Cut to Music like a Pro with Sync to Music
Back in October when we released Premiere Clip 2.0, we introduced a new sync to music technology to help you create great videos timed precisely to the beat of the soundtrack. Whether you are using the new automatic workflow and adjusting the sync pace, or getting creative in the freeform editor, check out this new feature in your next #MadeWithClip project!
Sync to Music is an option in Premiere Clip’s freeform mode that helps you trim the clips in your video project to the beats of your soundtrack. (The automatic mode also trims to the beat, but this article deals only with feature in freeform projects.) When the feature is enabled, beat markers are shown on the scrub bar (in place of the clips’ audio waveform), and the Out Point snaps to those markers. The larger the beat marker dot, the stronger the beat.
Before getting into how to use this feature, it’ll help to understand a few finer points about how Sync to Music works.
- Filtering: Because real estate on the scrub bar is limited, it would get mighty crowded if all beat markers were displayed. So Premiere Clip displays only the strongest two dozen beats. The degree of filtering increases with the duration of the clip. With clips shorter than 10-15 seconds, all the primary beats should be shown. Beyond that range, you may find that the marker for your preferred beat is not included.
- Trimming the head or tail of any clip (except the last one in the sequence) triggers two ripple effects:
- First, all downstream clips get moved relative to the soundtrack. In other words, the beat markers shift for all clips that come after the one that you trimmed.
- Second, the duration of downstream clips generally changes by at least a few frames and potentially by several seconds because the app has to pick a new Out Point for each clip following the one you trimmed.
- If you’ve played with the Sync to Music feature, you may have noticed that In Points do not snap to beat markers and that no beats are displayed before a trimmed In Point. This is because the head end of each clip necessarily follows immediately on the tail of the preceding clip. Trimming the In Point changes which frame is first but has no effect on where that first frame aligns with the soundtrack.
- Trimming a clip by moving its In Point alters the clip’s duration in a way that affects the filtering of beat markers.
- The number of beat markers shown will change to maintain an optimal density of dots.
- In the process, as the filtering algorithm adapts to the change in duration, you may find that some markers get hidden or that others which had been filtered out are now displayed.
- Also, with fluctuations in the pool of beats, the size of particular markers may change. That’s because the scale is relative to the beats that fall within each clip, not for the soundtrack as a whole.
- With a project that you started in Auto Mode and converted to Freeform, you may find that beat markers used for a transition point in Auto Mode become hidden in Freeform, but only after trimming a clip. Unlike in Freeform where filtering is in effect, Auto Mode has access to all beat markers. Upon converting an Auto project, if a transition uses a beat that would have been filtered out, that marker is preserved to avoid altering the timing of the project. This protection lasts only as long as the special-cased beat marker is actually in use. That is, if you move an Out Point away from such a marker, filtering will then prevail and the special-cased marker will be hidden. The same goes if the ripple effect from an upstream edit cascades through the sequence.
Okay, that should be enough orientation & explication. Let’s get to the recommended workflow. First, here are the steps that are best completed before starting to trim to the beat:
- Add all the desired clips and photos to the project and arrange them in the preferred order. (Adding or deleting clips after you’ve synced to music will trigger ripple effects in the sync of downstream trims.)
- Tap on the music icon in the toolbar and choose a soundtrack either from your music library or from a selection of Premiere Clip’s royalty-free themes. Then enable Sync to Music by switching the toggle ON. Also, if you want to trim the start point for the soundtrack, do that now.
- If you’re partial to using cross dissolves between clips, enable the option now in Project Settings. Because this feature reduces the duration of all clips, turning it on after trimming to the beat will wreak havoc on the project’s timing.
Tip: Think twice before using cross dissolves in conjunction with Sync to Music. The effect of molding a video to the beat of the soundtrack is strongest when clips are short and transitions are clean and crisp.
Now you’re ready to start trimming. Here are a few tips:
- For video clips, always trim the In Point first, then the Out Point. You probably do that anyway, but it’s especially important when syncing to music because of the behavior covered In Point #4 above.
- If you’re cutting a single recorded clip into multiple segments, park the playhead on or near the beat marker where you want the current clip to end and tap on the Copy icon ([+]) and then tap Split at Playhead. That command can be quite handy in other types of project, but it’s especially so when syncing to music because you don’t have to be precise in where you position the playhead; as long as it’s closer to the desired beat marker than to its neighbor, the cut point will snap to the right one.
- If filtering has hidden the marker for the beat you want to use, try moving the In Point near the right end of the scrub bar. That usually displays some beat markers that had previously been filtered out. If the marker shows up for the beat where you want to cut, trim the Out Point to it. Then do a two finger drag to slip the In/Out range to the desired part of the clip.
- In case the prior trick doesn’t expose that ideal beat marker that’ll make your video pop, consider sending your project to Premiere Pro. The beat markers from Premiere Clip show up on the soundtrack’s audio track in your Premiere Pro timeline, and you can use Premiere’s Rolling Edit tool to move the edit point between any two clips without any downstream ripple effect.
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