… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #823: Voice-Over Recording Settings

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The secret is to Control-click the mic icon for the track you want to record in.

The Voice-Over Recording dialog window.

Topic $TipTopic

Another hidden feature inside Premiere is the voice-over recording settings. Most of the time, when you need to record audio, you’ll do that outside Premiere. But, to quickly create narration scratch tracks, nothing beats recording directly in Premiere. Here’s how.

  • Control-click the small, white mic icon in the track header for the track you want to record on.
  • Select Voice Over Recording Settings from the pop-up menu. This displays the dialog shown in the screen shot.


  • Name. This names the clip you are about to record. As always, you can change the clip name later.
  • Source. The specifies which mic to use. I use an external headset mic, digitized using a Scarlet 2i2 A/D conveter.
  • Input. This specifies which channel the mic is on. A stereo input has two channels.
  • Sound cues. When you start recording, Premiere displays a countdown. If you also want the countdown to beep, check this box.
  • Preroll. When you start recording, this determines how many seconds to back up before starting recording.
  • Postroll. If you set an Out to determine the end of a recording, this determines how many seconds after the Out to continue recording, in case the voice talent’s timing isn’t perfect.
  • Click OK to accept the revised settings.

NOTE: The audio meters at the bottom display the input level of your mic. In general, set levels so that you are recording around – 12 dB. You can adjust these later during the final mix.


  • You can mark an In and Out in the timeline to specify where the recording will start and end. Or simply place the playhead where you want the recording to start.
  • Click the Mic icon again to start recording.
  • Press the spacebar to stop.


I rarely set an In or Out, most voice talent, including me, wants the freedom to make mistakes. It is easy to edit a recording later to clean up mistakes, or configure it to hit a specific time.

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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #824: A Fast Way to Change Clip Speed

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

All changes adjust the speed of the entire clip by the same amount.

The Clip Speed / Duration dialog in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Topic $TipTopic

A lot of key features in Premiere are hidden – unless you know where to look. Here’s another one: the Clip Speed/ Duration dialog. Here’s what it does.

To open the dialog shown in the screen shot, select one or more clips and type Cmd + R. (You can also choose Clip > Speed/Duration, but menus are boring.) This dialog allows changing the speed of a clip by typing in a percentage change or the duration you need it to match.

NOTE: Not all speed changes yield good results. I’ve found the best success using speed percentages that divide equally into 200.

The Reverse Speed checkbox plays a clip backwards.

By default, changing the speed of a clip also changes its duration. This means that an upstream clip, that is slowed down, will crash into the clip next to it. Checking the Ripple Edit box moves downstream clips out of the way.

Time Interpolation is only relevant when the speed of a slow-motion clip goes below 15%. Most of the time, you’ll get the best results leaving this set to Frame Sampling.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #804: The Secret Identity of a Drop Zone

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Drop zones are used for both image manipulation and transitions.

The Drop Zone Type menu in Motion 5.

Topic $TipTopic

Drop zones are objects created in Motion that allow us to include video when using a Motion template in Final Cut. However, there’s more to drop zones than first meets the eye.

To add a drop zone to a Motion project, choose Object > New Drop Zone (Shortcut: Shift + Cmd + D).

Next, select the drop zone in the Layers pane and go to Inspector > Image.

Notice, as you can see in the screen shot, that a drop zone is considered an Image. What you may not know, however, is that you can select between three different states for a drop zone:

  • Drop zone. Displays video added to the template from Final Cut.
  • Transition A. Displays the end of the out-going clip when added as a transition in Final Cut.
  • Transition B. Displays the start of the in-coming clip when added as a transition in Final Cut.

Converting a drop zone to a transition image gives you more flexility in designing templates and transitions. However, you can only have one Transition A and one Transition B drop zone per project. (Sigh… it would be cool if we could clone them.)

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #799: A Faster Way to Remove Keyframes

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Pen tool does more than draw, it can also select… keyframes, for instance.

The Pen tool is selecting audio keyframes to modify or remove.

Topic $TipTopic

I discovered this tip while researching a recent webinar covering the basics of editing in Premiere.

During my demo, I found myself with a number of audio keyframes that I needed to remove. While I could – and did – Control-click each keyframe to remove it, I wondered if there was a faster way.

And there is!

  • Select the Pen tool (Shortcut: P), then drag a selection rectangle INSIDE the clip. It will select any keyframe that it touches.
  • Then, press the big Delete key to remove them.


NOTE: The cool thing about this process is that you can quickly remove one, several or all the keyframes in a clip. This isn’t an “all-or-nothing” technique.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #801: Change the Default Video Transition

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Any video transition can be set as the default.

Control-click any video transition to set it as the default transition.

Topic $TipTopic

I re-discovered this tip while researching a recent webinar covering the basics of editing in Premiere.

The default video transition is a standard cross-dissolve, but you can change this setting at any time. Here’s how.

  • In the Effects panel, find the video transition you want to use as a default.
  • Control-click the name of the transition, then select Set Selected to Default Transition.

That’s it.

NOTE: To quickly apply the default video transition, select the edit point, clip, or clips you want to apply it to, then type Cmd + D. (Windows type Cntrl + D).


The default audio transition is a cross-fade. You can change the default duration for both audio and video transitions in Preferences > Timeline.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #803: Optimize the Audio Meters

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Modifying the audio meter display helps us better control audio levels.

Control-click inside the audio meters to display this configuration menu.

Topic $TipTopic

The configuration settings for the audio meters in Premiere aren’t “bad,” but they can be optimized to better monitor audio for the video editing most of us do.

Control-click inside the audio meters to display the configuration menu shown in this screen shot. These settings illustrate how I customize the audio meters for my work.

  • Dynamic Peaks. This is the yellow bar at the top, showing the loudest level of your audio for the last second.
  • Show Color Gradient. This displays a smooth color shift from green to red as levels increase.
  • 24 dB Range. We don’t really care about how soft our audio is. We care about how loud it is. This displays just the top 24 dB of a mix. Since we want peaks to bounce between -3 and -6 dB for video posted to social media, this provides the clearest indication of audio level.
  • Show Valleys. These are the blue bars in the middle of the color gradient, showing how soft our audio has been during the last second.

Try these settings and see if they don’t give you a better idea of your audio levels.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #789: The Floating Source Timecode Window

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Source Timecode window displays timecode for all project clips under the playhead.

The floating Source Timecode window.

Topic $TipTopic

Most of the time, we don’t need to pay attention to the specific timecode of the clips in a project. However, for those times when we do, Final Cut makes it easy.

  • Choose Window > Source Timecode to display a floating window containing the timecode of every clip under the playhead in the timeline.
  • Drag any edge to change the size of the display.

Control-click a clip to:

  • Copy just the timecode of the control-clicked clip to the clipboard
  • Copy the file name and the timecode of the control-clicked clip to the clipboard
  • Copy the file name and the timecode of all clips displayed in the window to the clipboard

NOTE: If a clip is selected, as “Barn in wheat fields” is here, it is highlighted with a gold box.


Tip #788 discussed the floating Project timecode window.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #779: Why a Lens is Worse at f/22 than f/8

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The smaller the aperture, the greater the diffraction.

Lens aperture is determined by the iris setting.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in PetaPixel.com. This is an excerpt.

It’s common knowledge that most lenses are at their best (i.e. sharpest) between f/5.6 and f/8, depending on the lens. But why? The reason a lens is softer at f/22 than it is at f/8 is due to a phenomenon called diffraction.

Two interesting points worth highlighting are:

  • Lenses get sharper as you stop down because stopping down reduces aberration, even while it increases diffraction.
  • It’s only when the “blurry points” caused by diffraction become bigger than an individual pixel that you’ll begin to see the effect in your images.

This has two consequences that are actually noticeable in the real world:

  • All other things being equal, a higher-resolution sensor will show the effects of diffraction sooner, because the individual pixels are smaller.
  • A really well-corrected lens will begin showing the negative effects of diffraction earlier.


The link at the top includes more details and a video illustrating diffraction in real life.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #794: The Texture Adjuster

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

3D text provides a wealth of lighting, texture and format controls.

3D text, using the Drama Top Right light setup and customized texture.

Topic $TipTopic

Hidden at the bottom of the Material section for 3D text – below where you select surfaces – are additional controls that allow changing the texture of each surface.

These controls vary depending upon which surface is selected. For instance, with Plaster, you can adjust:

  • Color type
  • Paint color
  • Sheen (reflectivity)
  • Surface texture
  • Texture depth
  • Opacity
  • Placement

One of the benefits to working with 3D text is the vast amount of control we have over the texture and lighting of the text.

If you haven’t explored these options yet, when you do you’ll discover a whole lot more texture control than you ever expected.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #766: Faster Ways to Import Media

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

I knew these tips – once – but over the years I forgot them. Here they are, again.

Double-click in an empty area of the Project panel to open the Import dialog.

Topic $TipTopic

As I was researching last week’s webinar on Adobe Premiere, I re-discovered two tips for faster imports and easier clip organization. It was good to relearn these, because both can save you time.

TIP #1

I’m a keyboard junkie, so I long ago developed the habit of typing Cmd + I to import media.

But, sometimes, the mouse is even faster: Double-click anywhere in the dark gray area of the Project panel (red arrow) to open the Import dialog.

TIP #2

I’m a fan of organizing media as much as possible on my hard disk before starting a project. Specifically, I create a single master folder for project media, then create subfolders. This could be subfolders for each camera card or stills or audio or whatever grouping makes sense to you.

Then, when it’s time to import, I select all the subfolders and Premiere imports each folder into its own bin; as you can see in the screen shot.


These folders are not dynamic. That means that if you add clips to a Finder folder after importing, Premiere does not automatically update the bin with the new media.