How to display videos inside text in Premiere Pro

A colleague recently saw an ad on TV for a series of Star Wars movies which showed a different movie clip playing inside each letter in the Star Wars logo and asked me how it was done. In a previous article, I explained how to put still images inside text in InDesign so I thought a new post about how to display videos inside text in Premiere Pro would be a logical extension. So here’s how it’s done in Premiere Pro.

Here is a simple title I created in Premiere Pro:  

In the above graphic I have one video clip playing inside all of the text and I will explain how to do that in this post. In a follow-up post I will explain how to display a different video clip inside each text character.

If you would prefer to skip all the following narrative, you can jump straight to a summary of the four basic steps. But if you read on you will find some useful tips about issues to keep in mind as you create your title.

STEP 1:

Bring into the Premiere Pro timeline the video clip that you want to have showing through the text, say into track V1. You can use any video track you want, but I’ll explain it with V1.

STEP 2:

Create your text. So you will have a text graphic layer in, say, track V2 with the same duration as the video clip.

My text is “STORM WATCH” and there is another example below, “RAF100”. You should use a chunky font so you get to see enough of the video clip inside the text.

Unlike if I were doing this in InDesign with a still image, where you can’t change the words and font after you have converted the text, in Premiere Pro you are not actually converting the text so you can change its look and style whenever you want to, or change its position on the screen and add other effects as you wish.

However, I do recommend that you decide on the words in you title at this early stage and don’t try and change the title later (which I doubt you would be doing anyway), because there are situations when it can become really fiddly to change the words once you have done Step 3 (for example if you want to re-scale, re-position or rotate your video clip relative to the title), as I explain at the end of this post.

STEP 3: 

Go to Effects > Video Effects > Keying and drag the Track Matte Key effect onto the clip in V2.

STEP 4: 

You need to tell Premiere Pro which track to use as the mask for your clip, so go to Effect Controls and in the Track Matte Key effect you just added, select “Video 2” as the matte. Now Premiere Pro will use the text in V2 as the mask for the clip in V1.

That’s it, done.

Before finishing up, here is another example I created in Premiere Pro using a short clip of a fly past of two Hercules aircraft during the RAF’s centenary celebrations that took place on 10 July 2018. You can view other examples on Vimeo using the link at the bottom of this page.

MODIFYING THE TEXT AFTER STEP 3:

If you re-scale, re-position or rotate your video clip, your text will visually do the same relative to the clip and will need to be adjusted accordingly to bring it back to the centre or wherever you originally positioned it on screen. That’s easily done in the Effect Controls.

But if you rotate the clip and then decide you want to modify your text, say change the title from “Storm Watch” to “Storm Troopers”, it can get messy.

This is because the bounding text box frame does not get scaled with the text and will be offset from the words you see on the screen and rotated if you rotated your video clip, making it tricky to select the characters to change them.

You will need to turn the fx Track Matte Key off in the Effect Controls so you can see the text in relation to the original clip dimensions, change the text, and turn the fx back on afterwards.

You do need to get your head round it. As S. R. Hadden said, you need to think like a Vegan (like an alien from the star system Vega, not like will-i-am on a new diet).

SUMMARY

Here is my QuickStep card that summarises how to display videos inside text in Premiere Pro:

How to display videos inside text in Premiere Pro.

CREDITS

In this tutorial, the background clip of the cloudy sky used in the video was shot by the author of this post. The soundtrack is a slowed-down version of a track called Battlelines which was distributed as part of the training media with an Apple Pro Training Series book.