Project templates can speed up creating a Premiere Pro project by 10-15 minutes. That is a savings of perhaps 3% of one workday, but it is the best 3% you ever saved! Project templates pay dividends again and again, saving you time and effort down the road.

IBC2019_BestPractices_ProjectTemplates

Video production can be complex. The way to manage that – and scale your projects – is to set up your workflow before you begin. Using Premiere Pro projects as templates allows you to do that. It saves you a little time when you start your project, but it saves you a lot of time as you work on it, by standardizing your production pipeline and helping you to avoid errors.

Project templates include traditional bins for organizing media, which are common to any project, and much more. A Premiere Pro Project includes Timeline layouts, track names, colored labels, Effects, bins (media folders), Search Bins, and more. All of these can be saved, adapted as needed, and reused for new projects.

How do project templates help you create faster?

For new users, project templates offer insights into Premiere Pro and help guide the editing workflow. For expert editors provide a flexible tool for planning projects and completing work more efficiently. For editorial teams, project templates standardize media and Timeline organization, simplifying collaboration.

This Best Practice guide walks you through creating a Premiere Pro project template. You can download the sample template project and adapt it as needed for your own workflow.

Organize your project before you start

Projects often grow and evolve after you start editing. Project templates should allow for that. A common set of standardized bins helps you stay organized in the project.

Project templates can include Search bins which automatically display media that meet the criteria you set. For example, a search bin configured to display all music clips in the project saves you searching through other bins to locate your music.

Anything that can be included in a Premiere Pro project can be part of your template:

  • Pre-built sequences - with pre-named tracks, editable titles and motion graphics, music, and adjustment layers.
  • Raw Video Footage – this might include animation files, and can have pre-applied master clip effects.
  • Graphics – this might include common logos, backplates, visuals associated with all projects, or even a wide selection of graphics that have been cleared for use.
  • Music and SFX – this might be an organized audio library, including multiple clips that you can choose between.
  • After Effects Compositions – if After Effects is installed on the same system, these are editable, with changes appearing in Premiere Pro automatically. After Effects does not need to be installed for compositions to be included in a project.
  • Titles – these might include the names of members of subjects that appear regularly or be used as a template with the correct font and in-house colors for your organization.
  • Stock elements – incorporate Adobe stock video and photos that have been licensed by your organization.
  • Exports bin – place sequences in this bin before exporting to track versions for exported media files.
  • Notes - text files can be imported into Premiere Pro projects, just like media files. 

Practice: Sample project template

All of these elements are built in to the sample template we created for this Best Practices guide. You can download the template here.

Download

How to work with this sample project template?

Download the Template project zip file, and place it somewhere on your system for storing. Make a copy with a new name and put that on your media drive (the storage location you use for your media when you are editing).

Downloading the project template zip file
Downloading the project template zip file

The main folder contains a Premiere Pro Project and a set of folders - the bins in your Premiere Pro project. Each folder is empty except for a text file with a note about how to use it.

Set of folders in the zip file
Set of folders in the zip file

Note:

The folders are numbered to ensure that they appear in the same order, but there is plenty of space to insert other folders where needed.

Any content that you re-use, you can add into these folders. If you have different types of projects, you could create templates for each of them, and populate those folders with recurring content, such as intros, audio, graphics, and so on.

When you open the Project in Premiere Pro, you find the bins organized in the Project panel.

Project template files in the Project panel
Project template files in the Project panel

You can choose to use this template as is. In Windows or macOS, copy your source media to the 10 Raw footage folder. In Premiere Pro, open that bin and import your footage. This gives a running start with your timeline with an audio setup and bins for media.

The following sections discuss how to work with different elements in your project template.

Find media faster with Search bins

Search bins combine the functionality of a regular search with a dynamic, constantly updating search. These are a great way to automatically collate certain types of media, or clips with specific kind of metadata. For example, you can have a search bin configured to display any clips with “BTS” in the name, making it easy to locate behind-the-scenes content.

Some example search bins are included in the sample project.

How to build a search bin

  1. Go to File > New > Search bin.

    Accessing the Search bin dialog box
    Accessing the Search bin dialog box
  2. Fill out the search criteria in the Create Search Bin dialog box. You can include two criteria, based on specific types of metadata.

    Creating a search bin
    Creating a search bin
  3. Click OK.

    The new search bin appears in the Project panel.

    (Optional) To edit the settings, right-click on a search bin and choose Edit Search Bin.

Search bins in the Sample project template

The sample project has various useful search bins already in the Template project. Here is a list of search criteria to create or customize search bins.

  • All Sequences: Media Type set to search for Sequence.
  • Favorites: Favorite set to True (it’s a Boolean).
  • Hidden: Hidden set to True. It’s possible to hide elements in the project and this reveals them. Example might be raw audio after it’s been sync’d to video or older versions of a sequence.
  • Exported Sequences: A great practice is to duplicate a sequence when exporting and add the word Export to one copy. This search bin looks for any sequences that have the name Export.

Search bins that help you find footage.

  • Documentary style: Interview is in the Name field or Description.
  • Documentary style: B-roll – Any information has b-roll or broll (in case someone adds or forgets the dash).
  • Narration: Any information that has the word Narration.
  • Voice Overs (VO): Any information has the word VO.
  • Shot motion: The Name or Description has (individually) the words Pan, tilt or Zoom.
  • Shot type: The Name or Description has (individually) the words CU, MS, or WS.

Search bins that help analyze your media

  • Offline: Status is set to Offline.
  • In the User Directory: Find all files that are in the user’s Home directory. On both macOS and Windows, any file that’s on the desktop, download, or other user-specific folders is likely in the wrong place. This search bin gives quick access to this media, making it easy to find it and move it.
  • Adobe After Effects projects: Find all imported media with the .aep After Effects project extension.
  • Find Render and Replace media: Replace and render is a great method of improving performance, especially from Adobe After Effects compositions in Premiere. Locate all media that has “_Render” in the filename.
  • All the Stills: Find any media type set to Image.
  • File Type: Find every instance of 12 different common file types. 

Organize timelines

Starting with a sequence that has pre-named tracks helps keep editorial organized and logical. It makes it easier to work with audio and to navigate the contents of the sequence.

If multiple editors contribute to a project, it’s much easier to share the work when tracks are standardized and organized.

  • Video track names: Main, B-Roll, Graphics, VFX, Alternate versions.
  • Audio track names: Dialog, VO, SFX, Ambience, Music.
  • Audio submixes: Submixes tracks that don’t contain clips. Instead, the audio output from other tracks can be directed to a submix, where effects are applied. This allows you to apply audio effects to a group of tracks using one set of effect controls.
  • Adjustment layers: Having a pre-established “Look” on an adjustment layer, permits seeing footage with a color treatment during the editorial process (and can be easily toggled off and on).

Timelines in the example template

All the sequences in the example project template already have their preview file format changed to match the sequence size, set to ProRes422. This codec supports fast rendering for export, as detailed in the Best Practices: Export faster guide.

The example template has the following five timelines:

  1. A 1080p 23.976-fps timeline, with named tracks and a track with an adjustment layer that has a LUT applied.
  2. A timeline has been prepared for social media with Square Resolution (1080x1080).
  3. A timeline has been prepared for social media with vertical orientation (1080x1920).
  4. A timeline with a Hard Limiter effect and the Loudness Radar effect applied to the master track.
  5. A timeline with four submixes (Dialog, SFX, Ambience, and Music).

Here is a screenshot of the track names; these can be customized as needed.

Timelines in the template
Timelines in the template

Track-Based audio effects

Track-based audio effects allow you to perform advanced audio mixing, right in your project in Premiere Pro.

In the example project template, two effects have been applied to the Master track - a Hard Limiter and a Loudness Radar.

The Hard Limiter is a compressor that prevents audio from being louder than its set level of -1.db.

The Loudness meter shows the levels as per the CALM act (US) and the EBU R128 recommendations to monitor Loudness. This is critical for broadcast audio monitoring.

Audio Mixer with Master having Hard Limiter and Loudness Radar
Audio Mixer with Master having Hard Limiter and Loudness Radar

Multichannel output sequences

It can be useful to create an additional type of audio mix called an M&E – Music and Effects only, with no dialogue. This makes it easier to re-use content for multilingual delivery.

If you intend to create an M&E mix, organize dialog tracks separately to make it easier to selectively mute them.

This sample timeline has been configured for multichannel output. Each track type (Dialog, SFX, and so on) has been routed to an appropriate submix, as seen in the Audio Track Mixer below.

Multichannel Master with submixes
Multichannel Master with submixes

The final output will have five stereo tracks (10 channels.)

The full mix is on the first stereo track. Each subsequent pair of tracks is just the specific submix output on its own pair of channels.

When exporting, output must be configured to 10 channels, as follows:

  1. Create a new sequence with multichannel output.

    Creating a multichannel sequence
    Creating a multichannel sequence
  2. Create submixes and route tracks to each of the appropriate submixes. 

    Note:

    It’s a major advantage to have named your tracks.

    Multichannel Master with submixes
    Multichannel Master with submixes
  3. When it is time to export, go to the Audio tab and create a 10-channel output.

    Multichannel output
    Multichannel output

The final master has:

  • Tracks 1 and 2 – Full Stereo mix
  • Tracks 3 and 4 – Only the dialog mix
  • Tracks 5 and 6 – Only the SFX mix
  • Tracks 7 and 8 – Only the ambience mix
  • Tracks 9 and 10 – Only the music mix

Keep your files organized outside Premiere Pro

The key to easy Project Management, is to start organized and stay organized. By placing all of your assets and production paperwork for a particular project in a single folder, it’s easy to back up and restore projects in the future.

As with our sample project template, folders can be part of your own project templates.

Some folders can be empty but clearly named to guide use. Others can contain media already incorporated into the template project and part of a pre-built sequence, such as any content you re-use for that type of project.

There are numbers at the start of each folder name. This allows you to sort the folders by name while maintaining a particular order, and insert new folders using new numbers as required.

Copy media to the project folder prior to importing into a Premiere Pro project, or other Creative Cloud tools, to ensure you have everything in one place.

One of the metadata headings available in Premiere Pro is File Path. With this heading displayed, it’s easy to check all media files are stored in the correct location.

Third-party template tools

There are a number of tools that add automation to the process of setting up project templates. Industrial-strength systems like Automate IT and Helmut FX by MoovIT are used in enterprise settings. Individuals and smaller teams have options as well.

AEScripts/Justin Taylors’ Pro I/O – Provides Watch folders that automatically import new footage and help to automate exports - https://aescripts.com/pro-io/.

Post Haste by Digital Rebellion is a free utility that allows the easy creation/duplication/serialization of templates/project folders - https://www.digitalrebellion.com/posthaste/.

About these Best Practice guides

Adobe helps you get to the finish line faster. See our Best Practice guides for video editing and production.

Contributors

  • 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.