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Working with timecode

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Timecode is a system for labelling and tracking individual frames or moments in a video sequence.

Timecode is expressed in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames and is used to precisely locate and synchronize different elements within a video project.

Importance of timecode


Timecode is essential for multiple reasons:

  • It helps you to log and track specific moments in media content, making it easier to search, catalog, and retrieve specific scenes or clips for future reference.
  • Manage multiple video and audio tracks, making it possible to align/synchronize them and edit them precisely. 
  • Timecode is critical when multiple teams or individuals work on the same project. It provides a common reference point for everyone involved, ensuring they work with the same timebase.

For best results, timecode should run continuously from the beginning to the end of the recording — it shouldn’t restart from zero anywhere in the middle.

Tips to shoot with unbroken timecode

To ensure unbroken timecode:

  • Use professional cameras and audio recorders that have built-in timecode generators.
  • Monitor the timecode on your cameras and audio recorders. Check that it’s running continuously without any timecode breaks.
  • Record at least five seconds of extra video past the end of the action in any shot.

Choose timecode display format

By default, Premiere Pro displays the timecode for any clip originally written to the source medium. 

Source timecode is shown for a clip regardless of the timebase of the sequences in which it's used. When the clip's timebase differs from the sequence's timebase, source timecode can make logging footage easier. For example, a clip shot in 24p has a timebase of 30 fps and 30 fps timecode. Premiere Pro shows that clip's original 30 fps timecode, even though it's used in a sequence with a timebase of 23.976. However, you can change this default to show the timecode for every clip starting at 00:00:00:00 instead.

Also, you can determine how Premiere Pro displays the frame count when a Frames or Feet and Frames display is chosen for a panel. You can make the frame count for every clip start at 0 or at 1, or you can have it converted from the source timecode. If a frame in a 30-fps clip has a source timecode of 00:00:10:00 the Timecode Conversion option gives this frame number 300. Premiere Pro converts 10 seconds at the 30-fps frame rate to 300 frames.

  1. Select Edit > Preferences > Media (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > Media (macOS).

    Select Use Media Source for Timecode to show the timecode from the media source.

  2. In the Timecode menu, choose one of the following:

    Use Media Source

    Shows the timecode recorded to the source.

    Start At 00:00:00:00

    Starts timecode shown for every clip at 00:00:00:00.

    Select Start at 0 for Frame Count to start numbering frames from 0.

  3. In the Frame Count menu, choose one of the following:

    Start At 0

    Numbers every frame sequentially, with the first frame numbered 0.

    Start At 1

    Numbers every frame sequentially, with the first frame numbered 1.

    Timecode Conversion

    Generates frame number equivalents of the source timecode numbers.

  4. Select OK.

Change timecode display format

You can change the timecode display format in any panel where timecode is shown in hot text.

  1. To display timecode in audio units (Audio Samples or Milliseconds), select the panel menu button in the Timeline panel, and then select Show Audio Time Units.

    Use the Show Audio Time Units to display timecode in audio units.

  2. You can specify Premiere Pro to display timecode in audio units (Audio Samples or Milliseconds) using Project SettingsFile > Project Settings > Audio > Display Format.

    Use the Display Format option under Audio to specify the timecode format.

  3. Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (macOS) a hot text timecode display to toggle through any available timecode formats.

    • Drop-Frame
    • Non-Drop-Frame
    • Feet + Frames 16mm
    • Feet + Frames 35mm
    • Frames

The timecode display format for the Program Monitor (including the instance in the Trim Monitor) and Timeline panels always match one another. Changing the display format in one of these panels changes it in the other.

Set clip timecode manually

You can change the timecode from that recorded by Premiere Pro. 

  1. Select the clip in the Project panel.

  2. Choose Clip > Modify > Timecode, specify options as needed, and select OK.


If your workflow relies on modifying the source clips using Modify Timecode, do not use proxies in Premiere Pro. Doing so will result in unexpected behavior.

Enter timecode

As you edit video, you enter timecode values many times. Timecode values are unique identifiers for each frame of video and are made up of four parts: hours, minutes, seconds, and frames. For example, you enter timecode values to set In and Out points for clips and to navigate to a Timeline panel. Premiere Pro provides many ways to enter timecodes.

In Premiere Pro, the duration between the In and Out points includes the frames indicated by the timecode. For example, if you enter the same timecode for the In and Out points of a clip, the duration of the clip is one frame. When entering the timecode, you can substitute periods for colons or type numbers without punctuation. Premiere Pro interprets the numbers you type as hours, minutes, seconds, and frames.

  • To set a specific timecode, select the timecode, type a new timecode, and then press Enter or Return.

  • To adjust the current timecode by dragging, drag the timecode horizontally. For example, to set the timecode earlier, drag to the left.
  • To adjust the current timecode by using a relative value, type the plus sign or minus sign and the number of frames to add or subtract. For example, to subtract five frames from the current timecode, select the entire timecode, type 5, and press Enter or Return.
  • Use shorthand substitutes while entering timecode. When entering the timecode, you can use shorthand substitutes affixed with a period. Premiere Pro interprets the numbers you type as hours, minutes, seconds, and frames.

Examples of shorthand substitutes:

  • 1. moves the CTI to position 00:00:01:00
  • 2. moves the CTI to position 00:02:00:00
  • .1 moves the CTI to position 00:00:00:01
  • .24 moves the CTI to position 00:00:01:00 for a 23.976 fps sequence
  • .1234 moves the CTI to position 00:00:51:10 for a 23.976 fps sequence

View timecode as a burn-in

You can display a clip’s timecode within the video preview by applying the Metadata & Timecode Burn-in effect to that clip. Timecode can also be displayed in the video preview of any part of a sequence by applying the Metadata & Timecode Burn-in effect to a transparent video clip, which can be clipped for the period when you want the timecode visible. The onscreen timecode is commonly referred to as the burn-in timecode. It's used in rough edits and proofs to give frame-accurate reference points to editors and their collaborators.

For more information, see Metadata & Timecode Burn-in effect.

View source timecode in the Program Monitor

You can display the source timecode in the Program Monitor preview for clips in a sequence as you edit:

  • If you trim a clip, the clip’s source timecode is displayed.

  • If you perform a slide edit, the new source media's In and Out points for the adjacent clips are displayed.

  • If you perform a slip edit, the clip’s new source media's In and Out points are displayed.

Select Timecode Overlay During Edit from the Program Monitor menu.

Select the Timecode Overlay During Edit to enable timecode even in Program Monitor.

A check mark indicates that the command is selected.

View timecode in the Timecode panel

You can view timecode in the Timecode panel. To view the Timecode panel, choose Window > Timecode.

The Timecode panel offers multiple options to work with.

Sequence Display

Specifies how the timecode should be displayed and its behavior in the Timeline panel and Program Monitor.

  • Current Time: The main master timecode.
  • Absolute: Timecode that always starts at zero at the beginning and increments one frame at a time.
  • Duration: Total duration of your timeline.
  • In/Out: Indications for the In and Out range.
  • Remaining: Indication of the remaining time from the Current Time Indicator (CTI) to the end of your sequence.
  • Top Clip Name: Indicates the top clip name under the CTI.

Source Tracks Display

Source Tracks contain a specific number of video and audio tracks on a timeline. You can select any track to view the source timecodes for the selected track.

Format Display

You can use the Format options to change the default timebase format or to view the timecode in Frames or Feet.

Compact Display

In Compact view, Premiere Pro only changes the label's color, but there is no tag.

Full Size

If the timecode panel is set to Full Size view, Premiere Pro displays a tag when a different format is selected and changes the label color from white to orange.

Other display options

  • Add Line and Remove Line: Adds or removes one timecode line
  • Compact and Full Size: Switches the UI of the Timecode panel from compact to full-sized
  • Save Preset: Saves different timecode layouts and assign shortcut to presets.
  • Manage Presets: Assigns different shortcuts to presets or delete presets.

To increase the size of the Timecode panel, drag the lower right corner of the window outward.


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