Pro Tips, Tutorials

5 Timeline Tips for Faster Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro


One of the most exciting parts about video editing is that there’s so much to learn. New tools and techniques are being launched, created, and experimented with on a daily basis. Learning the basics is fairly easy and straightforward; getting past the basics takes a little more dedication and practice. Not only do you save time as your knowledge increases, but you become way more capable of quickly and easily creating stories that are entertaining to watch. Here are five tips for your timeline for faster editing in Adobe Premiere Pro.


1. Nesting Sequences

Similar to pre-composing (pre-comping) in After Effects, nesting sequences is a great way to apply multiple effects to a clip or project, combine separate sections of a project together, or just work with a clean timeline when making adjustments. “Nesting” a sequence means that you’re taking a sequence and putting it into a new sequence, making it act as its own clip. It’s then open to added effects that couldn’t be stacked if it weren’t nested (for example, speed reverse and warp stabilizer can’t work on the same clip).

Select or highlight the clip or section you want to nest, right click and select “Nest.” (It should be green.) You can also drag a full sequence onto the “New > Sequence” button in the viewer. Make sure to change the name of the nested sequence to your preference, and either cut the new sequence on its own, or within the bigger project.


2. Stacking or “Pancake-ing” Timelines

Speed up your edit dramatically and get a full visual display of your footage by putting multiple timelines on top of each other. Just open the sequences you want to access, then pull one on top of the other by dragging the window above/below the other. The standard configuration is to have your selects above your main edit, but use whatever layout you like best. You can then just go between each sequence and grab clips to place on your main edit.

To take it a step further, drag the sequence you want to pull clips from to the source monitor, go to the settings wrench, and click “Open Sequence in Timeline.” Then drag the window as you normally would to your preferred position. Now each sequence has a monitor window, and you can perform insert and overwrite edits directly from the window. Just make sure that when you’re using this method that you set V1 on the correct/preferred patched source, shown by the highlighted blue square on the far left. (V1, V2, A1, A2, etc.)


3. Using Track and Sync Locks

There are times during an edit when you need to move or edit one or more clips without affecting a certain video or audio track. The simple solution is to go over to the padlock to the left of your sequence and click on it. It will then lock that layer in place, preventing any edits. This works well for a lot of situations; the main drawback is that locking and unlocking a track each time you need to make an edit can be a little tedious.

Sync lock is what keeps tracks moving in sync when there are edits made outside their track. It’s on by default. Disabling sync lock allows you to keep clips on selected tracks in a certain place on the timeline as you make edits that move everything else, for instance when using insert edits. It also allows you to modify them, unlike a track lock.


4. Time Remapping

Time remapping is the process of creatively speeding up or slowing down your footage to emphasize certain sections. This works best when you have higher frame rate footage, so you’re getting smooth slow and fast motion. Right-click on your video’s fx badge and go to Time-Remapping > Speed. Now you’ll have a rubber band that adjusts the clip’s speed as you move it up and down. Up is faster, up to 1,000%, and down is slower, down to 1%. The clip will become longer or shorter as you drag the rubber band.

You can also create keyframes by control or command-clicking on the rubber band. Drag the sections between the keyframes to your preferred speed and play it back to see if you like the sudden start and stop of the remapping. If you want to make the ramps more gradual, click and drag the keyframe apart, creating a ramp. You can make it even more gradual by dragging the bezier handles on the blue keyframe between the keyframe handles.

5. Adjustment Layers

Adjustment layers allow you to apply effects to your clip without having to copy/paste or use master clip effects directly on your footage. Create a new adjustment layer in your project window by clicking the “New Item” button, then placing the layer over everything you want the effect to be applied to. Everything underneath the adjustment layer will be affected. Your adjustment layer can have multiple effects on it, and you’re able to have multiple adjustment layers with different effects applied. You can even add a transform effect to an adjustment layer, like scale, position, or rotation, and then animate it over a section of clips.

This works great for bulk-applying effects like vignettes or color grades, and even allows you to create multiple adjustment layers to turn on/off if you have different uses for the footage or effects you want to try. For instance, if you want to use the crop effect to create different aspect ratios to see which one you like better.

Once you get acquainted with all the shortcuts and techniques that are possible just within the Premiere Pro timeline, you can start cutting (pun intended) lots of time off your edits and become a more efficient storyteller. Then you can start researching all the tips for other aspects of editing in the time you’ve saved. It’s a perfect circle. And speaking of your timeline, don’t forget to try the free Pond5 Add-On for Adobe Premiere Pro!

Have any questions about anything covered in this post? Other timeline tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!