How to easily edit your videos to a musical beat with just a few clicks in Adobe Premiere Pro

Nov 17, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to easily edit your videos to a musical beat with just a few clicks in Adobe Premiere Pro

Nov 17, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Whether you’re editing a narrative story, a vlog or an actual music video, editing videos to the beat is a common technique to make the video feel cohesive to the viewer. Fast editing to the beat of tense music can cause excitement and anticipation while switching slowly to softer music can create a more peaceful and tranquil setting. The traditional way to edit music to the beat in Premiere Pro is to simply drag in your clips and adjust their length manually to match the music, but this can take forever.

In this video, Kelsey the Premiere Gal shows us a couple of handy addons for Adobe Premiere Pro to make the task go quickly and easily. Both essentially work in the same way, by analysing your music and adding markers along the timeline which Premiere Pro then uses to automatically insert and align all your clips in one fell swoop, but there are some subtle differences between the two.

The first addon we see is BeatMarker. And the big difference with this one is that it’s completely free. In it, you can adjust the processing area if you just want to sync footage to a small portion of the music or you can process all of it if you want to do the whole thing. Then, just click a button and it processes your audio, placing markers on your timeline at every beat. Once the markers are in, you just select all your clips, click the “Automate to Sequence” button and all of the clips appear on your timeline.

The second addon being shown off is BeatEdit 2, and this one’s not inexpensive. It’s $99.99 for Premiere Pro (or $199.97 if you want all three versions for Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition). It works in largely the same way, as Kelsey demonstrates, but gives you a lot more options and control over how those markers are placed into your scene. Instead of simply having a market at every beat, you can set one to every other beat, or every third beat, or even fractions of a beat for really fast-paced shot changes. Then, once your markers are in, select your clips and “Automate to Sequence”.

I have to admit, I’ve never used the “Automate to Sequence” function before. I’ve never really had a need to, but for something like this, it looks fantastic. The only thing to be aware of is that the clips are added to your timeline in the order they appear in your media pool (or bin or whatever Premiere Pro calls it). So, you’ll want to drag the clips around to match the order you want them in your timeline. And you can also set the start or end points to match up to the section of the clip you want to appear on the timeline, too. And you’ll have to do this before you hit the “Automate to Sequence” button.

It’s worth noting, though, that this isn’t just a one-click solution for making music videos. It’s a starting point. You’ll still want to watch through it, and probably tweak clips here and there to give a better feel. Maybe show a different part of the clip, or adjust the duration of some clips to better fit the feel of the music in different parts, but it’s going to potentially shave hours off your editing time.

It is worth noting that you don’t typically want to have your edits right on the beat, but one frame ahead. If you want to find out why, have a watch of this video from John Hess at Filmmaker IQ (and the addendum video to compensate for YouTube encoding). Having everything lined up perfectly on beat markers, though, allows you to bring everything precisely one frame ahead making them all line up exactly where they’re supposed to for maximum impact!

How do you edit videos to music? Anybody know how to do this in DaVinci Resolve?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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