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Organizing Media

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Adobe Press.
  • Date: Apr 6, 2018.

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.

Monitoring footage

The greater part of video editing is spent watching or listening to clips and making creative choices about them.

Premiere Pro has multiple ways to perform 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. Continue working in the Theft Unexpected bin.

  2. Click the Icon View button at the lower-left corner of the bin, and use the Zoom control to set the thumbnails to a size you are happy with.

  3. Hover your mouse (move the pointer without clicking) across any of the images in the bin.

    Premiere Pro displays the contents of the clip as you move the mouse cursor. 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 (be careful not to double-click, or the clip will open in the Source Monitor). Hover scrubbing is now turned off, and a mini navigator appears at the bottom of the thumbnail. Try dragging through the clip using the playhead.


    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 video in the thumbnail.

    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. Open the Source Monitor panel menu to browse your recent clips.

  8. Open the Zoom Level menu at the bottom left 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%.

    Your clips will often be higher resolution than the monitors.

    It’s likely scroll bars have appeared at the bottom and on the right of your Source Monitor 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. Choose Fit from the Zoom Level menu.

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 Time Ruler. This will make it easier to navigate longer clips.

  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.

Lowering the playback resolution

If you have an older or slower computer processor or are working with RAW media 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. Clips will play with the correct timing (so 10 seconds of video will still take 10 seconds), 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.


Getting 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), according to the clip’s timecode.

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

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 In and Out marks to make a partial selection. When you do, that duration shown will change accordingly.

Displaying safe margins

Television monitors often crop the edges of the picture to achieve a clean edge. Open the Settings menu timeline_settings.jpg at the bottom of the Source Monitor and choose Safe Margins to display useful 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’s 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, open the monitor Settings menu timeline_settings.jpg and choose Overlays.

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

You can disable Safe Margins or Overlays by choosing from the Source Monitor or Program Monitor Settings menu again.

Customizing the monitors

To customize the way a monitor displays video, open each monitor’s Settings menu timeline_settings.jpg.

The Source Monitor and Program Monitor have similar 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 the Settings menu for now.

You can also switch between viewing the clip audio waveform and the video by selecting Drag Video Only drag_video_only.jpg or Drag Audio Only drag_audio_only.jpg. These icons are mainly used when dragging the video-only or audio-only part of a clip into a sequence but they also provide this useful shortcut to view the audio waveform.

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

  1. Click the Button Editor button_editor.jpg at the bottom right of the Source Monitor.

    A special set of buttons appears on a floating panel.

  2. Drag the Loop button loop_play_button.jpg from the floating panel to a spot to the right of the Play button on the Source Monitor, and click OK to close the Button Editor.

  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 new Loop button to enable it.

  5. Click the Play button to play the clip. Play the video using the spacebar or the Play button on the Source Monitor. Stop the playback when you’ve seen the video start again.

    With Loop turned on, Premiere Pro continuously repeats playback of a clip or sequence. If there are In and Out marks set, playback loops between them.

  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.

5. Modifying clips | Next Section Previous Section

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