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How To Make Your Own Adobe Premiere Filters

Part 1: Getting around the Premiere Filter Factory By Dave Nagel
Very few of you Premiere 5.1 editors out there, I'd wager, have ever given Premiere's Filter Factory a second thought. If you've ever selected it in the Filters window, you probably either figured it doesn't do anything or dismissed it as being way too complex to waste your time on. Wrong on both counts. Premiere's Filter Factory is very similar to the plugin of the same name found in Adobe Photoshop. That is, it allows you to enter in parameters for visual effects and then save these as a completely separate plugin, one that bears your name and copyright information. Basically, it provides the engine for creating your own keyframable Premiere filters, which you can then reuse and even redistribute to your colleagues.

And you don't even have to be a programmer.

Two problems: First, there's little documentation available that can be read and understood by someone as hammered with work as most video editors are. Second, the final appearance of the filter's interface isn't all that pretty. Well, I can solve both your problems. In this installment, we'll take a look at a few basic functions in Filter Factory just to get you understanding how things work. In the next installment, I'll show you how to clean up the filter's interface so that you can proudly distribute it with your own custom look?logos, company information, pictures of Charisma Carpenter or whatever else you Premiere folk want to look at while you're applying effects to your videos. We'll then continue on in the series with more complex operations that will give you some different effects.

Before we go on, I should note that I've also recently written a tutorial on the Adobe Photoshop Filter Factory. They're not the same, but this other tutorial might help you, if you'd like to go that route. You can find it here. I should also note that I'm writing this tutorial for Premiere version 5.1 because I have not yet received my copy of version 6 from Adobe. It should work the same, but I wouldn't know.

What am I looking at?
The first thing you'll see when you open up the Filter Factory are many things that don't make a whole lot of sense right off the bat.

The default Filter Factory window.

The most dominant features of the interface are the four big text fields labeled A, R, G and B, with the text a, r, g and b, respectively, entered into the fields. These are your channels. The text fields are for entering equations that tell Premiere what to do with these channels?invert them, add noise to them, turn them into pinwheel spirals, etc. (Now, whether you're making spiral or checkerboards or whatever, judgments in good taste are for you to make. I'm just going to show you what things do to get things happening.)

You'll also see eight sliders next to four different labels (Map 0, Map 1, etc.). These sliders represent values of 0 to 255 and replace the variables you enter into your equations. So, if you want your red channel (R) to fade in or out, you just tell Filter Factory to take a value for R from one of the sliders. When the slider is at 255, the red channel is fully visible. At 0, it's completely invisible. Simple, huh? Obviously, this isn't all there is to it, but that's basically it. Sliders control your channel values. Now it's up to you to tell the sliders HOW to control your channel values.

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