- The horizontal bars represent your footage and any attached audio. To start off, Premiere Pro gives you 3 layers for your video and 3 for your audio, with the video always appearing at the top and audio beneath. You can add more later on if you need to.
- The thin vertical line is your playhead, also known as a scrubber. This indicates which part of your video/ audio is currently being looked at in the top-right preview window. Try moving the playhead by dragging the blue tab at the top of the line. You'll notice that this changes the frame that's currently being displayed.
The Main Tools
Here we’ll go over the basic tools you’ll need to be familiar with in order to edit your film. Most of these tools can be accessed either via the toolbar in Premiere Pro, or by using keyboard shortcuts, which we’ve included in brackets.
It’s good to note that using keyboard shortcuts will help to speed up your editing process. If at any point you forget which tools are assigned to a shortcut, click Adobe Premiere CC in the menu bar at the top and then click Keyboard Shortcuts.
- The Razor tool (C) – Used to cut your clips.
- The Mouse tool (V) – general purpose tool used for navigating your workspace and rearranging clips.
- Play / Pause (Space Bar) – used to play or pause your clip.
- The Ripple tool (B) – used to shift the selected track left and right on the timeline to fine-tune your edits.
- The Hand Tool (H) – a way of moving around the timeline. Generally the hand tool is only useful for complicated, large scale productions.
- The Zoom Tool (Z) – used to scale your timeline to view precise points, allowing you to fine tune edits. Pressing the Alt key with the zoom tool active will allow you to zoom out on the timeline.
- Render (Return/ Enter key) – Renders the sequence in the timeline.
More Advanced Tools
Fast Forward / Rewind (L / J) – Used to move the playhead forwards/ backwards along the timeline. The longer the keys are held down, the faster the playhead will move.
- Stop (K) – used to stop the playhead whilst fast forwarding or rewinding
- Undo (Ctrl / Cmd Z) – as with most programmes, this undoes the last action you performed
- Copy (Ctrl / Cmd C) – copies the selected clip
- Paste (Ctrl / Cmd V) – pastes the selected clip
Editing Your Video - Concepts and Techniques
Now that you're a bit more clued up on the basics of cutting and rearranging your clips, it's time to look at some of the key concepts that are typically used when editing films. We can't cover everything here but will give an overview of two super useful concepts that will put you on the right track to making awesome videos: Continuity editing and cutaways.
Continuity editing, very simply, is the process of putting together a sequence of shots so that they infer a progression of events, without having to include the entirety of an action. The key to continuity editing is choosing clips that will make sense and look ‘right’ when stitched together. If a clip doesn’t fit, you risk breaking the flow of your film, causing viewers to become detached from the story you are trying to convey.
An example of continuity editing could be: A woman walks to a door (2 seconds) |CUT| The woman turns the door handle (1.5 seconds) |CUT| The woman is on the other side of the door walking through (2 seconds).
Another take on continuity editing is the Shot / Reverse Shot, used when editing together an interview or conversation between two people. The ‘Shot/ Reverse Shot’ alternates between two characters depending on who’s talking, with character in the first frame always looking left and the other character always looking right. By making sure the same person is always facing the same way in frame, you make it much easier for your viewer to follow the conversation.
Cutaways are hugely useful for video editors working with news or documentary style films that feature a large number of interview shots. A cutaway shot tends to be laid over a clip of someone talking about something, and helps to provide visual detail that is relevant to what is being discussed.
Aside from providing more detail, cutaway shots are useful for covering any ‘jump cuts’ in your interviews. A jump cut is when a person who is speaking to camera has had their speech edited for whatever reason, leaving a noticeable jump in the clip that can cause viewers to question what has been removed. By covering the cut with a sequence of clips, you can make it almost impossible to notice when speech has been altered.