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How to Edit Video Using the Timeline in Premiere Pro

In this lesson from David Bode's free Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorial you will learn how to perform basic edits on your footage in the timeline.

Navigating Around the Timeline Panel

When you think about editing from a more global perspective, there are some distinct processes that you go through. They'll often include importing your media, selecting your shots, editing to the timeline, adding transitions, making adjustments to your footage and your audio, and then exporting your project. 

The timeline panel is where you're going to be spending most of your time in Premiere and there are a lot of buttons and little interface things that you're going to need to know about. One of the most important things to know is how to navigate around in the timeline panel and there are a few ways to do that.

Scrolling and Zooming 

You have scroll bars down at the bottom and sides of the timeline, which you can click and drag to scroll right and left or for the sides up and down.

Navigating Around the Timeline PanelNavigating Around the Timeline PanelNavigating Around the Timeline Panel

If you click on the end of these scroll bars there are these little handles which allow you to zoom in and out on your project horizontally. You have the same thing on the sides with the vertical scroll bars, which you can use to zoom in or out vertically on the audio or video tracks.This process however is fairly tedious and it's much faster to use the mouse scroll wheel and some keyboard modifiers to do all of those same functions.

For example, if you want to zoom out, you would hold down Alt on the keyboard, and move the mouse scroll wheel back. If you want to zoom in horizontally, you hold Alt and scroll forward. When you do this, it zooms in wherever your mouse is located. So if you want to zoom in over a specific area, you put your mouse over here, you hold Alt down and then you scroll in. Note, it doesn't always zoom around the playhead, so if you want to zoom in where the playhead is located, you have to move your mouse over there, and then zoom in.

To move right and left horizontally, you can hold the Ctrl key down and then use the scroll wheel and then you can scroll right and left. If you want to scroll up and down vertically, all you do is just use the mouse scroll wheel. If you're in the video tracks, it will scroll up and down through the video tracks and if you're in the audio tracks, it scrolls up and down in the audio tracks.

If you want to zoom in vertically, what you can do is move your mouse over to the left (see the example below), and then use your scroll wheel, and that will zoom in on the individual audio and video tracks.

Scrolling and Zooming Scrolling and Zooming Scrolling and Zooming 

Most of the time when you're moving around in the timeline panel, you're going to be using your mouse scroll wheel.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Once you have dragged your first clip into the timeline, you can play and pause your sequence using the spacebar but you may prefer to use the  J, K and L keys.

  • The L key plays forward.
  • The K key stops.
  • And the J key plays backwards.

The cool thing about using these keys is that if you double tap any of them you can play the clip at 2x speed or 3x speed which can be really useful for navigating quickly through your sequence.

The other reason its great to keep your hand over on the right side of the keyboard, using the J-K-L keys, is that a lot of the other keyboard shortcuts are going to come from this area.The I and O keys, for example, for marking In and Out, are just above the J, K, L keys, and you can reach the Ctrl and Alt keys with your thumb. So this is a very convenient spot to keep your hand. 

Let's say you want to trim a bit of space at the beginning of your sequence. Though it is best to get general in and out points for your clip in the source window, you should finesse the timing once you've pulled your clip into the timeline window, so you can see how it looks with the other shots.

Trim Tool

If you press the Home key it will take you right back to the beginning of your sequence. You can zoom in on the clip by pressing the + key. This will take you right into where the playhead is positioned. If you hover your mouse over the edge of this clip, it changes from a selection tool to a trim tool. You will see a little red arrow pointing to the right. Click it and drag it to the right. That's going to perform a basic trim function. You can also jump to the end of your clip, and trim up the end bit by clicking and dragging to the left.

Trim ToolTrim ToolTrim Tool

When you perform a basic trim like that, it'll often leave a gap. 

Trim ToolTrim ToolTrim Tool

Ripple Edit Tool

Sometimes this is what you want, but more often than not what you want to use is a ripple edit. A ripple edit performs the same kind of trim, but then everything after that trim, or everything to the right of it, gets moved down the timeline to basically fill in the gaps.

Ripple Edit ToolRipple Edit ToolRipple Edit Tool

To perform a ripple edit go the end of the clip where you want to make the trim. When the mouse is hovered over the edge of the clip, hold the Ctrl key down. The tool is going to change from a trim tool to a ripple edit tool. Now when you click and drag the clip to the right, the whole clip will get moved to the left, basically filling in the gap the content you remove made. You can switch from a selection tool to a ripple edit tool when you want by hitting the B key and if you want to switch back to a selection tool you can press the V key.

Options for Editing Together Clips

When you are editing in the timeline you'll find that often you need to edit together different clips. You have a few options for doing so.

1. You can position the playhead at the point you want to make your edit in the first clip, use the Trim tool and just click and drag back right to the playhead. Because snapping is on, once you get close to the playhead, that action will snap right to the playhead which makes it very easy to edit precisely.

2. The other option you have is to slice the clip where you want to make the edit using the Razor tool. You can access this tool by pressing the C keyThen you could change back to the selection tool, select the unwanted part of the clip and delete it.

3. Another way that you can do a very similar thing is with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + K to split the clip. The difference between this method and the razor tool is that you can only slice clips that are selected. So if you have a sequence with a lot of media clips in it, you can also select individual clips and then use Ctrl + K to add an edit or split those individual clips.

4. Yet another approach to splitting the clip in the timeline and adding a second clip is to go to the source monitor and use the insert or overwrite buttons. The insert button will add the selected clip to your sequence wherever the playhead is located, and it will add the clip to whichever video and audio track are selected for the source patching.

Options for Editing Together ClipsOptions for Editing Together ClipsOptions for Editing Together Clips

The Overwrite button on the other hand, adds the clip to the sequence, but overwrites whatever was there.

Options for Editing Together ClipsOptions for Editing Together ClipsOptions for Editing Together Clips

Both options are perfectly acceptable depending on what you want. There are also keyboard shortcuts for both these functions right under the J, K, L keys, and they are comma and period.

Rolling Edit Tool

You may need to refine your edit further by using one of the tools we've already covered: the trim tool, the ripple edit tool or by using a handy tool called the rolling edit tool. The rolling edit tool trims the endpoints of one clip and the in-point of the other while leaving the combined duration of the two clips unchanged. The rolling edit tool can be accessed in the tool panel, by pressing N on the keyboard or it's also available as a mouse modifier by hovering the mouse right over the edit point and then holding down Ctrl. 

Rolling Edit ToolRolling Edit ToolRolling Edit Tool

More Premiere Pro Resources

Here are more top Premiere Pro tutorials and resources to try from Envato Tuts+:

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