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First Impressions of Premiere Pro

First Impressions of Premiere Pro

In this post I want to give you some of my first impressions of using Premiere Pro after the last two weeks of using it. I will compare many aspects to Media Composer so if you use either of the NLEs or if you use one and are curious about the other then there should be some goodies in here for you.

If you’ve spent anytime around EVF recently than you know I made the jump to freelance. What you might not know is that I have a recurring gig 3 days a week. At that gig I’m using Media Composer and Premiere. This is a huge deal because I’ve literally never even opened Premiere before.

Launching Premiere?

This is this first time I’ve opened up Premiere. I’ve had zero training. I watched 15 minutes of introductory Lynda.com lessons but those were those basic overview lessons that had no substance to them.

I spent the first few minutes getting familiar with the layout. I use After Effects a ton so I’m used to Adobe and how Panels work. I set up my initial workspace and saved it. This worked the exact same as AE. I do like how Workspaces work with Adobe. I gotta hand it to them. There is a slight learning curve figuring out how to move Panels around but once you get it it’s very flexible and convenient. So, okay. +1 for Premiere I guess.

My first project was already setup for me. The sequences were already created and VO imported into the project. I had two footage Bins and some title templates in my Project Panel. From here I decided it was time to start cutting and see how it goes. It didn’t take long before something came up.

I found the VO and put it into the Sequence. From here I ran into my first issue… How do I do an Add Edit? I want to chop the ten minutes of audio up into pieces and move them around because when the recording was read there wasn’t enough of a pause between sentences.

I took to Twitter. I got an overwhelming response with the Razor Tool (C) and whatever the actual Add Edit feature in Premiere is called (Cmd/Ctrl+K). The Cmd/Ctrl+K shortcut was exactly what I was looking for. I realized later on though it doesn’t look like I can make an Add Edit to a blank area of the timeline. Maybe you can but I haven’t figured it out yet. I do this a ton in Media Composer. If I have audio and know exactly how long I want a shot or series of shots to last then I’ll put Add Edits onto the video track(s) just as a placeholder. So then I can come back and hit T in MC or X in AE and quickly edit in the shot from the Source Monitor.

Premiere Pro Shortcuts and Such

I had a choice to make – do I learn the Premiere shortcuts or change them to Media Composer’s? I choose to take the difficult route and learn Premiere’s default shortcuts. Why? In the long run it will be better to know the software in full, like I do for MC. Even if I don’t or won’t like it as much, I want to learn Premiere like I did for Media Composer – 100%, no bad habits, used as the designers designed it to be used.

When I’m editing I keep my right hand on the keyboard at all times and my left hand shifts from the keyboard to the mouse/trackpad as needed. I’m a lefty. This means that I use my right hand probably 2x more on the keyboard. I tend to have my right hand reach over to the left side of the keyboard if I’m doing repetitive mouse clicking tasks. But for marking In and Outs in MC or Premiere it’s easy… I and O. For righties though, this would drive me nuts if I was a Premiere editor!

For MC you can also use E and R to mark In and Outs – keeping your left hand on the keyboard and right hand on the mouse. For Premiere E and R do not mark In and Outs. This is one of the only times outside of being a batter in baseball where being a lefty has been an advantage for me…

In Premiere you use period and comma to overwrite and insert edit clips. This is different but not foreign. It’s the same as using B and V in MC. I’ve found that switching back and forth between MC and Premiere that I keep hitting period on accident in MC which will slip a clip and if you’re not paying attention you can slowly start knocking clips out of sync or move them by a frame which could make a big difference…

The three point editing hierarchy in MC so much better. I don’t like how in Premiere I have to choose to ignore the source or the sequence in or out point when I have all four points created. In MC there’s a hierarchy that decides which in/out points to use automatically. BTW, anyone know how to clear and in or out point in Premiere? I know it’s a Google search away but haven’t done it yet.

Rapid Fire First Impressions

In order to organize my first impressions of Premiere Pro I jotted down a bunch of notes over the past two weeks. I want to run through them rapid fire-style.

  • The different trim modes in Premiere are still driving me crazy. I understand the yellow and red trim modes (sorry, still don’t know their names) but my red trims won’t work when two clips are butted up next to each other. There’s gotta be a way to get this to work; just don’t know how to yet.
  • My project is in 720p but all my clips at 1080p. It wasn’t setup with something like FlexFrame in MC where all the clips were automatically resized. I was told to just go in individually and adjust the scale once the clip is edited into the timeline… Is there no other way?!
  • I’m digging the preset effects and transitions. I’m not sure if these come stock with Premiere or the company I’m working at purchased them.
  • The Media Management is screwy but I don’t think this is Premiere’s fault. I just think the workflow that is in place isn’t necessarily the right one but I don’t know a better one…
  • The Title Tool is wonderful and awful all at the same time! Creating titles is a breeze. It’s just like AE. But managing titles as media in a project is mind-bogglingly dumb IMO. I’m slowly getting the hang of it but I’ve screwed up this process a handful of times already – updating a title in one place but accidently changing it in another. Work in progress I guess.
  • The mouse-over scrub clip feature… I am surprised that I love it. And I wish MC had it…
  • In MC I like to throw chunks from the timeline into the source monitor (Opt/Alt+C) and move them around like subclips without creating subclips. I haven’t figured out how to do this in Premiere yet…
  • Non-Premiere comments… It’s incredibly weird 1) to be in a new edit bay and 2) be working on a PC.
  • It took two weeks but I finally found the RGB Parade. Still like color correcting in MC better but love how the RGB Parade looks and works in Premiere.

🔥🔥🔥Hot Takes on Premiere Pro!🔥🔥🔥

The next two paragraphs are completely personal opinions about Premiere and Media Composer. Again, these are based on my first impressions of Premiere Pro faster only two weeks using the software. Take them for what they are – an opinion based on one’s experience.

I love Media Composer. Two weeks in Premiere makes me love MC even more. But Premiere isn’t so terrible. Most of my issues are just because I don’t know how to do things. This is my fault; not Premiere’s. I’m sure my personal opinions will change. I get upset when I know what I want to do but I can’t. So I blame the NLE, not it’s operator.

I love the rigidity of MC – I’ve build two different media departments around it. Premiere seems fluid…which is good and bad. Depends on how you look at it. My first impressions of Premiere Pro have me feeling that it seems to be “up with the times” while Media Composer is still old school. Maybe is it time for me to be “hip”?

What’s next?

I hope you enjoyed this look at my first impressions of Premiere Pro. If you’re new around here I’d love for you to go here and sign up to receive email updates about new posts and get the Video Editor’s Digest – a weekly newsletter with tips, tricks, resources, links, opinions and more about becoming the best editor you can be.

If you have any thoughts on making the jump to Premiere or any of the features I talked about above, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

What’s working for me in post right now

Today I decided to take a step back and look at what’s been going right for me in post production lately. I gathered some hardware essentials, software tips, productivity hacks and more for you in this post. After reading it this make sure to tell me what is working for you right now in post production. The first thing that’s working for me is literally by my side all day, everyday.

Fantom Drives

I absolutely love these external hard drives. I’ve used them for the past five years. I got introduced to Fantom Drives when my old production manager started buying their GreenDrives for deep storage of projects and shipping media to remote freelance editors when shop got too busy.

My Fantom Drive G-Force3. I have six of them.

My Fantom Drive G-Force3. I have six of them.

Read more

An Editor’s Biggest Struggle

An Editor's Biggest Struggle: Procrastination

An Editor’s Biggest Struggle: Procrastination

Procrastination. In the first few months of this website I’m trying to publish at least once a week, preferably every Wednesday. This past week I had a shoot out of town Monday-Wednesday. I knew I had a (self-imposed) deadline to hit but procrastinated the days before the trip and ended up not getting a post written. I waited to take action until it was too late.

The same happens in the edit bay. We get an important, large project or task but hold off on it until it is too late. We end up rushing or put it together 5 minutes at a time alternating with 5 minutes of Facebook. Sometimes you just have to stop everything and focus on the most important task at hand.

This morning I could have easily held off writing this post until Monday. But once I took a step back from my day and looked at everything I was doing (messing around on Twitter, taking a class on Lynda, debating about going to the dog park) I realized this post is the most important thing for me to do. So I stopped what I was doing, which was learning Japanese (we can talk about that in a different post!), put on my favorite song of the moment, opened up Word and started typing.

Parkinson’s Law states that, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If we are given three weeks to complete a project we’re usually going to wait until there’s five days left to start on it. Instead of looking at three weeks to complete a project why not break down all the steps – import, log, string out, etc. – and give yourself mini deadlines.

I’m actually in this scenario right now. I have about three weeks to complete editing my most recent shoot. I know I could crank it out in five days, but it wouldn’t be my best work and I’d be super stressed. Instead I’m breaking it down into these mini deadlines. Yesterday’s goal was to get everything imported. Today it’s to organize all my shots and go through my notes (I haven’t done it yet but have a couple hours blocked off later this afternoon!). Read more