9 Putting Clips in Motion – Adobe Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book (2020 release)

9 Putting Clips in Motion

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do the following:

  • Adjust the Motion effect for clips.

  • Change clip size and add rotation.

  • Adjust the anchor point to refine rotation.

  • Work with keyframe interpolation.

  • Enhance motion with shadows and beveled edges.

This lesson will take about 75 minutes to complete. To get the lesson files used in this chapter, download them from the web page for this book at www.adobepress.com/PremiereCIB2020. For more information, see “Accessing the lesson files and Web Edition” in the Getting Started section at the beginning of this book.

The Motion effect controls can add movement to a clip. You can animate a graphic or resize and reposition a video clip within the frame. You can animate an object’s position using keyframes and enhance that animation by controlling the way those keyframes are interpreted.

Starting the lesson

Video projects are often motion graphics-oriented, and it’s common to see multiple shots combined as complex compositions. These are often put into motion. Perhaps you’ll see multiple video clips streaming past in floating boxes, or you’ll see a video clip shrunk down and placed next to an on-camera host. You can create those effects (and many more) using the Motion effect in the Effect Controls panel or using a number of other clip-based effects that offer Motion settings.

The Motion effect allows you to position, rotate, or change the size of a clip within the frame. Some adjustments can be made directly in the Program Monitor. The adjustments you make in the Effect Controls panel relate exclusively to the one clip you have selected and not to the sequence it is in.

A keyframe is a special kind of marker that stores settings at a particular point in time. If you use two (or more) keyframes with different settings, the settings animate over time. You can control the timing of that animation using different types of keyframes.

The result is dynamic combinable effects that you can configure to respond to your content, producing unique visuals and helping you tell compelling stories.

Adjusting the Motion effect

Every visual clip in a Premiere Pro sequence automatically has certain effects applied. These are referred to as fixed effects (also sometimes called intrinsic effects). Motion is the name of one of these effects.

To adjust a clip’s Motion effect, select the clip in a sequence and look in the Effect Controls panel. Expand the Motion effect to adjust the settings.


Unlike other effect controls, if you expand or collapse the settings for the Motion effect, the settings will remain expanded or collapsed for all clips.

The Motion effect allows you to adjust the position, scale, or rotation of a clip. Let’s look at the way this effect has been used to reposition a clip in a sequence.

  1. Open Lesson 09.prproj in the Lessons folder.

  2. Save the project as Lesson 09 Working.prproj.


    As you have been saving projects with new names while working on them, you can go back to earlier lessons and experiment again with a fresh copy of the original project file.

  3. Choose Effects in the Workspaces panel, or choose Window > Workspaces > Effects. Reset the workspace.

  4. If it’s not already open, open the sequence 01 Floating. This simple sequence has just one clip in it (Gull.mp4).

  5. Make sure Fit is chosen from the Select Zoom Level menu in the Program Monitor. It’s important to see the whole composition when setting up visual effects. This menu does not change the contents of the sequence, only the way the contents are viewed. It can be helpful to zoom in or out to see fine details in an image or set up effects, but generally you will want to keep this menu set to Fit.

  6. Play the sequence.

    This clip’s Position, Scale, and Rotation properties have been changed, plus, keyframes have been added, with different settings at various points in time, so the clip animates.

Understanding Motion settings

Though these controls are called Motion, there’s no movement until you configure it. By default, clips are positioned in the center of the Program Monitor, at their original scale. Select the clip in the sequence now, and then, click the name of the Effect Controls panel to bring it into view. If necessary, click the disclosure triangle next to Motion in the Video Effects section of the Effect Controls panel to display the available settings.

Here are the options:

  • Position: This places the clip along the x-axis (horizontal) and y-axis (vertical). The position is calculated based on the position of an anchor point (covered later in this list) measured from the upper-left corner of the clip image. For example, the default position for a 1280×720 clip would be 640, 360 (the exact center of the image).

  • Scale (Scale Height, when Uniform Scale is deselected): Clips are set to their full original size by default (100%). To shrink a clip, reduce this number. You can scale up to 10,000%—though be warned, scaling up will make images pixelated and soft.

  • Scale Width: Deselect Uniform Scale to make Scale Width available. This lets you change the clip width and height independently.

  • Rotation: You can rotate an image—a flat spin (as if viewing a spinning turntable or carousel from above). You can enter degrees or a number of rotations. For example, 450 is the same as 1×90 (one full 360° turn plus an additional 90°). Positive numbers give clockwise rotation, and negative numbers give counterclockwise rotation.

  • Anchor Point: Rotation and position adjustments are all based on the anchor point, which is at the center of a clip by default. This can be changed to any point, including one of the clip’s corners or even a point outside the clip image.


    The anchor point position can be animated, just like every other Motion control.

    For example, if you set the anchor point to the corner of the clip, when you adjust the Rotation setting, the clip will rotate around that corner rather than around the center of the image. If you change the anchor point in relation to the image, you may have to reposition the clip in the frame to compensate for the adjustment.

  • Anti-flicker Filter: This feature is useful for interlaced video clips and for images that contain high detail, such as fine lines, hard edges, or parallel lines (which can cause moiré effects). These high-detail images can flicker during motion. To add some blurring and reduce flicker, set this to 1.00.


If the Effect Controls panel is too narrow, some of the controls will overlap or be hidden. Resize the panel as necessary before working on effect settings.

Let’s look closer at the animated clip, continuing to work with the sequence 01 Floating.

  1. Click the clip in the Timeline panel once to make sure it is selected.

  2. Make sure the Effect Controls panel is visible. It should have appeared when you reset the Effects workspace, but if you can’t find it, look for it in the Window menu.

  3. In the Effect Controls panel, if necessary, expand the Motion effect controls by clicking the disclosure triangle next to the word Motion.

  4. Still in the Effect Controls panel, if the integrated timeline is not visible, click the small triangle at the top-right corner of the panel to toggle it open.

    The timeline in the Effect Controls panel displays keyframes.

  5. Each setting control has its own keyframes. Click the Go To Previous Keyframe or Go To Next Keyframe arrows to jump between existing keyframes for a particular control.

  6. Drag the playhead back and forth in the Effect Controls panel to see the way the position of the keyframe markers relates to the animation.


    It can be difficult to line up the playhead with an existing keyframe. Using the Previous/Next Keyframe buttons helps you avoid adding unwanted keyframes. You can assign a keyboard shortcut to position the playhead at the next or previous keyframe.

    Now that you know how to view the settings for an existing animation, let’s begin by resetting the clip.

  7. The Toggle Animation stopwatch button for each setting turns animation on or off. When the stopwatch is blue, animation is enabled for a setting.

    Click the stopwatch for the Position property to turn off its keyframes.

  8. Because the setting already has some keyframes, a warning message lets you know they will be deleted if you continue. Click OK to continue.


    Each control has its own Reset button. If you reset the whole effect, every control is returned to its default state at the time where your playhead is positioned. This will add a keyframe with a default setting if animation is enabled for the setting.

  9. Turn off keyframes for the Scale and Rotation properties in the same way.

  10. Click the curved-arrow Reset Effect button to the right of the Motion effect heading in the Effect Controls panel.


    When the Toggle Animation button is on, clicking the Reset button will not change any existing keyframes. Instead, a new keyframe will be added with a default setting. It’s important to turn off animation before resetting the effect to avoid this.

    Now the Motion settings are all set to their default values.

Exploring Motion properties

The Position, Scale, and Rotation properties are spatial. That means the changes you make are easy to see because the object will change in size and position. You can adjust these properties by entering numerical values, by using the scrubbable numbers (drag on the blue numbers), or by dragging the Transform controls.

  1. Open the sequence 02 Motion.

  2. In the Program Monitor, make sure the zoom level is set to 25% or 50% (or a zoom amount that allows you to see space around the active frame).

    Setting the zoom small like this makes it easier to position items outside the frame.


    You may find it easier to work with the Motion effect in the Program Monitor if you toggle the panel full screen.

  3. Scrub the Timeline panel playhead over the video clip so you can see the contents in the Program Monitor.

  4. Click the clip in the sequence once to select it and to display its settings in the Effect Controls panel.

  5. Click the Motion effect heading in the Effect Controls panel to select it. This highlights the effect heading in gray.

    When you select the Motion effect, a bounding box with a crosshair and handles appears around the clip in the Program Monitor.

  6. Click inside the clip bounding box in the Program Monitor, avoiding the crosshair in the center (that’s the anchor point). Drag the clip down and to the right so it is partially out of the frame.


    When positioning items, the upper-left corner of the screen is 0 x-axis and 0 y-axis. All x and y values to the left of or above the upper-left corner are negative values. All values to the right of and below that corner are positive.

    Position values in the Effect Controls panel update as you move the clip.

  7. Now position the clip so that it’s centered in the upper-left corner of the screen. Make sure the anchor point crosshair is aligned with the upper-left corner of the frame.


    Several effects, like the Motion effect, allow you to use direct manipulation in the Program Monitor when you select the effect heading. Try this with Corner Pin, Crop, Mirror, Transform, and Twirl.

    If you hold Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows) while dragging, the clip edges and anchor point will snap to the edges of the frame.

    The anchor point is used for position and rotation controls. Be careful not to click the anchor point control, or you’ll move it in relation to the image.


    Hold Shift while scrubbing numbers, and they’ll change ten times faster. Hold Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows), and they’ll change ten times slower, allowing more precise adjustment.

    The Position settings in the Effect Controls panel should now be close to 0, 0. You can click the numbers and type 0, 0 in to exactly position the clip on-screen.

    This is a 1280×720 sequence, so the position at the lower-right corner of the screen is 1280, 720. The middle of the screen is 640, 360.

  8. Click the Reset button for the motion settings to restore the clip to its default position.

  9. Scrub the blue number for the Rotation value in the Effect Controls panel. As you scrub left or right, the control updates and clip rotates.

  10. Click the Reset button for the Motion heading in the Effect Controls panel to restore the clip to its default position.

Changing clip position, size, and rotation

The Motion effect can combine multiple independent settings changes. In the next example, you’ll build an intro segment for a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Changing position

Let’s begin by using keyframes to animate the position of a layer. For this exercise, the first thing you’ll do is change the clip position. The picture will begin off-screen and then move fully across the screen from right to left.

  1. Open the sequence 03 Montage.

    The sequence has several tracks, some of which have their output switched off . You’ll use those tracks later.

  2. Position the Timeline panel playhead at the start.

  3. Set the Program Monitor zoom level to Fit.

  4. Click once to select the first video clip on track V3.

    You might want to make the track taller to see it better. The clip’s controls appear in the Effect Controls panel.

  5. In the Effect Controls panel, click the Toggle Animation stopwatch button for Position (the icon should turn blue ). This turns on keyframing for that setting and automatically adds a keyframe at the playhead position, visible in the Effect Controls panel. The keyframe icon is partially obscured because it’s applied to the very first frame of the clip.

    Now that animation is enabled for Position, whenever you change the setting a keyframe will be added automatically at the playhead position.

  6. The Position control has two numbers. As is usual for a Motion control that has two numbers, they are the values for the x-axis and the y-axis, respectively. Enter a Position setting of −640 for the x-axis value (the first number) as a starting position.

    The clip moves off-screen to the left, revealing the contents of the V1 and V2 tracks below. Track V2 is empty at the played position, so you see the clip Map.jpg on V1.

  7. Drag the playhead to the last frame of the selected clip (00:00:4:23). You can do this in the Timeline panel or in the Effect Controls panel.


    If you drag all the way to the right edge of the Effect Controls panel timeline, the playhead will be on the first frame of the next clip. Be sure to move the playhead back one frame to line up with the last frame of the current clip.

  8. Enter 1920 for the position x-axis. The clip moves off the right edge of the screen.

  9. Play the first part of the sequence. The clip moves from off-screen left to off-screen right.

The second clip on V3 appears suddenly. You’ll animate this clip and others next.

Reusing Motion settings

Now that you’ve applied keyframes and effects to a clip, you can save time by reusing those settings on other clips. Applying effects from a clip to one or more other clips is as easy as copy and paste. In the following example, you’ll apply the left-to-right floating animation you configured to other clips in the sequence.

There are several methods for reusing effects. Let’s try one now.

  1. In the Timeline panel, make sure the clip you just animated is still selected. It’s the first clip on V3.

  2. Choose Edit > Copy, or press Command+C (macOS) or Ctrl+C (Windows).

    The clip, with its effects and settings, is now temporarily stored on your computer’s clipboard.

  3. With the Selection tool (V), beginning on the background of the Timeline panel, drag from right to left across the five other clips on the V2 and V3 tracks (you may need to zoom out a little to see all the clips). This selects the clips, but the selection should not include the first video clip.

  4. Choose Edit > Paste Attributes.


    As an alternative to copying a whole clip in the Timeline panel, you can always select one or more specific effect headings in the Effect Controls panel. Command-click (macOS) or Ctrl-click (Windows) to select multiple effects, and choose Edit > Copy. You can then select another clip (or clips) and choose Edit > Paste to paste the effects, with their current settings onto other clips.

    The Paste Attributes dialog box opens, letting you selectively apply effects and keyframes copied from another clip.

  5. Leave the checkboxes with their default values, and click OK.

  6. Play the sequence to see the result.

Adding rotation and changing the anchor point

Moving clips around the screen can be effective, but you can really bring things to life by combining animated properties. Let’s start with Rotation.

The Rotation property revolves a clip around its anchor point. By default, the anchor point is in the center of the clip image. However, you can change the relationship between the anchor point and the image for more interesting animation.

Let’s add some rotation to a clip.

  1. In the Timeline panel, click the Toggle Track Output button for V6 to enable it . The clip on the track is a title graphic that reads Behind the Scenes.

    This clip is a title graphic created in Premiere Pro, using vector-based design tools. This means it can be scaled to any size and will always look sharp, with smooth curves and no pixelation. Vector graphics work the same way as non-vector graphics; you can use the same controls, effects, and adjustments.

  2. Move the playhead to the start of the graphic clip (00:00:01:13). Try holding the Shift key while you scrub on the Timeline panel time ruler to do this.

  3. Select the graphic clip in the sequence. The clip’s controls appear in the Effect Controls panel.

    Because this is a vector graphic, there are two types of Motion effects available.

    • Graphics—Vector Motion: Treats the contents of the graphic as vectors, allowing you to scale up the image and retain clean lines without pixelation.

    • Video—Motion: Treats the contents of the graphic as pixels. When you scale up, the pixels will increase in size, producing jagged edges and softening the image. Believe it or not, there may be a time that you want to achieve exactly this effect!

    Every graphic and text layer created in Premiere Pro appears (with full properties) in the Effect Controls panel. This graphic has just one layer, and you can see it under the Vector Motion effect.

  4. In the Effect Controls panel, select the Vector Motion effect heading (not the regular Motion effect) to see the anchor point and bounding-box controls in the Program Monitor. Notice the position of the anchor point, a small circle with a cross in the center of the title.

    Let’s adjust the Rotation property in the Effect Controls panel and see the effect it has.

  5. Click the disclosure triangle to reveal the Vector Motion effect controls, and enter a value of 90.0 into the Rotation field.

    The title rotates in the center of the screen.

  6. Choose Edit > Undo.

  7. Make sure the Vector Motion settings heading is still selected in the Effect Controls panel.

  8. In the Program Monitor, drag the anchor point until the crosshair sits in the upper-left corner of the letter B in the first word.

    The Position property and Anchor Point property control similar but separate settings:

    • The Anchor Point settings control the position of the anchor point in relation to the clip image.

    • The Position settings in the Effect Controls panel control the location of the anchor point in relation to the sequence frame.

    Now that you have moved the anchor point in the image, both the Anchor Point and Position properties have been updated in the Effect Controls panel.


    The position settings update automatically when you reposition the anchor point in the Program Monitor. If you change the Anchor Point property in the Effect Controls panel, you will need to adjust the Position property separately.

  9. In the Vector Motion effect settings, click the Animation stopwatch button for Rotation to toggle on animation. This adds a keyframe automatically.

  10. Set the rotation to 90.0. This updates the keyframe you just added.

  11. Move the playhead forward to 00:00:06:00, and click the reset button for the Rotation property (returning it to 0.0). This adds another keyframe automatically.

  12. Play the sequence to see your animation.

Changing clip size

There are a few approaches to changing the size of items in a sequence. By default, items added to a sequence come in at 100% of their original size. If a clip image size does not match the sequence frame size, you can manually adjust the clip size or let Premiere Pro do it for you automatically:

  • Adjust the Scale property of the Video > Motion effect or Graphics > Vector Motion effect in the Effect Controls panel.

  • Right-click the clip in the sequence and choose Set To Frame Size. This automatically adjusts the Scale property of the Video > Motion effect to fit the clip in the frame. The Scale property remains fully adjustable.

  • Right-click the clip in the sequence and choose Scale To Frame Size. This has a similar result to the Set To Frame Size option, but Premiere Pro resamples the image at the new (often lower) resolution. If you scale back up now using the Motion > Scale setting, the image might look soft, even if the original clip was very high resolution.

  • You can also select Scale To Frame Size or Set To Frame Size automatically by choosing Premiere Pro > Preferences > Media > Default Media Scaling (macOS) or Edit > Preferences > Media > Default Media Scaling (Windows). The setting is applied to assets as you import them (but won’t change assets you have already imported).

For maximum flexibility, use the first or second method so you can scale as required without sacrificing quality. Let’s try this.

  1. Open the sequence 04 Scale.

  2. Scrub through the sequence to view the clips.

    The second and third clips on the V1 track are much larger than the first clip. In fact, your system may struggle to play such high-resolution clips without dropping frames. They are dramatically cropped by the edge of the frame.

    Move the Timeline playhead over the last clip in the sequence on the V1 track.

  3. Right-click the clip and choose Scale To Frame Size.

    This conveniently scales the image to fit the sequence resolution, resampling the image at the sequence resolution. However, there’s an issue: The clip is full 4K, with a resolution of 4096×2160, and that is not a perfect 16:9 image. It doesn’t fit the aspect ratio of the sequence, and black bars are introduced at the top and bottom of the image. These bars are often called letterboxing.

    This is a common outcome when working with content that has a different aspect ratio than your sequence, and there is no easy way around it. You’ll need to make a manual adjustment.

  4. Right-click the clip again and select Scale To Frame Size again to deselect it. This is an option you can turn off and on at any time.

  5. Right-click the clip and choose Set To Frame Size. This seems to achieve the same result, but now the change has been achieved by modifying a property—and you can modify it a little more.

  6. With the clip selected, open the Effect Controls panel. Use the Scale setting to adjust the clip’s image size until it fits the sequence frame without showing letterboxing; a setting of 34% should work. You can choose any framing and adjust the Position settings to reframe the shot if necessary.

    When clip and sequence aspect ratios don’t match, you’ll have to choose between letterboxing, cropping, and changing the aspect ratio of the image by deselecting the Uniform Scale option in the Effect Controls panel.


    The settings in the Effect Controls panel don’t indicate if they are pixels, percentages, or degrees. This can take a little getting used to, but you’ll find with experience the controls for each setting do make sense.

Animating clip size changes

In the previous example, the clip image has a different aspect ratio compared to the sequence.

Let’s try another example and animate the adjustment.

  1. Position the Timeline playhead over the first frame of the second clip in the 04 Scale sequence, at 00:00:05:00.

    This clip is 3840×2160-pixel ultra-high definition (UHD), which is the same image aspect ratio (shape) as the sequence, which is 1280×720 (16:9). It’s also the same aspect ratio as full HD, at 1920×1080. This makes shooting UHD content convenient if you intend to include it in an HD production.

  2. Select the clip and look in the Effect Controls panel. The scale setting is 100%.

  3. Right-click the clip in the Timeline panel and choose Set To Frame Size.

    The clip scales down to 33.3% to fit the image. You now know you can scale this clip between 33.3% and 100% and maintain quality, while still filling the frame.

  4. Turn on keyframing for Scale by clicking the Toggle Animation stopwatch button for Scale in the Effect Controls panel.

  5. Position the playhead over the last frame of the clip.

  6. Click the Reset button for the Scale setting in the Effect Controls panel.

  7. Scrub through the clip to see the result.

    This creates an animated zoom effect for the clip. Because the clip never scales to more than 100%, it maintains full quality.

    This clip includes motion, and it already looks like the ground is coming up to meet the camera.

  8. Try reversing the timing of the keyframes, so the first keyframe sets Scale to 100% and the second keyframe sets Scale to 33.3%.

    The result is reminiscent of the famous Dolly Zoom effect.

  9. Use the Undo command to restore the timing, with the clip starting at 33.3% and animating to 100%. It’s safe to experiment with effect configuration because you can always undo to restore a recent setup.

  10. Turn on the Track Output option for the V2 track.

    This track has an adjustment layer clip on it. Adjustment layers apply effects to all footage on lower video tracks.

  11. Select the Adjustment Layer clip to display its settings in the Effect Controls panel.

    A Brightness & Contrast effect has been added. You’ll learn more about adjustment layers in Lesson 12, “Adding Video Effects.”

  12. Play the sequence.

    You may need to render the sequence to see smooth playback because some of the clips are high resolution and will take a lot of computer processing power to play. To render the sequence, make sure the Timeline panel is active and choose Sequence > Render In To Out.

Working with keyframe interpolation

Throughout this lesson you’ve been using keyframes to define your animation. The term keyframe originates from traditional animation, where the lead artist would draw the key frames (or major poses) and then assistant animators would animate the frames in between. When animating in Premiere Pro, you’re the master animator, and the computer does the rest of the work as it interpolates values in between the keyframes you set.

Using different keyframe interpolation methods

One of the most useful yet least utilized features of keyframes is their interpolation method. This is a fancy way of describing the particular way to get from point A to point B.

Premiere Pro has five interpolation methods. Changing the method can create a very different animation. You can access all the available interpolation methods by right-clicking a keyframe icon to see the options (some effects have both spatial and temporal options).

  • Linear: This is the default method of keyframe interpolation. It gives a uniform rate of change between keyframes. Changes begin instantly at the first keyframe and continue to the next keyframe at a constant speed. At the second keyframe, the rate of change switches instantly to the rate between it and the third keyframe, and so on. This can be effective, and even “snappy,” but it can also look a little mechanical.

  • Bezier: This gives the most control over keyframe interpolation. Bezier keyframes (named after the French engineer Pierre Bézier) provide manual handles you can adjust to change the shape of the value graph or motion path on either side of the keyframe. By dragging the Bezier handles that appear when the keyframe is selected, you can create smooth curved adjustments or sharp angles. For example, you could have an object move smoothly to a position on-screen and then sharply take off in another direction.


    If you are familiar with Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, you will recognize Bezier handles; they work the same way in Premiere Pro.

  • Auto Bezier: Auto Bezier keyframes create a smooth rate of change through the keyframe. They automatically update as you change settings. This is a dependable quick-fix version of Bezier keyframes.

  • Continuous Bezier: This option is similar to the Auto Bezier option, but it provides some manual control. The motion or value path will always have smooth transitions, but you can adjust the shape of the Bezier curve on both sides of the keyframe with a control handle.

  • Hold: This is available only for temporal (time-based) properties. Hold-style keyframes hold their value across time, without a gradual transition. This is useful if you want to create staccato-type movements or make an object suddenly disappear. When the Hold style is used, the value of the first keyframe will hold until the next hold keyframe is encountered, and then the value will change instantly.

Adding Ease to Motion

A quick way to add a feeling of inertia to clip motion is to use a keyframe preset. For example, you can create a ramp-up effect for speed by right-clicking a keyframe and choosing Ease In or Ease Out. Ease In is used for approaching a keyframe, and Ease Out is used when leaving a keyframe.

Continue working with the 04 Scale sequence.

  1. Select the second video clip in the sequence.

  2. In the Effect Controls panel, locate the Rotation and Scale properties.

  3. Click the disclosure icon next to the Scale property, and select the Scale property heading to select the Scale keyframes and reveal the control handles and velocity graphs.

    You might want to increase the height of the Effect Controls panel to make room for the extra controls.

    Don’t be overwhelmed by the next numbers and graphs. Once you understand one of these controls, you’ll understand them all because they use a common design.

    The graph makes it easier to view the effects of keyframe interpolation. A straight line means a steady speed without acceleration.

  4. Click the background of the Effect Controls panel to deselect the keyframes, and then right-click the first Scale keyframe (level with the Scale heading) and choose Ease Out. The keyframe is partially obscured by the left edge of the mini-timeline.

  5. Right-click the second Scale keyframe and choose Ease In.

    The graph now shows a curved line, which translates as a gradual acceleration and deceleration of the animation.

  6. Play the sequence to see your animation.

  7. Experiment by dragging the blue Bezier handles in the Effect Controls panel to see their effects on speed and ramping.

    The steeper the curve you create, the more sharply the animation’s movement or speed increases. After experimenting, you can choose Edit > Undo repeatedly if you don’t like the changes.

Applying the Auto Reframe effect

Once upon a time…all screens were 4×3. Then they were all manner of aspect ratios until they settled eventually on 16×9, as the standard delivery aspect ratio for television shows and online video distribution platforms today. This is sometimes written as 1.78:1.

Theatrical cinema releases tend to be wider, with the two standard aspect ratios being 1.85:1 and 2.39:1.

It’s common for major film studios to produce multiple versions of a film with different aspect ratios and color standards, intended for several traditional video distribution standards. Still, these are usually close to 16×9 or 4×3.

With the development of popular social media platforms, in particular on smartphones, demand for dramatically different aspect ratios has returned.

To help you repurpose sequences, Premiere Pro has an Auto Reframe workflow. You can largely automate the process of converting a finished sequence from one aspect ratio to another. The stand-out feature of this workflow is that the visuals in your clips are analyzed, and then keyframes are added to clip Motion properties to automatically keep points of interest—such as faces—on-screen.

You will want to check and adjust results, but this can be a huge time-saver if you intend to deliver your content on multiple platforms. Try it now:

  1. Open the sequence 05 Auto Reframe.

  2. Play the sequence to familiarize yourself with the content.

    The character moves around the screen quite a lot. Sequences crop the edges of clips that don’t fit in the frame. If you were to nest this sequence in another sequence and manually add keyframes to reframe the content, it would take quite some time.

  3. With the Timeline panel active or the sequence selected in the Project panel, choose Sequence > Auto Reframe Sequence to open the dialog box of the same name.

    When you click Create, a new separate sequence will be created based on the choices you make in the Auto Reframe Sequence dialog box. The original sequence will not be affected. Here are the choices:

    • Sequence name: Give the new sequence a name. By default, the new aspect ratio is added to the original name.

    • Aspect Ratio: Specify a new aspect ratio. You can repeat this process and produce multiple sequences with different aspect ratios.

    • Motion Preset: Set the number of keyframes that will be used to follow the motion in the sequence. For slower, smoother movements choose Slower Motion, and for faster action choose Faster Motion.

    • Clip Nesting: Choose whether or not to nest clips. There can be only one Motion effect on each clip, and if you have motion keyframes on your clips already, they will be replaced in the new sequence unless you choose to nest the clips. If you do nest your clips, however, you’ll lose transition effects between them.

  4. Leave the settings at their defaults, and click Create. Premiere Pro performs visual analysis of the sequence.

    The new sequence appears in the Project panel, inside a new bin called Auto Reframed Sequences, and opens in the Timeline panel.

  5. Play the sequence to review the results of the reframing.

  6. Select the first clip in the Timeline panel, and look in the Effect Controls panel. Position keyframes have been added—all editable—and the Auto Reframe effect has been applied. You can use this effect to change the Motion preset and re-analyze the content.

Adding a drop shadow

Premiere Pro offers a number of effects to control motion. Although the Motion effect is the most immediately accessible, you may find yourself wanting more.

The Transform and Basic 3D effects are also useful and give more control over an object (including 3D rotation).

Adding a drop shadow

A drop shadow creates perspective by adding a small shadow behind an object. This is often used to help create a sense of separation between foreground and background elements.

Try adding a drop shadow.

  1. Open the sequence 06 Enhance.

  2. Make sure the Program Monitor zoom level is set to Fit.

  3. In the Effects panel, browse into Video Effects > Perspective.

  4. Drag the Drop Shadow effect onto the Journey to New York Title clip on the V3 track.

  5. Experiment with the Drop Shadow settings in the Effect Controls panel. You may need to scroll down to see them. When you have finished experimenting, choose the following settings:

    • Darken the shadow by changing Opacity to 85%.

    • Drag the Direction value to about 320° to see the shadow’s angle change.

    • Set Distance to 15 so the shadow is further offset from the clip.

    • Set Softness to 25 to soften the edges of the shadow. Generally, the greater the Distance setting, the more softness you should apply.

  6. Play the sequence to view the result.

Adding motion with the Transform effect

An alternative to the Motion effect settings is the Transform effect. These two effects offer similar controls, but there are two key differences.

  • The Transform effect processes changes to a clip’s Anchor Point, Position, Scale, and Opacity settings in the stack with other effects, unlike the Motion settings. This means effects such as drop shadows and bevels can behave differently (usually more correctly).

  • The Transform effect includes Skew, Skew Axis, and Shuttle Angle settings to allow a visual angular transformation to clips.

Let’s compare the two effects:

  1. Open the sequence 07 Motion and Transform.

  2. Play the sequence to familiarize yourself with it.

    There are two sections in the sequence. Each has a picture-in-picture (PIP), rotating twice over a background clip, while moving from left to right. Look carefully at the position of the shadow on each pair of clips.

    • In the first example, the shadow follows the bottom edge of the PIP and appears on all four sides of the clip as it rotates, which obviously isn’t realistic because the light source producing the shadow wouldn’t be moving.

    • In the second example, the shadow stays on the lower right of the PIP, which is more realistic.

  3. Click the first clip on the V2 track, and view the effects applied in the Effect Controls panel: the Motion effect and the Drop Shadow effect.

  4. Now click the second clip on the V2 track. The Transform effect is producing the motion this time, with the Drop Shadow effect again producing the shadow.

    The Transform effect has many of the same options as the Motion effect, with the addition of Skew, Skew Axis, and Shutter Angle. As you can see, the Drop Shadow effect works more realistically when combined with the Transform effect than when it’s used with the Motion effect alone because of the order in which the effects are applied; the Motion effect is always applied after other effects.


    When applying the Transform effect, deselect Use Composition’s Shutter Angle to allow the Shutter Angle setting to introduce natural-looking motion blur. Try a Shutter Angle of 180 to match many modern camera systems.

Manipulating clips in 3D space with Basic 3D

Another option for creating movement is the Basic 3D effect, which can manipulate a clip in 3D space. It allows you to rotate the image around horizontal and vertical axes as well as move it toward or away from you. You’ll also find an option to enable a specular highlight, which creates the appearance of light reflecting off the rotating surface.

Let’s explore the effect:

  1. Open the sequence 08 Basic 3D.

  2. Drag the playhead over the sequence in the Timeline panel (scrub) to view the contents.

    The light that follows the motion comes from above, from behind, and from the left of the viewer. Because the light comes from above, you won’t see the effect until the image is tilted backward to catch the reflection. Specular highlights of this kind can be used to enhance the realism of a 3D effect.

    These are the four major properties of the Basic 3D effect:

    • Swivel: This controls the rotation around the vertical y-axis. If you rotate past 90°, you’ll see the back of the image, which is a mirror of the front.

    • Tilt: This controls the rotation around a horizontal x-axis. If you rotate beyond 90°, the back will be visible.

    • Distance To Image: This moves the image along the z-axis to simulate depth. As the distance value gets larger, the image moves farther away.

    • Specular Highlight: This adds a glint of light that reflects off the surface of the rotated image, as though an overhead light were shining on the surface. This option is either on or off.

  3. Experiment with the Basic 3D options. Note that the Draw Preview Wireframe option applies only when working in Software Only mode (without GPU acceleration enabled in your Project settings).

    With this option enabled, only an outline of the clip frame will be shown. This is a quick way to set up the effect without your computer rendering the image. If you’re working with GPU acceleration enabled, the full image will always be shown.

Review questions

1. Which fixed effect will move a clip in the frame?

2. You want a clip to appear full screen for a few seconds and then spin away. How do you make the Motion effect’s Rotation feature start within a clip rather than at the beginning?

3. How can you start an object rotating gradually and have it stop rotating slowly?

4. If you want to add a drop shadow to a clip, why might you choose to use a different motion-related effect rather than the Motion effect?

Review answers

1. The Motion effect lets you set a new position for a clip. If keyframes are used, the effect can be animated.

2. Position the playhead where you want the rotation to begin, and click the Add/Remove Keyframe button or the stopwatch icon. Then move to where you want the spinning to end and change the Rotation parameter; another keyframe will appear.

3. Use the Ease Out and Ease In options to change the keyframe interpolation to be gradual rather than sudden.

4. The Motion effect is the last effect applied to a clip. Motion takes whatever effects you apply before it (including Drop Shadow) and spins the entire assemblage as a single unit. To create a realistic drop shadow on a spinning object, use Transform or Basic 3D and then place a Drop Shadow effect below that in the Effect Controls panel.