A Beginners Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the major editing software’s that’s used by a range of companies. In this post, I go over how to set up your workspace environment, getting started with importing footage and using sequences and some beginner keyboard shortcuts to use to speed up your workflow.

Adobe Premiere Pro Timeline
Adobe Premiere Pro Timeline

How to set up your workspace

Premiere Pro, along with many of the other programs in the Adobe suite supports multiple workspaces, allowing you to work in the way you most feel comfortable. A key example of this is switching from a standard editing workspace to a colour-specific workspace, allowing you to focus on specific parts of videos, rather than jumbling through multiple windows and bins to get to something you want to adjust.

Inside of Adobe Premiere Pro, there is the ability to create new workspaces or to adjust pre-existing ones to then save to your preference. You can also have different workspaces for each project, if one project requires a lot of audio changes, you can keep the Essential Sound toolbox open and then have it closed for another project.

Importing your footage

When importing footage, you can either drag and drop it into the project folder, called a bin, or use the media browser and drag it from there. By using the media browser, more metadata – the information about the footage, is taken which allows for more stable editing. Keeping an organised folder structure in Premiere Pro is important as you’ll constantly be referring back to your bin to get footage, audio or other assets for your project.

Importing footage into Premiere Pro using the media browser
Multiple Ways of Importing Footage into Premiere Pro


You can make multiple sequences to split up your edits and then merge them all into one large sequence, typically called the ‘master’. For some projects, this is suggested to prevent making accidental changes to an entire portion of the footage. If you are already working in a timeline with multiple edits and want to group footage, you are able to right-click on the footage and click “Nest”, which will create a sub-sequence. Nesting sequences can also be useful when using multiple effects or using a different master resolution then the footage you are working with. An example of when nesting is necessary is when trying to use the warp stabilizer effect with different resolution footage of your sequence as the effect requires the full-size footage dimensions to stabilize. By nesting, this fixes this issue and allows you to use the desired effect without needing to transcode footage to different resolutions or change the sequence settings.

Shortcuts to learn

You can find the shortcuts for Premiere Pro in a poster which can help you try out new shortcuts in projects, along with the keyboard shortcuts menu. A few that are helpful to know are relating to how you manipulate the timeline and will save you time in the long run when you have more substantial sequences. Instead of using the scrolling bar along the bottom and the sides of your timeline, you can use the plus and minus buttons to quickly zoom in and out when applying transitions or manipulating keyframes.

2017 Adobe Premiere Pro CC Keyboards Shortcut Cheat Sheet
2017 Adobe Premiere Pro Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet

Height of tracks

Another shortcut relating to the timeline is using the ALT and the plus and minus buttons to increase the height of the audio tracks and using CONTROL or COMMAND on Mac to increase the height of the video tracks. This shortcut is very important when manipulating keyframes in the timeline as it allows you to use the pen tool to add new keyframes instead of using the effect controls.

Cutting through footage

In some cases, you may be working with multiple tracks of video for multi-cam projects. If you were to cut through these tracks individually using the blade tool, you would be wasting valuable edit time when you could use one shortcut. The ‘Add edit to all tracks’ shortcut is an asset for saving time and can be used with the default shortcut of Control-Shift-K however I suggest re-mapping it to something that is closer to how your hand is positioned on the keyboard while editing.

Moving through your timeline

To quickly move through your footage, the J, K and L keys can be used. J to move backwards, K to pause and L to move forwards. Each time J or L is pressed, your playback speed will move along with it. A less used but helpful shortcut is to apply default transition, which can be helpful for creating audio fades without creating keyframes. To set your default transition, go to the effects bin and right-click on any video or audio transition and click set as default.

Thank you for reading my blog post, if you have any feedback or questions, please email me and I'd love to have a conversation with you! This article was written on September 25, 2020.