Friday, July 25, 2014

PE12: Transfers from Project to Project


The classical story is that the Premiere Elements user cannot open a Premiere Elements project file (project.prel) in another Premiere Elements project file (project.prel). And, when users ask "How do I transfer content from one project to another?", the classical answers involve

  • ClipMate Copy/Paste Insert in conjunction with Premiere Elements (Windows Only)
  • Export of Timeline from first project as a file saved to the computer hard drive in a format compatible with the second project, and then import that export into the second project with the appropriate project settings (Windows and Mac applicable).

But there are other opportunities for content transfer from project to project that are not often focused on. A recent question from a Premiere Elements 12 Windows user asked "In Premiere Elements is there a way to create a template with "everything" (background, text, music, etc) that I could use from project to project?" This blog post will explore the answer to that question.


Maintaining transparency in the creation as it goes from creation to export and to one project to another is the critical issue. How can that be done for titles created in the Titler, for customized Adobe Title Templates, and for non title Timeline content?


Transparency: Titles Created In the Titler or Customized Adobe Title Templates

After editing the title or title template and with the Titler closed, go to the Project Assets copy of the edited file, and highlight/select it there. Then go to the File Menu/Export/Title which will now be available for use in saving the file as a .prtl to a computer hard drive save location.

The saved .prtl Frame size seems to adjust automatically to the project preset of the project into which it is imported. For example, if the title is created in a NTSC DV Standard project, right clicking its Project Assets thumbnail in that project brings up Properties which shows a Frame Size of 720 x 480. But, after that title is saved as a .prtl file and that .prtl is imported into a NTSC AVCHD Full HD1080i30 project, the Project Assets thumbnail Properties will show a frame size of 1920 x 1080.

The .prtl as well as  the title or title template from which it was derived can be opened in the Titler for further editing. The transparency of the original title created in the Titler or in the original customized Adobe Title Template is maintained in the saved .prtl.

Although there is an opportunity to embed images to accompany text in the saved .prtl files, I see not opportunity to embed music in the .prtl files.

In Sample 1, frames were created in a title in the Titler as per the How To in the August 19, 2013 blog post "PE11: Titler Shapes For Highlighting".

Sample 1. Frames Created In A Title In The Titler And Save As Prtl File
The title was saved as a .prtl file to the computer hard drive and imported into a new Premiere Elements project. In the new project, .prel file was placed on Video Track 5, photo for frame 3 on Video Track 4 and scaled to fit into frame 3, photo for frame 2 on Video Track 3 and scaled to fit into frame 2, photo for frame 1 on Video Track 2 and scaled to fit into frame 1, and background image on Video Track 1. Sample 2 shows the application result.

Sample 2. Prtl File Used In New Project And Photos And Background Added
Sample 2 could be opened in the new project for additional edits to the .prtl file.

Transparency: Non Title Timeline Content

Timeline content with transparency components intact after export in the Publish+Share area of the program succeeds when the export is QuickTime, Animation video codec, with 32 bit depth and check mark next to Render at Maximum Bit Depth. This works in Premiere Elements 12/12.1 as well as Premiere Elements 7, 8.0/8.0.1, 9.0/9.0.1, 10, and 11. The following is an excerpt from what I wrote on the subject back in December 2011 as an entry into my Premiere Elements 10 Daily Discoveries Thread

Premiere Elements: Maintaining Timeline Transparency In Export

The following applies to at least Premiere Elements version 7, 8.0/8.0.1, 9.0/9.0.1, and 10. 
Back in the days of Premiere Elements 7, a sure way to maintain Timeline transparency in an export was as an .avi file via the route of File Menu/Export/Movie, Microsoft AVI with Compressor None and Color Depth = Millions + of colors (the Color Depth setting appeared to be the key to achieving the goal). The Premiere Elements 7 alternative Share/Personal Computer/QuickTime using the Apple file just did not work for this purpose (with either of the two options Bit Depth = 24 bit or Millions +).

After version 7, the File Menu/Export/Movie route was gone, with its .avi for this purpose, and the QuickTime route still appeared not to work, leaving no avenue for the export, maintaining the Timeline transparency. And, probably more than once, it was lamented that such an option was not available after version 7. I was wrong. It does exist in the QuickTime route after all. The revelation came when I was working out the details for a thread on creating snow for photos and videos. I went looking online for some thing else and ran across the key to all this contributed by Robert Johnston at another forum. The key was to use Depth = 32 bits in the settings (video codec = Animation) under the Advanced Button of the preset. The 32 bit Depth settings works with or without a check mark next to Render at Maximum Depth for Premiere Elements 8.0/8.0.1, 9.0/9.0.1, and 10. The Bit Depth of 24 bits does not work for this with or without a check mark next to Render at Maximum Depth.

The QuickTime video codec in version 7 (where this does not work) is named Apple Animation; whereas Animation is the name of the codec in later versions (where it now works). I am not sure if the name change is the only change in the video codec...need to do some homework on that.
The capability of the QuickTime export  to maintain the transparency of a Timeline content opens the door to a variety of Timeline creations that can be used from project to project.


Work With Timeline Transparency 

Part 1. Accompanying Use Of Motion PiPs Presets

An animated photos effect was created in Premiere Elements 12/12.1 with a motion PiPs preset as described for Demo 2 in the July 20, 2014 blog post. Sunny Afternoon.mp3 (from the Elements Organizer Music Folder*) was placed in the Soundtrack

The Timeline content was exported Publish+Share/Computer/QuickTime with Presets = NTSC DV 16:9. Then under the Advanced Button/Video Tab of that preset, the Export Settings were customized to obtain an 1080p30 export. See Advanced Button/Video Tab settings in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Advanced Export Settings for Animation.Mov Export Used To Maintain Transparency Of Animated Photos Effect Template With Music
Note that under Bitrate Settings, the option to customize the Bitrate is not found to be available for the Animation codec which is a high Bitrate codec. Consequently a 28 seconds "Animated Photos Effect Template with Music" ( had a Bitrate of 375 Mbps (megabits per second) and a file size of 1.24 GB since there was no opportunity to limit the Bitrate.

After customizing the Export Settings, be sure to type in a new name for the customized preset. Do not accept the Copy of....choice.

"Animated Photos Template with Music" with its transparent area ready for addition of text and background in the new project would display as shown in Sample 3. Numerous template variations are possible depending on what to include or not include in the template creation before export to the file to be used from project to project.

Sample 3. Animated Photos Effect Template

Part 2. Accompanying Use Of Track Matte When Creating The Template

In Expert workspace, Track Matte is found under fx Effects/Keying.

The Timeline content is exported to the as in Part 1.

Part 3. Accompanying Use of Garbage Matte When Creating The Template

In Expert workspace, 3 types of garbage mattes are found under fx Effects/Keying. The are  Four-Point Garbage Matte, Eight-Point Garbage Matte, and Sixteen-Point Garbage Matte. Application of the garbage matte to the clip results in a bounding box with 4, 8, or 16 points in the on screen image, and the points are moved to establish what will be the transparent and non transparent areas of the clip. Whatever area of the image is inside the bounding box is seen, and whatever area of the image is outside the bounding box becomes a transparent area.

The Timeline content is exported to the as in Part 1.

Part 4**. Accompanying Use of Chroma Key, Green Screen Key, or Blue Screen Key When Creating The Template

In Expert workspace, Chroma Key, Green Screen Key, and Blue Screen Key are found under fx Effects/Keying.

In one scenario, the template is created from an image with a solid green background. The colored background is convert to transparency by applying the Choma Key to the Timeline clip and editing it  under Applied Effects Tab/Applied Effects Palette/Chroma Key Panel expanded. Additions to the Timeline content can be made to enhance the template overall design around the transparent areas and to add music. Then the Timeline content is exported to the as in Part 1 to give a template to be used from project to project.

This template plays back in Windows Media Player 12 and QuickTime 7.7.5 with the green background still present. Yet, when that same template is imported into a new Premiere Elements project as intended, it imports with the transparency intact, no signs of the green background that was replaced with transparency in the template's creation.

Part 5. Accompanying Cropping, Downsizing of image so that it does not fill whole frame, etc.

In Expert workspace, Crop is found under fx Effects/Transform.

The Timeline content is exported to the as in Part 1.


An alternation solution for wanting to use a Timeline creation in more than one project would be to create what is called a dummy project and work from a copy of the dummy project as the base for the second project.
  • For the dummy project, create the template and save that project as the project file (project.prel)
  • When the template is needed in a second project, open a copy of the dummy project as the base for the second project.
*Sunny Afternoon.m3 is found in Windows 7 Professional SP1 64 bit in Elements Organizer
Local Disk C/Program Data/Adobe/Elements Organizer/12.0/Music
**Windows Only.