Applying Productivity Tips to Speed Up Editing and Resolve Minor Annoyances

First up, two editing tips.

Using the Overlay Button for Cutaways

In Hour 7, "Adding Audio," I explained how to add cutaways to your projects?for instance, reverse-angle shots of a reporter listening to an interviewee, crowd shots at a game, and tight shots. The process involves slicing out a chunk of video, replacing it with a cutaway of the same length, and making sure your audio track remains untouched.

Task: Use the Overlay Button for Cutaways

Using the Overlay button in the Source Monitor screen makes this process much easier. Here's how:

  1. Put a video clip on Video 1.

  2. Drag another clip from the Project window to the Source Monitor window (not to the timeline). You'll create in- and out-points within the window and use that shortened clip for the cutaway. In my case, I'm going to overlay a close-up, shown in Figure 17.6, to add some visual interest to this piano recital video.

    Figure 17.6. Use close-ups to add visual interest to a project.



    Frequently you get only one opportunity to videotape an event, and you have only one camcorder to do it. Take your daughter's first piano recital, for instance. The last thing you want to do is grab cutaways or tight shots in the middle of her performance.

    If possible, what you can do is get those shots later or, in the case of audience shots, during other performances. In this case, I just asked my daughter to play her tunes again (after the recital room had cleared) and I grabbed some close-ups.

  3. Set the in- and out-points for the cutaway either using the in- and out-point tools on the bottom-right side of the Source Monitor screen or by dragging the in- and out-points within the screen's scroll line.

  4. Lock the Audio 1 track by clicking the empty box next to the speaker icon. I've highlighted it in Figure 17.7. This ensures that you will overlay only video and will not change the audio.

    Figure 17.7. Lock the audio track to avoid overlaying audio.


  5. Use the timeline's edit line or the Program Monitor screen's controls to find the point to make the overlay.


    One way to match music with a performer's actions is to use markers. As you play the Video 1 clip, listen for the moment(s) you want to lay in tight shot(s) and press the asterisk (*) key on the numeric keypad. As explained in the "More Timeline Keyboard Shortcuts" section, that action places a marker on the timeline. Later, you can have the edit line go to that marker by right/Ctrl-clicking the time ruler at the top of the timeline and selecting Go To Timeline Marker.

  6. Click the Overlay button. I've highlighted it in Figure 17.8. It's the little down-arrow icon in the bottom-right corner of the Source Monitor screen. The other down-arrow icon, to the Overlay button's left, inserts a clip by slicing the Video 1 clip at the edit point, pushing everything after the slice to the right, and laying in the new clip. You don't want to do that in this case.

    Figure 17.8. Use the Overlay icon to place a cutaway in your project.


  7. Unlock the audio track by clicking the padlock icon. Otherwise, you won't be able to make any changes, additions, or deletions to that track.

Preview your work. The cutaway should play over the original audio.


If the tight shot/cutaway does not exactly match the action that precedes or follows it, use the Slip tool to change the in- and out-points of the overlaid clip and look for a match in the four-screen monitor window.

Failing that, try the Slide tool to keep the overlaid clip intact while changing the in- and out-points of the adjacent clips.

Setting Start and End Keyframes First

When you want to use keyframes with effects, you tell Premiere of your intentions by turning on the little watch icon in the Effect Controls palette. That action, by default, places start and end keyframes at the beginning and end of the selected clip. Those keyframes have the default values of the selected effect. Usually that means all values are "off" or set to zero.

Before you start moving the edit line to locations within the frame to set keyframes, set the start and end keyframe values. This saves time and minimizes the possibility of unpredictable results later. Here's how:

  1. Place the edit line somewhere within the clip and then click the left keyframe navigator arrow, highlighted in Figure 17.9. Set a starting value for your effect.

    Figure 17.9. Set your keyframe start- and endpoint values first.


  2. Click the right keyframe navigator arrow and set a value for the endpoint keyframe.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video