5 Mastering the Essentials of Video Editing – Adobe Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book (2020 release)

5 Mastering the Essentials of Video Editing

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do the following:

  • Work with clips in the Source Monitor.

  • Create sequences.

  • Use essential editing commands.

  • View timecode.

  • Understand tracks.

This lesson will take about 75 minutes to complete. To get the lesson files used in this chapter, download them from the web page for this book at www.adobepress.com/PremiereCIB2020. For more information, see “Accessing the lesson files and Web Edition” in the Getting Started section at the beginning of this book.

This lesson will teach you the core editing skills you will use again and again in Adobe Premiere Pro. Editing is much more than choosing shots. You’ll choose your cuts precisely, place clips in sequences at exactly the right point in time and on the tracks you want (to create layered visual effects), add new clips to existing sequences, and remove unwanted content (that you can restore later if you want—this is nonlinear editing, after all).

Starting the lesson

No matter how you approach video editing, you’ll use a few simple techniques time and again. Most of the practice of video editing is carefully reviewing and making partial selections of your clips and placing them in your sequence. There are several ways of doing this in Premiere Pro.

Before you begin, make sure you’re using the Editing workspace.

  1. Open the Lesson 05.prproj project file from the Lessons folder.

  2. Choose File > Save As.

  3. Rename the file Lesson 05 Working.prproj.

  4. Choose a preferred location on your hard drive, and click Save to save the project.

  5. In the Workspaces panel, click Editing; then click the panel menu next to the Editing option, and choose Reset To Saved Layout.

You’ll begin by learning more about the Source Monitor and how to add In and Out points to your clips to get them ready to be added to a sequence. Then you’ll learn about the Timeline panel, where you’ll work on your sequences.

Using the Source Monitor

The Source Monitor is the main place you’ll go when you want to check your assets before including them in a sequence.

When you open video clips in the Project panel to view them in the Source Monitor, you watch them in their original format. They will play back with their frame rate, frame size, field order, audio sample rate, and audio bit depth exactly as they were recorded, unless you have changed the way the clip is interpreted. For more on how to do this, see Lesson 4, “Organizing Media.”


Change clip interpretation by right-clicking the clip in the Project panel and choosing Modify > Interpret Footage.

However, when you add a clip to a sequence, Premiere Pro conforms it to the sequence settings. For example, if the clip and the sequence don’t match, the clip frame rate and audio sample rate will be adjusted so that all the clips in the sequence play back the same way.

As well as being a viewer for multiple types of media, the Source Monitor provides important additional functions. You can use two special kinds of markers, called In points and Out points, to select part of a clip for inclusion in a sequence. You can also add comments in the form of markers that you can refer to later or use to remind yourself about important facts relating to a clip. You might include a note about part of a shot you don’t have permission to use, for example.

Loading a clip

To load a clip in the Source Monitor, try the following:

  1. In the Project panel, presuming your preferences have default settings, double-click the Theft Unexpected bin while holding Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows). This opens the bin in the existing panel.

    In the same way that you would double-click a folder in the Finder (macOS) or Windows Explorer (Windows), you have navigated into the bin.

    When you have finished working in a bin that you have opened in the current panel, you can navigate back to the Project panel contents by clicking the Navigate Up button at the top left of the bin panel. Navigate up now.


    Notice that active panels have a blue outline. It’s important to know which panel is active because menus and keyboard shortcuts sometimes give different results depending on your current selection.

  2. Double-click the RED Video.R3D video clip, or drag it into the Source Monitor.


    When selecting clips, be sure to click the icon or thumbnail, rather than the name, to avoid accidentally renaming it.

    Either way, the result is the same: Premiere Pro displays the clip in the Source Monitor, ready for you to watch it and add In and Out points.

  3. Position your mouse pointer so that it is over the Source Monitor, and press the ` (accent grave) key. The panel fills the Premiere Pro application frame, giving you a larger view of your video clip. Press the ` (accent grave) key again to restore the Source Monitor to its original size. If your keyboard does not have a ` (accent grave) key, you can double-click the panel name to toggle the full-screen view.

Using Source Monitor controls

As well as playback controls, there are some important additional buttons in the Source Monitor.

  • Add Marker: Adds a marker to the clip at the location of the playhead. Markers can provide a simple visual reference, can be various colors, and can store comments.

  • Mark In: Sets the In point at the current playhead location. The In point is the beginning of the part of the clip you intend to use in a sequence. You can have only one In point per clip or sequence, so a new In point will automatically replace an existing one.

  • Mark Out: Sets the Out point at the current playhead location. The Out point is the end of the part of the clip you intend to use in a sequence. You can have only one Out point, so the new Out point will automatically replace an existing one.

  • Go To In: Moves the playhead to the clip In point.

  • Go To Out: Moves the playhead to the clip Out point.

  • Insert: Adds the clip to the active sequence displayed in the Timeline panel using the insert edit method (see “Using essential editing commands” later in this lesson).

  • Overwrite: Adds the clip to the active sequence displayed in the Timeline panel using the overwrite edit method (see “Using essential editing commands” later in this lesson).

  • Export Frame: Allows you to create a still image file from whatever is displayed in the monitor. See Lesson 16, “Exporting Frames, Clips, and Sequences,” for more on this.

Selecting a range in a clip

You will usually want to include only a specific part of a clip in a sequence. Much of an editor’s time is spent watching video clips and choosing not only which ones to use but also which parts to use. Let’s make some partial selections:

  1. Double-click the clip Excuse Me (not Excuse Me Tilted) in the Theft Unexpected bin to open it in the Source Monitor. It’s a shot of John nervously asking whether he can sit down.

  2. Play the clip to get an idea of the action.

    John walks on-screen about halfway through the shot but takes a moment to speak.

  3. Position the playhead around 01:54:06:00, just as John pauses briefly and speaks. Note that the timecode reference is based on the original recording and does not start at 00:00:00:00.


    If you want the timecode for all clips to be displayed as starting at 00:00:00:00, you can choose this option in the Media preferences, using the Timecode menu.

  4. Click the Mark In button . You can also press the I key on your keyboard.

    Premiere Pro highlights the section of the clip that is selected. You have excluded the first part of the clip, but you can easily reclaim this part later if you need to do so—that’s the freedom of nonlinear editing!

  5. Position the playhead just as John sits down. Around 01:54:14:00 is perfect.


    In and Out points added to clips are persistent. That is, they will still be present if you close and open the clip again.


    If you hover your pointer over a button, a tool tip appears displaying the name of the button followed by the keyboard shortcut key for that button in parentheses (if it has one).

  6. Click the Mark Out button , or press the O key on your keyboard to add an Out point.

    Remember to turn off the loop playback option if you don’t want clips to loop between In and Out points when you play them.


    Some editors prefer to go through all the available clips, adding In and Out points as required, before building a sequence. Some editors prefer to add In and Out points only as they use each clip. Your preference may depend on the kind of project you are working on.

    Now you’ll add In and Out points for two more clips. Double-click the icon for each clip to open it in the Source Monitor.

  7. For the HS Suit clip, add an In point just after John’s line of dialogue, about a quarter of the way into the shot (01:27:00:16).

  8. Add an Out point when John passes in front of the camera, blocking our view (01:27:02:14).

  9. For the Mid John clip, add an In point just as John begins to sit down (01:39:52:00).

  10. Add an Out point after he has a sip of tea (01:40:04:00).


    To help you find your way around your footage, Premiere Pro can display timecode on the Source Monitor and Program Monitor time rulers. Toggle this option on and off by clicking the Settings menu and choosing Time Ruler Numbers.

Creating subclips

If you are working with a long clip, you might want to use several different parts in your sequence. It can be useful to separate the sections so they can be organized in the Project panel prior to building your sequence.

This is exactly what subclips let you do. Subclips are partial copies of clips. They are commonly used when working with long clips, such as interview footage, where there are several parts of the same original clip that might be used in a sequence.

Subclips have a few notable characteristics.

  • They can be organized in bins and renamed, just like regular clips, though they have a different icon in the Project panel.

  • They have a limited duration based on the In and Out points used to create them, which makes it easier to view their contents when compared with viewing potentially much longer original clips.

  • They share the same media as the original clip they’re based on, so if an original media file is deleted, both the original clip and any subclips will go “offline”—with no media.

  • They can be edited to change their contents and even converted into a copy of the original full-length clip.

Let’s make a subclip.

  1. Double-click the Cutaways clip in the Theft Unexpected bin to view it in the Source Monitor.

  2. While viewing the contents of the Theft Unexpected bin, click the New Bin button at the bottom of the panel to create a new bin. The new bin will appear inside the existing Theft Unexpected bin.

  3. Name the bin Subclips, and hold Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows) while double-clicking the new Subclips bin to have it open in the same frame, rather than in a new panel.

  4. Choose a section of the clip to turn into a subclip by marking the clip with an In point and an Out point. The moment roughly halfway through when the packet is removed and replaced might work well.

    As with many workflows in Premiere Pro, there are several ways to create subclips, and the outcome is always the same.


    If Restrict Trims To Subclip Boundaries is selected, you won’t be able to access the parts of your clip that are outside your selection when viewing the subclip. This might be exactly what you want to help you stay organized (and you can change this setting by right-clicking the subclip in the bin and choosing Edit Subclip).

  5. Try one of the following:

    • Right-click in the picture display of the Source Monitor and choose Make Subclip.

    • With the Source Monitor active, choose Clip > Make Subclip.

    • With the Source Monitor active, press Command+U (macOS) or Ctrl+U (Windows).

    • While holding Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows), drag the picture from the Source Monitor into the Project panel bin.

  6. Name the new subclip Packet Moved, and click OK.

    The new subclip is added to the Subclips bin, with the duration you specified with your In and Out points.

Navigating the Timeline panel

The Timeline panel is your creative canvas. In this panel, you’ll add clips to your sequences, make editorial changes to them, add visual and audio special effects, mix soundtracks, and add titles and graphics.

Here are a few facts about the Timeline panel. Refer to this list as you make progress through these lessons to make sure you are comfortable with all the features of the Timeline panel:

  • You view and edit clips in sequences in the Timeline panel.

  • The Program Monitor shows the contents of the currently displayed sequence, at the position of the playhead.

  • You can open multiple sequences at the same time, with each displayed in its own Timeline panel.

  • The terms sequence and timeline are often used interchangeably, as in “the clip is in the sequence” or “the clip is on the Timeline.” Sometimes timeline (lowercase) is used when speaking of a sequence of clips in the abstract, without reference to a specific user interface panel.

  • If you add clips to a completely empty Timeline panel, you’ll be invited to create a sequence.

  • You can add any number of video tracks. Preview playback is limited only by your system’s hardware resources.

  • Upper video tracks play “in front” of lower ones, so you would normally place foreground graphic clips on tracks above background video clips.

  • You can add any number of audio tracks, and they all play at the same time to create an audio mix. Audio tracks can be mono (1 channel), stereo (2 channels), 5.1 (6 channels), or adaptive—with up to 32 channels.

  • You can change the height of tracks in the Timeline panel to gain access to additional controls and thumbnails on your video clips.

  • Each track has a set of controls, shown on a track header on the far left, to change the way it functions.

  • Time moves from left to right in the Timeline panel, so when you play a sequence, the playhead will move in that direction.

  • You can zoom in and out of the sequence using the = (equals) and - (minus) keys (at the top of your keyboard). Use the \ (backslash) key, if your keyboard has one, to toggle the zoom level between your current setting and to show your whole sequence. You can also double-click the navigator at the bottom of the Timeline panel to view the whole sequence.

    If your keyboard doesn’t have dedicated = (equals) and – (minus) keys, it’s straightforward to create new keyboard shortcuts. See Lesson 1, “Touring Adobe Premiere Pro,” for more information about setting keyboard shortcuts.

  • There are a series of buttons at the top left of the Timeline panel that give you access to alternative modes, markers, and settings. Unless described otherwise, if the Timeline panel seems to be acting strangely, check to make sure these modes are set as shown here.

Selecting a tool

Premiere Pro makes use of tools that change the way the cursor works. In this way, it’s similar to Adobe Photoshop.

For most operations on the Timeline panel and some operations in the Program Monitor, you will use the standard Selection tool, which you will find at the top of the Tools panel. Make a tool active by clicking its icon in the Tools panel.

There are several other tools that serve different purposes, and each tool has a keyboard shortcut. If in doubt, press the V key—this is the keyboard shortcut for the Selection tool.

What is a sequence?

A sequence is a series of clips that play one after another—sometimes with multiple blended layers and often with special effects, titles, and audio—making a complete film.


As with clips, you can edit sequences into other sequences, in a process called nesting. This creates a dynamically connected set of sequences for advanced editing workflows.

You can have as many sequences as you like in a project. Sequences are stored in the Project panel, just like clips, and have their own icon.

Let’s make a new sequence for the Theft Unexpected drama.

  1. In the Theft Unexpected bin, drag the clip Excuse Me (not Excuse Me Tilted) onto the New Item button at the bottom of the panel. You may need to resize the Project panel to see the button.


    If you are still browsing inside the Subclips bin you created, you will need to click the Navigate Up button to see the Theft Unexpected bin.

    This is a shortcut to make a sequence that perfectly matches your media.


    If you already have a sequence open when you create a new sequence, the new sequence will open in a new panel in the same panel group.

    Premiere Pro creates a new sequence, with the same name as the clip you used to create it.

  2. The sequence is highlighted in the bin, and it would be a good idea to rename it right away. Right-click the sequence in the bin and choose Rename. Name the sequence Theft Unexpected. Notice that the icon used for sequences in List view (seen here) and Icon view is different from that used for clips.


You can use the Timeline panel Settings menu to choose Minimize All Tracks or Expand All Tracks to change the height of all tracks in a single step.

The sequence is automatically open, and it contains the clip you used to create it. This works for our purposes, but if you had used a random clip to perform this shortcut (just to make sure you had the right sequence settings), you could select it in the sequence and delete it by pressing Delete (macOS) or Backspace (Windows).

You can zoom into the sequence, with its single clip, using the navigator at the bottom of the Timeline panel. To see a thumbnail on the clip, increase the height of the V1 track by dragging the dividing line between the V1 and V2 tracks in the track header area (where the track controls are located).

Opening a sequence in the Timeline panel

To open a sequence in the Timeline panel, do one of the following:

  • Double-click the icon for the sequence in a bin.

  • Right-click the sequence in a bin and choose Open In Timeline.

Open the Theft Unexpected sequence you just created.


You can also drag a sequence into the Source Monitor to use it as if it were a clip. Be careful not to drag a sequence into the Timeline panel to open it because this will add it to your current sequence or create a new sequence from it instead.

Understanding tracks

Much as railway tracks keep trains in line, sequences have video and audio tracks that constrain the positions of clips you add to them. The simplest form of sequence would have just one video track and perhaps one audio track. You add clips to tracks, one after another, from left to right, and they play in the order you place them.

Sequences can have additional video and audio tracks. They become layers of video and additional audio channels. Because higher video tracks appear in front of lower ones, you can combine clips on different tracks to produce layered compositions.

For example, you might use an upper video track to add titles to a sequence or to blend multiple layers of video using visual effects to create a complex composition.

You might use multiple audio tracks to create a complete audio composition for your sequence, with original source dialogue, music, spot audio effects such as gunshots or fireworks, atmospheric sound, and voice-over.

You can scroll through clips and sequences in multiple ways, depending on the location of your pointer.

  • If you hover your pointer over the Source Monitor or Program Monitor, you can navigate earlier or later using the scroll wheel; trackpad gestures work too.

  • You can navigate sequences in the Timeline panel this way if you choose Horizontal Timeline Mouse Scrolling in the Timeline preferences.

  • If you hold Option (macOS) or Alt (Windows) while scrolling with your pointer, the Timeline view will zoom in or out.


    If you’re scrolling to change track height while holding Option (macOS) or Alt (Windows), or while holding Shift, you can also hold Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows) for finer control.

  • If you hover your pointer over a track header and scroll while holding Option (macOS) or Alt (Windows), you’ll increase or decrease the height of the track.

  • If you double-click on a blank space in a track header, you’ll toggle it between being tall or flattened.

  • If you hover your pointer over a video or audio track header and scroll while holding the Shift key, you’ll increase or decrease the height of all tracks of that type (Video or Audio tracks).

Targeting tracks

The portion of each Timeline track header to the right of its Track Lock button is for selecting, or targeting, tracks in a sequence.

At the far left end of the track headers are the source track indicators. These represent the tracks available in the clip currently displayed in the Source Monitor or selected in the Project panel. They are numbered just like the Timeline tracks. This helps keep things clear when performing more advanced edits.

When you use a keyboard shortcut or the buttons on the Source Monitor to add a clip to a sequence, source track indicators are important. The position of a source track indicator relative to a Timeline track header sets the track to which the new clip will be added. A source track indicator also needs to be selected, in blue, for the contents of that track to be added to the sequence.

In the example to the left, the position of the source track indicators means a clip with one video track and one audio track would be added to the Video 1 (V1) and Audio 1 (A1) tracks in the Timeline panel when using buttons or a keyboard shortcut to add a clip to the current sequence.


Remember, Timeline track selection buttons matter when rendering effects or making timeline selections, but they don’t affect editing clips into a sequence; only the source track indicators do.

In the following example, the source track indicators have been moved by dragging them to new positions relative to the Timeline panel track headers. In this example, the clip would be added to the Video 2 (V2) and Audio 2 (A2) tracks on the Timeline when using buttons or a keyboard shortcut to add a clip to the current sequence.

Click a source track indicator to enable it or disable it. A blue highlight indicates a track is enabled. You can make advanced edits by dragging the source track indicators up or down to different Timeline tracks and selecting which source tracks you have on or off.

When performing edits in this way, enabling or disabling timeline tracks won’t affect results. Though the source track indicator and sequence track selection controls look similar, they have different functions; on the left, it’s the source track indicators, while on the right, it’s the sequence track selection.

If you drag a clip into a sequence, the position of the source track indicators is ignored, though only content on enabled source tracks is added.

Using In and Out points in the Timeline panel

The In and Out points used in the Source Monitor define the part of a clip you will add to a sequence.

The In and Out points you use in a sequence have two primary purposes.

  • To tell Premiere Pro where, in time, a new clip should be positioned when it is added to a sequence.

  • To select parts of a sequence you want to remove. You can make precise selections to remove whole clips, or parts of clips, from specific tracks by using In and Out points in combination with the track selection buttons.

Selected parts of a sequence, defined by In and Out points, are highlighted in the Timeline panel. The highlighting doesn’t extend to tracks that aren’t selected.

In the following example, all the timeline tracks are enabled except V2, so there’s a gap in the highlight where In and Out points define a selection. Notice the Source track V1 selection does not impact track selection.

Setting In and Out points

Adding In and Out points in the Timeline panel is almost the same as adding them in the Source Monitor.

One key difference is that unlike the controls in the Source Monitor, the selection buttons on the Program Monitor also apply to the currently displayed sequence.

To add an In point to a sequence at the current position of the playhead, make sure the Timeline panel or Program Monitor is active and then press the I key or click the Mark In button on the Program Monitor.

To add an Out point to a sequence at the current position of the playhead, make sure the Timeline panel or Program Monitor is active and then press the O key or click the Mark Out button on the Program Monitor.

Clearing In and Out points

If you open a clip that already has In and Out points, you can change them by adding new ones; your new In and Out points will replace the existing ones.

You can also simply remove existing In and Out points on a clip or in a sequence. It’s the same technique to remove In and Out points on the Timeline, in the Program Monitor, and in the Source Monitor.

  1. In the Timeline panel, select the Excuse Me clip by clicking it once.

  2. Press the X key. This adds an In point to the Timeline at the start of the clip (on the left) and an Out point at the end of the clip (on the right). Both are added to the time ruler at the top of the Timeline panel.

  3. Right-click the time ruler at the top of the Timeline panel, and take a look at the menu commands.

    Choose the command you need from this menu, or use one of the following keyboard shortcuts:

    • Option+I (macOS) or Ctrl+Shift+I (Windows): Removes the In Point (choose Clear In)

    • Option+O (macOS) or Ctrl+Shift+O (Windows): Removes the Out Point (choose Clear Out)

    • Option+X (macOS) or Ctrl+Shift+X (Windows): Removes both the In Point and Out Point (choose Clear In And Out)

  4. That last option is particularly useful. It’s easy to remember and quickly removes both In and Out points. Try it now to remove the In and Out points you just added.

Using time rulers

The time rulers at the bottom of the Source Monitor and Program Monitor, and at the top of the Timeline panel, all serve the same purpose: They allow you to navigate through your clips or sequences in time.

Time goes from left to right in Premiere Pro, and the location of the playhead gives you a visual reference in relation to your clips.

  • Drag left and right in the Timeline panel time ruler now. The playhead moves to follow your pointer. As you drag across the Excuse Me clip, you see the contents of the clip in the Program Monitor. Dragging through your content in this way is called scrubbing.

    Notice that the Source Monitor, Program Monitor, and Timeline all have navigation bars at the bottom of the panel.

  • Zoom the time ruler by hovering over the navigation bar and using your mouse wheel to scroll (trackpad gestures work too).

  • Once you have zoomed in, move through the time ruler by dragging the navigator.

  • Adjust the zoom level of the time ruler by dragging the ends of the navigator.

  • Double-click the navigator to fully zoom out.

Using the Timecode panel

There is a dedicated Timecode panel that, like other panels, can float in its own window or be added to a panel group. To open it, choose Window > Timecode.

The Timecode panel offers multiple lines of timecode information. Each line can be configured to show a particular type of time information.

The default configuration shows the Master timecode, the total duration, and the duration set by In and Out points for the active panel—Source Monitor, Program Monitor, or Timeline panel.

The Master timecode matches the timecode displayed at the bottom left of the Source Monitor and Program Monitor and at the top left of the Timeline panel.

You can add or remove lines of timecode information to make it easier to monitor your clips and sequences by right-clicking the Timecode panel and choosing Add Line or Remove Line.


If a panel is active/selected, you can press Command+W (macOS) or Ctrl+W (Windows) to close it.

To configure the type of information displayed in a line, right-click the line and choose the option you would like.

Right-click any line and choose Save Preset to store a configuration you would like to use again. The preset you create will appear in the menu when you right-click the Timecode panel.

You can also right-click and choose Manage Presets to assign a keyboard shortcut to presets or delete presets.

There’s a compact mode for the Timecode panel that shows the same information in a smaller panel. Right-click the panel to choose between Compact and Full Size.

The Timecode panel has no active controls—that is, you won’t use it to add In or Out points or make edits—but it provides useful additional information to guide your decisions. Seeing the difference between total duration and selected duration, for example, can help you gauge your total available media for multiple edits.

Close the Timecode panel now.

Customizing track headers

Just as you can customize the Source Monitor and Program Monitor controls, you can change several options on the Timeline track headers.

  1. To access the options, right-click a video or audio track header and choose Customize, or click the Timeline Display Settings menu and choose Customize Video Header or Customize Audio Header from the menu.

  2. Hover your pointer over buttons in the Button Editor to see the tool tip. Some of these will be familiar to you already; others will be explained in later lessons.

  3. Add a button to a track header by dragging it from the Button Editor onto a track header. You can remove a button from a track header by dragging it away while the Button Editor is open.

    All audio or video track headers update to match the one you adjust.

  4. Experiment with this feature a little more, and when you have finished, click the Reset Layout button on the Button Editor to return the track header to the default options.

  5. Click Cancel to leave the Button Editor.

Using essential editing commands

No matter how you add a clip to a sequence—by dragging, clicking a button on the Source Monitor, or using a keyboard shortcut—you’ll choose one of two kinds of edits: an insert edit or an overwrite edit.

When a sequence has existing clips at the location where you want to add a new clip, these two choices—insert and overwrite—will produce markedly different results.

Performing one or other of these two types of edit is the absolute heart of nonlinear editing. Of all the skills you will learn in this book, this is the one you will perform most often. Fundamentally, this is nonlinear editing, so take a little extra time to be sure you are comfortable with this workflow before you continue.

Performing an overwrite edit

Continue working on the Theft Unexpected sequence. So far, you have just one clip, in which John asks if a seat is free.

First, let’s use an overwrite edit to add a reaction shot to John’s request for a chair.

  1. Open the shot HS Suit in the Source Monitor. You added In and Out points to this clip earlier.


    Professional editors often use the terms shot and clip interchangeably.

    You’ll next need to set up the Timeline panel carefully. This may seem like a slow process at first, but after practice, you’ll find editing is fast and easy.

  2. Position the Timeline playhead (rather than the Source Monitor playhead) just after John makes his request. Around 00:00:04:00 is perfect.


    You can copy and paste timecode into the current time indicator at the bottom left of the Source Monitor or Program Monitor. Click to select the timecode, paste the new timecode, and press Return or Enter to move the playhead to that time. This is a useful feature when working with camera logs that allow you to quickly locate a particular part of a clip.

    Unless an In or Out point has been added to the Timeline, the playhead is used to position new clips when editing with the keyboard or on-screen buttons (it becomes the In point). When you drag a clip into a sequence, the location of the playhead and existing In or Out points are ignored.

  3. Though the new clip has an audio track, you don’t need it. You’ll keep the audio that is already in the timeline. Click the source track selection indicator A1 to turn it off. The button should be gray rather than blue.

  4. Check that your track headers look like the example at shown. You may need to click track targeting buttons to enable them. Only the Source A1 and V1 track indicators matter for this edit because the other tracks in the sequence don’t have any clips on them.

  5. Click the Overwrite button in the Source Monitor.

    The clip is added to the sequence on the Video 1 track.

    By default, when you drag a clip into a sequence, rather than using an on-screen button or keyboard shortcut, you’ll perform an overwrite edit. You can perform an insert edit by holding down Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows) while you drag.

  6. Position the playhead at the beginning (far-left end) of the Timeline panel or the Program Monitor, and click the Play button on the Program Monitor, or press the spacebar, to play the result of your edit.

The timing might not be perfect, but you’re now editing dialogue!

Performing an insert edit

Now try an insert edit.

  1. In the Timeline panel, position the playhead over the Excuse Me clip, just after John says “Excuse me” (around 00:00:02:16). Make sure there is no In or Out point in the sequence.

  2. From the Project panel, open the clip Mid Suit in the Source Monitor, add an In point at 01:15:46:00, and add an Out point at 01:15:48:00. This is actually from a different part of the action, but the audience won’t know, and it works well as a reaction shot.

  3. Adjust your Timeline panel track selection indicators as necessary to match the following example.

  4. Click the Insert button on the Source Monitor.

    The clip Excuse Me, already in the sequence, has been split, with the part after the playhead moved later to make space for the new clip.


    Editors often use the words sequence and edit interchangeably. In this case, the word edit means any change made to one or more clips in a sequence.


    When you apply an insert edit, it makes your sequence longer. The clips already on the selected track, located to the right of the new clip, will move later (to the right) in the sequence to make room for the new clip.

    Congratulations! You have completed an insert edit.

  5. Position the playhead at the beginning of the sequence and play through your edit again. If your keyboard has a Home key, you can use it to jump to the beginning; you can drag the playhead with your pointer to move forward or back, or you can press the Up Arrow key to jump the playhead to earlier edits (the Down Arrow key jumps to later edits).


    As your sequence gets longer, you may find yourself often zooming in and out to get a better view of your clips.

  6. Now open the Mid John (not the Mid Suit) clip in the Source Monitor. You added In and Out points to this clip earlier.

  7. Position the Timeline playhead at the end of the sequence—on the end of the Excuse Me clip. When dragging the playhead, you can hold the Shift key to have the playhead snap to the ends of clips.


    If your Mac has no Home key, try pressing Fn+Left Arrow.

  8. Click either the Insert or Overwrite button in the Source Monitor. Because the Timeline playhead is at the end of the sequence, there are no clips in the way, and it makes no difference which kind of edit you perform.

    Now you’ll insert one more clip.

  9. Position the Timeline playhead just before John takes a sip of tea, around 00:00:14:00 in the sequence.

  10. Open the clip Mid Suit in the Source Monitor, and use In and Out points to choose a part you think would go well between John sitting down and his first sip of tea. An In point around 01:15:55:00 and an Out point around 01:16:00:00 might work well.

    Notice that the In and Out points you previously added to this clip are replaced.

  11. Edit the clip into the sequence using an insert edit.


    You can also edit clips into a sequence by dragging them from the Project panel or Source Monitor into the Program Monitor. Hold the Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows) key to perform an insert edit when editing this way.

The timing of the edit may not be perfect, but that’s okay; you can change your mind about the timing later—that’s the beauty of nonlinear editing. The important thing, to begin with, is to get the order of the clips right.

Even from this short exercise it’s clear that clip names are important. It can save hours of post-production having well-organized and clearly named clips.

These clip names are unusual because they incorporate new regular names to help identify the contents and the original media numbers. There are no fixed rules about naming and organizing clips.

Performing three-point editing

To add a clip or part of a clip to a sequence, Premiere Pro needs to know its duration and when and where it should be placed in the sequence.

This means there should be two In points and two Out points.

  • An In point for the clip

  • An Out point for the clip

  • An In point for the sequence setting the beginning of the clip once it has been added

  • An Out point for the sequence setting the end of the clip once it has been added

In fact, you need to specify only three of these points; Premiere Pro calculates the fourth automatically based on the selected duration.

Here’s an example: If you choose four seconds of a clip in the Source Monitor, Premiere Pro automatically knows it will take four seconds of time in your sequence. Once you have set the location for the clip to be placed, you’re ready to perform the edit.

Using just three points to perform edits in this way is called three-point editing.

When you performed your last edit, Premiere Pro aligned the In point from the clip (the start of the clip) with the In point in the sequence (the playhead is used as the In point if no In point has been added).

Even though you didn’t manually add an In point to the sequence, you’re still performing a three-point edit, with the duration calculated from the selection in the Source Monitor.

You can achieve a similar result by adding an Out point to the sequence instead of an In point. In this case, Premiere Pro will align the Out point of the clip in the Source Monitor with the Out point in the sequence (in the sequence) when you perform the edit.

You might choose to do this, for example, if you have a piece of timed action, like a door closing at the end of a clip in the sequence, and your new clip needs to line up in time with it.

Performing storyboard-style editing

The term storyboard usually describes a series of drawings that show the intended camera angles and action for a film. Storyboards are often quite similar to comic strips, though they usually include additional technical information, such as intended camera moves, lines of dialogue, and sound effects.

You can use clip thumbnails in a bin as storyboard images.

Drag the thumbnails to arrange them in the order you want the clips to appear in your sequence, from left to right and from top to bottom, select them, and then drag them all into your sequence. The order the clips are selected is the order they will be added to the sequence, so if you lasso to select the clips, start your selection in the top-left corner.

Using a storyboard to build an assembly edit

An assembly edit is a sequence in which the order of the clips is correct but the timing of the edits has yet to be worked out. It’s common to build sequences as an assembly edit first, just to make sure the structure works, and then adjust the timing later.

You can use storyboard editing to quickly get your clips in the right order.

  1. Save your current project.

  2. Open Lesson 05 Desert Sequence.prproj in the Lessons folder.


    You now have two project files open at the same time. You can switch between them by choosing Window > Projects, and you can close all project by choosing File > Close All Projects.

  3. Choose File > Save As. Save the project as Lesson 05 Desert Sequence Working.prproj.


    Project filenames can become quite long. It’s fine to include useful information to help you identify a project, but avoid making the name so long it’s hard to manage the file.

This project has a Desert Montage sequence that already has music but no visuals. You’ll add some shots.

The audio track A1 has been locked (click the track padlock icon to lock and unlock a track). This means you can make adjustments to the sequence without risking making changes to the music track.

Arranging your storyboard

It’s not necessary to pre-arrange clips in the Project panel prior to adding them to a sequence. However, it’s a helpful step to quickly give you a sense of the sequence structure.

  1. Double-click the Desert Footage bin to open it in a new panel. There are beautiful shots in this bin.

  2. Click the Freeform View button at the lower-left corner of the bin to see thumbnails for the clips.

    You can set the Project panel to Icon view to arrange clips as a storyboard but Freeform view gives you more… freedom! It’s a more flexible way to display clip thumbnails.

  3. Double-click the Desert Footage bin name to toggle it to full screen. Then, right-click on the background of the bin and choose Reset To Grid > Name.

    This neatly arranges the clips, sorted by name.

  4. Drag the thumbnails in the bin to position them in the order in which you want them to appear in the sequence, from left to right and from top to bottom—just like a comic strip or storyboard. In Freeform view, thumbnails can overlap and be arranged loosely. However, the order in which clips are selected is the order they will be added to a sequence in the next step, so try to arrange clips broadly so they are left to right, top to bottom.

  5. Make sure the Desert Footage bin is selected (with a blue outline), but click the background of the bin to deselect any clips. Now press Command+A (macOS) or Ctrl+A (Windows) to select all the clips based on their position in the bin.

  6. Double-click the Desert Footage bin name to toggle it back to its original position. Drag the clips into the sequence, positioning them on the Video 1 track right at the beginning of the Timeline, above the music clip.


    You may need to scroll to see the clips after toggling the bin panel back to its original size.

    The clips are added to the sequence in the order you originally selected them in the Project panel.

  7. Play your sequence to see the result

    Although you chose an order for the clips to play in the bin, remember that you are free to change the order, or the timing, of the clips in the sequence at any time.

    Now that you have two projects open at the same time, it may not be clear which project you are working on. If in doubt, look at the project information at the top of the Premiere Pro interface. If you see an asterisk (*) after the project name, changes have been made to the project since it was last saved.

  8. Close each project by choosing File > Close Project twice or by choosing File > Close All Projects. If you are asked if you would like to save, do so.

Review questions

1. What do In and Out points do?

2. Is the Video 2 track in front of the Video 1 track or behind it?

3. How do subclips help you stay organized?

4. How would you select a sequence time range to work with in the Timeline panel?

5. What is the difference between an overwrite edit and an insert edit?

6. How much of your source clip will be added to a sequence if the source clip has no In or Out points and there are no In or Out points in the sequence?

Review answers

1. In the Source Monitor and in the Project panel, In and Out points define the part of a clip you would like to use in a sequence. On the Timeline, In and Out points are used to define parts of your sequence you want to remove, edit, render, or export as a file.

2. Upper video tracks are always in front of lower ones.

3. Though subclips make little difference to the way Premiere Pro plays back video and sound, they make it easier for you to divide your footage into different bins. For larger projects with lots of longer clips, it can make a big difference to be able to divide content this way.

4. You’ll use In and Out points to define parts of your sequence you want to work with. For example, you might render when working with effects or export parts of your sequence as a file.

5. Clips added to a sequence using an overwrite edit replace any content already in the sequence where they are placed. Clips added to a sequence using an insert edit displace existing clips, pushing them later (to the right) and making the sequence longer.

6. If you don’t add In or Out points to your source clip, the entire clip will be added the sequence. Setting an In point, an Out point, or both will limit the portion of the source clip used in the edit.