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Creating Captions for Video

Captions can be extremely useful (and in some cases, a lot of fun) as you can combine text with video. Captions can document dates, places, people, and also allow for editor’s comments during clip playback. Premiere makes it very easy to create captions for your video productions. Subtitles are one type of caption. To create captions, in the Transparency window, you use a Key Type of either an Alpha Channel or mattes to incorporate text into the video track. Mattes are backgrounds of dramatic colors—most commonly a brilliant sky blue or an intense neon green— that Premiere can isolate and remove from a video source. Text, actors, and objects can be placed in front of these intensely colored backgrounds and then digitally removed, creating special effects. With movies like Space Jam, The Matrix, and other fantasy and science-fiction films that rely on visual effects, many scenes are shot in front of “green screen” or “blue screen“ backgrounds. The actors or models are placed in front of the screen and lit in a way that their image “pops out.” Programs like Premiere and After Effects can then single out the background, remove it, and replace the background behind the text, actor, or object with another background, such as a star field, an animated basketball court, or a completely different environment.

So, all those times Captain Picard and his crew on Star Trek: The Next Generation are trying to identify an alien craft on their viewscreen, Patrick Stewart and the cast are really staring wide-eyed at a brilliant green screen. The green screen is later replaced in postproduction by a hostile spacecraft courtesy of the special effects crew. Now that’s acting!


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