… for Apple Motion

Tip #341: Uses for Emoji in Motion

Emojis add interest to any title and greater clarity to labels.

The emoji panel in Apple Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

You may have missed the memo, I certainly did, but we can now add emojis in any field that accepts text; including layer labels! Here’s how.

  • In Motion, open any object that allows you to type text. For example, titles, layer labels, even some parameter names.
  • Type Control + Cmd + Spacebar. This displays the emoji panel.
  • Double-click any emoji icon to add it to the text field.

Now that I’ve discovered how this works, I’m adding emojis everywhere!

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #283: AAF vs. EDL vs. OMF vs. XML Export

Different applications require different export options.

Export options in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Topic $TipTopic

Most of the time, when the time comes to export our finished project, we select File > Export > Media. Sometimes, though, we need to move our project to a different program, say for color correction or audio mixing. Which export option should we choose?

  • EDL. This is the oldest, and most limited, transfer format. It only supports 2 video tracks and 4 audio tracks. Unless you are working with VERY old software, this should not be your first choice.
  • OMF. This is an audio-only format. Unlike EDL, which simply points to your media, OMF includes all audio files in the OMF. This guarantees that your audio, along with your edits, will successfully transfer.
  • Final Cut Pro XML. This XML format is based on FCP 7. This is the best choice for moving projects to or from Final Cut Pro 7 or X; though FCP X requires conversion using a utility. Like EDL, this only points to your media. This is also the best choice for many 3rd-party media management systems.
  • AAF. This is the best choice for moving files from Premiere to Avid ProTools or Media Composer. An AAF contains links to audio and video files as well as editing decisions that are to be applied to the audio and video data.
  • Avid Log Exchange. This is the best format for moving Avid Media Composer bins into Premiere.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #287: What Do These Blue Boxes Do?

Blue buttons simplify complex audio and video routing tasks.

The track header section of the Premiere timeline.

Topic $TipTopic

The Track Header on the left side of the Premiere timeline has two columns of blue buttons. Here’s what they do.

It is important to remember that there is no relationship between the two sets of buttons.

The blue buttons on the left side act as a “patch panel.” They determine which tracks from a clip in the Source Monitor or Project panel edit to specific tracks in the Timeline. For example, to edit audio only, turn OFF all blue buttons attached to video tracks.

The blue buttons on the right side determine which Timeline tracks are active. This affects copy/paste operations as well as selecting and cutting tracks.

  • To turn off a blue button click it.
  • To turn off, or on, all audio or all video buttons, Shift-click one of them.
  • To change the position of a button, drag it.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #288: How to Do a Match Frame Edit

Match frame edits are a very fast way to find the source clip.

The Premiere Pro CC Source Monitor.
A Match Frame edit loaded into the Source Monitor, matching the In, Out and playhead.

Topic $TipTopic

Let’s say you are editing the video of a clip into the timeline, only to realize, later in your edit, that you also needed the audio. How do you fix this quickly?

The answer is a Match Frame edit.

  • In the timeline, put your playhead in the clip you want to locate and type F.

This opens the source clip into the Source Monitor, matching the position of the In, Out and playhead of the clip in the Timeline.

From there you can edit whatever you need back into the Timeline.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #166: 8 Camera Hacks

8 simple tricks to make still images more creative.

Topic $TipTopic

Peter McKinnon, writing in DigitalRev, shares eight different tips we can quickly use on set to create a different look or fix a problem:

  • Belt Sling – Attach and suspend your camera from a belt to produce stabilized camera steady shots
  • Coffee Hood – Add a coffee cup sleeve to your lens for a cheap hood
  • Dream Chap – Add chapstick to your lens for an easy blur effect (perhaps apply this to a lens protector instead!)
  • Cello-lens – Add cellophane over a lens to distort the image
  • Shade Blend – Snap through a pair of sunglasses for a natural Instagram filter
  • Knife Blade – Introduce reflections by placing a shiny knife beneath the lens
  • Flashlight Flare – Shine a light between the camera sensor and the lens to introduce a light leak effect
  • Smart Flare – You can even use your smartphone to create fancy effects while on the go

… for Apple Motion

Tip #325: Add a Widget and Parameter in One Step

Rigs and Widgets are used to create templates in Motion for Final Cut Pro X.

Access this menu by clicking the downward pointing arrow next to any parameter, like Scale.

Topic $TipTopic

This was first reported in an Apple KnowledgeBase article.

Rigging is the process of creating effect controls in Motion that can be used in Final Cut. Normally, you create a rig, then add a widget (effect control), then add one or more snapshots (settings for the widget).

A rig in Motion has no effect until it contains a widget with assigned snapshots (parameter states).

As an alternative to creating a widget using the buttons in the Rig Inspector, you can create a rig and a widget and then apply a parameter to the widget in a single step.
In Motion, do one of the following:

  • In the Inspector, click a parameter’s Animation menu (the down arrow that appears when you position the pointer over the right side of a parameter row), choose Add To Rig, choose a rig, then choose a widget type from the submenu.
  • Drag a parameter row from any Inspector pane to a rig object in the Layers list.

    Dropping the parameter row immediately on the rig object creates a slider widget. Pausing briefly causes a drop menu to appear, allowing you to select the widget type you want to create.

A new widget appears in the Layers list, under its parent rig. In the Widget Inspector, the parameter you chose appears under the Edit Mode button, ready for snapshot assignment.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #280: Adjustment Layers are Magic

Adjustment Layers are a fast way to change multiple clips all at once.

The New Item menu in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Create a new Adjustment Layer using the New Item menu in the Project panel.

Topic $TipTopic

An Adjustment Layer is a special kind of video clip that is placed above one or more clips in the Premiere timeline to which, when you apply an effect, those effects apply to every video clip under the adjustment layer.

If you’ve worked with adjustment layers in Photoshop, these work the same way, except they apply to layers of video, rather than layers in a still image.

To create an adjustment layer, click the New Item icon in the lower right corner of the Projects panel (blue in this screen shot) and select Adjustment Layer from the menu.

The next menu allows you to specify the size and timebase for the clip. For most situations, accept the defaults.

Then, watch what happens as you add different effects to this new clip. Remember, an adjustment layer ONLY affects clips that are stacked below it in the timeline.

NOTE: A good place to start using adjustment layers is to use one to create a consistent color look for all your clips.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #281: Enable On-Screen Image Adjustments

Moving elements by dragging is MUCH faster!

Effect Controls panel detail in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Click “Motion” to enable modifying elements in the Program Monitor.

Topic $TipTopic

This is a very cool tip that I didn’t discover until I’d been using Premiere for several years.

Premiere provides the ability to resize, move and scale elements on screen in the Program Monitor, but you need to turn this feature on. And THAT is not easy to find. Here’s how.

  • Select a clip in the Timeline.
  • Click the word Motion in the Effect Controls panel.
  • A blue box surrounds the selected elements in the Program Monitor.
  • Drag a white dot to resize. Dragging a corner preserves the aspect ratio.
  • Click near, but outside, a corner to rotate the element
  • Click and drag inside the box to move the element.

To exit this mode, deselect the clip.


  • Press the Shift key to constrain movement to horizontal or vertical directions.
  • Press the Command key to display guidelines.
  • Press Shift and Command to quickly center an object vertically or horizontally.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #286: Slicing and Dicing

Active tracks become important when cutting clips.

Active tracks are those where the blue buttons on the right side are enabled.

Topic $TipTopic

In addition to the Razor tool, which cuts individual timeline clips wherever you click it, there are two keyboard shortcuts which can cut multiple clips at the same time at the position of the playhead. But they don’t behave the same way.

On the left side of the Timeline are two columns of blue buttons. The ones on the right indicate active tracks (blue is active, gray is not).

Put the playhead where you want to cut a stack of clips, then:

  • Type Cmd – K and only clips on active tracks are cut, as illustrated in this screen shot.
  • Type Shift – Cmd – K and all clips are cut, whether they are on an active track or not.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #333: Favorites are Faster

Favorites are a fast way to build a “selects” reel.

The Favorites menu in Apple Final Cut Pro X.
Favorites are a fast way to flag clips that you really like, or really don’t want.

Topic $TipTopic

Apple made a big deal of Favorites when Final Cut Pro X was first launched. Now, you need to know where to look to find them. But, they are absolutely worth learning, because they can make finding the right clip a lot faster. Here’s how.

Favorites allow you tag clips, or ranges within a clip, as either a Favorite, Deleted or unflagged.

In the screen shot, here’s what the bars mean:

  • Green. The clip, or the range within a clip, is a Favorite (think of this as a select).
  • Red. The clip is flagged as deleted. Nothing is actually deleted, the clip is still in the Browser, but not displayed.
  • No bar. The clip is unflagged.
  • Dark blue. The clip has keywords assigned to it. (This isn’t a favorite, but I thought you’d like to know anyway.)

To apply a Favorite, select the clip(s), or range within a clip, in the Browser, and type:

  • F. This marks a Favorite
  • Delete. This marks a deleted clip. Be sure to use the big Delete key.
  • U. This removes any flags assigned with that clip; this resets both Favorite and deleted clips.

To see only clips that are Favorites or any other category, go to the Hide Rejected menu at the top of the Browser and select what you want to see.