Importing Media into Adobe Premiere Pro
The first step to starting a project is getting your media into Adobe Premiere Pro. No matter what kind of project you’re doing, if you can’t import media, you’re stuck. Adobe Premiere Pro offers different paths to importing including an Import command, Media Browser, and Adobe Dynamic Link. The one you choose will be based on the source material and your objectives.
Of course, not everything will come in the way you expect it. So, it’s essential you know how to modify clips. Adobe Premiere Pro also doesn’t work alone: It’s crucial you understand the real “superpowers” of the suite. You can draw assets from the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite components, including Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Audition, and even Adobe SpeedGrade. In this chapter, you’ll learn about importing files and the effect it will have on your system.
Importing Files into Adobe Premiere Pro
Overall, Adobe Premiere Pro behaves the way most other editorial systems do. It provides a link from the original media to a pointer that lives inside your project. After you’ve imported media files, moving them outside the application can break links.
You can directly import assets into Adobe Premiere Pro in four ways:
- Standard importing by choosing File > Import
- The Media Browser panel
- Adobe Prelude
- Adobe Bridge
Whichever way you use Adobe Premiere Pro, it will create a link to your media, whether the media consists of videos, stills, or audio files (or even a dynamic project from one of the other Adobe Creative Suite apps, such as After Effects).
Standard importing is probably the most straightforward type of importing you can do, and you’ve been doing it for years. To import any file, choose File > Import. If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts, press Command+I (Ctrl+I) to open the standard Import dialog for Macintosh (Figure 4.1) or for Windows (Figure 4.2).
Figure 4.1. The Standard OS X Import dialog; note the search box in the upper-right corner.
Figure 4.2. The Windows Import dialog; note the search box in the upper-right corner.
Let’s import a clip to see this process.
Choose File > Open, and navigate to Lessons and Media > Lesson 04 > 04_getting_started.prproj.
This is is an empty project that’s set up for the media in use.
- Choose File > Import.
- Navigate to the Lessons and Media > Lesson 04 > Imports folder on your local drive.
- Select the first clip (0022AO.mp4), and click the Import button.
- Click the New Bin button at the bottom of the Project panel or press Command+/ (Ctrl+/).
- Name the bin File Menu Imported, and drag the clip into the new bin.
- Repeat these steps for the two other clips in the Lesson 4 folder (0024P1.mp4 and 0025RB.mp4).
Using the Media Browser
Our favorite import method, by far, is the Media Browser (Figure 4.3). Its flexibility makes it superior to the standard file system import. Not only does it display the files in a straight list, but it also adjusts the view using the metadata. Being able to see this meta-data makes it far easier to select from long lists of files or shots.
Figure 4.3. The Media Browser has the capability to display clips and cards from popular formats like P2, XDCAM, RED, and even Arri.
By default, you’ll find the Media Browser in the lower-left corner (if your workspace is set to Editing). You can also quickly access it by pressing Shift+8. Because it’s a dedicated panel in Adobe Premiere Pro, you can save it to a specific workspace or move it around so it lives in a different part of the interface.
The major benefits of the Media Browser include the following:
- Auto sensing of camera data—AVCHD, Canon XF, P2, RED, Arri, Sony HDV, and XDCAM (EX and HD)
- Narrowing the display to a specific file type, such as JPEG, TIFF, XML, AAF, and more
- Viewing and customizing the display of metadata
- Spanned clips appear as a single element
Once the Media Browser is open, you’ll find that it is not significantly different from browsing using the OS. You can navigate through the folders on the left side and use the up, down, left, and right arrows in the upper-right corner.
Adobe Premiere Pro’s Media Browser (Figure 4.5) automatically recognizes camera media, meaning that if you navigate into a directory of XDCAM, P2, or RED files (among others), it will autorecognize the footage. This makes it easy to use and adjust metadata from the field.
Figure 4.5. P2 card import in the Media Browser
Let’s use the Media Browser to import the clips from a copy of a P2 card.
- Start with the same project from the preceding exercise.
- Click in the Media Browser, or press Shift+8.
- Press the grave accent (`) key to display the Media Browser full-screen.
- Navigate to Lessons and Media > Lesson 04 > Imports > P2 CARD 1.
Try hoverscrubbing by moving your mouse across the images.
- Change from the thumbnail view to the list view by clicking the list icon in the bottom left of the Media Browser.
- Select the three clips (002AO, 0024P1, 0025RB), and choose File > Import from Media Browser.
- Press the grave accent (`) key to return the Media Browser to normal size.
- Click the Project panel to make it active, create a bin called From Media Browser, and move all the clips you just imported into that bin.
Narrowing file types
Being organized in the editorial process is a key skill, both within and outside of Adobe Premiere Pro. Yet, sometimes you’ll find yourself scanning a long list of files for a specific format (Figure 4.6). An easy way to reduce the number of files you’re looking at is to limit the file types to the specific format you need.
Figure 4.6. Not only can you limit the files to a specific format, but you can also select multiple formats, such as stills, which makes finding just the stills in a directory quick and painless.
New in the CS6 family is Adobe Prelude. Think of Prelude as a “preprocessor” for your file-based media. It will allow you to preview your media, choose which clips you want, and even allow a logger or producer to do some basic editing.
Most important, Prelude can copy your media from one location, such as the card that came from your camera, to a specific set location, helping you stay organized. And it’s even possible to make extra backups of your media at the same time. The best part? The data with these copies is verified, which ensures that every bit is successfully copied and backed up.
The first step to working with Prelude is to ingest the media. Ingesting means adding the media to your drives. By ingesting to the right location, such as your media drive, you’ll end up quickly organized for future editing.
Let’s ingest some media.
- Launch Adobe Prelude, and then click the New Project icon on the Welcome screen (Figure 4.8).
Figure 4.8. You can quickly start a project in Adobe Prelude; the method is nearly identical to Adobe Premiere Pro.
You’re going to capture the media to your desktop. Realistically, you’d pick your own media location for this. You’re creating this folder so you have an easy time finding (and later deleting) the media you’re creating on your machine.
- In the dialog box, navigate to your desktop folder.
- Create a folder called Card Media.
- Name the project Desert P2 footage, and save it in the newly created folder.
You’re now looking at the Prelude interface (Figure 4.9). There are four buttons in the top left to help focus on the streamlined workflow.
Figure 4.9. The four major steps in Prelude are echoed by the buttons Ingest, Logging, List, and Rough Cut.
- Click the Ingest button.
A drive/file list comes up that resembles the Media Browser in Adobe Premiere Pro.
- Navigate to Lessons and Media > Lesson 04 > Imports > P2 Card 2 (Figure 4.10).
Figure 4.10. Similar to the Media Browser, the Ingest dialog box has the ability to switch from List to Thumbnail in the lower-left corner.
- Click the Check All button (along the bottom of the window).
- Make sure to select the Transfer Clips to Destination button.
Change the primary destination to the folder Card Media on your desktop that you created in step 4.
You have these options at this point:
- Transcode the footage
- Add subfolders (creating an organized structure)
- Verify that the copy occurred without errors
- Add a destination to create a copy somewhere else
- You’re not going to do any of those now, but know that you have the option to adjust how and where Prelude ingests your footage.
Click Ingest to start the transfer of the media.
The footage is copied and placed on the left side of the Project panel. You can double-click any clip and use J-K-L In and Out points and other basic editorial tools to prepare for the edit in Adobe Premiere Pro. You can also add descriptive markers that speed up the editorial process. Be sure to check out videos #09 and #10 for more information on these tasks.
Sending your ingested media to Adobe Premiere Pro
Once your footage is ingested, copied, and possibly marked and edited together, all that remains is the hand-off. Fortunately, the process of moving from Adobe Prelude to Adobe Premiere Pro couldn’t be easier.
Let’s send our ingested video to Adobe Premiere Pro.
- Create a new bin called P2 Media from Prelude.
- Select all the clips in your Adobe Prelude project, and place them in the new bin.
- Select the new bin.
- Choose File > Send to Premiere Pro to transfer to the Adobe Premiere Pro project that’s currently open (you must have a project open).
Switch to Adobe Premiere Pro. The files appear in the Project panel ready for you to use.
In your own projects, be sure to give the bin a more discrptive name that matches the content and role of the footage.
- You can now quit Adobe Prelude and close the project.
Most people encounter Adobe Bridge (Figure 4.11) via Adobe Photoshop. In case you’ve never used it, it’s a dynamic media browser—think of it as a file browser on steroids. It’s a media browser that is optimized mostly for still photography, but it has loads of power for video users.
Figure 4.11. Adobe Bridge is a versatile program in its own right. Notice Filtering on the left side and Video Metadata on the right side.
You can manually open Adobe Bridge by clicking its application icon. You can also choose File > Browse in Bridge in Adobe Premiere Pro to automatically launch Adobe Bridge and point it to the same directory that the Media Browser is viewing.
Adobe Bridge has a few killer features you should know about. They are optional uses but are very powerful in and out of the video workflow, acting as a significant replacement for your native OS file system. The features we’ll focus on are adding metadata (such as a rating), batch renaming, and collections (on the accompanying DVD).
Adding Metadata with Adobe Bridge
Metadata is additional data about the actual video in the shot. It could include information such as the frame size of the shot or the scene number. With stills, metadata can include all sorts of common EXIF data, such as aperture, location (if the camera has a GPS chip), and camera model or lens.
You imported material earlier in this chapter. By adding the metadata to the QuickTime files, you’ll be able to contrast your existing imported files by importing the same files after you’ve added metadata. The choice to add metadata offers additional organizational ability in Adobe Premiere Pro, such as being able to sort on information such as shot type. Because the metadata stays with the clips, the media will be easier to organize in the future if you bring the clips into a new project.
- Continue working with 04_getting_started.prproj.
- Launch Adobe Bridge by choosing File > Browse in Bridge.
- Navigate to the Lessons and Media > Lesson 04 folder.
- Select all three MP4 video clips (0022AO.mp4, 0024P1.mp4, and 0025RB.mp4).
- Select the Metadata tab (in the lower-right corner), and scroll down to browse the categories.
- Find the Video category, click Scene, and add the scene number 15 (Figure 4.12).
Figure 4.12. Customizing the Scene metadata. You can change any field that has a pencil next to it.
If you see a pencil icon, it means the field can be adjusted. After the metadata has been added to the clips, the clips are permanently modified.
Viewing metadata from Adobe Bridge
You’ll now directly import these clips in Adobe Premiere Pro. Earlier they were imported without the new metadata. Those previously imported clips don’t have metadata. You’re now going to import them again; the difference is that now there’s new metadata. Both clip imports will exist in the same project, but you can see the metadata difference. Let’s make a quick comparison of this information.
- In Adobe Bridge, select the three clips you just added metadata to.
- Choose File > Open, or press Command+O (Ctrl+O). The clips should now be imported into the Project panel in Adobe Premiere Pro.
- Create a bin called From Bridge, and move all the clips into that bin.
- Click the Project panel to select it, or press Shift+1 and then click the grave accent (`) key to view the Project panel full-screen.
- Switch the Project panel to list view by clicking the list view icon in the bottom-left corner.
Click the disclosure triangle to open the File Menu Imported bin and the From Bridge bin.
You should see the same clips in both folders.
- Scroll to the right until you see the Scene column.
Note that the items in the File Menu Imported bin do not have the scene number, yet the ones that were imported from Adobe Bridge do. The only reason the newer clips have this data is that they were imported after you added the data in Adobe Bridge (Figure 4.13). If you were to import them now via the Import command or via the Media Browser, the new import would also have this metadata.
Figure 4.13. Note the differences in the Project panel between the two lists of identical files. Adobe Premiere Pro can display only the metadata that was embedded in a file prior to its import.