Premiere Pro CS5 Tips, Tricks, and Notes

thumbnail_alt_textAs a follow-up to Pete Bauer’s recent DVi feature article Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Six Months Later, we’re presenting a collection of user tips, editing tricks, and a couple of notes regarding RAM and operating systems designed to assist your transition into Premiere Pro. Culled from various Premiere Pro discussions from within our own Adobe CS5 forum, this article takes the golden nuggets that might have been harder to find on their own from within the myriad topics on our site and presents them all together here in an easy-to-read abridged format (including links pointing to each original thread, in case you want to dive in to any particular point and explore it more thoroughly). Whether you’ve already made the switch or just recently upgraded from a previous version of Premiere Pro, or even if you’re still just thinking about it, we hope you’ll find it useful.

Tip: Separating Audio Channels (see original discussion)

How do you remove one audio channel from a stereo recording, without actually breaking out in the Project panel? One answer from helpful DVi member Adam Gold is to go to Effects > Audio Effects > Stereo > Fill Left. But that’s not the only way, according to other DVi members. You can also do Audio Effects > Balance. When recording two completely different sources simultaneously, do the following immediately after importing into Premiere: select all clips on which you want to break up the audio channels, then right-click and select Modify > Audio Channels. Select mono instead of stereo and you’ll automatically get two mono tracks on the timeline instead of one stereo track. This will eliminate the hassle of choosing Fill Left / Right for every single clip (although you can just cut and paste the effect and do it very quickly).

Tip: Combining Audio Channels (see original discussion)

You have a two-channel stereo or video audio track that was recorded with only one of those audio channels present. For an easy way in Premiere Pro to combine both channels, select Audio > Fill Left or Audio > Fill Right if you want to copy one audio channel over to the other. If you originally recorded one channel, what you will get with the fill is, of course, a duplicate of the channel you’re copying. It will not make a stereo separation out of the one channel, if that was what you wanted. But it will give you sound from both channels instead of just one. “Fill Left” means taking the left channel and copying it to the right channel, which might seem backward to its description. You can also change your default channel mapping from stereo to mono. Then when you edit to the timeline, just have the correct track enabled to insert only the good audio channel.

Trick: Re-using Sequences in New Projects (see original discussion)

To import a sequence from a previous project into a new project in Premiere, go to File > Import > Select Project, and choose the whole project or certain sequences. This isn’t exactly obvious, since the file types field in that menu shows only media and not projects.

Tip: Combining Two or More Sequences (see original discussion)

Your project timeline in Premiere Pro is comprised of two or more sequences. Each sequence is series of edited clips. There is one sequence on the first tab and another on the next tab. How do you marry the sequences together on the same timeline, preserving the order in which they appear? Create a new sequence to the proper settings, and then just drag each of your sequences into the timeline. This is known as “nesting” sequences, and is very powerful for longer projects. The simplest way is to “nest” the second sequence on the first sequence timeline. In your project file window, select the second sequence icon and just drag it to the end of the first sequence timeline. You can look up “nested sequence” in PPro help for more details. Is there a way to access sequences and custom effects from previous projects? Yes, when you import a Premiere project into a new Project you get an option to import the entire project or selected sequences. You export the custom preset (right click on the preset) from the old project in CS4 on to the hard drive. Then import the preset from the hard drive into the custom presets bin of CS5.

Trick: Order Clips by TimeCode (see original discussion)

To put video clips on the timeline in exact sequence as their timecode, find your clips in the browser window, go to the media start tab (or the video in-point tab, as appropriate), and click on the tab to order them. Then select the ones you want as a group, and drag them to the timeline, where they will fall in left-to-right order. You can use this same method to order by duration, name, etc.

Tip: Making AutoSaves More Effective (see original discussion)

Unless you’ve disabled this feature, Premiere Pro project files are automatically saved into their own separate folder. If you need to recover a project, locate this folder and make sure to display the file details and sort by date/time, so you can find the most recent one. The autosave file names do not indicate this (unless you establish your own naming convention, such as “Main Presentation 4-5” to indicate the fifth autosave of this fourth main presentation project). It’s not that the default numbers don’t sometimes match; it’s that the highest number is not necessarily the most recent. After it saves five it’ll recycle to one for the next save, and so on, meaning #4 could be more recent than #5 by nearly an hour, assuming a 15-minute autosave interval. The good news is that you can set both the number of files to save and the interval as well, so you can really customize to your own needs.

Tip: Move a Premiere Pro Project to Another Computer (see original discussion)

Your project has assets all in one main folder, but nested inside many other sub-folders. You want the easiest way to move a large project from one computer to another, but PPro is asking you redirect the location of each individual file… which isn’t practical if you have over 1,000 of them. If all of your clips were grouped together and you just moved the folder, then Premiere should ask where the first clip is when you open the project. Point to it in the new location, and Premiere should automatically load the rest of the clips as well — but this only works if all of your footage is in the same folder. And that’s the key: when you move the clips from E:\ to C:\ for example, you have to keep the subfolders and structure the same, then PPro should find everything once you point it to the first clip. But the simplest way is to use Project Manager and choose Collect Files, and copy to the new location. Most folks use the Project Manager for archiving the finished project, but it serves this purpose very efficiently.

Keystrokes in Premiere Pro CS5 (see original discussion)

Clicking on the timeline using the Razor tool will cut linked tracks, while shift-clicking the Razor tool cuts all tracks. You can find tool tips like these at the bottom left of the screen when you select a tool. For cuts during playback, consider the shortcut keystroke Ctrl+K instead of the Razor tool. It will work on all highlighted tracks at once and is more accurate than the Razor. One caveat to using Ctrl+K is that by the time you see the point you want to cut, and you press the keys, the frame has passed. You might still have to go back and adjust the cut position. If you don’t need it to be exact, use the Razor.

To create a marker on the timeline during playback, hit the Asterisk * button anytime you want a point of cut. Then simply hit Ctrl+Left arrow (or Ctrl+Right arrow) to move along the timeline markers, and Ctrl+K to make your cuts at those markers. Another way is to edit in the playback window, setting in and out points on the fly, which you can fine-tune after you stop playback; then use the Lift Tool (equates to delete) or the Extract Tool (equates to ripple delete) to affect the edit. You can move the in and out points on the timeline by grabbing the borders in the grey area they create in the time bar at the top of the timeline — but you can only do one in-and-out at a time per clip.

You can easily stretch the clip back out to its original form after you Razor it, no problem. It’s only if you create a subclip that you can’t restore the original length. Try this: Razor a clip anywhere in the middle and delete the new second half from the timeline. Now grab the end of the first half and drag it back to its original length. Voila — like it never happened!

You can also use the Rolling Edit tool to adjust where your Razor point is. And to see all of the keystroke shortcuts and change them to suit your needs, go to Edit > Keyboard Customization.

Tip: Create New Clip From Linked Footage (see original discussion)

Q. “I have a bunch of Canon D-SLR video, and separately recorded audio. I’m bringing them in to the timeline, synching them up, discarding the on-camera audio and relinking the clip so that now I have the good video linked with the good audio. My question is, how do I now get this re-linked clip into the bin so that I can use it for editing? In other editing programs, I can just drag it to the bin… but if I do that here, I’m just getting the video with the original on-camera audio.”

A. When you place a clip into a sequence, it is an “instance” of the original clip and the sequence will always refer back to it — which is the basis of non-destructive editing. So to put your instance with the altered soundtrack into the bin, you would need to render it out and make it a seperate clip entirely. However when I have been in your situation I have made the altered clip into a seperate sequence, and then just cut-and-pasted what I need into the major sequence… although you could also nest the whole sequence if that is more appropriate. The trouble with nested sequences is that it brings the mixed stereo audio, not the raw four channels of audio that’s needed. To have a unique footage file with the desired audio track will involve rendering out a new clip.

Notes: About RAM and Operating System for CS5 (see these two original discussions)

You’re using Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium and CS5. You’ve just increased your RAM from 12GB to 24GB. Windows recognizes the 24GB, but says it can utilize only 16GB of it. Why is that, and is there anyway to utilize the full 24GB? The answer is due to the maximum amount of memory supported in Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium, which is 16GB. In order to utilize the full 24GB, you will have to upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit Professional or Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate. To recap:

  • Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium supports only up to 16GB of RAM.
  • Windows 7 64-bit Professional and Ultimate support up to 128GB of RAM.

Once the simple and quick the upgrade to Win7 64 Pro or Ultimate is done, all 24GB of RAM are available and CS5 is much snappier — in particular the Dynamic Link function between Premiere Pro and After Effects is noticeably better, definitely worth the expense of the OS upgrade.

Memory usage during export to Encore is negligible, but encoding and disk imaging are a different matter. Encoding tends to max out memory usage. CS5 seems to be set to use up to something like 75% of available memory when it needs it. This is true whether you have 6, 12 or 24GB of RAM

An absolutely major and necessary component for achieving CS5 performance “as advertised” is the huge advance in computer hardware: eight cores or more, 12GB to 16GB of fast RAM, a 64-bit operating system, and the CUDA GPU. You have to plan on having the whole package for everything to work as it should (if your hardware and OS are not up to par, you will be very disappointed in the results). Frankly, this package makes HD editing as quick, simple, and stable as DV editing was just a couple of years ago. With the advent of Premiere Pro CS5, DVi members are reporting that this is the first time since they began editing High Definition video (starting with the HDV format) that everything is truly up to the task. With this sort of hardware and software upgrade, you could probably plan on getting several years use from it.

Keep in mind that Premiere Pro CS5 is 64-bit only. It won’t install on a 32-bit operating system. It takes advantage of breaking through the 4GB memory barrier; it’s fully optimized for 64 bit operation. On top of that, it takes advantage of some of the CUDA video cards to improve the video processing. You can load hour-long AVCHD clips (1080/30p, 24Mbps max) into CS5 and they will run just fine in Premiere Pro, After Effects, Encore, Soundbooth, and Media Encoder — a sizable improvement over CS4. All this, on an i7 laptop with 6GB of memory. The performance is there for live editing of AVCHD. You don’t really need to transcode before editing anymore.

If you are going to modify AVCHD footage with color grading, contrast enhancement, compositing, FX, etc., then you’ll finish with better quality if you work in an intermediate codec designed for that purpose, such as the Cineform AVI codec. The reason to use an intermediate codec is due to the highly compressed and lossy nature of AVCHD, not CS5 performance. Basically it’s the same reason why you convert from JPG to TIFF or PSD when editing still images in PhotoShop, even if the final output is going to be JPG, so as not to loose image quality with the intermediate steps.

If all you intend on doing when editing AVCHD or other lossy codecs are simple trims and stitching, then you can get decent output from editing natively. However, if you are doing more sophisticated editing, it’s the nature of all those highly compressed, lossy codecs to be problematic. It has nothing to do with the capability of the NLE, it’s just a limitation of the codec itself. You can bring two hours of 24Mbps AVCHD into Premiere Pro CS5, add titles with fades and dissolves at the beginning and end of the video, and then use Dynamic Link to export to Encore CS5, no problems at all — no crashing, no littering of directories, no choking on file sizes. Working with one or two tracks of AVCHD under Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 is like working with DV from years before… solid and polished.

Special thanks to these DVi forum members…

…whose input on our Adobe CS5 forum led to the creation of this article: Ann Bens, Brian Brown, Kevin Currie, Adam Gold, Gregory Gesch, Peter Janka, Peter Manojlovic, Steve Oakley, Andrew Smith, Battle Vaughn, Zoran Vincic, Bruce Watson and Robert Young.

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