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Premiere: Keyframing & Automating Effects

Version: Adobe Premiere Pro 2020. Be aware that different versions of Premiere will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guide: View/Download


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.

General Keyframing

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. In the Timeline, select the desired clip move the playhead to the desired start time of the automation. 
  2. Navigate to the Effects Controls tab in the Source Window. 
  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 doesn’t 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 Window 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 of the Source Window. Disabling Keyframing will erase all keyframes.

Keyframing Fades in the Timeline

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.

  3. When enabled, a horizontal line should appear on the clips in the Timeline. If the line doesn’t 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.

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

  5. 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. 
  6. Click again at the desired end time for the fade to create another keyframe. At least two keyframes are needed to create a fade.
  7. 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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Keywords:Adobe, editing, video, audio, movie, animation, fading, ducking, volume, opacity   Doc ID:100577
Owner:Misty B.Group:Pacific Lutheran University
Created:2020-04-14 11:34 PDTUpdated:2020-04-21 12:56 PDT
Sites:Pacific Lutheran University
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