How to Use Keyframes in Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the best non-linear video editing programs that anyone could use. Like all of the best video editing software, part of what makes Premiere superior is it's use of keyframes. By using keyframes, you can control the effects in your production and bring your work to a higher standard of quality.

What Are Keyframes?

The video that we edit in the United States is NTSC and is usually recorded and played back at 30 frames per a second. That means that every second of video is composed of 30 individual still images or frames. So, what makes a keyframe different from every other frame?

Well, it's helpful to think of keyframes as cues for effects to begin and end. Let's say you're editing a documentary and need to inset a still photo. Adding movement to the photo makes it more interesting, and you can use keyframes to do it. If you want to pan across the photo, you move the photo to it's beginning position and add a keyframe. You then go to the end of the clip, add a keyframe and move the photo to it's end position. When you play the clip back, it should now pan across the photo, making it more visually interesting to watch.

When doing this, it is important to set the second keyframe first before making any changes, otherwise your whole clip will be affected.

Keyframes and Video Effects

You can use keyframes to apply video effects over a gradual level of time. Let's use switching from color to black and white in a video clip. You will add the 'Black and White' effect to the clip. Then in the 'Effect Controls' panel, you will collapse it and then add key frames to the beginning and end of the clip. The first keyframe will be in color and the second will be in black and white. When you play the clip back, it will gradually go from color to black and white.

Keyframes and Audio

Keyframes aren't just limited to benefiting your video. They're also great for mixing sound on your timeline because they can be used to precisely control volume in an audio clip. For instance, if you have music playing in a sequence, you can raise the volume when action is happening and then lower it when dialogue is taking place. 

The Concept

Remember, keyframes are cue points in your edit that you use to mark the beginning and ending of an effect taking place. All you need to do is decide what happens in the beginning and what happens at the end. Premiere does all the in between work for you.

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