Adobe Premiere Pro CC (2016)

4. Organizing Media

Lesson overview

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

• Using the Project panel

• Staying organized with bins

• Adding metadata to your clips

• Using essential playback controls

• Interpreting footage

• Making changes to your clips


This lesson will take approximately 50 minutes.


Once you have some video and sound assets in your project, you’ll begin looking through your footage and adding clips to a sequence. Before you do, it’s well worth spending a little time organizing the assets you have. Doing so can save you from spending hours of hunting for things later.

Getting started

When you have lots of clips in your project, imported from several different media types, it can be a challenge to stay on top of everything and always find that magic shot when you need it.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to organize your clips using the Project panel, which is the heart of your project. You’ll create special folders, called bins, to divide your clips into categories. You’ll also learn about adding important metadata and labels to your clips.

You’ll begin by getting to know the Project panel and organizing your clips.

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

2. For this lesson, you’ll use the project file you used in Lesson 3, “Importing Media.” Continue to work with the project file from the previous lesson, or open it from your hard drive.

3. Choose File > Save As.

4. Rename the file Lesson 04.prproj.

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

If you do not have the previous lesson file, you can open the file Lesson 04.prproj from the Lessons/Lesson 04 folder.

Using the Project panel

Anything you import into your Adobe Premiere Pro CC project will appear in the Project panel. As well as giving you excellent tools for browsing your clips and working with their metadata, the Project panel has special folders, called bins, that you can use to stay organized.

Anything that appears in a sequence must be in the Project panel. If you delete a clip in the Project panel that is already used in a sequence, the clip will automatically be removed from the sequence. Premiere Pro will warn you if deleting a clip will affect an existing sequence.


As well as acting as the repository for all your clips, the Project panel gives you important options for interpreting media. All of your footage will have a frame rate (frames per second, or fps) and a pixel aspect ratio (pixel shape), for example. You may want to change these settings for creative reasons.

You could, for example, interpret video recorded at 60fps video as 30fps to achieve a 50% slow-motion effect. You might also receive a video file that has the wrong pixel aspect ratio setting.


Premiere Pro uses metadata associated with footage to know how to play it back. If you want to change the clip metadata, you can do so in the Project panel.

Customizing the Project panel

It’s likely that you’ll want to resize the Project panel from time to time. You’ll alternate between looking at your clips as a list or as thumbnail icons. Sometimes it’s quicker to resize the panel than to scroll to see more information.

The default Editing workspace is designed to keep the interface as clean as possible so you can focus on your creative work. Part of the Project panel that’s hidden from view by default, called the Preview Area, gives additional information about your clips.

Let’s take a look at it:

1. Click the panel menu for the Project panel (on the panel tab).

2. Choose Preview Area.


The Preview Area displays useful information for clips you select.

The Preview Area shows you several kinds of useful information about a clip when you select it in the Project panel, including the frame size, pixel aspect ratio, and duration.


If it is not already selected, click the List View button (Image) at the bottom left of the Project panel. In this view, you’ll find a lot of information about each clip in the Project panel, but you need to scroll horizontally to see it.

Image Tip

There’s a quick way to toggle between seeing the Project panel in a frame and seeing it full-screen: Hover your mouse cursor over the panel and press the ` (grave) key. You can do this with any panel. If your keyboard does not have a ` (grave) key, you can click the panel menu and choose Panel Group Settings > Maximize Panel Group.

The Preview Area gives you a mix of information about clips when you need it.

3. Click the panel menu for the Project panel (on the Panel tab).

4. Choose Preview Area to hide it.

Finding assets in the Project panel

Working with clips is a little like working with pieces of paper at your desk. If you have just one or two clips, it’s easy. But when you have 100 to 200, you need a system.

One way you can help make things smoother during the edit is to invest a little time in organizing your clips at the beginning. If you name your clips during capture or after importing them, it can help enormously. Even if you don’t give each clip its own name during capture from tape, you can give a name to each type of shot and let Premiere Pro add 01, 02, 03, and so on (see Lesson 3).

1. Click the Name heading at the top of the Project panel. The items in the Project panel are displayed in alphabetical order or reverse alphabetical order each time you click the Name heading again.


Image Tip

You can scroll the Project panel view up and down using the scroll wheel on your mouse.

If you’re searching for several clips with particular features—such as a duration or a frame size—it can be helpful to change the order in which the headings are displayed.

Image Note

When you scroll to the right in the Project panel, Premiere Pro always maintains the clip names on the left so you know which clips you’re seeing information about.

2. Scroll to the right until you can see the Media Duration heading in the Project panel. This shows the total duration of each clip’s media file.

3. Click the Media Duration heading. Premiere Pro now displays the clips in order of media duration. Notice the direction arrow on the Media Duration heading. Each time you click the heading, the direction arrow toggles between showing clips in duration order or reverse duration order.


4. Drag the Media Duration heading to the left until you see a blue divider between the Frame heading and the Name heading. When you release the mouse button, the Media Duration heading will be repositioned right next to the Name heading.


The blue divider shows where you will drop the heading.

Image Note

You may need to drag a divider to expand the width of a column before you can see its sorting order arrow.

Filtering bin content

Premiere Pro has built-in search tools to help you find your media. Even if you’re using nondescriptive original clip names assigned in-camera, you can search for clips based on a number of factors, such as frame size or file type.

Image Note

Graphic and photo files such as Photoshop PSD, JPEG, and Illustrator AI files import with a default frame duration you set in Preferences > General > Still Image Default Duration.

At the top of the Project panel, you can type in the Filter Bin Content box to display only clips with names or metadata matching the text you enter. This is a quick way to locate a clip if you remember its name (or even part of its name). Clips that don’t match the text you enter are hidden, and clips that do match are revealed, even if they are inside a closed bin.

Try this now.

1. Click in the Filter Bin Content box, and type joh.


Premiere Pro displays only clips with the letters joh in the name or in the metadata. Notice that the name of the project is displayed above the text entry box, along with “(filtered).”

2. Click the X on the right of the Find box to clear your search.

3. Type psd in the box.

Premiere Pro displays only clips that have the letters psd in their name or metadata. In this case, it’s the Theft_Unexpected title you imported earlier as both a flattened image and a layered image—these are both Photoshop PSD files. Using the Filter Bin Content box in this way, you can search for particular types of files.


Be sure to click the X on the right of the Filter Bin Content box to clear your filter when you have found the clips you want.

Image Note

The name bin comes from film editing. The Project panel is also effectively a bin; it can contain clips and functions exactly like any other bin.

Using advanced Find

Premiere Pro also has an advanced Find option. To learn about it, you can import a couple more clips.

Using any of the methods described in Lesson 3, import these items:

• from the Assets/Video and Audio Files/General Views folder.

• Under Basket.MOV from the Assets/Video and Audio Files/Basketball folder.

At the bottom of the Project panel, click the Find button (Image). Premiere Pro displays the Find panel, which has more advanced options for locating your clip.


You can perform two searches at once with the advanced Find panel. You can choose to display clips that match both search criteria or either search criterion. For example, you could do either of the following:

• Search for a clip with the words dog AND boat in its name.


• Search for a clip with the word dog OR boat in its name.

Then choose a few options.

• Column: This option lets you select from the available headings in the Project panel. When you click Find, Premiere Pro will search using only the heading you select.

• Operator: This option gives you a set of standard search options. Use this menu to choose whether you want to find a clip that contains, matches exactly, begins with, or ends with whatever you search for.

• Match: Choose All to find a clip with both your first and your second search text. Choose Any to find a clip with either your first or your second search text.

• Case Sensitive: Selecting this option tells Premiere Pro whether you want your search to exactly match the uppercase and lowercase letters you enter.

• Find What: Type your search text here. You can add up to two sets of search text.

When you click Find, Premiere Pro highlights a clip that matches your search criteria. Click Find again, and Premiere Pro highlights the next clip that matches your search criteria. Click Done to exit the Find dialog box.

Working with bins

Bins allow you to organize clips by dividing them into groups.


Just like folders on your hard drive, you can have multiple bins inside other bins, creating a folder structure as complex as your project requires.

There’s an important difference between bins and the folders on your storage drive: Bins exist only in your Premiere Pro project file to organize clips. You won’t find individual folders representing project bins on your storage drive.

Creating bins

Let’s create a bin.

1. Click the New Bin button (Image) at the bottom of the Project panel.

Premiere Pro creates a new bin and automatically highlights the name, ready for you to rename it. It’s a good habit to name bins as soon as you create them.

2. You have already imported some clips from a film, so let’s give them a bin. Name the new bin Theft Unexpected.

Image Note

To rename a bin, select it and press the Enter key.

3. You can also create a bin using the File menu. Let’s do this now: Make sure the Project panel is active and choose File > New > Bin.

4. Name the new bin PSD Files.

5. You can also make a new bin by right-clicking a blank area in the Project panel and choosing New Bin. Try this now.

6. Name the new bin Illustrator Files.


One of the quickest and easiest ways to create a new bin for clips you already have in your project is to drag and drop the clips onto the New Bin button at the bottom of the Project panel.

7. Drag and drop the clip onto the New Bin button.

8. Name the newly created bin City Views.

9. Make sure the Project panel is active but no existing bins are selected. Press the keyboard shortcut Control+B (Windows) or Command+B (Mac OS) to make another bin.

Image Note

It can be difficult to find a blank part of the Project panel to click when it is full of clips. Try clicking just to the left of the icons, inside the panel.

10. Name the bin Sequences.

If your Project panel is set to List view, bins are displayed in alphabetical order among the clips.

Managing media in bins

Now that you have some bins, let’s put them to use. As you move clips into bins, use the disclosure triangles to hide their contents and tidy up the view.

1. Drag the clip into the Illustrator Files bin.

2. Drag Theft_Unexpected.psd into the PSD Files bin.

3. Drag the Theft_Unexpected_Layered bin (created automatically when you imported the layered PSD file as individual layers) into the PSD Files bin.

Image Note

When you import an Adobe Photoshop file with multiple layers and choose to import as a sequence, Premiere Pro automatically creates a bin for the layers and their sequence.

4. Drag the clip Under Basket.MOV into the City Views bin. You may need to resize the panel or switch it to full-screen to see both the clip and the bin.

5. Drag the sequence called First Sequence into the Sequences bin.

6. Drag all the remaining clips into the Theft Unexpected bin.

You should now have a nicely organized Project panel, with each kind of clip in its own bin.


Notice that you can also copy and paste clips to make extra copies if this suits your organizational system. You have a Photoshop document that might be useful for the Theft Unexpected content. Let’s make an extra copy.

7. Click the disclosure triangle for the PSD Files bin to display the contents.

8. Right-click the Theft_Unexpected.psd clip and choose Copy.

9. Click the disclosure triangle for the Theft Unexpected bin to display the contents.

10. Right-click the Theft Unexpected bin and choose Paste.

Image Tip

You can make Shift-click and Control-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) selections in the Project panel, just as you can with files on your hard drive.

Premiere Pro places a copy of the clip in the Theft Unexpected bin.

Image Note

When you make copies of clips, you are not making copies of the media files they are linked to. You can make as many copies as you like of a clip in your Premiere Pro project. Those copies will all link to the same original media file.

Finding your media files

If you’re not sure where a media file is on your hard drive, right-click the clip in the Project panel and choose Reveal in Explorer (Windows) or Reveal in Finder (Mac OS).

Premiere Pro will open the folder on your hard drive that contains the media file and highlight it. This can be useful if you are working with media files stored on multiple hard drives or if you have renamed your clips in Premiere Pro.

Changing bin views

Although there is a distinction between the Project panel and bins, they have the same controls and viewing options. For all intents and purposes, you can treat the Project panel as a bin; many Premiere Pro editors use the terms bin and Project panel interchangeably.

Bins have two views. You choose between them by clicking the List View button (Image) or Icon View button (Image) at the bottom left of the Project panel.

• List view: This view displays your clips and bins as a list, with a significant amount of metadata displayed. You can scroll through the metadata and use it to sort clips by clicking column headers.

• Icon view: This view displays your clips and bins as thumbnails you can rearrange and play back.

The Project panel has a Zoom control, which changes the size of the clip icons or thumbnails.

1. Double-click the Theft Unexpected bin to open it in its own floating panel.


2. Click the Icon View button on the Theft Unexpected bin to display thumbnails for the clips.

3. Try adjusting the Zoom control.

Premiere Pro can display large thumbnails to make browsing and selecting your clips easier.

You can also apply various kinds of sorting to clip thumbnails in Icon view by clicking the Sort Icons (Image) menu.

4. Switch to List view.


5. Try adjusting the Zoom control for the bin.

When you’re in List view, it doesn’t make that much sense to zoom, unless you turn on the display of thumbnails in this view.

6. Click the panel menu (on the panel tab) and choose Thumbnails.

Premiere Pro now displays thumbnails in List view, as well as in Icon view.

Image Note

You can also change the font size in the Project panel by clicking the panel menu and choosing Font Size. This is particularly useful if you are working on a high-resolution screen.

7. Try adjusting the Zoom control.


The clip thumbnails show the first frame of the media. In some clips, the first frame will not be particularly useful. Look at the clip HS Suit, for example. The thumbnail shows a clapperboard, but it would be useful to see the character.


8. Switch to Icon view.

In this view, you can hover the mouse cursor over a clip thumbnail to see a preview of the clip.

Image Note

In addition to hovering the mouse cursor over a clip thumbnail, you can click to select the clip, which will reveal a small timeline control under the thumbnail. You can use this timeline to view the contents of the clip.

9. Hover the mouse cursor over the HS Suit clip. Move the mouse until you find a frame that better represents the shot.

10. While the frame you have chosen is displayed, press the I key.

I is the keyboard shortcut for Mark In, a command that sets the beginning of a selection when choosing part of a clip that you intend to add to a sequence. The same selection also sets the poster frame for a clip in a bin.

11. Switch to List view.

Premiere Pro shows your newly selected frame as the thumbnail for this clip.


12. Use the panel menu (on the panel tab) to turn off thumbnails in List view.

13. Close the Theft Unexpected bin.

Search bins

When using the Filter Bin Content box to display specific clips, you have the option to create a special kind of virtual bin, called a Search bin.

After typing in the Filter Bin Content box, click the Create New Search Bin button (Image).

Search bins appear in the Project panel automatically (not inside other bins). They display the results of a search performed when using the Filter Bin Content box.


You can rename search bins and place them in other bins.

The contents of a Search bin will update dynamically, so if you add new clips to a project that meet the search criteria, they’ll appear in the search bin automatically. This can be a fantastic time-saver when working with documentary material that changes over time as you obtain new footage.

Image Tip

When you’ve finished using the Filter Bin Content box, be sure to click the X on the right side to clear the filter.

Assigning labels

Every item in the Project panel has a label color. In List view, the Label column shows the label color for every clip. When you add clips to a sequence, they are displayed in the Timeline panel with this label color.

Let’s change the color for a title.


1. Right-click Theft_Unexpected.psd and choose Label > Forest.


You can change label colors for multiple clips in a single step by selecting them and then right-clicking the selected clips to choose another label color.

2. Press Control+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac OS) to change the Theft_Unexpected.psd label color back to Lavender.

When you add a clip to a sequence, Premiere Pro creates a new instance, or copy of that clip. You’ll have one copy in the Project panel and one copy in the sequence.

By default, when you change the label color for a clip in the Project panel or rename a clip, it won’t update copies of the clip in sequences.

You can change this by choosing File > Project Settings > General and enabling the option to display the project item name and label color for all instances.

Changing the available label colors

You can assign up to eight available colors as labels to items in your project. There are also eight types of items that label colors can be assigned to, which means there aren’t any spare label colors.

If you choose Edit > Preferences > Label Colors (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > Label Colors (Mac OS), you’ll see the list of colors, each with a color swatch. You can click the color swatch to change the color.

If you select Label Defaults in the preferences, you can choose different default labels for each kind of item in your project.

Changing names

Because clips in your project are separate from the media files they link to, you can rename items in Premiere Pro, and the names of your original media files on the hard drive are left untouched. This makes renaming clips safe to do.

1. Open the PSD Files bin.

2. Right-click the clip Theft_Unexpected.psd and choose Rename.

3. Change the name to TU Title BW.

4. Right-click the newly renamed clip, TU Title BW, and choose Reveal in Explorer (Windows) or Reveal in Finder (Mac OS).


Image Note

When you change the name of a clip in Premiere Pro, the new name is stored in the project file. Two project files could easily have different names representing the same clip.

The file is displayed. Notice that the original filename has not changed. It’s helpful to be clear about the relationship between your original media files and the clips inside Premiere Pro because it explains much of the way the application works.

Customizing bins

When set to List view, the Project panel displays a number of clip information headings. You can easily add or remove headings. Depending on the clips you have and the types of metadata you are working with, you might want to display or hide different headings.

1. Open the Theft Unexpected bin.

2. Click the panel menu and choose Metadata Display. The Metadata Display panel opens.


The Metadata Display panel allows you to choose any kind of metadata to use as a heading in the List view of the Project panel (and any bins). All you have to do is select the check box for the kind of information you would like to be included.

3. Click the disclosure triangle for Premiere Pro Project Metadata to show those options.

4. Select the Media Type check box.

5. Click OK.


Media Type is now added as a heading for the Theft Unexpected bin but not for any other bins. To make this kind of change to every bin in one step, use the panel menu in the Project panel rather than in an individual bin.

Some of the headings are for information only, while others can be edited directly in the bin. The Scene heading, for example, allows you to add a scene number for each clip.

Image Note

Several useful bin headings are displayed by default, including the Good check box. Select this box for clips you prefer, and then click the heading to sort selects from unwanted content.

Notice that if you enter a number for a scene and then press the Enter key, Premiere Pro activates the next scene box. This way, you can use the keyboard to quickly enter information about several clips, jumping from one box to the next.

Having multiple bins open at once

Every bin panel behaves in the same way, with the same options, buttons, and settings. By default, when you double-click a bin, it opens in a floating panel.

You can change this in Preferences.

To change the options, choose Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > General (Mac OS).


The options let you choose what will happen when you double-click, double-click with the Control (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) key, or double-click with the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key.

Monitoring footage

The greater part of video editing is spent watching clips and making creative choices about them. It’s important to feel comfortable browsing media.

Premiere Pro has multiple ways of performing common tasks such as playing video clips. You can use the keyboard, click buttons with your mouse, or use an external device like a jog/shuttle controller.

1. Double-click the Theft Unexpected bin to open it.

2. Click the Icon View button at the lower-left corner of the bin.

3. Drag your mouse, without clicking, across any of the images in the bin.

Premiere Pro displays the contents of the clip as you drag. The left edge of the thumbnail represents the beginning of the clip, and the right edge represents the end. In this way, the width of the thumbnail represents the whole clip.


4. Select a clip by clicking it once. Hover scrubbing is now turned off, and a mini scroll bar appears at the bottom of the thumbnail. Try dragging through the clip using the scroll bar.

When a clip is selected, you can use the J, K, and L keys on your keyboard to perform playback, just as you can in the Media Browser.

• J: Play backward

• K: Pause

• L: Play forward

5. Select a clip and use the J, K, and L keys to play the thumbnail. Be sure to click the clip only once; if you double-click, the clip will open in the Source Monitor.

Image Tip

If you press the J or L key multiple times, Premiere Pro will play the video clips at multiple speeds.


When you double-click a clip, not only does Premiere Pro display the clip in the Source Monitor, but it adds it to a list of recent clips.

6. Double-click to open four or five clips from the Theft Unexpected bin in the Source Monitor.

7. Click the panel menu, on the tab at the top of the Source Monitor, to browse between your recent clips.


8. Click the Zoom menu at the bottom of the Source Monitor. By default, this is set to Fit, which means Premiere Pro will display the whole frame, regardless of the original size. Change the setting to 100%.

Image Tip

Notice that you have the option to close a single clip or close all clips, clearing the menu and the monitor. Some editors like to clear the menu and then open several clips that are part of a scene by selecting them all in the bin and dragging them into the Source Monitor together. They can then use the Recent Items menu to browse only the clips from that selection.


These clips are high-resolution, and they are probably much bigger than your Source Monitor. You’re likely to have scroll bars at the bottom and on the right of your Source Monitor now, so you can view different parts of the image.


The benefit of viewing with Zoom set to 100% is that you see every pixel of the original video, which is useful for checking the quality.

9. Set the Zoom menu back to Fit.

Playback resolution

If you have an older or slower processor or are working with large frame sizes such as Ultra High-Definition (4K or above), your computer may struggle to play back all the frames of your video clips. The clips will play with the correct timing, but some frames may not be displayed.

To work with a wide variety of computer hardware configurations, from powerful desktop workstations to lightweight portable laptops, Premiere Pro can lower the playback resolution to make playback smoother.

The default resolution is 1/2. You can switch the playback resolution as often as you like, using the Select Playback Resolution menu on the Source Monitor and Program Monitor panels.


Some lower resolutions are available only when working with particular media types.

Timecode information

At the bottom left of the Source Monitor, a timecode display shows the current position of the playhead in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames (00:00:00:00).

For example, 00:15:10:01 would be 0 hours, 15 minutes, 10 seconds, and 1 frame.

Note that this is based on the original timecode for the clip, which probably does not begin at 00:00:00:00.

At the bottom right of the Source Monitor, a timecode display shows the duration of your clip. By default, this shows the whole clip duration, but later you’ll add special marks to make a partial selection. When you do, that duration shown will change accordingly.

Safe margins

Television monitors often crop the edges of the picture to achieve a clean edge. If you’re producing video for a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, click the Settings menu (Image) at the bottom of the Source Monitor and choose Safe Margins. Premiere Pro displays white outlines over the image.

The outer box is the action-safe zone. Aim to keep important action inside this box so that when the picture is displayed, edge cropping does not hide what is going on.

The inner box is the title-safe zone. Keep titles and graphics inside this box so that even on a badly adjusted display, your audience will be able to read the words.


Premiere Pro also has advanced overlay options that can be configured to display useful information in the Source Monitor and Program Monitor. To enable or disable overlays, go to the monitor Settings (Image) menu and choose Overlays.

You can access the settings for the overlays and safe margins by clicking the monitor Settings menu and choosing Overlay Settings > Settings.

Click the Settings button at the bottom of the Source Monitor and choose Safe Margins to hide them.

Using essential playback controls

Let’s look at the playback controls.

1. Double-click the shot Excuse Me in the Theft Unexpected bin to open it in the Source Monitor.


2. At the bottom of the Source Monitor, you’ll find a blue playhead marker. Drag it along the bottom of the panel to view different parts of the clip. You can also click wherever you want the playhead to go, and it will jump to that spot.

3. Below the time ruler and the playhead, there’s a scroll bar that doubles as a Zoom control. Drag one end of the scroll bar to zoom in on the clip navigator.


4. Click the Play/Stop button to play the clip. Click it again to stop playback. You can also use the spacebar to play and stop playback.

5. Click the Step Back 1 Frame and Step Forward 1 Frame buttons to move through the clip one frame at a time. You can also use the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys on your keyboard.

6. Try using the J, K, and L keys to play your clip.

Customizing the monitors

To customize the way a monitor displays video, click the Settings menu (Image).

The Source Monitor and Program Monitor have the same options. You can view an audio waveform, which shows amplitude over time, and if your video has fields, you can choose which fields are shown.

Make sure Composite Video is selected in this menu.

You can also switch between viewing the clip audio waveform and the video by clicking the Drag Video Only (Image) or Drag Audio Only (Image) icon. These icons are used when editing clips into a sequence but also provide this useful display shortcut.

You can change the buttons displayed at the bottom of the Source Monitor and Program Monitor.

1. Click the Button Editor (Image) at the bottom right of the Source Monitor.

A special set of buttons appears on a floating panel.


2. Drag the Loop button (Image) from the floating panel to a spot to the right of the Play button on the Source Monitor and click OK.

3. Double-click the Excuse Me clip in the Theft Unexpected bin to open it in the Source Monitor if it isn’t open already.

4. Click the Loop button to enable it, and then play the video using the spacebar or the Play button on the Source Monitor. Stop the playback when you’ve seen enough.

With Loop turned on, Premiere Pro continuously repeats playback of a clip or sequence.

5. Click the Play button to play the clip. Click it again to stop playback. You can also use the spacebar to play and stop playback.

6. Click the Step Back 1 Frame and Step Forward 1 Frame buttons to move through the clip one frame at a time. You can also use the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys on your keyboard.

Modifying clips

Premiere Pro uses metadata associated with clips to know how to play them back. Occasionally, this metadata will be wrong, and you’ll need to tell Premiere Pro how to interpret a clip.

You can change the interpretation of clips for one file or multiple files in a single step. All clips you have selected are affected by changes to interpretation.

Adjusting audio channels

Premiere Pro has advanced audio management features. You can create complex sound mixes and selectively target output audio channels with original clip audio. You can produce mono, stereo, 5.1, and even 32-channel sequences with precise control over the routing of audio channels.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to produce sequences mastered in stereo using mono or stereo clips. In this case, the default settings are most likely what you need.

When recording audio with a professional camera, it’s common to have one microphone record onto one audio channel and a different microphone record onto another audio channel. These are the same audio channels that would be used for regular stereo audio, but they now contain completely separate sound.

Your camera adds metadata to the audio to tell Premiere Pro whether the sound is meant to be mono (separate audio channels) or stereo (channel 1 audio and channel 2 audio combined to produce the complete stereo sound).

You can tell Premiere Pro how to interpret audio channels when new media files are imported by choosing Edit > Preferences > Audio > Default Audio Tracks (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > Audio > Default Audio Tracks (Mac OS).

If the setting was wrong when you imported your clips, it’s easy to tell Premiere Pro how to correctly interpret the audio channels.

1. Right-click the Reveal clip in the Theft Unexpected bin and choose Modify > Audio Channels.


When the Preset menu is set to Use File, as it is here, Premiere Pro will use the file’s metadata to identify the channel format for the audio. In this case, it’s a stereo clip, so the Left and Right channels of the Source clip (described at the top of the selection matrix) are both assigned to a single clip for editing (described on the left).


When you add this clip to a sequence, it will appear as one video clip and one audio clip.

2. Click the Preset menu and change it to Mono.

Premiere Pro switches the Channel Format menu to Mono. You’ll see that the Left and Right source channels are now linked to two separate clips.


This means that when you add the clip to a sequence, each audio channel will go on a separate track, as separate clips, allowing you to work on them independently.

3. Click OK.

A few tips on audio clip channel interpretation

Here are some things to keep in mind when working with audio clip channel interpretation:

• In the Modify Clip dialog box, every available audio channel will be listed.

• You can override the original file audio channel interpretation. This will mean a different type of audio track may be needed in a sequence.

• The list on the left (which may be as short as one clip) shows how many clips will be added to a sequence when using this audio.

• Use the check boxes to choose which source audio channels are included in each sequence audio clip. This means you can easily combine multiple source audio channels into a single sequence clip or separate them into different clips in any way that works for your project.

Merging clips

It’s quite common for video to be recorded on a camera with relatively low-quality audio while high-quality sound is recorded on a separate device. When working this way, you’ll want to combine the high-quality audio with the video by merging them.

The most important factor when merging video and audio files in this way is synchronization. You will either manually define a sync point—like a clapperboard mark—or allow Premiere Pro to sync your clips automatically based on their original timecode information or audio.

If you choose to sync clips using audio, Premiere Pro will analyze both the in-camera audio and the separately captured sound and match them up.

• If you don’t have matching audio in the clips you are merging, you can manually add a marker. If you’re adding a mark, place it on a clear sync point like a clapperboard.

• Select the camera clip and the separate audio clip. Right-click either item and choose Merge Clips.

• Under Synchronize Point, choose your sync point, and click OK.

A new clip is created that combines the video and the “good” audio in a single item.

Interpreting video footage

For Premiere Pro to play back a clip correctly, it needs to know the frame rate for the video, the pixel aspect ratio (the shape of the pixels), and, if your clip is interlaced, the order in which to display the fields. Premiere Pro can find out this information from the file’s metadata, but you can change the interpretation easily.

1. Import RED Video.R3D from the Lessons/Assets/Video and Audio Files/RED folder. Double-click the clip to open it in the Source Monitor. It’s full anamorphic widescreen, which is a little too wide for this project.

2. Right-click the clip in the Project panel and choose Modify > Interpret Footage.

The option to modify audio channels is unavailable because this clip has no audio.

3. Right now, the clip is set to use the pixel aspect ratio setting from the file: Anamorphic 2:1. This means the pixels are twice as wide as they are tall.


4. Use the Conform To menu to change the Pixel Aspect Ratio setting to DVCPRO HD (1.5). Then click OK.

From now on, Premiere Pro will interpret the clip as having pixels that are 1.5 times wider than they are tall. This reshapes the picture to make it standard 16:9 widescreen. You can see the result in the Source Monitor.

This won’t always work—in fact, it often introduces unwanted distortion—but it can provide a quick fix for mismatched media (a common problem for news editors).

Working with raw files

Premiere Pro has special settings for .R3D files created by RED cameras, .ari files created by ARRI cameras, and several others. These files are similar to the Camera RAW format used by professional digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) still cameras.

RAW files always have a layer of interpretation applied to them in order to view them. You can change the interpretation at any time without impacting playback performance. This means you can make changes, for example, to the colors in a shot without requiring any extra processing power. You could achieve a similar result using a special effect, but your computer would have to do more work to play the clip.

The Effect Controls panel gives access to controls for clips in sequences and in the Project panel. You can use it to change the interpretation of RAW media files.

1. Double-click the RED Video.R3D clip to open it in the Source Monitor.

2. Using the panel tab, drag the Effect Controls panel over the Program Monitor so you can see both the Source Monitor and the Effect Controls panel at the same time.


Because the RED Video.R3D clip is displayed in the Source Monitor, the Effect Controls panel now shows the RED Source Settings options for that clip, which change the way the RAW media is interpreted.

In many ways, this is a color correction tool, with automatic white balance and individual adjustments for the red, green, and blue values.

3. Scroll down to the end of the list, where you’ll find Gain settings. Increase the Red gain to about 1.5. You can click the disclosure triangle to reveal a slider control, drag the blue number directly, or click and type over the number.

4. Take another look at the clip in the Source Monitor.

The picture has updated. If you had already edited this clip into a sequence, it would update in the sequence too.

For more information about working with RED media, go to

Different RAW media files will give different RED Source Settings options in the Effect Controls panel.

Review questions

1. How do you change the List view headings displayed in the Project panel?

2. How can you quickly filter the display of clips in the Project panel to make finding a clip easier?

3. How do you create a new bin?

4. If you change the name of a clip in the Project panel, does it change the name of the media file it links to on your hard drive?

5. What keys can you use to play back video and sound clips?

6. How can you change the way clip audio channels are interpreted?

Review answers

1. Click the panel menu for the Project panel and choose Metadata Display. Select the check box for any heading you want to appear.

2. Click the Filter Bin Content box and start typing the name of the clip you are looking for. Premiere Pro hides any clips that don’t match and displays those that do.

3. You have several options: Click the New Bin button at the bottom of the Project panel, go to the File menu and choose New > Bin, right-click a blank area in the Project panel and choose New Bin, or press Control+B (Windows) or Command+B (Mac OS). You can also drag and drop clips onto the New Bin button on the Project panel.

4. No. You can duplicate, rename, or delete clips in your Project panel, and nothing will happen to your original media files.

5. The spacebar plays and stops. J, K, and L can be used like a shuttle controller to play backward and forward, and the arrow keys can be used to move one frame backward or one frame forward.

6. In the Project panel, right-click the clip you want to change and choose Modify > Audio Channels. Choose the correct option (usually by selecting a preset) and click OK.