10 Premiere Pro Tips From Adobe Video World 2016

Adobe Video World 2016: Practical Premiere Pro Tips For Every Editor

Every video creator who uses Adobe Creative Cloud video tools should make it a point to attend Adobe Video World. Not only do attendees learn Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC from world-class Adobe trainers, but they also have the opportunity to talk with the Adobe product managers, designers and engineers who develop those applications.

Adobe Video World 2016 was intense. The event ran six days, and each day averaged six sessions for a total of nine hours a day! (That's not including evening socials or expos.) If you weren't able to attend, wouldn't it be sweet to get in on some of that Premiere Pro action? I think so. And so, for the second year in a row, Premiere Bro brings you these 10 Premiere Pro tips from Adobe Video World.


1. Premiere Pro Project Templates

Never start a Premiere Pro project from scratch. That was Jeff Greenberg’s number-one piece of advice for large project management. It means don’t waste your time rebuilding the same project structure that you use for every edit. Create a project with all your bins, search bins, named tracks, sequences, adjustment layers, and any other assets you regularly use — save it all as a template. You only have to do it once, and you will save valuable minutes at the start of every project. Just remember to duplicate the template project file before you start working in it. 

[Download the Deadpool Premiere Pro Project Template.]

Do you work with multiple clients? Save even more time by creating project templates for each one!

2. Search Bins

Search Bins came to Adobe Premiere Pro back in CC 2014.1. Fast forward to 2016, and they were everywhere at Adobe Video World! Jeff GreenbergScott Simmons and Ashley Kennedy all emphasized the efficiency gains of using Search Bins to aggregate media during the logging process. These "smart" bins automatically collect clips based on specific search criteria, such as clip information or custom metadata. Think of the clips in Search bins as aliases; if you delete a search bin, the contents remain in your project in their original location. There's hardly a limit for the use of Search Bins. Figure out where they can be used in your editing workflow, and make frequently used Search Bins part of your Premiere Pro project template.

To create a Search Bin, click the folder with the magnifying glass to the right of the Project panel search bar. Or, right click anywhere in the Project panel and choose "New Search Bin."

Create Search Bins based on specific metadata criteria.

3. Select Label Groups

Labels are a fantastic way to color code your footage. (B-roll, interview, etc.) Just a quick documentary example: if each interview has its own label, you can easily see which speaker has the most screen time just by looking at the clip colors in the timeline. While sitting in on a session with Eran Stern, I learned it was possible to select clips by label group in After Effects. Turns out this is possible in Premiere Pro as well. Assign the Select Label Group feature to a custom keyboard shortcut, and you will be able to select label groups with a touch of a button.

Label colors can be found by right-clicking selected clip(s). Select Label Group is also an option.

Assign a custom keyboard shortcut for Select Label Group.

4. Audio Submix Tracks

In a session on audio essentials for Premiere Pro editors, trainers Jeff Greenberg and Cheryl Ottenritter really harped on the value of submixes. By definition, a submix is a group of tracks that have already been mixed, and are added into the main mix as one signal. The benefits of submixes are two-fold: they allow you to make global audio adjustments to multiple tracks, and they make it easy to export audio stems (dialogue, SFX, music, etc.) of your project for future adjustments or cutdown. Take dialogue for instance, a submix makes it easy to mix all of your dialogue tracks with the music. To output the dialogue audio stem at the end of your project, solo the submix and export. To learn more about submixes in Premiere Pro, visit: Advanced mixing in Premiere Pro.

Create a submix track by right-clicking the Timeline header, and choose "Add Audio Submix Track". Submix tracks can also be created in the "Add Tracks" menu. Then, in the Audio Track Mixer window, map the Track Output Assignments to the Submix. Rename your submixes to help you remember what they are.

Assign track outputs to Submix tracks in the Audio Track Mixer window.

5. Mask Tracking Tips

There are many variables that affect mask tracking in Premiere Pro. Trainer Luisa Winters had a couple tips for troubleshooting a bad track. First, it's helpful to understand that the tracker in Premiere Pro relies on contrast. You can help improve tracking results in Premiere Pro by increasing the amount of contrast. To do this, nest the clip, and pump up the contrast with the Lumetri Color or Brightness & Contrast effects. Then, run the track, copy the keyframes, and paste them back onto the original clip. If a track keeps slipping at a particular point, you can try adding a couple manual keyframes to help Premiere Pro get beyond that spot before resuming the track. 

While neither of these tips guarantee a perfect track, they might make the difference between a useable track and an unusable one. To learn more, visit Masking and Tracking in Premiere Pro.

Clip masking and tracking tools are found under the Opacity settings. Applied effects have their own masking and tracking tools, as shown above.

6. Move Source Assignment Up/Down

Source Assignments in Premiere Pro are commonly referred to as source patches. As the name suggests, source patching controls your source media, specifically, which tracks are targeted for insert or overwrite operations. This applies to media from either the Source monitor or directly from the Project panel. Premiere Pro can save source assignment presets, but perhaps the easiest way to control source patching is with these simple custom keyboard shortcuts: Move All Video/Audio Sources Up/Down. These shortcuts will allow you to quickly select a track to insert or overwrite your source media to.

Search "move source" in the keyboard shortcut editor, and assign custom shortcuts to the four commands, as shown below.

Source Assignments or "patches" control track insert or overwrite operations.

Assign keyboard shortcuts to Move All Video/Audio Sources Up/Down.

7. Pancake Timeline Editing

Pancake timeline editing is unique to Premiere Pro thanks to its modular workspace. The name comes from stacking two timelines, one above the other — like pancakes — with one acting as the "source" sequence, and the other as the selects sequence. Scott Simmons hosted a 45-minute session dedicated just to pancake timeline editing. The real power of this delicious editing workflow comes when the "source" sequence is opened in the Source Monitor, and from there opened in the Timeline. This is a "Source Monitor sequence", and it allows you to make insert and overwrite edits to the selects sequence, as opposed to copy/paste or drag-and-drop edits.

To setup a Source Monitor sequence in a pancake timeline, right-click the "source" sequence in the Project panel, and choose "Open in Source Monitor". In the Source Monitor, click the wrench icon, and select "Open Sequence in Timeline". You will recognize a Source Monitor sequence by its red playhead. Now you will be able to edit the "source" Timeline from the Source Monitor, as you would any other piece of media. 

The real power of pancake timeline editing is using source Timeline sequences, indicated by the "Source Monitor" in the Timeline name, and the red playhead.

You can also use Source Monitor sequences from other Premiere Pro projects in your pancake timeline! In the Media Browser, open a Premiere Pro project, double click a sequence, and it will open as a Source Monitor sequence. Stack it, and start editing.

8. Story Beats

The pancake timeline is based on a “selects sequence” workflow. These are sequences that contain the best or most usable parts of your footage. This is a pretty common approach to editing in Premiere Pro. However, filmmaker and trainer, Christine Steele, took selects sequences a step further in her editing workflow on her feature-length documentary Take Me Home Huey. She and her team edited selects sequences into fully edited scenes, or “story beats” that could be cut, swapped or arranged in the master sequence.

9. Organization = Art

Good organization is subjective, and it depends on the size of your project. One thing remains constant, the larger the project, the more organized you need to be. An editor is only as good as the footage he can remember. Project organization is critical for recalling the material you have to work with. Making the upfront investment in organizing your media — whether it's bins, markers, or selects sequences — allows you to focus more on creativity later. The more organized a project is, the less time it takes to find something. The less time it takes find something, the more time you have to edit your story. 

10. More Premiere Pro Tips! 

Yes, this last tip is a cop out. But it doesn't change the fact that there are plenty more Premiere Pro tips in the Adobe Video World 2016 Daily Recaps below. For even more Premiere Pro tips, revisit last year's post: 10 Premiere Pro Tips From Adobe Video World 2015.

[For a summary of the major themes at Adobe Video World 2016, check out the Premiere Bro guest post on the JK Design blog: Adobe Video World 2016: 8 Takeaways for Video Creators.]


Premiere Bro would like to thank Adobe, Future Media Concepts and JK Design for sponsoring Premiere Bro's attendance at Adobe Video World 2016.