Part 1 of 10
Starting at the beginning is generally a good place to kick things off.
Scratch an Itch
Open a new project and you’re presented with a page full of options that might seem intimidating…fret not. For us now, the defaults on the general tab are fine to leave alone. Let’s take a look at those scratch disks.
The scratch disks are locations that Adobe Premiere uses to store temporary files like rendered video, audio, preview files, and autosaves. You can point the scratch disk locations anywhere, but it’s a good practice to have them on a separate drive from where you’re project lives and where your media lives. We all don’t have that luxury and that’s okay. In generally, point the scratch disk to a drive that is reasonably fast. I also like to point my scratch to folders to a single location so those files are easy to find if I even need to troubleshoot or clean things.
Premiere’s Program Window
Moving on to the Premiere Pro workspace. Adobe Premiere’s workspace is completely customizable to your preference of window layout. Work on a laptop? Keep things trimmed down to the bare bones. Have dual monitors (highly recommended)? Open up all the windows and tabs! (not recommended). The point is you can do what you want. Here are the basic Premiere windows that you should be familiar with:
· Project Window – The project window houses all of your project’s media and provides a way for you to organize said media with bins (folders).
· Timeline Window – This is where the magic happens. The timeline window is where you’ll be doing the actual editing of video clips and audio.
· Source Monitor – When you load an audio or video clip from the project window, it will preview in the source monitor. From there you’ll be able to mark in/out points for the clip and add it to your sequence in the timeline window.
· Program Monitor – The program monitor is where you’ll watch the edit you’re cutting in the timeline window.
· Effects Window – This is like an organized folder that stores all of Premiere Pro’s effects that you can apply to clips. Premiere comes with many standard effects and you can purchase effects packages like Red Giant’s Universe or Boris’ Sapphire Effects for even more fun.
· Effect Control Window – After an effect is applied to a clip, audio or video, its settings are manipulated in this widow.
· Tool Panel – A small panel for quickly accessing useful edit tools in Premiere. All of these tools can also be accessed via keyboard shortcuts much faster.
· Media Browser – Think of the media browser like a Finder or Explorer window. From inside of Premiere Pro you can access media and pull it into your project. It’s important to know that some media, like .R3D footage should be pulled in through the media browser so that all of the clip’s metadata and effects can be accessed.
· Audio Meters – The audio meters give you a visual representation of how loud the audio in your edit is.
Setting the scratch disks at the after opening Premiere was step 1 in setting up our project. Now that we’ve moved past that and explored the workspace we should set our bin structure. The bin structure we choose is just the start of keeping our project organized. Organization is important as an editor because the more organize you are, the easier it is to find what you want when you want it, making you more efficient. This is especially true when your projects grow from a few clips (like in this course) to hundreds or even thousands of individual clips. My typical structure looks like this:
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but one thing to note is my use of “+” and “z” before certain names. When sorting my project window based on an item’s name, the “+” ensures that item will go to the very top of the bin it lives in and the leading “z” similarly sends those things to the bottom of the bin.
Creating a New Sequence
Rounding out this part and the project setup is creating a new sequence. You can do this by right clicking and pointing your mouse to New Item > Sequence or hitting ctrl+N / cmd+N. The sequence settings box that pops up can be a bit intimidating. These are my general sequence settings for an HD project:
I won’t go into it here, but it’s important that your preview format is a good quality editing codec like Quicktime Apple Prores. If you want to know more about why that’s important, check out my post on codecs. I’m also a fan of the look of 23.98 fps. Confused on the fps thing? I’ve got you covered.
I use a few custom sequence presets that cover 99% of the projects I edit and you can grab them at the download link below.