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How to Use Luma Matte Video Transitions in Premiere Pro


Matte transitions are an easy way to add more production value to a video, and they can be done very quickly and easily. Let’s take a closer look at what they are and how they work.

Make sure you download the project file for this tutorial, it includes two free luma matte transitions you can use to follow along!


What is a Matte?

The word "matte" comes from photography, film and stage special effects. Matting an image means to combine multiple images together into a single one. For example, stage designers use foreground and background images—a cutout of a tree on stage and a painted mountain on a backdrop—to create a theatrical set. In film and photography before digital image manipulation, photographers used physical matting techniques block and selectively expose certain parts of the film while protecting others, layering exposures to combine images and create a composite.

Nowadays, you can think of a matte as a special effects mask that will join two video clips together.

Luma matte transition example forest scene

Two Types of Matte Transitions

Luma Matte Transitions

Luma matte transitions are made of black and white. The idea is that one image will be masked to the black area and another image will be masked to the white area.

Luma matte transition diamond wipe

Alpha Matte Transitions

Alpha matte transitions are made up of opaque (or a solid color) and transparent (clear) area of the clip. The idea is similar to luma matte, but in this case one clip is masked to the solid area and the other is masked to the transparent area.

Alpha matte transition
Alpha matte transition

Matte Transitions in Premiere Pro

In Adobe Premiere Pro we will need to place our two video clips (that we want to transition) on two separate video tracks. (Such as V1 and V2.) Then we need to place our luma matte transition above them, on another video track. Think of this as a timeline sandwich: your second clip between the first clip and the luma matte transition clip. Make sure you reference the image below if you are not sure! Both clips need to overlap the same length of the luma matte transition.

Luma matte transition sandwich

Now apply the video effect Track Matte Key to your second clip. You will now see the Track Matte Key effect options under the effect controls for that clip. Set the Matte option to Video Track 3 (or whichever track has your luma matte clip on it), and set the Composite Using option to Matte Luma.

Set the Composite Using option to Matte Luma
Set the Composite Using option to Matte Luma

You should now see your luma matte transition working between the two clips. Depending on your luma matte transition, you may need to turn on Reverse under the effect controls.

Finally, make sure you second clip continues to play (and doesn't cut to black). Turn on Snapping (S) and use the Razor (C) tool to split the second clip right after the transition layer. Then delete the Track Matte Key effect from that new clip you just created from the split.

split the second clip right after the transition layer
Split the second clip right after the transition layer.

You should now see the luma matte transition joining both clips! The same method works for alpha matte transitions. Just set the Composite Using option on the Track Matte Key effect to Matte Alpha instead of Matte Luma.

Mentioned in This Tutorial

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