Faster Editing with Premiere

Faster Editing with your Eyes Shut

Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick’s is famous for many reasons: Tom and Nicole’s final film together; Stanley Kubrick’s swan song; and a film renoun for taking nearly eighteen months to film, let alone the time complete many edits.

As you create a video program, the number of source clips and settings you edit and manage become more complex. This can get in the way of your creative flow, so here are some tips and techniques to simplify a complex project and edit efficiently. We don’t all have years to edit our masterpieces, nor wish to expire before delivering the product.

Allocating sufficient RAM

Premiere plays and exports video most efficiently when up to approximately 64 MB of RAM (Windows) or 48 MB (Mac OS) is available to it. You can make more RAM available to Premiere, but above the recommended amounts the performance gains are not as significant. Make sure you aren’t running unnecessary programs, such as custom screen savers, that may be using memory that could be used more productively by Premiere. In Mac OS, leave at least 2 MB of unused RAM so that the system software has room to load additional Mac OS system components such as QuickTime.

Choosing between RAM (physical memory), Hard drive (disk space) or CPU (megahertz or gigahertz; number of CPUs) and Operating System (Windows, Mac) is always a difficult choice.

– Choose an operating system based on your personal taste and depending on who can support you. If you have friends and collegues who can support MacOS, personally, I would choose a Mac. Its these friends who will help out at the cost of a coffee or nice bottle of red

– If using Windows 95 or 98, based on your hardware capture cards and drivers, seriously consider Windows 2000

– If your RAM meets requirements, invest in a second faster hard drive

– If you are using many filters or effects, extra CPU performance and/or a dual processor would be a good investment

– Realtime cards are a boon when editing day in, day out.

Using low-resolution clips or offline files

Large frame sizes take longer to process than small frame sizes. When you edit you are viewing frames nearly all the time, so slow frame display can cause longer editing sessions. For better performance during editing, use low-resolution versions of your clips, or use offline files. Then capture the same clips later using high-resolution settings, and replace the low-resolution versions for recording or exporting the final version of the program.

This process is only effective when you are capturing with device control. Device control captures the timecode on the tape, which enables you to replace frames precisely. Only DV and analog with 3rd party device controllers have this facility.

If you’ve already captured the clips at high resolution, you can use Premiere to export low-resolution versions of them for editing and then substitute the high-resolution clips before recording or exporting the final version. You can also temporarily substitute a still image for a video clip. Using low-resolution or still versions of clips also lets you store more clips in the same amount of disk space.

Using low-resolution versions of clips is standard practice in offline editing, but you may prefer the speed benefits of using offline files even when your system is fast enough for online editing.

You can also create an offline file at any time. To create an offline file:

– Choose File > New > Offline File.

– Type a filename. In general, use the filename of the actual source video that is missing.

– For Duration, type the length for the offline file.

– For Timecode, type the timecode value of the In point of the missing source video.

– For Reel Name, type the name of the reel containing the missing source video.

– Choose a time format from the Format menu that corresponds to the source video.

– Choose a frame rate from the Speed menu.

– Select either or both Has Video or Has Audio, according to the contents of the source video. Then click OK.

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After editing, to replace an offline file with a source video file:

– In a Project or Bin window, select the offline file.

– Choose Project > Replace Clips.

– Locate and select the actual source video file, and click OK.Using keyboard shortcuts

Almost every function in Premiere has an associated keystroke, including some functions that don’t appear as commands or buttons. Some keyboard shortcuts are very fast because they require pressing only one key. Keyboard shortcuts appear next to menu commands and in the Tool Tips for buttons and controls, and are fully documented in the Quick Reference Card that comes with Premiere. Keyboard shortcuts that have no equivalent in menus, tools, or buttons are listed in Premiere’s online Help.

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For example, when accessing Premiere’s clip properties on Windows, you can use the ALT key in combination with the underlined letter keys in the Clip pop-up menu, or use the keyboard combination listed to the right of the menu command. As a time saver, the arrow keys can be used to navigate through the menus.

Shortcut keys, when available, appear in the Tool Tip after the tool description. To ascertain the keyboard short cut, just move the mouse over an item, and wait for the Tool Tip to appear. For example, the Mark Out button’s Tool Tip displays the letter O (in parenthesis) as the shortcut key to mark an Out point.

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Using bins

During the process of capturing and editing you might accumulate many clips in your project, making it difficult to locate an item in the Project window. Organize items by creating and using bins in the Project window, which are like folders on your hard disk. If you use clips that you want to include in more than one project, you can save bins as files that are stored outside of projects.

To make a bin available for use in other projects, select the bin and choose Project > Export Bin from Project, or right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the bin and choose Export Bin from Project. Then, type a name, choose a location for the bin, and click Save. Bins created and saved in Windows use the extension .PLB. To use the saved bin file in any project, click File > Open, select the bin file (.PLB), and click Open.

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In previous versions of Premiere, you could create containers called libraries, which were used to store clips from one or several projects. A library was stored as a separate file apart from any project. Although Premiere 6.0 doesn’t directly support libraries, you can open a library. The library is converted into a bin when you open it in a Premiere 6.0 project.

Closing unneeded windows and palettes

As you edit, each open window and palette requires processing time to update its display. To lighten the processing load, keep open only the windows and palettes that are necessary. Pressing the TAB key on your keyboard causes all of Premiere’s palettes to disappear and pressing the TAB key again causes the palettes to reappear.

To aid the process in Premiere 6.0, you can save Workspaces. A workspace is a particular configuration of palettes and windows for use later on. Arrange the palettes and windows to your taste, and go to Window > Workspace > Save Workspace. To select and reset your palettes and windows to a saved workspace, just select it from the Window > Workspace menu.

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Hiding and locking tracks and clips

If you are working on a complex video program with many tracks, you can hide tracks you aren’t currently editing by marking the tracks as shy and then choosing Hide Shy Tracks from the Timeline window menu. To mark a track as shy, press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) as you click the eye icon (for video) or speaker icon (for audio) at the left edge of a track. The icon then appears as an outlined eye (for video) or outlined speaker (for audio)

To hide shy tracks, go to Timeline > Hide Shy Tracks.

If you do not want to modify a track or clip but you still want to see it, you can lock it. This can prevent you from accidentally modifying it.

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Eyes Wide Shut depicts a couple in having marriage difficulties. Isn’t it strange how life imitates art.