Premiere Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Making portions of clips transparent


Premiere Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

with Jeff Sengstack

Video: Making portions of clips transparent

I want to show you how to make clips partially transparent or make parts of clips transparent. That way you can lay your clips together. We'll start off by building a project here. I want to build it for a reason, because I want you to see what happens when you put clips on the second layer sometimes. So we'll start off with the Fall foliage clips and I want to start off with the red-leaves as a base clip, bottom clip that will serve as a background. And then we'll add the water too. That will be another background. Now what I want to do is I want to put this aerial picture above them and I want to be able to see through the blue.
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  1. 8m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the workflow
    3. Using the exercise files
    4. Relinking missing media
      2m 13s
    5. Using the Organizer
      3m 42s
  2. 8m 37s
    1. Understanding Premiere Elements 8 features
      4m 23s
    2. Touring the workspace
      4m 14s
  3. 17m 4s
    1. Starting a new project
      3m 52s
    2. Getting video from a DV source
      5m 0s
    3. Getting media from other sources
      3m 54s
    4. Managing media in the Project workspace
      4m 18s
  4. 19m 25s
    1. Learning about the Sceneline and the Timeline
      2m 22s
    2. Adding rearranging and deleting clips in the Sceneline
      4m 6s
    3. Adding and deleting clips in the Timeline
      5m 59s
    4. Arranging clips on the Timeline using modifier keys
      6m 58s
  5. 27m 27s
    1. Using the Monitor panel to trim video in the Sceneline
      6m 0s
    2. Trimming video in the Timeline
      6m 24s
    3. Trimming clips in the Preview window
      6m 46s
    4. Splitting clips and changing clip speed duration and direction
      8m 17s
  6. 22m 1s
    1. Understanding transitions
      5m 41s
    2. Applying transitions
      7m 2s
    3. Adjusting transitions
      9m 18s
  7. 37m 26s
    1. Understanding video effects
      8m 41s
    2. Using the Motion and Image Control fixed effects
      4m 46s
    3. Applying and modifying video effects
      7m 49s
    4. Using the Effects Mask tool
      7m 8s
    5. Working with motion tracking
      9m 2s
  8. 53m 57s
    1. Understanding animation
      7m 9s
    2. Animating video effects
      18m 32s
    3. Using the Motion effect with keyframes
      11m 46s
    4. Working with effects presets
      11m 37s
    5. Controlling changes between keyframes
      4m 53s
  9. 25m 32s
    1. Recording narration
      1m 51s
    2. Making music soundtracks with SmartSound
      4m 54s
    3. Applying audio effects
      10m 28s
    4. Mixing audio tracks manually and with Smart Mix
      8m 19s
  10. 18m 25s
    1. Creating text and geometric shapes
      5m 19s
    2. Applying styles to text and shapes
      8m 33s
    3. Having fun with titles
      4m 33s
  11. 23m 5s
    1. Understanding compositing
      4m 58s
    2. Creating picture-in-picture overlays
      7m 11s
    3. Making portions of clips transparent
      10m 56s
  12. 17m 49s
    1. Understanding Auto Analyzer and Smart Tags
      4m 59s
    2. Using InstantMovie and themes
      6m 17s
    3. Fixing with the Automatic Quality Enhancement feature
      6m 33s
  13. 9m 32s
    1. Understanding DVD authoring
      1m 10s
    2. Adding DVD scene markers
      4m 7s
    3. Creating DVD menus using templates
      4m 15s
  14. 4m 57s
    1. Sharing your videos from the Task panel
      4m 57s
  15. 12m 12s
    1. Shooting great video
      1m 59s
    2. Creating a story
      10m 13s
  16. 20s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Premiere Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
5h 6m Beginner Sep 29, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Premiere Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training, instructor and videographer Jeff Sengstack shows how this application can be the only one needed to view and edit video files and share them with family and friends. Jeff shows how to start a new project, set up the workspace, and arrange clips on the Timeline for an initial video take. He teaches how to apply specialized video effects, like Motion Tracker and the Effects Mask tool, to build more than just an average family video. He also covers how to add narration, music, transitions, and titles to a final movie. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Getting video from a DV camera, USB camera, or hard drive
  • Adjusting timing for smooth transitions between clips
  • Adding text and shapes to clips with titling tools
  • Mixing audio tracks by hand for a custom sound
  • Building DVD menus with scene markers
  • Creating a good story for the final output
Premiere Elements Elements
Jeff Sengstack

Making portions of clips transparent

I want to show you how to make clips partially transparent or make parts of clips transparent. That way you can lay your clips together. We'll start off by building a project here. I want to build it for a reason, because I want you to see what happens when you put clips on the second layer sometimes. So we'll start off with the Fall foliage clips and I want to start off with the red-leaves as a base clip, bottom clip that will serve as a background. And then we'll add the water too. That will be another background. Now what I want to do is I want to put this aerial picture above them and I want to be able to see through the blue.

But before I do that, I'm going to drag that down the Video 1 just like a regular normal clip. You can see nothing happens. It just drops down there, like you'd expect it to drop down there. But if I drop it down to Video 2, Premiere Elements is going to go, hey, this thing has got a lot of a solid color in there. How about if you apply the Videomerge effect? Because if you do, it will remove the blue for you automatically, which can be a great thing. But in this particular case, we are going to skip this. But I want to see it again the next time I do a clip like this. So I'm going to say go ahead and show it again, but I'll say No for now.

What I want to do first is I want to do the sort of brute-force way of reducing opacity, of making something a little more transparent, and that's simply by clicking on this, going to Edit, Edit Effects, and working with the Opacity fixed video effect. The Opacity effect just essentially drops the opacity of a clip, makes it less opaque. You could merge, sandwich two clips together, with this method. It's not very selective. It does the entire clip, makes the whole clip less opaque. But you can see how these two clips can fit together nicely, and to a certain degree that can be a nice little effect to do.

One thing you can also do with this is you can do what's called Fade In. So if you click Fade In, it will put keyframes on it such that when you go in, it sort of dissolves in like a dissolve transition. And you don't have to accept that 100% opaque setting there at the end of the Fade In. You can reduce it like that. And let's say fade it in to just 50%, so let's see how that works. Zooms in and then holds at like 50%. You can have it hold across. If you do a Fade Out, it will fade out from whatever level you have got here back down to completely transparent. So that's one way to kind of do the brute -force way of making a clip transparent or partially transparent.

We can just undo that by clicking on the keyframe stopwatch. Turn them all off. Then I'm going to reset that particular setting and start from scratch. What I want to do now is to show the static-water-rocks red video below this guy. I'm looking at this picture and I'm seeing all sorts of blue. There is all sorts of blue. You can use a what's called a keying effect to remove a solid color. So we go to Effects and here under Keying if I scroll a little bit you see a whole group of keying effects that typically remove color or things that are bright or things that are dark.

You can also remove just parts of the clip using what's called a matte but we'll explain that a little bit later. Usually, you use the Chroma Key to remove color and then you can select the color. But there is actually something specifically for blue and it's specifically for something called Chroma Key Blue. But this blue here is darn close to Chroma Key Blue. So I'm going to drag that down there and see what happens. Wow! God, isn't it amazing? Let me just show you the effects there and let's close the Opacity one. We'll look at the Blue Screen effect. There are a couple of parameters. One is called Threshold, one is called Cutoff.

If you adjust Threshold, you can sort of increase the amount of blue that gets removed to the point where you invert it. So it's right there. We actually removed quite a bit of blue. Now we can see the clip below, this static-water-red-rocks. Let me just move that out of the way so you can get a sense of what it's like. We have removed all that. Made that all transparent or partially transparent using that Blue Screen Key. Let me slide this guy back so you can see it now. There it is. Now the rocks are kind of centered in the image but it doesn't really look good here centered in this particular image.

So I'm going to grab the rocks, go to Motion and slide those rocks into a better position relative to the keyed out water as they call it. We just keyed out the blue water. Click away and now we have sandwiched these two clips together. Let me move on here to show you a true key approach, the Green Screen Key. I'm going to go back to the Organize, Project, we have this green screen clip. Let me drag Kelly to track 2 here because I want to put her above something.

And when I do that, then we get that little message again, Do you want to use Videomerge? In this case I don't really need to use Videomerge because this is a specific color green, Chroma Key Green. We are going to drop a Chroma Key Green effect out here. So I'm going to say No. Take the Golf video, put this fairway shot underneath her. And now there she is appearing above that fairway shot, but you can't see it. Well, let's get rid of that green. Let's make that green transparent. I'll click on here, click Edit, I want to put down the Green Screen Key.

Let's see where that is. Right there. And even in the Preview it shows that it will be transparent behind her, this little thumbnail preview of the effect. Drag it down to the clip or to the monitor and see what happens, gone. It knows exactly what color green to remove and removes it automatically. It is a Chroma Key Green color. Let's take a look at the effects so you can take a look at the parameters of this one. Again, Threshold and Cutoff, just like the Blue Screen Key. We can adjust it. We can sort of fine-tune it a little bit. Notice the microphone does pick up some of the green from the screen behind her.

Actually it's called the Green Key Spill and it's picking up in the microphone. But we have got it pretty well taken care of there. That's a very standard way to make part of a clip transparent. Let's move on now to sort of a trick I want to try here. Back to Organize, Project, I'm going to try to sandwich these two drive shots that we have been using in other tutorials together. So I'm going to use this one as the base, put that down at the bottom. I want to try to get this tight shot to appear inside it somehow.

And look it. This time it says again that thing you just put down has lots of green in it. Do you want us to remove the green using this lovely effect called Videomerge? And this time I'm finally going to say sure, go ahead and do that. Let's see what it looks like. And gone, look at that. It removes whatever it sees as the largest block of color and puts these two guys together. I'm going to fine tune it a bit, but I want to line up the drives a little bit. So let me just kind of go forward it to where I see that little smack there. I want to take the guy down to the bottom and move him over so we can line up the drives.

It will take a little bit of maneuvering. I'm going to click on him and hold down the Alt key so I can slide the clip back and forth, so now they should be about the same spot. Let's see if we have lined them up okay first. Pretty good. I'm going to go up here. I'm going to click on Edit Effects for that one. Edit, Edit Effects, hit this Videomerge key and it gives you a couple of options. You can change the Tolerance but it won't do much here until I change this to Detailed.

That actually makes a stronger attempt to remove the green. It actually kind of refines it a little bit which is nice. But the Shadow is a little obtrusive and so I'm going to manipulate this guy a little bit by going to Motion and making it a little bit larger and drag him off the screen a little bit to get the shadow a bit out of the screen, make it a little bit larger. There we go. Now we'll see how this goes if we watch these two guys together. (Whack! Golf ball being hit.) (Male Speaker: That's going to...) Cool. Oh, we want to hear his comment.

(Whack! Golf ball being hit.) (Male Speaker: That's going to hook.) It actually ended up being a great shot. Let's go one more thing here. Don't want to try to do something that you had done automatically before but I think you will see that this is a more effective way to do it if you have the time to do it. So I'm going to try to sandwich this clip with itself. Put it down here on this track. I'm going to put another version of that thing right above it, exactly the same spot. I'm going to apply a key to this particular clip. Click on Edit. I'm going to put what's called a Garbage Matte Key there.

There are three kinds of Garbage Matte Keys: Eight, Four and Sixteen. Where is it? There it is. Sixteen has sixteen points, Eight has eight, and Four has four obviously. We'll do the Eight. That's kind of a middle ground. Drag it here, open up Edit Effects, and there is the Eight Point Garbage Matte right there. It has eight points around it. I'll click on this guy so you can see what I'm talking about. Click on this to see the Matte. There is this so called Garbage Matte and what you should do with a Garbage Matte is actually you are going to cut out everything from the picture that's outside the Matte.

So anything inside the Matte we are going to be able to see; anything outside the Matte we won't see. And this last guy here, it's a little difficult there. There we go. We got it in. If I couldn't reach it, I could have used the numeric value here to get it done. Now we have defined that area and if I play that you are not going to see any difference. It's just this little thing moving along with it. If I click away, you won't even see the Matte at all. It's just two clips put together and all I see is this top clip. But in fact, what I have done is I have actually removed everything from that clip.

I'll slide it over so that you can see it now. I just have this little thing left, this little box left. Put this guy back underneath it so we get him connected again. And now what I wanted to do is I want apply an effect to that box. So I'll go inside here, go to Edit Effects, and I want to let's say put the Invert effect. It's so obvious that you can really see what's going out. I will drag the Invert effect to this clip, to here in the monitor, down here to this clip. And there is the Invert effect applied to the area that's been preserved by the Eight Point Garbage Matte. What you can do now is you can apply keyframes.

So I got this guy selected, go to Edit Effects, I'll just close this guy up but we keep it active so you can see the points. I'll go forward a little bit. Obviously, the car, it's going to pull farther away, but what I can do at this point with keyframes turned on, let me go back a little bit to get the starting point right there. Turn keyframes on for you, go forward, right about there. At this point, I can take the Garbage Matte. I can bring it in one at a time. It's kind of tedious, so I'm not going to do it more than once here, but I'll just give you the sense of how it works.

Bring in the Garbage Matte. You can make the Matte follow this motion, which works better than the Motion Tracking tool, because the Motion Tracking tool is only a rectangle. Here you have got eight points, and if you really want to go nuts you could do the Sixteen Point Garbage Matte. So let's just see how that works. I'll take the clip back. Looks like it's being stuck by a lot of pins and nails. And there we go. Now it follows it along. It actually shrinks as it goes off in the distance, so you can use keyframes to do all that stuff. And in fact, if you really want to get nuts, you can put a little Dissolve here at the beginning and make it fade in and fade out.

So here are about five ways to make clips partially transparent or parts of clips transparent, and this is something you can use over and over when you want to sandwich or layer or composite clips together.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Premiere Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training .

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Q: Is it possible to get still shots from video clips in Adobe Premiere Elements 8?
A: Yes, this is possible with the Freeze Frame tool, which is explained in Chapter 5, in the "Splitting clips and changing clip speed, duration and direction" movie around the 7:45 mark.
Q: When attempting to start Premiere Elements 8, I get an error message reading "Adobe has detected that the application Elements Organizer has unexpectedly quit." What is causing this, and how can it be fixed?
A: Crashes on start-up are a problem that have come up with a number of users. There is an update to Premiere Elements 8 that addresses that.
There are two approaches, open Premiere Elements by clicking New Project and then go to Help > Updates. If that doesn't work, or if Premiere crashes again, follow the steps outlined on this Adobe support page:
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