June 15, 2017

6 Premiere Pro Timeline Tips to Speed Up Your Workflow and Stay Organized

Become a Premiere Pro by mastering the timeline panel with these 6 tips.

After working in Adobe Premiere Pro for more than 10 years now, I’ve found a number of tricks to make my post-production life easier. A good majority of these tips relate to Premiere's timeline panel. If you've ever edited in Premiere Pro, you know that the timeline is where you perform the majority of tasks to bring an edit together. From navigation tips to organizational tricks, these methods have helped streamline my workflow.

Below are six of my favorite timeline tips.

1. Navigate quickly with timecode

If you’re working on a project that requires very precise time edits, you should utilize timecode. Bring your play-head to a specific point on your timeline by manually typing in your timecode. This allows you to navigate quickly, with no zooming or scrubbing with the selection tool. Using timecode to quickly navigate is especially useful if you’re working with a script that includes timecode markings, or a project with a very long duration. 

2. Use markers as labels 

You can utilize both timeline and clip markers when working in Premiere Pro. Customize your markers by specifying a color, selecting a duration, and adding a name and description. By customizing these attributes, you can use markers to label clips or specific areas of the timeline. Use these labels to help clients visualize your edit, help another editor understand your project, or simply to keep yourself organized. 

3. Create track height presets

Adjusting video and audio track heights to your personal preference can take up a good bit of time. Let’s say you’re editing audio; you might want the first two audio tracks to be expanded, with all of your video tracks minimized. Or perhaps you need it vice versa if you’re working on video keyframing in your timeline. Create track height presets to quickly jump between custom setups. To create a preset, first adjust your tracks accordingly, then select Save Preset in the Timeline Display Settings menu. You can even assign a keyboard shortcut to your track height presets.

4. Label clips by color

Categorizing clips by color in Premiere Pro can help keep you organized; it enables you to quickly tell the difference between your video and audio clips by using different color labels for each. Change the color of clips which have been reviewed or approved by a client, or sequences where the edit is locked. Customize label colors and label color defaults in the Preferences panel.

5. Customize audio waveforms

Premiere Pro lets you customize the Audio Waveform display in several ways, all via the panel menu. View waveforms in Rectified or Standard mode, and select whether you want them to match the clip label color. Make the waveforms scale as you desire by turning on Logarithmic Waveform Scaling. Or, if you don’t want waveforms at all, you can remove them entirely.

6. Adjust video and audio headers

Video and audio track headers provide you with a handful of useful tools and display options. These include track names, keyframe buttons, and voiceover recording options, to name a few. You can add, remove, or rearrange header buttons with the Button Editor. To access the Button Editor, simply right-click the header you would like to change and select Customize.  If you don't like a setup, you can reset the settings to the default layout. 

Do you have any Adobe Premiere Pro timeline tips? Share them in the comments below.       

Your Comment

8 Comments

I know anyone reading this won't want to hear it, but #1 should be "Learn to edit on Avid Media Composer". Stop bad habits before they start.

June 16, 2017 at 10:40AM

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Oh please.

June 16, 2017 at 3:58PM

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Charles Duoto
Instructor & TV Production Crew
1367

Maybe if you work solely in the industry, but Premiere is a pretty awesome option otherwise.

June 17, 2017 at 2:53PM, Edited June 17, 2:53PM

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It's not that I don't want to hear it, it is just that it is horrible advice for beginners since Avid has historically done everything they possibly can to ensure their products are not used outside of the highest tiers of the industries they work in (and sometimes the higher tiers too, looking at u iLok) which stifles a lot of young careers and low overhead production houses

They have been making moves away from that but they're not quite there yet

June 17, 2017 at 4:07PM, Edited June 17, 4:08PM

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Drew
81

Why do you think premiere is so bad? I think it works pretty fine (there have been situations I cursed the whole company, I'll give you that) and it's best perk is that all the adobe programs work together seemlessly.

June 23, 2017 at 12:34PM

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Thank you Jason,
Stretching Markers is very useful.
I have been using PP for many years but I didn't know that I can stretch duration.

June 16, 2017 at 11:24AM, Edited June 16, 11:24AM

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You're welcome Yurie! Same for me. I worked in Premiere for years before I realized that I could do this with markers. :)

June 17, 2017 at 6:36AM

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Jason Boone
Video Producer

You can set a shortcut to create a chapter marker (red) and flash cue marker (orange I think?)

You can also use shortcuts to load your track height presets.

And you can use shortcuts to color any selected clips.

I'm really surprised you didn't mention that. Without shortcuts, these things won't speed up your workflow.

I made a 3-hour long Premiere tutorial with tons of info, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgd5opjklrg and I have a 4-hour one coming out soon, which will show how I use macros and scripts on top of Premiere's normal shortcuts, to achieve a very fast workflow.

June 16, 2017 at 10:48PM, Edited June 16, 10:48PM

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TaranVH
Editor, LMG
74

Nice Taran. Excellent point, keyboard shortcuts can indeed speed things up significantly.

June 17, 2017 at 6:38AM

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Jason Boone
Video Producer

I don't know if it's new or not since I just discovered this function, but you can simply turn off all the effects of every clip in your timeline. Sometimes viewing the video doesnt work too well because pf the grading. There is a + button under the preview window. If you click that, you van choose the fx button. This button does the trick.

June 23, 2017 at 12:32PM

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