In this Best Practice guide, we look at some of the workflows that allow you to edit faster and more efficiently, including more insights from the editors and post-production professionals.
Editing is a creative process which means it is difficult to measure. But editors still have to deliver on schedule. The most important thing about Adobe Premiere Pro is its flexibility, allowing editors to “work the way they think.” Editors consistently tell us that this translates into speed and efficiency.
For broadcasters and post houses, Premiere Pro fits seamlessly into established workflows, and integrates with hundreds of third-party tools. Robust, broad native format support, local, network, and growing file support, and a list of integrated industry standard technologies and workflows help users deliver on time to stringent professional standards. For more information, see Best Practices: Learning from broadcast production.
New editors benefit from Workspaces for different editing tasks, including color, graphics, and audio, which guides them through the video post-production process. Experienced editors take full advantage of the rich toolset and customizability to accelerate their workflows. The results vary for different users and production pipelines, but broadcasters and editors regularly report speed gains from working with Premiere Pro.
"VICE's use of Premiere was built around speed and for us, post finishing is wildly faster inside Premiere Pro. From a busy daily news room to a long-form scripted TV show, it caters perfectly to a variey of demanding environments. If you consider a typical 30-min scripted TV episode might take 20 hours for post finishing, we can turn the same length program around in less than 3 hours."
"After editing on Premiere Pro for the last 14 years, I have a created a custom workflow that is faster and more efficient than other NLEs. This is based on editing 11 feature films on the 3 most commonly used software options. For me Premiere Pro offers the most powerful, flexible, and stable platform to tackle any project."
"Premiere Pro's customizability allows me to work up to faster. I map and save shortcuts and workspaces that work the way I think they should work, which allows me to do what I want to do -- in the way I want to do it -- so I can enact edits with the speed at which I'm thinking about them creatively, in real time."
Starting off with project templates streamlines setup and the whole editing workflow. Knowing how to work with file formats is vital for video editing to ensure fast exports. After that, it’s all about editing efficiency.
Premiere Pro Workspaces speed up navigating the user interface, opening up the most useful tools for different tasks so they are close at hand. Each panel in Premiere Pro has its own purpose, whether it’s the Source Monitor for reviewing your footage, the Timeline panel for building your sequences, or the Effect Controls panel for configuring effects. They can all be resized, grouped, stacked, or float in front of the rest of the interface.
Experienced editors use this flexibility to create custom workspaces to suit their editing style. Double-click the name of a panel, or press the ` (accent grave) key to toggle it fullscreen. This is great for focused detail work or to maximize screen real estate on a smaller display.
Editors can use the mouse, keyboard, or even a touchscreen to perform edits, and there are multiple ways to review footage before choosing the takes you want to use in your edit:
- Preview in the Source Monitor
- Preview in the Project panel by viewing moving thumbnails
- Preview and arrange clips into groups using the Freeform view the Project panel
- Add clips to string-outs on the Timeline to review as a sequence
The combination of easy-access advanced controls, and intelligent automation help editors stay creative, with fewer clicks, and more freedom to explore ideas as they refine their stories.
Experienced editors use keyboard shortcuts to accelerate their work so they can edit as fast as they think. Premiere Pro has a deep set of keyboard shortcuts, but you can customize them to fit your own needs. If you are already familiar with another NLE you can set the default keyboard shortcuts to match the ones you know, such as Avid Media Composer or Apple Final Cut Pro.
The view your keyboard layout, choose the Premiere Pro menu > Keyboard Shortcuts in macOS. On Windows systems, choose the Edit menu > Keyboard Shortcuts. This brings up an overview the keyboard layout.
From here you can remap the keyboard using existing presets, or your own custom shortcuts. You map keys to the entire application or designate specific different panels, so that the same shortcuts can work differently in different workspaces.
Here are some specific techniques that accelerate editing in Premiere Pro:
- Pancake Timelines – Premiere Pro allows you to open multiple Timelines. You can switch between them or open multiple Timelines simultaneously. This allows you to edit between Timelines, which allows you to see and access a lot of footage at once. Hollywood editor Vashi Nedomansky has a great blog post about working with pancake Timelines.
- Source Track patching – work faster with keyboard-based editing using custom keyboard shortcuts for patching allow the routing of tracks for three-point editing to have assigned keyboard presets. Scott Simmons has a great post about this.
- Build assembly edits in the Project panel - Preview, mark, arrange, and edit clips straight from the Project panel into sequences
- Grade in the application – use the advanced colorimetry of the Lumetri Color tools for color correction and creative color grading to finish your project without leaving Premiere Pro.
- Essential Sound Panel – automatically set Loudness levels and duck music under vocals. Turn long manual audio edits into a few clicks. Check out our Best Practices: Mix audio faster for more information.
- Motion Graphic Templates – Add pre-designed editable motion graphics to your project. See our Best Practices: Faster graphics workflows.
- Copy and paste between Premiere Pro and After Effects – interoperability between these two industry standard applications allows editors to drag or copy and paste clips to share creative work.
Like any craft, the key to efficient editing is practice. What’s special about Premiere Pro is that you can use it to work the way you need to so and just feels intuitive.
To conclude this article, here are the full quotes from the editors we spoke with, offering more detail and insight into how you can edit faster in Premiere Pro.
"VICE's use of Premiere was built around speed and for us, post finishing is wildly faster inside Premiere Pro. From a busy daily news room to a long-form scripted TV show, it caters perfectly to a variety of demanding environments. If you consider a typical 30-min scripted TV episode might take 20 hours for post finishing, we can turn the same length program around in less than 3 hours.
Doing color and audio mix inside the editing program makes it a lot faster than other programs by virtue of the fact that we don't have to export, transfer, and ingest the edit into other post finishing programs. That can take up to a day depending on the length of the project and complexity. It's also a huge time saver if the editor wants to make revisions. No need to roundtrip again to other programs. Finishing in Premiere also allows us the benefit of exporting final deliveries directly from our edit sequence timelines. Skipping the need for an online post process entirely.
The Essential Sound Panel and its ability to automatically level and treat audio based on the type of source is a huge time saver for roughing out edits and getting a broadcast legal mix while working on the cut.
The Motion Graphics templates workflow from After Effects to Premiere Pro has also proven to be a big timesaver. With it, we created a robust system of templates and workflows that empower teams of editors and artists to pass project files back and forth seamlessly throughout the day, while maintaining a high level of quality control as they work."
Vashi Nedomansky is a Hollywood-based filmmaker, editor, and author of “How we made 6 Below: Feature film post-production from start to finish”
"The creative and post-production world should be aware of what is possible with Premiere Pro. After editing on Premiere Pro for the last 14 years, I have a created a custom workflow that I can quantify as being faster and more efficient than other NLEs. This is based on editing 11 feature films on the 3 most commonly used software options. For me Premiere Pro offers the most powerful, flexible, and stable platform to tackle any project.
I would love an editing challenge against any combatants to test Premiere Pro against any other option in a real-world situation. If hypothetically, me and two other editors on competing systems were given five hours of dailies from one day of a feature film (average day of filming) and were asked to log, organize and cut the scenes from those five hours…I will easily beat them in organization and cut scenes."
Thomas Bergman is an editor, cinematographer, and colorist and is a co-founder of Silbersalz Film, based in Stuttgart, Germany.
"Man kann im Premiere Pro im Vergleich zum AVID sicherlich 100% schneller auf derselben Maschine sein, indem man Workflows, Premiere Features, Key Commands schlau mit seinem kreativen Prozess verbindet."
Translation: In Premiere Pro I can work at least 100% faster than Avid on the same machine because there’s so much freedom to design your own creative process with Premiere Pro workflows, tools, and custom keyboard commands.
Jonathon Corbiere, is part of Thought Café, an animation studio in Toronto, Canada, and is Director of Animation on The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks, currently in production.
"The ability to copy and paste edited animatics directly from Premiere Pro to After Effects, with media, timings, and scalings all intact, cuts our animation setup time by more than 50%."
Premiere Pro's customizability allows me to work faster. I map and save shortcuts and workspaces that work the way I think they should work, which allows me to do what I want to do -- in the way I want to do it -- so I can enact edits with the speed at which I'm thinking about them creatively, in real time. It takes time to set up, save, test, and refine these customizations, but once my keyboard, panel settings and preferences are dialed-in -- I don't have to think about what I'm doing, I just do it.
Features that help me achieve this kind of speed include:
- Saving workspaces for various workflows, such as organizing footage and making selects (starter template projects, smart bins, ingest & proxy presets, sequence presets, short cuts for making subsequences, output presets for review/uploading etc.).
- Using Freeform bins as multi-source monitors allows me to very quickly create rough cuts.
- Using "pancake" timelines when making cut-downs and when performing complicated compositing and finishing work.
- Saving single-key shortcuts for daily timeline editing and dynamic trimming operations.
- Easy access to Essential Graphics, Sound, and Lumetri Color Panels tremendously improve speed -- for every user.
- Panel access to Adobe Stock improves speed (not only for editing but for licensing too).
- Panel access to applications like Wipster improves delivery process for collaboration.
- Advanced features like quickly applying a LUT to an adjustment layer above a rough-cut sequence can make the difference between getting approval in minutes vs hours.
All of these features, not to mention Dynamic Linking to After Effects and access to Motion Graphics Templates, can result in meeting tight deadlines with great looking sequences -- instead of delivering "acceptably professional" cuts that clearly could have been much better if we had more time.
It’s in craft editing where I get the real speed advantage with Premiere Pro. That’s where I’m working through footage, logging, organizing, beginning to build cuts. Getting deep into that story building part: that’s the most important part of the process.
There are multiple ways to do many different tasks.
For example, when editing from master clips there are options depending on what you’re doing. You can use traditional subclips but I think that’s less efficient. Master clips can be viewed as large thumbnails in a bin where you can mark IN to OUT points and edit right from that bin to a timeline. If you create Selects Sequences, you can then edit from those sequences using the Pancake Timeline method. And best of all you can open those Pancake Timelines in the Source monitor and view that Source Sequence in a Timeline.
When Trimming you can use the mouse but again that’s not the most efficient way. Dynamic Trimming is possible so you can watch and “feel” your trims in the Viewer. But you can also use keyboard shortcuts to trim in the timeline in a lot of different ways.
Audio mixing has a lot of options as well. The Essential Sound panel is a fast way to get a lot of things done without having to know too much about the whole process. But I think some of the real power comes in that Premiere offers both CLIP based mixing and TRACK based mixing and Premiere is the only of the major NLEs that offer both of those options. Finally, you can send your mix over to Adobe Audition for the ultimate high-end mixing experience.
Those are three of my favorite places where you have multiple options for how you want to work in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Adobe helps you get to the finish line faster. See our Best Practice guides for video editing and production:
- Jeff Greenberg is a consultant, master trainer, and author of Adobe Premiere Pro Studio Techniques
- Maxim Jago is a Paris-based filmmaker, master trainer, and author of Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book.
- Jarle Leirpoll is a filmmaker, editor, and Master trainer based in Norway. He's also the author of The Cool Stuff in Premiere Pro.
- Alex Macleod is a production professional, broadcasting consultant, and owner of Media City Training in the UK.
- Joe Newcombe is head of sales and marketing at Support Partners, a system integrator for broadcasters and post-production facilities. He’s based in the UK.
- Ian Robinson is a broadcast motion designer, and regular Adobe MAX trainer. Ian is based in Silverthorne, Colorado