How Video Editing Works

Running Adobe Premiere

Once you have installed Adobe Premiere on your PC or Mac, (see this page to download a free demo version), start the program. The first thing that you will see is this dialog:

You can click OK here and move on to the next step, but if you'd like to understand what this dialog is talking about, here's a quick description:


  • This dialog is a complex way of letting you tell Premiere how your camera records raw footage. There are two parts to the equation -- the video resolution and the audio sampling rate.
  • If you have a camcorder that uses MiniDV or DV-CAM tapes, then your camera is taking images at 720 x 480 resolution. You would choose from one of the first two blocks (DV - NTSC or DV - PAL) depending on whether your camera is NTSC or PAL. The United States and Canada use NTSC, and Europe and Asia use PAL.
  • Then you have to pick whether you shot your raw footage using standard format or widescreen (16:9) format.
  • Then you have to choose the audio sampling rate. The easiest thing to do is look in your camera's manual, but 48 KHz seems to be standard for most MiniDV camcorders.

If you are using a MiniDV camera in the United States and you are shooting standard rather than widescreen, then the default that Premiere chooses is correct. Otherwise, choose an appropriate option for your situation.

Once you get past the Project Settings dialog, you come to the main working screen of Premiere, which looks something like this:

The main working screen for Adobe Premiere

There are five different areas on the screen that are important.

  • The Project Area The project area The project area keeps track of all of the different AVI/MOV files containing the raw footage that you are using to create your movie. In this illustration, the project area has had five different files imported into one bin. Each file is a piece of raw footage: one of a cougar, one of an elephant, and so on. A bin is just like a folder -- it is a collection of things.
  • The Monitor Area The monitor area The monitor area has two video windows. The left window, called the Source window, let's you look at different AVI files so that you can identify the IN and OUT points for the clips you want to use. The right window, called the Program window, lets you view your movie as it develops on the timeline. Both have standard controls to play, stop, repeat and so on.
  • The Timeline Area The timeline area: Note that your timeline view may be different. Right-click on the timeline to change the preferences. The timeline area is where you assemble audio and video clips into your final movie. This timeline initially has room for two video tracks and three audio tracks, but it can handle dozens if you like.
  • The Transitions Area The transitions area The transitions area lets you choose different transitions so you can drop them on the timeline.
  • The Navigator Area The navigator area The navigator area lets you see your whole project at a glance, no matter how big it gets. It also lets you set the zoom level in the timeline area.

Let's look at the process of editing a video with Adobe Premiere.