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From the author of Step 4: Creating a Placeholder Clip for the Laser Beam

Step 4: Creating a Placeholder Clip for the Laser Beam

In Premiere Elements, an effect such as Lightning can only be added to a clip that's already present on the Timeline; for example, your action sequence currently sitting on the Main_Video track. The problem with this approach comes when you want to add other effects to the Lightning effect, such as Blur, or Glow; these effects will also blur or glow your action sequence, which isn't what you want. To avoid this problem, you need to create a "placeholder" clip—essentially a blank clip containing an invisible alpha channel—and then add the Lightning effect to this clip.

Task: To create a placeholder clip, follow these steps:

  1. Hold down Ctrl and press the left-arrow or right-arrow key to move the CTI to the first marker on the Timeline.
  2. Open the Titler by clicking the Add Default Text button, located just below the Monitor panel (see Figure 8).
  3. When the Titler opens, the default text (Add Text) should be highlighted (see Figure 9). If it's highlighted, skip to step 4. If not, drag over the text to highlight it.
  4. Press the Delete key to remove the selected text, leaving a blank title screen. Click the Done button to close the Titler (see Figure 10).
  5. Now you should see a blank title sitting on the Laser track at the first Marker. However, this clip is far too long, so grab the end of it with the mouse and drag it down the Timeline until the end of the new clip is level with the second marker point (see Figure 11). You may need to zoom the Timeline out to see the end of the new clip, but zoom back in again once you've finished shortening the clip.
  6. If your Timeline looks something like the one in Figure 12, you've successfully created a placeholder clip that you can use in the next section to create and modify your laser beam.
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