How to edit video in Photoshop CC

Create a short movie by mixing video, stills, and text.

video hero
Credit: iStock.com

Photoshop CC is ideal for creating promotional video pieces, portfolio-based slideshows, and sellable videos for your photography business. Best of all, you don’t have to learn another program—you’ll use tools you’re familiar with. In this column, you’ll learn how to create a wedding video by mixing stills, video, and text.

Gather your files and create a new document

Photoshop links to video and audio files, so start by gathering video clips, stills (including your logo), and audio files into a project folder. Happily, linking results in nondestructive video editing—Photoshop applies your edits to a copy of original clips upon export. Use sequential file names to put files in the order you want them to play in the video.

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Here’s what a video project folder might look like, including the master PSD you’ll create next.

Create a new document by choosing File > New. In the resulting dialog, choose Film & Video from the Preset menu. For a 1280x720 video, pick HDV/HDTV from the Size menu and then click OK. In the Timeline panel that appears, click Create Video Timeline. Enlarge the Timeline panel’s clip thumbnails by choosing Panel Options from its fly-out menu (circled). Click the largest thumbnail size in the resulting dialog (also circled) and then click OK.

video 2

You’ll spend lots of time in the Timeline panel (top) so increasing thumbnail size is helpful (bottom). This trick works in several Photoshop panels.

Add and edit your files

Click the filmstrip icon in the Timeline panel (circled) and choose Add Media. Navigate to your content folder, select all the files, and click Open. Photoshop plops them into a folder named Video Group 1 in the Layers panel and they appear in a single video track in the Timeline panel, where they’re referred to as clips. In your Layers panel, delete Layer 0 (the Background layer). Photoshop activates the next layer in both panels, which is the first item that’ll play in the video.

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You can activate clips in the Layers or Timeline panel.

Onscreen duration of any clip (video or still) is determined by its length in the Timeline panel. While you can’t extend a video (or audio) clip beyond its original length, you can extend other content indefinitely—say, an image, text, shape, or adjustment layers. Point your cursor at the end of the first clip (a still of roses) and your cursor turns into a bracket with a double-sided arrow (circled). The bracket points toward the clip that’ll be affected; when it’s facing left toward the roses, drag right to extend it.

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You can change clip duration by adjusting its length.

Drag the vertical playhead bar (circled) rightward across the next clip to preview it. To trim it, position the playhead where you want the clip to end, point your cursor at the clip’s end and when the bracket faces left toward the clip, drag it to the playhead (the clip activates itself when you start dragging and a preview window opens). To trim the beginning of a video clip, position the playhead where you want the video to start, point your cursor at the clip’s beginning and when the cursor bracket faces rightward toward the clip, drag it to the playhead. Repeat this process for each clip.

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To restore a trimmed clip, drag its start point leftward or its end point rightward. To split a clip, position the playhead at the desired split point, click the scissors icon in the Timeline panel, and Photoshop splits it in two. To delete a clip, activate it in either the Timeline or Layers panel and press Delete (PC: Backspace). To reposition a clip in the video, activate it and drag left/right in the Timeline panel or up/down in the Layers panel.

Now let’s add motion to all but the first still image. Click the triangle at upper right of the still clips in the Timeline panel (increase the panel’s zoom level if you can’t see it). In the Motion menu that opens, choose Pan & Zoom, specify a zoom angle (say, 20), and pick Zoom In or Zoom Out. Drag the playhead across the clip to preview the motion. Repeat on the next still clip, and enter an opposite pan angle (say, -20).

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Adding subtle motion to still images increases visual interest.

Add finishing touches

To create a safe space for branding at the end of the video, add a Solid Color fill layer. Click the half-black/half-white circle at the bottom of the Layers panel (circled), choose Solid Color, and pick black. Position this layer at the top of Video Group 1, which puts it at the end of your video, creating black frames onto which you can place text or a logo.

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Now let’s add some transitions. Click the half-black/half-white rectangle in the Timeline panel and drag the Fade With Black transition onto the beginning of the first clip to fade it in from black. To extend the transition’s length, point your cursor at its end (circled) and drag rightward. Next, drag a Cross Fade transition between the remaining clips.

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Anything inside Video Group 1 will play in succession, so to stack other content on top of it—making the other content play at the same time—you can add them to another video group. This works for text, images, shapes, video clips, and adjustment layers, which are handy for altering clip tone and color. In the Timeline panel, click the filmstrip icon next to Video Group 1 and choose New Video Group. Position the playhead atop the first clip slightly past the transition and press T to grab the Type tool. Click atop your document and add some text (to see the text, position the playhead atop the text clip). Adjust the duration of the text clip as described earlier and then add a Fade transition to the beginning and end of the text clip.

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With the Type layer in Video Group 2 active, choose File > Place Embedded and navigate to where your logo lives and click Place. In the Timeline panel, drag the clip rightward until it’s at the end of the video, atop the Solid Color Fill layer you added earlier. Adjust clip position and length so it appears slightly after the fill layer transition resolves. In this example, a text-based logo was used. Add a Fade transition to the beginning and end of the logo or text clip.

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Last but not least, add some audio. Click the musical notes next to the Audio Track in the Timeline panel and choose Add Audio. Navigate to the audio file and click Open. Position the audio clip as described above. To alter volume, or to fade audio in/out, click the triangle at upper right of its clip. (If you need to match your video to audio length, add the audio earlier in the process.)

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Tap your keyboard’s spacebar to play the video and then adjust clip and transition lengths as necessary. When you’re finished, choose File > Export > Render Video. In the resulting dialog, choose Adobe Media Encoder, H.264 from the Format menu, and High Quality from the Preset menu, and click Render. Here’s the final result:

As you can see, creating video in Photoshop is well within reach. Until next time, may the creative force be with you all!

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