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Adobe Premiere Pro - Advanced Training

What are Track Matte transitions in Premiere Pro

Daniel Walter Scott

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In this video we're going to explore what a Track Matte is, a Luma Matte and an Alpha Matte, what are all these Mattes, and what are they doing? They're doing this, the result is some sort of nice transition. Yeah, let's work out how to do those now in Premiere Pro. Track Mattes, Luma Mattes, Alpha Mattes, smoke and ink bleeding transitions, like Smoke Reveals, these are all kind of the words that get used to do what we did at the beginning there. So the construction is the same, even though the terms are slightly different. We all end up doing a very similar process, so let's get started. 

First up, in your Exercise Files, under 'Transitions', I've got a couple for you. So this is basically what a Matte looks like, so it's M-A-T-T-E. I've downloaded a few versions that I found online, that are kind of helpful. If you want the full lot of these, you're looking for Premium Beat, also bought by Shutterstock. You'll find, I've got a bunch of them from here, that we're going to use, and there's a bunch more that you can get from there. 

So we're going to start with Matte 1, 2, and 3. Basically all a Matte is, and in our case, we're going to start with something called a Luma Matte. Luma, we know now, is something to do with luminance and brightness. So Luma means the white bits in here, are going to stay fine, and the dark parts are going to turn into an empty hole or a mask for our transition. So it's just a bit of footage that is black and white, and can be Grey. The black bits become masks, you can invert them all, but that's the basic understanding of what Matte is, or at least in this case, a Luma Matte, so let's get in there. 

So in Premiere Pro, let's pick 1, 2, or 3, don't use 4, something else, we're going to do, I'll use number 2. So bring in the Matte that you like, 1, 2, or 3, and bring in Clip 1 and 2, because we're all sick of Irish Tourism. So we've got another couple of videos for us. Turn those two clips into a sequence, it doesn't matter in which way they are, in which order, and yeah, Track Mattes, let's talk about them, they're strange. If you, at the end of this video go, "Man, that was weird," don't worry, everyone thinks they're weird. 

So I'm going to get rid of the audio on these. Who remembers the shortcut? Remember, hold down the 'Option' key, and click off-- click on 'Option' key on a Mac', 'Alt' key on a PC to delete the audio. Now the way this needs to work is, you need some sort of overlap. It doesn't matter if it's like that or like that, but the two clips need to cross over for this to work. So I'm going to do mine like that. How much they crossover will depend on the Track Matte you use. In my case, let's have a look at this one, double click it. It's about that long, so it is exactly 1 second 11 frames long. So it needs to be at least that long overlap. The way to do that though is, I'm going to bring in just the video of this one, and that's how much overlap we need. 

So let's get that there, they're kind of working. So the way this works is-- so that's the strange structure, your two clips that you want to transition between need to be underneath the Matte, and they need to be overlapped. So that's phase one, phase two is adding the effect. So we're going to go into our Effects panel, and we use something called-- if you type in 'matte' for the matte, we're going to use this one called Track Matte key. 

So key and keying is another word for masking, Track Matte is the generic word for Luma Mattes, and I've talked about Alpha Mattes. Track Matte is not another one, it's just, this is a track, we're using Mattes, which are these things here. Sometimes they can be Alpha Mattes, sometimes they can be Luma Mattes. I'm going to dump it on here, you're like, "That seems logical," no, no, no, it needs to go on the clip underneath. So not on this, this just hangs out there at the top, it's the clip underneath. I'm going to move it, so it's there, clip underneath, add your effect to. I've got it selected, I'm going to go to my Effects Controls, and I'm going to say, I would like this Matte, oh Composite Using, are we using an Alpha Matte or a Luma Matte? You're like, "I don't know what an Alpha Matte is, I barely know what Luma Matte is." 

We're going to use the light parts, and the dark parts, the luminance. We're going to do that, and it's still not working, why? Because we need to decide which track, I'm going to use it on video 3, remember, we've got 1, 2, and 3. Let me zoom in, '+', I'm going 'Shift +', remember, I've got--- let's make it all bigger for you, move it down, you can see, I've got video 1, 2, and 3. So that's selected, it's Luma Matte, it's on video 3, and it's almost working. You're like, "It's working," except it goes black, but that's essentially what it is. 

You need this structure overlaid each other, you need this structure, you need these two, transition things, you want to go between, they can be images, they can be videos, and they just need to overlap for a bit. How much they go is generally depending on the Matte, it might be an ink drop or this. In this case, kind of like circles spinning, add the effect, which is called a Track Matte Key, to the one underneath, the Matte, then just set it to, whether it's a Luma or an Alpha Matte, I'll show you right an Alpha Matte in a second, and just make sure it's the right-- actual track. 

In our case the Matte is on video 3. If you move it, it will freak out, if I say that I've now got another track, and I'm copying and pasting it, to say between different sequences, this thing will freak out, go, "Where'd it go?" It can't follow it, it'll still use it. So my effect here, I can say, actually it's on video 4 now. It'll still work, just know that, if you are maybe copying from one sequence to another, and the structure is not exactly the same as this, you've not got everything on the same track, it won't work. 

So I'm going to undo that, because I'm going to show you the other problem that you saw on - saw on's not the word - seen, it goes black. What happens, basically the end of this Matte, it goes completely white, let me turn off the key, just to show you, effects off, you see, it starts off completely black, which means that you can't see this, and then eventually the white bits appear, they appear, they appear, they appear, until it's completely white, and I can see all of this new city track. Let's turn it back on, so I can see it all. 

So it needs to be white to see it, and then it goes away, because this little thing ends, it goes bloop, there's no more white. So this goes, "I don't know what to do now," so I'm going to go black. The easiest way to fix that is to grab your-- we're going to use the Razor tool, just because. We're going to slice it there, right at the end of this Matte, click on this and just delete the Matte key, we don't need that anymore, it's done its job, so just using it for this bit. Nice. 

Before we go I want to show you Alpha Matte. So we've been doing a Luma Matte, remember Track Matte is the generic name for all the Mattes, a Luma Matte is when we do a transition that is, uses the light and dark, and we turn them into kind of holes and masks. So an Alpha Matte is very similar, except alpha is another word for see-through-i-ness or transparency. So I'm going to bring in these two guys again, where are we? Zoom out. So I've got these two, and I'm going to do a transition, it's structurally the same. So I'm going to make sure that these two guys overlap. I'm going to find an Alpha Matte. 

Now I've got this one here, it's downloaded from Envato, stock library stuff, and it's just this one here. Now what is the difference? It kind of looks the same, the difference is it uses transparency, let me bring it in. Can you see, even without doing anything, instead of blackness, like it did before, we use that blackness as the mask. It actually has transparency built into it, that's why it's called an Alpha Mask. Generally they are not mp4s, because mp4 as a container can't have transparency, as a general rule, but a mov can. Often Alpha Mattes will have movs. 

So I've got this, all I need to do now is exactly the same as before, get the kind of transition, so it overlays, then grab my effects, it's the same effect, Track Matte key, stick it on the clip underneath, and say, I want you to be an Alpha. On what track? That's video 4 now, because I'm adding extra layers, and it does the same sort of thing. So that's an introduction to Track Mattes, remember Track Matte's generic name, the Luma Matte is the luminance, the light and dark, let me turn that on and off . So it uses the light bits and the black bits, to decide how the transition works. 

Alpha Matte, alpha is another word, for transparency, see-through-i-ness. So for this one here I can go-- let's turn it off, it's already got transparency as part of it, and we use that for the transition. You've seen those kind of, like ink drop and smoke transitions that uses the same thing, they'll use Track Mattes. You just got to decide whether it is an Alpha Matte or a Luma Matte, and use this exact same technique. If it feels confusing, it is, most people find it confusing, I know, I did at the beginning, and it's probably not so much the world of Premiere Pro, in terms of video editing, it's much more kind of, at home, in things like compositing, using something like After Effects, where Mattes are a lot used more. 

So yeah, if you do find it's like, "That's weird," but bookmark this so you can come back, and know that structure, how the clips need to be, but that's it, let's escape from the Track Matte extravaganza, and I will see you in the next video.