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The steps taken when editing video, from capture or import to final output, make up your workflow. Reviewing a production’s workflow before starting a project and creating a first sequence will help you optimize Adobe Premiere and plan for special needs at every step in the project. Whether you use Adobe video editing software to edit footage for the web, broadcast, or DVD, you’re likely to use a workflow much like what’s listed below.

Before Editing Starts

When learning how to use Adobe Premiere, the first thing you’ll need is some footage to use. You can create your own, use other people’s footage, or use audio files, graphics, and more. Dramatic projects require the use or creation of a script; Adobe Story makes it easy. Next, organize shots, take notes, and adjust on the fly before capturing footage on a drive.

Setting Up a Workspace

The Premiere Assembly Workspace is a great place to begin. Choose Window > Workspaces > Assembly, or select Assembly at the top of your screen. From there, choose the Media Browser or Window > Media Browser from the program’s main menu. Find your media, whether it’s on a network drive or a local drive, and if they’re in a list, click on the thumbnail icon at the panel bottom.

Changing Default Settings

Changing a couple of default settings (Default Picture Length and Scale Media to Project Size) will help you save a significant amount of time on your video editing tasks. Go to Edit > Preferences > General to find these settings. The latter setting means that videos and photos will be scaled down to project size; it will save time, especially if you’re mixing a lot of HD and SD photos and videos. The default picture length is typically set at 150 frames, or about five seconds of video footage. However, it can be changed to anything, so you won’t have to change every photo as you import it. When the settings are just as you want them, save them by clicking OK.

Starting or Opening a Project

Begin the workflow by opening a current project or starting a new one from Premiere Pro’s start screen. If you’re beginning a project, the appropriate dialog launches. In the New Project dialog, you can set the location and name of the file, the video format, and change other settings as well. After you have everything the way you want it, simply click OK.

After exiting the New Project dialog, a New Sequence dialog box appears. Choose the preset that matches your footage’s settings. Start with the camera type, then the frame rate, and click the appropriate preset. Name your sequence at the dialog box’s bottom and click OK.
To work on an unfinished project, click any link under the “Open a Recent Item” heading on the Adobe Premiere Pro start screen. After clicking that link, the project will launch.

Capturing and Importing Audio and Video

For a file-based asset, you can use the Media Browser to import computer files in most major media formats. Every file imported or captured is automatically converted to a Project Panel clip. Alternatively, you can use the Capture Panel to directly take footage from a VTR or camcorder. With the right hardware, it is possible to capture and digitize other formats, from HDTV to VHS.

You’ll also be able to import a range of digital media, such as still images, audio, and video. Premiere Pro can also import Photoshop layer files and artwork from Adobe Illustrator, and it easily translates your After Effects projects for an integrated, seamless workflow. You can make synthetic media, such as countdowns, color bars, and color backgrounds, and you can also find and organize media files with Adobe Bridge. From there, use Adobe Bridge’s Place command to put the files straight into Premiere Pro.

In the Pro Project panel, it’s easy to categorize, group, and label footage, which keeps complicated projects organized. It’s possible to open more than one bin at the same time, as each has its own panel. Alternatively, you can nest bins inside one another. With the Project panel’s icon view, you’ll be able to arrange clips like a storyboard to quickly assemble or visualize a sequence. Note: Before importing or capturing audio, go to Preferences > Audio > Default Track Format is set to the appropriate channel format.

Refining and Assembling a Sequence

Using Premiere Pro’s Source Monitor, you’ll view your clips, choose edit points, and mark important frames before inserting clips into a sequence. For simplicity’s sake, master clips can be broken into an endless number of subclips, each with unique out and in points. You’ll also be able to see audio as a waveform and make precision, sample-based changes.

Add clips to sequences in Premiere’s Timeline panel by using the Source Monitor’s Overwrite or Insert buttons, or by dragging and dropping them there. Here, it’s easy to automatically assemble the clips into a sequence. Edited sequences can be viewed in full quality on a television monitor, or you can see them in the Program Monitor.

Sequences can be refined by manipulating the clips via the Timeline panel, with either the Tools panel or context-sensitive tools. You can use the Trim Monitor to further narrow the cut point between the clips. When sequences are nested (used as clips within other sequences), it’s possible to create effects that would be unattainable otherwise.

Adding Titles

Next in learning how to use Adobe Premiere, you can quickly create titles directly on videos with the Essential Graphics panel. Here, you can add shapes, text, and more to layers that are adjustable and rearrangeable. Titles can be saved as Motion Graphics templates for later sharing and reuse.

Adding Effects and Transitions

The Effects panel within Adobe Premiere has a long list of effects and transitions that may be applied to clips within a sequence. You can modify these effects, as well as clips’ opacity, motion, and variable rate stretch. With the Effect Controls panel, you can use conventional keyframing methods to animate clip properties. As transitions are adjusted, the panel displays controls specifically designed for the task. If you’re looking for an alternative, you can adjust and view transitions and clip effect keyframes in the Timeline panel.

Mixing Audio

For track-focused audio adjustments, the Premiere Audio Track Mixer emulates a full mixing board. It comes with pan and fade sliders, effects, and sends. Adjustments are saved in real time, and if you have the right sound card, it’s possible to use the sound mixer to record audio or mix it for 5.1 surround sound.


With Adobe video editing software, you can deliver edited sequences in a range of media: movie files, Blu-ray disc, DVD, or tape, to name a few. Using the Adobe Media Encoder, you’ll customize settings for MPEG-4, MPEG-2, FLV, and other formats and codecs, to suit your audience’s needs.

Work On Projects Across Platforms

When you’re learning the answer to the question “What is Adobe Premiere?”, one of the best features of this software is the ability to work across multiple platforms. For instance, you can begin on a Windows machine and pick up your work later on a Mac. While there are a few minor changes with each platform shift, the overall function of Adobe Premiere remains the same.

Sequence Settings

As mentioned previously, you can create projects on a particular platform and move them to another. If there are equivalent sequence settings on the second platform, Adobe Premiere sets them automatically. For instance, it’s possible to create a project containing device control and DV capture settings on a Windows computer. When the project is opened on a machine running the Mac OS, Premiere Pro sets the right Mac device control and DV capture settings. The next time the project is saved, the Mac settings are saved as well, and Premiere Pro translates them once again if the project is subsequently opened on a Windows computer.


All the video effects found on the Mac operating system are found in the Windows version. However, if a project is opened on a Mac after being started on a Windows machine, effects not found on Mac are shown as offline. These effects have the “Windows only” designation in the Premiere Pro help section. All of Premiere’s audio effects are found on both platforms, and effect presets work across platforms as well (unless a particular preset is applied to an effect that’s not available on the platform).

Preview Files

A preview file made on either platform (Windows or Mac) isn’t available on the other. When a Premiere project is opened on another platform, the software re-renders the preview file. When the project is subsequently reopened on the original platform, the preview file is rendered yet again.

Preview Rendering

Playback quality on un-rendered, non-native preview files isn’t as high as the playback quality seen on a file’s native platform. For example, an AVI file won’t play back as nicely on the Mac OS as it will on a Windows OS machine. Premiere Pro renders these files for the current platform in the native format. If there’s a section with files that need rendering, it’s indicated by a red bar in the project timeline.

We hope this tutorial has answered the question of “What is Adobe Premiere?” Keep coming back for more tips for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users. Once you understand key concepts in video editing, a world of possibilities open up like whiteboard hand-lettering clips and calligraphy timelapses, fireworks show compilations – the list goes on endlessly.