January 22, 2020

Premiere Pro for Beginners | Film & Video

Jumping into a program like Premiere Pro can be daunting. It can take months or even years to master the software.

Luckily, our Film & Video instructor Cesar Cruz is here to give you a quick crash course on the basics of the program. If you’re looking to dive in and get started, Cesar has the core principles of Premiere CC 2020 mapped out for you.


Home Screen

The first prompt you receive will ask whether you want to open up and old project or start a new one. Cesar creates a new project, titles it, and saves it to his desktop.


Premiere has multiple workspaces designed to streamline the way you work. If you want to adjust the audio, there’s a workspace for that. The same applies to color, or effects.

For now, we’re going to focus on the Editing workspace.

Importing Media

You need footage to make a video! There’s multiple ways to do so – you can click File > Import in the taskbar and look for your footage in the box that appears. But a faster option is to hit Cmd + I on your keyboard (Ctrl + I on PC). This is called a hotkey, and is integral to speeding up your workflow.

Creating a Sequence

The sequence is where you edit your video. By dragging your footage into the timeline, a sequence that matches your media’s dimensions and framerate will be created. This is the fastest way to start editing. If you want to adjust these parameters yourself, you can select the “Sequence” heading on the toolbar.

Program and Sequence Windows

There are two windows on the top of the screen – on the left, the source window, and on the right, the program window. The source window allows you to scroll through the footage you currently have selected, while the program window shows you a preview of your timeline, and your final video.

Hitting the plus and minus keys on your keyboard allow you to zoom in and out on your timeline.

From the source monitor, you can select what part of the footage you want to bring into your sequence by setting an “in” and “out” point. The hot keys to do so are I and O. From there, dragging into the timeline will import only the section you have selected.


When your projects get more complicated, you might have more footage than you know what to do with. You can divide your assets into bins by hitting the “new bin” button, or hitting Cmd + B on the keyboard. You can also name your bins to differentiate them.

Making Cuts

Select the razor tool (C on the keyboard) and click anywhere on your timeline to divide the footage into two pieces. From there, you can drag the ends of the footage to shorten or elongate the cut. Hit V on the keyboard to go back to your cursor.


Selecting the “effects” panel will show a plethora of options. A common video transition is a dissolve – twirl down the “video transitions” option and drag the dissolve over to your timeline (make sure you drag it onto a point where two clips intersect – there must be a cut for a transition to occur!)

From there, you can adjust the length of the dissolve by double clicking the changing the duration, or by zooming in and pulling on the handles.


Dragging down on your audio track will reveal its waveforms, and a volume bar. Dragging it up and down will raise and lower the volume. You can use the pen tool (P on the keyboard) to set points on the volume bar, allowing you to adjust the volume along the duration of the track.


With your video completed, it’s time to render the final file. Start the process by selecting File > Export on the toolbar, or using the hotkey Cmd + M. Choose the H.264 delivery format, and select “Match source – high bitrate” under the presets.

Clicking “Output Name” will allow you to change the name of the file and select where it will be saved. Finally, hitting “Export” will start the render process.

Make sure you watch your final video to make sure there are no errors before you upload to YouTube or Vimeo!