What do Mask and Track Matte Key do in Premiere Pro editing

31 Dec 2020

5 Min Read

One of the reasons that we editors love editing is that it is like decorating a room, it is a creative process that based on the tools we decide to use can go in many ways with many different implications. It is you who consider the ambiance of the video and then list the aesthetical elements you want to use and then, “Hocus-Pocus”, here’s the magic! Your video is now something a lot more cinematic and much cooler.

So today I want to talk about two effective tools that will help you inject more visual attraction to your video; Masking and Track Matte. Two must-know, handy tools which will work as the spices that will make the end product stand out in the crowd. So let’s jump right into it to see what’s what.

Using Track Mattes and Masks in Premiere

Premiere Pro Masking Tool

A mask is a selected part of a clip that enables you to make some changes to it. By using masks you can crop and delete any object from your shot. To use masking you need to select a clip and then open Opacity from the Effects Control panel. You can see a Rectangle, an Oval and a Pen so based on your masking intention choose one of them. Then you will see the mask border on the preview window and you can move it to the part you want to edit, copy or move. But to understand what exactly you can do using a mask, I’ve listed some of the changes you can do by using it.

Premiere Pro Masking
Premiere Pro Masking

Omitting objects

By using masks you can omit an unwanted object from your shot. Even if the object is moving, you can add keyframes and set a path for the mask to follow and cover the object.
Premiere Omitting and Deleting Objects with Masking
Deleting Objects with Masking

Isolated effect

With this feature of masking, you can target an effect on a special part of the clip that needs it. Like blurring something or making it brighter or intensifying the colors.
Premiere Isolated Masking
Premiere Isolated Masking
Premiere Isolated Masking
Premiere Isolated Masking
Premiere Isolated Masking

3D Text interaction

If you want your text to seem like it’s a part of the environment, you can create an interaction between the movement of the text and other movements in the shot. Like hiding a text behind a car as it moves in front of the text.
Premiere Masking with Animated Objects
Premiere Masking with Animated Objects

Track Matte

The way track matte works is that after stacking two layers on top of each other, the bottom one is your footage and the top one will be the one you want to use as a mask. Track Matte has two forms, Alpha Matte and Luma Matte.

Alpha Matte

Alpha Matte is the layer that you add to your video to control the frame and decide which parts of the video should be visible. For example, you can add a text layer to your video and then the video will be visible only through the text. Like this one.

Luma matte

Luma matte, on the other hand, does something even more interesting and it’s kinda like creating fake lighting. When you put Luma Matte on the footage layer, it will find and choose the brightest parts of the footage and turns them transparent. This will let you feel those transparent areas with anything you fancy.
Premiere Track Matte Alpha
Premiere Track Matte Alpha
Premiere Track Matte Luma
Premiere Track Matte Luma

Differences between Track Matte Effect and Mask Tool

As you begin using these two features to enhance your video, you should also know the differences between them. Masks are single-layer editing tools to apply changes to a specific part of a clip, while Track mattes are dealing with two layers to change the transparency of the main shot. You can also use Track mattes to do transitions and there are many creative templates like Ink luma matte or geometric mattes that give you interesting options for transitioning. Yes, you can use masks for transitions too, but it’s going to take a lot more time to do it with masking as you need to do the transition manually frame by frame.

So I recommend you to use these two features to spice up your project and make it look more professional. You can also use Mask and Track mattes in After Effects and they have more features in there. If you want to know more about After Effects and how it differs from Premiere Pro, you can check out this post by us to get a better idea of the differences between the two platforms. On the whole, using Track mattes and Mask is a matter of creativity, as you can make even more uses out of these two features in different parts of your video, so be creative and invent some new ways for your own!

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