Part One:
Mastering the Media Browser (And Introducing the Pancake Media Browser)

Every edit starts with an import. How you import media into Premiere Pro can make a big difference to your overall workflow speed and efficiency, especially on larger or ongoing projects. Most professional editors prefer the Media Browser for importing footage to Premiere Pro, and it’s the Adobe-recommended method. Here we’ll introduce the Pancake Media Browser, a unique way of arranging the Media Browser panel for faster importing. But first, let’s establish exactly why the Media Browser is the best way to import.

Why use the Media Browser?

There are several ways to import media in Premiere Pro: File > Import (CMD+I); double-clicking an empty area of the Project panel, or dragging and dropping media on the Project panel.

So, why use the Media Browser when there are seemingly simpler ways to import? The short answer is Premiere Pro accommodates a wide range of workflow styles to suit a variety of user preferences and skill levels. However, just because those options are there, doesn’t mean you should use them. The Media Browser is the best option for importing professional camera formats and it gives Premiere Pro editors more robust import options.

5 Media Browser Master Tips

1. Add to Favorites

Adding frequently used folders to Favorites in the directory list will make it faster to navigate folders in the Media Browser. Plus, folders added to Favorites will be accessible in other Premiere Pro projects as well.

“There are few scenarios in which it’s preferable to use any import method other than the Media Browser, so take a little time to build your familiarity with it. You can create a favorite by right-clicking a folder and choosing Add to Favorites.”
Ten Most Useful Tips to Get the Most from Premiere Pro CC Maxim Jago

2. Preview media before import

Unlike system navigation with File > Import, the Media Browser gives you shuttle controls for more precise previewing while you browse media.

“The Media Browser allows you to view and play your footage on your hard drive before you import it into Premiere Pro. You can play your footage with the space bar, use the J/K/L shortcuts and Hover Scrub like you can in the Project.”
Multiple Ways of Importing Footage into Premiere Pro Clay Asbury via Premiumbeat

3. Search and sort media and metadata

The ability to search and sort media and metadata is invaluable for larger projects with lots of media formats. As well as the search bar, the Media Browser also has filters for “File types displayed” and “Directory viewers”. You can customize the metadata columns of the Directory viewers by selecting Edit Columns in the Media Browser panel menu. Note that you must be in List View for this to work.

“Our favorite import method, by far, is the Media Browser. Its flexibility makes it superior to the standard file system import. Not only does it display the files in a straight list, but it also adjusts the view using the metadata. Being able to see this metadata makes it far easier to select from long lists of files or shots.”
An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro: Importing Media Peachpit; Richard Harrington, Robbie Carman, Jeff Greenberg

4. Clip spanning

The real beauty of the Media Browser is that it understands the folder structure and metadata of professional camera formats. It automatically combines spanned clips and hides text, XML, and other non-media files. In other words, the Media Browser only displays the stuff you want to import: media.

“Use the Media Browser, instead of File > Import, to import files from tapeless sources. The Media Browser assembles the relevant files into coherent clips, and does not import irrelevant non-media files sometimes found in the folders of tapeless media … The Media Browser automatically aggregates spanned clips and shot metadata from the subfolders into single clips for any of these formats.”
Importing Assets from Tapeless Formats Adobe Premiere Pro Help

5. Browse other Adobe project files

The Media Browser can browse and import other Premiere Pro and even After Effects project files. It uniquely allows editors to open (double-click or SHIFT+O) and preview sequences from other projects in the Timeline panel and Source monitor before importing.

“But what makes the Media Browser ESPECIALLY helpful is that you can use it to review and access Premiere Projects, as well as media. While Premiere only allows one project to be open at a time, this technique allows you to access an unlimited number of projects from inside a single project!”
Adobe Premiere Pro CC: Media Browser Magic Larry Jordan

Mastering these five Media Browser tips will not only make importing in Premiere Pro faster and more efficient, but it will also encourage greater project organization overall. But what if you could make importing with the Media Browser even faster by eliminating folder navigation altogether? What if the Media Browser were set up to always be looking at the media in a project? Here’s how...

The Pancake Media Browser

Most Premiere Pro editors are familiar with the pancake timeline, a delicious discovery by Premiere Pro legend Vashi Nedomansky. To recap, the pancake timeline is two or more timeline panels stacked on top of each other, letting you quickly view and edit clips from one timeline to another. This is an efficient workflow for pulling selects from a stringout of clips. Imagine this same principle applied to the Media Browser for faster media importing.

How to set up the Pancake Media Browser

  1. Make the Media Browser its own docked panel. Visit the Adobe Premiere Pro Workspaces help page to find out how.
  2. In the Media Browser Directory List, navigate to your project folder. (And add it to your Favorites!)
  3. Continue to a folder you will frequently import from, for example, your “footage” folder. This Media Browser tab is now pointed to your “footage” folder and will remain in that state unless you change it.
  4. Create a new Media Browser panel. Click the panel menu and select New Media Browser Panel.Point the new Media Browser to another folder in your project. (For example: “music”, “graphics”, or “After Effects”.)
  5. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have an individual Media Browser tab for all the folders in your project.
  6. Turn the Media Browser panels into a Stacked Layer Group. Click the panel menu on any of the Media Browser tabs, go to Panel Group Settings, and check Stacked Panel Group. The Media Browser tabs will now be stacked horizontally and can easily be viewed singularly by clicking on them. (By default, clicking on a tab will minimize any previously expanded tab. If you wish for tabs to remain expanded, uncheck Solo Panels in Stack under the Panel Group Settings.)
  7. Make the Pancake Media Browser part of your Premiere Pro project template. Point the Pancake Media Browser tabs to your media folders at the beginning of a project. Whenever you add media to your project folders, they will be ready to be imported  

Want to really master the Media Browser? Get rid of the CMD+I shortcut! Better yet, assign it to Import from Media Browser. Combine this shortcut with the Pancake Media Browser and you’ll be a Media Browser master in no time!

What do you think of the Pancake Media Browser? Did these tips convince you to give it a go, or have you been a fan since way back? And importantly – what tips would you add? Please share them in the comments below.


Part Two: Mastering the Wrench Settings
 

Generally speaking, the expression “to throw a wrench in the works” is not a good thing.

That is, unless you are editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. Then the wrench icon is an invaluable tool for customizing how your media and metadata is displayed.

The wrench icons in Premiere Pro are also known as panel settings. Five panels have wrench icons: the Source, Program, and Reference monitors, the Timeline panel, and in Premiere Pro 2015.3 there is a new wrench in the Media Browser. The latter opens the new Ingest Settings which is part of the new proxy workflows. Until the release of 2015.3, the only difference between the wrenches was that the Timeline wrench called itself “Timeline Display Settings” while the other wrenches just said “Settings...”. Except for in the new Media Browser wrench, this little discrepancy in the Timeline wrench description reminds us what the wrenches control: display. In general, the wrench settings modify how clips or sequences appear in a panel.

This post is a comprehensive reference for all of the wrench settings in Premiere Pro. However, I haven’t included the Reference monitor, because all its settings are identical to the Program monitor’s. Also, this post doesn’t include the Media Browser wrench since it is specific to Premiere Pro 2015.3 and is only a shortcut to the Ingest Settings tab under the Project Settings menu. Because the Source and Program monitors share most of the same settings, I’ve organized this post into shared settings first, and then panel-specific settings.

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Source and Program Wrench Settings

 

Gang Source and Program

This setting links the playheads in the Source and Program monitors at their current positions. They are not synced. Instead, the relationship between the playheads is based on the distance between them. For example, if the Source is at 00:00:02:00 and the Program is two seconds ahead at 00:00:04:00, when the Source is at 00:00:04:00 the Program will be at 00:00:06:00. The two-second difference remains constant unless the Program is 00:00:02:00 or below, then the Source will be 00:00:00:00 until the Program goes back over 00:00:02:00.

  • Pro Tip: Gang the Source and Program at 00:00:00:00 and scrub through different versions of a sequence to compare edits.

Composite Video

This is the default view of a video clip or sequence.

Alpha

Alpha refers to transparency. If your footage has an alpha channel, this setting will show the image as a grayscale alpha matte with the dark areas being transparent.

To learn more about alpha, visit Compositing, alpha channels, and adjusting clip opacity in Premiere Pro

VR Video (Premiere Pro 2015.3 only)

Premiere Pro 2015.3 introduced new VR video workflows which are primarily accessed through a new setting under the Program and Source wrenches. Enabling the VR Video setting toggles the VR Video display, giving editors the ability to preview equi-rectangular footage natively in Premiere Pro. You can also click-and-drag around the monitor, similar to viewing 360° video on YouTube.

Under VR Video > Settings… you can select whether  to view your VR media as monoscopic or stereoscopic, as well as change the Captured and Monitor angle of view.

If you want to enable VR Video faster, you can add the Toggle VR Video Display button to the transport controls (see below for Transport Controls).

To learn more about working with VR video in Premiere Pro visit Adobe Premiere Pro Help | Support for VR Workflows.

Display Fields

The following three settings show how many fields of the interlaced footage will be displayed.

To learn more about interlaced footage in Premiere Pro, visit Learning interlacing and field order in Premiere Pro.

Display Resolution

10-playback-resolution.png

Playback Resolution

This menu is critical for achieving real-time playback and optimizing Premiere Pro’s performance, especially when working with highly compressed or UHD footage. Dropping the playback resolution will dramatically decrease the possibility of dropping frames. That said, you can more quickly adjust this in the Select Playback Resolution dropdown menu located immediately to the left of the wrench icon.

Paused Resolution

Unlike Playback Resolution, you can only change Paused Resolution under the wrench settings. Whatever your reason for not having full resolution on a paused frame, you can make that selection here.

High Quality Playback

This feature was hidden amongst a bunch of bug fixes in the 2015.2 release. According to the release notes, Premiere Pro playback has a “slightly softer” look compared to paused, even when playback is at full resolution. Enabling this feature ensures the highest quality of playback possible. Be aware that this setting is more taxing on your system and could result in dropped frames. Consider rendering previews prior to enabling High Quality Playback.

Loop

This setting will loop playback between 00:00:00:00 and the final frame of a clip or sequence. Adjusting the Timeline Work Area does not affect loop playback; set In and Out points to define the loop region.

  • Pro Tip: By default, the keyboard shortcut for Loop is CMD+L. Add the Loop button to the transport controls (see below for Transport Controls) to see when Loop is active.

Captions Display

This setting only applies when viewing a Premiere Pro caption or when viewing a clip with an embedded captions sidecar file. Under the Captions Display flyout menu you can toggle captions on and off and access the Captions Display Settings. Here you can change the captioning standard as well as select which stream you want to view.

To learn more about Closed Captions, visit Learn to work with captions in Premiere Pro.

Transport Controls

Transport Controls are the buttons beneath the actual monitor area. You can customize these buttons by clicking the Button Editor, which is the Plus sign in the bottom right of the panel. Drag and drop the controls you want to be shown in the Transport Controls bar or choose Reset Layout to restore the default buttons.

  • Pro Tip: All the transport controls can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts. Hiding the Transport Controls gives you more screen real estate.

Audio Time Units

Video is recorded in frames and, generally speaking, these frames are sufficient for working with audio in Premiere Pro. However, there are times when viewing or editing audio requires greater precision. Audio is recorded in audio samples, which are much smaller units compared to video frames. Switching to Audio Time Units allows subframe audio adjustments such as editing dialogue between words.

Markers

If a clip or sequence contains markers, they will appear above the Time Ruler by default. Markers are excellent for identifying important events or beats in your footage.

To learn more about using markers, visit Using markers in the Premiere Pro timeline - Adobe Support.

  • Pro Tip: Check out Vashi Nedomansky’s post Extending Premiere Pro Markers for a helpful tip and a real-world example of using markers in an editing workflow.

Time Ruler Numbers

This setting controls the timecode displayed above the timeline. Time Ruler Numbers are based on the timecode of the clip or sequence, whether it’s 29.97 Drop-Frame, 29.97 Non Drop-Frame, etc. The Time Display Format of a clip or sequence can be changed by right-clicking the clip or sequence in the Project panel and selecting Modify > “Timecode…”.

Drop Frame Indicator

This feature will alert you when Premiere Pro drops any frames. When enabled, the Dropped Frame Indicator will appear on the left side of the Transport Controls. The indicator color will turn from green to yellow when dropped frames are detected. Hovering over the indicator shows exactly how many frames were dropped.

Safe Margins

This setting activates Safe Margins. These are onscreen guides to ensure important action or text stays within a specific area so as not to get cropped by some displays. This is especially important for some broadcast deliverables. Standard action-safe is 10% and title-safe is 20%. But you can change this under Project Settings > General.

Transparency Grid

This setting turns on the Transparency Grid, a white and gray checkerboard (similar to that in After Effects) seen beneath transparent areas of an image. This setting is particularly helpful when the transparency is hard to see, for example, in a gradient.

Edit Cameras...

Edit Cameras applies to multi-camera sequences. When viewing a multi-camera sequence, Edit Cameras will open a window where the cameras can be disabled or reordered. Note that the camera that is currently “live” cannot be disabled in the Edit Cameras window.

Overlays

Overlays are onscreen text with helpful information such as timecode, clip name, sequence name, etc. This setting toggles the Overlays on and off based on your Overlay Settings.

Overlay Settings

Premiere Pro makes it easy to customize overlays by providing dropdown menus for each part of the screen: top, bottom, left, right. Simply select the metadata you wish to view, where you want to view it, and save it as a preset.

To learn more about overlays visit Monitor overlays in Premiere Pro.

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Source Only

Open Source in Timeline

This setting only applies to sequences. When active, the sequence in the Source Monitor will open up in the Timeline panel and the playheads in both panels will move in sync. This is no different from how the Timeline and Program monitor normally behave and function. It is easy to see when the Source is open in the Timeline because the Timeline playhead will turn red and you’ll see “(Source Monitor)” on the sequence name in the Timeline panel.

28-wrench-icon-program.png
  • Pro Tip: Open Source in Timeline is an essential step in proper Pancake Timeline editing, according to Vashi Nedomansky, credited as the originator of the Pancake Timeline. That’s not to say that drag and drop editing from one sequence to the other is wrong, it’s just not how the Pancake Timeline was intended to be used. Only when the Source sequence is opened in the Timeline can traditional three- or four-point editing be performed, driven 100% by the keyboard.

Audio Waveform

This shows the audio waveform of the clip or sequence. Create a keyboard shortcut if you find yourself switching to audio waveform view often.

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Program Only

Gang to Reference Monitor

The Reference monitor is a secondary viewing monitor in Premiere Pro. The Reference monitor is used for frame-by-frame comparison, typically during color correction. (Note, the Reference monitor does not support continuous playback, only frame-by-frame.) Turn on this setting to link the playheads between the Program and Reference monitors.

Multi-Camera

When a multi-camera sequence is open in the timeline, this setting shows all the cameras with a yellow bounding box highlighting the currently selected camera. Click on the other video streams to switch cameras.

To learn more about working with multi-camera sequences, visit Create and edit a multi-camera sequence in Premiere Pro.

Timecode Overlay During Edit

Turning on this setting will show the clip timecodes on the incoming and outgoing frames during a trim.

Enable Transmit

This setting turns on Mercury Transmit, a software interface that Adobe uses to send video to external monitors, e.g. AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, and Matrox. This is the setting for sending the Program monitor signal to another display for, say, a client or producer/director. Mercury Transmit is not GPU accelerated and should not be confused with the Mercury Playback Engine inside Premiere Pro.

Learn more at Details of video preview with Mercury Transmit.

Multi-Camera Audio Follows Video

Enabling this setting means that audio playback from a multi-camera clip is based on the camera selection. Do this to reference the scratch audio from a camera, assuming production sound was not recorded directly in the camera. By default, the audio track selection remains constant when switching between cameras in a multi-camera sequence. This is usually preferred when production sound was recorded separately.

Show Multi-Camera Preview Monitor

The Multi-Camera Preview Monitor, not to be confused with the Multi-Camera view, shows the current selected camera in a multi-camera sequence. Think of this as the Program monitor within the Program monitor for your multi-camera sequence. This is the default view, but you must be in Multi-Camera view in order to enable the Multi-Camera Preview Monitor.

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Timeline Only

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Timeline wrench is the anomaly amongst the wrenches; it doesn’t share any settings with the other wrenches. However, its settings are based on the same principle: controlling how clips and sequences appear in the Timeline panel.

Show Video…

The following image shows the three options for customizing the information displayed on video clips in the Timeline.

Show Video Thumbnails (Yellow highlight)

This setting shows the initial frame of a video clip as a thumbnail on the clip itself. Tracks must be expanded in order to show thumbnails.

  • Pro tip: Double clicking in the track header area quickly expands the track.

By default, video thumbnails appear at the beginning of a clip. In the Timeline pop-up menu, the three stacked lines to the right of the sequence name, you can change this to Video Head and Tail Thumbnails or Continuous Video Thumbnails. Video thumbnails in the Timeline are a helpful visual to identify the content of a clip. This is especially handy when assembling an edit. However, you may want to turn them off to reduce clutter when keyframing.

  • Pro Tip: If you find yourself frequently turning video thumbnails on and off, assign them to a keyboard shortcut.

Show Video Keyframes (Orange highlight)

This setting must be turned on in order to do any keyframing in the Timeline. Like video thumbnails, video tracks must be expanded in order to show keyframes. When enabled, a thin line – sometimes called a rubber band or ribbon – will appear on the clip. The opacity rubberband is shown by default. Right clicking the FX badge in the top left of a clip will reveal other video and effects parameters that can be keyframed in the Timeline. Use the Pen tool to do your keyframing work in the Timeline.

To learn more about keyframing, visit Adding, navigating, and setting keyframes in Premiere Pro.

Show Video Names (Red highlight)

This setting turns video clip names on and off. Besides picture lock, there are not many situations where hiding clip names is actually more helpful.

Show Audio…

The following image shows the three options for customizing the information displayed on audio clips in the Timeline.

Show Audio Waveform

Waveforms are like video thumbnails for audio; they help you visualize the sound. Like thumbnails, audio tracks must be expanded to show waveforms. You can change the appearance of audio waveforms in the Timeline pop-up menu, the three stacked lines to the right of the sequence name. By default, Rectified Audio Waveforms is selected. Turning this off reveals the bottom half of the waveform. Then there’s Logarithmic Waveform Scaling, which is also on by default. Logarithmic scaling exaggerates the waveform peaks and valleys to make them easier to see. Both of these settings only change the appearance of the waveform and do not affect amplitude or frequency in any way.

Show Audio Keyframes

The same principles for keyframing video clips in the Timeline applies to audio clips as well. Audio tracks must be expanded in order to show audio keyframes.

Show Audio Names

Same as Show Video Names but for audio clips.

Show Clip Markers

A great thing about clip markers in the Timeline is they can be seen even when tracks are minimized – just make sure you don’t confuse clip markers with Timeline markers. To add a clip marker, select a clip and press M for Add Marker at the playhead. If no clip is selected, pressing M will add a Timeline marker.

Clip markers are an excellent way of adding searchable metadata to your clips. But sometimes they can get in the way, for instance, when you have finished your rough cut and are beginning to finalize. To learn more about markers, visit Using markers in the Premiere Pro timeline.

  • Pro Tip: Use the Find window (CMD+F) to search clip markers in the Timeline.

Show Duplicate Frame Markers

Turning on this setting adds colored lines through any duplicate frames in the Timeline. This is useful if you want to see if clips have been used more than once.

Show Through Edits

When the last and first frames of two adjacent clips are sequential, Premiere Pro will show two sets of arrows on either side of the edit point. There may be a reason for the edit; perhaps there is an effect applied to one side of the edit but not the other. But if the edit is unnecessary, you can select the edit point (CMD+Marquee Selection) and press delete to remove the edit point and join the clips.

Show FX Badges

As mentioned above under Show Video Keyframes, there are very tiny FX badges in the top left corner of video and audio clips. This indicator changes color based on specific adjustments made to the clip.

Composite Preview During Trim

This feature shows you the final composited incoming and outgoing frames in the Program Monitor while performing a trim edit. “Composited Preview” means the preview is the final frame of all tracks combined, not just the track you are trimming on. For example, if you add an edit to a clip on track 2 and do a non-ripple trim, Composite Preview During Trim would show the incoming frame from the clip below on track 1. The same also applies to trimming done in Trim Mode.

Minimize All Tracks

Clicking this setting will collapse all expanded tracks in the Timeline.

Expand All Tracks

Clicking this setting will expand all tracks in the Timeline.

  • Pro Tip: Use the default keyboard shortcuts SHIFT+= and SHIFT+- to expand and minimize all tracks.

Save Preset…

Did you know you can save track height presets? Create track height presets for different projects or for different stages of the editing workflow.

Manage Presets

What’s great about track height presets is they can be assigned to any of the nine Track Height Preset keyboard shortcuts. Manage Presets is also where you can delete track height presets you no longer use.

Customize Video Header...

“Video Header” refers to the left side of the track where the track names are visible. In addition to track name, each video track header displays the Toggle Sync Lock, Toggle Track Output (video mute) and Keyframe controls. By default, all the video header controls are visible. In other words, “customize” means removing controls from the default layout.

Customize Audio Header...

Audio track headers have more controls compared to video. The default audio track header controls are identical to video tracks with the addition of the Show Keyframes button. This button switches the keyframe display from Clip Keyframes to either Track Keyframes (Volume and Mute) or Track Panner (Balance). Remember, unlike clip keyframes, track keyframes are not associated with any clip and will not move if audio clips are shifted.

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Now you know it all!

Knowing their footage is an editor's greatest asset. These wrench settings in Premiere Pro help editors quickly interpret their footage and give them more knowledge to edit with. In any NLE, the most important settings are the ones that make you faster and more efficient at editing.

Were you already familiar with some of the wrench settings in Premiere Pro? If so, which settings do you use the most and how do they improve your editing workflow? Give us your wrench recommendations in the comments below.

If this is your first time learning about the wrenches, and which settings are editing game-changers? Let us know what wrench you plan to throw into the works!

Sean Schools (who wrote the two above blogs) is Premiere Bro, the Premiere Pro User Blog and Fansite, dedicated to enriching the Premiere Pro editing experience and user community. Sean is a Full Sail University alum and the award-winning video editor for JK Design, a New Jersey advertising agency. Visit the Premiere Bro blog and follow Sean on Twitter and Facebook.


Part 3: Native Tools for Efficient Editing

By Russ Fairley

Editors are storytellers. We take a mountain of puzzle pieces and assemble a picture: something watchable, something compelling. Like any other creative endeavour, it’s important to know our tools. Mozart couldn’t express himself without knowing his scales, and so to with editors: by knowing the fundamentals of your tools, you allow your creativity to flow unhampered.

In this series, we’ll look at how to get the most out of Premiere Pro, starting with some of the basic native tools and controls, before delving into advanced tips, tricks and techniques. Whether you spent years in film school or taught yourself how to wrangle an NLE, bad habits can form, ruts are easily fallen into, and creativity stagnates. Editors of all levels can find value in this series: while we assume some experience in the software, each lesson will offer something for every skill level.

Back to basics: the tools you need to know

Let’s start by revisiting those basic tools in every professional non-linear editing platform with which we scrape, slip, slide and adjust our clips to get exactly what we’re looking for. In future articles we’ll look at new ways to use these tools creatively, but for now let’s make sure we all understand their basic functions, and touch on customizing your experience with keyboard shortcuts.

Slip (keyboard shortcut: Y) – Use this tool to "slip" the trim points forward or back in the clip – the in and out points will adjust accordingly to keep the duration of the clip the same. This is a great way to tweak a clip without affecting anything else on the timeline.

Slide (keyboard shortcut: U) – A Slide edit moves a clip and has the neighbouring clips adjust accordingly to the change. This means you can move a clip to elsewhere in the sequence, and the in and out points of the clips on either side of the one being moved adjust to ensure the program stays the same length. This is another great way to tweak a clip without affecting anything else on the timeline.

Razor (keyboard shortcut: C) –The Razor tool slices a clip into two, or it can chop multiple clips in several tracks at once. While it implies some finality, the two clips left behind are still full and complete trimmed versions of the original clip, but with new in and out points.

Rate Stretch (keyboard shortcut: R) – This very handy tool allows editors to speed up or slow down a clip by dragging the tail end in either direction; the in and out points don't change. This tool can be used to fill tiny gaps, or to create a near-still frame.

Ripple Edit (keyboard shortcut: B) – The Ripple Edit is an important one – it lets us lengthen or shorten the duration of a clip and have the leading or trailer clips automatically fill in the gap without hurting the edits on either side of the trimmed clip. Using it is as simple as placing the tool over an edit and dragging to the left or right.

Rolling Edit (keyboard shortcut: N) – The Rolling Edit tool allows you to change the duration of a clip, much like performing a Ripple Edit. The difference is that the leading or trailing clip – depending on which direction you are rolling your edit in – will lengthen or shorten to keep the duration of the sequence constant. It's like changing an in or out point after a clip has been placed, but directly affecting a neighbouring clip.

Insert/Overwrite – An Insert edit means adding a clip to a sequence and forcing clips later in the timeline to shift forward to make way for the new one. To perform an Insert edit by dragging a clip, press the Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) key to shift into Insert mode. An Overwrite edit means adding a clip to a sequence by replacing any clips currently residing at the chosen edit point. This is the default edit when dragging a clip to – or rearranging clips in – a sequence.

In/Out Points (keyboard shortcuts: I and O) – In and Out points mark the beginning and end timecode of a clip to be played in the timeline or of a selection in the Source Monitor to be added to the timeline, or they can choose the portion of a clip to be trimmed down to. In longer sequences they can be handy when you’re looking to only render part of a sequence.

Pen Tool (keyboard shortcut: P) – Premiere Pro’s Pen Tool is different from the one in programs such as After Effects or Illustrator. In Premiere, it’s used to set or select keyframes, or to adjust connector lines in a timeline.

Lift/Extract – Lift and Extract are handy tools to work with footage and the clipboard. Lift will copy a clip to your clipboard and remove the selected portion from the timeline, leaving a space where the clip was previously. Extract will do the same except it will close the hole left behind, in a ripple manner.

Making note of the keyboard shortcuts for a few other common tasks will save you time throughout the day. A couple of favorites are the tilda key (~ or `) to toggle the focus window to fullscreen and the Up and Down arrow buttons to jump to previous and next edits. Clearing in and out points with Ctrl+Shift+X (Windows) or Opt+X (Mac) is also a good one.

I also recommended checking out the Keyboard Shortcuts in Premiere Pro:

Adding a shortcut for "add edit" or "ripple delete" can speed up your editing tremendously, and rearranging shortcuts to make them more intuitive for you is well worth the set-up time.

It may seem like child’s play, but revisiting the basics can help you get the most out of Premiere, and save you serious time throughout the day. Nailing down these will help us as we move forward in the series.


Part 4: Save Time With Favorites

By Jonny Elwyn

As a freelance film editor, the second thing I do whenever I’m editing on a new system is create a Favorites bin for the effects and presets that I use regularly.

(The first thing I do is to import my own keyboard shortcuts, and the third thing I do is to ensure the auto-save interval time is set to something more frequent than the default 15 minutes; say every five or seven minutes.)

To convince you to use a Favorites bin, just type ‘Lumetri’ into the effects search box and watch what happens…

This unwieldy list of look presets means you have to scroll a long way down to find that Lumetri color-grading effect. Multiply this effort times a hundred and it can soon become tiresome.

Compare that long list to this nice, short one.

It’s incredibly easy to set up a Favourite Effects bin in Premiere Pro. Simply right click in the Effects Panel and select ‘New Custom Bin’

Rename this to Favorites (or whatever you want) and then just click on an effect and drag it into that bin. It creates a copy of the effect with a little arrow over the icon. Transitions and audio effects work in the same way.

Here you can see the effects that I most often use in Premiere Pro. If you’re really eagle-eyed you might notice a saved preset of a particular effect in that folder too. This is why there is a little ‘star’ over the Three-way Color Corrector effect.

Saving presets means you can quickly store and re-use particular settings for any effect, for example audio EQs that create a telephone sound effect, or remove bass rumble or whatever.

To save an effect preset for later use, just apply the effect to a clip, adjust the parameters to your liking, then right click on the name of the effect and choose ‘Save Preset…’. (If you don’t right click on the name of the effect specifically, you won’t see this option.)

By default all saved presets are located in the top ‘Presets’ folder, but you can easily drag and drop them into your Favorites bin to keep everything in one place.

Bonus Tip – Fixing Premiere’s Three-Way Color Corrector

Now that Premiere has the powerful Lumetri Color Panel as the go-to color-grading method, there isn’t much cause to use the older Three-Way Color Corrector.

But if you do end up using it, then make sure you fix the rather broken default settings by dragging out the two triangles that handle the fall-off and blending between the shadows, midtones and highlights.

By adjusting these towards the middle, you will create a much more subtle fall-off around each range, and so more easily create natural-looking adjustments – a bit like how the Three-Way Color Corrector filter worked in FCP7. I picked up this tip from Mixing Light.com, a colorist subscription training site.

Bonus Tip – Media Browser Favorites

You can also save yourself a lot of time and clicks by setting up Favorites within the Media Browser panel. Normally when you navigate to a specific file path on your system you have to click your way through layers of folders and sub-folders.

With a Favourite set up you can jump to that saved file path in a jiffy, which is obviously a huge time-saver if you frequently use the same folders, buried deep in your media management structure.

Setting up a Favorite shortcut in the media browser is easy: simply navigate to the folder you want to ‘favorite’ in the Media Browser panel, right click on it, and select ‘Add to Favorites’.

This folder shortcut will now appear in your ‘Favorites’ folder in the Media Browser, now accessible in a single click.

I learned how to do this from a Manhattan Edit Workshop Premiere Pro video, check it out above. It’s worth browsing through their YouTube channel for more great tips.

So there you have it, a few simple but effective tips on using the power of Favourites and presets in Premiere Pro. Taking a few minutes set this up once will save you hours or repetitive searching in all your future edit days, which will give you more time to get the real work done.


And that's the full Masterclass Series. 
Thanks for joining us and happy editing!