Issue: How do I troubleshoot the Morph Cut transition in Premiere Pro CC 2015?

Solution: Use the following tips and techniques to improve your Morph Cut transitions

Here are some best practice tips as well as some advice on what to expect when using Morph Cut in the real world.

Users must be selective when using Morph Cut and understand when it does not work in an ideal way (similar to using the Photoshop Content-Aware Fill feature). It works best with footage that features the following:

  • A "talking head" interview shot with a single subject
  • A fixed shot (minimal camera movement is typically OK)
  • A static background (includes avoiding subtle lighting changes)
Morph Cut
Here is a good example of ideal framing for Morph Cut. Note that the head is large in the frame but not cropped. It’s evenly lit, and the hands are out of frame. The waveform is used to help show where there is a natural pause in speech. Also note that the transition is made asymmetrical so that it fits well into the speech gap.

You can still get good results if all three of these conditions are not met. However, you can run into blotchy results, such as when there is much background, hand, or body movement. Face detection can also be blotchy when the subject is tightly framed or in profile. Even with those three conditions met, results vary. Face detection depends on things like:

  • How the subject is framed and lit
  • How much the head or camera movement there is at the cut
  • How natural the speech pause is for lip syncing

Expect Morph Cut to work well when conditions are right. However, when working with less than ideal footage, Morph Cut is a less effective solution to heal a jump cut. Users who often work with interview footage can discern what works best for Morph Cut. Ideally, these users are setting up shots and subjects to be more conducive to working with Morph Cut.

Additional tips and tricks:

  • Look for relatively short, logical gaps with reasonably similar head placement at either end of the cut. Use the waveform to help spot areas with natural pauses to base your cut around.
  • Adjust the Morph Cut duration and symmetry as needed after the initial application. It helps to make it start and end toward the peaks of the last and first words around the edit point. Adjusting the duration avoids difficult lip syncing problems.
  • Generate render preview files after analysis is complete to make sure you're seeing the correct performance and not dropping frames.
  • Consider framing your subject tightly to limit the amount of hand or upper body movement Morph Cut has to interpolate. But if you frame it so tight that significant face or head details are cropped out, the Morph Cut face detection could fail to recognize it.
  • Consider using adjustment layers to apply effects over morph cut transitions and their associated clips. In general, apply effects directly to clips. However, you can avoid potential display problems, especially if you have to make many more adjustments after morph cut has been applied. This technique is the case with effects such as Lumetri Color effects.
  • Analysis is triggered automatically as soon as you apply the transition. It is also retriggered automatically whenever you trim the transition in or out symmetrically or asymmetrically.

Morph Cut is a processor-heavy effect. Using it with large-format media causes slower analysis times, especially on GPUs with smaller memories (less than 2 GB VRAM).

Morph Cut has some inherent limitations. Problems can occur with movement in the background, far-away subjects, hands in the shot, or excess head movement. It usually takes trial and error to learn when to use it rather than reverting to dissolves and cutaways to cover a jump cut.

To leave feedback about the effect, create a feature request here.

For more information, see this post on the Premiere Pro team blog.

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