You can certainly do this by keyframing the Motion effects. Do you understand how to use keyframing?
It's going to get pretty complicated though. Each of your clips is going to have to be on a separate video track so, depending on how many images you want onscreen at this time time, you could use a dozen or two video tracks!
But it's certainly possible -- as long as you keep rendering your timeline as you work and you have enough computer power to have so many images onscreen at once. (This kind of thing is much easier in After Effects -- but that program costs several hundred dollars more.)
So 8 or 12 images onscreen at the same time is certainly doable. It's a lot of work, but doable. But creating a major photo collage of 30 or 40 images in Premiere Elements is likely to make you crazy!
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Steve has outlined the steps that I would use to create this effect.
Depending on the layout on-screen, that you desire, something along the lines of these ALIGNMENT GRIDS might be helpful. Though the included ones will give you a grid to work with, for PiP work, I create ones specific to the matrix that I will be designing, so that I can use Effect>Motion>Scale and Motion>Position and see my custom "grid" to hit both the Position and Scale, dead-on each time.
Steve also has a Learning Series on Basic Keyframing, that is very good. It's located on Muvipix.
Steve and Bill,
Thank you for your assistance so far. Until you had mentioned "keyframing" I had never heard of it, but after doing some research into it, that looks exactly what I need to be doing.
Looks like it has a pretty steep learning curve, but after some trial and error (mostly struggling to understand that you had to set a keypoint at where you want the animiation to start rather than having Premiere read your mind) I'm starting to get the hang of it.
One sure way to flatten that learning curve is to pick up Steve Grisetti's book on PrE, and then his Tips & Tricks book, available from Muvipix.
Now, with Keyframes, the tough part is the concept. Once one gets their head around that (sounds like you have already), the only difficulty ahead is finding the exact controls, and learning how each can impact things, then deciding what one wants to do, and just plugging in the Keyframes, and adjusting their controls - some might find that tedious, but I like it, as it gives me so very much control over so many aspects of the animation.
For me, I first spent time with Keyframes in Flash (not quite as easy to work with, as with PrE). Still, I got pretty good with them. When I got into video editing, it was only finding out what needed to be turned on, when and how to adjust my Keyframes (much easier, than in Flash, at least Studio 8), and learning a bit about Bezier Velocity controls. When I went to AfterEffects, it was only discovering where the "switches" were, as things were just different enough between it and Premiere - the GUI's have some differences, and once one got past those, it was fun again.
This is my first real attempt at doing anything with video (outside of some half remembered experinces back in highschool with mulitple vcr's, cam corders, and clunky boom mics) so this has been quite a fun and learning experience for me.
That said, I do quite a bit of sports photography and I'm finding that many of the same core principles apply to post production with video as they do with stills.
I come from a similar background. A few lifetimes ago, I graduated from film school. Back then, there were not even VCR's yet. Any video recording was done on 2" tape, and there were no tape-to-tape editing systems yet. All video was shot in studio, fed through a switcher, and either put directly on-air, or sent to the 2" tape decks. All video editing was done with a razor blade and a 45 degree block, then taped back together.
I lived with the limitations of film, but learned my craft. Fast forward to several years ago. I picked up an early NLE program, and was completely blown away by how far video had come. Though I had been working those years with PS and digitized still images, I had no clue what was up with video. Let's just say that I have never looked back. While editing analog film is different than video, I had most of the "concepts" down, and just needed to learn how to apply them to digital video editing. Wow, a lot can change in 40 years!!!!
Good luck, and most of all - enjoy!