Creating clips for offline editing

Learn how to create low-resolution clips for offline editing, which you can replace with high-resolution clips for online editing.

For online editing, you edit clips at the level of quality required for the final version of the video program. This is the default method of working in Premiere Pro. Online editing works well when the speed and storage capacity of the host computer are adequate to the demands of the video formats used. For example, most modern computers can handle the data rate of DV in full resolution. They may be challenged, however, by the greater demands of, for example, HDV or HD footage. For many videographers, that’s where offline editing comes in.

In offline editing, after capturing high-resolution clips, you make low-resolution copies of them for editing purposes. After editing, you replace the low-resolution footage associated with the clips with the high-quality original footage. You can finish, render, and export your final product in high-resolution. Editing the low-resolution clips allows standard computers to edit excessively large assets, such as HDV or HD footage, without losing performance speed. It also lets editors use laptop computers to edit—for example, while on location.

You may edit a project with the high-resolution footage remaining online throughout the project. On the other hand, you may edit in a two-phase workflow. You make your initial creative decisions with the high-resolution footage offline. Then you bring the high-resolution footage back online for fine-tuning, grading, and color correction.

You can complete an offline edit of, for example, an HD project with Premiere Pro, and then export your project to EDL for transfer to an editing system with more powerful hardware. You can then perform the final online edit and rendering, at full resolution, on the more powerful hardware.

Create low-resolution clips for offline editing

  1. Capture or import assets into the Project panel at full resolution.
  2. In the Project panel, click the New Bin button, and name a bin for your low-resolution clips.
  3. Launch Adobe Media Encoder, and add all the clips for your project to the Adobe Media Encoder Queue.
  4. In Adobe Media Encoder, click Settings.
  5. Change the format and other settings to the format and settings for a lower-resolution format.
  6. Click the filename in the Output Name field, and browse to the folder you created for your low-resolution clips.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click Start Queue.

    Adobe Media Encoder encodes clips in the low-resolution format, and, by default, retains the filename of the original clips in the filenames of the encoded clips.


    When creating low-resolution clips for offline editing with Adobe Media Encoder, clips with two audio channels are created even if you have four or more audio channels on your footage. This problem is a limitation of Adobe Media Encoder, so use an alternate tool if the other audio channels are to be preserved.

  9. In the Premiere Pro Project panel, open the bin you created for low-resolution clips. Import the low-resolution clips into this bin.
  10. Edit the project using the low-resolution clips.

Replace low-resolution clips with high-resolution clips for online editing

You can replace low-resolution copies of assets with the original high-resolution so that you can render a project at full resolution.

  1. Select Clip > Replace Footage. Browse to the original high-resolution clip that has the same filename as the low-resolution clip you selected, and select it. Click Select.
  2. Repeat the previous two steps for each low-resolution clip used in the project.
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