Surreal Video Editing in Adobe Premiere | David Miller | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to Surrealist Video + Project


    • 2.

      Looking At The Masters


    • 3.

      Understanding The Premiere Workspace


    • 4.

      Black And White Conversion


    • 5.

      Time Manipulation


    • 6.

      Playing With Mirrors


    • 7.

      Overlays 1


    • 8.

      Overlays 2


    • 9.

      Juxtaposing Sound + Image


    • 10.

      Exporting + Posting Project


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About This Class

Surrealist video has always fascinated me ever since I was a kid watching creative, imaginative music videos and films.  Adobe Premiere Pro CC has a number of effects and functions that now make it possible for anyone to be expressive and dreamlike with the video editing- keeping viewers engaged and going beyond the ordinary world through simple surrealist techniques.  

In this course we examine what exactly the original Surrealist artists of the 1920s-40s did in their video art.  We cover some of the basics of the Adobe Premiere workspace, so if this is your first time working in Premiere, you won't be left out in the cold.  Then we show how those old Surrealist approaches can be accomplished in Adobe Premiere Pro. 

Students won't need any previous experience with Premiere or video editing, but they will need access to the program and some footage to work with.  I highly recommend watching the lessons first before gathering your footage. 

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud allows for use of a ... See full profile

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1. Intro to Surrealist Video + Project: Hi, I'm David Miller, and I'm a multimedia artist living in Phoenix, Arizona. Today we're gonna talk about one of my favorite kinds of art surrealism and how it relates to video editing. Surrealist artists of the early 20th century were interested in creating work based on ephemeral world of dreams and the subconscious. That philosophy applied whatever meeting they worked with paint, photography and film. Today we're going to focus on how you can use Adobe Premiere to emulate tools they used in the films of the past on your videos today. So your project will be to create a 32nd video utilizing any or all of the techniques we discussed today. Posted to the skill share website. Video doesn't need a plot. I just used the effects discussed to make a short dream like and nonlinear piece of footage . 2. Looking At The Masters: Let's take a closer look at some of the original Surrealist film makers. I think it's always useful to study artistic originators because it gives direction to where we could go or should go with our own works. Serialism itself is a blend of otherworldly subject matter, often borrowed from dreams and nightmares and exaggerated approaches to the usual elements of art, including color, scale, shape, line, texture and so forth. An example of this are the exaggerated shapes. Things that should be solid, become liquid and a normal door becomes slanted and pointed in much larger or smaller than it is. In reality. One could make a convincing, surreal peace simply by warping expectations of how something functions. In reality, for example, a man walks through a door into a room, only to appear in the same room through another door. One of the earliest filmmakers, George Millais, predated the post world war era of Surrealism and Dadaism, but he pioneered special effects that emphasized imaginative narratives. Some of these effects would be picked up by the original surrealist artist like Salvador Dali and Man Ray. These creators were able to use advances in film production such as overlays and playing with time, and they created filmworks that were extensions of the kinds of things that were producing with paint or photographic tools. Around the same time. In Germany, the German Expressionists were a group of filmmakers such as F. W. Murnau No Fritz Lang and Robert Dean. The latter filmmakers. Cabinet of Dr Caligari is a Touchstone of dreamlike filmmaking, where some of the sets are fully realized, three dimensional structures and others are painted on campuses that created a pleasantly confusing mixture of depths in the camera. American Orson Welles, in his collaboration with cinematographer Gregg Toland and Citizen Kane, is a great example of surrealist tropes and service of a narrative in another of Welles's films, the Trial, based on Franz Kafka's book of the same name. The rooms air constructed at unusual scales, forcing the actors to either seem very large and confined in the claustrophobic sense or very small and meaningless in the cosmic sense. Then there are modern filmmakers borrowing from surrealist concepts, maybe none more so than David Lynch character. Suddenly swap identities or have experiences that can't be explained in any literal sense. Onley within the story logic of its own peace 3. Understanding The Premiere Workspace: before we get too deep into premiere, we need to learn a little bit about the work space that we have. So this is what you see when you first open Premier will click new project. We'll call it surreal Hit. Okay, when you first open it up, hopefully you have a workspace that looks similar to this. If you don't, one thing you can do is go window workspaces and editing. Editing is what we're up to. It so are all about over here is where you will see your video. Here is where you will have your video timeline. Here is where you can browse for clips and you can access effects, among other things on then here is where your effect controls will be. So if you know where your video is in your folder hierarchy, you can access things through here. Could go into my users, which is may scroll into dropbox and video where I keep a lot of my clips and then see them real tiny or because I'm working on a Mac. I can just use my finder and grab something at random. I'm going to grab this little clip of Terry Gilliam even though it's not what we're going to be working on throughout our surreal footage. But it's something that I like the first piece of footage you drop in. The timeline sets up your sequence settings, so let's go ahead and open them and see what happened. We have a frame that is 2800 horizontal pixels, 1800 vertical, and that's kind of an odd aspect ratio. It's something that I probably don't want for my particular projects. It also has a 60 frame per second time code. If you want to change your sequence settings something like standard H D 1920 by 10 80 very easy to do. I'm going to make it 30 frames per second. Okay, now you'll notice that this is incredibly large. It's actually scaled out of the dimensions that I want. One thing Aiken do when I have footage that mismatches the sequence pixel dimensions is I can either scale it down in the effects controls, or I can use a function in the right click menu, which says scaled a frame size and that will get your clip to fit your sequence settings. The main thing you need to remember though, is that you have a timeline. It's linear, so whatever is close to the left takes place part. Anything to the right. If you want to cut this, you can use a razor blade tool and cut wherever you like. Just go ahead and move your cursor around, and you can cut along that you can also use the selection tool and stretch or shrink pieces . The effects menu is in the lower left corner, and we're going to be talking about a lot of these effects, so we'll focus on them when we get to them. And then the actual controls of the effects are up here. And if you lose sight of things like if you click on this and you're effects, controls are gone, you have a menu up here that's effects controls. There's also a drop down that shows you anything else that you might need. Although for the purposes of this class, we're really going to spend most of our time in this Effects controls menu Video effects are here. You'll notice that these tracks a B one B two B three. That's video tracks. A one a two, a three year audio tracks there currently is no audio track to accompany this one. That's why you don't see anything here. But it's very likely that you will be putting in clips that have audio tracks attached to them so they will fill up at least a one or a two. 4. Black And White Conversion: one effect I'm going to show you now is how to convert to black and white. And most of the masters of surreal video manipulation worked in the black and white era. So I quickly want to show you how we can do a cool conversion. Teoh that kind of look. It is under Lumi tree presets and under monochrome. We have a few options here. The one that I most frequently used myself is the monochrome punch. I want to go ahead and show it to you. It makes a super punchy version of black and white. I want to compare this one with some of the others because you may have your own preference . So I am going to move this footage out of the way. I'm going to copy this one and when it paste it, so copy and paste are no different than any other program on the computer. It's controller command. See for copy control or command V for paste. This one is going to get monochrome punch, and then this one is going to get monochrome faded. Remove them side by side. It's a pretty big difference. I will say that the monochrome faded look really does have that 19 thirties 19 twenties look. This kind of high contrast stuff just isn't what you see in older footage show it'll be up to you. It's a really minimalist feel, but when we have color as an added artistic element, oftentimes it's very distracting from what you want your audience to focus on. If you want to make any further adjustments to what this particular filter is giving you, you definitely can do that in the effects controls. Under Lemi tree color, there is a drop down menu and several other drop down menus in between. When you adjust the temperature the main areas, you'll probably want to adjust our exposure contrast. And then the individual tonality controls of highlight shadows, whites and blacks because we have stopwatches here, weaken set key frames. So there is a transition of any effect you do, whether it is this black and white controls or any of the other effects that we're going to talk about to set a key frame, you clicked the stopwatch where you want to start, and then you move your cursor here and you can see it corresponds to the movement of the cursor on the timeline. And let's say I wanted this to go full black and move the cursor to the end of this clip. I lower the exposure till I get what I want. Move it back and our effect gradually takes place from the start of key frame, a two key frame beat. 5. Time Manipulation: Let's talk about time manipulation In Adobe Premiere, we have a few options If you want to transform the time of your clip, the 1st 1 that most people think of is slow motion. But if you are going to slow down your clip, you are better off if you shoot this footage with that plan in mind. And by that I mean you need to set the frame rate on your camera so you have enough frames to slow it down without it looking very choppy or fake. The way to reset your frame rate on your camera depends on the kind of camera you have on my Fuji. I have a setting that shows FPs, which is frames per second, and if I film at 60 frames per second, the average HD video is 29.97 frames per second. So if I set my camera to shoot at 60 frames per second and slow it down, I'm going to get a nice, smooth, continuous motion in my slow motion effect. The easiest way to slow down your footage and premier is by right clicking your piece of footage. Scroll down to speed duration, click on that, and then we see our speed is defaulted to 100%. If you have a clip that is one minute long, it's going to be represented as one minute here. Now you can either change the percentage of your speed, so a lower number equals a slower speed. Or you can also change the actual time duration. If you want that one minute to register as one minute and 30 seconds, that's something you can enter straight into the dialog box. If you wanted to have an effect where you slowed down really slow, you're best off shooting at something like 120 frames per second. Unfortunately, the only cameras I own that should at that high a frame rate are one set. Don't have the best video image, which would be in my iPhone and my go pro. So it's incredibly important to plan ahead. If you want to have footage that slowed down, you have to remember to shoot at a higher frame rate or accept poor image quality from footage that was shot at a normal 29.97 or 24 frames per second. There are some neat tricks you conduce with time manipulation that have to do with the perception of slow motion. For example, I have footage that I filmed with a person moving incredibly slow, with lights swirling around her at a normal pace. And then I sped up the footage using the speed duration abilities in Premiere. So she ends up looking like she's moving at normal speed. But it's a little jittery with her performance, and the lights moving around her are now moving at a super speed. Now, going back to our clip speed duration interface. We have a couple options. One says Reverse speed, and this simply is going to reverse the speed of the footage that you're working with. So if you go ahead and check that box hit, OK, now you're footage is running backwards backwards. Footage in and of itself is a little bit trippy in surreal, but you can really play up this effect if you actually have your actors moving backwards when you're filming them and then reversing the footage so they're running forward. This is a very common effect in horror films. When you want somebody to look like they're possessed or they're freaking out, you have them do their actions in reverse, and then you run the speed backwards. So it appears that they are advancing, but in a very irregular manner. Users of Instagram are familiar with an effect called Boomerang. This is where something moves forward. Then it moves backwards. Then it moves forward in a little bit of a loop, and this is something that's pretty simple to do. In Premiere, you take your footage, you clip a particular section that you want to have running forward and backward, and then you need to duplicate that section. So the easy way to duplicate things is to either copy and paste it on a new region, or you hold down the altar key and drag to another track, and all of a sudden you have another instance of your clip. The original clip is going to remain going forward in time. The new clip is going to go backwards and let's go ahead and run. Reverse speed on our new clip will position it next to the original clip, and you'll see I have my very own little boomerang effect on this piece of footage. What if I wanted to introduce even more trippy elements to it. Well, there is a concept known as speed ramping or time ramping, and this is very common in the films of Zack Snyder, not one of my favorite film directors. But it is something he uses a lot. This is where things move really slowly. Then they move really fast, and maybe it jerks back to a slower or regular speed. This could be easily accomplished. Once again, we're going to use the razor blade tool. We're going to cut portions of the footage and let's randomly speed up or slow down these, you will see that the figures go slow. They move fast, they go slow, and it's really just a matter of editing in particular spots. And I would recommend not over using this effect or, for that matter, the majority of the effects that we're talking about because you're going to wear your viewer out. If you want your viewer to have a surreal experience with your footage, you need to be a little more judicious about where you place them. If you do things over and over, it doesn't feel special anymore, and nothing seems special or surreal to the viewer anymore. 6. Playing With Mirrors: the effect we're going to look at here is the mirror effect and that is found in the effects menu. Lower left corner, video effects under distort, and it's his mirror. You can also type in the search bar for mirror, and that's an easy way to find effects if you already know what you're looking for. So I'm going to use this little piece of footage here, have it clipped on both ends. I've added the mirror effect, and you see it has an option that says Reflection center and reflection angle. So we're going to play with the angle first. Pretty self explanatory. When you see what happens, the reflection center is way off in the right hand side. It's that little blue circle with the target in it. So wherever you have that target at that is going to be where the mirror is reflecting from . We can set a stopwatch and have the angle pass over time. This is where you set key frames and you can see in the upper left. You can see the effect happening over a span of time between the two key frames that are placed that is in the upper left effects menu. Having a mirror transition over a period of time is a cool way to create viewer interest, because even though we have this kaleidoscopic effect and we have something that looks fairly interesting as it is on its own, they can get pretty boring. And it also doesn't give the viewer a sense of storytelling. It just gives a sense of distortion. So when you have a transition that happens in between the two key frames, it can be a little more interesting. Now that we have our mirror, you might have to change your positioning of the actual video clip if you want things to be centered. One thing you might have noticed when we were repositioning the clip earlier is that our character stayed static and the mirror image showed part of the black frame off to the side . Not really what we're looking for when you see the edge of the frame, it's reminding viewers that this is not actually part of the video. It's just in effect that you apply now that we've seen what it looks like when we have our central character as the mirror image. Let's flip it and see what it looks like without the central character, but just her arms. So we're not going to be faced centric here. We're going to focus on the extremities, and I think that is a superbly cool effect. Let's see what it looks like when we had another mirror effect and then have that come from a different angle. So I want Teoh position and scale my clips. So I do not see the black bars on the tops and bottoms that sites don't do that preview. And at this stage, not only do I have my horizontal nearing, but I have vertical mirroring, and it almost looks like something coming out of water, as if there was an invisible horizon line and the person was underwater. This is something I really enjoy doing, adding more than one mirror effect because it allows you to create what essentially are totally new creatures, and it allows the movement in your video to flow in multiple directions at once. 7. Overlays 1: Let's Talk About overlays an adobe premiere, and this is a strategy where you have a piece of footage on top of another piece of footage , but you have them somewhat transparent, somewhat interacting. It's very similar to a double exposure effect in photography, where you might have a texture and an individual and to interact in a way that makes the person look like they have a particular kind of skin effect. So an overlay does not have to be a texture on top of a person. It can be this piece of footage on top of the same piece of footage. It can be a effect, like a scratchy film on top of this to make it look old and degraded. But for starters, we are going Teoh, just raise the same piece of footage on top of itself, and the way I did this is hold the footage hold Ault on my computer. While holding Ault, I dragged it to be four, which is the next video track, and now I have one piece of footage on top of the other. I've offset the footage by a few frames, so it starts a little later, and with that footage selected. I go to the Effects menu and Cynthia Pass ity at 48% and now you can see what our tracers. So the top layer starts a little later than the bottom layer, and it's transparent enough that I can see two things happening at the same time. This is very similar to the effect echo, but it just utilizes the same piece of footage, offset by a few frames. Let's see what happens when we reposition our footage, so they're the same equal time length. But we will right click in our top layer shoes, speed duration and set it to reverse. Now we have a ghostly echo that aligns in the center of our footage. All right, runs opposite the further away you get from the center. That's one way you can combine time effects and overlays. 8. Overlays 2: now that we've seen what happens when we have the same piece of footage over laid and sort of set to a different time than its underlying layer. Let's see what happens when we put texture layers on. So we have a photograph of hands and we have some cloud layers. Let's take the hands. We're going to stretch it out to match the entire piece of footage just to make things slightly different. We're going to take our footage of the woman and put her on top of the texture. We go into the blending modes, and the blend modes are under the A pass ity menu in your effects controls. When we switch the blend mode to lighter color, you can see through the dark areas of the model to the underlying texture. You can also see some of this white area has the texture showing, and that might not be what you want, so you will have to go into your affects menu in the lower left corner and mess with brightness and contrast. If you really want to knock out some of that, it's that showing. I'm gonna play with the brightness a little bit until it goes pure white around my model. That's a still image blended with video footage. It looks OK, but you have to remember when we watch videos. We really like to see a lot of motion on the screen. If we want to hold people's interest, I want to do one more thing to see if I can make this still image blend a little bit better with the photograph. So I'm going to apply the gloomy tree monochrome punch, make it nice and black and white, and then I'm going to mess around with brightness and contrast. See if there's a way that I can take away from some of the ugliness of the colors that really distract me from the way the model looks. I wanted to be more of a blend of the still image in the model, rather than having her be a complete whole showing colors that don't match. It's fine to blend a still image and a piece of moving footage, but things get really interesting when you blend two pieces of moving footage, and in this case we're going to put clouds and I consider clouds of texture layer. Ah, lot of nature footage is ideal for this. Like running water or fire. It looks really good when blended with a person. I feel like it makes my model look a lot more like some kind of cosmic entity. What if the model is still and the footage is moving? Let's see how that looks as far as what blending mode looks good on your pictures. You're gonna have to play around with them. Every scenario is a little bit different. I have been using lighter color, but often I use multiply or overlay, and I might not have a pass ity set all the way up to 100%. It really depends. So now we have the model that still she has the clouds blending through her. This creates surrealism in the sense that we expect that model to be moving and not a still photograph. This lends itself to the idea that viewer has expectations of how things will flow in your video, and if you upset those expectations, it creates a surreal effect. One strategy, if you want to blend two still images, is simply have the image pan underneath. So I'm going to take this layer. I'm going to set the stopwatch on position. If you wanna work with two still images and still have a little bit of motion while doing your overlays, you can use the position and scale functions under motion. All you need to do is turn on the stopwatch to place your key frames at the start of your footage and at the end of your footage or the end of where you want things to stop moving, you set the other key frame. So in this scenario, I might have the image of the models scale up or down or move side to side over a defined duration of time. I have to be careful because the exterior of the frame ends and you'll see the edge of the white, which isn't really what I want to do. If I scale the image slightly and have the white part starts on the left side of the frame , it's still a surreal effect. It's still a video. Even though we're dealing with two stills. Let's go ahead and add that monochrome punch to the lower layer because it don't like when textures are really obvious. It's currently just a picture of a girl plus some roof tiles. And if I go ahead and make those black and white and then if I add some contrast and hold the curves down significantly, then it becomes more about the person who was my subject of the video. To begin with, the whole concept of surrealism has to do with feelings and emotions and unreality. So we're really trying to get away from the natural world. The ordinary world, in any way we can overlays are a wonderful way to do that, because it is taking something that is normal and stepping into a world where it has other properties where time doesn't work the way we expect it to, where things move opposite of our expectations. 9. Juxtaposing Sound + Image: Miss section. We're not going to focus on the visuals or effects so much as we will be focusing on concept called incongruous sound mixing and the best example of this or something I saw as a kid and it's affected me in my entire life. And that is the check Jones loony tunes cartoon duck a month thing is a cartoon work. Daffy Duck is having his backgrounds raised, his body altered and the sounds that come out of his mouth completely different from what one would expect. It is absolutely hilarious, and it is super surreal and into something that is affected me in my entire life. The idea that a lion might open its mouth and out comes the sound of a kitten or a frog. Those are really cool moments, and it shows how you can be surreal and strange without even having to do very much. You just need to mismatch expectations. So in this particular piece of footage, I have a woman who is going to walk forward and she is going to be answering a banana phoned the banana will ring should put it to her ear. She has footsteps, even though the way she walks, is going toe, feel a little odd, nexus footsteps on. Then when she turns or pivots, it's going to have a door creaking sound, and I'm gonna go ahead and put some other odd sounds in the backgrounds here. I'm just selecting my wave forms. I'm dropping them into the audio tracks. And if I need multiple audio tracks, you certainly can add extra ones. You're not limited to the three that you initially haven't premier. But it's good to take advantage of having different audio tracks because you're gonna find you want sounds to overlap, and you're gonna want them to be different levels. You might want things to fade in and out Those effects air under the audio transition menu . You have exponential fade. You have constant power creating a sound jungle on audio jungle, and I don't mean a literal jungle. I just mean a collection of sounds. A very broad sound palette is super important to selling the idea and the believability of your environments, and it doesn't matter if those sounds are ones that we expect to have come out. We just expect that there's going to be a little bit of ambient noise, what they call room tone or if it's an outdoor scene, we want to hear some outdoor sounds. Want to hear birds. You want to hear it stream the wrestling of leaves so on and so forth. I feel like the best surreal stuff is the material that meets you halfway. It creates an environment that you can believe in, and then it pulls the carpet out from underneath your feet by having these incongruous sounds. Hello, this is the secret of the universe. Now way we should talk about where you get all these sounds. Do you have to go on record Everything yourself? No. And not at all, especially in today's multimedia marketplace. There are many stock sites that will sell you packs of sounds and one of my earliest projects. I bought a pack of war sounds and artillery, and it listed every kind of gun had fire. I've got impacts that had to do with zombies, and currently I subscribe to a service called Spice, which has a monthly fee. But it also has the collection of thousands of sound producers, so musicians, but also fully artists and you have things like crashes and impacts and with a certain number of credits a month. In my case, it's 300. I'm allowed to download that number of sounds per month, and I'm able to use them in my projects and able to keep them after I download them. So if I quit the service, I certainly have the opportunity to still use my crashes, impacts etcetera. And then there's a lot of resource is for free sounds such as YouTube. The YouTube site itself gives creators access to certain Foley sounds. It might be a little bit of work to find every sound that you're looking for, but I guarantee it will be worth its when you have built up a large sound library and it will definitely improve any kind of project you're doing. Whether it's a surreal video or something is simple, like a corporate training video, you need to have a collection of sounds to work with, and the larger your collection, the more fun you can have mismatching them, as I did in this project, 10. Exporting + Posting Project: So the final parts of assembling your footage involved cutting it together. Um, usually with the razor blade deleting sections triple deleting were necessary or merely picking it up. Moving around in repositioning adding audio, which is something I don't really cover in this class. But these air your audio tracks where you drop in your sounds, same as you dropped in your footage and then exporting which file export media to export to something common like like YouTube video. You have a huge number of choices. Uh, the main thing to keep in mind and I'm going to is a quick 10 file is Know what the parameters are of the site you're uploading to YouTube and Vimeo will have suggested formats for you of video Codex to get a compressed video. The typical one that people go for his h 264 and make sure that if you want full HD, this should be, uh, 1920 across 10 80 up. And if you're footage originally was smaller when you imported it than enlarging, it won't help. You will actually degrade your quality. In my case, I currently have 10 minutes, 11 minutes worth of footage because This hasn't been cut together yet, but if you had all of your footage put together up here and then you had extra pieces back here, you can simply move this slider to the appropriate length and then hit export. Anything that's in blue will render. Here's the export button down here. Once you have your final at it, uploaded to YouTube or video, get the embed code and pasted onto the skills your project page so I can check it out. And the rest of us can appreciate the wonderful weirdness that you came up with. Thanks for watching. Feel free to check out my other video tutorials, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to post them to this page.