Color Correction Quick Tip: Better Talking Heads and Interviews in Premiere Pro

In today’s tutorial we venture into the world of color correction for a quick tip on how to improve your talking head shots.

Talking head pieces can turn out very flat, gray, or washed out especially with DSLR footage. Additionally, if you shot on a flat color profile your footage is bound to look dull and the colors may not pop.This tutorial will show you how to easily color correct and improve your talking head or interview footage.

Improving your footage should be quick and easy, and this video will detail each step. Please note that this quick tip doesn’t constitue for true color correction or color grading, and we encourage you to learn more about color grading in full detail. Enjoy the quick tip video and leave a comment if you have any questions!

Don’t forget to follow Christian Hermida on Twitter @Chermida

Related Posts:

3D Transformation Transition in Adobe Premiere Pro

Best Youtube Export Settings

Royalty Free Music

Adobe Premiere Pro Quick Tip – Freeze Frames and Title Styles

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As editors, two of the items we deal with quite often are titles and freeze frames. Each NLE has their way of creating them. Some are easy to use while others may be a bit complicated to deal with. In Premiere Pro, it has its own way of dealing with freeze frames and titles. As of writing, I know 2 ways that are possible to create freeze frames in Premiere Pro. I’ll discuss the best practices for using those more in this article.

The title tool in Premiere Pro opens up a separate window in the application that allows you to do a multitude of things. For some editors, the title tool in Premiere Pro is a flexible option to create very detailed and unique titles. For others, it can become a bit tedious when you need to create multiple titles or make small modifications. In this article, I’m going to share a tip that deals with going through the layer styles that are available in Premiere Pro without changing the font or size of your text.

Creating a Freeze Frame: Using the Export Frame Option

Using this option to create freeze frame is easy to pull off. The best part is that you can do it in the Source and Program monitors.

All you have to do is park your playhead on a particular frame you wish to freeze. Then, click on the camera icon in either monitor. This will bring up an option to export the frame as either the following image formats: DPX, JPG, PNG, Targa and TIFF. This wiki explains the benefits of using certain image formats. Once you have decided on a format, name it accordingly and choose a destination. Afterwards, you can hit OK to save it.

Edit Point

Camera Icon

Export Frame Options

Now in order to use this image in your timeline, you have to import it into your project panel. After you do that, make an edit and drop it into your timeline after the point you exported it from, creating a brief or long freeze frame.

Import into Project Panel

Edit Point

Insert Freeze Frame

I find this option best when I need to send a reference frame to identify a subject, do work in Photoshop or use as a screenshot. I feel this process can be a bit time consuming when I need to freeze-frames quickly and easily.

Creating a Freeze Frame: Using the Frame Hold Option

I believe this option to create freeze frames is more useful when you need to do it quickly and easily. All it requires is an edit point in the timeline.

I have a clip in my timeline and the playhead is parked on a frame that I want to freeze for a few seconds. I’ll make an edit point where I want it to begin. Next, I’ll right click and select Frame Hold. A dialogue window pops up and gives me a few options.

Edit Point

Frame Hold Options

I will select Hold On In Point and hit OK. From that edit point on, the clip will be frozen at that frame. The benefit of this method is that it doesn’t require as drawn out of a process as the first option does. The drawbacks are that I have to be careful with edit points and that my freeze frame will last only as long the piece of footage I made the edit point at. If I wanted to have a quick freeze frame and then go back to the footage playing, I would have to make an edit point where the freeze frame would start and another where I would want it to begin again. If you want to extend the length of the freeze frame, you will have to either change the duration or use the Rate Stretch Tool. Overall, either method has their pros and cons.

Going Through Title Styles without changing the font or size

This is a tip I learned only a few days ago and plan on using it quite a bit. Premiere Pro comes with some title styles you can apply to your text. The only problem is that whenever you click on one of them, the text changes in font and size. By holding down this key, you don’t have to worry about losing your font choice or size anymore.

I have some text in the Title Tool. I’m going to highlight it and move to the title styles panel. If I hold down the option/alt key and click on one of the styles, my text will inherit the look but maintain its font and size.

Text Normal

1st Option w/ Alt Key

2nd Option w/ Alt Key

As long as you have the option/alt key held down, you never have to worry about selecting a title style or your text changing font and size. This is a handy tip to know for when you start building a library of title styles.

I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

Sound Effects

The Best YouTube Export Settings in Adobe Premiere

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YouTube…it’s the most popular video destination in the world, the second most popular search engine (behind Google), and the third most popular website (behind Google and Facebook). Love it or hate it, YouTube has quickly become the go to place to consume video content. This means that if your videos/films aren’t on YouTube yet then chances are you’re not reaching the audience that you could. Unless your projects are for large scaled distribution on TV or in theaters, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have your videos on a YouTube channel.

But before you decide uploading that massive wedding video that was meant to be played back on DVD, you should really reconsider how it will play out on the web, where streaming speed is king. Keep in mind that the wrong codec, or too large of a file size can greatly hinder your video’s stream-ability on YouTube and other video sharing sites. Not to mention that certain codecs just don’t play nicely with video streaming. In this post, I’ll cover each step to exporting an HD video in 1080p to YouTube in detail below. Keep in mind that this guide is a general guide and may or may not need to be altered depending on your pre-production settings and other various variables. However, these settings should work in virtually any production environment whether the footage was shot on iPhone, DSLR, XD-CAM, or any other format.

Step 1 – Export Media

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First, we’re going to need to call up the export media dialog box in order to get started.  Simply go to File > Export > Media or you can hit Command/CNTRL + M to bring up the dialog box so we can export our project.

Step 2 – Export Settings and Sequence

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This is the first portion of the dialog box that you will encounter and it is perhaps the most important. Here you will find a summary of your output settings and your source settings. You’re going to want to pay attention to this and make sure they match the same settings for both output and source. Your source settings are what you selected when you first started editing the sequence(s) and usually match the camera settings that you shot on. Another important note is that if you shot in 720p, do not try to force the output to 1080p (1920×1080) because it will just distort the video further if a user selects “1080p” on YouTube’s playback quality. Additionally if you want to play it safe, check the “Match Sequence Settings” check box to make everything work together. The last important area to look at is the “Format” drop down box , right now it’s set to H.264 which is essential.

Step 3 – Codec/Format Selection

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As mentioned in the previous step, you’re going to want to use H.264 codec for streaming video. This is the defacto standard for most video today, and for DSLR shooters is the native codec that clips are shot in. YouTube and other video sharing sites specify H.264 to be the best option for web video.

We won’t go into the explanation of what codecs are or what each one does, as an entire book could be written on that but just keep in mind your various options in this dialog list. If your format/codec wasn’t preset to H.264, simply select it from the drop down list and you’ll be set.

Step 4 – Frame Rate, Standards, & More

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This step is almost self-explanatory. Make sure to set your TV standard to NTSC if you’re in North America, and PAL if anywhere else. Your frame width and height should be 1920x1080p if you’re planning to show your video at full 1080p quality.  The pixel aspect ratio should be set to 16:9 to show a nice full widescreen and don’t even think about touching the iMax setting for 2:21:1 , YouTube just doesn’t support that…yet.

Step 5 – Bitrate encoding. Very important!

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This step has to be the MOST important step of them all. This step could make or break your video quality and its ability to even be uploaded. The general rule here is to keep your bitrate maximum target at less than 18 Mbps, that way you don’t end up with a massive file size that will hinder your video’s potential ability to even be uploaded depending on your account limitations. Keeping your target and maximum under 20 usually will give you a very high quality output and will look great streaming on YouTube. All of my YouTube videos are set usually around 13 – 15 for the maximum bitrate and look good even when blown up to a 55″ LED Samsung TV. Now if you were trying to export this for a DVD or Blue Ray you would obviously have a larger bitrate, but for the purpose of Youtube lets keep it small.

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Keeping the bitrate around 13 keeps my nice 5 minute video at around 416MB which is a good size and will upload fairly quickly to YouTube.  Ideally your files are 500MG (0.5GB or less) unless you have a really fast upload pipe.

Step 6 – Audio Settings

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The audio settings are usually pretty simple to deal with. By default for the H.264 codec they will be locked in at AAC, which is the perfect companion for streaming web video. Make sure your output channel is set to stereo, and your audio quality set to high for optimal audio. The most important feature here though, is the bitrate (Kbps).

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Here, I have my bitrate set to 192 which is pretty high quality for audio but it isn’t the best. Keep in mind typical mp3 quality is 128 kbps and usually anyone can that tell it’s a junky mp3.  Most of the low quality stuff was rendered at 128 which to most people won’t sound good, especially on the YouTube where the audio is further compressed. You’ll want to go with 192 kbps or higher. 320 kbps is the standard for “CD Quality” and will make your total output file size a few megabytes larger but it won’t do any real damage to the file size. Consider how important the audio is in your video and select the appropriate bitrate.

Lastly, don’t forget to hit the “export” button to start rendering your video file and you’re all set.

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Hopefully that tutorial was helpful to you. Happy YouTubing everyone and good luck!  If you have questions, please leave them for me in the comments section below.

Adobe Premiere Pro Quick Tip – Custom 3D Transition

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As editors, one of the many things we enjoy having in our arsenal are filters and transitions that can add creative flare taking our projects from ordinary to extraordinary. Sometimes, they lie in third party plug-ins from numerous developers or creations in After Effects. Premiere comes with some decent native transitions but what if you knew how to create a unique transition without using After Effects or spending a cent? Well, that’s what I’m going to show you how to do today. The name of the transition we’ll be creating is called Multi-Flip. What the transition does is flip the outgoing clip to incoming clip from the right, middle and left. Here’s an example of what it will look like when it is done.

In this article, I will provide a written explanation on how to get it done and below I have provided a voiceless tutorial showing how to create it for more visual reference. Let’s get to it.

Multi Flip Step by Step

For this example, I’m using a sequence that is set to 1280 x 720 and the frame rate is 23.976. Values will differ if you are using a sequence that is 1080p, SD or a different frame rate. I have two clips in my timeline and I want the transition to last 1 second. To do that, I will take 12 frames from the end of my first clip and from the beginning of my second clip. I’ll select both clips and nest them.

12 frames 1st cut

12 frames 2nd cut

Nest Items

Inside the nested sequence, I will add a horizontal flip filter to my second clip and change the rotation to 180 degrees so that when it flips it won’t be facing the wrong way.

Rotate 180 degrees

Horizontal Flip filter

Let’s go back to the main sequence. Next, I’ll add the Basic 3D and Crop filter to the nested sequence on Track 1.

Basic 3D filter

Crop filter

Basic 3D & Crop Applied

On the nested sequence, I’ll crop from the left about 67%. Add a keyframe for tilt and distance to image at the beginning of the nested sequence with values of 0. Let’s move about 5 frames forward and change distance to image to 22. Move to the end of the nested sequence and change the tilt to 180 and distance to image to 0. That takes care of the left side. Let’s take care of the remaining sides.

1st Nest Cropped & Keyframed V2

I will option drag my nested sequence twice to duplicate it. Highlight the second nested sequence. Change the Left and Right Crop to 32%. Change the last tilt keyframe to -180.

Duplicated Nested Sequences

2nd Nest Cropped & Keyframed V2

Highlight the third nested sequence. On the third sequence, change the Left Crop to 0% and Right Crop to 67%. Leave the other keyframes alone.

3rd Nest Cropped & Keyframed

All that’s left to do now is render and review. If you followed all the steps, you should get the result I got above. As I said before, values will differ in a SD or 1080p sequence as well as a sequence with different frame rates. If you want the transition to be longer or shorter, vary the position of the keyframes accordingly. Here is the video version of the quicktip if you need to see it in real time.

This transition was inspired by an FCP X transition from plug-in developer, CGM. You can try out some excellent Premiere Pro 3rd party transitions as well as a Feathered Crop filter from Bart Walczak by checking out the links below. I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

Noise Industries

Luca Visual FX

Boris FX

Gen Arts

New Blue FX

Film Impact

Creative Impatience

Royalty Free Music

‘Tis the Season for Certified Holiday Hotness

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With the Holidays just around the corner, ’tis definitely the time to introduce you to some holiday hotness from some of AudioMicro’s top contributors. We have everything from classic arrangements of your favorite holiday tunes to fresh, contemporary renditions as well (and a few sound effects to round out the selection).

Our music and sound review team has worked hard to put together the following fantastic collection of royalty free Christmas music and sound effects for your holiday videos.

FreddieHangoler is one of our favorite artists. He most often composes gorgeous and emotive orchestral pieces suitable for epic film trailers. Here is his take on “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”:
                  

EasyAccessMusic is a long standing AudioMicro contributor. His productions are versatile and always top quality. “Holiday Bells” has an uplifting, happy feel perfect for your Holiday productions:

Cinematone produces top notch orchestra music. Here is their take on “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”:

What would a Holiday playlist be without “Jingle Bells”? Not much of one I suppose. AMAH delivers with this fun, jazzy version driven by a great stand up bass line:

You can see the Elves bustling about making last minute gifts in Santa’s workshop in this fun, children’s focused track “Christmas Eve” by Fortefill:

Dreaming of a White Christmas? This elegantly composed version of “Let it Snow” by PPaul3 is the perfect tune for you:
                  

If you’re looking for something a little more contemporary, with a little urban appeal then WeAreAA‘s hip hop take on “Deck the Halls” is perfect:

That does it for music tracks. Let’s move on to some appropriate sound effects for your holiday videos and multimedia. For starters, you gotta have sleigh bells! Wills.theatresound provides:

Here is a nice group vocal shouting “Merry Christmas” by Blastwavefx:

And here are a few takes from Santa himself by Csproductions:

And lastly, Soundjay provides us with some very well sampled footsteps in snow:
                  

That does it for this year’s Holiday Hotness. Of course, we have thousands of other royalty free music tracks and sound effects geared towards the holidays, so if you didn’t hear what you’re looking for, be sure to drop us a line and our support team will be glad to assist.

Have a great Holiday season and upcoming New Year. Cheers!