Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Finesse the edit of your demo reel

Learn how to work backwards to fill gaps in the timeline and adjust frame size, clip speed, and duration. (Watch, 10 min)

FromRod Harlan

After you’ve created a rough cut of your demo reel, the next step is to refine it by adding clips, filling in gaps, adjusting frame sizes, and changing the speed and duration of your clips.

Watch this third lesson to see how I go about this work, and then read the rest of this article to learn more details.

Watch how I work backwards to fill gaps in the timeline and adjust frame size, clip speed, and duration.

Overview of the steps

As you add clips to fill out your timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, keep in mind that sometimes it is easier to work backwards in time.

  1. Use the Source window to set In and Out points and then use the Insert Edit or Overwrite Edit button, as shown, to place your clips. An insert edit will separate the audio when it is applied; an overwrite edit will not.
Source window options
  1. Fill the gaps in your timeline with clips that are edited to the music. Place the clips on an upper track — for example, the third video (V3) layer — to use it as a workbench, as shown. This gives you more room to work on the clips so you can decide how best to place them on your main timeline.
Timeline clips
  1. If the gap in your timeline is too small to fit a specific clip that you want to use, consider speeding up the clip to match the length of the gap. Right-click the clip and choose Speed/Duration. Specify a percentage for the speed that suits the situation.

  2. Caution: If you speed up a clip that shows people or objects moving in it, it will look cartoonish and not achieve the effect you want — unless laughter is the effect you want. I’d say that 125% is a good threshold for sped-up clips. For clips with slow camera pans, 200% works well, as shown.

Clip speed and duration options
  1. If you need to adjust the frame size for a clip because it has a smaller resolution, right-click and select Scale to Frame Size, as shown.

  2. Tip: You can also select Set to Frame Size (available in the 2014 release of Premiere Pro CC) to scale an image to the sequence frame size without rasterizing the image. This command preserves the native pixel resolution so you see the sharpest resolution when zooming in on an image. However, in my experience with this project, I saw no difference using either command on my particular (high-resolution) footage. Both looked equally great.

Clip Frame options

What to do next

Now that your demo reel clips and audio are in good shape, you are ready to add titles — which you’ll do in the next tutorial in this series.

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Rod Harlan

Rod is an industry veteran with 25 years’ experience as an author, educator, trainer, videographer, animator, multimedia artist, and Adobe software addict. He speaks at industry conferences and trains for such organizations as Adobe, NAB, Future Media Concepts, Wedding and Events Videographers Association, and NAPP, among others. See more of his work at and follow him @RodHarlan.