Premiere: Quick Guide


Adobe Premiere is now the standard video editing software supported at Hamilton College. It is available on Macs in a number of locations on campus, including the first floor of the library, Science Center 3039 and the Digital Arts Labs located in the Theatre and Studio Arts Building.

Before starting any video project you should make sure you have thought about storing your project. Digital Video takes up a large amount of space on computers, and will not fit on your SSS space in almost all cases. If you do not have access to server space for your project, you should make sure you have adequate space on an external hard drive / flash drive for your work, since all local storage on school computers is Temporary.

Getting Started

To start, launch Premiere from the Applications folder or from the Dock. Select New Project.

Setting Up a New Project

After starting a new project, you will be prompted with the New Project window. Here you set some of the preliminary settings for your project. If you intend to capture video footage from tape (Mini DV, HDV, etc), you will need to choose the appropriate setting from the Capture Format pull down menu. The options are DV and HDV. You should also make sure to change the Name field to a file name that better identifies your project. Setting the Location field is detailed below, and when you are all set, go ahead and click OK.

Save Location

Next, you should set the Location field to the folder where you would like all of your project data saved. To do this, click the Browse button. A finder window will open up where you can choose the new location. You should use the Scratch Disk as a temporary save location for video projects.

It is important that you create an individual project folder for every project and set that as the save location, this way all of your project data is in one place. If you haven't already made your folder, click New Folder at the bottom left, name it and click Choose.

Note: All of your media (video, still images, sounds) should be put into your project folder before you import it into Premiere. Failing to do so can result in losing media.

Choosing the Sequence Presets

After you have finished with the New Project window, you will be prompted with the New Sequence window. It is important to have the right Sequence Preset selected this way your project is set to work with the video you captured.

You should also name your sequence (especially if you plan on having more than one). When you have your sequence settings correct, click OK.

NOTE: When you drag video into the sequence in Premiere it will check the sequence settings of the imported footage with that of the settings you set here. If the sequences are different, you will be prompted with an option to keep your settings set here or change to match the settings of the imported footage. This can be useful if your unsure of the sequence settings you should choose for what you recorded.

The Interface

Source Monitor

The top left panel in Premiere is the Source Monitor. This is an area for you to preview video, images, or audio that you have imported as well as select specific sections to bring into the sequence. To activate this monitor, simply double click one of the assets in your project panel or drag them to the monitor.

The Source Monitor has a series of playback and selection tools in a row at the bottom of the window. It also displays the timecode of the current frame at the left in yellow and the length of the currently selected at the right in white. The two icons directly below the display are used to drag video only or audio only to the sequence by holding and dragging the icons.

Program Monitor

The top right panel in Premiere is the Program Monitor. This is an area for you to preview the video as it has been edited so far, and functions by displaying what is in the Timeline at the current frame.

The Program Monitor has the same playback and selection tools available as the Source Monitor, as well as the same current timecode and current length displays to the let and right.

Project Panel

The Project Panel has a number of tabs used for different purposes, but in general you can consider it a location for everything you are going to use to create your project.

The first tab will display your imported media, with options to view the media as icons or lists and to adjust the size of the media previews in the bottom left of the window. There are also options to search the media, create a bin(folder), or search for specific media at the bottom right.

The other tabs have fairly self explanatory names, but so you know the Media Browser will allow you to search through folders on your computer to find files to import. The Info tab will display information on the current frame in the sequence. The Effects tab is used to add effects and the Markers tab displays markers and where they are located. Finally, the History tab displays a list of all the actions you have performed since opening the project, with the ability to move back to previous times within the actions.


The Timeline is where you will do basically all of your video editing. This is where you drag in your media and edit it. The timeline will display the current sequence at the top left. Right below that will be a timecode for the current frame in yellow writing. There is also a Current Time Indicator (CTI), that appears simply as a thin red line with a yellow stub at the top. You can use the CTI to scrub through your video in the Timeline.

NOTE: The Timeline contains Sequences. In a new project the Timeline is empty until you drag a media clip into it. The first time you drag a media clip into the Timeline, Premiere analysis the clip and sets the sequence setting to match that clip. If you’ve shot most of your footage with a HD camera but will be using a few lower resolution clips from the internet, be sure to drag the HD clip into the timeline first to set your sequence to the higher quality.

At the left of the Timeline is a series of editing tools. Many of these are very useful for editing video within the timeline specifically in how clips are lined up and sectioned. They are not discussed in detail here, but anyone who will be working with Premiere frequently should go through them in detail.

Basic Editing

Adding Media to the Timeline

Double clicking clips located in the Project Panel will load them into the Source Monitor. Once the media is in the Source Monitor you can use the standard controls at the bottom of the window to review you media. You can either drag the entire clip to the Timeline or you can select a smaller portion of the original clip using In and Out points. To select a smaller portion place the Current Time Indicator (CTI) where you would like your clip to start and click the Mark In button. Then move the CTI to where you would like you clip to end and click the Mark Out button, You'll see the "selected" area turn the color teal. You can modify the in and out points  at anytime by clicking the mark in/out buttons again.

Overwrite Edit

When you drag media into the timeline, it will overwrite by default. This means the media you drop in will replace whatever is in the timeline for the entire length of the media, rather than simply pushing items already in the timeline further along. When media being dropped into the timeline is going to overwrite, there will be a small icon next to the mouse with an arrow pointing down.

Insert Edit

Inserting media into the timeline will actually create a new space for the media and push everything after it further to the right to make room. When dragging media into the timeline, it will default to Overwrite. In order to insert media, you must hold the cmd key while dropping the dragged media into the timeline.


Creating a Title

To create a title, simply right click in the Project Panel and select New Item -> Title, or go to the File menu and select New -> Title.


A new window will appear with some basic settings for the title. The Video Settings will default to the sequence settings. You should name your title for organization, and click OK.

The next window is where you actually create your title. The title editing window is very robust and includes a large number of options for creating titles. If your familiar with other adobe products the window should be fairly intuitive. When done, simply exit out of the window and the title will appear in your Project Panel.

Adding Effects and Transitions

To add effects or transitions, open the Effects menu in the Project Panel.

Then, simply navigate to the desired effect or transition, drag it over to the timeline and drop it in the desired position. You will drop effects on clips and transitions on the edge of clips. If you wish to add an effect to more than one clip at a time, you can simply select multiple clips in the Timeline, then double click the effect in the Effects menu.


Please see our exporting documentation, located here.


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Last updated: March 23, 2018

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