Video editing is a creative process. No doubt about it. But using the software itself is also a technical skill. A few months ago I started using Palette Gear for my daily editing tasks in Premiere Pro. I’ve found that even though sliders and dials are very useful in some cases, my favorite feature is using macro mode with Palette's arcade-style buttons. It saves me a tremendous amount of time whenever I face some repetitive tasks.
Let me show you a few examples of how I use buttons, how to set up macros and how at the end of the day it saves me precious seconds, minutes and potentially, in the scope of a year, even hours in editing time.
1. Use a Macro to Control Speed/Duration Settings in Premiere Pro
First macro has to do with speed/duration settings. Normally it takes a few clicks and some typing to apply this effect. Also, you need to repeat it for every clip you want to speed up or slow down.
Pretty often, I use it to speed up the clip to 500% and I change default settings for audio pitch, ripple edit, and Time Interpolation to Frame Blending. That’s a lot of clicking and if you are to perform this operation let’s say 50 times, it takes a lot of time that you could save by creating a macro. Here’s how it looks in real time.
And here is the keystroke sequence you have to input in the Palette Gear app:
2. How to Optimize Your Playback Speed to 160% Using a Macro
You probably know that you can hit L on the keyboard to play the timeline. You may even know that if you press L twice, the playback will be twice as fast. If you hit it three times it will be 4 times faster than normal speed.
The problem is that for 200% playback speed it’s hard to understand what your interviewees are saying. For me, it’s just too fast if I want to listen and edit at the same time. So there’s a shortcut not many people know about that lets you increase playback speed by only 10%. It’s Shift + L (Shift + J slows down the playback by 10%).
My personal favorite playback speed for faster editing is 160%. I can still clearly hear every word and make my decision faster at the same time. Here’s a screenshot of the macro I created to set this playback speed in the blink of an eye.
3. Custom Scale and Position For a Clip
If you find yourself reframing a lot of shots (but not in any particular order) you can save motion effect as a preset. But there’s an even faster solution. You’ve guessed it. Macro again :)
We actually don’t have to leave the timeline panel to apply motion settings. The macro sequence is pretty long but you can edit it quickly for any new repeatable values. Let’s say that you have a 4K clip in a 1080p timeline. We can set the scaling to, for example, 70% and move a frame a little bit vertically and apply these settings with a single hit of a button. Sweet, right?
Basically, we use a shortcut Shift + 5 to activate the Effects Control panel and then Tab to move in between numeric values.
4. Organize Labels in The Sequence
I love working with labels. This tip shows you how to quickly organize your labeled clips. It requires assigning some custom keyboard shortcuts, but trust me, it’s worth it.
First of all, we should assign a shortcut to a command called Select Label Group. To do it just go to Edit - Keyboard Shortcuts and type the command’s name in a search area. I’ve assigned Shift + 1 to it.
The second shortcut we need is for closing gaps in the sequence. So search for Close Gaps and assign the one that works for you. I use Ctrl + Y for that purpose.
Here’s how labels get organized in real time with the macro you can see on the picture above.
5. Move the playhead 50 frames backward
If there’s a cut or a moment you need to rewatch a few times to make it right, you're going to like this next macro.
It’s very simple but makes a lot of sense for moments you need to rewatch a few times before making an editing choice. We want to move the playhead 50 frames backward and then play the timeline. So we create a macro for which Shift + Left Arrow is pressed 10 times and it is followed by the Spacebar. See how it works in real time:
Bear in mind that macro mode is not accelerated with Palette plugin in Premiere Pro so you can see all of the steps applied. It's not an immediate process. Still, it's much more convenient and much faster than doing it by hand.
Obviously, these are just 5 examples of how I used macros recently. But with the Palette macro mode feature, the sky's the limit! Do you have your own ideas for a macro that would be useful in Premiere Pro? Let us know down in the comments section.
Now that you know how to use Palette buttons with Premiere Pro, check out my video on all the other ways that Palette can improve efficiency when video editing:
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