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Premiere Pro: Keyframing & Automating Effects

Adobe Premiere Pro 2021. Be aware that different versions of Premiere will vary in appearance and functionality. The following instructions are based on the Editing workspace interface.

Keyframes are used for many kinds of audio and visual effects, such as panning, zooming, audio ducking, and fades. A keyframe is like a snapshot of the clip at a single moment, and multiple keyframes are used together to automate a change. For example, it is possible to create a keyframe at the beginning of a video clip and set the opacity to 100%, and a second keyframe a few seconds later at 0%. When this clip is played, Premiere Pro will automatically adjust the opacity between these two keyframes, automating smooth fade-out.

Expand each section below to see its content.

Use the following keyframing instructions for any animation. No matter the effect being created, or the type of track (video, audio, etc.), all keyframing processes work the same way. Typical effects normally use 2-4 keyframes: 1-2 to start the effect, and 1-2 to end it. In the steps below, the example is animating a zoom-out by keyframing the scale of a video clip, but this process can be used for other animations as well.

To create an automation/animation with keyframing:
  1. Double-click the clip in the Timeline and move the playhead to the desired start time of the automation. 
  2. Navigate to the Effects Controls tab, which is in the window with the Source Monitor. 
  3. Click the stopwatch icon next to Scale. This will turn on keyframing for Scale and create a keyframe, which looks like a diamond shape, in the Timeline to the right in the Effects Controls.
  4. Move the playhead to the desired end of the automation and click the Add/Remove keyframe button, which looks like a circle, to the right of Scale. A new keyframe will appear at the location of the playhead.

  5. Click the blue Scale number, which is 100 by default, and enter 0. As the clip is played, the scale will automatically change from 100% to 0% and automate a zoom-out.

Always test the animation between keyframes by playing the clip. If something doesnt look quite right, try editing a keyframe or adding additional keyframes; some animations may require a number of keyframes to create a smooth transition.

Keyframe Editing

  • Adjust keyframe timing: click-and-drag a keyframe in the Source Monitor timeline and move it left or right. 
  • Delete: select keyframe and press the Delete key.
  • Move between keyframes: click the arrows on either side of the Add/Remove Keyframe button.
  • Enable/disable keyframing: toggle the Stopwatch icon next to the effect in the Effects Tab. Disabling Keyframing will erase all keyframes.

Clips can be faded in or out with keyframing in two different ways: in the Effects Control panel using the method described above, or within the Timeline. The method below is the latter.

To fade visual or audio clips with keyframing in the Timeline:
  1. Determine the desired sections of the clip to fade. 
  2. Click the Settings button in the Timeline, which looks like a wrench, and enable Keyframing.
  • Audio: ensure Show Audio Keyframes is checked.
  • Visual: ensure Show Video Keyframes is checked.

  • When enabled, a horizontal line should appear on the clips in the Timeline. If the line doesnt appear, resize the track to make it larger. To do so, click-and-drag the line that separates the tracks from the left side of the Timeline.

  • Select the Pen tool from the toolbar, or press the P key to switch to the Pen tool.

  • With the Pen tool, click the line in the audio clip at the desired start time of the fade. A dot, which is a keyframe, will appear. 
  • Click again at the desired end time for the fade to create another keyframe. At least two keyframes are needed to create a fade.
  • Click-and-drag the keyframes up-or-down to change their volume/opacity level.
    • Fade-in: the first keyframe should be low, and the second should be full volume/high.
    • Fade-out: the first keyframe should be high/full volume, and the second should be low.

    When done editing keyframes in the Timeline, always navigate back to the wrench icon and un-check Show Video/Audio Keyframes to avoid accidentally adjusting keyframes.

    Audio Ducking

    Audio Ducking refers to the practice of fading a background music track in and out while people are speaking to ensure the dialogue can be heard. Ducking can be achieved with multiple keyframes. An example of a typical keyframing setup for ducking is below.

    • Keyframe 1: start of the fade-out
    • Keyframe 2: low background volume (such as during dialogue)
    • Keyframe 3: start of the fade-in
    • Keyframe 4: back to full volume

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    KeywordsAdobe, editing, video, audio, movie, animation, fading, ducking, volume, opacity   Doc ID100577
    OwnerJanelle B.GroupPacific Lutheran Univ
    Created2020-04-14 11:34:46Updated2023-08-04 16:29:48
    SitesPacific Lutheran University
    Feedback  4   0