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Showing off vacation highlights or making a music video with a professional touch is just a few keystrokes away with Premiere Elements 7. In Premiere Elements 7 Essential Training, Jeff Sengstack, Adobe Certified Expert in Premiere Pro, breaks down the editing workflow into bite–sized pieces, about everything from setting up a project to exporting the final video to any format. In between, Jeff covers the basics of editing as well as advanced features like picture–in–picture overlays and dazzling visual effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
I want to show you how to make clips transparent or partially transparent. If you want to follow along, open up the 11-transparency project and what you'll see is an empty timeline but we have several clips here that we're going to work with. We're going to start with these two clips. I want to put this one on the bottom track, and put the next one slightly above it, there. Maybe I'll make it easier, we'll get rid of the audio tracks by right-clicking and turning off the Show Audio Tracks view and now we've got these two tracks one after the other and I'm going to keep these clips to kind of line up, make everything work together.
So this clip on the Video track 2 trumps the one below it. You cannot see the one below it down here, this sort of wide shot of a bunch of fish. So how do we make this guy allow the clip below it to show through? Well, the simplest way is to use opacity. Every single clip has opacity as one of its fixed effects. So to get there, click Effects, Edit Effects and this clip is selected. That's the one we're working with. Here is Opacity. We can reduce the Opacity, simply make it partially transparent, see how the clip below it is beginning to show through. At some point, it kind of loses the clarity of the top clip but let me just kind of play that now and just see if that works.
So you can sandwich clips together simply by reducing the Opacity. There are a couple of extra features here. If you do Fade In, that actually adds some keyframes. I'll show them to you. That will fade this thing in from completely transparent. This guy is not completely transparent. It's becoming completely opaque. It's kind of like a dissolved transition but you are actually dissolving or fading from this clip down here to that clip above it. You can do Fade Out and that will actually apply two keyframes at the end to fade from fully opaque to fully transparent. So that's the Opacity fixed effect and you can just kind of mess these things, sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn't depending on the clips that you're sandwiching together. Let me turn that off for now.
I want to put a clip above this and try a different effect. So I go back to the Project. I'm going to add this ray above it. I chose this because the ray has a lot of blue in it and we can make that blue transparent with some degree of quality but it's not a perfect system because there is blue and there is white and the ray has some blue on it too. So it won't be perfect but I want to show you how this works using a really cool effect inside Premiere Elements. Something called Videomerge, which is new to Premiere Elements. The very last effect on the bottom. You could search, you could go like this, Show Videomerge, and just go to the bottom and find Videomerge. We're going to apply it to this ray on top. Take it down to the clip here, drag it to the Monitor.
Now, we've applied it. Look what happens right away. You can see the clip below it. That's just amazing what it did. It analyzed the clip. It looked for a color that's kind of dominant in the clip and basically made that color transparent automatically. If I now play it, you can see the ray kind of hovering there, above those little I guess clown fish and the anemone. Well, if you want to fine-tune the Videomerge, just click on the clip and you can open up Videomerge and you can select the color that you can make transparent. So you click here. That gives you the option now to make that fully opaque and to say okay, what color do you want to select? You can do a Color Picker and pick a color that way. It's easier of course to take the Eyedropper tool and select the color from inside the clip.
I want to make let's say white transparent which might be a little bizarre but do that and now you can see everything but the ray. The ray kind of has this sort of stencil effect. Well, that didn't work. Let's try that again. So we'll click another color like blue, which is the more likely color. If I pick this color up here, it will make the ray transparent because that color and the ray are about the same. I'll pick the dark blue. That will make that area transparent. So it's a great little effect, Videomerge. It's sort of the brute-force method to remove color to make a color transparent in a clip. But I'm going to show you the more precise way to create transparencies using something called a green screen. So I'll go back to the Project and add this green screen clip of Megan here to there. Now she was shot in front of a green screen in the studio and that's actually just a green wall, but you can use a keying effect to remove that color.
So let me go back down here to Effects and I'll say just show me the Keying effects. Here are all the Keying effects. There are I think 14 of them. Most of the Keying effects will remove a color, some of them also will remove something that's bright or something that's dark and some of them will remove parts of the image using what's called a garbage matte. But we'll stick with the one that is most well known and that's the green screen key right there. Green screens are actually made with a color called chroma key green. It's a color. You can buy paint cans of chroma key green or you can buy chroma key green fabric that you can hang inside a studio.
The Premiere Elements knows exactly what chroma key green is and so if you drag that to the clip, it immediately removes it. Not amazing. It knows exactly what color to look for, because it's a standard color in the video industry. But you can fine-tune it by going to the Effects and adjusting the Threshold slightly. So you can kind of remove the little green halo around her head a little bit, fine-tune it. So that's basically how transparency works using Opacity and a number of effects. I suggest you play around with this by shooting certain scenes using bright areas, dark areas or solid color backgrounds and then trying out some of these effects.
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