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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
We are now going to look at basic video editing, also referred to as Trimming. I have Imported a movie clip here, and we are going to make a Composition out of this. Be aware that it is 54 seconds long. That's what this triangle means here. Zero hours zero minutes, 54 seconds and zero frames. So, go ahead and drag this piece of footage to the New Composition icon, down here at the bottom of the Project panel. To add this to a new Composition, if you need to, go ahead and put your mouse over the Composition panel, the Viewer.
And use the mouse to zoom out of this, so that you can see all of this if you need to. And this clip basically starts with some ocean waves, right in the middle. And a lot of times, when you cut to something, it's good to kind of have it in a neutral state. So, I might prefer to start this clip here, because it is kind of like a bird going on in a scene right up here in the front. But I like that the water is a little bit more neutral. And then as the scene progresses, then waves come in. I like that little better. So, I'm going to go, actually, to about four seconds and eight frames in.
And this is where I want to start the video. So, here is how we Trim video. We want to make sure that the Selection tool shows in the black arrow. Make sure that's Selected in the tools panel here. Again, that's going to allow us to do a lot of little tricks like we are about to do here, that we couldn't do with other tools. So, what I am going to do is put my Cursor at the beginning of the clip, so that I have a double-sided arrow. It's facing left and right. That indicates that if I click and drag on this point, I'll actually Trim or Cut those parts of the video. Once you do that, there will be a faded version of the color of that clip.
In his case, it is like this aqua color. There will be a faded area that indicates that there is content there, but we are just not seeing it. If I were to click and drag on this clip and move it to the right, you would see that there is this gray area here. And we will be able to see the line where the clip would run out. So, we could extend it back to that point, but we couldn't go any further, because there is no original content there. So, again, this faded area tells us that there is source material there, if we wanted to expand this point.
Now I'm going to Undo what I did. But instead of using Ctrl+Z or Command+Z to back up, what I am going to do is I am going to press Option+Home on the Mac or Alt+Home on the PC, to take the beginning of our layer and make it start at the first frame of the Composition. Now again, my Current Time Indicator is still at four seconds and 8 frames in. So, I am going to Trim, and while I Trim, I am going to hold the Shift key. That will cause your Trimming to Snap to the Current Time Indicator. So, in case you are worried about getting exactly to that exact frame, you could hold the Shift key down and fix it that way.
Now you can also Trim the end of clips. So, if you want to chop off some of the end here, same thing. We could see the leftover footage that we've Trimmed. And we can go and Undo that at any time if you want to as well. But this is a way of shortening Layer Duration of Trimming off the beginning and Trimming off the end of clips. Now technically, this is not Trimming. But if you're working with video editing, and you find yourself wanting to split a layer, you could select the layer and hit Command+D or Ctrl+D on the PC, to Duplicate the layer.
And then you can Trim. So, in other words, if you want to use the beginning of the clip at one spot, and the end of it later, we could Trim this so that, like here we have the beginning of the clip at one spot. And then later on, we have the end of the clip in another spot. And we can Trim and expand these as well. But what we can also do is go to the Edit menu and choose Split layer, and that will split the layer at the Current Time Indicator. So, basically, Duplicate the layer and everything before the Current Time Indicator will go on one layer, and everything after it will go on another layer.
Now I strongly recommend that you only use the video editing tools in After Effect as a last-ditch measure, only when you need to get things exactly the way you want them. After Effects is not meant to be a video editing program. When you play back video, it has to load into RAM before you could see it in real speed. It's not meant to be a video editor. So, the techniques I am showing you here in this movie and in this chapter, they are for using in conjunction with other techniques. So, while you're working on Compositing, while you're working on Motion Graphics, you need to be able to kind of fine tune things a little bit - then you could use these skills and features.
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