The 5 Most Useful Tools in Adobe Premiere Pro


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A bin. The selection tool. A timeline. A razor blade. When you’ve got something good in the can, what else does a filmmaker even need?

The long list of tools in Premiere Pro can be intimidating for a newbie. While many of them will not be immediately useful when editing very simple projects, learning what they do will likely open your mind to possibilities that you never would have considered before.

That said, the following tools in Premiere Pro will likely become your favorites after you give them a shot.

The ripple edit tool intelligently adjusts the surrounding sequence.

The term “Ripple” is widely applicable in Premiere Pro. In a general sense, a Ripple can be used to describe any action that pushes or pulls what is in front of or behind the affected clip proportionally.

For example, Ripple can delete the blank gap between two clips, seal the space between them, and bring everything behind them along in terms of timecode. In other words, deleting a one-frame gap advances the rest of the project one frame, depending on which tracks are enabled.

The Ripple edit tool allows you to grab ahold of the handles at either end of each clip in the timeline. Extending or retracting the clip will not upset its neighbors; they’ll just be moved forward or backward accordingly.

Using the rolling edit tool to time a scene .

Two adjacent shots may match very well in terms of timing. You may feel that lingering on the first or getting to the second sooner would improve the pair creatively, however.

Using the rolling edit tool to modify a sequence.

A Rolling edit leaves the action of the sequence undisturbed, and only shifts the temporal window that we peer through. If pulling two conjoined handles forward, the end point of the first clip will be extended, while the in point of the second will be reduced by the same number of frames.

A strong progression is made more powerful—snap cuts swing the audience to and fro; a pensive moment of pause keeps us with our subject until their reverie moves us into cinematic submission. These small “swings” will color the piece; the magic will always be found in the tiny details making up your sequence as a whole.

Related: How to Edit Videos on Windows 10

The display shows where the slip tool moves the in and out points.

The Slip tool is one of the most convenient ways of subtly adjusting the timing of a sequence that you already feel comfortable with the structure of. It preserves the length of the clip as it exists in the timeline, while also allowing you to nudge the section of the source footage that the beginning and the end of the clip hold between them.

With the Slip tool enabled, click on the clip that you would like to move forward or back. Dragging one way or another pulls up two reference thumbnails in the program monitor, indicating where the new in and out points will end up being.

This is very useful for narrative editing, especially when you find yourself in a corner in terms of continuity and flow. You’ll be able to delay the action by a few frames if, say, one of your actors picks up their glass just a bit too quickly to match up comfortably with the following shot.

The slide tool in Premiere Pro moves the clip left or right.

Sliding a clip back or forth keeps the selected clip exactly as-is, all while freeing you to move it without creating a gap to be addressed afterward. How?

The handles of the two neighboring clips on either side will remain the same—they will be shortened and lengthened to match the intermediary’s new position, maintaining the same points of contact as before.

Related: How to Create Multi-Camera Sequences in Adobe Premiere Pro

The track select forward tool selects everything behind the playhead.

When editing large projects, bumping and grinding against the delicate work that has already been done can spell disaster. Nesting your sequences will protect them to some extent, but the demands of a project or the system that you’re working with do not always allow for this.

Using the Track Select Forward tool gives you the means to make some room on the timeline or to bridge a gap without Ripple deleting the entire space in between. With the tool selected and the relevant juncture in mind, select the first clip in line, hold Shift and add to your selection accordingly if you have more than one track to consider.

Doing so will select everything behind your clip (or, if using the Track Select Backward tool, in front of it), allowing you to move everything all at once, without worrying about missing something important at the end or beginning. The entire sequence will be included automatically, allowing you to wedge in one more shot, even very late in the editorial process.

Why Stop Here? Keep Learning More About Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro is packed with powerful tools to bring your edits to the next level. The above tools are merely a fraction of what the software offers, so keep exploring Premiere Pro to take full advantage of it.

Premiere Pro desktop timeline
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