Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Basic Editing Instructions

Creating a New Sequence

Before you can start editing, you need to create a sequence in your Timeline. The Timeline is used to assemble your shots into a logical order that helps tell a story visually. 

At the start of a brand new project, your Timeline will be empty, as pictured below:

The instructions are: Drop media here to create sequence. It's that simple. 

Start by opening any one of your clips - it can be any of them. You don't have to choose the one clip you intend to start with. To open a clip, you double-click it - the clip appears in the Source Monitor.

Go back to the Project Panel and click on the bin for your Project. This will return you to the main Project Panel. The reason why will become obvious momentarily. In the example below, you would click the bin icon that says CubeSat Project.prproj

So now, your Project Panel will show all of its contents:

Now, drag the clip from the Source Monitor into the Timeline. You'll get an interface that looks like this:

Take a look at the Project Panel and you'll see what appears to be a new addition to its contents. It looks like a clip, but it's really a Sequence. You can tell based on the icon that shows up in the lower right corner of the clip.

The reason why we went back to the Project Panel to show all its contents is because this is where we wanted to store the Sequence clip. Otherwise, if the Media Clips folder were still open and we created a New Sequence, the Sequence clip would appear in the open folder. It's just a way to organise our work and make it easier trying to find specific parts of it. It's not big deal if you store a sequence clip in another location - just so long as you can find it.

As you can see, the sequence clip also has a name - AA092701. This name is taken from the name of the clip that was used to create the new sequence. Incidentally, this name was assigned by the camera when the clip was shot. 

To change the name of the sequence clip, simply click on the name, hit Return and type in a new name.

Once you entered a new name, you'll notice that the Sequence tab in the Timeline will also have the same name.

A single Premiere project can have multiple sequences. To create New Sequence

File > New > Sequence

Or, use Command + N.

You'll get a dialogue window for a New Sequence that shows a number of presets. Also, you have the option of naming the Sequence from here if you like (you can always rename it later).

An empty sequence will show up in the Timeline, with a new tab (it will say Sequence 1 if you haven't yet renamed it). 

The new sequence will be formatted based on a default preset. However, to make sure the sequence settings match those of your clip format, drag another clip into the sequence. Once you drag in the clip, you'll see a Clip Mismatch warning. Because you want the sequence settings to match your clip settings, choose to Change Sequence Settings. 

You now have a new sequence that matches your clip format. Look back in the Project Panel and you'll see 2 sequence clips. Go ahead and rename the second one as you desire. 

Quickly Creating a New Sequence

It's easy - drag any clip from the Project Panel into the New Item icon (located in the lower right portion of the Project Panel). 

Rename the new sequence as you see fit. Now you can start editing!

Previewing Clips and Marking IN and OUT points

You can preview clips a couple different ways:
  • As a thumbnail in the Project Panel
  • In the Source Monitor - double-click the clip in the Project Panel. The clip will appear in the Source Monitor
Another way to preview clips is to expand the Project Panel full-screen. 

First, open the media clips folder in the Project Panel, then on the computer keyboard, press the ~ (tilde) button. The Project Panel will expand to fill the screen as seen in the illustration below:

Using the mouse, hover over the clips, which lets you skim through the media. Or, click once on any clip to reveal a playbar at the bottom, which you can use to actually play through the video and audio of the clip itself. Press the spacebar on the keyboard to play through the clip.

Press ~ again to restore the panel to normal size.

Perhaps the most common way to preview clips is through the Source Monitor (which is also known as a Preview Monitor). 

At the bottom of the Source Monitor you'll find what are called transport controls, including playback and stepback/forward buttons (allowing you to step through the clip one frame at a time. Hovering your pointer over any of the buttons will reveal what it does. 

Take a look at the scale (known as a Scrubber Bar) above the transport controls. You'll see a blue marker - called a Playhead. When you play the clip, the Playhead will move across the scrubber bar.

With the pointer, you can grab the playhead itself and scrub through the clip faster. 

There's also a keyboard method to moving the playhead that involves the J, K and L keys. 

  • Press L - plays the clip at normal speed
  • Press K - stops playback
  • Press J - plays the clip in reverse at normal speed
If you click twice in quick succession on either the J or L keys, you'll be able to speed up playback. Keep pressing the key in quick succession to increase the playback speed. 

If you want to play the clip one frame at a time, hold down the K key and press either J or L depending on which direction you want to go. 

The J, K and L keys are immensely useful for moving the playhead exactly where you want it to go in the clip, especially where you want the clip to start and where you want it to end.

Once you move the playhead to a point where you want it to start, add a marker to designate this position. We call this marker an In Point. To designate where you want the clip to end, add another marker, which is called the Out Point. 

In and Out Points

There are a couple ways to add In and Out points to your clip. 

  • In the Transport Controls of the Source Monitor, use the Mark In and Mark Out buttons

Placing In and Out points isolates only that portion of the clip that you want to use when you start assembling your story. The In and Out points will appear in the scrubber bar - the grey area between them is the media that you've isolated in the original source clip (see the illustration below). We refer to the areas outside the In and Out points as "handles" or "padding" - the media is still there, it just won't be revealed when you add the clip to the Timeline. Using the pointer, you can always grab and In or Out point marker and move it to a new position.

There's a second way to add In and Out points to the clip - using the keyboard shortcut.

Press I for In and O for Out

Whilst the clip is playing back, you can even press these keys to add In and Out points to the clip. 

Assembling Clips to the Timeline

You know one method - dragging the clip directly to the Timeline. Note that the Timeline is divided up into what are called Tracks. A new sequence might start out with 3 video tracks and 4 audio tracks. You can always add more tracks

Sequence > Add Tracks and then select the number of tracks you want to add.

Try not to drag and drop clips into the Timeline haphazardly with them spread out all over the tracks. Apply a sense of order to your edit assembly by placing the first clip at the beginning of the Timeline in the Video 1 (V1) and Audio 1 (A1) track. 

Drag the next clip and attach it to the end of the first. The clip may even "snap" against the end of the other one when the Snap function is engaged. Snapping is a way to attach clips together without running the risk overlapping the clips over each other. You can turn the Snap on or off - the icon appears in the upper left corner of the Timeline and looks like a magnet.

As you assemble the clips, try to avoid gaps from appearing between them. These gaps may be perceived as "black holes" during playback, which could be unsettling to watch. The idea is to edit the clips such that the edits remain seamless where they go largely unnoticed by viewers. 

Playing back clips in the Timeline

Notice that the Program Monitor has transport controls that are similar to the ones found below the Source Monitor. You can use these controls to play through the assembled clips in your Timeline sequence. Or you can grab hold of the playhead in the scrubber bar and move it back to the beginning of the Timeline, then press the Spacebar to play back the sequence. 

You'll find a playhead in the Timeline as well that you can grab and scrub through the clips you just assembled. Or move it back to the beginning of the Timeline and press the Spacebar to play back the assembled clips.

Another way to move the playhead in the Timeline is with the Up and Down arrows on the keyboard. 

  • Down Arrow - moves the playhead to the next edit (or end of the clip)
  • Up Arrow - moves the playhead to the previous edit (or beginning of the clip)
Finally, you can press the Return key, which will automatically play back the assembled sequence from the very beginning. 

Inserting clips between two others

Let's say you want to insert a clip between two clips that are already in the Timeline. It's not easy dragging the clip in because you'll likely end up dropping the clip on top of another, which it cause it to be overwritten or replaced. However, using the Insert function will help you drop a clip between two others easily without a mess.

First, start by moving the playhead where you want it in the Timeline. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move the playhead to the edit point between two clips. 

Open the clip you wish to insert in the Source Monitor and set In and Out points on it.

Finally, click on the Insert button, which located to the right of the Transport controls in the Source Monitor.

The new clip will insert where the playhead is located in the Timeline. No matter where you position the playhead in the Timeline, pressing the Insert button will insert the clip where the playhead is located. 

You'll notice that when the pointer hovers over the button that it also shows a shortcut key for using the Insert function. Press the , button to insert the clip directly where the playhead is located. 

Using the Overwrite

When you use the Overwrite it will paste over existing clips in the Timeline. 

  • Start by moving the playhead where you want to paste the new clip. 
  • Open a clip in the Source Monitor and set In and Out Points
  • Press the Overwrite button, which is located next to the Insert button
  • The keyboard shortcut for the Overwrite button is the Period '.' key

Stacking Clips

As a visual aid, think of laying books flat side by side. When you look down on them, you can see all the book covers easily. Now, place a book on top of one - the book below it is still there, but hidden under the book that is on top. To the viewer looking down, they see the book on top. 

You can layer clips much the same way... when you play back the sequence, only clips that appear on top are the ones that are visible. Layered clips will look like this in the Timeline.

You can achieve layering by simply dragging clips to the positions in the Timeline where you want them to end up. You also have the means to drag either the video by itself or the audio. Use the Drag Video Only or Drag Audio Only functions, which are located near the bottom of the Source Monitor. The Drag Video Only icon looks like a film reel and the Drag Audio Only icon looks like an audio waveform. 

To drag just the Video portion of a clip:
  • Open the clip in the Source Monitor
  • Set In and Out points
  • Drag the clip from the Drag Video Only icon
Making Swap Edits

When you want to change the position of one clip in the Timeline with another:

  • Hold Option + Command and click on the clip you want to move
  • Drag the clip over the one you want to replace and release
Replacing One Clip With Another

When you want to replace a clip already in the Timeline with another one entirely:

  • Open the clip you want in the Source Monitor - set the In and Out Points
  • Hold Option and click and drag the clip on top of the one you want to replace - then release

The space where the other clip was is now filled by the new clip