Adobe Premiere Tutorial

Adobe Premiere LogoAdobe Premiere is an advanced editing tool available for student use in most student computer labs.  It allows you to edit video clips from digital cameras and camcorders, as well as videos downloaded from the internet.  It can also be used to capture from digital camcorders. This tool can also be used to combine clips from a variety of sources into a single video project.

This tutorial is by no means meant to be a comprehensive overview, but it should give you a leg up on navigating the basic features of the program.  See for an in-depth video tutorial on using Adobe Premiere.

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The most recent version of this application available at the time of this tutorial will be Adobe Premiere CS6.  Once you open the program, allow some time for the program to load.  You will eventually be presented with the following screen, prompting you to either create a new project, or open a previous one.


If you create a new project, you will then be prompted to name your project, among other settings which you can leave as they are.  Select OK when you have given your project a name.


The next page will ask for a Sequence, which you can also leave as is.  Click OK to continue.


At this time, you will now see your main project window.  By default, you should see 5 distinct panes, which we will go over in detail here.


  1. Project Window
  2. Source Monitor
  3. Sequence Monitor
  4. Effects/Media Browser
  5. Sequence

NOTE:  These windows CAN be moved around and customized in terms of size, position and number of tabs per pane.  If you don’t see the above windows, please skip ahead to Window Management.

The Project Window

At the top of your Project Window is your Tool Bar.  These are the various mouse tools you will have to work with.  For the most part, you will be using the regular mouse option on the far left.


The Project Window contains your video clips, audio clips, still images, titles, and even your ending project itself (here titled Sequence 01).

You can click-and-drag video clips, audio clips and still images directly into this window from your computer.

When you add items to this list, you will see them listed as below.


You can see here the Project Window contains a number of items – an image file, an audio file, the Sequence (the final product), and a video file.

From here, you can also click and drag each of these items into your Sequence listed above.  Double-click any item within the list on your Project Window, and it will display in your Source Monitor, detailed below (except for Sequence 01, which will shift your focus to Sequence).

Source Monitor

If nothing in your Project Window is selected, your Source Monitor will be blank, as below.


When an item in the Project Window is selected, it will display its contents in the Source Monitor.


If you wish to practice, each of the files above can be found in the Sample folders in Windows 7.

The Source Monitor allows you to select which parts of your file to add to your Sequence.  The Display shows the visual part of your clip at its current point.


  1. The Scrub Bar displays which part your clip you are viewing in the timeline, and can be clicked and dragged to manually scroll through your entire clip.  As you move this bar, the Display above will show you the frame for that point.
  2. The Scroll Bar has nobs on either end that you can click and drag to zoom in and out of your timeline.
  3. On the left is your current position within the clip
  4. On the right is the total length of your clip.

To select a portion of your clip, you can set In-Points and Out-Points.


  1. Set In-Point
  2. Jump to In-Point
  3. Move Back One Frame
  4. Play/Pause
  5. Move Forward One Frame
  6. Jump to Out-Point
  7. Set Out-Point

To set your In-Point and Out-Point, use the Scrub Bar, or the Play/Pause and Frame Forward/Frame Back buttons to choose the precise point you want to begin your clip for the In-Point, and end your clip for the Out-Point.  These points can be set and reset any number of times.  You can also manually click and drag either end of your selected portion to alter your selection.


  1. In-Point
  2. Out-Point

You do not need to set either one of these points to continue.  If an In-Point is not set, the clip will extend to the very beginning, and if an Out-Point is not set, the clip will extend to the very end.

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Once you’ve made your selection, you can click and drag, either from the Project Window or from the Source Monitor display into your Sequence, and only the portion of the clip contained within your In-Point and/or Out-Point will be added to your Sequence.

Sequence Monitor

The Sequence Monitor displays your Sequence, and allows you to play, pause, and view your final project frame by frame.  Along the bottom, you will also find a toolbar similar to that on the Source Monitor to further edit your final product.


Useful Tip:  The Export Frame button on your toolbar allows you to capture a still image from your video and save it directly to the computer.

Effects/Media Browser

The bottom-left-hand window should contain both the Media Browser as well as the Effects area, two important tools that we will be covering in this tutorial.  The Media Browser is the technical method of adding content to you project.  The left-hand column represents the directories available to you, and the right-hand column will show you the files in a selected directory.  You can click and drag content directly into the Project Window above either from a folder on your computer, or from the Media Browser.  It is highly recommended that you use the Media Browser, as opposed to clicking and dragging, when it comes to importing videos from an SD card.


Tip:  The following two options toggle between List View and Thumbnail View.


The Effects menu is your resource center for standard media effects.  Each folder contains a number of pre-set effects and transitions that you can click and drag directly to your Sequence, mentioned below.  You can open the folders containing your desired effect, as illustrated below.


For instance, under Video Transitions (effects that change how one clip transfers to another or begins or ends), there is a category called Dissolve, which is a type of transition in which the image dissolves.  One type of dissolves that we’ll be working with is Dip to Black, which creates a fade-to-black effect and makes the transition from one clip to another a lot smoother.

Clicking and dragging from this menu to the Sequence area can be tricky, so we will go over it in the Sequence section below.



The Sequence area is the main work area of your project, and will contain the clips and media that will make up your actual project.  This area will allow you to combine two or more pieces of video content, add audio tracks, add still images, and add transitions and effects to improve your final project.  Note the time stamps along the top, which indicate the duration of your video project.

Your primary video and audio track are highlighted in the middle, like so.


When you click and drag your first item from your Project Window into the Sequence area, you will want to place them as close to this center line as you can.  Notice that Wildlife.mp4 has both Video and Audio content associated with it.


Clicking and dragging a Still Image, such as Desert.jpg, will only add Video content.


Whereas, dragging an Audio File, such as Kalimba.mp3, will only add Audio content


The orange Scrub Marker and red Scrub Bar underneath indicate what you are currently looking at in the Sequence Monitor, as well as the Sequence Monitor.  You can click and drag this item to view a given point on your timeline.


Any item you place in the Sequence will also appear in the Sequence Monitor, meaning that anything you do to the Sequence will affect what you see in the Sequence Monitor, and moving around in the Sequence Monitor will affect where you are in the Sequence, and vice versa.


By default, any item you drag into the Sequence bar will snap to fit with the edges of other clips, the beginning and end of your project, as well as your Scrub Bar, as indicated by the arrows on the left.


Here are some other examples.  This feature will allow items to snap neatly into place without leaving any unwanted gaps, but can sometimes have unwanted consequences, so be wary.








You have quite a bit of freedom when arranging your media content here, which also means that you have to be careful when arranging your content.  If you click and drag your content left and right, you can determine at what point during your timeline your content will appear.  Keep in mind that any empty space left unoccupied will translate into a blank screen for duration of those spaces.


You will also have the option to place items on the levels above the first Video and Audio track.  Items placed on Video 2 will appear in front of Video 1.  Often, this will mean covering up the item in Video 1 entirely, but often Video 2 and Video 3 is used to translucent items, such as Captions and Titles.

Items placed in Audio 2 and below, being audio, will play simultaneously – though if a video is placed in the Video 2 track, its audio content will likewise appear in the Audio 2 track.  Be careful not to accidentally overwrite any audio content this way.  To increase or decrease audio volume, see Editing Your Project below.


We’ve already added the Video File: Wildlife.mp4 to our Sequence to be edited.


  1. Here, we’ve placed Still Image: Desert.jpg.  It occupies only a small portion of the timeline, as it extends for only 5 seconds by default.  We will cover how to change this length at a later point.
  2. Here, we’ve placed the Audio File: Kalimba.mp3.  It extends off the screen, because it is several minutes longer than our video.  Again, we will cover how to change this length at a later point.

Placing our Audio File and Still Image alongside our Video File like this means that our project will display the video, Wildlife.mp4, with the Kalimba.mp3 song playing in the background.  Then, when Wilfelife.mp4 reaches its conclusion, instead of the last five seconds of Wildelife.mp4, it will instead display Still Image Desert.jpg for five seconds.  Then, we will see several minutes of black screen while Kalimba.mp3 continues to play in the background.

You can add as many Audio and Video tracks as you want.  By default, you have three tracks of each to work with, but more can be added later.

Keep in mind that the Sequence Monitor in the upper right-hand corner will preview everything you do in the Sequence.  And always remember – the yellow Scrub Bar at the top of your Sequence and the Scrub Bar beneath your Sequence Monitor (NOT your Source Monitor) BOTH show and control your Sequence.

Window Management

If your workspace looks different from the above layout, or you simply wish to customize your workspace, you can click and drag virtually any of these panes to any area of the screen you find convenient.  You can refresh your workspace by going to the Window tool button, and selecting Workspace.  The workspace we are working in here is called Editing (CS5.5).  Click on this to reset your workspace to the default view for our tutorial.


To manually adjust your workspace, click and drag from the tabs area of each pane you see – sometimes, you will see multiple tabs, which indicate multiple items within that pane, but you will still see a tab even if there is only one.


When you drag the tab, any pane you hover over (including the original pane) will divided into a central square area, surrounded by four brackets on the top, bottom, let and right.  Drag and hover your tab over one of these five areas, and it will highlight blue to indicate that it’s ready to be dropped.


Dropping into the middle box will place it in that specific pane and add the tab to any other tabs occupying that pane.  At this point, you can also click and drag so that these tabs are lined up in the order you prefer.


Dropping into one of the side, top or bottom areas, however, will create a brand new pane that shares a space with that one.  The side you pick will determine how the two panes divide the space.


You also have the option of dragging the tab to the very edge of your program window to take up half the screen.  If you have multiple monitors, you even have the option of dropping the tab onto your second monitor and have it sit as its own window.

IMPORTANT:  Take care when rearranging items, as the effects of your arrangements can be difficult to reset.  Be wary also of other panes that will automatically adjust themselves to compensate for any movement you make with the current pane you are on, intentional or unintentional.  Remember, if things get out of hand, you can always reset your workspace by going to the Window toolbar button and then under Workspace, select the desired workspace (Editing CS 5.5. for this tutorial).

This section is here primarily to help you avoid potential mishaps that might result from accidental window movements.

Editing Your Project

So we’ve covered how to do a few basic functions, now let’s go over how to apply those functions effectively, and what Editing Techniques you can use to do even more.


To zoom into your Source Monitor, Sequence Monitor or Sequence, you can click and drag the square nobs at the edges of the bottom scrollbar.  This will narrow the focus of your view around on your Scrub Bar.


As your scroll bar gets smaller, your items get proportionally larger!


And vice versa!


This tool can be a bit confusing at first, but play around with it to try and get a feel for what’s happening.  You are controlling the size of the scroll bar.  The shorter the scroll bar is, the greater distance is must be dragged to scale the entire length of the project.

Both the left and the right ends of the scroll bar can be used this way (though it is often more intuitive to use the right end), and will zoom in on your Scrub Bar.


Now let’s say you’ve recorded a 15 minute video clip, but only want to use 3 minutes of it.  We can accomplish this by using the In-Points and Out-Points discussed in Source Monitor above.

If you choose not to shorten your clip using this method, however, you can manually shorten (or, in some cases, lengthen) your clip directly inside the Sequence timeline.  Mouse over the edge of one of your items in the Sequence timeline, and your mouse should turn into a red arrow, as indicated on the left.  Once this happens, you can click and drag the border to contract the size of that item from that side.


If the item is a clip of a larger file, however, you have the option of expanding it up to and including the entirety of the original item in your Project Window.  This will only work if there is additional content in the original file in the Project Window.  You can think of this as Adobe Premiere being able to fill in empty space as long as it knows what it is filling it with.


This will work for any type of file – video, audio or still image.  With still images, there is no limit on how long it can be expanded, since it will be the same still image no matter the time it fills.

Expanding and contracting will also snap to edges, just like with dragging and dropping.

Adding Effects

Let’s say you want to add some video effects to your project.  Your list of available effects is available in the Effects window, mentioned above.

To add an effect, click and drag the desired effect from the Effects window, and drop it onto the desired clip.  Remember, video effects can only modify video (and image) clips, and likewise for audio clips.


Let’s give our video clip a more classic cinematic look to it.  Locate Dust & Scratches under Noise & Grain under Video Effects.  You will have to select the arrow tab on the left to expand the menu.


Click and drag Dust & Scratches to the video clip in your Sequence.



This will allow you to preview the effects in your Sequence window more smoothly.

Next, let’s add some transitions.  Adding transitions works in much the same way, only you need to be very careful with where you drag and drop transitions.  Locate a transition from one of the folders under Audio Transition or Video Transition.


Drag and drop the transition to the point where two clips conjoin.


You can also add transitions to the beginning and end of clips.







Once you drop your clip, you will likely once again need to render your workspace.  Once you do, your transition will be represented along the top of the Video or Audio track.  The length of the purple bars will indicate how much time the transition takes on each track.  The duration of these transitions can be manually edited by clicking and dragging the ends of the purple bars.


Video Transition


Audio Transition

The Dip to Black and Exponential Fade are an example of video and audio transitions that work well together to make the switch-over between clips and at the beginning and end of clips much more seamless.  If a video or audio track suddenly begins playing without a transition to soften the impact, the effect can be jarring.  So use transitions wisely to make your video that much easier to view.

Adding a Title

To add text to your project, select Title from the top menu.  Mouse over New Title to select the type of title you need.


A Default Still is text that remains stationary.  A Default Roll is text that climbs up the screen, such as ending credits.  A Default Crawl is text that scrawls across the screen from right to left.  Whichever title you choose, you will be presented with the following window:


Leave the Video Settings as they are, name your title (such as Opening Title or Ending Credits) and click OK to proceed.


The following window will allow you to create and edit your title.


The black field will represent the title’s position in your project.


Use the capital T cursor on the top left corner to click and drag a title box to contain your text within the black field.


Once you’ve typed in the text that you want, you can use the toolbars along the top, left and right to edit your text.

Miscellaneous Tools



The Razor tool is extremely useful for cutting clips.  If you need to separate your clip for any reasons – for instance, to show part of a clip at the one end of your project, and the next part at the other end – select the razor tool to split any clip in your sequence.  You will want to zoom in as much as possible to ensure that you are cutting where you want to.

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To adjust the volume of an individual track, click on the arrow on the left of the track in question to expand the audio options for that track.


Expanding this menu will also add a dark blue bar along your audio track.  Click and drag this bar up and down to adjust the volume.  If you hover your mouse over the bar, a pop-up tab will indicate the volume in decibels, as well as your position in the timeline.


Capturing from a Camcorder

If you have the appropriate connector cable to your camcorder, you can connect your device directly to your computer and and export to your video project.


Select File from the top menu, and scroll down to Capture.


Once the camera has been plugged in, proceed to the point at which you wish to begin recording.

Click the red record button to begin recording.


Once you have begun recording, the following text should appear along the top, indicating how much time has been recorded, and how much space remains on the disk for you to continue recording.


When you are finished recording, press the stop button.


You should then be presented with the following text box:


Name your clip and click OK to add your recording to your Project Window for editing.  DO NOT press Cancel unless you are sure you do not want this video footage.

Exporting Your Project

Once you are done editing your project, and you wish to make a finished video out of it, select your sequence in the Project Window (double click it for good measure), and go to Export.  From here, select Media.


This will take you to the Export Settings page.  Here, you can control the settings of your final video file. By default, your video will bear the same name as your sequence.  To rename your video, and to set the destination folder, select the orange text next to Output Name.


Adobe Premiere offers a large selection of video formats.  If you want a high quality video, and are not concerned with file size, leave the settings as they are.  But if your intention is burning to DVD or uploading to the internet, here are the recommended settings:

First, the Format should either be Windows Media (on a PC) or H.264 (on a Mac)


Beneath Format is Preset, which should be set to NTSC DV or, if possible, NTSC DV Half if size is a major concern.

Once you have these settings in place, you can view the Estimated File Size at the bottom.


As you can see, the video clip (which started as a 10 MB file) has been estimated to output as roughly 2 MB.  When you are satisfied with your settings, select Export.


Allow the Export progress bar to finish, and you will have completed your video!