Adobe included a ton of new features with the latest update to their Creative Cloud video apps, and one of them might make those of you who regularly shoot interviews very, very happy.
The feature is called Morph Cut, and if you haven't already gotten acquainted with it in Premiere Pro, it's essentially a video transition tool that uses interpolation and face tracking to make jumps cuts more seamless. CNET ran a couple of short tests with the Morph Cut to see if it worked as well as Adobe let on:
But perhaps more a more helpful and thorough demonstration is this one from the folks over at Anchor Line. In it, they put the Morph Cut feature through a battery of tests to see how it fairs when 1.) there's a lot of motion in the foreground (hands and gestures) and/or the background (cars, pedestrians, etc.), 2.) there's camera movement, 3.) there's an inanimate object instead of a human face, 4.) and there are multiple subjects.
It's pretty apparent what kinds of conditions are best for using this feature: a talking head, a fixed shot, and a static background. But Adobe has offered some other helpful tips and tricks on how to get the best results using Morph Cuts. Here's a list from their website:
- Look for relatively short, logical gaps with reasonably similar head placement at either end of the cut. It might help to use the waveform to help spot areas with natural pauses and base your cut around that if possible.
- Adjust the Morph Cut duration and symmetry as needed after the initial application. It often helps to make it start and end toward the peaks of the last/first words around the morph to avoid difficult lip-syncing problems.
- Generate render preview files after analysis is complete (not before) to make sure you’re seeing the correct performance and not dropping frames.
- Consider framing your subject somewhat tight to limit the amount of hand or upper body movement, which Morph Cut will have to try to interpolate. But don’t frame it so tight that significant face or head details are cropped out, the Morph Cut face detection may struggle to recognize it.
- Consider using Adjustment Layers to apply effects over Morph Cut transitions and their associated clips. It will generally work to apply effects directly, but you will avoid potential display problems, especially if you have to make many more adjustments after Morph Cut has been applied — such as with Lumetri Color effects.
- Analysis is triggered automatically as soon as you drop the transition in. It is also re-triggered automatically whenever you trim the transition in or out symmetrically or asymmetrically.
- Morph cut is a processor-heavy effect. Using it with large format media may cause slow analysis times, especially on GPUs with smaller memories (e.g. < 2GB VRAM).
Clearly in order for Morph Cuts to work properly, everything within the frame has to have as little movement and change as possible (this includes lighting), because you won't be able to utilize it if you choose to, say, shoot handheld outside with traffic in the background with a subject who gesticulates and moves around a lot. It doesn't seem like Adobe is touting this like it's a replacement for traditional editing techniques that cover up long breaks, mistakes, and other flubs -- you'll still have to learn how and when to cut to a different camera, still image, or b-roll footage to hide your edits.
But even though this transition has its limitations, it seems like it'll be a huge benefit for editors that work with a lot of talking head interviews -- I'm even thinking this could work occasionally in narrative films when you want to cut a mistake from an otherwise perfect delivery (under optimal conditions, of course).
Have you gotten the chance to use the Morph Cut feature? How well did it perform? Let us know in the comments.