… for Apple Motion

Tip #466: How to Display a Grid in Motion

The grid is a very useful tool for aligning elements.

The View menu from inside Apple Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

Hidden in Motion is the ability to display a grid in the Viewer, which greatly simplifies aligning elements.

To reveal it, choose Grid from the View menu in the top right corner of the Canvas (Viewer).


To adjust grid spacing and color, go to Preferences > Canvas.

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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #389: Two Fast Ways to Configure a Sequence

While you can customize your settings, these tips are faster.

The Change Sequence Settings dialog in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

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Premiere’s Sequence Settings panel is daunting. Even experienced editors scratch their heads over some of these options.

Fortunately, Premiere has two fast ways to configure a sequence – provided you have a clip that’s in the format you want to edit.


Drag a clip from the Project panel on top of the New Item icon in the low right corner of the Project panel. This creates a new sequence, configures it to match the clip and edits the clip into the start of the sequence.


Create a new sequence using any setting option. Then, DRAG a clip from the Project panel into the new sequence.

A dialog appears asking if you want to change the sequence to match the clip.

NOTE: If you use a keyboard shortcut to edit a clip into the sequence, the clip will match the sequence settings.


Once a sequence has a clip in it, many of the Sequence settings can’t be changed.

For those situations where the first clip you want in your project does not match the sequence you want to create, edit a clip that does match into the sequence first. After you add a few more clips, which locks the settings, you can delete the first clip.

These two tricks are far faster than wrestling with the sequence settings themselves.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #393: How to Create Effects Presets in Premiere

Effects presets save time when you are reusing your effects.

Select effects categories, then Control-click to reveal Save Preset option.

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Saving effects presets can save a lot of time, if you find yourself using the same effects settings over and over. But creating them isn’t obvious. Here’s what you need to know.

  • First, select a clip and make the effects changes you want to save into a preset.
  • Next, Cmd-click the category names containing the settings you want to save. (See the screen shot.) For example, if you changed the Position setting, then Cmd-click Motion.
  • Control-click one of the selected Categories to display the Save Preset option.
  • In the Preset dialog, name and describe the preset.
  • Scale applies the effect to the entire length of a clip.
  • Anchor to in point and Anchor to out point use the duration from the beginning or end of the clip when applying the preset to future clips
  • Click OK to save the preset.


  • Presets are stored in Effects > Presets.
  • To delete a Preset, select it in the Effects panel, then Control-click and select Delete.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #404: 6 Tips to Crop Images More Effectively

Settings for the Crop tool in Premiere Pro CC.

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This article, written by Logan Baker, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

The Crop tool is an important tool in the video editor’s toolkit. Here are six tips to help you get more out of it.

  • Add a Crop. The Crop tool is located in Effects > Video Effects > Transform > Crop – or just search for “crop”. Then, drag it from the Effects panel onto your clip. You can crop using the Left, Right, Top, and Bottom parameters. These parameters are also animatable using keyframes.

NOTE: You can also crop using Adjustment Layers.

  • Wide screen. Add classic wide screen bars to the top and bottom of your image. (An adjustment layer will do this to your entire sequence.)
  • Text. Animate a crop to imaginatively reveal your text.
  • Create a split screen. Stack the clips you want to see, then apply the crop to the top clip.
  • Create a spicy transition. First, make sure the upcoming clip is atop the tail end of your current clip. Then, add the crop effect to both clips. For the bottom clip, enable the zoom (in the crop effect), then raise the bottom by about fifteen percent, with your keyframes set toward the end of the clip. This’ll stretch out the video downwards. Then, for the top clip, animate the bottom from one-hundred percent to zero percent. This’ll bring the clip down, following the first clip.
  • Reveal effects. Apply effects to your clip, then nest them. Duplicate the nest and stack it above the clips with the effects. Remove the effects from the clips in the top nest. Then, wipe between the two nests.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #437: Secrets of the Skimmer

The skimmer has a hidden feature.

Type Control – Y to reveal the skimmer info panel.

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The Skimmer in Final Cut Pro X allows us to quickly review clips in the Browser. But, did you know it has a hidden feature that’s just a keystroke away? It does.

Type Control – Y.

This displays the skimmer info panel, displaying the name of the clip and the timecode location of the skimmer. This makes controlling the skimmer much more precise.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #438: Secrets of the Precision Editor

The Precision Editor is a great way to learn about trimming clips.

The Apple Final Cut Pro X Precision Editor.
An edit point opened for trimming in the Precision Editor of Final Cut Pro X.

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The Precision Editor in Final Cut Pro is an incredibly useful teaching tool in Final Cut Pro. If you haven’t played with it, you are missing a treat. Here’s what it does.

To access the Precision Editor, double-click any edit point in the timeline. The Out-going clip is displayed on top.

The darkened portions of each clip are the “handles,” extra media that we need for trimming and transitions. Trimming ends when we run out of handles.

  • To trim the Out, drag the top white line.
  • To trim the In, drag the bottom white line.
  • To roll trim both clips, drag the middle white line.

This is the best illustration of trimming I’ve ever seen, making it understandable even to people who are new to editing. I use it in every class.

To close the Precision Editor, press the ESC key.


The reason I don’t use the Precision Editor for my own trimming is that it does not allow me to trim audio separately from video; which is a technique I use all the time.

Still, from a teaching point of view, the Precision Editor is unequaled.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #446: Move Text on a Path

Text can move around paths or shapes.

Text following a path in Apple Motion.

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This article is an excerpt from an Apple KnowledgeBase article.

The Path layout method lets you place text on a baseline path that you can warp to create curving or angular trails of text. After you create text on a path, you can modify or extend the path, add or remove control points, or animate text on the path.


  1. In Motion, select text in the canvas, Layers list, or Timeline.
  2. In the Layout pane of the Text Inspector, click the Layout Method pop-up menu, then choose Path.
    The Path Options controls become available, near the bottom of the Layout pane.
  3. In the canvas toolbar, select the Text tool (shortcut: T), then click the text in the canvas.

NOTE: Step 3 is important—the Text tool must be selected to view or edit the text path.

  • The path appears below the text. The default path shape is a straight line (an open spline) with three control points.

NOTE: To add a control point, Control-click the path and choose Add Point.

Read the rest of the article to learn how to adjust, extend or modify the path.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #340: Quick Green Screen Lighting Tip

The sun makes a great set light.

Using the sun as a set light is OK by me.

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Looking for a fast way to evenly light a green-screen background?

Move outside.

Let the sun light both your talent and background. However, to avoid screaming at your screen during editing, make SURE your green – or blue – background is as smooth as possible. Wrinkles are almost impossible to key well.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #298: 2 Tricks to Moving Clips

These two tricks save time when moving clips.

Swapping a clip from one location to another. The moved clip can be placed on any track.

Topic $TipTopic

Once we have a rough cut complete, it is often necessary to move or replace clips in the timeline. Here are two tricks that make that easier.


To move a clip to a new position, press and hold both Command and Option. Drag the clip so the In of the clip you are moving is at its new location. While you would generally place it on the same track that it came from, you can actually place the swapped clip on any track.

As soon as you let go of the mouse, the clip shuttles into its new position and the clips to its right scurry down to fill the gap.


To replace a clip without losing any transitions or effects applied to it:

  • Select the clip in the timeline you want to replace
  • Drag the new clip from the Project panel on top of the existing clip while pressing Option (Alt).

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #337: Three Ways to Sync Audio to Video

Double-system sound provides the best audio, but requires an extra step in post.

Recording a clapper slate is critical for all double-system audio syncing.

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This article, written by Rachel Klein, first appeared in PremiumBeat. This is an excerpt.

Recording audio and video separately on set ensures you get the highest quality sound for your project. Using an external shotgun microphone and syncing your audio with a slate, snap, or a clap is essential.

Your three main options for syncing audio to video are Red Giant’s Plural Eyes software, Premiere Pro’s Merge or Synchronize options, or doing it manually.

  • Automatically. The best option by far (but with a price tag of $200) is Red Giant’s Plural Eyes. To synchronize, simply open Plural Eyes and click Add Media or drag your clips directly into the app. Next, hit the Synchronize button and watch the program do its thing. Successfully synced clips will show up in green, while clips with errors are red. If you get a red error, navigate to the Sync drop-down tab and make sure you’ve selected “Try Really Hard.”

    Once everything is synced, click Export Timeline and drag the exported project directly into Premiere Pro. As an added bonus, Plural Eyes also can help correct audio drift in your project.

  • Merge. To merge clips using Premiere, select the video and audio files you want to merge in the Project panel. Right-click the selected clips and choose “Merge Clips.”

    A menu will open up, allowing you to name your newly synchronized clip. Select “Audio” as your “Synchronize Point” and make sure to select “Remove Audio From AV Clip.” Hit OK and you’re all done.

  • Manually. Edit the audio and video clips into the timeline. Then, align the spike in the waveform of the clapper slate with the frame where the slate just closes.