Ripping music from a CD is a snap. For Mac users, Premiere has a built-in ripping function. Select File, Open. Navigate to your music CD, select a track, specify a location, and click OK. You can change some options such as the audio quality, but the default is your best bet.
PC users must use a third-party CD ripper. The most accessible is the Windows Media Player. Start it and select Copy from CD. I've highlighted that process in Figure 9.20. You can select multiple tracks and rip them at once. Very simple. Now they are available for use in your project as WMA files. To use them, simply double-click in your Project window, locate and select the file(s), and click Open.
This all comes with the usual admonition that these are copyrighted tunes. There are all sorts of takes on the so-called "Fair Use Law" regarding copyrighted items and who can use them and how. I won't weigh in on that. That's your choice.
To avoid any possible copyright conflicts, you can turn to SmartSound Quicktracks?a very slick tool that ships with Premiere. It's an optional install, so you may not have installed it yet. Do that now. Install all the audio files (600+ MB) so you don't have to access the CD each time you use SmartSound.
Once you've completed the install, a "plug-in" is added within Premiere that lets you create various styles of music with very specific lengths. Here's how it works:
Select File, New, SmartSound (installing SmartSound added this option to the File, New menu).
The SmartSound Quicktracks menu opens (see Figure 9.21). Select Start Maestro.
Now for some fun. It's experimentation time. Select a style or browse the music files alphabetically. Click Next until you get the option to play your selected piece. Not too bad. You were probably expecting some cheesy MIDI music. Not so. This stuff sounds great!
Click past the preview section and give your selection a time. If you know your piece will run a certain length (hours:minutes:seconds:frames), choose that or select an approximate time. You always can change it later.
Click Finish and choose a save location. Your scratch disk is best. Click Save to save it at the specified location and load it in your Project window.
You have created a tune that you can import to your Project window. This tune has a special built-in time-adjustment feature. Here's how you can see it in action: Drag the clip to an audio track. If you decide that it's not the right length for your project, double-click it. Voila, up pops the Maestro interface, letting you change the length to suit your current needs (you may need to click the Back button in Maestro to find the song's Duration/Time window).
No matter what length you give your selection, Maestro creates a smooth finish?not just a fade out. Very slick.