Adobe Premiere Pro Quicktip: Matte Remover Presets

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One of the things about using motion graphic elements is their ability to drastically change the appearance of your footage. For example, I can have a clip of a woman break dancing in a studio, which is a good piece of stock footage. If I were to drop a motion graphic clip of blinking lens flares or perhaps an abstract grunge clip vignette, it would definitely spice things up a bit. Now, some of these motion graphic clips may come with transparency and some may not. That’s not to say it’s any better or worse to have either but should you need to remove a black or white background from your mo-graph clip and a blend mode is not enough, here’s a solution. I will show you how to create 2 presets you can use for removing either a black or white background efficiently. Below is quick voiceless video tutorial demonstrating what steps were taken.

Matte Remover Presets

In order to create this preset, I will use two motion graphic clips, one with a black background and one with a white background. I have 2 items from Rampant Media Design. I will use a transition from their Flash FX collection and a clip from their Grunge FX collection. In my timeline, I have a Flash FX transition on top of 2 video clips. This transition has a black background throughout its animation – because of this, we don’t see any of the video clips underneath. Let’s remedy that.

Clips in Timeline

Flash FX with Black BG

I will show how to create a Matte Remover Black preset. Go to the Effects browser and type in Set Matte. Let’s apply the filter to the transition. Change Use for Matte from Alpha Channel to Luminance. Leave everything else alone. Next, go back to the Effects browser and type Remove Matte. Apply the filter to the transition and make sure the Matte Type is set to Black. Now, if we play our timeline around the transition occurring you’ll see that it no longer has its black background.

Set Matte Filter

Set Matte Applied

Remove Matte Filter

Remove Matte Applied

Matte Remover Black Applied

This same process can be used for white backgrounds as well. In my timeline, I have a Grunge FX clip over some dancer footage. Right now, you can’t see anything because of the white background and black grunge texture. Let’s take out the white background by creating our Matte Remover White preset.

Grunge FX with White BG

To eliminate the white background, all I have to do is apply the Set Matte and Remove Matte filters on this clip. Use the same settings for the Set Matte filter like before except click on the Invert Matte checkbox. For Remove Matte, change the Matte Type to White. Now, all you will see from the clip are the black grunge patterns.

Select Both Filters White

Matte Remover White Applied

To turn these effects into presets for future use, all you have to do is follow these steps. First, highlight the Set Matte and Remove Matte filters in the Effect Controls panel. Right click on either filter and select Save Preset. Name the preset to whatever you choose. For this example, I will name it Matte Remover Black and then hit OK. Repeat these steps for the Grunge FX clip and call that preset Matte Remover White. Now, whenever you have motion graphic clips that don’t have built-in transparency, you can use these presets to take care of that.

Select Both Filters Black

Right Click Filters Black

Save Preset Matte Remover Black

Select Both Filters White

Right Click Filters White

Save Preset Matte Remover White

Matte Removers in Preset Folder

I’m the NLE Ninja with Audio Micro asking you stay creative.

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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.

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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.