit or the Page Down key to jump to the next edit (the beginning of the next clip or the end of the current clip). This applies to all clips
on all tracks. So, if you have many clips with outpoints that don’t line up,
this will move through them one at a time.
Jump to a specific time code—Use the numeric keypad (number lock needs
to be switched on) to enter a time code and press Enter. If you use a whole
number, Premiere Pro divides that by your project’s frames per second, and
then by 60, and so on down the line to make minutes, seconds, and so
forth. If you type in numbers separated by periods (using the keypad’s decimal key), Premiere Pro will consider them as hours:minutes:seconds:frames.
Entering a + (plus sign) and then numbers from the numeric keypad jumps
forward the entered amount. Entering a – (minus sign) and then numbers
from the numeric keypad jumps backward the entered amount.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Developer Comment—Unassignable Keys
The +/– keys in the keypad area are unassignable as shortcut keys by design.
These keys and all numeric keypad keys (0–9) need to be unassignable to guarantee
that you can reliably enter time code values (or time code deltas using the +/– prior
to the time code value) when the sequence has focus (when it’s active). As you
enter new time code values via the keypad while the timeline window has focus,
you’ll see your numeric values display in the CTI Position time code control in the
top-left corner of the timeline window.
Checking Out Several Workspace
Shortcuts and Tools
Although much of your work takes place in the timeline window, you’ll venture
to other user interface locations. Here are a few more shortcuts and nifty tools
that I think will make your work go faster and more smoothly.
Hide/Show palettes—A great way to quickly free up desktop space or access
a palette is the Tab key. Use it to display or conceal floating windows—the
Tools, Info, and History palettes. For this to work, you need to have had the
palettes open at some time and used the Tab key to hide them. Closing a
palette by clicking the little X in the upper-right corner disables the Tab
shortcut for that palette.
Horizontal Tools palette—As long as you’re cleaning up the user interface,
flip the Tools palette to a horizontal view by right-clicking an empty space
around the tools and selecting Arrange Horizontal.
Snap to keyframes in the ECW—This is a very slick tool. Hold down the
Shift key as you move the CTI in the Effect Controls window and it’ll snap to
any keyframes you’ve applied.
Open sequences in the Source screen—This is a very nifty way to trim a
nested sequence. Hold down the Ctrl key as you double-click a sequence or
collection of sequences and it (or they) will open in the Monitor window
Source screen. This is a great way to trim a sequence before nesting it in
another sequence.
Marquee selection—In previous versions of Premiere, a separate tool—
Range Select—was required to select more than one clip in a sequence—
By the
Hour 20
what was known as a marquee selection. One of the design goals of the
Premiere Pro team was to reduce the number of tools so that editors could
perform the most common editing tasks with the Selection tool (shortcut V).
To select more than one contiguous clip on single or multiple tracks, use the
Selection tool to click and drag from an empty area in the sequence and
create a bounding box around the clips. If there is no empty space visible,
use the vertical scrollbars on the right side of the timeline window.
Import folders—Instead of importing a file or collection of files, Premiere
Pro now enables you to import an entire folder. If you’ve used folders to
organize your media assets, this is a nice little time saver. When you launch
the Import dialog box (File→Import), you’ll see an Import Folder button in
the lower-right corner. Selecting a folder and then clicking that button creates a bin in the Project window with the exact folder name and imports the
associated files.
Program screen draft mode—If you open the wing menu in the upperright corner of the Monitor window, you’ll note three related options:
Highest Quality, Draft Quality, and Automatic Quality. These refer to the
playback display quality in the Program screen. Draft mode displays to the
desktop at 1/4 resolution, whether or not you have rendered. If you use
Automatic resolution, rendered material is displayed at full resolution and
unrendered material is displayed at 1/4 resolution. In High resolution,
everything is rendered at full resolution, rendered or not.
Staying centered while zooming—Note that when zooming in on a
sequence, Premiere Pro always attempts to center the CTI edit line. This is a
welcome addition to Premiere Pro. In previous versions, Premiere ignored
the position of the playhead and attempted to zoom into different areas
forcing you to find the playhead.
Tips from an Adobe Corporate Premiere
Pro Evangelist
From database integration for AT&T to digital image retouching and graphic
design for advertisements in Newsweek and Time, Daniel Brown has balanced a
passion for right- and left-brain abilities. Daniel formed the Web development
team at Metagraphics in Palo Alto, California, (now with
clients such as Apple, Netscape, Sun, Silicon Graphics, and Hewlett-Packard.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Daniel Brown, Sr.
Graphics, Adobe
Systems, Inc.
In 1998, Daniel joined Adobe systems in the role of “evangelist,” lending a hand
in product development, marketing, interface design, and customer education. He
is a frequent speaker at industry events worldwide and has taught classes at
Santa Fe Digital Workshops, Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado, and the Pacific
Imaging Center in Makawao, Hawaii. Daniel currently handles Adobe After
Effects, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe LiveMotion.
Here are five of Brown’s favorite Premiere tips:
Title Designer External Monitor Preview—Take a look at Figure 20.18. Clicking
the circled button will display the Title Designer window in any video device
attached to your PC. Many times text looks different on a TV as compared to your
PC’s monitor, so this can be very helpful.
This is a vast improvement over previous versions of Premiere. Before, you had to
click after every editing change. In Premiere 6.5, the Preview option was simply a
“send frame to firewire” command. Hence you couldn’t design in real-time on an
external monitor. Now, when the check box is on, you see the results of your edits
all the time.
Using the Project-Archive folder—If you accidentally erase or completely mess
up a project file, don’t panic. Every time you save a project, Premiere Pro saves
over the file you’re currently working on, but it will also save a copy of the previous version in its Auto-Save folder. Depending on the installation, it might be in
your Documents folder or the folder that holds the actual application.
Hour 20
FIGURE 20.18
Use the Send
Frame to External
Monitor button to
view your work in
real-time on any TV
or monitor connected to your PC.
Project files are tiny compared to video files, and they’re worth any extra disk
space they occupy. To specify how many versions of a single project Premiere Pro
will archive, select Edit→Preferences—Auto Save to open the dialog box shown in
Figure 20.19.
FIGURE 20.19
Use this dialog box
to set how many
versions of your
project Premiere
Pro will archive.
To restore an archived project, select File→Open and then navigate to the ProjectArchive folder and select a project.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Adding multiple clips to the Source screen—You can select multiple clips in the
Project window, drag them to the Source window, and, as illustrated in Figure
20.20, choose from among them in the drop-down menu. To clear the active clip
from the Source window drop-down menu, press Crtl+Backspace. This will delete
the currently visible clip and move the others up the list.
FIGURE 20.20
Drag several clips
to the Monitor window Source screen
and then access
them using this
drop-down list.
Reuse clips from another project—In previous versions of Premiere, if you
wanted to use the same collection of clips in another project, you could export a
Project window’s bin data to a text file. That’s no longer the case.
Now, rather than exporting what you want, you simply import the other Premiere
Pro project. This brings in all clips, online or offline, and imports the timeline as
a sequence within the new project.
This is a great way to merge Premiere 6.5 projects with Premiere Pro projects. But
I recommend converting the older projects to Premiere Pro first, and then importing them into one another.
Using a master clip—Double-clicking a trimmed clip in the timeline will open
the original, full-length clip in the Monitor window Source screen with the current
clip’s in- and outpoints displayed. Using the Source screen, you can shift those
edit markers to create new in- and outpoints and drag that trimmed segment
from the Source screen to a different spot in the timeline.
Hour 20
This is a very easy way to pull more than one segment from a master clip. One
other tip within a tip: If the in- and outpoints fall off the edges of the Source
screen’s mini-timeline, drag the end of the work area bar (highlighted in Figure
20.21) to zoom out and get the full clip-width view.
FIGURE 20.21
Double-clicking an
edited clip in a
sequence opens
the master clip in
the Monitor window
Source screen. If
you can’t see the
entire edited portion on the minitimeline, drag the
highlighted end of
the work area bar.
There’s a lot more to Premiere Pro than you might expect. Software this deep is
bound to foster plenty of undocumented or thinly referenced functionality. In this
hour, I presented some editing tips and techniques running the gamut from fixing
slanted scenes to using the Razor tool to make sudden effect changes.
Premiere Pro features dozens of customizable keyboard shortcuts. I listed my
favorites. They likely will become second nature to you. You might also come to
rely on the Trim window. It’s a great way to fine-tune edits.
New to Premiere Pro is the Color Corrector. It and its two narrower purpose partner effects—Broadcast Colors and Color Match—bring a whole new level of quality and professionalism to this nonlinear editor.
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques—Part 2
Q When using Color Match, I selected the Reference Monitor but only those
scopes showed up in the Source screen. How do I see my clip?
A First, double-click on your clip to put it in the Source screen, and then open
the Source screen’s wing menu and select Composite. Doing so will display
your clip. That wing menu is also where you can gang the Source screen to
the Program screen when using the Waveform display with the Broadcast
Colors effect.
Q I tried using the Color Corrector’s Black/White Balance features. When I
dragged the Eyedropper tool into the Program screen, the colors in that
clip shifted around wildly. What was going on?
A The Color Corrector effect, by default, is always on. So, when you move the
Black Point eyedropper around a scene, for instance, the effect thinks you’re
selecting that particular color as representative of black in the clip. It then
immediately changes your clip colors to show that. Turn the effect off by
holding down the Shift key as you move the eyedropper around. Or, select
Split Screen Preview and opt to use Shift or not, depending on your needs.
1. You want to trim several edits in your project without changing its length.
What is the best way to go about that?
2. What keyboard shortcuts enable you to rewind, stop, and play your project?
3. Why don’t you want to use the Mirror video effect to create a split screen
with mirrored animated action?
Quiz Answers
1. Use the Trim window and its various Rolling Edit tools. It’s a simple matter
to jump from edit to edit in the Trim window, so there’s no need to move
back and forth between it and the timeline window.
2. J, K, and L. Pressing J or L more than once speeds up the reverse and forward speeds. K stops playback.
Hour 20
3. Mirror is a wonderful video effect. It’s easy to use and creates a perfect
reflection, but it slices your clip and reflects only a portion of it. When using
a graphic, unless it’s entirely on one side of the screen, Mirror will chop it
along a straight line. Using the Motion effect to make a mirror effect means
that you can put an entire clip on both sides of the screen to create a true
full-clip reflection.
1. Create some tints using the Title Designer. There are so many possibilities,
especially when using the various gradients. You can create partial screen
tints and layer them to create even wilder effects.
2. Really try out the Color Match and Color Corrector effects. They are so powerful and fully featured that the only way you’ll begin to discover all that
they can do is to experiment with them.
3. Create a mirrored animation using a diagonal dividing line. Use a graphic
with an alpha channel and use the Motion effect’s Position parameter to
move the graphic following the diagonal line from the upper-left corner to
the lower-right corner. You’ll need to think through the start- and endpoints
a bit more than when the graphic moved horizontally, but otherwise this
should be fairly routine.
Third-Party Products
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Exciting effect and transition plug-ins
Innovative graphics—Editor’s Toolkit from Digital Juice
High-definition video—Cineform’s Aspect HD
Multiple-camera editing with Multicam
Creating multimedia movies with CyberCam
Speeding up editing with Contour Design’s Shuttle Pro
Premiere Pro is not an entity unto itself. Adobe gives third-party developers access to
its internal code—its API or application programmer interface—through a freely
available Software Development Kit (SDK). Using it, independent programmers can
create effects, transitions, and other tools that work hand-in-hand with Premiere Pro.
In this hour, I give you an overview of the wide variety of exciting and powerful
third-party products that complement Premiere Pro. I present collections of plugins—cool video effects and transitions—as well as standalone software and one
hardware device that work in concert with Premiere Pro.
Exciting Effect and Transition Plug-ins
Topping the list of third-party products are several collections of effect and transition
plug-ins. Premiere Pro already has dozens of effects and transitions, but I think
you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many great-looking products are available
from other developers.
Hour 21
Red Giant—Movie Looks
Your first encounter with Premiere Pro third-party plug-in video effects will likely
be when you register Premiere Pro. Adobe sometimes offers registration incentives
for its products. In the case of Premiere Pro, registering gives you the opportunity
to download a plug-in video effect (with 10 presets) from Red Giant called Movie
Installation is easy. Simply unzip the downloaded file ( and
double-click its EXE file. That install adds a subfolder to Premiere Pro’s plug-ins
folder and adds a new bin called Magic Bullet to the Video Effects palette in the
Project window.
Open the Magic Bullet bin and drag its one effect—Movie Looks—to a clip or the
ECW. Figure 21.1 shows you its setup.
By the
Why Magic Bullet?
Red Giant’s principal product is Magic Bullet—a $1,000–$2,000 suite of tools
intended to give video a film-like look. The 50 Movie Looks are a small subset of the
features included in that powerful tool.
Movie Looks is a
free plug-in that
offers 10 film-like
color scheme presets.
Movie Looks is an easy way to give your video a film-like style, be it a warm
orange cast or a cool blue feel. The effects are very processor intensive (they’re
more than a simple tint) because they do a lot of floating-point calculations. So,
to see how a preset really looks, you might want to render a brief clip before
applying that preset to a longer clip or your entire project.
Third-Party Products
Because you’re getting a free effect with 10 presets, there is a small catch: If you
click the More Info. disclosure triangle, you’re greeted by an advertisement to buy
a $49 upgrade with 40 additional looks. I recommend checking out those additional offerings by visiting
VST Audio Plug-ins
In Hour 14, “Sweetening Your Sound,” I suggested you check out to check into VST plug-ins. These are audio effects, most of which will
work in Premiere Pro. (Take a pass on its Quick Instrument Links—Premiere Pro
does not support instruments.) If you exhaust that supply, simply use a search
engine such as Google and search on “VST plug-ins” and “VST plugins”. You’ll
find more than you can ever use.
Did you
2d3—SteadyMove and SteadyMove Pro
The full retail version of Premiere Pro comes with a special plug-in called
SteadyMove. It effectively smoothes shaky camera movement. To add it to your
Video Effects palette, you need to install it directly from the main Premiere Pro
installation CD. After it has been installed, you’ll find it in its own folder, named
“2d3” after the company that developed it (
Figure 21.2 shows its interface. As with Red Giant’s Movie Looks, SteadyMove too
presents a marketing pitch for its Pro version ($99). This one is not as subtle. It
greets you each time you use the effect.
smoothes out
shaky camera work.
Hour 21
The bundled version offers only two controls—Smoothing and Max Correction—
but they are more than enough to fix most problem areas. In general, you can
accept the default settings. SteadyMove works by slightly expanding your clips
and applying motion to counter unsteady camera work. However, because
SteadyMove expands your clips, it adds some graininess.
Did you
Making the Most of SteadyMove
SteadyMove needs to analyze a few frames before it kicks in. So, if you apply it to a
trimmed clip in a sequence, the first few frames will still bounce around.
A nested sequence will fix that. Put the original—unsteady—clip in a separate
sequence. Instead of trimming its beginning, leave that headroom in place. Apply
SteadyMove. That will steady the entire clip with the exception of the first few
frames. Then nest the sequence in another sequence and cut the unneeded (and
unsteady) headroom.
To see the full SteadyMove effect, you need to have the monitor set to Highest
Quality or Render the clip. If the monitor is set to Draft or Automatic, only one
SteadyMove parameter is applied.
The SteadyMove Pro upgrade has additional features that smooth shaky zooms,
minimize clip scaling to preserve quality, and detect and prevent smoothing
across edits.
Plugin Galaxy from The Plugin Site
Plugin Galaxy for AE (available at The Plugin Site— http://www.—for $99) is an inexpensive and wonderfully varied collection of 21 After Effects (AE) video effects with 150+ presets. I tried all the effects
and they all seemed to work fine. That’s not always the case for plug-ins created
specifically for After Effects (see following By the Way).
By the
Developer Comment: After Effects Plug-ins—Caveat Emptor
Many plug-ins created for After Effects work smoothly in Premiere Pro. And many
don’t. No guarantees.
We began adding AE plug-ins to Premiere in version 6; however, that was a fixed list
of effects that we ported over to Premiere.
For Premiere Pro, we adopted the AE effects engine. So, many AE effects will work
directly within Premiere Pro. However, some AE effects are not self-contained plugins and require AE core components. Those plug-ins will not work in Premiere
because those core pieces are missing.
Typically, simple effects such as blurs and ripples will work fine. Those that have
extra interface elements, such as paint or motion tracking, will not.
Third-Party Products
As shown in Figure 21.3, after installation, you’ll find those 21 effects in Premiere
Pro’s Video Effects Plugin Galaxy bin.
Plugin Galaxy’s 21
Each Plugin Galaxy effect has a distinctive look and collection of parameters. The
plug-in package comes with a help file that displays each preset’s principal looks.
Figure 21.4 shows a sampling of presets from the Glass, Edge Tool, and Fusion
The man who designed Plugin Galaxy for AE, Harald Heim, is the driving force
behind The Plugin Site. His site contains a massive collection of plug-ins for
Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, and several other products.
Heim, of Nuremberg, Germany, is one of the leading developers of plug-ins. His
work began in 1997 when he was editing his own wedding video with Premiere.
He now focuses his attention on Photoshop plug-ins. Photoshop users will find
that Heim’s Plugin Galaxy for Photoshop is well worth its $50 price tag.
Hour 21
Samples of Plugin
Galaxy’s effects.
Feast or Famine
There is a plethora of Photoshop and After Effects plug-ins and a paucity of Premiere
Pro plug-ins. Why? Four reasons: market share, cross-product compatibility, complexity, and a new API.
Photoshop dominates its market. It makes financial sense to create plug-ins for
Photoshop users. It’s a huge market, and Photoshop plug-ins are relatively easy to
make and work on about 50 other image applications.
After Effects is a premium-priced product that dominates its smaller market. It’s very
complex (I demonstrate it in the next hour, “Using Photoshop and After Effects to
Enhance Your DV Project”) and just about anything that can automate its workflow is
gratefully purchased. Third-party developers can command a premium price for several reasons: Their plug-ins are generally powerful, After Effects users tend to work
in professional production houses with budgets for goodies like this, and AE plug-ins
work on more than a dozen other applications.
Premiere Pro is the leader of a fairly populous market with virtually no cross-product
compatibility. That fragmentation means third-party developers have fewer financial
incentives to make plug-ins geared specifically for Premiere Pro. And older and current Premiere plug-ins work on only one or two other products.
In addition, Premiere Pro has a brand-new API and its developers rewrote the effects
engine from scratch. Plug-ins that worked on previous versions simply will not work
on Premiere Pro. It’s taking a while for plug-in developers to get up to speed.
Third-Party Products
By the time this book ships, there might be other plug-ins available. To see what’s
out there, I suggest you simply do a Google search on “Premiere Pro plug-ins”
and “Premiere Pro plugins”.
ViviClip Video Filters 3
This is a massive product. Its Pro version lists for $329 and its slimmed down
Basic version goes for $169. Both are available for download at http:// I tried the Pro version (see Figure 21.5).
ViviClip Video
Filters 3 Pro puts
dozens of image
controls, color corrections, and
parameters in one
ViviClip Video Filters 3 is unlike any plug-in I’ve seen for any product. When you
drag it to a clip or the ECW, its interface fills your screen. Each of its windows is
loaded with features and options. It has several basic effects that match those in
Premiere Pro, such as Levels, Blur, and Sharpen, but each of those effects has its
own collection of templates.
Those templates instantly transform clips into stylized looks that would normally
have taken a lot of parameter tweaking for you to come up with on your own.
ViviClip Video Filters 3 has some excellent color correction features: instant color
match, color balance, and tinting. What makes the Pro version stand out is that
Hour 21
it offers five layers. You can apply effects to each layer as you see fit. You can
highlight areas of the screen and apply effects only to them, obviating the need
for a track matte, for instance, to obscure someone’s identity.
Those two elements—layers and custom masks—along with a unique keyframe
system, put this product into a high-end professional realm.
Other Third-Party Plug-in Providers
I scoured the Internet looking for other Premiere Pro plug-in creators. I found only
a handful:
. Boris FX ( is a major name in standalone special
effects software and plug-ins, but it has only one set of plug-ins that work
within Premiere Pro: Continuum Basics ($249). I received a copy just as I was
wrapping up this book, so I can give you only a brief glimpse at it.
Figure 21.6 shows 4 of the 31 Continuum Basics effects. Each effect has a
plethora of keyframable options as well as a help file with many examples,
including ideas about some very cool ways to combine effects. In particular,
Continuum Basics has Fire and Cloud effects. Previous versions of Premiere
offered effects like those as part of the QuickTime effects package, but Adobe
dropped those from Premiere Pro.
Boris FX also offers several massive collections of standalone special effects
and text creation tools. Those compatible with Premiere Pro are Red 3GL, FX
7, and Graffiti 3. These are for serious video producers, have steep and
lengthy learning curves, and commensurate price tags (from $600 to
$1,000). You can download demo versions, but fair warning—they are huge
. Burger Transitions ( offers a set of free plug-ins for Premiere and other
products. Its creator is Stefan Burger, who, like the man behind the Plugin
Galaxy, is from Nuremberg, Germany. (In a cool twist, neither knew they
were neighbors until I swapped emails with them.) Burger acknowledges his
transitions are a hobby and some are better than others. In any event, his
easy-to-use plug-ins are worth downloading.
. FlashAnts ( offers one plugin—SWFVideo—that enables you to import Macromedia Flash SWF files. I
tested it and discovered it’s not quite fully functional. SWFVideo requires a
restart of your project to complete the import and has no documentation. It
does show promise and if its developer can make it more user-friendly, it
can be a cool way to add some fun animations to your Premiere Pro projects.
Third-Party Products
. Panopticum (, a Russia-based plug-in house,
has many plug-ins for earlier versions of Premiere but none for Premiere
Pro. Panopticum developed the Plugin Galaxy for After Effects for Harald
. RE:Vision Effects ( has several plug-ins, but
they work only with progressive scan video clips, and even then it takes a
few extra steps to get the plug-ins to work. Progressive videos typically are
high-definition or transfers from film.
Boris FX’s
Continuum Basics
offers some excellent visual effects,
some of which fill
the gap left by
Adobe dropping the
QuickTime effects
used in previous
versions of
Innovative Graphics—Editor’s Toolkit
from Digital Juice
Animated graphic backgrounds, or beds, can greatly enhance a video production.
Digital Juice ( is the de facto industry
leader in this niche market. Its Editor’s Toolkit (ETK) collection is loaded with visually innovative graphics as well as transitions that match their graphic look.
Just about any Digital Juice purchase is a significant investment. Each of the two
Editor’s Toolkits lists for $599, but you do get major bang for your buck.
Figure 21.7 gives you a little taste. Using the company’s file management software—The Juicer—you can scan through the library of clips and images for each
Hour 21
Each 10-DVD
Editor’s Toolkit
comes packed with
dozens of animated
graphics, hundreds
of still graphics,
and thousands of
ETK 1 & 2 are 10 DVDs each totaling more than 110GB of content. As shown in
Figure 21.8, their animated graphics have built-in alpha channels to allow
footage on lower tracks to show through. You use the Juicer to build them to any
length that suits you. Each is loopable—that is, you can place the same clip
back-to-back on a track and they’ll look like one uninterrupted animation.
The animated
graphic beds have
built-in alpha channel transparencies.
Third-Party Products
Each kit has animated lower-third graphics that you can use as backgrounds for
supers. You can move them around the screen, placing them vertically along the
sides or across the top. You can change the colors and select an output format
(NTSC, PAL, DV, AVI, QuickTime) to match your project settings.
Editor’s Toolkit 2 adds some uniquely fashioned transitions. None are true
Premiere Pro video transitions, which means they will work on many nonlinear
editors. Some, like the one shown in Figure 21.9, you place on a track above the
edit point between two clips. They’re animated graphics with transparent alpha
channels. As the transitions play out, they eventually create full-screen effects,
momentarily blocking anything below them on the sequence. It’s at that point
when the actual edit between the two clips takes place, looking for all the world
as if there were some spectacular and gradual transition.
Full-screen, fullcolor transitions
are actually animated graphics with
alpha channels and
brief moments of
full-screen, nontransparent graphics, when the actual edit takes place.
Finally, in a feature that opened up a new editing approach that I’d never considered, Digital Juice includes a collection of animated, black-and-white mattes. You
use them as track mattes as yet another means to create transitions.
Figure 21.9 shows one in action. Basically, you place the clip you’re transitioning
from on one track, and the clip you’re transitioning to below it. Place the track
matte transition above them and give the clips an overlap that matches the
Hour 21
length of the track matte. Apply the track matte to the top clip and the animated
black-and-white graphic will gradually reveal the clip below it. It’s a very slick
Applying a Track Matte Turns Off Clips
While testing the Editor’s Toolkit’s track matte transitions, I discovered what is probably a bug in Premiere Pro. If you apply a Track Matte key to a portion of a clip (the
matte length does not equal the entire clip length), the uncovered part of the clip
will not display.
In that setup, a track matte does not work as a transition because the video won’t
start playing until the CTI gets to the Track Matte graphic on the sequence.
The workaround is to make a razor cut on the video clip right before the first frame
of the track matte (take a close look at Figure 21.10 and you’ll note that I cut the
clip on Video 2). Then apply the Track Matte to the portion under that matte and
leave the rest of the clip untouched.
FIGURE 21.10
Using an animated
graphic as a track
matte enables you
to create transitions like this.
Third-Party Products
High-Definition Video—Cineform’s
Aspect HD
The video production industry is shifting to high-definition video. Premiere Pro
can output HD video using Windows Media’s HD file formats in the Adobe Media
Encoder (for more on this, see Hour 23, “Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips,
and Sequences”). But you need some way to import HD footage. There are a couple hardware solutions in the $30,000 price range, but Cineform’s Aspect HD
( is the first affordable solution.
At $1,200 for the software and $3,500 for the camcorder, it’s still a significant
chunk of change.
It works only with camcorders and tape decks that comply with a new format
called HDV (see following By the Way). So far, that amounts to only two JVC
camcorders and one JVC tape deck.
HDV—HD for the Masses?
HDV is a format created by four major camcorder makers: Canon, Sharp, Sony, and
JVC (for more info, go to HDV allows for the recording
and playback of HD on DV cassette tapes. It uses a recording format called MPEG2
MP@HL Transport Stream. Although it is not true full-resolution HD, it still records
and plays back in a full 720p, 30 fps, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
Normally, true transferring (capturing) HD video to a PC requires some expensive
specialized hardware and different higher-speed cables and connections. But with
HDV, all you need is a standard FireWire connection.
The JVC JY-HD10U camcorder (see Figure 21.11)—the first to market that uses this
new format—has met with mixed reviews. But this commitment from such major
players does point to a shift to HD-style video products.
Aspect HD, shown in Figure 21.12, operates seamlessly within Premiere Pro.
When you start a new project, you’ll see a new project setting option for HD.
Upon opening your Premiere Pro project with an HDV setting, you’ll note that the
Monitor window Source and Program screens display in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
By the
Hour 21
FIGURE 21.11
is the first HDV
camcorder and is
the device
Cineform worked
with when creating
FIGURE 21.12
AspectHD brings
HD import and realtime editing to
Premiere Pro.
AspectHD captures the MPEG2-TS video and converts it to a proprietary format,
editable in Premiere Pro. The software ships with its own set of effects, transitions,
color adjustment tools, slow-motion, frame hold, and static and moving video
overlays geared specifically for HD video. If your output will be standard definition TV (a very common workflow), AspectHD enables you to
pan/scan/rotate/zoom without any loss of pixel resolution.
Third-Party Products
You’ll need a PC with above-average horsepower to play these HD clips and
effects in real-time. A fast Pentium 4 with a RAID hard drive setup will suffice.
AspectHD ran without a hitch on my Alienware dual-Pentium powerhouse.
Multiple-Camera Editing with Multicam
Wedding and other event videographers know what a pain it can be to sync up
video from more than one camera and make clean, non-jump cut edits. One
solution is Multicam from United Media
Some event videographers have the luxury of working with a remote production
switcher. They connect all cameras to that switcher, and then make live camera
changes during the event.
As mentioned in Hour 3, “Story Creation, Writing, and Video Production Tips,” a
fully equipped, two-camera remote setup can cost about $75,000.
Multicam gives you the advantages of that live switching gear for a whole lot
less: $299 retail for a two-camera package and $599 for a four-camera version.
The basic concept is that you record an event with multiple cameras and you
keep them rolling the entire time. (If you turn them off here and there, it becomes
a real headache to sync them up, even using Multicam.)
You import the video into Premiere Pro and place each camera’s video on a separate track. Save that project and then open it in Multicam. Figure 21.13 gives you
an idea how it looks.
FIGURE 21.13
Multicam enables
you to make what
amounts to live
cuts between cameras without all the
remote location
production hardware.
Hour 21
In the Multicam interface, you look for a spot in the clips to use to syncronize
them. A movie-style clapper or a camera flash works well. You mark that spot in
all the clips, and then use one menu command to slide all the clips to bring them
into sync.
Now you do the live switching. It’s as easy as hitting the 1-2-3-4 keys on the keyboard. As you watch the video, you press numbers representing the video tracks
to cut from one to another. If you don’t like a cut, undo it and try again. When
done, you have Multicam automatically add some head and tail room to all the
cuts so that you can add transitions later and then export it back to Premiere Pro.
It comes back to Premiere Pro as a collection of sub-clips on their original four
video and audio tracks (you probably will settle on one master audio track, but
you can mix them). It’s a simple matter to add transitions (if desired).
Multicam is an intuitive tool that can save time and money.
Creating Multimedia Movies with
CyberCam is a nifty little utility ($110 retail at that
captures whatever is playing on your PC screen. You end up with an AVI movie
that is easily editable in Premiere Pro. Figure 21.14 shows you its simple interface.
FIGURE 21.14
CyberCam captures
whatever is displayed on your PC
monitor in realtime.
Third-Party Products
You set the frame rate (low if you want to play these movies on the Internet,
higher if you’re putting them on a DVD or videotape), audio quality (if you
choose to record audio), whether you want CyberCam to pan around the screen
to follow your moving mouse, and the size of the screen area to capture.
This is a great way to present step-by-step instructions. I’m using CyberCam to
create a series of videos to complement the tasks in this book. I plan to offer them
for sale at my Web site: My intention is to finish the
videos and have the site up and running by the time this book ships. But please
bear with me if things fall behind schedule.
Speeding Up Editing with Contour
Design’s ShuttlePRO V.2
Finally, I offer up one sharp piece of hardware, reminiscent of working with
videotape machines. Contour Design’s ShuttlePRO V.2 (see Figure 21.15) is a sleek,
handheld controller with programmable keys and a smooth shuttle knob.
FIGURE 21.15
ShuttlePRO V.2
puts direct control
of Premiere Pro’s
major Monitor window and some
timeline functions
into an ergonomic
Hour 21
Available for $130 at and at many retailers,
ShuttlePRO V.2 is preprogrammed to give you immediate access to more than a
dozen Premiere Pro actions. As shown in Figure 21.16, with simple clicks, you can
start, stop, fast-forward, and reverse, shuttle through the project, jump to edit
points, and even insert or lift clips within a sequence.
FIGURE 21.16
ShuttlePRO V.2
software has a display option that
shows default or
actions with labels.
You can use ShuttlePRO V.2 for many other programs. Its cleverly programmed
software recognizes whatever application you’re using and changes its functions
It’s a simple matter to customize controls for Premiere Pro and other products.
And you can create your own full set of personalized controls. After you’ve made
changes, they show up in an easily accessible display and you can use the supplied button labels to serve as reminders.
This is a very slick, well-crafted, and labor-saving tool.
When you purchased Premiere Pro, you joined a community. The many thirdparty software and hardware developers who create products that work inside or
Third-Party Products
with Premiere Pro are also part of that community. Those products enhance productivity, give you additional creative options, or streamline workflow.
In this hour, I covered effect and transition plug-ins. They represent a sparsely
populated market, but I expect it will grow as developers explore Premiere Pro’s
Software Development Kit.
Other third-party products enable you to add some beautiful animated graphic
beds and transitions to your Premiere Pro projects, sync-up and edit multiple
camera views, import and edit high-definition video, create and edit mini-movies
of your PC screen, and speed up editing with a handheld controller.
This hour does not lend itself to a quiz, but I do have one suggested exercise:
scour the Internet for other Premiere Pro third-party products. Start your search at Go to the Premiere Pro section and click on the ThirdParty Plugins link.
When I last looked, there were no third-party products listed on that site for
Premiere Pro. That might have changed by the time this book arrives on store
shelves. After you’ve exhausted that resource, do a Google search on “Premiere
Pro” with additional parameters such as “plug-ins”, “plugins”, “third party”,
and “compatible”. To limit search results to those products most likely to fit the
bill, use quotation marks and other parameters. A typical Google search might
look like this: +”Premiere Pro” “plug-ins” OR “plugins”.
Working with Other Adobe
Products and Exporting Your
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
Using Photoshop and After
Effects to Enhance Your DV
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Introducing Photoshop CS
Using Photoshop CS in video production
Introducing After Effects 6
Animating text with After Effects 6
Creating motion graphics with After Effects 6
Adobe’s Video Collection Professional features five products: Premiere Pro, Audition,
Photoshop CS, After Effects 6, and Encore DVD. Each stands alone at the top of its
respective field. Taken together, they give video producers all the tools they need to
do excellent work.
I took you through Audition’s paces in Hour 15, “Professional Audio Tools:
SmartSound Sonicfire and Adobe Audition.” In this book’s final hour, I will show you
how to use Encore DVD to create Hollywood-style DVDs. In this hour, I introduce you
to the two other products in the Adobe Video Collection Professional suite:
Photoshop CS and After Effects 6.
Anyone who does anything with print graphics and photo retouching probably has
Photoshop. It is the workhorse of the graphic design industry. But it is becoming an
increasingly important part of the video world as well.
After Effects is the de facto video production industry-standard text animation and
motion graphics tool. If it moves on your TV set or movie theater screen, someone
probably used After Effects to create it.
Hour 22
Introducing Photoshop CS
Making the move to Photoshop CS (shown in Figure 22.1) means joining forces
with just about every image-editing professional on the planet. It’s that ubiquitous.
Adobe Photoshop
CS is the undisputed photo- and
image-editing tool
of choice.
Photoshop CS (Creative Suite) offers deep customizability. The Layer Style dialog
box in Figure 22.2—very reminiscent of Premiere Pro’s Title Designer—is a case in
point. Everything you need is at your fingertips.
Photoshop’s Layer
Style dialog box
puts major functionality within one
intuitive interface.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
The drawing tools and Artwork palette in Photoshop CS enable you to create
graphics, like the one in Figure 22.3, in only a few minutes.
Photoshop’s intuitive drawing tools
speed up graphics
Photoshop CS includes several creative paintbrush tools in that palette such as
Charcoal, Pastel, and Oil Paint. Using them with a graphics tablet, such as the
pressure-sensitive Wacom Intuos, means you can apply more or less texture as
you draw.
Other Photoshop CS features include the following:
. A healing brush that does amazingly accurate and automatic dust, scratch,
and blemish removal while compensating for differences in lighting, shading, and texture.
. Automatic color correction, which analyzes an image and balances color
with a single click. This works well on photos shot under fluorescent lights.
. More powerful Web integration.
. A spell checker. This might not seem like a standard image-editing tool, but
graphic artists have clamored for it.
Of primary importance to the scope of this book is just how strongly Photoshop
CS is connected to Premiere Pro and to video production.
Hour 22
An obvious example is Premiere Pro’s Edit Original command. Place any
Photoshop graphic on the timeline, right-click it, and select Edit Original. This
opens Photoshop CS and makes it possible for you to immediately edit the graphic. After it has been saved within Photoshop CS, the new version of the graphic
shows up in Premiere Pro.
Here are three other Premiere Pro/Photoshop CS connections:
. Premiere Pro’s filmstrip export feature is specifically designed to work with
Photoshop CS. Convert video clips into filmstrips—collections of individual
frames. To do that, mark the sequence segment you want to convert with
the Work Area bar then select File→Export→Export Movie. Click Settings.
For the file type, choose Filmstrip and then choose the frame rate. As shown
in Figure 22.4, you then open the frames in Photoshop and paint directly on
the clips, which is a process called rotoscoping.
Use Photoshop’s
Filmstrip file format
and its paint tools
to rotoscope
Premiere Pro clips
on a frame-by-frame
. Export a frame of a video to Photoshop CS to create a matte to mask or
highlight certain areas of that clip. Here’s how: Using that frame as a guide,
create a shape using the Marquee or one of the Lasso tools. In the Tool
Options bar, set Feather to about 15 px to give it a soft border. Fill the interior with black to make it transparent. Fill the rest with white to make that
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
part opaque. Within Premiere Pro, you can use this mask as a track matte
to adjust its location and size and to follow action. Plus, you can line up the
original clip on both Video 1 and Video 2, apply some blur to Video 2, and
use the soft-edged matte to highlight an element in your clip while throwing everything else out of focus.
. You can use Photoshop CS to cut objects out of a scene and fill in the gap
using the Clone tool or the healing brush. Then place the removed object in
a separate layer so that you can animate it using Premiere Pro’s Motion
video effect—Monty Python-esque comical situations come to mind.
Consider a photo of a statue in a park. Move it off the pedestal and slide it
next to an unsuspecting park patron seated on a bench.
Before you can start using these features, you’ll need to learn the fundamentals.
If you choose to add Photoshop CS to your digital video production repertoire,
peruse the tips for first-time users provided by a Photoshop expert in the following
Using Photoshop CS in Video Production
If you aren’t a Photoshop user, I strongly recommend downloading the Photoshop
CS trial version. Go to, locate the Photoshop CS page, and
click the Tryout link.
One other alternative means to get up to speed on Photoshop CS is to start with
its slimmed-down sibling: Photoshop Elements. It’s a more user-friendly piece of
software that features the same layered graphic approach used in Photoshop CS.
It too has a downloadable trial version.
Expert Tips
Whichever approach you take, you’ll want to follow a few standard procedures
when creating graphics for use in video projects. I contacted a well-regarded professional in this use of Photoshop—Glen Stephens—to provide some tips.
Glen Stephens is an expert Photoshop user and designer for desktop and broadcast video. He has more than 10 years experience as a graphic designer, editor,
and director in broadcast video.
Hour 22
Glen Stephens,
Pixel Post Studios.
Stephens is the developer of the Tools for Television Pro (http://www.—a valuable productivity tool for people who want to
integrate video production and Photoshop.
Stephens’ company, Pixel Post Studios (, provides training and design services for the broadcast video industry.
Here are Stephens’ tips for using Photoshop in your video productions. (Note that
* indicates that actions (something like word processing macros that carry out a
series of steps) are available on the Tools for Television–Photoshop Toolbox CD to
automate the task.)
. Place each element of your image onto a new and separate layer. This
enables you to keep your designs editable in case you decide to make
changes later. It’s tempting to flatten, or combine your image’s layers when
you’re done to reduce their file size, but doing so prevents you from later
making text or color changes.
. Use the built-in features of Photoshop, such as layer styles, to create
effects such as drop shadows, glows, and bevels. Layer styles and adjustment layers are very valuable and allow you to create powerful image
effects that are always adjustable later in the process, as long as you do not
render or rasterize them. Experiment with these and get into the habit of
using them.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
. Use safe areas. * Overscan on television sets covers about 10% of each side
of your image. Therefore, when creating graphics for video, use Photoshop
CS’s new Title Safe guides when you select a video preset when opening a
new document. Make sure that you place all your content inside the delineated portion of your image (see Figure 22.5). It’s okay to let background
images and elements extend to the edges so that they appear to fill the
screen, but overscan will cover any text that extends outside of the title-safe
Title Safe Zone
Keep your text within the title-safe
area to avoid losing
the edges in the
overscan region.
. Watch your font sizes. Font sizes of 24 points or larger work best. Anything
smaller might look like dust specks on a TV screen. For a header or primary
text, 32 to 48 points work well, depending on how much text you use. (Note
that typeface sizes vary. A 24-point font for one typeface might be
smaller/larger than a 24-point font for a different typeface.)
Also, space your text evenly. Don’t crowd the screen with too much large
text, and avoid thin fonts that might become illegible in an interlaced video
signal. Be very selective with text color (use NTSC safe color, for example)
and use outlines or drop shadows to separate text from the video background.
. Adjust image dimensions to compensate for non-square pixels. *
Photoshop works only with square pixels. But some TV systems use nonsquare (slightly rectangular) pixels. To ensure that your Photoshop graphics
translate well to the final video output format, use Photoshop CS’ new Pixel
Aspect Ratio Correction feature. It makes your images look square while
you’re working on them in Photoshop, but the pixels are actually nonsquare in their native form in Photoshop.
Hour 22
To ensure the proper pixel aspect ratio, use one of Photoshop’s TV image
presets. Select whatever output you’ll use for your project when you open a
new document in Photoshop. If you care to confirm that setting, choose the
Advanced settings→Pixel Aspect Ratio drop-down menu in the new document setup dialog box.
After you’ve made that selection, don’t change that from square to nonsquare or vice versa. Doing so could alter your image in an irreparable way.
Computer monitors, regular NTSC (non-D1 or DV), and HDTV (highdefinition TV) use square pixels. NTSC D1, NTSC DV, and PAL use nonsquare pixels. If you do not use the Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction for nonsquare formats, your images will look like the graphics in Figure 22.6—
stretched or squashed, depending on the video system.
Failing to use the
correct resolution
in a Photoshop
graphic could lead
to squashed or
elongated images,
depending on the
output video format.
By the
72 DPI Fits the Bill
Unless you plan to zoom in on a graphic within Premiere Pro, it’s best to create all
Photoshop images as RGB images at 72 DPI resolution (see the “Scanning Tips for
Photographs” bullet later in this hour for more info).
. Using bitmap versus vector graphics. Computer graphics fall into two
main categories: bitmap and vector. You can import both types into
Premiere Pro, but Premiere Pro converts vector graphics to bitmap images
before editing them. Here’s a basic overview of both types:
. Bitmap images—technically called raster images —use a grid of colored
dots known as pixels. Some pixels have been magnified in Figure 22.7
to illustrate this. Each pixel is assigned a specific location and color
value. When working with bitmap images, you edit pixels rather than
objects or shapes.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
Bitmap images are the most common electronic medium for continuous-tone images, such as photographs, because they can represent
subtle gradations of shades and color. Bitmap images are resolution
dependent—that is, they contain a fixed number of pixels. As a result,
they can lose detail and appear jagged if they’re scaled larger.
All images created in Photoshop are bitmap.
Magnified bitmap
. Vector graphics are made up of lines and curves defined by mathematical objects called vectors. Figure 22.8 demonstrates how vectors
describe an image according to its geometric characteristics. For example, a circle in a vector graphic is made up of a mathematical definition of a circle drawn with a certain radius, set at a specific location,
and filled with a specific color. You can move, resize, and change the
color of the circle without losing the quality of the graphic.
Vector graphics are resolution independent—that is, they can be scaled
to any size and printed at any resolution without losing detail or clarity. As a result, vector graphics are the best choice for representing bold
graphics that must retain crisp lines when scaled to various sizes (for
example, logos).
All images created with Adobe Illustrator are vector based.
Hour 22
Vector graphics are
made up of mathematical objects—
lines and curves—
to ensure sharp,
crisp images, no
matter how much
they’re scaled up.
. Fixing interlacing and “shaky” graphics. * If your Photoshop graphics
vibrate when displayed on a TV set, this is likely due to interlacing.
This happens when thin horizontal lines, especially bright lines, in your
graphic or image fall between the interlaced scan lines of your video signal.
It’s a common occurrence with scanned photographs. You want to avoid
You fix it by either making horizontal lines thicker or applying a motion
blur. Figure 22.9 demonstrates the latter solution.
Select Filter→Blur→Motion Blur. This opens the Motion Blur dialog box.
Apply one pixel at 90 degrees to the problem area in the image. This
stretches the width of the horizontal lines into the next scan line in the
video signal and corrects the problem. In some cases, one pixel will not be
enough. Try two or three if the problem is really bad.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
Use Photoshop’s
Motion Blur effect
to resolve jitters on
interlaced TV sets
caused by thin
lines in the graphic.
Limit Blurred Region
It generally works best if you apply the blur to only the problem areas in the image.
If you apply the blur to the overall image, it might lose sharpness. There are exceptions: In the case of a scanned photo, you might need to apply the blur to the entire
You can use Premiere Pro’s Edit Original command on the suspect graphic to automatically open Photoshop to do your graphic touch-up work. When you save the
altered graphic, it will show up in its new form within Premiere Pro.
. File-management tips. When you’re working in Photoshop, I suggest using
a file folder system that keeps two sets of image files for a project: design
and production.
Design files are the original Photoshop (PSD) images that contain text data,
layers, adjustment layers, layer masks, and the safe grid and background.
Production files are the flattened files that you can export to other software
applications. These files don’t have any layered information and cannot be
edited later. You can save these files in any format that your editing software will take. It’s a good idea that these files be flattened because many
applications cannot read layer styles or adjustment layers from Photoshop,
and items such as drop shadows might be lost in the editing software.
Simply select Save As in Photoshop and uncheck the Layers button in the
Save dialog box to flatten the image.
By the
Hour 22
. Color-selection tips: Certain colors work better than others when working
with video. Any color that is highly saturated and too bright will cause
problems when transferred to video. Muted, less bright colors will yield better results. Typically red is not a good color to use. However, if you keep the
saturation and brightness down, you might be able to get away with it.
Blues, yellows, and greens work well.
Photoshop has a filter that will help shift “illegal” colors into an NTSC safecolor space. Select Filter→Video→NTSC Colors to use it. However, just
because a color is NTSC safe does not mean it will not bleed or look bad!
When working with text, make sure that there’s a significant amount of
contrast between the color of the text and the background. You want the
text to jump off the screen at your viewers.
I rarely use color in text. If I do, it is just a faint shade. Your viewers’ eyes
will be drawn naturally to the brightest portion of your image. Try to guide
your viewers to what you are trying to communicate with them.
By the
Color Theory
The book Color Harmony by Hideaki Chijiiwa is an excellent resource if you want to
learn color theory and how to use colors to help communicate your message.
. Scanning tips for photographs. When scanning photographs for use in a
video project, it isn’t necessary to scan images at a high resolution. Because
all video graphics end up at 72 DPI, anything more than that is overkill.
There are exceptions, though. If you plan to pan, move around, or zoom in
on the image in Premiere Pro, you’ll want to scan at a higher resolution
than 72 DPI.
Because Photoshop works with pixels, if you scan a small image and try to
scale it larger in Photoshop, you’ll end up with a blurry version of your
image. Scaling down does not make an image look obviously worse, but
scaling up does.
In general, scan all images at a slightly larger size than the expected output
video resolution so that you can scale the image down to the size you want
it on your video screen.
Table 22.1 lists image sizes that will fill a screen at 72 DPI for each video format.
If your original image is smaller than the sizes listed here, scan it at a higher resolution to ensure sharp details in the final edited video.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
TABLE 22.1 Video Frame Size Versus Optimum Size of Original
Document to Ensure Sharp Onscreen Display at 72 DPI
Video Frame Size
Minimum Image Size to Ensure Sharp Onscreen Display
8 7/8 × 6 5/8 inches
10 × 6 5/8 inches
10 × 6 3/4 inches
10 × 8 inches
17 2/3 × 10 inches
26 2/3 × 15 inches
Introducing After Effects
Recently, you might have noticed a change in video production techniques.
Suddenly, it seems, text is flying all over our screens. Advertisements, kids’ programs, and entertainment shows feature jittery, shifting, ambling, and rambling
text. Why the sudden shift? Adobe After Effects 6.
FIGURE 22.10
After Effects 6 is
the industry-leading
motion graphics,
animated text, and
visual effects tool.
Hour 22
After Effects 6 features new, easy-to-use and wildly imaginative text animation
tools. And video production houses around the world, most of which rely on After
Effects for their day-to-day visual effects work, have enthusiastically exploited
these new tools. In addition, they’ve started using AE 6’s new Photoshop-style vector paint tools and its improved motion graphics features.
As you ramp up your Premiere Pro skill set, you might want to consider using
After Effects in your productions. It is the industry-leading tool of choice for editors who want to produce exciting and innovative motion graphics, visual effects,
and animated text for film, video, DVD, and the Web.
After Effects users tend to fall into two distinct camps: motion graphics artists and
animated text artists. Some production houses specialize in one or the other. There is
so much that After Effects can do, it’s darned hard to wrap your brain around all of it.
So, I’ll focus on one main area at a time.
After Effects has a steep learning curve. So, rather than present a collection of tips or
a series of tasks that would require a massive amount of explanation just to get you up
to speed, I simply will demonstrate some of After Effects’ features.
Tight Adobe Video Collection Integration
If you migrate to After Effects, you likely will use it to add special motion effects to
Premiere Pro and Photoshop CS projects. Importing them into After Effects is easy.
Figure 22.11 shows the Saleen Premiere Pro project you worked on earlier in this
As with Premiere Pro, After Effects has a Project window but the icons and terminology are a bit different. For instance, Premiere Pro sequences are known as
compositions in After Effects.
Double-clicking a sequence/composition opens it in the Timeline window. Each numbered line is an asset or effect from the original Premiere Pro project. Instead of
tracks, you work with layers in After Effects.
Edits, effects, dissolves, motion keyframes, transparencies, nested sequences, crops,
and clip speed changes built in the Premiere Pro project are all maintained when
imported into After Effects.
As shown in Figure 22.12, those elements take on a different look in After Effects.
Even with the highlighted basic cross dissolve, you have the option to control it to
the minutest detail. In Premiere Pro, you can apply keyframe parameters that can
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
smooth the dissolve, speeding it up or slowing it down as it approaches a
keyframe. In After Effects, you build that effect curve exactly the way you want to
for dissolves and just about any other effect.
FIGURE 22.11
Imported Premiere
Pro projects retain
their effects and
transitions in After
FIGURE 22.12
After Effects
enables you to
have absolute control of the minutest
detail of virtually
any effect.
Key frames
Hour 22
You can also import Photoshop layered files into After Effects. Figure 22.13 shows a
DVD menu that you will work with in Hour 24, “Authoring DVDs with Encore
FIGURE 22.13
You can import
Photoshop graphics
into After Effects
and preserve all
their layers and
The Project window displays each Photoshop layer. You can apply effects to each
layer, put each in motion on separate paths, and animate the text. Basically, you can
start with a static layered image and turn it into an animated video menu that you can
use in your DVDs.
For those of you who work with Adobe Illustrator, those files too can be imported into
After Effects while retaining their layers.
Animating Text with After Effects
After Effects enables you to take text created in Photoshop and convert it to editable
After Effects text, which means it will now behave as if you created it directly
in After Effects (however, you might find that it’s easier to create text directly in After
Effects, as I explain later in this section). That opens the door to creative potential
beyond anything you can imagine.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
Figure 22.14 gives you an idea of what that entails. You can add text animation features to this composition layer, change attributes, and apply them over time using
FIGURE 22.14
After Effects can
convert text created in Photoshop to
text you can animate down to a
character-by-character basis.
Per-Character Animation
After Effects 6 has a new ground-breaking approach to text animation: per-character/word animation. Previously, you had to go through a laborious and tedious process
to animate one letter or word at a time. Now you tell After Effects how many letters
or whole words to animate at any one time.
To begin, you create text with a new set of text tools that work very much like those
in Photoshop. As shown in Figure 22.15, it’s a simple matter to choose the Text tool,
add a bounding box to a video clip, set the font and its size, and then type in your text
message. After the text has been written, you can select a portion of it and apply different font style attributes. I set the S7 to Book Heavy (the equivalent of bold for the
Neuzeit S LT Std font) and gave it a stroke (an outer edge with a different color).
Hour 22
FIGURE 22.15
The new text creation tools in After
Effects work much
like those in
Figure 22.16 demonstrates that you can place text on a path just as you can with
Premiere Pro. But in After Effects, you can have the text move along that path
and have the path change to fit the moving image.
FIGURE 22.16
Use After Effects to
animate text along
a moving path.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
After Effects ships with a whole collection of text animation tools. In the case of
Figure 22.17, I wrote a line of text, applied the per-character animation parameter, skewed the characters a bit (slanting them off to the right), set a bounding
box within which I wanted the characters to animate, and then used the new
Wiggly animation option. The characters jump all over the screen and settle
down one at a time in a straight line.
FIGURE 22.17
Using per-character
animation enables
you to create
bouncing text like
There are many other animation characteristics. Letters can bounce, move
through 3D space, twist, bend, curl, flip, invert, change colors and opacities, and
even change to different characters.
One other item before moving on: You also can animate within text. Figure 22.18
shows an animated scribble effect that gradually fills the text. It’s also a simple
matter to draw outlines around text and have that animate as well. The possibilities are mind-boggling.
Hour 22
FIGURE 22.18
Not only can you
animate individual
letters, you can animate within letters.
Creating Motion Graphics with After
The animated text examples give you an idea of how you can move objects
through 2D or 3D space in After Effects 6. You can apply similar motion to any
object and you can give that object keyframable parameters that change its characteristics over time.
What makes this different from similar keyframable motion effects in Premiere
Pro is the minute level of control you have over the motion (including speed,
curves, and the use of 3D space) and the number of special parameters.
In the following sections, I introduce that motion graphics concept with a simple
example, show you a couple special effects, and then go over two higher-level
motion tools.
Vector Paintbrush Tools
After Effects 6 includes a new set of Photoshop-style paint and touch-up tools. You
can use them simply to create some wild, animated art and, as shown in Figure
22.19, to apply rotoscope-style animation to video. The huge advantage when
using After Effects instead of Photoshop to do rotoscoping is the ability to animate
it over time instead of tediously applying it on a frame-by-frame basis.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
FIGURE 22.19
Use new
paint tools in After
Effects to apply
rotoscope-style animation to videos.
The paint tools, along with the additional Photoshop-style Clone tool, enable you
to repair problem areas in a video. Figure 22.20 shows the paint tools and brushes. It’s a simple matter to use the Eyedropper tool to select a color right next to
that black smudge in the car door, and then select a soft-tipped brush to fix that
FIGURE 22.20
After Effects 6
uses Photoshopstyle paint and
touch-up tools that
enable you to fix
video miscues on a
basis if need be.
Hour 22
By using keyframes, you can apply touch-ups to multiple frames to track any
movement in the video clip. That work can be mighty tedious—to fix this twosecond clip required applying touch-up work to several dozen frames.
After Effects has a solution. Its new Motion Tracker can automate this touch-up
process as well as perform some much more dramatic effects. I cover it later in
this section.
Animated Effects
After Effects 6 has 17 new effects that enable you to correct and enhance your
footage. For example:
. You can distort footage with Liquify’s 10 brush-based tools.
. The Warp effect transforms layers into geometric shapes, arcs, waves, and
fish-eye lens views.
. Turbulent Displace uses fractal noise to create distortions.
. Magnify simulates placing a magnifying glass over an area of the image.
Warp, illustrated in Figure 22.21, is one of the easiest effects to use. You select
from a list of preset animations, and then adjust the degree and direction of the
bend and the horizontal and vertical displacement. You can use multiple
keyframes, but simply using a start and end keyframe will create a very cool flag
wave feel, for example.
FIGURE 22.21
The Warp effect
has a dozen preset
animations and
some simple,
keyframable parameters that create
some very cool
The Liquify effect (see Figure 22.22) enables you to manually distort portions of
an image. To see how that distortion works, you can turn on the effect’s Mesh
view, which shifts and distorts as you drag one of Liquify’s 10 tools around the
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
FIGURE 22.22
Liquify uses a
mesh as a guide
so that you can
see the X/Y axis
changes as you
drag one of its distortion tools around
the screen.
New Professional Edition Tools
New to the Professional Edition of After Effects 6 are two powerful and exciting
tools: Keylight and Motion Tracker. Keylight offers better, more powerful chromakeying technology than you’ll find in Premiere Pro. Motion Tracker makes it
possible for you to accurately, quickly, and painlessly follow motion and then
connect effects to those moving objects.
Keylight—Accurate and Clean-Keyed Effects
Keylight performs powerful chromakey analysis. It retains things such as reflections off the windows and does not leave jaggies around actors’ hair.
Figure 22.23 shows the two shots that I’ll key. It’s difficult to see in print, but there
are a few wisps of hair on the right and the windows have reflections.
FIGURE 22.23
Combining these
two images and
retaining elements
such as reflections
would be difficult if
not impossible
without a powerful
chromakey analysis
Hour 22
Applying Keylight to the scene and tweaking a few parameters led to the perfect
key shown in Figure 22.24.
FIGURE 22.24
Keylight analyzes
the scene and with
some user parameter adjustments
achieves a realistic
keyed effect.
Follow Action with the Motion Tracker
After Effects 6 Professional’s new Motion Tracker enables you to track any number
of moving objects and then link effects directly to those objects. As I mentioned
earlier in this section, you can do something as mundane as track something you
want to touch up, and then apply that touch-up effect to the track (actually a collection of keyframes) to save a lot of time.
Its more exciting use is as a means to add cool effects to action items. You can
highlight a skier by having a transparent, color matte match his every move.
Follow a golf swing, leaving an arc that shows the swing’s characteristics. Or, in
the upcoming example, add headlights and lens flare to race cars.
As shown in Figure 22.25, the race car’s headlights emit only a faint glow. After
Effects can fix that and then some.
Using the Tracker controls, I place the highlighted square over a headlight and
assign that target’s motion to the Lens Flare Video Effect that I’ve already added
to the composition. When completed the Lens Flare will simulate a bright headlight and will add a stream of halos running in a diagonal line away from the
Figure 22.26 shows how the Lens Flare layer looks after the Tracker controls add
several dozen motion keyframes that track the headlights perfectly.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
FIGURE 22.25
Use the Motion
Tracker controls to
target an object
you want to track,
and then assign an
effect to that
motion route.
FIGURE 22.26
Opening the Motion
Tracker’s Motion
Target layer shows
the many automatically added motion
keyframes that
accurately follow
the headlight.
After using the Tracker on both headlights, the video looks like Figure 22.27. For
comparison purposes, take a look at Figure 22.25.
Hour 22
FIGURE 22.27
Adding Lens Flare
to the motion tracking layers creates
this very slick animated effect.
Adobe’s Video Collection Professional contains everything you need to create
high-end video projects. The two tools covered this hour—Photoshop CS and After
Effects 6—are industry-leading powerhouses. Virtually everyone who works with
digital images uses Photoshop, and the motion graphics and text animation tool
of choice is After Effects.
Photoshop is geared to still image and photo work, but there are many ways to
incorporate those layered graphics and stills into a video production. This hour I
called on an expert in using Photoshop for DV work to offer some tips along those
Those viewing After Effects for the first time might find its wealth of possibilities
daunting. It’s so big that many production houses literally specialize in either its
text animation features or its motion graphics tools. In this hour, I gave you a
taste of what After Effects can do on both fronts.
Using Photoshop and After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project
Q Your scanning tips in the Photoshop section say that there’s no real need
to scan at higher than 72 DPI. If I do use higher resolution settings, does
that create a problem?
A Probably not. At worst, you might experience minor inconveniences along
the lines of disc space, CPU cycles, and scanning speed. Most people scan at
600 DPI or higher to ensure sharp printouts. That’s serious overkill for TV
sets that can’t display at more than 72 DPI, and those files take up massive
disc space versus images scanned at 72 DPI. High-res images also can take
more processor horsepower to display quickly. On the other hand, if you
plan to put your images in motion (pan or zoom) higher resolution is a
must to avoid fuzzy photos.
Q As long as I can put Photoshop graphics in motion in Premiere Pro plus
apply keyframable animated effects to video, why use After Effects to do
just about the same thing?
A Premiere Pro is a professional-quality tool with a full feature set. But it has
some limitations when compared to After Effects. All its motion paths are
straight lines. You can animate text by crawling it or rolling it, but you
can’t begin to apply all the wild twists, turns, and character-based effects
available in After Effects. Premiere Pro can handle the bulk of your day-today video editing needs, but if you want to match some of the really highend video effects you see mainly in high-budget advertisements and
Hollywood films, you’ll need to move up to After Effects.
1. Photoshop primarily uses bitmapped graphics. Illustrator is geared to vector-based graphics. Describe the difference.
2. What’s the principal difference between rotoscoping a two-second Premiere
Pro clip in Photoshop versus After Effects?
3. In After Effects, what’s the basic process used to apply an effect to an object
moving through a video?
Hour 22
Quiz Answers
1. Bitmapped images are like photographs or paintings. After you’ve created
them, you can’t expand them without causing some damage. When you
blow up bitmapped images, the graphics or video editing software fills in
the expanding gaps between the existing color bits with a best guess color.
The more you expand, the less distinct your image becomes. Vector-based
graphics are defined by mathematical formulas and are geared primarily to
higher-resolution print media. As you expand or shrink them, they always
remain as sharply defined as the original image.
2. In Photoshop, you import that clip as a filmstrip of still frames and then
apply your hand-drawn artwork one frame at a time. In After Effects, you
work with the video clip itself. You can use the Paint tools to draw on its first
frame, and then use some effect and motion controls to animate it for the
length of the clip. After Effects can save you an enormous amount of time.
3. Add whatever effect or object (a graphic, text, touch-up artwork) you want
to animate to the composition that also holds the original video. Use
Motion Tracking on the video and assign its output to that effect or object.
1. If you’ve never worked with Photoshop CS, download the trial version and
check it out. The easiest place to start is scanning or importing some photos
and painting on them, applying special effects, and doing touch-up work.
2. Download the trial version of After Effects 6 and take it for a test drive. It
might seem overwhelming at first, but if you simply play around with it for
a while—animating text is a good place to start—you’ll begin to see its
potential. As you add effects, open every newly added disclosure triangle in
its timeline. That’s a great way to see the plethora of options.
3. Start taking a closer look at TV advertisements with high production values.
Knowing what After Effects can do, try to spot video edits that equal or go
beyond what you can do with Premiere Pro. Try to figure out generally how
they did them. Compile a list of the effects that you think are the most effective and see whether you can duplicate them in Premiere Pro or in your trial
version of After Effects 6.
Exporting Premiere Pro
Frames, Clips, and Sequences
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Introducing exporting
Recording your project to videotape
Creating basic media files
Using the Adobe Media Encoder
Using Premiere Pro to burn a video to a DVD
Premiere Pro offers a dizzying array of export options—methods to record your project to videotape, convert them into files, or burn them to DVDs. Making sense of
them is the goal of this hour.
The simplest task is to use Premiere Pro as a digital video recorder. In addition, you
can export a still frame or frame sequence to your hard drive for use in other programs, record only the audio portion of your project, or convert a video segment or
entire project into one of several standard (but somewhat dated) PC video formats.
Of greater relevance are the higher-level video encoding formats available in
Premiere Pro: MPEG, Windows Media, QuickTime, and RealMedia. Premiere Pro’s
export workhorse—the Adobe Media Encoder—offers all four of those formats with
many options for each. You’ll use that powerful tool to create projects to post to a
Web site, for multimedia CD-ROMs, and to create DVD movies.
Hour 23
Introducing Exporting
When you purchased Premiere Pro, you might have had only one basic concept
in mind: to create video projects to put on a DVD or VHS tapes and play them on
a TV. As it turns out, there are many other possibilities.
As technology has changed, Adobe has responded by adding new output features
to Premiere Pro. A few years ago, the idea of creating a video for playback on the
Internet was unheard of. And personal DVDs weren’t even on the radar. Now
they are both major elements of Premiere Pro.
So, before venturing off into recording to videotape (and later DVD), take a look
at those possibilities.
Make sure that a sequence is active (otherwise Premiere Pro will not present
Export as an option) by clicking somewhere in the Timeline window.
Select File→Export. As shown in Figure 23.1, Premiere Pro offers six export
. Movie—Create Windows AVI or Apple QuickTime desktop video files or collections of still images.
. Frame—Convert a selected frame into a still image using one of four formats: BMP, GIF, Targa, or TIFF.
. Audio—Record an audio-only file in one of four formats: WAV, AVI, DV AVI,
or QuickTime.
. Export to Tape—Transfer your project to videotape.
. Adobe Media Encoder—Transcode your project or a segment into one of
four high-end file formats: MPEG, Windows Media, RealMedia, or
QuickTime. Use these for Web streaming video or, in the case of MPEG, to
play on DVDs.
. Export To DVD—Burn your Premiere Pro project directly to a DVD.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Premiere Pro’s six
export options.
Two Other Export Options
Premiere Pro offers two other, infrequently used export options. To see them,
make the Project window active by clicking somewhere inside it and then select
Project from the main menu. Among other things, that drop-down menu displays
the following two export options:
. Export Batch List—You might never use this option. As shown in Figure
23.2, an export batch list is a CSV (comma-separated value) file that lists
only the video files used in your project. When imported, Premiere Pro considers batch list files as offline media; that is, you’ll need to use their in- and
out-point data to have Premiere Pro import them from a DV device. You use
batch files to transfer projects between logging utility software and products
such as Premiere Pro.
. Export Project as AAF—On the other hand, you might have an increasing
need for this option. AAF (advanced authoring format) is replacing edit
decision lists as the means to transfer media asset and editing information
among various editing devices and software. It handles most common transitions, but does not support video effects or audio fade and pan information.
Hour 23
Exporting a project
batch list creates a
text file that you
can read in a
spreadsheet program such as Excel
or in word processing software.
Recording Your Sequence to Videotape
Although a videotape is no longer the principal output medium for projects made
using Premiere, it’s still a very common choice. All you need is a DV recording
device—most commonly, the same DV camcorder you used to import the original
raw video. You can also use an analog videotape recorder, but doing so takes
some extra effort (see “What About Analog Export?” later in this hour).
Try it
Export to Tape
Even with something as straightforward as dubbing your sequence to videotape,
Premiere Pro gives you multiple options. Here’s how to do it:
1. Connect your DV camcorder to your computer, just as you did when you
captured video. Turn that device on and set it to VCR or VTR (not Camera
as you might expect).
By the
What About Analog Export?
Premiere Pro offers only DV export. If you want to export (record) to an analog
machine, you have three choices. You can record to DV and then record that to an
analog device; record to a DV device and pass it through to an analog camcorder; or
purchase a video card with Premiere Pro import/export plug-ins, such as the
Canopus DVStorm2 discussed in Hour 4, “Premiere Pro Setup.” After it has been
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
installed, such a card adds its unique analog (and DV) export options to Premiere
Pro. I explain how to export to what are known as nondevice controlled recorders in
“Nondevice Control—Manual—Recording,” later in this hour.
2. Select the sequence you want to record. The default process will export only
an entire sequence, as opposed to a selected segment. To export only a segment, follow the nondevice control instructions listed in the Did You Know?
presented later in this task.
Leave a Little Room
To give your project a little breathing room on your DV tape, add black video to its
beginning. You know the drill: Click on the New Item button at the bottom of the
Project window (or right-click in the Project window and select New Item) and select
Black Video. Drag that to the start of your project (hold down the Ctrl key to insert it
and slide all other clips to the right).
Did you
If you’re going to have a postproduction studio duplicate your tapes, add 30 seconds
of bars and tone to the beginning so that the studio can set up its gear. Same drill
as black video: Right-click the Project window, select New Item→Bars and Tone. Drag
it to the beginning of your project and change its duration to 30 seconds (use the
Trim window’s Ripple edit option).
3. Select File→Export→Export to Tape. That pops up the dialog box shown in
Figure 23.3. Here’s a rundown of its options:
. Activate Recording Device—When checked, Premiere Pro will control
your DV device. Uncheck it if you want to record to a device that
you’ll control manually.
Nondevice Control—Manual—Recording
To record to a nondevice control machine, set up your camcorder for recording and
then play the sequence to make sure that you see it display on your external recording device. Cue your tape to where you want recording to begin, position the CTI edit
line to where you want recording to begin, press the Record button on your device,
and press the Play button in the Monitor window Program screen (or press Enter).
Did you
It’s best to render your sequence before doing manual, nondevice control recording.
Otherwise, you’ll have to wait with your finger on the device Record button and press
it just as rendering ends.
When the sequence or segment finishes, press the Stop button in the Program
screen and then stop the tape on the device.
Hour 23
. Assemble at Timecode—Use this to select an in-point on the tape
where you want recording to begin. When unchecked, recording will
begin at the current tape location.
. Delay Movie Start—This is for the few DV recording devices that need
a brief period of time between receiving the video signal and recording
it. Check your device’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.
. Preroll—Most decks needs little or no time to get up to the proper tape
recording speed. To be on the safe side, select 150 frames (five seconds)
or add black video to the start of your project (see previous Did You
. Options—These are self-explanatory.
The Export to Tape
dialog box enables
you to fine-tune the
export process
before starting to
record your project
to your DV or analog device.
4. Click Record. If you haven’t rendered your project (by pressing Enter for
playback instead of the Spacebar), Premiere Pro will do that now. If you
have a slower machine, this could take quite a while—several multiples of
your project length. You can watch the progress in the Rendering Files display and by watching the red horizontal lines at the top of the sequence.
After Premiere Pro has rendered their associated clips, those lines turn green.
5. When rendering is complete, Premiere Pro will start your camcorder and
record your project to it. Because rendering might take several minutes, it’s
best to plug your camcorder into AC power, rather than use a battery. Not
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
only could your battery lose juice at a critical moment, your camcorder
might go on auto-shutdown after a few minutes of inactivity.
The Rendering Files
display gives you
one indication of
rendering progress.
Creating Basic Media Files
Three of the export options are Movie, Frame, and Audio. All use older basic file
formats such as AVI for the Movie and Audio option. My general view is that if
you want to convert a sequence into an audio or audio/video file, use the Adobe
Media Encoder. I cover it in the next section.
That said, you certainly will make still images (frames) from your video clips and
WAV (Windows Audio Waveform) audio files are still heavily used in audio editing software such as Adobe Audition. So, there are still reasons to use these three
export categories. I’ll take you through each in turn.
Grabbing still images of video frames is a common practice. You might want to
use them for promotional literature, to post on the Web, as cover art for a video,
and as a DVD menu background. This is a very simple process:
Try it
Exporting Still Images
1. Move the CTI edit line to the video frame you want to save as a graphic file.
3. The default file type is BMP (bitmap). You can accept that default, type in a
filename, and click Save and that would be that. If you want to use one of
the other three available file types—GIF, Targa, or TIFF—click the Settings
button highlighted in Figure 23.5.
2. Select File→Export→Frame. As illustrated in Figure 23.5, that selection opens
the Export Frame dialog box to your current project’s file folder (you can opt
to store this graphic in there or in any other folder).
Hour 23
The Export Frame
dialog box defaults
to your project location.
4. In the newly opened Export Frame Settings dialog box shown in Figure 23.6,
note the drop-down File Type list. Select one of the other three file types.
5. Note that you have one other option: Add to Project When Finished. If you
don’t want to add the file, uncheck the box.
6. Click OK to return to the Export Frame dialog box where you can give your
image a filename using the newly selected file type. Then click Save.
The Export Frame
Settings dialog box
offers only four file
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Try it
Exporting Audio
Sometimes you might want to export only the audio portion of a sequence or
clip—to do some higher-level editing in Adobe Audition, for example. Doing that
follows the same steps as exporting a frame, but has a few more options. Again
you choose from four file types, but you can tweak parameters such as the sample rate and the audio compression software used. And you can opt to export
only a portion of your sequence. Here’s how to do all that:
1. If you want to export a portion of your selected sequence, click and drag the
work area bar’s beginning and end points to define that segment.
2. Select File→Export→Audio to open the Export Audio dialog box.
Go Directly to Export Movie
After you’ve completed this task, there really is no need to use this Export Audio
option again. Instead, select Export Movie, and deselect its Export Video option to
leave the Export Audio option active.
Did you
3. As with the Export Frame dialog box, you can accept the default file type
(WAV) or click Settings to open the Export Audio Settings dialog box shown
in Figure 23.7.
4. Select whether you want the range to be the entire sequence or the work
area bar.
Like the Export
Frame Settings dialog box, the Export
Audio Settings dialog box offers only
a few options.
Hour 23
5. Click the File Type drop-down menu. You have four choices, all of which are
old Windows standbys. Windows Waveform is the only audio-specific format. Microsoft AVI, DV AVI, and QuickTime MOV are the same as those
found in the upcoming Export Video Settings dialog box. In this case, so
that you can see one extra feature, select QuickTime and then click the
Audio option in the left column (highlighted in Figure 23.7).
6. The Audio section (shown in Figure 23.8) offers five options.
Switching to the
Audio options window in the Export
Audio Settings dialog box reveals five
drop-down menus.
. Compressor—There is no way to briefly explain all the Compressor
options. Click the drop-down list and note the 14 options associated
with QuickTime. If you had chosen Windows Waveform or AVI, you
would have seen similar but shorter lists. DV AVI has no compression
options. It is by definition uncompressed.
Did you
Is Advanced Settings Unavailable?
You’ll likely note the Advanced Settings button is usually inactive. Only the following
QuickTime-compatible compressor types have additional settings: QDesign Music 2,
Qualcomm PureVoice, and the two Endian and two Float compressors (all use Endian
technology, which refers to the order in which bytes are stored in memory). Selecting
one of these activates the Advanced Settings button.
Just for grins, I assembled those three interfaces in Figure 23.9. Take a look at
them. Because you should use the Adobe Media Encoder for virtually all audio compression, this might be the only time you see them.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
. Sample Rate—Samples per second. 44,100 is CD-audio quality. A
lower rate saves CPU cycles but audio quality suffers.
. Sample Type—Number of bits per sample. 16-bit is standard, but
Premiere Pro supports up to 32-bit floating point.
. Channels—Stereo or mono. Dolby is not available for any of these
audio files.
. Interleave—Usually refers to how audio information is inserted into
video frames. This is kind of superfluous. Stick with the 1 Frame
default setting.
Only three compressor types have
advanced options:
QDesign Music 2,
PureVoice, and the
four Endian compressors.
Exporting a Movie
Because this process is so similar to exporting audio, I’ll simply go over the various options rather than present a task.
When you open the Export Movie Settings dialog box (shown in Figure 23.10)
and click the File Type drop-down list, you’ll discover standard video file fare plus
something that might be new to you: still frame sequences.
7. After selecting your options, click OK to return to the Export Audio dialog
box. Your new file type will show up as the default. Give your audio file a
name and click Save.
Hour 23
FIGURE 23.10
Export Movie
Settings offers
basic video files
plus still frame
Frequently, editors transfer still frame sequences to programs such as Photoshop
where they add graphic elements to them—a process referred to as rotoscoping—
and then import them back into Premiere Pro for further editing. The Filmstrip
option is specifically for use in Photoshop. On the other hand, animated GIF
sequences work best with solid-color, motion graphics, typically for use on the
Internet. They are a great way to animate a logo, for instance.
Did you
After Effects: A Better Rotoscoper
Rotoscoping is even more effective in Adobe After Effects. In that powerful motion
graphics product, you can apply animated artwork directly to video rather than use
the frame-at-a-time method in Photoshop.
As I mentioned earlier this hour, Export Audio is a subset of Export Movie.
Therefore, you can use Export Movie for all your A/V basic file creation needs.
Export Movie has all the file types found in Export Audio (Windows Waveform is
audio-only; AVI, DV AVI, and QuickTime are A/V). The same audio options you
encountered in the Audio Export section are also available in the Export Movie
Settings dialog box. You access them the same way: by clicking Audio on the left
side of the dialog box. What’s different about the Export Movie dialog box is the
Video and Keyframe and Rendering sections.
Video Options
Click on Video to access those options (see Figure 23.11). If you start checking
drop-down lists, you’ll get the sense that things can become a bit complicated
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
here. I’ll try to simplify things by breaking the process down by file types available for export.
FIGURE 23.11
The Video section
of the Export Movie
Settings dialog box
just begins to show
all the many
options available.
Some options make huge differences in the quality of your exported file, whereas
others have minimal differences. Which options are available depends entirely on
the file type you select in the General section of the Export Movie Settings dialog
The Video options include Frame Size, Frame Rate, Depth, and Quality. All are
fairly self-explanatory. Some are dependent on the chosen codec
(compression/decompression algorithm). The smaller the frame size and lower the
frame rate, color depth, and quality, the smaller the exported file size. This used
to be a critical issue. Many older computers could not handle higher data-rate
A/V files. It’s not that critical any more. Here are some of the other options (for
additional information, check Premiere Pro’s Help section under Video Export
. Microsoft DV AVI—It has virtually no options. It operates only at its default
quality. You choose between NTSC and PAL. You also set the pixel aspect
ratio—basically wide-screen or regular.
. Microsoft AVI and QuickTime—They present the most options. The most
perplexing is the codec you’ll use. AVI works with 9, QuickTime with 22.
Which one you choose is largely up to your needs. Adobe does not offer documentation on any of the codecs used when creating AVI or QuickTime
files. I wrote up a simplified rundown in the following sidebar.
Some of these codecs let you set a maximum data rate. Originally, this was
done to ensure that the newly created video file did not exceed the speed
Hour 23
ratings of lower-end CD-ROM drives. That, too, is ancient history. Checking
Recompress gives you two options: Always recompresses every frame, even if
it is below the stated maximum data rate, and Maintain Data Rate recompresses only those frames above the maximum rate.
. Quality—This setting can have a setting from 0 to 100%, and is another
narrow-purpose option. If you captured video using a codec, you should use
that same quality setting or less for export. Because you probably will work
with DV source video most of the time—and therefore will not do any compression during capture—this issue rarely will be a factor.
Codec Characteristics
The number of codecs available in the Video section of the Export Movie Settings
dialog box is overwhelming. You’ll find no documentation on any of them in your
Premiere Pro printed manual or online help file. The basic rule of thumb is to choose
codecs that work on the PC that will be used to play the files. Here is a barebones
Standard video QuickTime/Windows AVI codecs—Cinepak and Indeo.
Cinepak, developed in the late 1980s, is the old guard industry standard. Indeo is
better than Cinepak but requires a fast computer.
Newer video codecs (QuickTime only)—Sorenson and Motion JPEG. Both are a
step up from Cinepak and Indeo. In general, Sorenson is your best bet of all standard QuickTime codecs. Motion JPEG is used mainly for storage, not playback. (Note
that Photo JPEG creates high-quality images but is slow.)
Graphic animation codecs (QuickTime only)—Animation and planar RGB.
Still image codecs (QuickTime only)—TIFF, BMP, TGA, and PNG.
Others (QuickTime only)—H.261 and H.263 are for video conferencing.
For more information on video codecs, see
Keyframe and Rendering Options
With the exception of Fields, you may never use the settings in this dialog box,
shown in Figure 23.12. Here’s a rundown on what’s available:
Fields—This is one of those easily overlooked “gotchas.” The default setting
for all DV output should be Lower Field First. For computer monitors, it’s No
Fields. Premiere Pro should automatically change this setting, depending on
the file type, but it’s a good idea to check this. Some video hardware needs
to have an Upper Field setting. You’ll have to check your documentation to
find out.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Deinterlace Video Footage—Most video is interlaced. It consists of two
fields: one containing the odd-numbered lines and the other the evennumbered lines. TV interlaces these fields to create the full-screen image.
Select the Deinterlace option if you’re exporting to a non-interlaced medium
such as motion picture film or if you’re going to apply high-quality effects
in another program, such as Adobe After Effects.
Optimize Stills—With today’s fast PCs, this will be a non-starter for most
Premiere Pro users. Its primary goal is to save disk space, but that can have
a drawback: playback problems. Optimize Stills converts still images within
an exported video into single, longer-playing frames.
Keyframes—Offers a level of control few video producers will ever need or
want to exploit. Some codecs—Cinepak, Intel Indeo, Sorenson, and others—
offer this user-selected option. Basically, more keyframes means betterlooking compressed video and more rendering time. But this is serious engineering overkill.
FIGURE 23.12
The Keyframe and
Rendering dialog
box within Export
Movie Settings.
Using the Adobe Media Encoder
This is Premiere Pro’s export powerhouse tool. It offers several flavors of MPEG
encoding plus Windows Media, RealMedia, and QuickTime streaming media (as
opposed to the QuickTime MOV files you encountered in Export Audio and Export
Each of the four basic encoding engines has so many presets that few editors will
need to do any parameter tweaking. That said, there are customizable options
aplenty but most are too arcane for me.
Hour 23
Rather than attempt to explain each encoding engine’s unique characteristics, I’ll
show you how to access them and explain a couple general concepts. If you want
to go beyond that and unravel, for example, the mysteries of QuickTime’s Spatial
Quality setting, you’re on your own.
Open the Adobe Media Encoder by selecting File→Export→Adobe Media Encoder.
As shown in Figure 23.13, that selection opens the Transcode Settings dialog box.
FIGURE 23.13
The Adobe Media
Encoder has four
transcode modules
with uncountable
Here’s a run-through of the Adobe Media Encoder’s features:
. Format—Open this drop-down list to see the four transcode file types: MPEG
(five varieties), QuickTime, RealMedia, and Windows Media.
. Preset—Depending on the format, opening this drop-down list could overwhelm you. Select Windows Media as a format and then check out the
dozens of possibilities.
. Comment—You can create a custom preset. If so, you can add a comment
. Summary—Selecting Summary displays all the various attributes of the
Format, Preset, and any other parameters selected from the Video and
Audio options.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
. General—Any additional options not available in the Video or Audio sections. Varies depending on the encoder format.
. Video—Selecting this enables you to choose a codec, frame size, and some
other options. Again, each format has its own unique set of parameters.
. Audio—Same concept as the Video option.
. Metadata—Information about the video. Click on Add/Remove Fields to
open the Select Metadata dialog box. Only Windows Media lets you add
fields. But, in each case, you can select items such as Title, Author, and
Parental Rating. Click OK and then input your metadata by selecting the
word Metadata in the Transcode Settings dialog box. As shown in Figure
23.14, that selection displays whatever metadata tags you selected. As
shown in Figure 23.15, you edit their contents by selecting Metadata in the
Transcode Settings dialog box.
FIGURE 23.14
Use the Select
Metadata dialog
box to add some
descriptive textual
information to your
encoded project.
. Audiences—This term is a bit misleading. Bandwidth would be more apropos. All three of the Adobe Media Encoder’s non-MPEG formats are geared
to Internet playback. As shown in Figure 23.16, the Audiences setting is
where you can select bandwidths for your final file. In the case of Windows
Media, you have 16 options ranging from 14.4 dial-up modems to T1 lines
and faster.
Hour 23
FIGURE 23.15
After you’ve select
metadata tags, you
can edit their contents by selecting
Metadata in the
Transcode Settings
dialog box.
FIGURE 23.16
The Target
Audience dialog
box enables you to
select multiple
bandwidths (date
rates) you want to
include in your
transcoded file.
QuickTime offers the most options, but has a limited number of presets. To see
what it has to offer, select QuickTime in the Format drop-down list. Take a look at
the Preset drop-down list and select QT 256 streaming NTSC (or PAL). Now, as
shown in Figure 23.17, select Video and note that as with QuickTime MOV files,
you can select from a list of 20+ codecs, set frame size, frame rate, and a few
other characteristics. Its General options also far outnumber any offered by
RealMedia and Windows Media.
If you check out the Audio options, you’ll note that it offers the same list of compression algorithms available for QuickTime MOV files. It has a fairly limited
number of metadata fields and bandwidth options.
RealMedia takes a more consumer-friendly, hand-holding approach and offers
the fewest user options and presets. Select the RealMedia format, keep the
Summary window open, and click through a few presets. As illustrated in Figure
23.18, you might note that one option is two-pass encoding. Both RealMedia and
Windows Media offer this option. If selected, the encoder analyzes the original
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
video project before transcoding it. That means encoding will take almost twice as
long, but the resulting video will look better than a single-pass version using all
the same parameters.
FIGURE 23.17
QuickTime’s Video
option offers more
than 20 codecs
and a number of
other options.
FIGURE 23.18
RealMedia offers
fewer options, but
unlike QuickTime,
enables users to
opt for two-pass
Hour 23
If you select the RM9 NTSC (or PAL) streaming modem preset, you’ll note that
RealMedia automatically selects six audiences (bandwidths). You can add or
remove others, but that automatic setup approach is the hallmark of RealMedia.
Windows Media
This is the most versatile video format for use in Windows PCs and for playback
on the Internet. You can use it to create anything from simple, low bitrate files for
use on CD-ROMs to high-definition, wide-screen videos for playback in theaters or
on high-def plasma TV screens. In addition, it can create single files with multiple
bandwidth bit-stream rates for use on Web sites as a means to compensate for
varying Internet user connection speeds.
As shown in Figure 23.19, its video options are very limited. But as I mentioned
earlier, it has about 60 presets, has the largest number of audience (bandwidth)
selections, and offers the widest range of metadata options.
FIGURE 23.19
Windows Media
has the fewest
video and audio
options, but by far
the largest number
of presets and
bandwidth selections.
Note one feature of the Windows Media Video option: Bitrate Mode. Constant
bitrate is best for smooth playback on the Internet, but high data rate scenes (typically fast action) will suffer some degradation. Variable bitrate is the better
choice for consistent visual quality and is more appropriate when archiving video
or creating projects for playback on a PC.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
As illustrated in Figure 23.20, one other feature of the Adobe Media Encoder is the
extra information it presents as it encodes your files.
FIGURE 23.20
The Adobe Media
Encoder offers a
more verbose render progress indicator than that used
in the Export to
Tape option.
Why a special encoder for MPEG? MPEG-2 is the de facto standard codec for DVD
movies and videos. It presents sharp video and CD-quality audio at about one
thirtieth the data rate of regular analog video and one fourth the data rate of DV.
You’ve seen movies on DVD and know how good they look. And you’ve seen
those razor-sharp digital satellite TV images. Both systems use MPEG-2-encoded
If you want to create DVDs to play on your home or business DVD video system,
you must use MPEG-encoded video files. That’s been the case ever since DVD
movies arrived on the scene a few years ago.
You can use a DVD-authoring tool such as Adobe Encore DVD to convert video
files to MPEG or you can convert in Premiere Pro—it’s your choice. But if you do it
in Premiere Pro, you need do it only once, you have a smaller file, and you know
it will be compatible with all DVD-authoring applications (Encore DVD, for
example, works only with MPEG or AVI files).
Prosumer DV Can’t Match Film
Because you probably shot your videos using prosumer DV (also known as DV25),
they will not look as good as Hollywood DVD movies. Hollywood DVD movies start
their lives as 35mm (or larger) film. DV25 can’t touch that for quality. And those
great video images you see on digital satellite systems—while running under MPEG2 compression—probably started as broadcast-quality analog video signals—also a
cut or two above prosumer DV.
By the
Hour 23
Only now are professional video producers embracing this technology. It took the
convergence of two technological advances to bring us to this point of putting a
software-based MPEG encoder in Premiere Pro:
. First, MPEG is asymmetrical. It takes a lot of computer horsepower to encode
a DV or analog TV signal into MPEG-2 or other MPEG formats On the other
hand, decoding (playback on your DVD player) takes much less processor
juice. Until relatively recently, encoding MPEG-2 required some expensive
hardware that was priced beyond the reach of most video producers. Now
increases in processor power and improved MPEG-encoding software have
eliminated the need for hardware MPEG encoders.
. Second, DVD recorders have come way, way down in price. Pioneer
Electronics is driving this continuing downward price spiral. By late 2003,
Pioneer’s standard DVD recorder retailed for less than $200. Along with this
drop in hardware pricing, DVD recordable media prices have dropped dramatically, to as low as $3 per disc when purchased in bulk.
What this means is that now you have an opportunity to create media that will
play on most DVD players and is interactive and high quality.
Using the Adobe Media Encoder to
Export MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
Before we get into the exporting/encoding details, I want to give you a little background on exporting MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 from Premiere Pro. In Premiere 6.5,
these capabilities were provided by the Adobe MPEG Encoder, a separate plug-in
powered by MainConcept. Premiere Pro also uses the MainConcept MPEG-1 and
MPEG-2 technology, but it’s now included in the new Adobe Media Encoder interface. Figure 23.21 shows the Adobe Media Encoder set to export MPEG-2 for DVD.
MainConcept is a long-standing German firm (from the days of the Amiga) with
a solid reputation as a creator of powerful multimedia tools and codecs. Premiere
Pro also uses MainConcept’s DV codec to maintain optimal quality and speed
throughout the DV editing and exporting processes.
As I mentioned earlier, including a software MPEG encoder in Premiere Pro is a
big deal. Before version 6.5, if Premiere users wanted to create MPEG-2 videos,
they had to buy a third-party plug-in or use a hardware encoder. Now Premiere
Pro users get a powerful encoder for free.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
FIGURE 23.21
MPEG encoding
technology is now
part of the Adobe
Media Encoder.
MainConcept’s encoder is widely recognized as the leader in software MPEG
encoding, and is used in a variety of video editing and DVD authoring software
including Adobe Encore DVD. The MainConcept codecs offer exceptional quality,
plus speed that can exceed that of hardware encoders in many situations.
Exporting MPEG for CD or DVD output using the Adobe Media Encoder is easy.
Although the MPEG standards include many parameters, when you select a DVD,
VCD, or SVCD preset, only the recommended parameters appear. Power users can
expose other parameters by choosing a generic MPEG profile instead of one for a
specific disc format such as DVD.
MainConcept has a support/resource site for the Adobe MPEG Encoder. It includes
an FAQ about the encoder and MPEG in general, new settings files to download,
test results, and a link to the relevant user-to-user forums on The link
to the support/resource site is—It’s Worth the Visit
MainConcept’s Web site is worth a visit at the very least because it offers free texture loops—four-second motion video clips that you can drop into Premiere Pro for
some dazzling background animation. Figure 23.22 illustrates how they looks. One
use for them is as text backdrops.
Did you
Hour 23
It’s a simple matter to copy/paste the same loop several times to create a smooth
background animation. When placed end to end, there is a seamless transition from
one copy of the clip to the next. You can also change the speed/duration of the
clips to alter the character of the animations.
MainConcept updates its texture loop page with new offerings on a monthly basis:
FIGURE 23.22
to pick up a few
texture loops for
use within Premiere
Encoding an MPEG File
Here’s a basic overview of the many options available in the MPEG encoder area
of the Adobe Media Encoder.
There are five MPEG file formats, and most have multiple presets:
MPEG1—This is a VHS-quality MPEG compression standard. If your goal is
to create video to play on a VCD, use the MPEG1-VCD format instead. If
you want to tweak the settings, this MPEG-1 format will suit your needs. As
shown in Figure 23.23, access those settings by clicking on Video, Audio,
and Multiplexer in turn.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
FIGURE 23.23
Selecting Video (or
Audio or
Multiplexer) in
either the MPEG-1
or the MPEG-2 formats opens extensive lists of
MPEG1-VCD (Video CD)—If you select this option, the encoder will make a
special kind of MPEG-1 file of your project. Later, using standalone CDauthoring and/or writing software that supports VCD, you can burn up to
about an hour of MPEG-1 video onto a CD that will play on most consumer
DVD video players and computer DVD and CD drives. A good online
resource for VCD and SVCD issues is
MPEG2—This is the high-end MPEG format geared to DVDs. As with MPEG1, if your goal is to create DVD content, select MPEG2-DVD. If you want to
tweak the MPEG-2 parameters, stick with the MPEG-2 format.
MPEG2-DVD—Selecting this option means the encoder will create MPEG-2
content for inclusion on a DVD. DVDs can hold up to 4.7GB of data, which
can include as much as 133 minutes of MPEG-2 video depending on the
bitrate. However, at the bitrates needed for very high-quality video, you
should expect to fit much less data on a disc.
You also can place VHS-quality MPEG-1 video on them. Either flavor of
MPEG plays in both standalone DVD players and in computers with DVD
drives. Depending on the multiplexer settings, the encoder might create a
program stream (a single file containing both video and audio) or elementary streams (separate video and audio files). Some DVD authoring programs require program streams, whereas some others prefer elementary.
Hour 23
Check your authoring software’s documentation to find out the appropriate
setting for you. Adobe Encore DVD works with both types.
By the
DVD Stands for, Well, Nothing
DVD is not an official acronym. Most companies say DVD stands for digital versatile
disc, but that’s not the case. DVDs started as digital video discs, but industry politics
killed that idea. A journalist suggested versatile and through repeated usage that
has become the de facto standardized name.
MPEG2-SVCD (Super Video CD)—This is a step up from VCD. In this case,
the encoder will create a reduced bitstream rate, specialized MPEG-2 file.
Depending on the parameters you set, you can put up to about 45 minutes
of video on a CD using this low-end MPEG-2 (still better than MPEG-1)
video. Again, you need authoring- and/or CD-burning software that supports SVCD to create an SVCD CD-ROM. A good online resource for VCD
and SVCD issues is
By the
SVCD Issues
SVCD creates videos in a 480×480 resolution (NTSC) or 480×576 resolution (PAL).
If you play them back on standard video players such as the Windows Media Player
or within Premiere Pro in the Source window, they’ll look “tall” (that is, squashed in
at the sides).
If you open these files in software that recognizes this standard MPEG format, such
as DVD player software, they will play in the proper aspect ratio. If you place them
on Premiere Pro’s timeline and play them in the Monitor window, they will display in
the proper aspect ratio, but as noted later in the sidebar, “Why Premiere Pro Does
Not Edit Native MPEG Video,” Premiere Pro is not intended to fully handle any MPEG
After you’ve made your format selection (MainConcept’s MPEG encoder or any of
the three other encoders), click OK. That selection takes you to a Save File dialog
box. There you select whether you want to export the entire sequence or the segment under the work area bar.
Click Save and the rendering and transcoding begin. Depending on the quality
level settings, this could take a long time. As I mentioned earlier this hour, rendering on its own can take several times the length of your sequence. Transcoding
times might be about double the length of your piece.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Is MPEG Encoding Taking Longer?
Users of the Adobe MPEG encoder in Premiere 6.5 might think that the MPEG
encoder in Premiere Pro is slower. However, MainConcept testing shows it to actually
be a bit faster at comparable settings.
The reason for the apparent disparity is that Premiere Pro’s export settings default
to the highest possible quality level, which can increase exporting time. The new
support for two-pass encoding in Premiere Pro (the MPEG encoder analyzes the
video twice to find the best means to compress while retaining quality) also roughly
doubles the exporting time.
The PremierePro.README.pdf file (in Premiere Pro’s main file folder) includes
details on this issue. MainConcept’s support/resource site also includes additional
MPEG encoding presets for Premiere Pro, which are designed to speed encoding
while still maintaining good quality.
Why Premiere Pro Does Not Edit Native MPEG Video
As I put together this hour on MPEG encoding, I swapped several emails with the
MainConcept U.S. subsidiary’s chief operating officer, Mark Bailey.
Bailey is the company’s primary liaison with Adobe. His solid grasp of the MPEG
compression universe completely impressed me. After reading emails from several
By the
Hour 23
beta testers on the Premiere Pro forum asking why Premiere Pro didn’t offer native
MPEG editing, I asked Bailey for his take on this topic. The remainder of this sidebar
summarizes what he had to say.
Although MPEG is an excellent way to deliver material, it has some limitations as an
editing format. Because of its high compression and the way that some frames are
calculated, MPEG material can be subject to significant quality degradation when
rendered multiple times. Because video editing and compositing projects often
involve many generations of rendering, there is the potential for noticeable loss.
Although Premiere Pro does import MPEG material, it doesn’t offer native MPEG editing. Imported MPEG files are transcoded to DV for editing, and then the DV data
must be re-transcoded if a user wants to export the project as MPEG. This can
result in two additional generations of compression.
Of course, it’s best to start any editing or compositing project with the least-compressed source material available. Using highly compressed media from the start
could present serious problems, except when special tools are used to work around
these problems.
The workflow explained in this book—editing in DV and encoding the finished project
to MPEG—works very well.
However, there are some cases in which people might need to edit MPEG and some
companies offer plug-ins that enable it with varying results. As of earlier 2004,
MainConcept is creating a plug-in that it believes will make MPEG editing a viable
option and even make it advantageous in some circumstances. Planned features
(which are subject to change) include
. Native MPEG editing in Premiere
. Real-time, high-quality capture to MPEG from a variety of source devices; for
example, from a DV camcorder
. DV support, meaning that MPEG and DV material can be included in the same
project with equal efficiency
. Smart rendering, meaning that only changed frames are re-encoded
. Smart requantizing—the ability to transcode from one MPEG format (such as
Sony MICROMV) to another (such as DVD-compliant MPEG-2) without re-encoding
. High definition support
. Export to a variety of devices
This plug-in presents a very viable workflow. For example, you could capture directly
to DVD-compliant MPEG-2, edit the captured material, and export the project with
very minimal rendering.
Work on the plug-in is progressing very well. It might be available by the time you’re
reading this. For more details, visit MainConcept’s Web site at
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Using Premiere Pro to Burn a Video to a
New to Premiere Pro is the capability to take a sequence or a video segment and
burn it directly to a DVD. After the DVD has been completed, you can take the
DVD and place it in a set-top player, which will automatically play your video. It
won’t have the menus, buttons, and other options associated with Hollywood
DVDs. But it can have chapter points that you can jump to using your DVD player’s remote control.
If you want to add DVD features such as menus, buttons, scene selection options,
subtitles, and multiple languages, you’ll need DVD authoring software, such as
Encore DVD. I devote the final hour of this book to that excellent Adobe product.
Here are the basic steps to take when exporting a video to a DVD:
Try it
Creating a DVD
1. You can give your video chapter points. That enables viewers to quickly
navigate through your project using the chapter buttons on their DVD
2. To add chapter points (called sequence markers in Premiere Pro), move
your CTI to the beginning of a new scene (for example), right-click in the
Time Ruler bar, select Set Sequence Marker→Unnumbered (keyboard shortcut—numeric keypad asterisk * key). Do that as many times as you like. The
one caveat is that chapter points (sequence markers) must be at least 15
frames apart.
4. Select Encoding. As shown in Figure 23.25, this dialog box enables you to
specify the encoding quality. The file format is MPEG-2 and you cannot
change that. But you can tweak its settings using many of the features
available in the Adobe Media Encoder. To access those features, click the
Edit button.
3. Select File→Export→Export to DVD. That opens the dialog box shown in
Figure 23.24. Give your project a name by selecting Custom from the dropdown list. Check Timeframe Markers if you want to add chapter points, and
check Loop Playback if you want your video to start over after it ends.
Hour 23
FIGURE 23.24
The first step in the
DVD creation
process: Give your
disc a name and
note whether you
want the video to
loop or have chapter points.
Did you
Bitrate Settings
Select a bitrate that fits your needs and video length. If your project is less than
approximately 90 minutes, you can use the highest target bitrate: 7Mbps. If your
video is longer, it might not fit on a standard DVD-R/RW at that rate, so choose a
4Mbps preset. Selecting VBR (for variable bitrate) means the MainConcept encoder
will find the best bitrate for each frame (maxing out at 9Mbps for the 7Mbps target
and 7Mbps for the 4Mbps target setting).
FIGURE 23.25
The Encoding section enables you to
access the MPEG
encoder parameters.
5. Select the Export Range: Entire Sequence or Work Area.
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
6. Check out the DVD Burner section. It identifies any burners on your PC and
enables you to set the number of DVD copies and whether you want to
record, test only, or test and record.
Dolby AC-3 Licensing
If you select a preset that includes SurCode for Dolby Digital, a warning will pop up
telling you that you can encode to AC-3 Dolby Digital Audio only three times. For
encodings beyond that you’ll need to purchase a license.
Premiere Pro offers three basic means to export your project: recording to videotape, creating basic PC files, and transcoding your files using one of four highend encoders. Recording to videotape is straightforward. Creating a file offers
many more options. You can create video files, still frames, sequences of still
frames, or animation files. In each instance, you can adjust various settings to
reduce file size, generally as a means to streamline playback.
As more of your video projects move to DVD and the Internet, you’ll rely heavily
on the four high-end export modules available in the Adobe Media Encoder:
MPEG, QuickTime, RealMedia, and Windows Media. Creating MPEG files opens
the door to DVD authoring and placing MPEG files on CDs. The three other
encoders all enable you to create single files that can play back your video at
multiple bandwidths, which is a great feature for Internet playback. In addition,
the Windows Media encoder offers high-end compression for wide-screen and
high-definition videos.
7. When done, click Record. You’ll see a progress bar for transcoding and DVD
By the
Hour 23
Q When I use Export to Tape, and view a full-screen version of my project in
the TV monitor attached to my PC, the playback on my computer is choppy. What’s up?
A Your computer might not have the power to process both video data
streams. Select Project→Project Settings and in the General section, click
Playback Settings. Because you probably want to view this on your computer monitor at the very least, uncheck Play Video on DV Hardware. Or, in the
Real-Time Playback section, select Playback on Desktop Only. If you must
view it on your DV/camcorder monitor, select Playback on DV Hardware
Q I encoded an MPEG-2 file, but it stutters on playback. Any idea why?
A Did you select Upper Field First in the Fields drop-down menu in the MPEG
encoder? If so, that might be the cause (a slow PC could be another reason).
No Fields is the safest choice if you don’t know which to choose, but its output quality is not as good as finding the correct setting—Upper or Lower.
Q I encoded an MPEG-2 file and played it back in Windows Media Player, but
there was no audio. What’s up?
A When you created that MPEG file using the Adobe Media Encoder, you probably built elementary stream (separate audio and video) files. To make a
multiplexed (or muxed) file, click the Multiplexer option and select DVD
(deselecting None in the process).
1. How do you create a sequence of still images, selecting one frame per second from your project?
2. How do you convert an AVI clip into a Windows Media file?
3. You have a two-hour video and you want to use Premiere Pro to burn it
directly to a DVD. In general, what settings will work best?
Exporting Premiere Pro Frames, Clips, and Sequences
Quiz Answers
1. Use the Export Movie process. Place the work area bar over the portion of
your project from which you want to create still images, and select
File→Export→Export Movie. Click Settings. Choose a sequence file type—
TIFF, Targa, GIF, or Windows Bitmap—and move to Video. Select a frame
size and change the Frame Rate setting to 1.
2. Add the clip to a sequence, place the work area bar over that clip, select
File→Export→Windows Media Encoder, select Windows Media, and select
from the various settings. To see if all went well, open Windows Media
Player, select File—Open, locate your newly created file, and play it. You can
view any metadata you added to it by selecting File→Properties and clicking
the Content tab.
3. Two hours of the highest quality MPEG-2 video exceeds the capacity of a
single-side, single-layer DVD. So, you need to crank down the encoding
quality. Select a preset that has a 4Mbps bitrate. You can still use one that
encodes using a variable bit rate (it tops out at 7Mbps at this level), and
doing so will improve the overall quality. Use a constant bitrate only when
you need a smooth flow of data, typically for Internet or network playback.
1. Create both Windows Media and RealMedia files using similar settings and
see how long the encoding processes take, how large the files are, and how
the encoded clips look and sound.
2. Take a small step into the highly technical world of customized MPEG
settings by selecting the MPEG-2 format and opening the three advanced
settings sections: Video, Audio, and Multiplexer. Some are fairly selfexplanatory: Bitrate Encoding (CBR or VBR), Encoding Passes (one or two),
and Maximum Bitrate. But beyond that, you start entering the arcane world
of I, B, and P frames and GOPs (groups of pictures). To learn more, start by
3. Do a personal test on video and audio codecs. Set the work area bar over a
small section of your timeline and then export it using different codecs. Use
the same Frame Size, Frame Rate, and Quality settings. When completed,
note the file sizes and playback quality of the saved files.
Authoring DVDs with Encore
What You’ll Learn in This Hour:
Introducing the DVD authoring process
Overview of Adobe Encore DVD
Assembling assets and editing media
Editing menus in Encore and Photoshop
Linking menus, buttons, and media
Burning the DVD
Authoring DVDs used to be solely for those with Hollywood budgets. As recently as
the late 1990s, DVD recorders cost about $10,000 and the software used to put
movies with menus and other interactive features on DVDs, cost more than $20,000.
Now DVD recorders sell for less than $200 and professional-quality authoring software, like Adobe Encore DVD, retails for about $500.
You’re undoubtedly itching to create a multimedia DVD—one with menus, buttons,
videos, music, and still images. In this hour, I introduce you to Encore DVD and give
you some basics as a means to get you started along the path to DVD authoring.
I also give an overview of the authoring process, take you on a tour of Encore DVD,
have you gather assets, and start building your project using menus, buttons, and
media. Finally, you link those assets and see how to burn a DVD.
Hour 24
Introducing the Authoring Process
Authoring a DVD can be as simple as using Premiere Pro’s Export to DVD function or as complex as creating a Hollywood-style DVD with multiple menus,
dozens of buttons, several audio tracks, and subtitles.
The process varies from authoring project to authoring project, but the fundamentals remain the same.
Authoring Your DVD
Authoring typically begins in much the same way you start working with
Premiere Pro. You assemble media assets into one readily accessible location.
Then you venture off in a new direction as you build menus using static backgrounds (graphics, video still images, or photos) or you might opt to use a video
or animation.
You also might want to add audio to your menus, such as music or a brief narration, and have them repeat (or loop) until the viewer takes some action. And you
can add buttons or other graphics to those menus to serve as links to media assets
or other menus.
Encore DVD offers a plethora of menu templates, buttons, and backgrounds. But
its real strength is that it enables you to use menus you build from scratch in
In this hour, to keep things simple, you’ll rely primarily on the library of assets
that ships with both the retail and trial versions of Encore DVD.
Organizing Your DVD’s Menu Structure
DVDs are interactive. That’s one of their real fortes. You should therefore organize
your DVDs to exploit that strength. To do that, use nested menus, intuitive navigation, and clearly labeled buttons.
Nested menus are menus within menus. You’ve encountered them time and again
in Hollywood movie DVDs. Typically, those DVDs start with a main menu with
buttons that take you to nested menus: special features, scene selection, or audio
and subtitle setup menus.
Consider the family history DVD structure shown in Figure 24.1. Its main menu
has button links to a video overview, immigration stories, photos, documents, and
living history interviews. The stories nested menu offers links to other nested submenus, one for each family line.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
To ensure a logical flow to your DVD, organize it using a flowchart similar to the
one in Figure 24.1.
Family History DVD
Main Menu
One possible DVD
menu flowchart for
a family history
Overview of Adobe Encore DVD
Adobe Encore DVD enables you to create full-featured, Hollywood-style DVDs
complete with videos, motion menus with audio, animated buttons, scene selection, stills, Dolby digital audio, multiple language and audio tracks, and subtitles.
Its tight integration with Photoshop (for menu and button creation), After Effects
(for motion menus), and Premiere Pro (for videos and motion menus), plus its
easy-to-use text and menu design tools, give you the freedom to present your
media in its best light.
Hour 24
Its roots go back to Premiere 6.5. Adobe foresaw the explosive growth in the DVD
authoring market and wanted to add a DVD authoring module to that immensely popular nonlinear editor (NLE). The company worked out a deal with Sonic
Solutions, the DVD authoring market-leading firm, to bundle its popular DVDit!
with Premiere 6.5.
That relationship led to another deal to license Sonic Solutions AuthorScript software (the engine that drives all its DVD authoring products) as well as provide a
team of Sonic Solutions engineers to help Adobe develop the standalone DVD
authoring product, Adobe Encore DVD.
At $549, it fits into a unique market niche: above Sonic Solutions consumer/prosumer DVDit! but below Sonic’s high-end professional products such as DVD
Producer and DVD Scenarist. Adobe geared Encore DVD specifically for those who
are comfortable working with Premiere Pro and Photoshop.
Tour Encore DVD’s User Interface
As shown in Figure 24.2, Encore DVD’s user interface has the look and feel of
other Adobe products. It uses timelines like those in Premiere Pro and After Effects
for videos and slideshows. It incorporates graphics editing windows and text tools
similar to those in Photoshop. Plus it features an Explorer-like window to tabulate
menus, buttons, and their attributes, and Monitor windows with tabs to readily
move from one function to another.
Adobe Encore DVD
uses a familiar
Adobe-style interface including file
lists and window
tabs to easily
access and update
menus and buttons.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
Encore DVD offers some neat twists on setting DVD menu and button navigation.
Figures 24.3 and 24.4 show two such schemes: a collection of arrows that you can
drag and drop to change button navigation routing (the order in which buttons
highlight as viewers click up/down/left/right arrows on their remotes) within a
menu and a means to create links using a cool drag-and-drop tool called the Pickwhip.
Use this four-point
tool to drag and
drop new button
routing within a
Use Encore DVD’s
Pick-whip to set
button links by
dragging and dropping them from a
dialog box to a
menu button.
Another strength is Encore’s close ties to Photoshop. It has built-in means to recognize menus and other graphic elements created in Photoshop specifically for
Encore, and uses Photoshop’s layers approach to facilitate customizing button
highlight colors and other characteristics (see Figure 24.5).
Hour 24
Encore emulates
Photoshop layers
to give users direct
control over setting
button highlight
One other strength is Encore’s menu design capabilities. It includes extensive
menu layout options, full text editing functionality, and Photoshop design tools
that enable you to make immediate, easily reversible changes.
Encore DVD also offers features you’d expect to see only in more expensive professional authoring apps such as precise control over chapters (for scene selection
menus), 8 audio tracks (for multiple languages and director comments), 32 subtitle tracks, and the option to add DVD-ROM data files to your project. For those
who have doubted the value of DVD authoring applications, Adobe’s entry into
this market should make believers out of them.
Assembling Assets and Editing Media
In most instances, the first stages of your Encore DVD workflow will run in parallel. You’ll create media assets in video editing applications such as Premiere Pro,
build static menus in Photoshop, and motion menus in After Effects. Then you
assemble them all in Encore DVD.
Try it
Getting Started
Much like Premiere Pro, Encore DVD’s Project window serves as the asset repository. It gives you easy access to assets: menus, media, timelines, and project parameters.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
After they’ve been assembled, you can add chapters, subtitles, and audio to those
assets. Here how that works:
1. Start a new project by selecting File→New Project. Select NTSC or PAL and
click OK.
2. As shown in Figure 24.6, that menu selection displays the Project window
(with its four tabs) and the Library palette with its three tabs and Properties
in a separate palette. But I dragged its tab into the top of the Library palette
to simplify the workspace. Take a look at each Tab:
. Project—Displays all your imported assets—audio, video, and image
files—as well as menus and timelines.
. Menus—When you import assets, you tell Encore which ones are
menus. Those menus, plus any menus you build using Encore DVD,
are stored here.
. timeline—You might want to add chapter points, subtitles, or extra
audio tracks to your media assets. To do that, you place them on timelines. You access all timelines you create within Encore DVD here.
. Disc—Take a look at the Disc tab shown in Figure 24.6. This is sort of
the catchall Project window tab. You come here as you’re wrapping up
your authoring. The Check Links button displays any buttons, menus,
or assets with missing links (if a viewer clicks an unlinked button,
nothing will happen). It enables you to add region codes to your DVD
as well as copy protection and a couple other odds and ends.
The Project window
is your asset manager. The Library
palette’s four
tabbed sections
contain your menubuilding and linkcreating tools.
Hour 24
. Library—This holds your menu building assets: menus templates, buttons, and graphic elements (images, in Encore parlance). The trial version includes a couple dozen items. The retail version has about 200.
. Layers—This is something like a mini-Photoshop layers palette. It
offers a subset of the standard Photoshop layers tools that enable you
to make some simple fixes to menu items such as adjusting locations
and sizes of banners and buttons.
. Character—Use this to add and edit text in menus and buttons.
. Properties—When you select an item, be it a button in a menu or an
asset in the Project window, the Properties palette will display that
item’s characteristics such as duration, links, and name.
3. Click the Project tab and then import assets by double-clicking the blank
space in the Project window to open the Import as Asset dialog box. Encore
works with only two types of video files: MPEG and AVI. You can also import
a variety of still image and audio file types.
Other Methods to Import
By the
Use Saleen Assets
Did you
As with all things Adobe, there is more than one way to do a routine task such as
importing assets. Here are three such options: right-click in the Project window and
select Import as Asset or Import as Menu—or—select File→Import as Asset or
Import as Menu—or—drag and drop from Explorer.
If you don’t have any video assets to import, use the Saleen assets that shipped
with your copy of Premiere Pro. Or, if you have the full retail version of Encore DVD,
copy the Encore-Assets folder off the Encore DVD to your hard drive and use its four
media files (you’ll use the DreamMovieSubtitles.txt file later).
4. Take a look at Figure 24.7. I imported the four audio/video files in the
Encore-Assets/Movies folder that ship with the retail version of Encore DVD.
They consist of a video-only elementary MPEG file, its associated audio WAV
file, and two AVI audio/video files. As I did in Figure 24.7, click on an audio
or audio/video file and play it in the small preview window.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
The selected file’s properties show up in the Properties palette. In particular,
because this file is an MPEG-2 file, Encore will not do any additional transcoding of
it before burning your DVD.
By the
No MPEG Transcoding Needed
Organize assets in
the Project window.
Note that MPEG
files need no additional transcoding
before you make
your DVD.
5. To have the audio and video play together on your DVD, you need to add
them both to the same timeline. To do that, select Timeline→New Timeline
(keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+T).
6. If you have the Encore-Assets, drag DreamMovie.m2v to the Video track and
DreamMovie.wav to the Audio 1 track. Your timeline should look like the one
in Figure 24.8. You can view your video in the Monitor window that opened
when you created the timeline.
There is a bug in version 1.0 of Encore DVD that can cause the Monitor window to
not display. You might never encounter it because it tends to pop up only after multiple installs of Encore DVD (beta testers ran across it sometimes). Fix the problem
by holding down Ctrl+Shift when you start Encore DVD. It won’t start but that action
will empty its preferences file. Now start it normally and the Monitor window should
make its appearance when you open a timeline.
Missing Monitor?
By the
Hour 24
Only One Video Track
Unlike Premiere Pro, Encore DVD has only one video track per timeline. The reason?
You aren’t using this for editing or compositing. Rather, this timeline is for adding
chapters to the video plus audio tracks and subtitles.
Use the timeline to
join an elementary
video-only MPEG
with its associated
audio-only file.
7. Create another timeline by right-clicking RacingClip.avi in the Project window and selecting New timeline (you need to place this video on a timeline
to enable you to link a menu button to it).
Did you
Naming timelines
Encore DVD automatically names this new timeline RacingClip. You can name your
other timeline by right-clicking it in the Project window, selecting Rename timeline,
and giving it a new name.
8. You can add subtitles manually from the timeline’s Monitor window or use
a text file made in any word processor or Windows Notepad. First add a
Subtitle track by right-clicking inside the timeline window and selecting Add
Subtitle Track.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
9. As shown in Figure 24.9, right-click on the newly added subtitle track and
select Import Subtitles→Text Script. Using the Encore-Assets, navigate to
Encore-Assets/Movies and select DreamMovieSubtitles.txt.
To add subtitles,
add a subtitle track
and then right-click
on that new track
to add a basic subtitle text file.
10. That opens the Import Subtitles (Text Script) dialog box shown in Figure
24.10. This is a very handy feature that no other DVD authoring product
I’m aware of has (I tested more than a dozen for my book, Sams Teach
Yourself DVD Authoring in 24 Hours). Here you can set several font attributes,
such as size, placement on the screen, color, and justification. Click OK to
accept the current settings.
FIGURE 24.10
Before you finalize
the import of subtitle text files, adjust
their display attributes in this Import
Subtitles (Text
Script) dialog box.
Did you
Hour 24
11. As shown in Figure 24.11, those subtitles now appear in the subtitle track as
individual clips. You can edit them—move them and change their lengths—
in the timeline window and edit their appearance in the Monitor window.
Move the CTI edit line to one of them, click on the Character tab in the
Library palette, select the Text tool from the Tools palette, highlight the text,
and use the Character dialog box to make changes. I center justified the
text and increased its size. It’s also possible to move the text elsewhere on
the screen.
Switch Off Subtitles
You can turn off the display of subtitles by clicking the little button to the left of the
word Subtitle 1 in the timeline window.
FIGURE 24.11
View and edit your
subtitles in the
Monitor window.
12. Add chapter points to your video for later inclusion in a scene selection submenu. Do that by moving the CTI to where you want to add a chapter and
clicking the Chapter icon in the timeline or the Monitor window (keyboard
shortcut: numeric keypad *). I highlighted both in Figure 24.12. Later, you
will link these chapter points to buttons in a scene selection menu.
13. Save your project: File→Save.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
Adding Chapters—An Inexact Science
When you add chapters to an MPEG video, setting an exact location is a hit-or-miss
affair. MPEG compression does not use each frame in a video. It selects scattered
frames and then calculates the differences between those frames. In that way, an
MPEG file has many fewer full frames than DV, for example. So, when you select a
chapter point frame, Encore locates the nearest actual full frame and places the
chapter point there.
By the
When you add chapter points to an AVI video in Encore DVD and later transcode it to
MPEG, the transcoder ensures that the frame you selected remains associated with
that chapter point.
FIGURE 24.12
Add chapters to
your video using
the Chapter buttons in the Monitor
or timeline window.
Editing Menus in Encore DVD and
Menus are the focus of DVD authoring. They not only put a face on your production, but also provide all its interactivity. The full retail version of Encore DVD is
loaded with menu templates, backgrounds, and buttons—certainly more than
enough to create many DVDs. But as you become more facile with DVD authoring, you’ll want to make custom menus. In those cases, Photoshop is the ideal
candidate because it is fully integrated with Encore DVD.
Try it
Hour 24
Building Menus Within Encore DVD
For this task, I’ll use both the Encore-Assets provided with the retail version of
Encore and one of the three menu templates provided with all versions of Encore
DVD. You can start with an empty background and add buttons, text, and graphics to suit your needs—or—edit an existing menu. We’ll start with a blank slate:
1. In your project, open the Library palette (Window→Library) and select the
Library tab. As shown in Figure 24.13, doing so displays the standard
library of menu templates, images (graphic elements), and buttons that
ship with all versions of Encore DVD.
Did you
Highlighting Only Menus, Buttons, or Images (Graphics)
Take a look at Figure 24.13. The three buttons, starting in the bottom-left corner,
control which menu-building assets display in the Library palette. From left to right,
they are Menus, Buttons, and Images. When the button has a light background, its
graphics will display. Click it to hide its items.
FIGURE 24.13
The Library palette
contains all your
menu building
assets: buttons,
menu templates,
and graphics.
2. Right-click on Blue Grid Menu and select Create New Menu. Do the same
with Blue Grid Submenu. They will appear in the Menu tab of the Project
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
There are two other ways to add a menu selected from the library to your project.
Click on a menu name in the Library palette and click on the New Menu button (third
from the right at the bottom of the Library palette). Or drag a menu from the Library
palette to the Project window Menu tab. (If you drag it to the Project tab, Encore DVD
will consider it only as a graphic, not a menu.)
Did you
Other Methods of Adding a Menu
If you have the Encore-Assets (or some other menus), you can add them to your project by double-clicking or right-clicking on an empty area in the Project window Menu
tab to open the Import as Menu dialog box.
3. Double-click on Blue Grid in the Project or Menu tab to open it in the Menu
4. As shown in Figure 24.14, add buttons to it by dragging them from the
Library palette to that window.
FIGURE 24.14
5. The text associated with these buttons is too dark. Fix that by selecting the
Text tool (open the Tools palette by selecting Window→Tools), highlighting
the text by dragging the tool on the text (or double-clicking on the text),
clicking the Character tab and, as shown in Figure 24.15, changing the
color to something lighter. You can also use the Text tool to add text directly
to the menu—a title, for instance.
You can build a
menu from scratch
using a menu background and some
Hour 24
FIGURE 24.15
Edit text using the
Text tool and the
Character palette.
6. In the Menu window, select the Blue Grid Submenu. Click on the Layers tab
in the Library palette. As shown in Figure 24.16, this shows the Photoshopstyle layers for each element in the menu. Click the disclosure triangles to
see the layers for each graphic element.
By the
Symbols and Zones
Take a close look at the Layers palette. You’ll see these items: (=1), (+), and (%).
Each tells Encore DVD what that graphic item does. I explain these further in the
upcoming section, “Encore DVD and Photoshop Integration.”
Each of the Layers palette items defines a zone. You can’t have overlapping button
zones or your viewers won’t be able to use their remote to select a particular
FIGURE 24.16
Displaying a
menu’s layers
reveals each graphic element. Clicking
the circled Selected
Highlights button
reveals how the
graphic will change
when the viewer
moves the remote
to a button.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
7. Each of this menu’s buttons has a subpicture highlight. This is a fairly obtuse
and arcane part of the DVD specification. But its practical benefit is its
capability to display button or text highlights as the viewer moves the
remote to those menu elements (the selected highlight) and then clicks on
one (activated). Click on the Show Selected Subpicture Highlights button,
circled in Figure 24.16. It displays blue borders around the scenes and a blue
rectangle to the left of the main menu (the activated state looks the same).
8. Change the selected subpicture color by clicking the Library palette
Properties tab and selecting Menu Default from the Color Set drop-down list
at the bottom of the palette. That is a different set of editable highlight
colors. Depending on the default values in your version of Encore DVD, the
blue highlight likely will change to orange.
9. Change the new color to one of your choosing by selecting Edit→Color
Sets→Menu. Take a look at Figure 24.17. Select Menu Default from the
Color Set drop-down list, and click the Preview button so that you can see
changes in your menu as you make them in the Menu Color Set dialog box.
FIGURE 24.17
Use Menu Color
Set dialog box to
change the subpicture highlight colors
for menu buttons.
10. Click on Selected State Color 1, click on NTSC Colors Only (to avoid smearing colors in NTSC TV sets), choose a new color, and click OK. Change the
opacity to a higher number to make the color change more obvious and
check out your work in the Menu window.
11. Change the Highlight Group 1 Activated State Color 1 to some other color
and higher opacity. Now when you click on the Show Activated Subpicture
Highlight button at the bottom of the Menu window, this new color will
show up.
Hour 24
Encore DVD and Photoshop Integration
Because I covered basic Photoshop editing in Hour 22, “Using Photoshop and
After Effects to Enhance Your DV Project,” I won’t offer up those kinds of editing
tips. Rather I simply will point out how Adobe has integrated Encore DVD and
When editing menus in Encore DVD, you can do these things:
. Change or add text
. Alter the size of the scene button frames
. Copy and paste objects already in the menu
. Add graphic elements from the library
. Change the location of any element
. Turn graphic objects into buttons
In Photoshop, you can do all the items in the Encore DVD list plus these tasks:
. Create new graphics
. Apply filters and effects to the background
. Change colors and overall appearance of graphics
The crux of that integration is that you can edit Encore DVD menus in Photoshop
or build Encore DVD menus from scratch in Photoshop. All it takes is some attention to layer naming conventions. Follow these steps to see how this works:
1. Select the Blue Grid Submenu by clicking its tab in the Menu window and
then selecting Menu→Edit in Photoshop. Doing so opens Photoshop with
that menu front and center.
2. Open the Layers palette by selecting Window→Layers.
3. Twirl down the disclosure triangles next to Title and Scene 1 and make sure
that all eyeballs are on. Your layout should look like Figure 24.18.
Note the following layer and layer element naming conventions used in Encore
DVD menus:
. (+) on a Layer set indicates this layer set is a button. You’ll note the first
layer—Title with the text Scene Selection—does not have a (+). That means
that text string cannot be a button.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
. (=1) or (=2) or (=3) selects the Highlight Menu Color Set Group. All such
highlights in this menu are group 1. That’s not required, but in this case, it
ensures a consistent look to the menu in that all highlight colors will be the
same throughout.
. (%) denotes that this graphic is a placeholder for a video placeholder image
or video animation.
FIGURE 24.18
You can edit any
Encore DVD menu
in Photoshop.
To see how any changes made to an Encore DVD menu in Photoshop work, select
the Background layer (click on the word Background in the Layers palette), select
Image→Adjustment→Hue/Sat and move Hue slider to the right to about +72
(purple). Click OK. Then select File→Save.
Original Menu Remains Unchanged
These changes will not alter the original Encore DVD Library Blue Grid Submenu
Photoshop file. Photoshop automatically creates a new file for this project.
Close Photoshop, return to Encore DVD and note that your menu has the new
background color you gave it in Photoshop.
Did you
Hour 24
Linking Menus, Buttons, and Media
A strength of DVDs is their interactivity. Not unlike Web pages, you create menus
with links to material behind those menus. In the case of DVD authoring, you
decide what gets linked to what. Encore DVD offers several linking methods, most
of which are simple drag-and-drop affairs or use drop-down menu lists.
On large projects with dozens of menus, buttons, and assets, tracking links can be
a chore. Encore DVD takes care of that with another powerful feature. Encore
DVD’s link-checking tool lists all buttons, menus, and media that do not have
links. Then you can drag and drop links to and from that list—a real nifty feature
that no other DVD authoring product I know of has.
Try it
Linking Assets
To show you the breadth of Encore’s linking capabilities, I’ll present several scenarios. You could accomplish most of your linking tasks using only one of them,
but there are unique benefits to each. Here’s how they work:
1. Click on the Project window Project tab to open it.
2. Double-click on the Blue Grid Menu in the Menu (or Project) tab to open it
in the Menu editor window.
3. From the Project window, click on the name of the first timeline you created
(if you used the Encore-Assets in your timelines, select the one that has the
DreamMovie video in it) and drag it to the Play Movie button in the Menu
window. As shown in Figure 24.19, as you hover over Play Movie, its hot
spot text box becomes highlighted. Creating this link means that when
viewers play your DVD and click on Play Movie, it will do just that.
FIGURE 24.19
Drag a timeline
from the Project
window to the button/text you want
viewers to click to
access that timeline.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
4. Double-click on the Blue Grid Submenu tab in the Menu window to open it.
Click on its Main Menu button (make sure that you use the Selection tool—
V is the keyboard shortcut—as opposed to a Text tool).
5. Click on the Properties tab in the Library window. As shown in Figure 24.20,
this context-sensitive palette should note that you’ve selected the menu button, the name given to the button’s Photoshop layer (as opposed to its text
string, “Main Menu”). To link it to this project’s main menu, select
Link→NTSC Blue Grid Menu→Default.
FIGURE 24.20
The Properties
palette is contextsensitive. That is, it
displays the properties of whatever
you’ve selected in
the Menu or Project
windows. Set links
using its Link dropdown list.
6. Now you’ll use the Pick-whip tool. To prepare to do that, select the Menus
tab in the Project window, click the Blue Grid Menu tab in the Menu window, and open the Properties palette in the Library window.
7. On the Blue Grid Menu, click the Special Features button to open its display
in the Library window Properties palette.
9. Click the timelines tab in the Project window (it should have two timelines—
in my case, Saleen Overview and RacingClip), click the Behind the Scenes
button on the Blue Grid Menu, and drag its Pick-whip from the Properties
palette to the RacingClip timeline listing.
8. As shown in Figure 24.21, drag the Pick-whip button (to the right of Link in
the Properties palette) to the Menus palette of the NTSC_Blue Grid Submenu
in the Project window. (Note how the line whips back to the Properties
palette and the link name changes from “Not Set” to NTSC_Blue Grid
Submenu.) The Blue Grid Submenu will serve as this project’s scene selection
Hour 24
FIGURE 24.21
Use the Pick-whip
tool to link an
object in the
Properties palette
to a menu or media
asset in the Project
10. Add poster frames (still images lifted from the video) and links to the video
chapters in the scene selection menu by opening the main movie’s timeline
(double-click it in the Project window’s timeline palette) and open the Blue
Grid Submenu in the Menu window.
11. Click on individual chapter numbers (Chapter 1 is always the first frame
and you can use it for a scene if that suits you), and then drag them in turn
to their respective scene frames. Your scene selection menu has poster frame
thumbnail images in each button and should look something like Figure
Did you
Changing Chapter Poster Frames or Locations
Using Figure 24.22 as a reference, drag a chapter point along the timeline to see
how that updates the poster frame in the Monitor Window.
Change a chapter point poster frame (without changing the chapter marker location)
by selecting a chapter point on the timeline, moving the CTI to a new location (view
it in the Monitor window), right-clicking the chapter marker, and selecting Set Poster
Frame (it shows up immediately in the menu window).
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
FIGURE 24.22
Drag chapter points
to the scene
frames to link
those buttons to
their respective
scenes in the main
Chapter marker
Poster frame
12. By default these scene selection buttons display only as static poster frames.
To animate them—to have them play a few seconds of video—click on the
Blue Grid Submenu tab to select it, click the Properties tab, and check the
Animate Buttons check box. Put in a duration (Five seconds works well) and
the number of loops until the buttons revert to still images (Forever is one
Setting First Play
You know that when you put a DVD in your set-top player, it doesn’t just sit there
waiting for you to tell it what to do. Depending on how its editor authored it, it
might display a menu, play a brief video and then open a menu, or simply start
playing the movie with no menu. In DVD specification parlance, those are all
first play actions.
By default, Encore DVD sets the first menu or timeline you work on as the first
play. Here’s how to override that:
13. Render these video buttons by selecting File→Render Motion Menu (this
project might take 30 seconds to render—it’s creating 120 full frames of that
menu, not just the buttons, to play as a looping video).
Hour 24
. If you have the Saleen-Assets material, you want to set IntroMovie as the
First Play item. To do that, you need to put IntroMovie on a timeline. Do
that by right-clicking IntroMovie and selecting New timeline. That opens
the timeline window. Because you don’t have to work in it, simply close it to
free up screen real estate.
. In the Project window, look for the asset with the little triangle in its file type
icon. As shown in Figure 24.23, in my case, it’s the Saleen Overview timeline. That triangle indicates that it’s the First Play item. Override that by
right-clicking the newly added IntroMovie timeline and selecting Set as First
FIGURE 24.23
The asset with the
little triangle in its
icon is the project’s
first play item.
Override that by
right-clicking a different asset and
selecting Set as
First Play.
Setting End Actions
You need to tell IntroMovie what to do when it finishes playing or if the viewer
presses the Stop button. That’s called its end action. In this case, you want it to
jump to the main menu.
. Select IntroMovie in the Project window and open the Properties tab.
. As shown in Figure 24.24, open the End Action drop-down list and select
NTSC_Blue Grid Menu→Default.
. Set End Actions for the other two videos, having them both return viewers to
the main menu.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
FIGURE 24.24
Set the end action
in the asset’s
Properties palette.
Setting Overrides
You sometimes need to override default actions. For instance, the typical end
action for most movies (or timeline in Encore DVD parlance) is to return to the
DVD’s main menu. But if your viewer accesses that movie via the scene selection
menu, you want to return the viewer to the scene selection menu if he presses
Stop. You set that using the Override drop-down list in the Properties palette.
Scene Selection Plays More Than One Scene
The scene selection concept might be confusing. At first glance, you might think that
if you select a scene, the DVD would play only that scene. But that’s not how it
works. Selecting a scene simply starts playing the video at that point. If you don’t
take any further action, the video will play to its end.
But if viewers press the Stop button on their remotes, you might not want to throw
them back to the main menu; you can return them to the scene selection menu.
Thus, the need to use overrides when accessing the movie via a scene selection
1. Using the Scene Selection menu you just created, click on the Scene 1 button.
2. As shown in Figure 24.25, in the Properties palette open the Override dropdown list and select Blue Grid Submenu→Scene 2. You choose Scene 2
because you want to have the button highlighted when the viewer returns
to this menu; you assume that he won’t want to view Scene 1 again.
3. Do this for the other three buttons, setting the Scene 4 button override to
main menu to highlight that button because you assume that the viewer
has exhausted the Scene Selection menu possibilities.
Did you
Hour 24
FIGURE 24.25
Set override
actions to ensure
viewers come back
to the correct
Changing Button Navigation
When you view Hollywood DVDs, you might notice that as you press the arrow
keys on your remote, you move through the menu button selections in what
seems like a logical order—typically top to bottom or left to right. By default,
Encore DVD determines what it calculates to be a logical order. It’s best to check
that to see whether it matches your view of what constitutes a logical flow.
To see the order, click the Show Button Routing button circled in Figure 24.26.
That displays the four-arrow button routing symbols. The center number is the
button number set by Encore DVD, the left/right/up/down arrows indicate which
button will highlight when the viewer presses the associated button on the
FIGURE 24.26
Change the button
navigation to override the default values set by Encore
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
In the case of the Blue Grid Menu, because the text buttons do not fall in a
straight vertical column, the button navigation is illogical.
1. To adjust them, click the Blue Grid Menu tab to select it.
2. Open the Properties palette and uncheck the Automatically Route Buttons
check box at the bottom of the palette.
3. Now, as shown earlier in Figure 24.26, drag and drop each arrow to set the
navigation that suits you. Figure 24.27 shows you how I set the navigation
for this project.
4. Change the navigation for any other menus you’ve created.
FIGURE 24.27
New button navigation settings have
viewers move from
top-to-bottom without skipping buttons as would have
happened if I
accepted the
default navigation
set by Encore DVD.
Previewing Your Work So Far
Encore DVD enables you to simulate how your project will function when played
on a TV using a remote control. You can preview a specific menu by right-clicking
on that menu and selecting Preview from Here. Or preview the entire project by
selecting File→Preview. As shown in Figure 24.28, the latter action opens the
Project Preview window, which then plays your first play video.
If you wait for the video to end, the Project Preview window will execute the end
action and should display the main menu. To expedite that, click the Execute End
Action button highlighted in Figure 24.28 (clicking the Stop button in this window has unpredictable results).
Hour 24
FIGURE 24.28
Open the Project
Preview window to
see how your project will work when
it plays in a set-top
DVD player.
Execute End Action
1. Once in the main menu, move the cursor around to show the buttons’
selected highlights and then click on Languages. Nothing will happen
because the button does not have a link.
2. Click on Special Features to open the scene selection menu. Play the four
scenes and click the Execute End Action button for each of them. That
should take you back to the Scene Selection menu with the next scene’s button highlighted.
3. Click its Main Menu button to return to the opening menu. Click Play
Movie or Behind the Scenes and their respective movies will play. Use the
Execute End Action feature on them and you should return to the main
4. Click the Exit button, highlighted earlier in Figure 24.28, to return to the
Encore DVD authoring interface.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
Burning the DVD
Because this is just a demonstration project, there’s no need to actually record this
project to a DVD, but I’ll show you how the process works.
Try it
Burning Your Project to a DVD
When doing these final steps, you get to take one last peek at your links and project settings. Here’s how to make a DVD:
1. Click the Disc tab in the Project window to open it.
2. Click Check Links, select Links Not Set, and click Start. If, as is the case in
Figure 24.29, there are assets with end actions that don’t suit you, or links
that are not set, you can change them in this dialog box. Simply click on
one, open the Properties palette, and make the changes there. When you’re
finished, click Done.
FIGURE 24.29
Use the Check
Links dialog box
(with the Properties
palette) to repair
any broken links or
change end actions
and overrides.
3. Click Project Settings and note that Encore DVD offers several copy protection options as well as region settings. These are for professionally mastered
DVDs, and not for desktop burning to recordable media. Cancel out of that
dialog box.
5. Click Build Project to open a dialog box that enables you to select a DVD
4. If you want to add DVD-ROM content—word processing files, spreadsheets,
images, and other material users can work with on their PCs—use that feature in the Disc tab.
Hour 24
6. Insert a recordable DVD in your DVD burner and click Next. That displays a
Make DVD Disc: Summary dialog box. If all seems to be in order, click
Build. The progress indicator will display how things are going.
7. When completed, you can take the DVD you just burned and play it in your
set-top DVD player. Congratulations.
I saved Encore DVD for the final hour of this book because it’s kind of the icing
on a video project cake. You’ve worked hard to create a fine-looking video and
Encore DVD gives you the opportunity to present that work in the best light.
No longer is DVD authoring for the few and the wealthy. With this $549 product,
you can build Hollywood-style DVDs complete with menus, video buttons, scene
selection options, multiple language audio tracks, and subtitles.
Encore DVD features tight integration with other Adobe DV products, notably
Photoshop for menu creation and editing. It ships with many menu templates,
buttons, and graphics. It offers multiple methods to create links among menus,
buttons, and assets and automatically checks for missing links.
Authoring DVDs with Encore DVD
Q When I preview my DVD project, I play a video for a while and then click
the Stop button, expecting the video to jump back to its menu. But all I get
is a blank screen. What’s going on?
A When you clicked the Stop button, you expected the video to execute its end
action. Were this a true DVD remote control, that would be the case. But in
the Encore DVD Preview window, clicking Stop simply stops the video. To
execute the end action, click that specialized button at the bottom of the
Q When I access a video chapter via my scene selection menu, it plays
beyond the next chapter point. Why doesn’t it stop automatically? And
when I click the Stop button, it returns to the main menu. What’s going
A By default, clicking on a scene selection button simply starts the video at
that point. It will continue to the end of the video if you don’t click Stop.
And the reason clicking Stop does not take you back to the scene selection
menu is because you did not input an override value for that button, telling
the video to return to the chapter menu.
1. You drag and drop chapters to buttons in a scene selection menu, but the
poster frames thumbnail images don’t represent the chapter’s contents. How
do you fix that?
2. You want your button navigation to go left-to-right, but when you click the
right arrow in the Preview window, it skips a button. How do you fix that?
3. Instead of a selected highlight being a simple frame around a thumbnail
image, you want little stars to appear with text, such as “Ouch!” How do
you do that?
Hour 24
Quiz Answers
1. You can change the poster frame while keeping the chapter point at the
same frame. Do that by moving the CTI to a frame that is more representative of the chapter’s content, right-clicking on the chapter point number in
the time ruler, and selecting Set Poster Frame.
2. Use the Show Button Routing feature in the Menu window. First you need to
turn off the default Automatically Route Buttons feature by unchecking its
check box in the menu’s Properties palette. Then use the Show Button
Routing four-pointer icons to drag and drop the proper navigation.
3. Edit the menu in Photoshop. Add a layer to the existing button and name it
using the (=#) convention. Then simply use Photoshop’s graphic building
tools to create the stars and the text in a single layer. Back in Encore, you
can give that new graphic its own unique color and opacity using the Color
Sets dialog box.
1. DVDs are great archive media. Use Encore DVD to create