Friday, June 30, 2006

How To: Basic Keyframing in Premiere Elements 2.0

One of the forum members from Abobe Premiere Elements asked about moving titles over her pictures in an Elements 2.0 created slide show so I thought rather than tell her, I'd make use of our tools to show her and anyone else who might be unsure about how keyframes work.

It seems silly to try to tell someone how to do something in a medium that by its very nature is visual and audible. And in light of how simple it really is to create with the tools at our disposal I've created a quick and easy video to demonstrate the technique.


CAMERAS: The Sony HVR-A1 HDV Review

Since HDV is the current buzzword, everyone and their brother seems to be talking about the move from miniDV to HDV. Here's a review of Sony's midlevel Prosumer camcorder, the HVR-A1. It sits between the cheaper HC3 and the Z1, and seems to offer a nice feature mix as you'll see.
Let me be clear at this point. The image quality of the A1 (or the bigger and more expensive Z1, which has three CCDs) will never compare side by side with the full-sized HDCAM cameras, but more and more these small, cheap HDV cameras are providing acceptable B-roll and alternative angle shots to the productions that I work on. If anything, the A1 should be compared with the Z1, and in that realm it is awfully close. Except under low-light situations where the A1 shows quite a bit more noise in the shadows, this one-chip wonder is almost identical in image quality to the Z1, which has a terrific picture to begin with. In a pinch, I would have no problem cutting shots from the A1 into a show shot with a Varicam or HDCAM. Especially if using a small camera is the only option.

The rest of the review can be found here.

PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT: A Nice Review of the Cool Steadicam Merlin

For those video production folks looking to take your personal video skills to a whole new level you owe it to yourself to consider a tool like the Merlin. There's a nice review of the Merlin over on

The Merlin is the best kind of magic-technology that works so well that it seems magical. This unique stabilizer follows my golden rule: appropriate solutions always take common sense into account. The Merlin is the right size, weight, and price. It's an excellent solution for stabilizing small camcorders.

Head over here to read the full review.

Check out the official site for more information along with a short video demo.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

24 Titles Step-by-Step: The Process For Creating Title Effects From The TV Show Using Photoshop Elements 4.0 and Premiere Elements 2.0

First, we need to get the color right. Head to and copy the "24" logo.

Next, we need to fire up Adobe Photoshop Elements (or your favorite image editor) to start creating "24" title effects. Open a new document, paste the "24" logo we just copied from the website onto the blank document.

Now, open a new file using the NTSC DV settings as seen in the screenshot below.

Since we're dealing with two different sets of title effects let's look at the opening logo reveal effect. For this, you are going to be working backward from how the effect actually plays out. In other words, since the effect starts on a black screen and ends with our logo, in Photoshop we start with the whole word and erase our way back to black. It's simply a stepping process for creating each frame with one or two fewer pieces of our digital clock logo. If you don't have a digital clock font you can get the font right here.

Be sure to save after each erasing session. You should try to have a simple naming structure to make the actual editing process in Premiere as easy as possible. For my project I called the first file SCOMPLINKFINAL (the fully revealed logo) and each subsequent file I simply added 01,02,03,04 all the way to SCOMPLINKFINAL17 (an empty black frame)

Open Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0. First setup the preferences for adding the .psd media files we just created by setting the still image frame duration to 30 (1 second of screen time). Next, CREATE TWO FOLDERS in your media bin for each set of title effects we're going to be adding. THIS IS IMPORTANT. DO NOT add the files into the media bin. If you do, they could be mixed up and you DO NOT want to have to keep clicking to find the right one.

For the Opening Title Reveal Effect, you may want to go back into preferences and set it to a duration of 15 frames as you will be manually tinkering with each frame to achieve the desired result. If you watch the shows opening, each clock piece reveals out of sequence and the process speeds up from start to finish. All in about the span of 7 seconds. Hence, you are going to be tinkering repeatedly with TIME STRETCH on every frame if you want to achieve the right look. Plus, you need to drag the same frame back into the timeline several times to give the effect that random look.

Once you get the Opening Title Reveal to look the way you want, you can then move onto the ticking clock effect which is a piece of cake in comparison. All your work is done for you by now since setting the preferences for still frame duration is all that you need to do. Well, that and making sure to put the correct frame on the timeline in the correct order.

Now, playback your newly created 24 Title Effects. It's pretty cool, but it's missing a major element. That's right.


Unfortunately, there's no easy answer here for the sound effect since it's virtually impossible to find a good version of either sound online. Trust me, I tried. I ended up ripping the first five minutes of an episode using the DVD Ripper program I talked about in the prior blog to then import that 5 minute clip into the timeline, unlinked the video and audio, deleted the video from the timeline, moved the Logo reveal sound to the Logo and moved the ticking BOOM sound to the digital clock readout numbers. At that point it's just a matter of making the sound run the length you need it to run. The counting up clock syncs easily since the beats of that BOOM are at one second intervals. Just make copies of it as many times as your needs dictate.

For the Logo reveal sound effect, here's where you'll realize just how fast that thing gets. I gave up trying to sync the video to it but you can see the effect of sound and picture is still pretty effective.

And here is my final render with titles and sound.

Well, that just about wraps it up for this little Step-by-Step Guide. I hope you found it helpul. If you did, let me know. I'd love to get some feedback. :)

A Very Nice Ripper and Video Conversion Program

Converter Desktop showing format options for conversion

DVD Ripper Desktop showing format options for ripping

A Look at the Desktop Layout for both programs

For anyone interested in making rips of your personal DVD collection for portable media or video editing snippets, I highly recommend Xilisoft DVD Ripper Platinum for DVD ripping. If you have home movies in a format you don't like, Xilisoft also makes a great video conversion program as well. The best part about both programs is that they are versatile and speedy in converting and ripping.

I use them all the time and the only issue I run into is DVD Ripper sometimes gets testy when you try to start the ripping process because it just won't start and you have to exit out and back in to get it to begin. Otherwise, it's got just about every type of media file format you could want.

It's a very straight forward process and lets you choose just how you want to rip (chapter specific rips for snippet collection or even time based ripping if you know the in and out points for your snippet), I love it.

It's just flat out loaded with options for tweaking so that you can finesse file sizes if you need to make them really small without killing the quality completely.

And, no, I don't get paid for gushing about either program though that would be nice. :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Welcome to Reno Digital

Here we go. It's gonna be a wild ride.

Tip Of The Week

    Use ALT-[ and ALT-] with the CTI for controlling the location of the WORKBAR.
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Editing Essentials

    The Timeline’s current-time indicator(CTI), a blue triangle in the time ruler, corresponds with the frame displayed in the Monitor panel’s Timeline view. A vertical line extends from this current-time indicator through all the tracks.

Inside Elements 2.0


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