Insert vs. Overwrite Edit in Premiere Pro

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This tutorial quickly explains the difference between insert edit and overwrite edit in Premiere Pro. You’ll see examples using both types of edits.

Choosing Between Insert Edit and Overwrite Edit in Premiere Pro

The two most common type of edits (the act of actually putting clips into your timeline) are the Insert Edit and Overwrite Edit in Premiere Pro.

To begin, load a clip into your Source panel. Either double-click a video clip from a Bin inside your Project panel or drag and drop it into the Source panel. If you want, set in and out points. These determine the beginning and end of the portion of the clip you want to edit into your timeline.

Premiere Pro Source Monitor panel with Insert Edit and Overwrite Edit icons labeled
Insert Edit and Overwrite Edit Icons

Next patch your tracks appropriately. In the sample image below, the clip has one video track and one audio track so there are “V1” and “A1” tracks that need to be patched. Currently they are patched to the V1 and A1 on the timeline’s tracks. You can move these tracks on the source side to other tracks. For example, if you move V1 on the source side up to V3, the source clip will be edited onto V3 and A1.

Timeline in Premiere Pro showing how to patch tracks to perform an edit
Patch your tracks to where you what tracks you want the clip to be edited to

Our last step before editing our clip into the timeline is to set an in and/or out point in the timeline to determine when you want the clip to be in your sequence. If you don’t choose an in and/or out point, the clip will be edited wherever your time position indicator is (the blue vertical bar) in the timeline is.

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Performing an Insert Edit

Now let’s do an insert edit. Either click the insert edit icon in the Source panel or hit the coma key (,). When you do this, the insert edit will push everything down the timeline.

If you edited the clip in the middle of another clip, that clip will be split in two and pushed down the timeline. This even happens if the clip is on a separate track. You could lock that track for this not to happen. However you run the risk of knocking other items out of sync further down the timeline if you’re not careful.

Timeline panel in Premiere Pro with a clip insert edited into it
The orange clip was the one that was insert edited into the timeline

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Doing an Overwrite Edit

Lastly, let’s do an overwrite edit. To do this hit the period key (.) or click the overwrite edit icon in the Source panel.

You are essentially pasting your clip onto the timeline when doing an overwrite edit. Imagine it’s a sticky note and you’re placing it onto the timeline. If there was something there, it’s now covered up (and gone from the timeline, unlike a sticky note I guess).

Instead of pushing everything down the timeline, nothing else moves or is effected. The only tracks that were touched were the ones that were patched to. Everything else remains undisturbed.

Timeline panel in Premiere Pro with a clip overwrite edited into it
The orange clip was the one that was insert edited into the timeline

I sincerely hope that this tutorial helped you. If it did, please consider subscribing to my email newsletter. Do you have thoughts or questions about the insert edit and overwrite edit in Premiere Pro? Leave them below in the comments!

– Josh

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