Getting Started with Premiere Pro

BY KAMRIN VACLAVIK | 20 JANUARY 2021

Opening for the First Time

At first glance, Adobe’s creative suite can be very intimidating. This article (along with some in the future) should be able to get you up to speed on all the basics of Premiere Pro. Through this article we will cover from opening the program for the first time to exporting your final video! We will be under the assumption that Premiere is already installed onto your computer. Let’s jump in. The first, obvious, step will be opening Premiere. Once open, you will be greeted with the Premiere splash screen. This will have your most recent projects readily available to open, along with some helpful resources if you need them down the road. For now, we will click on the “New Project” button to begin our first Premiere project.

The next screen to pop will allow you to name and save your Premiere file. We recommend using a structured project folder to save all your project data. If you do not already have your project folder set up, check out this article to get started.

We’ll start by naming our Premiere file. First, we will name our file. You do this by clicking in the box next to the “Name:” label (which should be currently filled with the name “untitled”. In this example, we will name our file “My Project;” however, you should name your file with a name relevant to what your project will focus on. Once you have named your file, click on the “Browse” button to select the destination you would like to save at. After saving, click “OK” at the bottom of the screen.

Workspaces and Importing

The first time you open Premiere you will have the default layout of workspaces. The first workspace that will be presented will be the Learning workspace. This is helpful to come back to as there are resources over specific topics that populate the left side of the screen.

Before we are able to begin importing our footage, we will want to navigate to the “Editing” workspace located at the top middle of the screen.

If your workspace differs from the images below, you may have modified your workspace at some point. This is an easy fix (if you prefer the default layout). Simple click the three lines next to the “Editing” tab and select “Reset to Saved Layout.”

Once we have entered the editing workspace, we are ready to import our footage. There are 4 ways we can do this. All methods are perfectly valid, so you are able to choose whichever method you are comfortable with.


  1. Click the “file” button in the top left corner of the screen. Navigate to the “import” button and find the video file you would like to work with
  2. In the project panel of Premiere Pro, double click in the section that reads “Import media to start.” From there, navigate to your video file and open it
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut CTR+I. This will open the browser as normal, then navigate to the video you will be working with and import it into Premiere Pro
  4. Open your file explorer and drag and drop the footage into the dark grey box labeled “Import media to start”

Editing and Basic Cuts

Now we are ready for editing! Before any cuts are made to the footage, we must first create a timeline. As with most everything else in Premiere, this can be done in several different ways.


  1. Dragging your first piece of footage to the section labeled “Drop media here to create a sequence"
  2. Pressing CTR + N on your keyboard. From here, you can choose the settings the work best for your video footage. This will also allow you to name your timeline.
  3. Click “File” in the top left corner. From the drop down click “new” and navigate to sequence. This will give you options for your sequence and the ability to name it

If you used method 2 or 3 to create your timeline, simply drag your footage from the project window to the newly created sequence.

Now that we have a timeline setup with our footage we can begin cutting and editing. Our goal is to combine two pieces of footage into one seamless video. Our timeline is currently a bit hard to see. We will need to expand our view. We can do this in 2 way.

  1. Hold ALT and use the mouse wheel to expand our view
  2. At the bottom right of the timeline panel, drag the hollow circle to expand our view

Now that we have a better view, we will make our first cut! The first clip runs a bit long so we will trim this section. Click the cut tool, place the cursor where you would like to cut the footage, then left click on the mouse.

Next, click your selection tool. Left click the part of the footage you would like to remove. Then press the delete key on your keyboard. You will notice that there is now a blank space in between our two clips.

There are 2 ways we can remove this.

  1. Click the blank area in between the two clips and press the delete key on your keyboard
  2. Left click our second clip and drag to the left until it snaps to the first clip

Once the blank space is removed, we have our final video! We are now ready to export our edit as a single video.

Saving

This is a good point to remind you to always save your work! This can be achieved by either:

  1. Pressing CTR + S on your keyboard
  2. Pressing “file” in the top left corner. Then navigating to the “save” button

Exporting

There are, as with other steps, multiple ways to open the export screen.

  1. Make sure the timeline panel is active (by left clicking). Then press CTR + M on your keyboard
  2. Press “file” in the top left corner. Hover your mouse over “export” then click “Media”

Once on the export screen, first check the “format” section at the top of the screen. The most common format is H.264 (which is an .mp4 file). If the file is something other than H.264, use the dropdown menu to select that format.

Click the blue text next to “output name.” This will allow you to name and change the save folder of the final video. Once again, we recommend using the file and save structure found in this article

Once you have completed these steps, press “export” at the bottom of the screen and you are all done! Wait for the video to finish exporting and the final video will be at the destination you chose.