What is a keyframe?

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A keyframe is an integral element to editing a film, and as all filmmakers know they are essential to producing better videos – whether it’s animations, feature films, short films, commercials or travel vlogs, keyframes are extremely important to content creation.

A small tweak to the keyframes can really define a scene or change up the scene’s emotion through this form of digital motion, it’s a truly incredible tool.

What is a keyframe?

A keyframe in animation and filmmaking is what defines the starting point and the endpoint to any smooth transition. It holds the information where the transition should start and where it should end.

The frames in the middle of the first and last are into[olated and help to create the illusion of movement whether this is via zoom or adjusting the scale.

How do I create a keyframe animation?

To create a keyframe all you need to do is follow the simple step by step guide below, and then you are all set and ready to go.

  1. Locate the clip in which you will use to animate and go into the “effects panel”.
  2. Select the “motion” tab, and select the stopwatch beside the “scale & position” tab.
  3. Once you select the stopwatch two small markers will appear, these are your keyframes.
  4. Now play the clip a little, and move the keyframes forward, and then alter the scale and frame rate to your desired amount.
  5. Once you have done the above step a few times (really depends on the transition effect you are looking to use) slide your first keyframe to the start of the clip and the last to the end of the clip.
  6. Now when you click the play button the transition effect will take place, depending on what you have decided on.

You are now ready to create your own customised animations using the magical keyframes.

Why do I need to use a keyframe?

You need a keyframe for a lot of transitions, to allow the transition to flow smoothly from start to finish, keyframes will help facilitate this smooth transition.

A great example of this is the slow zoom animation. The slow zoom animation is where you set two keyframes to slowly increase in zoom until it hits the endpoint.

Keyframe - Slow Transition

To create the zoom effect using your keyframes, simply place your keyframe marker at the start of your clip. Then scroll to the end of the clip and place another keyframe marker and set the scale to between 110-120 depending on what suits the style of your clip best.

This will slowly increase the size of your clip as it goes from the first keyframe to the second, creating a slow zoom effect for your clip.

And there it is, what a keyframe is, how you create a keyframe and finally why you need a keyframe.

Read our keyframe transitions guide here, for more keyframe transitions to add to your post-production arsenal.

For more Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects tutorials find them here and here, and for Video editing tutorials catch Philip on our YouTube channel here and subscribe!

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Jay Neill

Jay Neill is the founder, owner, and managing editor of iFilmThings and believes everyone should have access to the film resources they need to plan their filmmaking project, which is why he’s dedicated iFilmThings to helping all filmmakers.

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