Adobe Premiere Pro Basics: Customizing Your Workspace
Today’s lesson begins our deep dive into the basics of video editing, with the first of a series of Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials.
If you’re brand new to editing you may be overwhelmed by the multiple windows, tables, and panels on your screen.
What do they all do? How should you set them up for making simple videos at home?
I’m about to show you exactly what those basic windows are, what functions they control, and how to get started with your own personal project.
Throughout this tutorial, we’ll be using Adobe Premiere Pro for all of our video edits. If you don’t already have access to Adobe Premiere Pro, take a second to download it here. You’ll be able to try it out first with a 7 day free trial.
Once you’re all set with Premiere Pro, go ahead and open it up. You can create a new project and name it whatever you wish. This will just be to get us started, so don’t worry about the details too much.
You may also choose to simply watch the video below for a quick overview to get a feel for how the platform looks and works.
If you don’t have a copy of Adobe Premiere Pro yet (my favorite video editing program), you can try it out for free here.
1 | Overview of Premiere Editing Panels
You’ll notice several windows when you first launch Premiere Pro. Lets quickly discuss the functions of each of these panels.
Project Panel: This is where all the files that you’ll be using in your project will be organized. You’ll sort your footage, music, audio clips, images, graphics, etc. to be readily available for use in your project when you need it.
Source Panel: Here is the window where you’ll preview a video clip before deciding whether or not you want to add it to your video. Double click on a footage file in your Project Panel and it will appear in the Source Panel. If you decide you want to use a portion of a video clip in your video, you can set an IN point by hitting the letter ‘I’ and then an OUT point by hitting the letter ‘O’. You can then drag that portion of the clip into your Timeline Panel below to add it to your video.
Timeline Panel: Video and audio clips that are dragged into the Timeline Panel are now a part of your final video. Once in the Timeline Panel, we can still move them, trim them, and manipulate them however we wish. Nothing is final until you are ready to export.
Program Panel: On the top right window is your Program Panel. This is where you’ll preview how your edited video is looking. Any changes that you make in your Timeline Panel will be reflected in the Program Panel.
2 | How to Customize Panels
Premiere Pro makes it super easy and intuitive to adjust all the editing panels. This is very helpful when editing since you’ll be able to quickly adjust your windows to best adapt to what you are working on at the time. More on this idea in a moment.
How to add a new panel – if you’re missing a certain panel, simply navigate up to the Window bar and click on the panel you’d like to add. It will automatically be inserted into your workspace.
From there you can easily click and drag the panel wherever you would like it to be. As you drag the panel around and hover over various spaces, you’ll see the drop zones turn purple and green. This indicates to you all the possible places where you can add or move a panel.
How to rearrange a panel – to move an existing panel from one location to another, simply hold and drag it to another location.
You can move panels to the left, right, center, as well as the bottom and top sections of another panel and it will simply add to that section of the existing panel. You’ll then see labels at the top of those groupings of panels where you can navigate between each of the individual panels.
If you drag a panel to the center drop zone, it will nest that panel under the entire panel in a grouping zone.
Lastly, if you drag it all the way to one of the far sides (where the green zone appears) it will result in the panel transforming to take up that entire portion of the window.
How to undock a panel – click on the three little bars to the right of the panel title and click the option to choose to undock a panel. This will cause the panel to free float, as well as have the ability to be minimized. This can be helpful, for example, if you want to have multiple shooting days or multiple locations worth of footage folders open and viewable at once. It also allows you the freedom to drag a panel to an extra side monitor.
How to redock a panel – Simply drag the panel to a new drop zone just like you did before.
Resizing Panels – You can very easily click and drag along the border between panels to quickly resize the panels as you wish.
3 | Using Preset Adobe Premiere Pro Workspaces
One of the greatest strengths of Adobe Premiere Pro as an editing software is its versatility and ability to adapt to your needs as the editor.
When you navigate up to ‘Window’, you’ll notice a handful of ‘Workspace’ options. They can also be found at the top panel of your editing screen. These handy preset options allow you to quickly change the entire layout of your workspace to adapt to various tasks commonly used during video editing, like color correction, audio editing, graphics and special effects, etc. You also have the option to save your own personalized presets.
Let’s say you’ve already created a basic edit for your video and you are now ready to focus on color correcting your clips. You can quickly navigate to the color correction preset window and have an expanded view of all the color specific dials that you’ll likely need.
Next, you may be focusing just on audio. Click on that preset audio panel and you have a quick and easy layout designed specifically for audio correction.
4 | How to Save Your Own Custom Workspace
I am a creature of habit. I edit so much that it is second nature to me. If you change something in my custom workspace, I’m like a deer in headlights. I suddenly don’t know where my right hand is.
Premiere Pro makes it super easy to set up your editing workspace exactly how you like it and then easily save it, so you’ll never be lost again.
Navigate to Window -> Workspaces -> Save as a New Workspace. So easy!
If you make changes or want to override a current setting, simply click ‘Save Changes to this Workspace’ instead.
Congratulations on completing the first lesson on the basics of editing with Premiere Pro! I hope this tutorial gave you a good understanding of how things work.
I assure you, once we start practicing with some actual footage, it will soon become like second nature.
As you continue to edit, you’ll develop your own preferences for where and how things should be, so you can continue to refine your workspace.
Please leave me any and all questions in the comments section below!
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