Adobe Premiere: Importing and Using Media

Media can all be incorporated into the project you are working on. Premiere Pro gives you several tools that you can use to import, edit, organize, and preview all these different types of media as well.  

In this article, we are going to learn about:

  • The various tools for importing media

  • Using the Media Browser

  • Importing video from a camcorder 

About Importing Media into Premiere Pro

There are several ways that you can import media into Premiere Pro.   The way that you choose will depend on the type of media that you wish to import. 

In this section, we are going to discuss the various tools available to you, then teach you how to use the methods that do not require access to other Adobe programs since all students will not be familiar with these programs or have access to them. However, if you use these other Adobe programs, you are be able to import from them. 

When you wish to import media into Premiere Pro, you have the following options:

  • You can use the Media Browser for file-based content that you need to preview before you import. 

  • Dynamic Link is used when you want to import from After Effects. 

  • Adobe Bridge can be used if you are familiar with Bridge and have used it before. 

  • The Capture panel can be used when you are capturing video from a DV or HDV camcorder. 

  • Adobe Prelude copies content from your camcorder to your hard drive, then even transcode it to a different format. You can import from Prelude. 

  • You can also drag and drop any content into the Project panel or Timeline.  

  • You can go to File>Import , then locate the content to import.

Using the Media Browser

The Media Browser is a panel that is located at the bottom left side of the workspace in CS6.   In CC, go to Window>Media Browser to display the panel, as shown below.

In the Media Browser, search the location where your media clip is stored. As you can see in the snapshot above, the locations to be searched appear on the left side of the panel.

After you find the media clip:

  • Double click the clip to play it in the Source Monitor, or click on the clip and press:

  • L on the keyboard to play the clip.

  • Press L several times to fast forward.

  • Press K to stop playing.

  • Press J to play the clip backwards.

  • Press J multiple times to rewind.

  • You can also drag the slider to drag through the clip.

  • You can also hover scrub by hovering your mouse over the video and dragging through the clip. Try this in the Project panel, which we will introduce to you in a minute.

NOTE:  These shortcuts will work in the Media Browser and the Project panel. 

To import a clip, right click and select Import. You can also go to File>Import from Media Browser.

Next, drag the clip to the Project tab, then into the Project panel window, as shown below.

Importing from Camcorders

In order to use Premiere Pro to capture video from camcorders and video recorders, you are going to need some hardware to connect the recording device to your computer. Once you have the hardware, you can capture several formats using Premiere Pro.

About the Hardware You are Need

To connect your camcorder to your computer, you will need an IEEE 1394 port on your computer. You can add one with a PCI card if you need to. This port is also known as FireWire. You will also need the appropriate cable to connect the camcorder to the port on your computer. For our purposes, we are going to assume that you have the port and cables that you will need to connect your camcorder to your computer.

Connecting the Camcorder to the Computer

Once you have the hardware in place, it is time to connect it.   Turn the computer off before you begin. The camcorder should also be off.   Connect the two devices, then turn your computer back on. Once the computer is up and running, turn the camcorder on.   Set it to playback mode. This may be labeled VCR or Play mode.

Once you connect your camcorder to your computer, you should be made aware of the connection by an indicator of some sort on the camcorder screen.   This is usually "HDV/DV In" or a similar message that you are see on the screen. 

If you do not, there may be a hardware issue with the cable, or you may have a bad connection. You can go to Start>Devices and Printers in Windows 7, or Windows Key+C>Settings>Control Panel>Devices and Printers in Windows 8 to see if your computer is recognizing the camcorder. 

Once the connection is made, you are ready to start capturing. This part is pretty easy, but there are just a few things you need to know:

1.     You can control the camcorder using the Premiere Pro interface, which allows you to use batch capture if you want.

2.     Your camcorder records timecode on the tape. This includes time and date information. Premiere Pro uses that data to pick out individual clips. By enabling Scene Detect in the Capture panel, Premiere Pro captures each clip individually instead of capturing them all in one file. You would just have to manually separate those later, so this saves time.

Working with the Capture Panel

Open the Capture panel by going to File>Capture or pressing F5 on your keyboard.   

As you can see in the above screenshot, we do not have a camcorder connected. However, let's explore the Capture panel and learn how to use it.

Start out by clicking the Settings tab on the right side of the panel.

Select the capture format that you want. Click the Edit button to change the format.

Click OK.

In the Capture panel, go to the Device Control section. DV/HDV Device Control should be selected.

Click the Options button (pictured above). 

You will now see the DV/HDV Device Control Settings dialogue box.

By Check Status, it should say Online.   This means you can control your camcorder using Premiere Pro.

If it says Offline and your camcorder is connected to your computer, make sure that all the information shown in the dialogue box is correct. 

If the status shows as Online, click the OK button.

Using the Controls in the Capture Panel

Once you have device control in Premiere Pro, you can use the controls in the Capture panel to control your camcorder.  

These controls are pictured below. We have labeled them for you so you know what each one does.

Using the Timecode

If you want to seek a certain time on the tape, go to the bottom left corner of the panel. 

Click the Timecode. This makes it active.

Enter the timecode you want. Use only numbers. Do not enter colons or semicolons.

Premiere Pro will then cue the tape to that frame.

Capturing Audio and Video using Premiere Pro

To capture audio and video using Premiere Pro's controls, go to File>Capture to open the Capture panel. 

Look at the top right of the panel. Click on the Logging tab.

Type the name of the tape in the Tape Name field.

Type the name of the clip in the Clip Name field. (If you capture multiple clips with screen detection, Premiere Pro will increment the file names for you.)

Net, click the Settings tab at the top right of the Capture panel.

Go to the Capture Locations section, as pictured below.

In this section, verify that the video you shoot will be stored in the proper location. You are want to verify the same for the audio. 

Next, let's look at the Capture panel in its entirety again. 

Let's click on the Scene Detection button to enable Screen Detection. 

You are now ready to start recording!

Click the Record button to record your video. 

To stop recording, push the Stop button. You can also push Esc on your keyboard.

Once you stop recording, the Saved Captured Clip dialogue box opens:

Enter the requested information, then click OK.

NOTE:  Click  in the upper right hand corner of the Capture panel to select if you want to capture audio, video, or both if you are capturing from an analog source.

Importing Images

To import images from your hard disk, go to File>Import. 

Find the image that you want to import. Click on it to select it, then click Open.

You can then find the image in the Project panel.

Double click on it to view it in the source monitor.

You can also drag and drop images into a sequence in the Timeline. 

Managing Your Media

The media you use in your projects can take up a lot of disk space on your computer, especially if you are using a notebook. At some point, you will want to clean up your media files and eliminate ones you do not need, all the while being sure you are not deleting something important to your project. 

For that reason, let's cover the four types of media files in Premiere Pro. This will help you when it comes time to clean up and recover some disk space.

1.     Original media. This is the media that you import into a project. They take up the most disk space, so you are want to know where they are stored so you can delete them when the project is finished.

2.     Media cache files. Whenever you import media using Premiere Pro, the program creates unique version of the media for faster preview and rendering. This is especially true for audio, which will have a .cfa extension. If you want, you can control where these files are stored in Media Preferences so that you know where to go to delete them. Simply go to Edit>Preferences>Media (as shown below).   Click the Browse button to change the location. 

3.     Media cache database. We already told you that Premiere Pro creates media cache files. However, it also creates a database that has links to the cached files it shares with Media Encoder, After Effects, and Encore. These file are smaller than media cache files, but can still be removed after you are finished with a project by going to Media Preferences and clicking the Clean button (shown below). However, you have to delete the original media and the media cache files first.