The greater part of video editing is spent watching clips and making creative choices about them. It’s important to feel comfortable browsing media.
Premiere Pro has multiple ways of performing common tasks such as playing video clips. You can use the keyboard, click buttons with your mouse, or use an external device like a jog/shuttle controller.
You can also use a feature called hover scrub to quickly and easily view the contents of your clips right in the bin, and in the Media Browser.
- Double-click the Theft Unexpected bin to open it.
- Click the Icon View button at the lower-left corner of the bin.
Drag your mouse, without clicking, across any of the images in the bin.
Premiere Pro displays the contents of the clip as you drag. The left edge of the thumbnail represents the beginning of the clip, and the right edge represents the end. In this way, the width of the thumbnail represents the whole clip.
Select a clip by clicking it once. Hover scrubbing is now turned off, and a mini scroll bar appears at the bottom of the thumbnail. Try dragging through the clip using the scroll bar.
When a clip is selected, Premiere Pro uses the J, K, and L keys on your keyboard to perform playback too, just like the Media Browser.
- J: Play backward
- K: Pause
- L: Play forward
Select a clip, and use the J, K, and L keys to play the thumbnail. Be sure to click the clip only once. If you double-click, the clip will open in the Source Monitor.
When you double-click a clip, not only does Premiere Pro display the clip in the Source Monitor, but it also adds it to a list of recent clips.
- Double-click to open four or five clips from the Theft Unexpected bin.
Click the Recent Items menu, on the tab at the top of the Source Monitor, to browse between your recent clips.
Click the Zoom menu at the bottom of the Source Monitor. By default, this is set to Fit, which means Premiere Pro will display the whole frame, regardless of the original size. Change the setting to 100%.
These clips are high-resolution, and they are probably much bigger than your Source Monitor. You’re likely to have scroll bars at the bottom and on the right of your Source Monitor now, so you can view different parts of the image.
The benefit of viewing with Zoom set to 100% is that you see every pixel of the original video, which is useful for checking the quality.
- Set the Zoom menu back to Fit.
If you have an older or slower processor, or are working with very large frame sizes like Ultra High-Definition (4K or above), your computer may struggle to play back high-quality video clips. To work with a wide variety of computer hardware configurations, from powerful desktop workstations to lightweight portable laptops, Premiere Pro can lower the playback resolution to make playback smoother.
You can switch the playback resolution as often as you like, using the Select Playback Resolution menu on the Source Monitor and Program Monitor panels.
Some lower resolutions are available only when working with particular media types.
At the bottom left of the Source Monitor, a timecode display shows the current position of the playhead in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames (00:00:00:00).
For example, 00:15:10:01 would be 0 hours, 15 minutes, 10 seconds, and 1 frame.
Note that this is based on the original timecode for the clip, which probably does not begin at 00:00:00:00.
At the bottom right of the Source Monitor, a timecode display shows the duration of your clip. By default, this shows the whole clip duration, but later you’ll be adding special marks to make a partial selection.
Old-style CRT monitors crop the edges of the picture to achieve a clean edge. If you’re producing video for a CRT monitor, click the Settings (wrench icon) button at the bottom of the Source Monitor and choose Safe Margins. Premiere Pro displays white outlines over the image.
The outer box is the action-safe zone. Aim to keep important action inside this box so that when the picture is displayed, edge cropping does not hide what is going on.
The inner box is the title-safe zone. Keep titles and graphics inside this box so that even on a badly calibrated display, your audience will be able to read the words.
Premiere Pro also has advanced overlay options that can be configured to display useful information in the Source Monitor and Program Monitor. To enable or disable overlays, go to the Settings (wrench icon) button and choose Overlays.
You can access the settings for the overlays and safe margins by clicking the Settings button and choosing Overlay Settings > Settings.
Click the Settings button at the bottom of the Source Monitor and choose Safe Margins to turn them off.
Essential playback controls
Let’s look at the playback controls.
Double-click the shot Excuse Me in the Theft Unexpected bin to open it in the Source Monitor.
- At the bottom of the Source Monitor, there’s a yellow playhead marker. Drag it along the bottom of the panel to view different parts of the clip. You can also click wherever you want the playhead to go, and it will jump to that spot.
Below the Time Ruler and the playhead, there’s a scroll bar that doubles as a Zoom control. Drag one end of the scroll bar to zoom in on the clip navigator.
- Click the Play-Stop button to play the clip. Click it again to stop playback. You can also use the spacebar to play and stop playback.
- Click the Step Back 1 Frame and Step Forward 1 Frame buttons to move through the clip one frame at a time. You can also use the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys on your keyboard.
- Try using the J, K, and L keys to play your clip.
Customizing the monitors
To customize your monitors, click the Settings button () on the Source Monitor.
This menu gives you several display options for your Source Monitor (the Program Monitor has a similar menu). You can choose to view waveforms and the Vectorscope to analyze your video.
For now, you just need to know how to display regular video. Make sure Composite Video is selected in this menu.
You can change the buttons displayed at the bottom of the Source Monitor and Program Monitor.
Click the Button Editor button at the bottom right of the Source Monitor.
A special set of buttons appears on a floating panel.
- Drag the Loop button () from the floating panel to a spot to the right of the Play button on the Source Monitor, and click OK.
- Double-click the Excuse Me clip in the Theft Unexpected bin to open it in the Source Monitor if it isn’t there already.
Click the Loop button to enable it, and then play the video using the spacebar or the Play button on the Source Monitor. Stop the playback when you’ve seen enough.
With Loop turned on, Premiere Pro continuously repeats playback or a clip or sequence.
- Click the Play button to play the clip. Click it again to stop playback. You can also use the spacebar to play and stop playback.
- Click the Step Back and Step Forward buttons to move through the clip one frame at a time. You can also use the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys on your keyboard.
- Use the J, K, and L keys to play your clip.