Review: Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 (Part 2)
Organising and editing footage in Premiere Pro.
Organising your footage
Greater computer power brings its own problems. One of these is that you can stuff your computer with even more footage - so organising your clips has never been more important. Premiere's project window does a good job of aiding organisation, using simple collapsible folders, sorry, "bins" (to use Premiere's more cinematic term). Think of Windows Explorer with its hierachy of directories and you get the idea. Premiere also has small coloured square boxes, "labels", that provide useful visual cues to each line of content in the project window.
Each clip can be viewed either by its extensive set of properties (encoding and timecode information galore) or alternatively in rows of thumbnails and more brief encoding information. If you want to really pore over the properties for the clips in your project, you'll have to expand the project window right out across your screen.
One useful organisational feature, particularly for complex projects, is the way that Premiere Pro uses "sequences" for editing. Every Premiere project now consists of one or more sequences. A sequence is a series of edited clips or a series of other sequences. For example, you might break a film down to a series of sequences of 5 or 10 minutes, like a 5-act play. You would then nest these sequences in a master sequence for your complete film. While each sequence might use multiple video and audio tracks, the sequence shows up on the timeline as a single item with a single video and a single audio track. The beauty of this is it saves time scrolling and navigating all along the timeline when working with longer or complex projects by breaking a project down into more manageable parts. Each sequence can be quickly accessed by doubleclicking on it in the project window or the timeline. Tabs along the top of the timeline allow you to easily navigate between different sequences. It's a welcome time-saver.
You can create a new sequence in the project window, but editing the various media clips for that sequence takes place on the timeline. As always there's more than one way to do things, but the easiest way to add a new clip to the timeline is by dragging and dropping it from your project window and then drag the in and out points on the timeline into place. As you adjust your clip you can see and hear the footage changing accordingly in the monitor window.
The monitor window has two screens by default, "source view" for bringing up the raw footage and "program view" for viewing the edited work, but you can resize the monitor or turn off the source view if you want to free up extra desktop space.
Although it's a subjective thing, for tweaking or frame-accurate edits it's sometimes easier to use the monitor window controls (doubleclick the clip in the project first) to set the in and out points for the clip. Having set the in and out points, you can then drag the clip from the monitor window onto the timeline, or add it to the edit point.
The edit point on the timeline is marked by a blue marker with a long vertical red line down the length of the timeline. It's forgettably called the "current time indicator," but you use it all the time to navigate and scroll through edited footage and see what how everything's coming together.
Another potential time-saver is the "automate to sequence" feature: select a bunch of clips in your project window, chose the automate to sequence button, and they arrange themselves neatly along the timeline in a oner. This feature can also automatically add your favourite transition, like a dissolve, between each clip.
Premiere Pro distinguishes between two types of edit: the "overlay edit" and the "insert edit". Overlay, the default method, replaces any frames of existing footage that the new clip overlaps. With the "insert" method, which you can switch to by holding down the control key when drag 'n' dropping, the new clip is slotted in at the edit point but while preserving the existing footage. It's sometimes easy to splice your inserted edit messily onto the Timeline orphaning a stray frame or two at the beginning of an edit without realising it. You can avoid this by turning on the snap-to-edges command (by clicking a magnet icon on the Timeline).
Adobe Premiere Pro1.5 - getting organised