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This course is part of a series that looks at Documentary Editing from the point of view of 3 different editors in 3 different editing applications. For more insight on editing documentary projects, take a look at Documentary Editing with Avid Media Composer and Documentary Editing with Final Cut Pro X.
- Interpreting a creative brief
- Logging interviews and other footage
- Pulling selects and presenting ideas
- Building sequences and scenes
- Creating title graphics
- Animating images
- Adjusting b-roll shots
- Tightening clip timing
- Compressing and exporting multiple files
Skill Level Intermediate
Previously, we did some work to treat our still images so they would work a little bit better in video. Now I want to go a step further, and in Photoshop, I want to take some time to plan how the moves on these photos, the animations, will really work. Let's open these in Photoshop. We've selected two photos to work with, and we've already done a rough crop and a rough treatment. I don't want to actually change or edit these photos at all right now. I just want to use some tools in Photoshop to help me conceptualize what the animations are going to look like.
I'm going to do a Save As, because the work I'm doing does not really belong in the project. It's purely for planning purposes. So we can do Save As to the Desktop and then add a helpful extra word so that we know this is not a production file, but just a planning file. So I'll just add that word PLAN in all caps. Now that we're saved I want to add another layer. So go ahead and add a layer. I'm going to call that layer Frame.
On the Frame layer what I want to do is make a visual frame that is the exact size of our raster that is our video frame. So with my Rectangular Selection tool, I can use, not Fixed Ratio, which would allow this to slide around, but actually Fixed Size, which will be an exact number of pixels. In our case that's going to be 854 wide by 480 tall, which is basically the standard definition widescreen numbers.
Now you want to match this to whatever resolution you're working with. It probably won't be standard definition. It might be something like 720 or 1080 resolution here. You will always want to match this to the actual resolution you're working in. Now that we've set the Selection tool you can see that it is always selecting that size and these are true pixels. Now usually I like something better visually than just the dotted box here. So I'm going to go ahead and stroke this selection.
I like to pick a color that's really going to show up on anything. Remember, this is just a guideline. You're never going to see this ugly color in your piece. A width of four pixels should work perfectly, and now even if we deselect we now have a layer that is a frame that is the exact size of our raster. What I use this for is to plan my move and also plan the sizing of the image. So the first thing I'm noticing is I'm basically just a little wider than my frame here.
Not enough that I want to trim this down or crop out the edges or shrink this at all, because having a little bit of leeway with my frame allow me to move up and down. I'll probably go a little smaller than this in Premiere so I get his arms in when I go down, but we'll see I'm not trying to make the photo fit too tight. I'm just trying to make sure that I have enough pixels for what I'm trying to do and not a tremendous amount of access. So when I talk about planning your photo move I'm literally talking about creating this frame and moving it around to make some decisions and see if you need any edits to the photos.
This is the move I'm planning, probably with the photo down around 85% or 90% so it appears a little wider in the frame. Let's see how the very similar technique works with our other photo. I switch to the other photo, but I also want to break off this tab in its own window and the reason is because that'll let me just sort of steal my frame layer the same way I stole these adjustment layers earlier and drop that frame in right at the same size to this other image.
So now I'm in the same place, and I can start experimenting. That framing looks like it would be pretty good, and it essentially exists at 100%. It's pretty tight, but good. I'm looking at this photo, and I think what I want to execute is a zoom and what I might do is duplicate my frame so I can represent both the beginning and the end of the zoom. So Frame Copy, its purpose may be to be a large frame.
So I can take that, and with a little bit of a transform, sort of experiment and say, how large might I want to go with my zoom? Just like I moved the frame on the other one I'm basically conceptualizing how tight or wide I might go. In this case, I think my widest cropping would be about there and my tightest would be about there, and in fact, I don't want a huge zoom that's going to be very noticeable. So probably it's going to be in-between these two.
Again, it would be possible to throw another crop on here and crop out some of the stuff I don't think I'll need, but I'm not so confident that I won't need it. It's not like its white edging or something you wouldn't want to see in there. So I think I'm going to leave this at the size it is and plan on zooming where my tightest point is around this frame and my widest point is here. My gut tells me that that's a lot of movement. So probably it's going to be in-between those two, not the extremes, but I've created some bounding to the move I want to make.
Always remember, if you want to maintain these frames it's a really good idea to do a Save As. There's no reason to leave these frames in your production file, because you don't want to see them in your video under any circumstances. This way if we want to come back to these planning PSDs, they're here for us but they're not going to get confused with the production documents. The beauty of this technique is it allows you to think about and conceptualize those photo moves in an environment that separate from the editing environment allowing you to really concentrate on what's important editorially.