Join Jeff Sengstack for an in-depth discussion in this video Arranging clips on the Timeline using modifier keys, part of Premiere Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training.
The Premiere Elements Timeline works much like timelines 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 on the Timeline. The Timeline has some default behaviors, some standard behaviors in these instances that might go countered in what you want to do. To bypass those default behaviors you use keyboard modifiers. Keys you hold down as you manipulate a clip with the mouse. There are only two keys that come into play here, Ctrl and Alt.
Let me add a few clips and show you what I mean. I'm just going to grab some clips here in a particular order, not necessarily for any important reason, but just to show you that if you Ctrl-click on one clip and then another, and then another, and another, and another, it will place those clips in that order on the Timeline when you drag it down here. It won't be from top to bottom. It'll be in the order you selected them. Now I'll click away, so they are unselected. Five clips here. Let's look at the default behavior when you drag a clip from a collection of clips in the Timeline. I'll take this clip and I'll drag it to the end.
The default behavior is that it leaves a gap. And I showed you before that you can right-click and say Delete and Close Gap, but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to go Ctrl+Z to undo that edit. This time I'm going to hold down a keyboard modifier to avoid having that gap appear. Once I hover my cursor over that particular clip, you don't see any change to the cursor, but hold down the Ctrl key, you get a little arrow pointing left for the couple of little gray bars on each side of the arrow. With the Ctrl key down that is saying, look it, if I now click-and-drag this guy out, like that, I can let go the Ctrl key now, it will fill the gap left by that clip.
So I'll go to the end and it filled the gap left by that clip. I can undo that and show that to you again. I'm hovering here. Hold down the Ctrl key. That little blue arrow appears saying that if you now drag this out and then you can let go the Ctrl key after you drag it out, it will fill the gap when you let go and insert this someplace else. That's called a keyboard modifier and that's actually a doing a ripple delete, is the technical term for what just happened there. And also when you drag this guy out and move it to the end without the keyboard modifier, that's a lift, and when you drag it out with the keyboard modifier, that's an extract.
Just so you know the difference, Lift and Extract. So what about adding clips? I go up here and just take this clip and drag it down inside here, and it shoves them all over, as it should. That's the default behavior, but if I want to let say cover up a clip in the Timeline, rather than shove them over, I can take this guy, drag it down, and if I bring it over here, you'll notice that the default behavior is that the arrow points to the right, and the clips slide over to accommodate this new clip. But if I press the Ctrl key as I'm adding it, it now points down, saying that nope, we are going to cover up.
We are going to record over whatever is in the Timeline at that point. So here's the Ctrl key off the default behavior, meaning it will slide the clips to the right. The down means it's going to cover it up, doing an overlay edit. Notice nothing is still over to the right. In fact, I cut that clip right there, and left part of it behind. It just covered up whatever part of it would have equaled the length of the clip that I just added. Let me undo that. Same thing applies when you are dragging clips around inside this collection of clips. If I take this clip, hover my cursor over it, and press down Ctrl, I'm going to now fill the gap.
I'm going to make an extract edit here. I'm going to drag that up. I'm going to hold down the Ctrl key. When I place it back in the Timeline, notice that there is a little blue arrow pointing down. If I let go the Ctrl key, the default is this slide clips to the right. That's an insert, but if I hold it down, that will be an overlay. So the keyboard modifier when you are moving clips around in the Timeline for Overlay is the Ctrl key. And I overlaid that, filled the gap, and in actuality, shortened the entire length of the project. I'll press Ctrl+Z to undo that. So let me show that again. Here it is.
I press down the Ctrl key. This is going to be an extract. So I'm going to fill that gap. I'm holding down the Ctrl key still. I'm going to put it here and that Ctrl key being down means this is going to be an overlay, and shorten that project in the same process. Now what happens if you have another track here of let's say audio or some more clips on top? The behavior is typically when you do an insert, it splits every track and shoves them all through the right, but you probably don't want to do that if you have music in particular down there. So I want to take this music and put it down in this track below here.
Let's see what the default behavior is. I'm going to take this guy, move it out of the way, I'm doing just a lift here, and I'll do an insert here. Notice there is a black line going through the audio clip. It's going to cut the audio clip right there and slide it to the right and that is definitely not something you want to have happen, when you are dragging clips around on the Timeline. If we were doing this in the Sceneline it would not cut that clip, but in the Timeline it does, and that is by design. It's not like something went wrong when they designed this product.
This is expected behavior. You need to overcome that behavior with the keyboard modifier. I'm going to go Ctrl+Z. Now I'm going to drag that out. I'm going to hold down that keyboard modifier Ctrl, such that it will fill the gap. I'm going to go over here, I'm going to do an insert as I did before, which if I don't do anything now, it'll modify that. It will cut the audio track. But I'm going to hold down the Alt key now and watch what happens to the cursor. It has a little swish when I hold down the Alt key, meaning that when I let go now, it will do an insert edit, but it will not affect any clips on any other tracks.
It did not cut the clip down here, the audio clip. I'll show you that again. Hover over here, press Ctrl, so that we do an extract, drag it out. I am going to go right here and I'm going to do an insert edit. I'm not holding down the keyboard modifier now. It will cut and slide everybody over, but I'm going to hold down the modifier to make sure I don't affect any other tracks by holding down the Alt key, and there you go. It will not affect the audio track down here. The same is true if I want to add a clip from up in a Project View. I'll just take this clip. If I would have dragged it down here just like that, you would do an insert edit.
Now this is sliding everybody over, and it would cut the audio as well. Not something you want to have happen. So do Ctrl+Z on that and now I'm going to do it with a keyboard modifier. I'm going to drag it down here. We'll have it do an insert edit, which is what we want. I'll hold down the Alt key and it will not split the audio track. Notice there is a little zebra striping below that little blue arrow that's telling you-- here is the Alt. It's telling you, you are not going to affect another track when you put this here. So it does the insert edit on that track only, those audio video combination track, but does not affect the audio down here, or the music.
These keyboard modifiers might seem convoluted and confusing at first, especially when you are holding down Ctrl and Alt and dragging with the mouse. But these modifiers give you more control over your edits than you have in the Sceneline.
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