- A Timeline made of two synchronized channels: visual on top and audio on the bottom.
- A monitor so that you can screen the video you are working on.
- A list of the files you want to use in a video project. These files can include clips, music, photos, titles, graphics, etc.
- A menu bar of functions at the top of the interface and many tools and additional menus throughout the rest of screen.
Let’s focus first on the heart of the matter: the Timeline. The Timeline is the place where you arrange and rearrange the clips in a sequence to make a video. Notice how the Timeline has two colored bars: the top bar represents what is playing in the video channel and the bottom bar represents the audio channel. Now locate the thin vertical line that runs from the timecode at the top of the line all of the way down through the video and audio channels. That vertical line is known as the playhead, and as you watch the video, the playhead travels from left to right down the Timeline, revealing or “playing” the video and audio that lie at each point the playhead touches along the way. The monitor above will display whatever the playhead touches. You can either use the Play and Stop icons beneath the monitor to operate the playhead, or you can grab the playhead with your mouse/pointer and drag (or “scrub) through the video Timeline in any direction.
In Premiere Pro, you first create a Project that contains all of the material that you need to build a video, then you import your footage and material into the Project. Once you have all of your clips and footage, then Premiere Pro enables you to trim, edit, arrange, rearrange, add titles, and apply effects. Each Timeline is known as a Sequence, because it is a sequence of clips organized chronologically, according to time code. When you are done editing a Sequence, you can share or export that Sequence as video you made.
Thinking about the nature and “DNA” of film
The tutorial video covers all these terms and functions more effectively than the text you are reading does, because it can focus your vision more precisely. Also, there are steps that are easier to understand when they are shown in motion, especially when that motion is accompanied by synchronized sound or narration that further explains what you are seeing at the moment you are seeing it. So, one point that these paragraphs make is to help you decide which media format might be most effective in a given situation. Assuming that you have decided to make a video, next, you want to understand how video works. What’s its “nature”? What’s its “DNA”? For decades, the actual, physical film that ran through the projectors in theaters had two “tracks” to it: a series of frames or images on the top of the filmstrip and the actual audio recording that played as those frames or images ran across the projector’s playhead.
In other words, the Premiere Pro editing interface is built just like film itself and according to its very “DNA”: a visual channel on top and an audio channel on the bottom with a playhead that controls what is projected on the screen. You might think movies are organized according to scenes, and, of course they are when they are written as scripts. But actually, movies are made of sequences of “shots” that may or may not be a part of a literal, physical scene made in one location.
Learning about film/video by creating your own projects
I teach an Introduction to Film Class at my university. The purpose of the class is for students to understand how film works, and not how to make film or video. However, each of my students actually makes a short film in this class because the best way for students to understand how film works is to make one themselves. In this chapter so far, I’ve been describing the “nature” of film and its “DNA,” and I used the video-editing interface from Premiere Pro to illustrate and represent this “DNA.” This introduction was essential so that you could make sure that the video is this right approach for the college assignment you now need to complete (in any class).
Once you decide to make a video, the next step is to either generate or gather the footage you will edit into a sequence and share or publish. Chapter 5c gives you some basic advice on operating video cameras and microphones, so consult those instructions before filming. You also might want to complete the tutorial for Premiere Pro even before filming so that you have a better sense of the destination of your work — and a better understanding of the “DNA” of film — before you start shooting. The tutorial covers the 10 Basic Things You Need to Know.
- File Management, Settings, and Preferences for Creating a New Project
- Importing Clips, Photographs, Graphics, and Audio Files into a Project
- Creating Sequences and Setting File Formats
- 3 Ways to Trim a Clip
- Building a Sequence Horizontally across the Timeline and Vertically across Channels
- Cuts and Transitions: Basic, Audio Bridge, Visual Bridge, Effects
- Creating Basic Titles
- Audio Adjustments and Effects
- Video Adjustments and Effects
- Saving, Exporting, and Sharing Your Finished Sequences