Interview with Mathias Möhl About Editing to the Beat Automatically with BeatEdit

We recently partnered with Mathias Möhl, Founder of mamoworld and creator of BeatEdit, to build our new Adobe Premiere Pro Marker Add-on.

Like Screenlight, Mathias is building easy to use and intuitive tools that solve time intensive problems so that you have more time to be creative. 

We thought this would be a good time to highlight some of our new partner’s products and the design process behind them. 

Can you tell us about your latest product, Beat Edit and the problems that it solves? 

BeatEdit detects the beats in any song fully automatically and represents them as markers in the Premiere Pro timeline. That way, placing your cuts at the beats of the music becomes very easy. You can even generate fully automatic cuts in sync with the music.

Why is it important to place your cuts at beats?

Good editing has many different aspects. But the most important one is that it should not attract attention. It should not distract from the story and in the ideal case a cut will not be noticed by the audience at all. BeatEdit helps a lot with that, since cutting in sync with the music feels natural.

What types of projects is Beat Edit being used for?

Any project that uses background music. The automatic editing features can be used to create an entire photo slideshow with a few clicks, for example. Also event filters appreciate the automatic edits to show their client a first rough cut already immediately after the event.

But also in the manual editing process for documentaries or feature films BeatEdit is very helpful. You don’t need to get used to a new workflow: Just do your editing as usual and whenever you place a cut, make sure to place it at a beat marker. Editors with a musical background tend to place cuts at beats intuitively, but with BeatEdit you are faster and more accurate.

Where did you come up with the idea for Beat Edit?

For a pretty long time, I actually did manually what BeatEdit is now doing in a single click: Before starting to edit, I played the audio clip and pressed the M key of the keyboard repeatedly to set a marker at each beat. This works well but takes a lot of time. And it is also a boring task. Hence, I cam up with the idea to automate it. 

What other tools do you offer? How do you come up with inspiration for new products?

BeatEdit is my first product for Premiere Pro, but I also developed various tools for After Effects, like iExpressions or MochaImport+. A funny one is Auto Lip-Sync. It can analyze a voice recording and generates a talking mouth based on it. I did a tutorial about it showing how to create a talking car and one of my customers has created an entire business around this tutorial: He is creating ads now for local car dealers in which he lets their cars speak.

How do tutorials and training fit into your business?

On mamoworld.com I released more than 100 free tutorials - mostly about Adobe After Effects, but also for The Foundry’s NUKE and Premiere Pro. Teaching - no matter whether in tutorials or at events like the Adobe Video World Conference - is a lot of fun for me. At the moment, I also offer a paid training course (about scripting in After Effects) at fxphd. Before I started mamoworld, I worked as a researcher at university and in particular enjoyed the teaching I did there. Hence, I am very happy now that I am able to continue teaching at mamoworld in various ways.

One of the great things about Beat Edit is that it works right inside Premiere Pro and is accessed via the extensions sub-menu. What are your thoughts on the importance of integrating directly with Premiere Pro?

This is absolutely crucial. BeatEdit - like most mamoworld products - is mostly about workflow and making things more efficient. Switching between separate applications adds a lot of overhead. And when you have to export data from the one application to use it in the other one, a lot of things can go wrong. Hence, it is very important that BeatEdit runs natively inside Premiere Pro and avoids all of this hassle.

Developers are just starting to touch on the potential of extending Premiere Pro via panels. What would make it easier for you and other developers to develop more great Add-ons.

Currently, the installation process provided by Adobe is a bit cumbersome if the tools aren't distributed through Adobe's own site. This definitely needs some improvement. Apart from that, the API that enables modification of the Premiere Pro project could be extended. I actually wanted to implement BeatEdit already a few years ago. At that time, the API didn’t even allow to write any markers. Hence, I had to postpone this project until now. The API is still far away from being complete, but you can already do lots of exciting things with it now.

Any plans to create versions for Final Cut Pro X or Avid Media Composer?

Not at the moment. But definitely a version for After Effects and maybe also Audition.

What’s next from Mamoworld?

BeatEdit for After Effects is the biggest project I am working on right now. Also, a new After Effects tool for beauty retouch is currently in the beta testing phase. It can remove blemishes while preserving the details of the skin texture - and we will publish it on a “name your own price” basis.