CS 325 and Film 385: Introduction to Premiere Pro


Premiere CS6 Box

Highlights of this lab:

  • What is Premiere Pro?
  • Getting Started
  • Importing Assets
  • Walkthrough: Editing a Sequence with Premiere
  • Walkthrough: Exporting a Sequence to Media Encoder
  • Assignment

:: What is Premiere Pro? ::

Premiere Pro is a professional level non-linear video editor. It is capable of editing DV and HDV content as well as several other digital formats natively. It goes far beyond iMovie by allowing multiple video and audio layers as well as far more advanced effects, transitions, and asset management. When it works properly it also works with Adobe's OnLocation software to provide a complete digital video workflow.

Click here to download materials for this week's lab


:: Getting Started ::

Start up Premiere. If you want to restore default settings so you can get that "fresh Premiere smell" hold down option + shift right after you start Premiere. Let go once the start up screen appears:

Start Screen

Once Premiere is loaded this window pops up:

Load Screen

From here you can open recent projects, browse for older projects or create a new project. Click the New Project icon to continue.

Next you will select your project settings. You can leave your project set to default settings. Make sure you name your project. You should also browse to change your project's location to a folder with your name on it in the on the Desktop (or local machine). Make sure to backup your work.

New Project Settings

Note: Premiere, like iMovie, moves a lot of data around and will spoil the lab experience for everyone if you create your project in your networked home folder.

Next you will create a sequence. This is one timeline that can consist of multiple clips on multiple tracks with multiple effects. You have to choose what the format you want to use in your sequence. However, once your project is started you can import files from other formats, and edit with them without worrying too much. If they are smaller than the resolution you pick, they can be scaled up, but that will make them fuzzy. Larger videos can be scaled down, or you can pan them around. All clips will be converted to fit your preset when you render your finished project. 

For this lab choose DV - NTSC: Standard 48kHz and click OK.

New Sequence

Now you should see the workspace. The different parts are shown in the following diagram:

Overview of Workspace

1. Project Panel

This is where you keep all the bits and pieces of your project — still images, titles, clips, After Effects renders, and sound files. These are all called assets.

2. Media Browser

Use the Media Browser to look through and preview your files for assets to import into your project.

3. Effects Panel

Audio and Video effects can be "drag and dropped" onto clips from this panel.

4. Timeline

This is where you do your actual editing. You can drag and drop clips, titles or pictures here. Drag effects from the effects panel onto clips in the timeline. Use tools to cut, expand, or move clips around on multiple audio and video tracks.

Zoom in and out of the the timeline to see small clips with the slider in the lower left corner or with the - and = hotkeys.

Scrub back and forth in your video with the playhead, or use the arrow keys to fine tune your current time.

Make cuts at the play head with Command + K.

5. Source Monitor

Preview and crop clips here.

6. Effect Controls

Audio and video effects that you drag onto clips can be adjusted here. The properties of a clip can also be adjusted or animated over time here using keyframes.

7. Program Monitor

See a preview of the sequence you are building in the timeline, complete with effects, in real time. The quality of the preview can be adjusted, but it is limited by the processing power of your workstation.

8. Tools Panel

Select from various tools to work in the timeline. You will most often use the arrow tool, which provides the features of most other tools in a context sensitive manner.

:: Importing Assets ::

Digital Tapes

Adobe Premiere Pro can work with many digital formats provided codecs have been installed on the workstation (Mac OS X does not natively support many of the AVI formats used in digital cameras but the codecs can be installed) and is ready to capture DV and HDV directly from a camera over Firewire.

Once you are ready to capture, there are three ways to get video clips:
  1. Manual:
    • Seek: Using the digital tape controls, seek for the beginning of a clip. You should allow some lead time so you can make smooth transitions and precise edits later.
    • Record: press the red record button and video capture begins in real time. 
    • Log: when you are done capturing the clip, press stop and fill in details in the dialog you see, such as clip name.
  2. Batch:
    • Seek: Using the digital tape controls, seek the beginning of a clip.
    • Mark-in: Press the Set In button. The current timecode is recorded as the start of this clip. You can also set timecodes manually. This allows you to record start and stop times even if your editing station is not available to you.
    • Seek: Look for the end of the clip. You don't have to watch the whole clip — you can fast forward to find the end. This is a real boon in a shoot with long takes.
    • Mark-out: Press the Set Out button.
    • Log: Fill in any clip data, including tape and clip name, the press the Log Clip button.
    • Repeat until all shots logged. Click In/Out button.
  3. Automatic:
    • Rewind the tape
    • In the Capture area in the lower left:
      • Check the Scene Detect box
      • press the Tape button
    • Clips will be numbered and logged automatically.

Analog Tapes

If you are working from analog tape, you will need an external analog to digital tape converter.  There is one for S-VHS tapes in the lab. The process is similar to the manual digital process. Seeking can be done with the controls on the front of the machine. Make sure Premiere is set to preview the tape. When you see a clip you want, pre-roll the tape, press play and quickly press record in Premiere. Stop recording when you reach the end of the clip.

Tapeless Cameras

The following is a summary. Refer to Importing assets from tapeless formats in the online Premiere manual for details. Video on tapeless cameras is stored in specially structured files. In general you:
  • Shoot video with the camera.
  • Plug in the camera or place the disk or storage card in a reader
  • Find the files on the card and copy them to your computer, preferably into your Premiere project folder
  • Import the files into Premiere just like any other asset file
  • Edit. :)

Importing Assets from File

This is very simple:
  • Use the media browser to locate a file
  • Double click it to preview it in the source monitor
  • Right click and select import to add it to your project.

:: Recommended Adobe TV Videos ::

  • Add a Simple Title, Some Fades and Music
    • Alt-click then delete to get rid of sound that goes with video
    • Ctrl-click on yellow bar in timeline layer to fade in and out
    • Command-T for inserting text
  • Editing clips into the timeline
    • Using the Source Monitor
    • Marking in and out points using i, o, j, k, and l key
  • Adjusting Video Transitions
    • Default transition is cross dissolve (Command-D)
    • Effects Controls for transition
    • Change length of transition
    • Zooming in on the timeline by pressing + and -
    • Doors transition
    • Iris star transition
    • Transitions with freeze frames
    • Wipe transitions, and controlling wipe direction
  • Animating Effects Using Key Frames
    • Using Help
    • Animating with Blur
    • Animating with Colour Change
    • Lens Flare Animation

:: Walkthrough: Editing with Premiere ::

Demonstration in lab will include:
  • import assets from zip file into project
    • merge the layers in the Photoshop file when you import it.
  • place Green Pastures clip on timeline in Track 1
  • place CS 325 logo in lower right corner. 
  • use keyframes to automate fade in and fade out, size, and/or bounce for logo.
  • insert text
  • insert sound
  • use transitions

:: Walkthrough: Exporting a Sequence to Media Encoder ::

The easiest way to export your movie is from the File menu:

  • Select what you want to export. Choose a sequence from the Timeline panel or a clip from the project panel.
  • Go to File | Export | Media
  • Adobe Media Encoder's Export Settings dialog appears:
    Export Settings
  • Choose Format: H.264
  • Choose Preset: YouTube SD 480p 29.97
  • Click on the Export Button

Your exported file will be in the same folder as your .prproj file.

You are welcome to play with the different export options, but these are what you need for the lab


: Assignment ::

Have fun using Premiere to edit the stop-motion clip provided with this week's lab materials into an entertaining 1.5 to 3 minute long movie. Convert your project to an appropriate mp4 file and try to make it between 15MB and 25MB in size.
  • Marking scheme:
    • 1: For attendance
    • 0-1: For experimenting with titles, transitions, key frames, effects, and sound.
    • 0-1: For your creativity in re-editing the Green Pastures video. Tell me a new story, or simply entertain me.

I will accept a zipped directory containing your mp4 file, your project file, any supporting files, and a description of how you made your video. Please try to respect the size requirements given above.

Technical Requirements in Movie

  • Length is 1.5 to 3 minutes long
  • Include sound
  • Include text (titles)
  • Include at least one transition effect
  • Use one other effect
  • Use key frames
  • Document what effects and key frames you have applied (to hand in as a text document)

..:: Online Source(s) ::..