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Getting Clips to the Timeline

The technique you use to get clips to the Timeline will vary according to the type of projects that you produce, how long you’ve been editing, and how frequently you edit. Premiere Pro works well for virtually all users, from casual beginners to pros who edit all day every day.

For example, new editors may set In and Out points in the Source Monitor (or not), drag the clips to the Timeline one by one, and make final trims on the Timeline—all with the mouse. At the other end of the spectrum, an editor integrating hundred of source clips into a complicated independent film production may want to perform all editing activities via keyboards shortcuts, which is quicker and the traditional workflow for film editors.

Getting your first clip to the Timeline via your mouse is the simplest of all edits, so let’s start there.

To drag a clip to an empty Timeline

Drag the clip from the Source Monitor to the desired location and track on the Timeline a_icon.jpg. Note that Premiere Pro shows the timecode of the selected location at the bottom left of the Program Monitor. Premiere Pro inserts both the audio and video components of the source file into the selected location b_icon.jpg.


Click to view larger image

a_icon.jpg Drag the clip from the Source Monitor to the desired location and track.


Click to view larger image

b_icon.jpg Premiere Pro inserts it there.

Targeting tracks

When you drag a clip to the Timeline, you’re telling Premiere Pro where to insert it. How do you tell Premiere Pro which track to use when you’re adding clips by using the buttons beneath the Source Monitor or their respective keyboard shortcuts? And how do you specify the location on that track? Let’s take these issues one at a time.

To the left of the Timeline are two buttons called source track indicators f_icon.jpg. Note that these appear only when a clip is loaded in the Source Monitor.


Click to view larger image

f_icon.jpg These source track indicators identify the tracks into which Premiere Pro will insert the audio and video from the Source Monitor.

These locators identify the tracks into which the audio and video will be inserted. The default locations for the indicators are V1 and A1, unless the content in the Source Monitor isn’t compatible with these tracks. For example, if the audio in the selected file is 5.1 surround sound, the source track indicator will shift to a 5.1 surround sound audio track. Audio files will show only an audio track indicator, much as video files will show only a video track indicator.

Note that the source track indicators can either be enabled or disabled. When you disable the audio and enable the video grey_f_icon.jpg, video is inserted into the selected video track, but no audio is inserted into the selected track. Vice versa when audio is enabled and video isn’t.

What about the temporal location on the selected track? You select that by moving the playhead to the desired location.

To target a track

To target an audio or video track, click the source track indicator g_icon.jpg and drag it to the desired track h_icon.jpg.


g_icon.jpg Click the source track indicator to select it.


h_icon.jpg Then drag it to the desired track.

To disable or enable the source track indicator

  1. To disable the source track indicator (enabled is the default state), click it grey_g_icon.jpg. When the button is no longer highlighted, it is disabled grey_f_icon.jpg.
  2. To enable the source track indicator, click it. When the button is highlighted, it’s enabled grey_f_icon.jpg.

To specify the timecode location for clips inserted via button controls or keyboard shortcuts

Do one of the following:

  • Drag the Timeline playhead to the desired location i_icon.jpg.

    Click to view larger image

    i_icon.jpg Drag the playhead to the desired clip location.

  • Use playback controls (or keyboard shortcuts) to navigate the playhead to the desired location.
  • Click the timecode in either the Timeline or the Program Monitor to make it active, type the desired timecode (with no punctuation), and press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS). For example, to move the playhead to 00:00:10:02, you would type 1002.

To insert a clip using button controls

  1. Drag the source track indicators to the desired track.
  2. Navigate the playhead to the desired location.
  3. In the Source Monitor’s Tools panel, click either the Insert button insert.jpg or the Overwrite button overwrite.jpg j_icon.jpg.

    Click to view larger image

    j_icon.jpg Click either Insert or Overwrite to insert a clip when the Timeline is empty.

    Premiere Pro inserts the clip in the selected location.

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