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In Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics, Adobe Certified Instructor Chad Perkins explains how to take video editing from simple nuts and bolts to an art form. He shares tips for shooting video in the field to get the most from a subject and get the best footage for a project. He demonstrates how to build a project through the careful use of cutaways, pacing, and suggestive edits. He covers special effects, color correction, and keying and compositing, integrating all these concepts as he builds a music video project from scratch. Exercise files are included with this course.
In this movie, we're going to look at one of the best and most commonly used tricks of the video editor, and that is fixing problems by using a cutaway. In this clip of Dream Job, I want this girl to look fatigued and worn out at her job and I just want, like, a few seconds where she is just kind of spacing out, just exhausted. And this clip is great and what happens, right about here, there is a slate clap and what's interesting about this clip is that before this slate actually claps, when the camera is kind of getting ready here, we see her.
The actress is kind of getting into zone. This actually really good footage and I want to use this, but then there's this section where the camera changes focus and we do the clap thing and then the camera has to readjust focus again. I don't want that. But I like everything before it and after it, and, by the way, a lot of times, when I need to make patches or whatever you need to make work sometimes, footage like this, like before the slate clap, that you're not technically supposed to use, it can often be used to fix little problems here and there, just like this whole thing when we're talking about fixing problems with cutaways.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to about 4 seconds and 18 frames in. Then I want to hit Command+K on the Mac or Ctrl+K on the PC. That's going to split this clip. It would be the same thing as if I got the Razor tool and then clicked here. It just saves you a step by using the keyboard shortcut. So then I'm going to move out in time about 15 seconds and 14 frames in and backup using the Left Arrow key here, and this is where I want to come back and this is after the camera has refocused.
So I'm going to hit Command+K or Ctrl+K again and so this is the junk in the middle here that I don't want. So, I'm going right-click on it, select Ripple Delete. That will delete it and then fill that gap. The problem is we now have this jump in the cut. So if I play this back, we will see that there's a jump right there. Did you see it? Boom! So it just kind of jumps in a very unnatural way. So we've got to fix that. So what we can do is use a cutaway.
So I am going to grab this clip, hand for cutaway DJ. I'm going to drag this over to in the second video track here. So what's going to happen is she is going to be exhausted, put her hand down, then it's going to show that hand and then it's also going to cut back to her again. So, it's going to seem like a complete clip and really what happened is there was junk in the middle that we cleaned up with this cutaway. So if we play this back, she is tired, she sets her hand down, she had the pen in her hand. So we have good continuity there and this clip actually, the cutaway was one of those clips, too, where we weren't supposed to be recording, but the actress was kind of sitting there, and she kind of was bored, so the pen kind of falls out of her hand a little bit, which kind of goes perfectly with her being bored.
So this cutaway actually adds a lot to the scene. It breaks up the visual boredom and it helps us to cover up that mistake. You'll see this all the time with say news reporters, for example. The news reporter might, all of a sudden, kind of get messed up, or maybe, like, they are at a football game and the people behind the reporter acted like idiots, or whatever. So they will cutaway to some stock footage of the football game or footage that they took earlier that day. This is also useful for documentaries. When somebody goes on, and on, and on, and tells a story, often the parts of the story they tell aren't essential and you want cut those out, but if you do you're going to have the same jump that we encountered earlier.
So you could use a cutaway to cover up that jump. So cutaways are not just great for emotional things, as we saw the last video, but they're great for fixing errors, fixing problems. It's kind of like a band-aid. It kind of even looks like a band-aid on the wound of our clips, here, that just didn't go together quite right.
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