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Applying Motion to Clips and Changing Their Shape

You've seen videos that fly images in boxes over other images or fly a spinning video clip onscreen—starting as a small dot and expanding to full-screen size. You can create those effects using Premiere's motion settings.

Task: Test out Premiere's Motion Settings

Here's how it works:

  1. Clear your timeline.

  2. Drag a video or linked video/audio clip to the Video 1 track. Select it.

  3. Open the Effect Controls palette. Click Setup (next to Motion). Up pops the Motion Settings dialog box (see Figure 11.12).

  4. This Motion Settings dialog box is one of Premiere's most powerful tools. The upper-left window is the preview screen. Your clip should be sliding left to right across a white screen. That's the default motion setting.

    Figure 11.12 The Motions Settings dialog box—one of Premiere's most powerful tools.


    Alternatively, you can access the Motion Settings dialog box by right/Option-clicking the Video 1 clip to access the Clip menu and then selecting Video Options, Motion or selecting Clip (on the main workspace menu bar), Video Options, Motion.


    Because this clip is on Video 1, you cannot display anything "beneath" it. So if you fly this clip onto the screen, all that your viewers will see at first is a white screen. You might want to change the color to more closely match your clip's predominant color.

    To do that, either click the Fill Color box and select a background color or move the cursor over the clip window beneath the Fill Color box and use the eyedropper to select a color. The new color will show up immediately in the preview window.

  5. The screen on the right shows the motion path. At the moment, your clip starts just offscreen and immediately moves horizontally from left to offscreen on the right.

  6. Move those start- and endpoints by grabbing their respective small white boxes and sliding them around the screen. Your cursor hand will turn gray when you are close enough to grab a box. Note how the animation in the preview screen changes.

  7. Create a diagonal line, as illustrated in Figure 11.13.

  8. Figure 11.13 A diagonal motion path takes the clip from the upper left to the lower right.

  9. You can create additional keyframes on the motion path. Move your cursor anywhere on the path, wait until it turns into a pointing hand, and click to create a keyframe handle.

  10. For future reference, note that when you create a new keyframe a little triangle pops up above the motion timeline. I've highlighted that in Figure 11.14. I'll get to this timeline in a moment.

    Figure 11.14 Placing a new keyframe handle on the motion path adds a little triangle to the motion timeline.

  11. Drag the keyframe to a new location and note the changed path in the preview screen.


    This is where the motion settings process gets a little confusing.

    Note that the original location of the keyframe handle you create—relative to the two endpoints—sets its timing. If you create a keyframe in the middle of the motion path, the moving clip will reach that new point on the path halfway through the clip's duration. If you drag the keyframe to a new location, even if it's right next to the start- or endpoint, the clip will adjust its speed accordingly to arrive at that point halfway through its duration and continue from there for the second half of its duration.

  13. To see that the new keyframe's relative timing remains unchanged, drag the new keyframe handle next to the endpoint, as I've done in Figure 11.15. Note how quickly the clip moves to that new point on the motion path and then how slowly it moves to the endpoint.

  14. Drag the new keyframe handle next to the start point and note how slowly the clip moves to the new keyframe location and how quickly it jumps to the end.

  15. Figure 11.15 Moving a new motion path keyframe on the motion path does not change its original timing.

  16. To change the timing of your new keyframe—as opposed to its location—go to the motion timeline. You might have noticed that as you moved that new motion path keyframe around, the little triangle above the timeline remained stationary. That's because it represents the timing of that new keyframe relative to the length of your clip.

  17. Premiere displays that relative timing as a percentage of the clip length at the right end of the motion timeline. I've highlighted that in Figure 11.16.

  18. Move your cursor over that triangle until it turns into a pointing hand; then drag it left and right. Its relative timing will change, but the keyframe's location on the motion path remains unchanged. Note how changing the relative timing changes the preview motion.

  19. Just as you added a keyframe by clicking the motion path, you can add a keyframe by clicking the motion timeline. Then you adjust its physical location by moving its handle on the motion path.

Figure 11.16 The motion timeline tracks keyframe actions by time, not physical location on the motion path.


Take a look at the time display below the percentage to the right of the motion timeline. The little blue clip with the two red arrows highlighted in Figure 11.17 indicates what the time display means. If the arrows are close together, the time display is where the currently selected keyframe is located on the clip.

If you click that clip icon to separate the arrows, this will display the keyframe's location in your entire production. In this case, because you have only one clip on the timeline—your clip equals your production—the numbers should be the same. If you were to slide this video clip farther along the timeline and return to the Motions Settings dialog box, these times would be different. You use this little clip timing icon to make exactly timed moves.

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