Get Started Video Editing [In Premiere] 2020

Are you just starting out editing videos, but don’t know how to begin? Well in this tutorial I walk through each of the essential parts of Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 that you’ll need to know in order to get started editing. You’ll learn everything from how to setup a project file to importing footage for the first time.

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I know lot’s of people who’d love to start video editing, they get excited and download a program like Adobe Premiere. But when they open it up for the first time, they look around at all these windows and numbers, and tool sets, and it can very overwhelming to get started. Well in this video I’m going to walk you through the essential tips you need in order to get started editing in Premiere!

 So this is going to basically be a walkthrough of the program, and a general overview of what I feel like are the most essential tools you’ll need to get started. I’m not going to go through every single feature, because there’s hundreds of features, I’m going to show you guys what I typically use on a daily basis editing. If you’ve never edited in Premiere before, or maybe you’ve dabbled in it a few times but need a refresher course. This is the video for you. Okay with that, let’s get started!

The first thing that pops up after opening the program for the first time is a window, where you can either open a project or create a new one.  In this case we are starting anew project so we’ll go ahead and click that. Then I’m going to change the name of my project to SEF underscore Premiere underscore Walkthrough, but you can name your project to whatever you want. And then i can click browse, to find a location of where I want to save my project on my computer. Im just gonna save it to my Desktop for now, but you can save your project to a location that works best for you. And thats basically it, I never really change any of these other settings so I’ll just click ok.  And now our new project has been created, and we can get started importing media into our workspace.

We are going to start fresh with a new project, so the first thing we’ll do is open up Adobe Premiere Pro. Next, we’re going  import our footage into the program. I’m going to hit command I, to bring up the import option. And I want to import my stock footage files into Premiere, so I’ll select all them and click import.

And now my files are in my project window to the upper left. Before I get started with my clips, I want to briefly talk about all of these windows you see in Premiere. All of what you see is considered your workspace, and you can move any of these windows around to how you like it. Every editor has their preferred set up, and if you’d like to see variations of workspaces you can go up to window, workspaces and see all different types. There’s one for color grading, audio editing, graphics editing, and then you can create a custom set up which I have at the bottom here.

Again every editor has their preferred setup, I like to see my files in a list form like this, but you can go up to your project window and right click on the project tab. Go down to Icon, and select Icon to change the display the files in more of a thumbnail format. Which gives you more of a visual representation of each file, but again, I like to see mine in a list format.

Next, we’re going to create a bin which is a folder inside of Premiere. So I’ll change my bin name to Stock Footage, and then highlight all of my files and move those into that bin.After that, we can create a sequence. And a sequence is the timeline of your entire edit that you want to create. There’s a few ways to create a sequence, but I’m going to show you two ways that I normally do it. You can go up to File, New, Sequence, and it will give you a dialog box with a bunch of options. But honestly all you really need to do is set the sequence to Custom, change the timebase to whatever the frame rate is on your footage. Ill leave it as 23 fps right now, and then 1920 by 1080p is a great resolution so I’ll stick with that. And that’s pretty much it, you can spend time adjusting sequence settings but that gets into a bit more advanced stuff for the moment. So I’ll go ahead and click ok.

So thats one way to create a sequence, but the second way, and the way that I usually do it is, but selecting the clip I want to use first, and then just drag and drop that onto your timeline. That will create a new timeline icon in your project window, and now what Id like to do is create a new bin and call that sequences. Next I’ll change the title of my sequence to SEF sequence 01.

Let’s talk about how to add multiple clips to our timeline, so we’ve already got our first clip on the timeline. So I’m just going to grab a random clip here and add it to my timeline. Now if you notice this second clip has this black area around it, don’t worry about that for the moment, we’re gonna fix that in a bit. 

So  now we are well on our way to editing our first sequence here. I just briefly want to talk about the timeline. So where it says V!, this is our first video layer of our timeline. Any other clips you would add on top of that would be V2, V3, V4 and so forth. Putting a clip on top of another clip, overlaps the footage as you can see in the preview window on the right. 

And then same thing happens with the audio, you have A1 which is the audio for your first clip, and then A2, A3, A4, and so forth. You can also isolate audio by hitting the solo button so it’s the only track playing, or mute an audio track hitting the mute button.

So I’m going to move this clip back to where it was. But let’s say that we wanted to use just a small part of this second clip, rather than the entire clip. Well I’m going to delete this, and then go back to my project window. So making sure that clip we want is selected, we can see that it’s our source window. Which is this window on the left. The source window acts as a preview of the clip that you’d like to use in your timeline. So if were to double click on some of the other clips, they would appear in the source window.

After selecting the clip I want to use, if I just wanted to use a small section of this clip, we can create In and Out marking points on that clip. So using the slider under the clip, I can find a point that I want my clip to start at. I’ll randomly stop here, and hit the letter I on my keyboard to mark in my IN point. Then I’ll just randomly select another point, and press the letter O to set my out point. So now when I drag and drop this clip back onto my timeline, it will only import this small section here of the original clip. 

And now you can see the clip is a lot smaller, because it’s just parts that we selected with the In and Out points.

Now we can take a look at our program window, which this window on the right. The program window acts as the playback window, while you’re editing your clips together. You can move the playhead, which is this vertical blue line you see. And then press the space bar to start playing back the clips on the timeline.

You can adjust the scale of the window, but I always keep it on fit to window. Now we can fix the black bars around our clip. The reason this appears on this clip and not our other one is because our second clip is a smaller resolution size than our first. So to fix that we can go to our effects control panel on the right. So if go to scale, and type in 150, that will resize the second clip to fill in our window. Now, you will lose some quality of the video because you are scaling up from 100 percent to 150, but Id say in most cases you can get away with a little bit upscaling but try and use your best judgment. If it looks all pixelated and muddy, then you’ve probably gone too far. 

Let’s go over the Effect control panel here, so as you just saw you can manipulate the video here however you want using the scale or position features. You can change the opacity, which is the transparency of the clip. Then there’s time remapping, which can control how fast or slow the clips plays. And then you have the audio controls, which are pretty straight forward. You can change the decibel level, to make it louder or softer. You can push the audio more to the left or right channel, or reset the panner balance if you’d like. 

Now we can go down to our tool bar, I usually like to keep mine on the bottom right. To be honest with you, there’s really only a few of these that I actually use on a daily basis. I use the selection tool, which allows you to quickly highlight clips and move them around if needed.

There’s the track select forward and backward tools, I don’t use those very much. Same for the ripple edit tool, rolling edit tool, and rate stretch tool. But I do use the the razor clip tool a lot.

And what this tool does is, let’s say I want to cut off the first five seconds of my first clip here. Using the razor tool i can click on the clip where my playhead is at, and it will cut the clip into two parts. Now I can hit the letter V on my keyboard which bring back my selection tool, and now I can select the first part of the clip, which is what I want to get rid of and delete that. Now I click in the area that clip once was, and then it will highlight the empty space. If I press delete, it will move all my clips up to the beginning of the timeline. 

Another use of the razor tool is, let’s say we two clips on top of each other. And I want to chop off the first second of this clip, I press C on my keyboard to bring up my razor tool. Next If I hold down shift, and click on the playhead where I want to make my trim point. It will cut both clips at the same time. So its a very use full tool that I use a lot.

I don’t use the slip tool or the slide tool very much. I don’t use the pen or shape tools that much either, unless I’m creating some sort graphic or masking out something. 

The zoom tool will magnify your timeline, but you can also use the slider at the bottom of the timeline to do the same thing. And there’s the text tool, which I do use quite a bit.  I’ll just type in Premiere, and then if you go up to the effect controls panel. There’s a text window where you can make adjustments to size, font style, color, and lots more. 

And then I can move my text layer up to the third video layer, and then drag my second clip out to extend it If i wanted. And then I can move the text layer around too.

Next thing we’ll go over is the audio levels monitor next to the tool bar. So Im gonna move our second clip back to where it was before. In the timeline you can pull down on each layer to expand it, and you’ll notice that our second clip has an audio waveform underneath it. And that’s because this clip has sound attached to it, where as our first clip does not. 

Here’s a Pro Tip, you want your audio levels to consistently sit in between -6 and -9 db. That’s your sweet spot, if it goes higher than -6, it’s going to be too loud and peak. If it’s lower than -9, it’s most likely going to be too quiet. But yeah that’s really it when it comes to the audio levels, try to keep both left and right channels even around -6 to -9.

One more thing I wanted to mention about the timeline, if you want to turn off a layer, you can hit the eye icon next to it. And that will make that layer disappear in your program window. You can also lock each layer, so you don’t accidentally move something around you didn’t intend to. 

There’s the media browser window, which is also pretty straight forward. You can find files or clips and bring them into your project window if you’d like to. 

And the finally theres the Effects panel where you can search for video transitions, like cross fades, dip to black, audio transitions, video effects like blurring the video, or sharpening an image. Audio effects, like creating echo or reverb. There’s hundreds of effects to browse through, so I’m gonna go through each one. But you can spend some time playing around with each, and see which ones you like.

I’ll just type in cross dissolve, and then drag and drop that onto my text layer. And now it has a smooth cross dissolve in and out. And then I can add a dip to white, to transition between clips, just showing you what kind of simple video transitions you can use. 

So let’s say that were all set and done editing our sequence, and we’re ready to export. Im gonna hit command M, to bring up my export settings window. For formats you can select all different types, I morally just stick with h.264 but you could export this as audio only with a waveform audio if you wanted to do that. But yeah I normally go with h.264.

There’s a bunch of different preset resolutions you can export to as well, youtube, twitter facebook. I usually stay with the match source high bitrate, but you could do the youtube settings at 1080p, or 4k if you’re editing in 4k. The biggest difference being the size of the file that’s exported will be much larger than the match source high bitrate. 

With the output name you can change the name of your file that you want to save, and the folder it exports into. And then thats pretty much it, just hit export and you should be ready to go. 

So that does it for this basic walkthrough of Premiere, again I just wanted to give a general overview of the program and how to get started editing clips together. So I hope you guys found that useful. My question for you is, what is a feature of Premiere that you have the most trouble with? Let me know in the comments below!

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