June 10, 2018

A Few Tricks That Will Help You Conquer That Massive Edit in Premiere Pro

Some projects are gargantuan in size—all the more reason to have a fast and efficient workflow.

Working on massive edits can be really intimidating with all of that footage waiting to be sifted through, imported, and arranged on your timeline. These kinds of projects naturally take a lot of time to complete, but they can actually take you less time than you think if you know how some simple methods for streamlining your workflow. In this video, Kris A. Truini of Kriscoart shares a few tips on how to tackle big projects (as well as small ones), including techniques on faster importing, stacked timelines, and more. Check it out below:

Every editor has their own unique approach to their work, but if you've wanted to find ways to make your workflow faster and more efficient, Truini certainly provides the goods in the video. Here are some of the key techniques he shares:

Faster Importing

Make the importing process a little quicker by simply dragging and dropping your files from your Finder window (or My Computer if you're a PC user) into your Project Bin. No need to go through all the drop-down menus. You can also sort your clips by name in the Bin Folder so they're easier to find. Now, before you start adding clips to your timeline, you might want to first bring them up in your Source Monitor (double click on them) so you can set In and Out points. This is a great way to give your footage a (very) rough edit before they ever even make it to the timeline. After that, dragging and dropping a clip onto your timeline will automatically match its settings to those of your clip, which means you don't have to set them manually. (Note: If you're working with multiple media sources with different resolutions, frames rates, and file types, you may want to set your timeline settings manually.)

Stacking Timelines

One thing that always seems to gum up the works, at least for me, is adding b-roll footage to my main timeline. Usually, I get a rough edit going of my principal photography, and once that's done, I begin to add b-roll where I think it should go. The problem with that is it's not only incredibly time-consuming but it can get confusing trying to edit both on the same timeline. This is why stacked timelines are so helpful, because you can use one to edit your b-roll, another to edit your principal photography, and when you want to add your b-roll, you can just drag and drop it right into your main timeline.

To do this, go to File > New Sequence (CMND+N) and give it a name that differs from your other sequence. Now, Truini shows you a couple of different approaches to stacking timelines: dragging your sequence from your timeline and dropping it into the source monitor or dragging it from your Project Bin, dropping it into your Source Monitor, then opening it up in the Timeline Panel. I personally prefer the second method, because I can monitor one sequence on the Source Monitor and the other on the Program Monitor.

Odds and Ends

Truini also mentions a couple of quick tips for faster editing. 

  • Your project is huge, which means there will be a lot of things you'll have to be able to recall later on. Write yourself notes to help you remember ideas and be more organized. You can use Sticky Notes and post them right on your monitor, the Stickies app if you're on a Mac, or whatever method works best for you.
  • There's nothing worse than doing a ton of work only to have the power go out mid-edit or realizing your file has been corrupted somehow. To avoid this catastrophe, always backup your timeline before you make any big changes. 

What are some other helpful tips for working on big projects in Premiere Pro? Let us know down in the comments.      

Your Comment

14 Comments

Importing by "simply dragging and dropping your files from your Finder window (or My Computer if you're a PC user) into your Project" can cause issues, as any pro Premiere editor knows.
This is really bad advice!

June 10, 2018 at 7:26PM, Edited June 10, 7:26PM

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What kind of issues are you referring to?

June 10, 2018 at 11:39PM, Edited June 10, 11:39PM

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Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer
1849

I think mainly this happens if you don't understand what is actually happening. Premier Pro just links to the footage, it doesn't actually import it anywhere unless you add an ingest setting. If you don't realize this and, for example, drag your footage into PP from your SD card then remove the SD card.

Other than things like that though, I've never had any problems. I keep all my assets organized on my hard drive though before I ever involve them in PP.

June 11, 2018 at 10:29AM

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It's a real problem - and nothing to do with not understanding what's happening/ejecting cards full of footage etc.

If you're on a Mac and select a folder of footage in (on a hard drive) in Finder and drag it into Premiere, it quite regularly brings in some of the files within the folder and leaves some behind, or just as regularly brings in none at all. It's a bug - been around for ages, and it's a titanic pain in the ass. I can't remember if it happens when you import, rather than drag and drop - but if you're on a Mac there's loads of situations where you'll want to be able to bring stuff direct from the finder, and this bug really screws that up.

June 11, 2018 at 11:30AM, Edited June 11, 11:32AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3442

What type of footage are you trying to bring in? I would like to know more about this because I've been on premiere for about 10 years now and haven't had this issue.

June 11, 2018 at 5:43PM

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It fails pretty regularly on some ProRes files, and has on some Sony Camera files too. Probably others. There's always the chance that you've had this issue and didn't realise...

June 11, 2018 at 6:31PM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3442

Oh I just reread your first post and I understand what you mean. I know that why is too. It's to optimize Premiere so it's not searching through a million folders to get to your material. Well it's more of a suggestion from Premiere. This is actually a larger problem in Resolve that I encounter. If you have files in layers of sub folders Resolve will have a hard time continually digging up the footage for playback. I've changed my file organization to accommodate for this issue in both programs and realizing that too many sub folders is obnoxious and not necessarily organized.

June 12, 2018 at 12:59PM

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Unfortunately, it happens even when footage is all within one, top level folder (though my primary experience of this has been with multiple fairly large files, so it could be that Premiere's got a bug related to their size...)

June 12, 2018 at 3:32PM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3442

No tricks to handle massive edits here, it's just a beginners introduction to Premiere Pro...

June 11, 2018 at 7:30AM

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Ar
editor
184

There are no differences between handling a mini, midi or maxi edit in Premiere if you don't understand the basics of a well-organized workflow...

1. Your project organization starts on the hard drive where you populate your project folder with the right sub-folder structure (ex: Project folder, footage folder, audio folder, output folder etc.)
2. Copy your footage in the proper folder, so you don't make a mess if you're moving or archiving the project
3. Check your footage. All the files have the same codec? Does it need to be transcoded? Are you sure you want to edit with 4k files instead of creating proxies?
4. NOW Open Premiere and re-create the same project folder structure you have on your hard drive. Assigning different folders for auto-save and render files can be a good choice :)
5. Import your audio/video files (dragging or with the double-click-import-way) and place them in the right folders
6. Open and WATCH EVERY SINGLE SHOT, divide them in subfolders by context (ex: park shots, sea shots etc.) or scene (ex: Sh01 folder with 01_01, 01_02, 01_03... takes) and name the folder in a clear useful way (ex: "01//LS Mark running in the park " where "01" is the scene number "LS" describes the framing - Long Shot + description "Mark running in the park") use the comment column to take additional notes (ex: best acting or wrong continuity...), use the labels to mark it as good/alternative/useless so you have a visual cue of your best picks (TIP: Try to assign 1,2,3, shortcuts to the labels in the keyboard customization panel.).
7. Now mark IN and OUT of every shot and make a "selection" timeline so you can watch different takes of every shot one after another and pick the best one. Use extended markers in this selection timeline to have a visual reference of where-is-what (TIP: The markers panel of Premiere is a real hero here!).
8. AFTER you've organized your footage on your hard drive, transcoded (if necessary), imported, watched, marked and selected NOW you can start editing.

This is how you conquer a "massive" edit in Premiere Pro. Dragging your footage and place IN and OUTs on the timeline makes your project a giant mess...

June 12, 2018 at 3:26AM, Edited June 12, 3:26AM

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Editmachine
Editor
8

I typically agree with this, but actually when I started my current edit (which is the largest one I've ever done) I decided to deliberately not watch every shot due to how much footage there was. I know it sounds stupid, but I just arbitrarily picked the last take and did a very rough assembly using all those last takes of each scene.

Obviously I had to go back and look for a better take when the acting/continuity/whatever, didn't work. But it let me start cutting and assembling much faster, and I felt like I had a better grasp of what takes worked and what didn't when I had the context of the shots before and after it. Whereas watching each take in isolation didn't feel productive because I couldn't get a sense of the emotion and rhythm to the scene as a whole.

Definitely agree with keeping everything organized though.

June 14, 2018 at 4:03PM, Edited June 14, 4:04PM

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83

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June 12, 2018 at 4:18AM

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June 12, 2018 at 6:06AM

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devang Khira
Healthcare
1

Terrible advice. Learning bad habits. But does NFS care? No they do not.

June 18, 2018 at 7:33AM, Edited June 18, 7:33AM

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Scott Simmons
Editor
65