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In Premiere Elements 9 Essential Training, author Jeff Sengstack breaks down the editing workflow into bite–sized pieces, covering topics from setting up a project to exporting the final video to any format. The course also covers the basics of editing and advanced features like picture-in-picture overlays and audio and visual effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
The Premiere Elements Timeline works much like timeline you find in expensive professional video editors, such as Premiere Pro. It gives you more options than the Sceneline. One place that comes into play is when you rearrange or insert clips in the Timeline. The Timeline has some default behavior, standard behaviors that might go counter to what you might expect. To bypass those default behaviors, you use what's called keyboard modifiers. Keys you hold down as you manipulate a clip with the mouse. There are only two sets of keys that come into play here.
In the Windows version, it's Ctrl+ Alt+Shift and in the Mac version it's Command+Option+Shift. Let me show you what works. We will take five clips and put them on the Timeline. I will take grocery1. I will go down and get 2, 3, 4 and 5, by holding down the Ctrl key here to select individual clips, or the Command key on the Mac. 2, 3, 4 and 5. Now I am going to drag these guys down to the Timeline in video 1. Now there are five clips there. Let me show you some things that happened, some things that you have seen before and some things that will be new.
Let's say I select this clip here and I want to delete it. If I simply press the Delete key, what's going to happen? That clip is going to go away and the clips to the right are going to slide over to the left to fill the gaps. Let's show you how that works. I am going to press Delete and off they go. They slide over. That's the default behavior. That's called a Ripple Delete or a Delete and Close the Gap edit. I want to go Ctrl+Z on Windows, Command+Z on Mac to unto that edit. This time I am going to right-click on this clip to open a context menu and you see there is that command.
Delete and Close Gap. So pressing the Delete key performs a Delete and Close Gap command. I will just show you that again, click that. This guy will disappear, this guy slides over. Ctrl+Z, Command+Z to undo that. Now if I click on this clip and I press the Delete key, that's going to close the gap. If I hold down the Shift key, this is the keyboard modifier. It does what's called a Clear. It does not fill the gap and many times you don't want things to slide over. You just want to remove something, and you might want to fill it in with something later.
You don't want the guys to slide over and mess things up. That's called a clear. That's how it works in Windows. You don't necessarily need a keyboard modifier in the Mac side. You can use the forward delete key to perform a clear. Now the forward delete key is not the standard Delete key. The forward delete key is over there above the arrow keys, and you can also use a function delete if you got a Mac laptop. I will undo that by pressing Ctrl+Z here. Command+Z on the Mac. I am going to right-click and you'll see that context menu item is here as well. Clear.
So the Shift+Delete is the keyboard modifier and the keyboard shortcut to do a clear. Right clicking and going to the context menu is the other way. So we will do Ctrl+Z to undo that. Command+Z on the Mac. Now I want to manipulate things here in the Timeline by rearranging things. If I take this clip and I move it to let's say between these two clips, I am going to basically extract it from here and put it over here. What's going to happen? The default behavior looks like this. I take this clip. I slide it over. Between those clips you can see it lined up between the two.
What's going to happen is that the clips to the right will move to the right to allow this grocery 2 to fit in and the white area there with a number 22:14 in it, that will remain empty. It will be like a clear. So like a clear and an insert. I will show you how that works. Watch the things to the left. It won't fill up. It will be a gap and the guy at the right will shove everybody to the right. So here is that gap, make it clear, and this is an insert where we are going to shove it over to the right. That's the default behavior and many times if you don't want it to work that way. Many times you want this thing to fill in when you remove a clip.
So let me show you the keyboard modifier means to do that. I will press Ctrl+Z to unto that edit. I am going to hover my cursor over here. I am going to press the Ctrl key here on Windows. This would be the Command key in Mac. As I press that down and move my cursor, you'll see a little blue arrow between two lines. What that says is now with this keyboard modifier pressed down, if you move this clip, it will fill the gap. That little arrow says I am going to fill the gap if you move this clip. So now I am going to click on it and start dragging and now that I started dragging, I can let go over the keyboard modifier.
So I have already sent the message that we are going to fill that gap and now I am going to drag it down here. I am going to put it over here, as I said before between these two clips, and that gap will be filled. Now you'll see the whitish look on that clip where it says 22:14. This time when I let go, that gap will fill. It will close the gap, there won't be a space there, and the clip where I am putting it now will push things to the right. So the length of the whole project will not change at all. Happens in a instant, but that guy got filled and this clip got put in. I'll do that one more time. Ctrl+Z. There is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on order.
Take number 2 out by pressing the Ctrl key here and Command on the Mac to get that little blue arrow to show up. There is little blue arrow again. I am going to over here to the end to that two clips that I want to slide it to, and letting go the Ctrl key, when I let go, you'll notice that it stops pushing the arrow down. I am going to explain what that is in a moment and it has the arrow to the right, meaning it's now going to do an insert. It's going to fill that gap. Here we are. It happens with a flash, but that's how that works. I will Ctrl+Z to undo that edit. Let me show you what happens if I hold down the Ctrl key when I am putting something on to the Timeline.
I can take this clip as I did before, and hold down the Ctrl key and drag it out, and this time notice as I hold the Ctrl key down now, there is an arrow pointing down. What that means is I am going to cover the clip that's here. I am going to do what's called an overlay edit. If I keep the Ctrl key held down, I told it when I lifted it out that I was going to have the clip slide over and fill that gap. But now with the Ctrl key held down still, and Command on the Mac, it's going to cause what's called an overlay edit here. It's not going to slide that clips to the right.
If I let go the keyboard modifier like that, then tips will go to the right. See how that little arrow changes and points to the right? If I press it down again like this, it's going to put it on top. Until I let go with the mouse button, I still have the option of going either way. So I will do is an overlay now and the whole project will become shorter now because I am covering something up rather than sliding them to the right. See it got shorter? And it actually covered up the clip and a half and sort of sliced this last one in half, leaving only part of it visible here in the Timeline. So that's the basic way that you use these keyboard modifiers to manipulate clips here on one track. But things get more complicated when there are clips on other tracks as well.
Let me show you how complicated it can get. I will take one more clip here, let's say this number 7. I am going to drag it down on top of these other clips. When do you use clips on top of other clips,? You typically want to do something that allows you to see the clips below it. Right now this clip is just those apples. I want to see clips below it. I would typically shrink it down in size, so you can see them. So I will just do that really quickly here, just to give you a sense for how that works. So you can see what's underneath here. So I am going to this guy that's called Motion effect, and that's going to shrink it down.
I will put it over to the side so you can see that those apple clips is on top of this one, and the one ahead of it. That one and that one. Now if I want to take this clip from the end or near the end. I want to put it in front of that grocery number 2 clip. Let's see what happens. I am going to do the remove here by holding down the Ctrl key, so that it will fill the gap between this one and that one. So I am moving it. Now I will do an Insert here, so I'll let go the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac, and what's going to happen is that those grocery clips on top are going to slide to the right with everybody else.
They all slid to the right like that. The whole kit and caboodle here, all the clips and all the tracks move to the right to accommodate this guy that I just inserted there,. But sometimes you don't want everything to move to the right on other tracks. You want just have that one track move to the right. So I will go Ctrl+Z to undo that and now here is the other keyboard modifier I mentioned. I am going to get this guy out again by holding down the Ctrl key. Click on it, drag it left. Let go the Ctrl key or the Command key and now I am going to make an insert, but what I want to do is not affect the other tracks and the way you don't affect other tracks is before you let go the mouse button, hold down on Windows the Alt key and notice that little arrow that something appears which says basically we are working only on this track.
So the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Mac, and now I will let go this clip those grocery 7 clips on top will not slide to the right. So they stayed in place. That means that little Alt key, though the Option key on the Mac, limits your edit to only one track. Let me show you one more little thing. Come back to the Project view and go get some audio. I am going to drag this little music clip down to the Narration track. It could be on Narration or on Soundtrack. We will put it there. Strange things happen if we start moving things around on your track with the clip that actually extends farther than all the clips there. It won't move it.
It will cut it. So I want to take this guy. I am going to insert it right here. If I just take that guy, holding down the Ctrl key here to fill that gap, and then not holding down the Ctrl key or the Command key here, so that it will slide everything to the right. It will slide that audio track on the bottom to the right as well. It's going to split it and slide it to the right. Now that is not what you want to do to music. You don't want things like that to happen. So again, you use that Alt or Option key to avoid having that track get affected. I will take this clip again. Hold down the Ctrl or Command to drag it left so that it will fill the gap.
I am going to pull it over here and if I just let go the mouse now, I'll let go the Ctrl key first, but if I let go the mouse, it will split the audio track and it will slide those grocery 7 clips to the right. If I hold down Alt now, it will only move the clips on Video 1 and Audio 1. It does not cut those clips, does not move that to the right. So that's the helpful thing that the Alt key can do. One more thing. When you insert clips from the Media view or the Project view, the same kind of keyboard modifiers apply.
So if I take let say grocery 8 and I drag it down here between grocery 5 and grocery 4, this will automatically insert that clip there, sets up the clip and moves it to the right, and that will split that clip on the bottom. So what happens? It splits it. You don't want to do that usually. You just want to insert it here on that track only. So I drag it down to that track. It's going to do an insert, but if I hold down the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac, there is a little zebra stripe that appears below the icon telling you, okay, you're just going to affect this track now. And there you go.
It does not split the audio. If I do it in front of the grocery clips here, I will do one more this works in the other tracks as well. I will drag it in front of this one. Hold down the Alt key again. Only needs to slide the clips on video one to the right. It does not split this one and does not slide those guys to the right. So these keyboard modifiers might seem convoluted and confusing at first. I don't blame if you think that, especially when you're holding down Ctrl and Alt or Command and Option and then dropping a clip with the mouse, but these modifiers give you more control over your edits than you have in the Sceneline.
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