Premiere Elements 9 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Making portions of clips transparent using Green Screen, Videomerge, and other techniques


Premiere Elements 9 Essential Training

with Jeff Sengstack

Video: Making portions of clips transparent using Green Screen, Videomerge, and other techniques

I want to show you how to make clips partially transparent or make parts of clips transparent. That way you can composite or layer those clips together. There are multiple methods. Once you see some in action and try them out, you can usually decide which method will work best, or you shoot your videos with a compositing method in mind. For example, shooting actors in front of a solid color backdrop, usually what's called Chroma Key Green is a standard way to create shots that'll be easy to composite. So let's try out a few here. I've thrown a number of clips here on the Timeline, but we'll start with these first two.
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  1. 7m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Understanding the workflow
      1m 19s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 44s
    4. Relinking missing media
      3m 18s
  2. 16m 52s
    1. What is Premiere Elements 9?
      6m 16s
    2. Touring the interface
      6m 28s
    3. Clarifying differences between the Mac and Windows versions
      4m 8s
  3. 44m 16s
    1. Creating a new project
      7m 18s
    2. Getting media
      2m 0s
    3. Capturing video from a cassette or a webcam
      7m 14s
    4. Downloading assets from external devices and storage media
      8m 53s
    5. Importing media from a hard drive
      3m 32s
    6. Managing media in the Project workspace
      7m 3s
    7. Using the Organizer
      8m 16s
  4. 30m 57s
    1. Using the Sceneline and the Timeline
      3m 45s
    2. Adding, rearranging, and deleting clips in the Sceneline
      6m 20s
    3. Adding and deleting clips in the Timeline
      9m 51s
    4. Adding and rearranging clips in the Timeline using modifier keys
      11m 1s
  5. 32m 8s
    1. Adjusting clip length in the Sceneline
      7m 56s
    2. Adjusting clip length in the Timeline
      8m 44s
    3. Adjusting clip length in the Preview window
      6m 4s
    4. Creating freeze frames and changing clip speed, duration, and direction
      9m 24s
  6. 25m 4s
    1. Understanding transitions
      4m 49s
    2. Applying transitions
      9m 37s
    3. Adjusting transitions
      10m 38s
  7. 41m 53s
    1. Understanding video effects
      9m 25s
    2. Applying and modifying video effects
      8m 46s
    3. Repositioning, scaling, and rotating clips with the Motion effect
      6m 50s
    4. Working with the Motion Tracker
      10m 1s
    5. Using the Effects Mask tool
      6m 51s
  8. 52m 31s
    1. Understanding animation
      7m 48s
    2. Animating video effects
      13m 52s
    3. Using the Motion effect with keyframes
      11m 43s
    4. Working with effects presets
      9m 55s
    5. Controlling changes between keyframes
      9m 13s
  9. 32m 44s
    1. Recording narrations
      3m 12s
    2. Making music soundtracks with SmartSound (Windows only)
      5m 38s
    3. Advanced audio editing with J-cuts and L-cuts
      6m 31s
    4. Applying audio effects
      11m 41s
    5. Mixing audio tracks manually and with the SmartMixer
      5m 42s
  10. 25m 38s
    1. Creating text and geometric shapes
      7m 1s
    2. Editing and formatting text and shapes
      5m 10s
    3. Using styles and templates with text and shapes
      6m 40s
    4. Animating titles
      6m 47s
  11. 25m 46s
    1. Understanding compositing
      5m 23s
    2. Creating picture-in-picture overlays
      8m 46s
    3. Making portions of clips transparent using Green Screen, Videomerge, and other techniques
      11m 37s
  12. 16m 54s
    1. Understanding Auto-Analyzer and Smart Tags
      4m 11s
    2. Using InstantMovie and themes
      6m 4s
    3. Trying out Smart Fix and Smart Trim
      6m 39s
  13. 13m 43s
    1. Understanding DVD authoring
      2m 12s
    2. Adding DVD markers to the Timeline
      4m 47s
    3. Creating DVD menus using templates
      6m 44s
  14. 20m 7s
    1. Understanding project exporting
      3m 15s
    2. Exporting to standard file types
      5m 54s
    3. Creating files for online and mobile phone use
      3m 39s
    4. Creating DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and web DVDs
      7m 19s
  15. 33s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Premiere Elements 9 Essential Training
6h 26m Beginner Nov 04, 2010

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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.

Topics include:
  • Touring the interface
  • Creating a new project
  • Capturing video
  • Downloading assets and importing media
  • Arranging, rearranging, and deleting clips
  • Adjusting clip lengths
  • Applying video transitions
  • Working with video effects
  • Animating effects
  • Recording, editing, and mixing audio
  • Titling
  • Automating edits
  • DVD authoring
  • Saving and sharing movies
Premiere Elements Elements
Jeff Sengstack

Making portions of clips transparent using Green Screen, Videomerge, and other techniques

I want to show you how to make clips partially transparent or make parts of clips transparent. That way you can composite or layer those clips together. There are multiple methods. Once you see some in action and try them out, you can usually decide which method will work best, or you shoot your videos with a compositing method in mind. For example, shooting actors in front of a solid color backdrop, usually what's called Chroma Key Green is a standard way to create shots that'll be easy to composite. So let's try out a few here. I've thrown a number of clips here on the Timeline, but we'll start with these first two.

Now we're going to put a clip above this underwater clip. What happens when you drag a clip to a track above Video 1 and that clip has a lot of solid color in it, then Premiere Elements pops up a little message. So, I'm going to take this underwater- tight video, which has a fair amount of blue there in the corner, and drag it above this underwater 1 and see what happens. There we go. It's going to say, oops! Clip being dropped contains solid background color. Do you want to apply Videomerge? In this case, I want to say Yes. Videomerge is an effect that looks for solid color and makes it transparent. Did you see that? Boom! It just immediately made that dark blue transparent above this little backdrop.

Let's take a look at the effect itself. I'm going to trim this thing down so we're not covering the next clip up. There we go. Let's look at that little effect in action. I click on this, go to Edit, Effects, Edit Effects down here. And here's Videomerge, it was added automatically because of that little message. What Videomerge does is it selects the color. It saw the blue there and decided, okay, I'm going to make that transparent. If I turn that off, there is the original blue, and if I turn it back on, it's made that blue transparent, so you can see the clip underneath it.

That's how Videomerge works. Now if you decide you want override that selection of the solid color, then you can just go, let's select it myself. I click on that little guy there and I click on this eyedropper tool, and then I can pick the color that I want to make transparent. I can make this orange transparent, which will look pretty weird but we can make that transparent. Yo! Let's go back to making blue transparent, shall we? The thing about making blue transparent is it makes this part of the fish transparent too, but that's what Videomerge does. It looks for a solid color, and then, makes it transparent.

Now, you don't have to use Videomerge when you're working with a solid color. I'm going to erase that or delete that. I'm going to to Effects, and go down to Keying, the Keying group. If I click here, I'm going to select Keying and it'll make it a little easier. These are the Keying effects. These things all make areas of your clip transparent. So I'm going to select Chroma Key. Chroma means color. I drag Chroma Key down to that clip, and then I need to tell it what color is going to be made transparent. It does one automatically. But I'm going to click on here and say let's make blue transparent.

It's very similar to using the Videomerge except it just works slightly differently and it has more controls, and decide how similar a color. I can start with that one pixel of blue that I pick, but I can also pick blue that's similar to that blue. Then I can adjust some other controls here to try to make this thing work. If you go down here to Mask Only, you can really see what it is that you're going to be allowing to show through. that blue area there or that blue down here. So that's Chroma Key, very much like Videomerge. Delete that for the time being. Let's go down to this next clip.

I'm going to drag a green screen clip in front of this clip. We've seen this before if you watched my demo about this, but let me just drag a green screen down there. Go to Organize, Project, and here's a greenscreen key. This is my producer in front of a green screen with his biker stuff on, he rides unicycles folks, and he also is drinking a little bit of water, a little bottle. Let me drag this down here. There you go, and it's - we got that same little message that's saying, hey, you got a lot of solid color here. Boy, do we have solid color here, you bet.

Shall we apply Videomerge? Well, sure, let's do that again. It automatically, it's made that green transparent. Now, where is the actor? That's because he is offstage here, but he's going to walk on in a moment, and there he is walking on. It automatically made that green area transparent, and did a pretty darn good job of it. There isn't any kind of like glow around him. Sometimes when you do green screen work, you get a little kind of a green edge or a tint to the actor, but Videomerge did a great job here. But I'm going to show you the special key that works just with the green screen, and the green screen has to be really perfect for it to work right.

So Videomerge is a little more cooperative. The green screen may not work as well as Videomerge in this particular case. So I select that guy, go to Edit, Edit Effects. we're going to turn off Videomerge for the time being. I'm going to go get the Green Screen Key, which is right there. It's showing black because this is a preview and the preview should show that it's transparent to the black background. So in fact it looks like in terms of this thumbnail it's going to work. Let's drag it down there and see how that works. So, Green Screen looks for the green. That'll be the standard Chroma Key Green Screen color and keys it up, but notice little kind of fuzzy stuff there in Nick's shoulder.

Let me just show you why that is. Green Screen isn't perfect. If I click on the Mask Only, you can see there's a little bit of junk there. Well, the mask is very helpful in terms of making some adjustments. So, if you make some adjustments here, you might be able to make that stuff go away. But it's always kind of a compromise. You can smooth it out a little bit though. Look for High Smoothing, that makes the edges a little bit smoother but you see stuff leaking through there. That's a pretty good job. But as I move this thing around, you might notice down in the corner here. It's getting a little bit dark sometimes. So you can sort of fine-tune an edit like this using something called a Garbage Matte.

So let me turn this off, close this guy up, and go get a Garbage Matte, Effects. So this is called the Garbage Matte. We'll take the Eight-Point Garbage Matte. You got Four, Eight, and Sixteen. We'll just do the Eight-Pointer here, target down there, and the Garbage Matte lets you sort of trim away stuff that you don't want to show up in the screen. So let me click on this, go to Edit Effects. Here is the Garbage Matte. If I select Garbage Matte, it shows all the various garbage matte handles, and I can get rid of that dark area in the corner, so it won't show up. And if you can't find all the handles, just right-click here. Say Magnification, go to 50%.

Now you can see all the handles here. You can adjust the area that you don't want to have showing up, so if it's a little dark down in the corner, see the darkness there? I can make that so it doesn't show up, and that way we won't be affected. I can only worry about where Nick is here in the middle and make sure that comes through cleanly. So, you can use the Garbage Matte to sort of clean up the Green Screen that didn't quite work. Lots of times microphones hang down from the top, you can use a Garbage Matte to make sure the microphone doesn't show up. Let's move on down the line here. What I have is Gabriella.

Oopen this thing up to the full screen again, to Fit. I have Gabriella and this, that's her skating off in the distance and then here is Gabriella up close. What I'd like to do is kind of sandwich these two guys together. I've timed them, so that the jump there will match the jump on this one down here that you can't see right now. So, what you can do is you can lower the Opacity, which lowers the Opacity for the entire clip, not part of a clip. So you're making a clip partially transparent as opposed to making parts of a clip transparent. So I'm going to select this clip, go to Opacity.

Right now it's 100%. I'm going to page up here. press Page Up to go to the beginning of the clip. At the beginning of the clip, I want Opacity to be 0. I want it to be transparent. Then I'm going to go in the clip, I need to turn on keyframes, there it is, I'm going to go into the clip a little ways. Now I'm going to raise the Opacity, not to full, but to enough that I can see her sandwich with the other clip. put the two of them together. Right around 50% is the logical place, so you can see two together. Go a little bit farther. I need to open up the keyframe window here.

I'm going to click on this little Add/ Remove Keyframe to make sure that holds steady there, and then for the rest of the clip, where the coach is telling her to stretch, I'm going to take the Opacity to 100%. So basically, we started with nothing. You can't see it, then you gradually see it, see them together, and now I'm going to basically transition to the tight shot that I was getting down here at the end of the ice arena. So watch that in action. (Music Playing) There we go. So we can use Opacity to make the entire clip partially transparent.

I'm want to show you one more little thing here, that's kind of complicated. It's a particular way to make part of a clip transparent using what's called a Track Matte, the Track Matte Effect. It's a little bit difficult to set up. I've got the whole thing set up here. So, if you have this exercise file at home, you can see exactly how I set it up in detail, but I'm going to set it up in general here. The way you set up a track matte is that you have to have the one clip here and then the duplicate of that clip above it. So, I'm going to go get that clip. Go to Project. Get zip-line4, drag it down here.

I'm going to put zip-line4 right above it, so they're exactly matched up. It has some solid color in it. We're not going to worry about Videomerge now. And then I need to put some kind of a graphic above it that's in black and white. So we'll make the area that's either black or solid color, or there's transparency behind it. We're going to make that one highlight an area of this clip below it. So now here's a little Title that I made. If I just double-click on this Title, you'll see that it's just a little circle. If I open the Title tool, there it is, just a little circle.

Pardon me for the little effect behind it, but it's just the Title tool with that little circle in it. That's all it is. It's easy to make a circle inside the Title tool. Let me click away. Go back here. So I'm going to take that little Title that I created that's just a circle and drag it out for the entire length of this thing. So now, what we've got is this little circle above this zip-line. What you need to do is apply a Track Matte to the top clip. Not the one below, but you apply the Track Matte effect to this clip. Now, I'll show you what you do once you do that. Go to Edit, Effects.

You can look up Track Matte by just typing t-r-a. Drag it to the clip up above here, the one above, the one that's below it. Now, nothing happens. We click Edit Effects, and inside here, here's the Track Matte. I can close the keyframes for this. It says, where is the Matte? The Matte is on track three, Video 3 right there, Video 3. So you need to say, let's get this Matte from track three. Okay, we've done that. And how do you want to composite the matte with this thing? Well, the Matte has what's called an Alpha channel, which means transparency.

So we select Alpha, it's fine. If it was black and white, you'd go for a Luma. But here it's got transparency, so we're happy with Alpha. But that's the set up. Now, the detail work needs to come in and the detail work means that you need to go and start having the Matte follow action, and you can do that by dropping the transparency on the bottom clip, so you can see what the Matte looks like. So I'll show you this little matte here. I'll show you that I applied a whole bunch of keyframes to it to follow motion on my daughter going down the zip- line, and I also changed the size.

I took that little circle and turned it into an oval by dragging in the sides. So there's keyframes for all those kinds of motion that I applied here manually as I followed the action of this zip- line, and you can look at these keyframes and see how I did this. But now I'll just show you how the Track Matte can be used effectively. It's pretty cool. Let me just take this bottom click here, which had the Opacity turned down when I was working on it. We'll raise the Opacity to 100%, and now we'll play this little clip. (Video Playing) You can use what's called the Track Matte to follow action.

It's not a rectangle like the Effects Mask. It's whatever shape you want to make inside that graphic. And so there you have some of the ways that you can composite clips.

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