Expert view timeline overview

The Expert view timeline graphically represents your movie project as video and audio clips arranged in vertically stacked tracks. When you capture video from a digital video device, the clips appear sequentially as they occur.

The Expert view timeline uses a time ruler to display the components of your movie and their relation with each other over time. You can trim and add scenes, indicate important frames with markers, add transitions, and control how clips are blended or superimposed.

The zoom controls on the Expert view timeline let you zoom out to see your entire video, or zoom in to see clips in more detail. You can also change how the clips appear in the tracks, and resize the tracks and the header area.

Expert view timeline

A. Current-time indicator B. Time ruler C. Zoom control D. Video track E. Audio track 

Tracks in the Expert view timeline

Tracks let you layer video or audio and add compositing effects, picture-in-picture effects, overlay titles, soundtracks, and more. With multiple audio tracks, you can add a narration to one track and background music to another track. The final movie combines all the video and audio tracks.

By default, the Expert view timeline contains three tracks for video (or images) and audio, a narration track, and a sound track. You can drag linked clips (clips that include both audio and video) to a track.

For linked clips, the video and audio components appear together (video directly above audio) in their respective tracks (such as Video1 and Audio1). To see all of the tracks, you may have to scroll up or down the Expert view timeline.

A new track is inserted if you drag and release a clip above the topmost video track. There is no limit to the number of tracks a project can contain. You can add or delete tracks at any time, even before adding clips.

A movie must contain at least one of each type of track (the track can be empty). The video track order is important because any clip located in Video 2 also overlays the Video 1 track. Audio tracks are combined in playback so the track order is not relevant.

Tip: You can specify the default number and type of tracks in new movies.

Default tracks

A. Video 2 track B. Audio 2 track C. Video1 track D. Audio 1 track E. Narration track F. Soundtrack 

Expert view timeline tools

Use the tools at the top of the Expert view timeline to play a clip, stop playback, or change playback speed. Use the panels in the Action bar to add titles, transitions, special effects, and music. You can also add markers, detect musical beats, open the Audio Mixer, or add narration.

Move through the Expert view timeline

When placing and arranging clips in the Expert view timeline, move the current-time indicator to the appropriate location. In the time ruler, the current‑time indicator corresponds to the frame displayed in the Monitor panel.

A vertical line extends from this current‑time indicator through all the tracks. Zooming in and out of the Expert view timeline can help you identify the exact location for placing a clip or performing an edit.

  • In the Expert view timeline, do any of the following:
    • Drag the current‑time indicator.

    • Click the time ruler where you want to position the current‑time indicator.

    • Press Shift while dragging the current‑time indicator to snap it to the edge of the closest clip or marker.

    • Drag the time display (below the Monitor panel) to the desired time value.

    • Click the time display (at the bottom of the Monitor panel), type a valid time, and then press Enter. (You need not type leading zeros, colons, or semicolons. However, Adobe Premiere Elements interprets numbers under 100 as frames.)

    Note:

    You can use the Home or End keys on the keyboard to skip between the beginning and end of the movie. The Page Up and Page Down keys move the current-time indicator to the previous and next clips respectively. The Right or Left Arrow keys move the current‑time indicator forward or back by a frame. Pressing Shift+Right Arrow or Shift+Left Arrow moves the current‑time indicator forward or back by five frames each time.

Add clips to the Expert view timeline

When you insert a clip into the Expert view timeline, adjacent clips on all tracks shift to accommodate the new clip. By shifting all clips together, the audio and video of the existing clips remain in sync.

Sometimes, you don’t want all clips to shift with each insertion. For example, when you add background music that superimposes the entire movie, you don’t want clips to shift.

To shift specific clips togather, press the Alt key as you insert. At a time, you can shift specific clips simultaneously on a maximum of two tracks. These include the track receiving the insertion and the track containing the linked audio or video (if any). The affected tracks shift together, remaining aligned. The clips on other tracks are unaffected.

Insert a clip, shift clips in the Expert view timeline

  • Do one of the following:
    • Drag the clip from the Project Assets panel to the desired location in the Expert view timeline. When the pointer changes to the Insert icon, release the mouse.

    • Move the current‑time indicator to the desired location in the Expert view timeline. Then select the clip in the Project Assets panel and choose Clip > Insert.

Insert a clip, shift clips on only the target and linked tracks

  • Alt‑drag the clip from the Project Assets panel to the desired location in the Expert view timeline. When the pointer changes to the Insert icon, release the mouse.

    If you drag a clip into the blank space above the topmost video track (for video) or below the lowest audio track (for audio), Adobe Premiere Elements creates a new track for the clip. If the clip contains both audio and video, it creates both a new video and new audio track.

Overlay a clip in the Expert view timeline

The easiest way to replace a portion of a video is to overlay it with other footage. When you overlay a clip, the clip you add replaces any existing frames starting at the location you designate.

If the new clip is 40 frames long, it overlays 40 frames of the existing clip. The frames following the overlay, if any, remain at the same location in the track. Overlays do not change the length of the movie unless the overlay extends beyond the end of the movie.

  • Do one of the following:
    • Ctrl‑drag/Cmd-drag the clip from the Project Assets panel to the first frame you want to overlay. When the pointer changes to the Overlay icon, release the mouse.

    • Move the current‑time indicator to the first frame you want to overlay, select the clip in the Project Assets panel, and then choose Clip > Overlay.

Place one clip above another in the Expert view timeline

You can place one clip above another without replacing a section of the lower clip as is done with an overlay. You can use clips stacked in this way, for example, with various keying effects.

  1. In the Expert view timeline, drag the current-time indicator to a location above a video clip where you want to overlay another clip.
  2. Shift-drag a clip from the Project Assets panel, and drop it on to the Monitor panel.
  3. Choose Place On Top.

Adobe Premiere Elements drops the second clip into the first available video track at the location of the current-time indicator.

Replace a clip in the Expert View timeline

To replace a clip in the middle of the Expert view timeline, without altering the length or changing the effects or overlays, use the Replace Clip command. This option is useful when editing expanded instant movies.

  1. From the Project Assets panel, select the clip you want to use.
  2. In the Expert view timeline, right-click/ctrl-click the clip you want to replace and choose Replace Clip From Project Assets.

    If the incoming clip is longer in duration, it is trimmed from the end to match the existing duration of the outgoing clip.

    If the incoming clip is shorter in duration, a warning message appears giving you the choice to cancel the replace action or use black frames to fill the excess duration.

Select, move, align, and delete clips in the Expert view timeline

After you’ve added a clip to your movie, you may need to rearrange clips, copy and paste scenes, and delete other clips. Several techniques let you select individual clips, a range of clips, or only the audio or video portion of a linked clip.

Select clips in the Expert view timeline

  • Using the mouse cursor, do any of the following:
    • To select a single clip, click the clip in the Expert view timeline. If the clip is linked or grouped, clicking one clip selects the other linked or grouped clips.

    • To select only the audio or video portion of linked clips, Alt‑click the desired clip.

    • To select a single clip within a group, Alt‑click the desired clip.

    • To select multiple clips, Shift-click each clip you want to select. (Shift-click a selected clip to deselect it.)

    • To select sequential clips, drag a rectangle (marquee selection) that includes the clips you want to select.

    • To add a range of clips to the current selection, Shift‑drag a marquee around the clips.

    Selecting a range of clips by dragging a marquee

Move a clip in the Expert view timeline

You can easily rearrange clips in the Expert view timeline by dragging. By using the same techniques you use to add a clip, you can choose to insert or overlay clips when you move them.

  • To move a clip and insert it so all tracks shift after insertion, drag the clip to the desired location. When the pointer changes to the Insert icon, release the mouse button.
  • To move a clip and overlay another clip in the movie, drag the clip to the first frame you want to overlay, and then press Ctrl/Cmd. When the pointer changes to the Overlay icon, release the mouse button.
  • To move only one clip of a linked pair, Alt‑select the clip you want to move. Drag it to the desired location. If you want to shift clips only on the target tracks, release the mouse button when the pointer changes to the Insert icon. If you want to overlay another clip, press the Ctrl key, and when the pointer changes to the Overlay icon, release the mouse.

Align clips by using the Snap option

The Snap option, which is enabled by default, makes it easier to align clips with each other or with particular points in time. You can move a clip with the Snap option selected. The clip automatically aligns with the edge of another clip, a marker, the start and end of the time ruler, or the current‑time indicator.

Snapping also helps ensure that you don’t inadvertently perform an insert or overlay edit when dragging. As you drag clips, a pop‑up window displays the distance, in frames, that you have moved them. A negative number indicates you’ve moved them toward the beginning of the movie.

  • Choose Timeline > Snap. A check mark indicates that the option is enabled.

Delete a clip in the Quick view timeline or Expert view timeline

Deleting a clip from a movie doesn’t delete it from the project. The clip is still available in the Project Assets panel.

  1. In the Quick view timeline or Expert view timeline, select one or more clips. (Alt-click to select only the audio or video portion of a clip.)
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To delete clips and leave a gap of the same duration, called clearing, choose Edit > Delete.

    • To delete a clip and close the resulting gap, called a ripple deletion, choose Edit > Delete And Close Gap, or press the Delete or Backspace key.

    Note:

    When a clip is deleted from the Quick view timeline, a transition that follows the clip is also deleted. When a clip is deleted from the Expert view timeline, the preceding and following transitions are deleted.

Delete empty space between clips in the Expert view timeline

You can quickly delete empty space between clips in the Expert view timeline by using the Delete And Close Gap command. Alternatively, press the Delete or Backspace key. Both techniques shift adjacent clips over to fill the gap.

  • In the Expert view timeline, do one of the following:
    • Right‑click the empty space, and choose Delete And Close Gap.

    • Select the space you want to delete, and press the Delete or Backspace key.

      note: If the gap is small and difficult to select, move the current‑time indicator to the gap and click the Zoom In button.

Create a duplicate clip in the Expert view timeline

Each time you drag a source clip from the Project Assets panel to the Expert view timeline, you create a clip instance. This instance shares the source clip’s default In and Out points. If you delete the source clip in the Project Assets panel, all instances of the clip in the Expert view timeline are deleted.

To create clip instances with different default In and Out points, duplicate the source clip in the Project Assets panel. If you delete a duplicate clip in the Project Assets panel, all instances of it in the Expert view timeline are deleted.

  1. In the Project Assets panel, select a clip and choose Edit > Duplicate.
  2. To rename the duplicate clip, select it in the Project Assets panel, and do one of the following:
    • Choose Clip > Rename and type a new name.

    • Click the text and type a new name.

    Note:

    You can also create a duplicate clip by copying and pasting, or Ctrl‑dragging a clip in the Project Assets panel.

View the duration of selected clips in the Expert view timeline

The Info panel shows you the total duration of multiple clips selected in either the Quick view timeline or the Expert view timeline. This information is often useful when editing a movie. For example, you may want to find music to fit a scene or replace a few clips with different footage.

If you select clips in the Project Assets panel, the Information panel displays the total duration of all the clips you select. If you select clips in the Quick view timeline or the Expert view timeline, the Information panel displays the total duration of the selected clips.

The duration is calculated from the In point of the first selected clip to the Out point of the last selected clip. If the clips are not contiguous in the tracks, the duration may be longer than the total duration of the clips.

  1. Make sure that the Info panel is visible. If not visible, choose Window > Info.
  2. In the Project Assets panel, Quick view timeline, or the Expert view timeline, select the desired clips. The Info panel displays the number of items selected and the total duration of those items.

    Note:

    You can view the duration of a single clip in a tool tip by positioning the cursor over a clip in the Quick view timeline or the Expert view timeline.

Customize Expert view timeline tracks

You can customize Expert view timeline tracks to suit the needs of your project.

Add a track to the Expert view timeline

  1. Choose Timeline > Add Tracks.
  2. In the Add Tracks dialog box, type the number of tracks you want to add in the Add field for video or audio tracks.
  3. To specify the placement of added tracks, choose an option from the Placement pop‑up menu for each type of track added, and click OK.

Resize tracks

Tracks have three preset sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. The Large view is helpful for viewing the clip thumbnails and adjusting effects, such as the opacity or volume of a clip. You can also resize tracks manually and resize the width of the track header area to accommodate long track names. If your movie contains several tracks, you can adjust the relative proportion the tracks to favor the tracks you need to see.

By default, track names are hidden. To view track names, resize the track header section.

Resize the height of a track

  • In the Expert view timeline, do one of the following:

    • Right-click/ctrl-click an empty track of the Expert view timeline, and choose Track Size. Then choose Small, Medium, or Large.

    • In the track header area of the Expert view timeline, position the pointer between two tracks so that the Height Adjustment icon appears. Then, drag up or down to resize the track below (for video) or the track above (for audio).

    Changing track height in the Expert view timeline

Resize the track header section of the Expert view timeline

  • In the Expert view timeline, position the pointer over the right edge of the track header (where track icons are listed) so that the Resize icon appears. Then, drag the right edge. (The icons at the top of the track header limit its minimum width. The maximum width is about double the minimum width.)

Rename a track

  1. In the Expert view timeline, right-click/ctrl-click the track’s name (for example, Video 1) and choose Rename.
  2. Type a new name for the track and press Enter, or click outside the box.

Delete empty tracks from the Expert view timeline

  • Do one of the following:
    • Choose Timeline > Delete Empty Tracks.

    • Right-click/ctrl-click in an empty track in the Expert view timeline and choose Delete Empty Tracks.

Customize how clips display in the Expert view timeline

You can display clips in the Expert view timeline in different ways, depending on your preference or the task at hand. You can choose to display a thumbnail image at the beginning of the clip. Alternatively, you can display a thumbnail image at the head and tail or along the entire duration of the clip (default view). For an audio track, you can choose to display or hide the audio waveform of the audio contents.

Set Display Style buttons let you set how tracks are displayed in the Expert view timeline.

Displaying thumbnail images across the duration of the clip gives you a sense of the progression of the clip. However, do not confuse the boundary between thumbnails as the actual boundary between frames. Think of the thumbnails as a storyboard or sketch of the clip’s content.

  • Click the Set Video Track Display Style button or the Set Audio Track Display Style button at the left corner of the track. Each time you click, the track’s display style toggles to a different view.

    Note:

    To see more volume detail when viewing an audio waveform in the Expert view timeline, increase the track height.

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