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Organizing Media

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter from Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book (2018 release), learn how to organize your video clips using the Project panel, how to use special folders called bins, and why metadata and labels are important.

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 help 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 custom_fx_bin.jpg 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.

  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 Graphics.

  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 Seattle_Skyline.mov 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 Ctrl+B (Windows) or Command+B (macOS) to make another bin.

  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 expand_motion.jpg to hide their contents and tidy up the view.

  1. Drag the clip Brightlove_film_logo.ai into the Illustrator Files bin.

  2. Drag Theft_Unexpected.png into the Graphics bin.

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

  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.


    You can also copy and paste clips to make extra copies if this helps you stay organized. In the Graphics bin, you have a PNG file that might be useful for the Theft Unexpected content. Let’s make an extra copy.

  7. Click the disclosure triangle for the Graphics bin to display the contents.

  8. Right-click the Theft_Unexpected.png 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.

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

Changing bin views

Although there is a distinction between the Project panel and the bins inside it, 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 list_view_button.jpg or Icon View button icon_view_button.jpg 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, next to the List View and Icon View buttons, which changes the size of the clip icons or thumbnails.

  1. Double-click the Theft Unexpected bin to open it in its own 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 sort_icons.jpg menu.

  4. Switch to List view.

  5. Try adjusting the Zoom control for the bin.

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

  6. Open the panel menu, and choose Thumbnails.

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

  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 the 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 clip thumbnails to preview clips.

  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. Choose Thumbnails from the panel menu to turn off thumbnails in List view.

  13. Close the Theft Unexpected bin.

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 label color for a title.

  1. Right-click Theft_Unexpected.png 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 Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (macOS) to change the Theft_Unexpected.png 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 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 it safe to rename clips—and it can be helpful when organizing a complex project.

  1. Open the Graphics bin.

  2. Right-click the clip Theft_Unexpected.png 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 (macOS).


The media 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 columns of information about each clip heading. You can easily add or remove columns. Depending on the clips you have and the types of metadata you are working with, you might want to display or hide some columns.

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

  2. Open the panel menu, and choose Metadata Display.

    The Metadata Display panel allows you to choose any kind of metadata to display 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 only. You can apply the change to every bin in one step by using the panel menu in the Project panel, rather than in an individual bin.

Some columns provide information only, while others can be edited directly in the bin. The Scene column, for example, allows you to add a scene number for each clip, while the Media Type column gives information about the media and cannot be edited directly.

If you add information and press the Enter (Windows) or Return (macOS) key, Premiere Pro activates the same box for the next clip down. This way, you can use the keyboard to quickly enter information about several clips, jumping from one box to the next without using your mouse.

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 new panel, in the same frame, with the end of the set of panels already open in the frame.

You can change this in Preferences.

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


The options allow you to choose what will happen when you double-click, double-click with the Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS) key, or double-click with the Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) key.

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