Adobe Education Leaders (AELs) in front of a portable green screen
If you’ve ever been to famed Las Vegas, Nevada you may have had the pleasure of seeing one of the many fantastic Illusionists preforming their incredible magic there. Several years ago I had the fun opportunity to see world famous illusionist David Copperfield in action at Cesar’s Palace along with my wife. During one of David’s sold out performances I was one of twelve lucky audience members who was picked by him to come up on stage to take part in one of his tricks. After entering a strange transparent on all sides box like contraption with the other volunteers the contraption exploded with a bang into flames, fireworks and flashing lights! I suddenly “disappeared” along with the eleven other audience members to the simultaneous loud gasp from hundreds of people watching the trick from their theater seats. To my amazement along with the other eleven people who disappeared with me we all had a big laugh together when we realized how David actually made us disappear – it was incredibly simple how he did, but from the perspective of the people watching the trick out in the theater it was astonishing.
Before we were made to reappear in the magic box and be reunited with our friends and loved ones David appeared in person back stage with all of us! David quickly told us he would give each of us a personalized autographed photo of himself in exchange for our life-long swearing of total secrecy of how he did the trick. All twelve of us happily agreed and promised David we would never ever tell anyone how he did this trick; to this day fifteen years later I never have – even to my wife or kids who have begged me repeatedly to divulge all. So what does this have to do with Premiere Elements? – read on.
What’s interesting is some of the earliest silent film makers were previously stage magicians before they hand cranked a film camera. In fact one the earliest projection apparatus even before film cameras and film projectors were invented was called a “Magic Lantern,” a tin lamp-like device with a concave mirror, lens and an oil lamp or candle inside of it which was used as the light source to project a still image on to a screen or wall.
We’ve come a long, long way since the eras of the early stage magicians and first film makers who magically made things disappear and reappear on their limelight lit stages or in their early hand cranked films shown in picture palaces. In the case of the silent film makers to make say an actor magically disappear or appear in a scene it simply came down to scratching the actor’s image out of the nitrate film with a sharp blade.
In this digital age we are all a part of right now we are stunned by the digital CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) magic of the likes of James Cameron’s award winning film “Avatar,” or a flim like I saw last night; Rise of the Planet of the Apes and other amazing movies and television series that use state-of-the-art 3D techniques, or compositing tricks to create the illusion that different elements are all parts of the same scene to make things magically disappear or reappear in scenes.
Now you might be thinking to create this same kind of CGI magic for your own movie projects is not only super expensive, but most likely really hard to do – not at all. In fact with Premiere Elements it is as simple as shooting two clips of video, dragging & dropping them into Premiere Elements timeline and then clicking the mouse just once to achieve the same kind of CGI compositing magic of a James Cameron or making things appear or disappearing like David Copperfield on a live stage. Note in Premiere elements we call this cool trick “Video Merge,” but it also goes by a few other names like: Blue or Green Screen, Chroma Key and Compositing.
I’ve created two short Adobe Captivate screen capture demonstrations of how to do a basic Video Merge effect with Premiere Elements as well as a bit more advanced features and posted the demos to YouTube. Check out Part 1 or Part 2 (links below) to learn how you too can become a CGI magician in just a few mouse clicks using Premiere Elements Video Merge!
Part 1: Movie Magic with Adobe Premiere Elements Video Merge
Part 2: Creating Video Merge effects with Adobe Premiere Elements