- Razor tool:
This tool cuts clips into shorter pieces wherever you click.
- Slip tool:
Trim the end point of one clip and the start point of the next one, leaving the total duration of the two clips the same.
- Pen tool:
Use this to draw free-form shapes on your project in the playback area. Or click and hold on the Pen tool to reveal the Rectangle tool and Ellipse tool. Then apply special edits or graphics inside your new shape.
- Hand tool:
Use this tool to navigate through your timeline sequence without making selections.
- Type tool:
Quickly add text over the top of your footage by selecting this tool and clicking inside the playback window.
Add transitions and audio clips.
Add artful effects that carry one scene into the next by placing transitions at the start and end of clips. Go to Effects › Video Transitions and drag them right onto your timeline over the top of your clips. Add and adjust audio clips that play during your scenes by adding them to your timeline, just as you do with video and images. You can even record new audio clips right within Premiere Pro. In the Audio panel, click the microphone icon to record voiceover tracks.
Workflow tips for timeline editing.
To avoid lost footage and streamline your workflow, stick to a routine when you edit your video content. Before you start, back up all your footage to an external hard drive. Then upload or ingest your footage into a new project in Premiere Pro. This will be the bucket from where you’ll pull your clips onto the editing timeline. Go through and delete any unwanted clips from your project library.
From there, drop a few clips onto the timeline and make your first cuts. Bring in the music or sound effects you’ll be using to help shape your sequence. It helps to color-code your sound clips — one color can be used for sound effects, another for music, another for dialogue, and so on. Once you have your rough cut down, you can add transitions, begin color grading, and add text or graphics.
“I’ll do one rough pass — cut it all the way through, even if it’s not perfect, and then I’ll take a break,” says Martin. “I won’t touch it, I’ll walk away, do something else, cut the grass, go cook. And then I’ll come back with fresh eyes and do another cut. Then I’ll watch it one more time to see how it feels. I’ll also ask my wife or other people to watch it.”
Watch your project all the way through one final time before you export it. “Go back through your timeline and make sure everything’s where it needs to be,” says Martin. Make sure all your titles are in the right place and that you didn’t miss any color grading. “It can be tedious with longer videos, but it’s going to save you a lot of headaches in the end.”
Tutorials and templates for timeline editing.
Follow along in this video as a professional editor walks you through the fundamentals of editing on the Premiere Pro timeline. Then jump into Premiere Pro and see what you can do. The most effective way to learn to edit on a timeline is to start doing it. “Just start messing with it. Get some clips from your phone, drop them in, cut them up, and add some stock footage,” says Martin.
Then try to shoot some new footage to see how you can shape a story from start to finish. The best videographers plan ahead for how they’ll edit future projects, even while they shoot. “If you’re editing your own videos, as you’re shooting, you have to think about the edit too. That’s the necessary evil of it,” says Martin. “We try to think ahead.”
If you’ve created a project that works and you’d like to replicate its structure with new footage, you can create video templates to come back to customize later — save everything from titles and graphics to entire timeline templates that preserve your sequence for use in your next project. Practice and preparation will make each new project on your timeline easier and easier.