Importing Media - Adobe Premiere Pro CC (2016) 

Adobe Premiere Pro CC (2016)

3. Importing Media

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the following:

• Using the Media Browser to load video files

• Using the Import command to load graphic files

• Choosing where to place cache files

• Capturing from tape

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This lesson will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

To create a sequence, you need to import media files into your project. This might include video footage, animation files, narration, music, atmospheric sound, graphics, or photos. Everything you include in a sequence must be imported before it can be used.

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Because Adobe Premiere Pro can work with so many types of assets, there are multiple methods for browsing and importing media.

Getting started

In this lesson, you’ll learn to import media assets into Adobe Premiere Pro CC. For most files, you’ll use the Adobe Media Browser, a robust asset browser that works with many media types you’ll import into Premiere Pro. You’ll also learn about special cases such as importing graphics or capturing from videotape.

For this lesson, you’ll use the project file you created in Lesson 2. If you do not have the previous lesson file, you can open the file Lesson 03 Example.prproj from the Lesson 03 folder.

1. Continue to work with the project file from the previous lesson, or open it from your hard drive.

2. Choose File > Save As.

3. Rename the file Lesson 03.prproj.

4. Choose a location on your hard drive, and click Save to save the project.

Importing assets

When you import items into a Premiere Pro project, you are creating a link from the original media file to a pointer that lives inside your project. This means you are not actually modifying the original files when editing; you’re just manipulating them in a nondestructive manner. For example, if you choose to edit only part of a clip into your sequence, you’re not throwing away the unused media.

You’ll import media into Premiere Pro in two principal ways.

• Standard importing by choosing File > Import

• Using the Media Browser

Let’s explore the benefits of each.

When to use the Import command

Using the Import command is straightforward (and may match what you’re used to from other applications). To import any file, just choose File > Import.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control+I (Windows) or Command+I (Mac OS) to open the standard Import dialog box.

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This method works best for self-contained assets such as graphics and audio, especially if you know exactly where those assets are on your drive and you want to quickly navigate to them. This importing method is not ideal for file-based camera footage, which often uses complex folder structures with separate files for audio, video, and important additional data. For camera-originated media, you’ll want use the Media Browser.


Image Tip

Another way to open the Import dialog box is to double-click an empty area of the Project panel.


When to use the Media Browser

The Media Browser is a robust tool for reviewing your media assets and then importing them into Premiere Pro. The Media Browser shows the fragmented files you might get from a digital video camera as whole clips; you’ll see each recording as a single clip, with the video and audio combined, regardless of the recording format.

This means you can avoid dealing with complex camera folder structures and instead work with easy-to-browse icons and metadata. Being able to see this metadata (which contains important information, such as clip duration, recording date, and file type) makes it easier to select the correct clip from a long list.

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By default, in the Editing workspace, you’ll find the Media Browser in the lower-left corner of your Premiere Pro workspace. It’s docked in the same frame as the Project panel. You can also quickly access the Media Browser by pressing Shift+8 (be sure to use the number key at the top of the keyboard).

You can position the Media Browser elsewhere onscreen by dragging it, or you can undock it and make it a floating panel by clicking the panel menu on the panel tab (Image) and choosing Undock Panel.

You’ll find that working in the Media Browser is similar to browsing using your computer’s operating system. There are a series of navigation folders on the left side and buttons to navigate forward and backward at the top. You can use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select items within a list and the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys to move further along a file directory path (such as stepping into a folder to examine its contents).


Image Tip

If you need to use assets from another Premiere Pro project, you can import that project into your current one. Just use the Media Browser to locate it; once you double-click a project, Premiere Pro will reveal all of its assets and its bin structure. You can then navigate through it to select individual clips and sequences or drag all sequences and clips into your current project panel.


The major benefits of the Media Browser are as follows:

• Narrowing the display to a specific file type, such as JPEG, Photoshop, XML, or AAF.

• Autosensing camera data—AVCHD, Canon XF, P2, RED, ARRIRAW, Sony HDV, or XDCAM (EX and HD)—to correctly display the clips.

• Viewing and customizing the kinds of metadata to display.

• Correctly displaying media that has spanned clips across multiple camera media cards. This is common in professional cameras, and Premiere Pro will import the files as a single clip even if a longer video file filled one card and continued onto a second one.


Importing from Adobe Prelude

Adobe Creative Cloud CC includes Adobe Prelude, which you can use to organize footage in a simple, streamlined interface.

Adobe Prelude is designed so producers or assistants can quickly and efficiently ingest (import), log, and transcode media (convert format and codec) for tapeless workflows.

If you have an Adobe Prelude project, here’s how to send it to Premiere Pro:

1. Launch Adobe Prelude.

2. Open the project you want to transfer.

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Adobe Prelude has a similar appearance to Premiere Pro but with simplified controls.

3. Choose File > Export > Project.

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4. Select the Project check box.

5. Enter a name in the Name field.

6. In the Type menu, choose Premiere Pro.

7. Click OK. The Choose Folder dialog box opens.

8. Navigate to a destination for the new project, and click Choose. A new Premiere Pro project is created.

You can open the newly created Premiere Pro project file directly, or you can import it into an existing project as you would any media file. Premiere Pro will import all the clips and maintain their organization as set up in Prelude.

If both applications are running at the same time on the same computer, you can also send clips from Prelude to Premiere Pro by selecting them, right-clicking the selection, and choosing Send to Premiere Pro.


Working with the Media Browser

The Media Browser allows you to easily browse for files on your computer. It can stay open, it’s fast and convenient, and it’s well optimized for locating and importing footage.

Using a tapeless workflow

tapeless workflow (also known as a file-based workflow) is simply the process of importing video from a tapeless camera, editing it, and exporting it. Premiere Pro CC does not require the media from these tapeless formats to be converted before editing and can edit tapeless formats such as P2, XDCAM, AVCHD, and even formats from RED and ARRI cameras natively.

For best results, follow these guidelines:


Image Note

To complete this lesson, you will import files from your computer. Be sure you have copied all the lesson files included with this book to your computer. For more details, see the “Getting started” section at the beginning of the book.


1. Create a new folder for each project.

2. Copy the camera media to your editing storage drive with the existing folder structure intact. Be sure to transfer the complete data folder directly from the root directory of the card. For best results, consider using the transfer application that is often included by the camera manufacturer to move your video files. Check that all media files have been copied and that the card and copied folder sizes match.

3. Clearly label the copied folder of the media with the camera information, including card number and date of shoot.

4. Create a second copy of the cards on a physically separate, second drive, in case of hardware failure.

5. Ideally, create a long-term archive using another backup method, such as Blu-ray Disc, LTO tape, external storage drive, and so on.


Image Note

Adobe Prelude makes managing the process of copying and importing tapeless media sources easier.


Understanding supported video file types

It’s not unusual to work on a project with video clips from different cameras using different file formats. This is no problem for Premiere Pro because you can mix different clip formats in the same sequence. The Media Browser can display almost any file format. It’s particularly well suited for native support of tapeless formats.

The following are the major tapeless formats supported by Premiere Pro:

• Any DSLR camera that shoots H.264 directly as an MOV or MP4 file

• Panasonic P2, DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO HD, AVCI, AVC Ultra, AVC Ultra Long GOP

• RED ONE, RED EPIC, RED Mysterium X, and the 6K RED Dragon

• ARRI RAW, including ARRI AMIRA

• Sony XDCAM SD, XDCAM 50, XAVC, SStP, RAW, HDV (when shot on tapeless media)

• AVCHD cameras

• Canon XF, Canon RAW

• Apple ProRes

• Avid DNxHD MXF files

• Blackmagic Cinema DNG

• Phantom Cine

Finding assets with the Media Browser

The good news is that the Media Browser is self-explanatory. In many ways, it’s like a web browser (it has Forward and Back buttons to go through your recent navigation). It also has a list of shortcuts on the side. Finding materials is easy. For this exercise, you’ll work with the Lesson 03 Example.prproj file. This project should have no assets imported yet.


Image Note

When you open a project created on another computer, you may see a message warning you about a missing renderer. It’s fine to click OK on this message.


1. To begin, reset the workspace to the default. In the Workspaces panel, click Editing. Then click the menu adjacent to the Editing option and choose Reset to Saved Layout.

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Image Note

If you can’t see the Workspaces panel, select it by going to Window > Workspaces (at the bottom of the menu).


2. Click the Media Browser (it should be docked with the Project panel by default). Resize the panel to make it larger.

3. To make the Media Browser easier to see, place your mouse pointer over the panel and then press the ` (grave) key (it is often in the upper-left corner of a keyboard).


Image Tip

Some keyboard layouts make it difficult to find the right key. If so, you can click the panel menu and choose Panel Group Settings > Maximize Panel Group. The same menu will allow you to restore the panel size.


The Media Browser panel should now fill the screen. You may need to adjust the width of columns to make it easier to see items.

4. Using the Media Browser, navigate to the folder Lessons/Assets/Video and Audio Files/Theft Unexpected. You can open each folder by double-clicking.

5. Drag the resize slider in the lower-left corner of the Media Browser to enlarge the thumbnails of the clips. You can use any size you like.

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You can hover your mouse cursor over any unselected clip thumbnail to see a preview of the clip contents.

6. Click a clip in a folder to select it.

You can now preview the clip using keyboard shortcuts.

7. Press the L key to play a clip.

8. To stop playback, press the K key.

9. To play backward, press the J key.

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10. Experiment with playing back other clips. You should be able to hear the clip audio during playback.

You can press the J or L key multiple times to increase the playback rate for fast previews. Use the K key or the spacebar to pause.

11. Now you’ll import all these clips into your project. Press Control+A (Windows) or Command+A (Mac OS) to select all the clips.


Image Tip

Filter the assets you’re looking for by using the File Type menu in the Media Browser.


12. Right-click one of the selected clips and choose Import.

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Alternatively, you can drag all the selected clips onto the Project panel’s tab and then down into the empty area to import the clips.


Image Note

The Media Browser filters out nonmedia files, making it easier to browse for video or audio assets.


13. Press the ` (grave) key or use the panel menu to restore the Media Browser to its original size. Then switch to the Project panel.

Clips in the Project panel can be viewed as icons or as a list, with information about each clip available. Switch between these two viewing modes by clicking the List View button (Image) or Icon View button (Image).


Making the most of the Media Browser

The Media Browser has a number of features that make it easy to navigate your drives:

• The Forward and Back buttons work like an Internet browser, allowing you to navigate to locations you have viewed previously.

• If you expect to import files from a location often, you can add the folder to a list of favorites at the top of the navigation panel. To create a favorite, right-click the folder and choose Add to Favorites.

• You can open multiple Media Browser panels and access the contents of several different folders at once. To open a new Media Browser panel, click the Panel menu (on the panel tab) and choose New Media Browser Panel.


Importing images

Graphics are an integral part of post-production. People expect graphics to both convey information and add to the visual style of a final edit. Premiere Pro can import just about any image and graphic file type. Support is especially excellent when you use the native file formats created by Adobe’s leading graphic tools, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Importing flattened Adobe Photoshop files

Anyone who works with print graphics or performs photo retouching has probably used Adobe Photoshop. It’s the workhorse of the graphic design industry. Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool with great depth and versatility, and it’s an increasingly important part of the video production world. Let’s explore how to properly import two files from Adobe Photoshop.

To start, you’ll import a basic Adobe Photoshop graphic.

1. Click the Project panel to select it.

2. Choose File > Import, or press Control+I (Windows) or Command+I (Mac OS).

3. Navigate to Lessons/Assets/Graphics.

4. Select the file Theft_Unexpected.psd, and click Import.

The graphic is a simple logo file and imports into the Premiere Pro project.


An introduction to Dynamic Link

One way to work with Premiere Pro is with a suite of tools. You may be using a version of Adobe Creative Cloud that includes other components for the related tasks for video editing. To make things easier, you’ll find several options for speeding up your post-production workflow.

Options for Dynamic Link exist between Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects and between Premiere Pro and Audition. The principal goal with Dynamic Link is to minimize time lost from rendering or exporting.

You’ll explore the Dynamic Link workflow later in this book, but this is a good time to point out an example that will help you understand how Adobe software components can work together. Using Dynamic Link, you can import After Effects compositions into a Premiere Pro project. Once added, the After Effects compositions will look and behave like any other clip in your project.

If you make changes in After Effects, they’ll automatically update in the Premiere Pro project, which is a great time-saver.


Importing layered Adobe Photoshop files

Adobe Photoshop can also create graphics using multiple layers. Layers are similar to tracks in your Timeline and allow for separation between elements. You can import Photoshop layers into Premiere Pro individually to allow for isolation or animation.

1. Double-click an empty area of the Project panel to open the Import dialog box.

2. Navigate to Lessons/Assets/Graphics.

3. Select the file Theft_Unexpected_Layered.psd, and click Import.

4. A new dialog box opens, giving you four options for interpreting the layered file.

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• Merge All Layers: This option merges all layers, importing the file into Premiere Pro as a single, flattened clip.

• Merged Layers: This option merges only the layers you select into a single, flattened clip.

• Individual Layers: This option imports only the layers you select, with each layer becoming a separate clip in a bin.

• Sequence: This option imports only the layers you select, each as a single clip. Premiere Pro then creates a new sequence (with its frame size based on the imported document) containing each layer on a separate track (that matches the original stacking order).

Choosing Sequence or Individual Layers allows you to select one of the following options from the Footage Dimensions menu:

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• Document Size: This brings the selected layer in at the size of the original Photoshop document.

• Layer Size: This matches the frame size of the clips to the frame size of their content in the original Photoshop file. Layers that do not fill the entire canvas will be cropped tightly, as transparent areas are removed. They’ll also be centered in the frame, losing their original relative positioning.

5. For this exercise, choose Sequence and use the Document Size option. Click OK.

6. Looking in the Project panel, locate the newly created bin, Theft_Unexpected_Layered. Double-click it to open it.

7. Double-click the sequence Theft_Unexpected_Layered to load it. You can hover the mouse over an item name to find out whether it is a clip or a sequence.

8. Look at the sequence in the Timeline. Try turning the Track Output options (Image) off and on for each track to see the way the layers are isolated.

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Image tips for Adobe Photoshop files

Here are a few tips for importing images from Adobe Photoshop:

• Remember that when you import a layered Photoshop document as a sequence, the frame size will be the pixel dimensions of the Photoshop document.

• If you don’t plan to zoom or pan, try to create files with a frame size at least as large as the frame size of the project. Otherwise, you will have to scale up the image, and it will lose some of its sharpness.

• If you do plan to zoom or pan, create images so that the zoomed or panned area has a frame size at least as large as the frame size of the sequence. For example, if you were working in full HD and you wanted to do a 2X zoom, you’d need 3840×2160 pixels.

• Importing large files uses more system memory and can slow down your system.

• If possible, use 16-bit RGB color. CMYK color is for print workflows, while video editing uses RGB or YUV color.


Importing Adobe Illustrator files

Another graphics component in Adobe Creative Cloud is Adobe Illustrator. Unlike Adobe Photoshop, which is primarily designed to work with pixel-based (or raster) graphics, Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based application. Vector graphics are mathematical descriptions of shapes rather than drawn pixels. This means you can scale them to any size and they always look sharp.

Vector graphics are typically used for technical illustrations, line art, or complex graphics.

Let’s import a vector graphic.

1. Double-click an empty area of the Project panel to open the Import dialog box.

2. Navigate to Lessons/Assets/Graphics.

3. Select the file Brightlove_film_logo.ai, and click Import.


Image Note

If you right-click Brightlove_film_logo.ai in the Project panel, you’ll note that one option is Edit Original. If you have Illustrator installed on your computer, selecting Edit Original will open this graphic in Illustrator, ready to be edited. So even though the layers are merged in Premiere Pro, you can return to Adobe Illustrator, edit the original layered file, and save it, and the changes will immediately appear in Premiere Pro.


Here’s the way Premiere Pro deals with Adobe Illustrator files:

• Like the Photoshop file you imported, this is a layered graphic file. However, Premiere Pro doesn’t give you the option to import Adobe Illustrator files in separate layers. It always merges them.

• Premiere Pro uses a process called rasterization to convert the vector-based Adobe Illustrator art into the pixel-based image format used by Premiere Pro. This conversion happens during import automatically, so be sure your graphics are large enough in Illustrator before importing them into Premiere Pro.

• Premiere Pro automatically anti-aliases, or smooths the edges of, the Adobe Illustrator art.

• Premiere Pro sets all empty areas as transparent so that clips below those areas in your sequence can show through.

Importing subfolders

When you import by going to File > Import, you don’t have to select individual files. You can also select a whole folder. In fact, if you have already organized your files into folders and subfolders on your storage drive, when you import them, the folders are automatically re-created as bins in Premiere Pro.

Try this now.

1. Choose File > Import, or press Control+I (Windows) or Command+I (Mac OS).

2. Navigate to Lessons/Assets and select the Stills folder. Don’t browse inside the folder; just select it.

3. Click the Import Folder button (Windows) or Import button (Mac OS). Premiere Pro imports the whole folder, including two subfolders containing photos.

Customizing the media cache

When you import certain video and audio formats, Premiere Pro may need to process and cache a version. This is particularly true for highly compressed formats. Imported audio files are conformed to a new CFA file. Most MPEG files are indexed, leading to an extra .mpgindex file that makes it easier to read the file. You’ll know that the cache is being built if you see a small progress indicator in the lower-right corner of the screen when importing media.

The benefit of the media cache is that it greatly improves performance for preview playback. It does this by lessening the load on a computer’s CPU. You can customize the cache to further improve responsiveness. The media cache database helps Premiere Pro manage these cache files. Cache files are shared between multiple Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Each application can read from and write to the same set of cached media files.

To access controls for the cache, choose Edit > Preferences > Media (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > Media (Mac OS). Here are some important options to consider:

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• To move the media cache files or the media cache database to a new location, click the respective Browse button, select the desired location, and click OK. In most cases, you should not move the media cache database after you start to edit.

• You should clean the media cache database on a regular basis to remove conformed and indexed files that are no longer required. To do so, click the Clean button. Any connected drives will have their cache files removed. It’s a good idea to do this after you wrap up projects because it removes unnecessary preview render files too.

• Select “Save Media Cache files next to originals when possible” to keep cache files stored on the same drive as the media. If you want to keep everything in one central folder, leave this check box unselected. Remember, the faster the drive for the Media Cache, the better the playback performance you’re likely to experience in Premiere Pro.


Tape vs. tapeless workflow

Tape is still a relevant source, and it’s fully supported by Premiere Pro. To bring footage from tape into a Premiere Pro project, you can capture it.

You capture digital video from a tape to the hard disk before using it in a project. Premiere Pro captures video through a digital port, such as a FireWire or Serial Digital Interface (SDI) port (if you have third-party hardware). Premiere Pro saves captured footage to disk as files and imports the files into projects as clips. Premiere Pro features tools that take some of the manual labor out of the capturing process. There are three basic approaches.

• You can capture your entire videotape as one long clip.

• You can log the beginning and end of each clip (each clip’s In and Out points) to batch capture them later.

• You can use the scene detection feature in Premiere Pro to automatically create separate clips based on every time you pressed Record on your camera (for some tapes).

By default, you can use DV and HDV sources with Premiere Pro if your computer has a FireWire port. If you’d like to capture other higher-end professional formats, you’ll need to add a third-party capture device. These come in several form factors, including internal cards as well as breakout boxes that connect via FireWire, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt ports. Premiere Pro CC helps unify support for third-party hardware, which can now often take advantage of Mercury Playback Engine features for previewing effects and video on a connected professional monitor. You can find a detailed list of supported hardware by visiting http://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/compatibility.html.


Recording a scratch narration track

You may be working with a video project that has a narration track. While most choose to eventually get these recorded by professionals (or at least recorded in a location quieter than their desks), you can record temporary audio right into Premiere Pro.

This can be helpful if you need something to edit your video to, especially because it will give you a sense of timing for your edits.

Here’s how to go about recording a scratch audio track:

1. If you’re not using a built-in microphone, make sure your external microphone is properly connected to your computer. You may need to see the documentation for your computer or sound card.

2. Choose Edit > Preferences > Audio Hardware (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > Audio Hardware (Mac OS) to configure your microphone so Premiere Pro can use it. Use one of the choices from the Default Input pop-up menu, such as Built-in Microphone, and click OK.

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3. Turn down your computer speakers, or use headphones to prevent feedback or echo.

4. Open a sequence, and select an empty audio track in the Timeline.

5. Each track has a set of buttons and options on the far left. This area is called the track header. You may need to resize the audio track to be able to see the voice-over Record button in the header. You can do this by hovering your mouse cursor over the track header and using the scroll wheel.

6. Once the track is tall enough, you are likely to need to add the voice-over Record button—it’s hidden by default. Do this by right-clicking the track header and choosing Customize. The Button Editor opens.

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7. Drag the voice-over Record button onto the track header, and click OK. You can hover the mouse cursor over each button to discover its name.

You’ll have a voice-over Record button on every audio track header now.

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8. Click the voice-over Record button to begin recording.

9. After a brief countdown, recording will begin. Press the spacebar to stop recording.

A new audio clip is created and added to the Project panel and the current sequence.

To access voice-over recording settings, right-click an audio track header and choose Voice-Over Record Settings.

Review questions

1. Does Premiere Pro CC need to convert P2, XDCAM, or AVCHD footage when it is imported?

2. What is one advantage of using the Media Browser rather than the File > Import method to import file-based media?

3. When you’re importing a layered Photoshop file, what are the four different ways to import the file?

4. Where can media cache files be stored?

Review answers

1. No. Premiere Pro CC can edit P2, XDCAM, and AVCHD, as well as many other formats, natively.

2. The Media Browser understands the folder structures for P2, XDCAM, and many other formats, and it shows you the clips in a visually friendly way.

3. You can choose Merge All Layers for a single file or select the specific layers you want by choosing Merged Layers. If you want layers as separate clips, choose Individual Layers and select the layers to import, or choose Sequence to import the selected layers and create a new sequence from them.

4. You can store media cache files in a specified location or automatically on the same drive as the original files (when possible).