Parent Motion Filmstrip

Sometimes you want to move multiple Picture-in-Picture tracks around a frame in unison. You might think this is a difficult compositing job but Vegas makes this very easy to do with Parent Motion and Track Motion. In this example we will resize several clips to fit within a film strip overlay using Track Motion. The entire strip with the clips will move across the frame in unison using Parent Motion.

1. Drop the film strip overlay clip on the Vegas timeline. You can use any file format that Vegas supports. It is easier if your file dimensions fit the picture. (i.e., don’t create a 720×480 file with the graphics imbedded, just save the actual strip)

parentmotion-step01 parentmotion-preview01

2. Add the first video clip to the timeline ABOVE the filmstrip if the filmstrip has no transparency (like the one here) or BELOW the film strip if you want the clips show through a transparent hole. In this example we place it above so it is easy to position it on top of the non-transparent filmstrip. For this tutorial, I am using generated text media so it is easier to follow where each layer is going.

parentmotion-step02 parentmotion-preview02

3. Use Track Motion on the newly placed video track and resize the video to fit within a single frame of the filmstrip

parentmotion-step03 parentmotion-preview03

4. Reposition the track align with the first frame in the filmstrip.

parentmotion-step04 parentmotion-preview04

5. Now repeat steps 2 thru 4 adding each new track to the top layer. A shortcut to getting all of your video clips a consistent size is to copy and paste the first Track Motion keyframe into each new track.

parentmotion-step05 parentmotion-preview05

6. When all of your tracks have been resized and repositioned into the filmstrip, its time to add the Parent Composite track for the final Parent Motion. Insert a new Video Track, Highlight all the existing video tracks and press the Make Compositing Child arrow to make all the tracks a child of the one parent you just added.

parentmotion-step06 parentmotion-preview06

7. Select Parent Motion to create motion that will affect ALL of the child tracks. Position the filmstrip with all the child tracks at the bottom of the frame. Notice they all move together.

parentmotion-step07 parentmotion-preview07

8. You can now keyframe motion so that the entire filmstrip moves from one end of the frame to the other. In the image on the left I have placed the entire frame all the way to the right at the first keyframe. Next I move the timeline cursor to the point at which I want the frame move to complete and then I move the frame all the way to the right to create a second keyframe.

parentmotion-step08a parentmotion-step08b

Here is the finished product. I copied the composite track and all of its children and inserted them again but offset them so that their movement followed the first filmstrip giving the illusion of a much longer strip. (and when you’re making movies, illusion equals reality) To do this easily, Select the first track (i.e., the Parent track), Shift+Select the last track (i.e., the last Child track under the Parent) and this will select all tracks in between. Then right-click on the last track and select Duplicate Track from the context menu. All of the tracks will be duplicated. Then just slip them out a bit in time to make the two sets of tracks follow each other seamlessly.

By using Track Motion on entire tracks, we can easily add more media to the tracks and they will maintain the correct size and position on in the frame so that they always show up in the correct filmstrip box. You can download a ZIP file with the project and the filmstrip file here: I got the film strip in this file from Kelly Chien’s site. Check out his site. It’s contains some great work that other Vegas users have shared.

Happy Editing,


Johnny “Roy” Rofrano


About John Rofrano

John Rofrano is a Senior VASST Trainer and the author of Instant ACID, a book on Sony ACID Pro software, from CMP Books. He is also the developer of Ultimate S Pro, Vegas Pro Production Assistant, Mayhem, and other software plug-ins including the FASST Apps for Sony Vegas Pro NLE software. John has been a performing musician, singer, songwriter for over 40 years, and programmer and computer architect for the past 28 years. He is also a forum moderator at the Creative COW.