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Rough cuts


Due to changing needs of video professionals and content creators, we are discontinuing Adobe Prelude. Effective September 8, 2021, Prelude will no longer be available on For more information, and instructions for downloading Prelude during the support period, please see our FAQ.

One-minute overview: Assemble a Rough Cut

Maxim Jago

A rough cut is a timeline-based sequence of video and audio clips that is used as a basic editing process of the various clips before the final sequence is completed. Editing processes include trimming, clips selection, and sorting and ordering the clips.

Create a rough cut

  1. Select File > Create Rough Cut.
  2. Enter a name for the rough cut (.arcutx) file, and click Save.
  3. Double-click the rough cut in the Project panel to open it in the Timeline and Monitor panels.
  4. Select the movie clips or subclips to add to the rough cut.
  5. Select File > Append To Rough Cut. The movie clips are added to the Timeline in the order in of their selection. Alternatively, drag the movie clips to the Timeline.
  6. Use the options in the Rough Cut menu to select or reorder movie clips in the rough cut.
  7. Save the project to save changes to the rough cut file.

To create a copy of your rough cut, select File > Save Rough Cut As, and save the rough cut file using  a different name.


Prelude CC October 2014.1 and later versions save rough cut files with .arcutx extension. Previous versions of Prelude saved rough cut files with .arcut extension.

Add markers to a rough cut

  1. Open a clip containing markers in the timeline. Open the rough cut in the background.

  2. Select the markers that you want to add to the rough cut.

  3. Select Rough Cut > Add Selected Markers.

    The markers are added to the rough cut currently open in the timeline. The clip from which user is adding the marker is also added to Rough Cut. 


    When a rough cut, and a clip containing subclip markers are open in the Timeline panel, you can select subclip markers in the clip and add them to the rough cut.

Add Voice-over to Rough Cuts

You can record and add voice-overs to Rough Cuts. Although Prelude lets you add Audio clips separately, you can use the voice-over feature to record audio clips on the fly.

You can record and overlay voice-overs over video footages during the basic editing process, before the final sequence is complete. Adobe Prelude lets you add multiple voice-overs to a rough cut, as well.

To record voice-overs for a rough cut, do the following steps:

Add an audio track

  1. Select Roughcut > Create A Roughcut to create a roughcut, and open it on timeline.

  2. In the Timeline, right-click > select Add Audio Track from the context menu.

  3. You can choose to add a Mono, Stereo, or 5.1 track.

Specify Voice-over Record Settings

  1. Right-click on an Audio Track, and select Voice-over Record Settings from the context menu.

  2. Enter or modify the following settings:


    Name of the Audio Track.


    Choose the right audio hardware for the voice-over. Choose the right audio hardware for the voice-over. Source Option automatically detects all audio hardware connected to the system.

    Countdown Sound Cues

    Allow Prelude to provide sound cues before recording the voice over audio track.


    Audio channels available for the audio hardware selected in the Source option. 


    Enable and specify preroll for the voice over. The pre-roll countdown is a visual cue to give you time to prepare and begin the recording. Recording begins after the countdown reaches zero.


    Enable and specify postroll for the voice over. The post-roll countdown is a visual cue indicating the end of recording.

    Captured Audio

    Specify or browse to a location where you want to save recorded audio files.


    Use the Audiometer to test the microphone and other audio devices connected to the computer. Fluctuations in the Audiometer confirm that the audio device is functioning correctly.

  3. Click Close to exit Voice-Over Record Settings dialog.

Set the location for captured audio

  1. Right-click on the audio track, and select Voice-Over Record Settings.

  2. Use the Captured Audio field to either specify or browse-to a location on your computer, where you want to save recorded audio files.

  3. Click Close.

Record a Voice-over

You can record a voice-over on an audio track directly in the Timeline by following these steps:

  1. Add an audio track (see Add Audio Track) or select an existing one on to which you want to record the voice-over.

  2. Start a voice-over recording workflow by positioning the playhead at a point where you want to insert the voice-over.

  3. Enable pre-roll countdown. When you position the playhead, the voice-over recording workflow starts. A pre-roll countdown appears as an overlay on the Monitor. You can specify pre-roll and post-roll countdowns in the Voice-over Record Settings dialog.

    Access Voice-Over settings from Timeline

  4. Click the  button in the audio track's header to begin recording. Use the play-back controls on the monitor to pause/continue the recording.


    When using a predefined In/Out range, you don't have to click the Voice-over Record button. Recording automatically starts when the playhead reaches the In point in the Timeline.

  5. Click the button to end recording.

    Once recording is complete, an audio file of the recording is created. The audio file is imported as a new project item into the Project panel.

Open rough cut in other applications

If you have Adobe Premiere Pro installed on the same computer as Prelude, you can send the rough cut directly to Premiere Pro.

To create a file for use in applications such as Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro running on a different computer, use the Export option.

  1. In the Project panel, select the rough cut and other clips or bins you want to send to Adobe Premiere Pro.

  2. Select File > Send To Premiere Pro.

    Adobe Premiere Pro launches and prompts you to save the new project. If Adobe Premiere Pro is already open on your computer, the items from Prelude appear in the open project.

  3. The rough cut is displayed in the Project panel. Double-click the rough cut in the Project panel.

    All the markers added in Prelude are available in Premiere Pro. You can edit markers added in Prelude in Premiere Pro.

Export to other applications

  1. In the Project panel, select the rough cut and other clips or bins you want to export.

  2. Select File > Export > Project.

  3. In the Destination menu, do one of the following:

    • Select Local Disk to save the exported project on your computer.
    • Select FTP Server to upload the exported files to an FTP server.
  4. Enter a name for the exported project.

  5. From the Type menu, select either Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro XML for final editing.

  6. Select Media to export the project file along with its associated media. Prelude will copy the associated media to a subfolder at the specified location. You can edit the default name Prelude assigns to the subfolder.

  7. Click OK. Do one of the following based on whether you previously chose to save to a local disk or to the FTP server.

    • Select a location on your computer to save the exported file.
    • Enter details for the FTP server for hosting the exported file.

    Navigate to the folder or directory to which you exported the project. Open the Adobe Premiere Pro project or the Final Cut Pro XML file.

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