In the MPS, Adobe Premiere versus Final Cut Pro is a question that comes up for patrons new to high-end video editing. For the most part, the two programs can all accomplish the same tasks and the outcome of the decision won’t have a huge impact. However, Premiere, as part of the Adobe Creative Suite, enjoys the advantage of easy integration with other Adobe products. Today, we’ll take a look at bringing over footage from Premiere into Adobe AfterEffects, a program great for animating text and creating special effects.
Now this in itself brings up another set of debates – why use both programs at all? This comes down to understanding what each program is designed to do and which tasks are easier in which program. Premiere is a timeline editor which is efficient for cutting and joining video clips in a single timeline, or at most, a few layered timelines. Below is an example timeline in Premiere for a short film:
Where it falls short is inserting animated text and adding special effects, particularly 3D effects, all of which become incredibly difficult. That’s where AfterEffects comes in. As a non-linear editor where each video clip is a separate layer, putting together a coherent movie in AE would be very clunky and time-consuming, but it makes adding in special effects much more convenient. More importantly, AfterEffects is filled with powerful tools for editing and animating text and images, allowing for impressive special effects in your film.
The first step is bringing your Premiere project into AfterEffects. To do this, make sure you have finished editing and saved your Premiere movie, then go to File>Import>Adobe Premiere Pro Project and choose your *.prproj file.
This action will very quickly bring all your clips and sequences from Premiere into AfterEffects. Double click on the sequence you want to work on in AE.
This method is an improvement over importing a whole movie file for a few reasons. Obviously, you can save the time and quality loss required by an export from another video editor like Final Cut Pro. Further, keeping the video clips separate means that it will be easier to apply effects to individual shots and of course, you will keep the ability to move around the pieces if you realize you want to change something later on.
As you can see, the clips show up in the order and timing of the Premiere sequence but the video files stay separate! Now we can add animated text, color correction and 3D effects to the film with much more flexibility.
For the first example, I’ll insert and animate some text into the film between two clips. To create text, click on the “T” button in the toolbar, then click on the composition to create a text layer where you can type you caption.
To have the captions show up at the right time, drag the ends of the text layer in the timeline area.
To add some fancy effects to your text, look through some of the Animation Presets in the Effects bin. There are lots of categories to choose from, like 3D text and Paths. Within these, there are specific animations that have been pre-created to save you Add it to the composition by dragging it from the Effects bin to on top of your text layer. You can see where the text effect has been added by clicking the triangle next to the text layer – there should be two dots in the layer timeline showing where the animation is taking place.
And check out how it looks in the composition window!
I had allowed for some black space in my original Premiere movie, but in case you didn’t or if you didn’t leave the right amount, it is super simple to readjust the spacing since we kept the clips separate.
As another example, this shot turned out way too magenta for some reason and I didn’t notice until now.
All I need to go is browse through the Effects bin for a color correction tool like Color Balance or Hue/Saturation. Then, I drag the tool over to the sequence onto the video clip’s layer. After that, I can play around with the settings in the Effects Control window on the top left until I’ve got the right colors.
One of the coolest things you can do with AfterEffects is 3D animation. This is a more advanced topic beyond the scope of this blog post, but AfterEffects allows you to play around with video, images and text as if they were in 3D space and then light the composition and move your “camera” view around as if it were a live scene.
This abstractness enables users to create the professional looking special effects of movies and commercials that can really take your film to the next level in terms of visual impressiveness.
Finally, you will need to export your finished film into a normal video file. For this last step, go to Composition>Make Movie and choose a place to save your movie. Your sequence will show up in the Render Queue, so choose your preferred quality and codec settings and click render.
Congratulations! You’ve just published a finished move and completed the entire film production process!