Adobe Premiere: Basic Editing in the Timeline

In this article, we are going to learn about:

  • Selecting clips

  • Grouping clips

  • About snapping

  • Dragging clips

  • Lift overwrite edits

  • Extract overwrite edits

  • Lift insert edits

  • Extract insert edits

  • Moving clips to a new track

  • Track targeting in the Timeline

  • Deleting clips

  • Removing gaps in the Timeline

  • Splitting and replacing clips

  • Linking and unlinking clips

  • Synching clips

  • Working with interactive markers in the Timeline

Selecting Clips

In order to edit a clip in the Timeline, you must select it.   It is the same as when you work in MS Word or Excel, and you select text or data to edit it. 

To select a single clip in the Timeline, click the clip you want to select.

You will see the border of that clip is highlighted.

To select just the audio or video of a clip, Alt+Click on the audio or video track. Again, the border will be highlighted.

In the screenshot below, the audio is selected.

If you want to select multiple clips, press the Shift key as you click on the clips that you want to select.

If you want to select all clips that are in multiple tracks, go to the Tools panel. Select the Track Select tool . Next, click on a clip. All clips in all tracks are selected. You will see your mouser pointer turn into a double arrow that looks a lot like this:

You can also use this tool to select a single track by pressing Shift+Click.

NOTE:  Your version of Premiere Pro may require you to Shift+Click in order to select multiple tracks. If your mouse pointer only turns into one arrow when you select the Track Select tool, you need to press Shift+Click to select multiple tracks.

Grouping Clips

You can select multiple clips, then group them together so you can apply edits to all of the clips in the group at once.   You can also apply effects to grouped clips. However, you can alter the effects of the clips in the group without ungrouping them and altering the effects on each individual clip. 

To group clips, select the clips in the Timeline, then right click and select Group.

To ungroup clicks, select a clip in the group, then right click and choose Ungroup, as shown below.

To select clips within a group, Alt+Click on the clip you want to select, or Shift+Alt+Click on multiple clips.

About Snapping

Snapping is something that happens automatically if it is enabled.  It works whenever you drag a clip along a track (horizontally).   The edges of the clip will snap to and align with the content on that and other tracks. This makes it easy to align the edge of a title to the beginning of a clip. 

To enable snapping, click the Snap button on the Timeline. It looks like this: 

Dragging Clips

Now we are going to learn how to move a clip on the track by dragging it.  

Dragging a clip in the timeline is a little more involved than simply dragging a clip from the Project panel. This is because you have a few things to consider, such as what happens to the space where the clip used to be.

Let's discuss all of this as we talk about dragging clips.

Lift Edits

When you drag a clip away from one location, one of two things can happen.   The first is you can leave a gap.   This is called a lift edit

Extract Edits

When you drag a clip away from one location on a track, you can also perform an extract edit  which closes the gap by shifting all content to the left. Of course, the shift occurs only with content that came after to the clip. By default, all synced tracks are also shifted.

Overwrite Edits

An overwrite edit  deals with where you place the clip.   In an overwrite edit, the clip that you have dragged overwrites or replaces the content at that location.   In other words, if you drag Clip A and place it where Clip F currently resides, Clip A will replace Clip F. 

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Adobe Premiere course?

Insert Edits

When you do an insert edit , the content is pushed back to make room for the clip that you have dragged and dropped. This effects all synced tracks as well. 

Lift Overwrite Edits

To do a lift overwrite edit, click on the clip that you want to drag. 

Next, drag the clip to the location where you want to place it, then release the pointer.

There will be a gap left where the clip was originally located.

Extract Overwrite Edits

To perform an extract overwrite edit, hold down the Control key on your keyboard and move your mouse over the clip that you want to drag. 

Drag the clip.

Release the Control key.

Release your mouse button at the location where you want to place the clip. 

Lift Insert Edits

To perform a lift insert edit, click the clip that you want to move.  

Drag the clip to the new location.

Press the Control key.

Release the mouse pointer when you get the clip to the new location. 

Extract Insert Edits

Hold down the Control key and move the mouse over the clip you want to move.

Drag the clip, then release the mouse when you get the clip to the desired location.

Moving Clips to a New Track

You can also move clips from one track to another.

To do this, click the clip that you want to move, then drag the clip up or down to the track where you want to place it. 

If you want to move a clip from one track to the same location on another track, drag the clip upward and above the last video track (or downward for audio). 

Release your mouse.   A new track is created using the clip.

Track Targeting

Using track targeting, you can do a lift edit by marking In and Out points in your track on the Timeline, then click the Lift button in the Program Monitor. It will lift the video from all tracks based on the In and Out region. However, since it is a lift, it will leave a gap. 

If you want to exclude a track from the lift, click Toggle Track Targeting off by using the Toggle Track Targeting button for the track you want excluded. Toggle Track Targeting is circled below.

When Toggle Track Targeting is turned off, the button is dark grey. It is a light grey when it is turned on.

Deleting Clips

To delete a clip on the Timeline, select the clip or clips.

Right click, then select Clear.

Getting Rid of Gaps in the Timeline

As we learned earlier, certain types of edits can leave gaps in your Timeline. At some point in your video production, you will want to find those gaps, then remove them.

To find gaps in the Timeline, there are several things you can do.

If you want to find gaps before the playhead, go to Sequence>Go to Gap>Previous in Sequence. 

To find gaps after the playhead, go to Sequence>Go to Gap>Next in Sequence.

To find the next gap in a track, go to Sequence>Go to Gap>Next in Track, or go to Sequence>Go to Gap>Previous in Track to find the previous gap in a track.

Once you found a gap, you can ripple delete the track. 

First, deselect Sync Lock so the changes are not made to all tracks. 

Next, select the gap that you want to delete.

Right click on the gap, then choose Ripple Delete.   A ripple delete will delete the gap and move all subsequent content to the left.

The gap is then closed.

Replacing Clips

If you want to replace one clip in the Timeline with another clip, display the frame that you want to use as the replacement on the Source Monitor.

Mark the clip that you will be inserting as the replacement with In and Out points if necessary.

Display the clip that you want to replace in the Program Monitor.   Make sure the playhead in the Timeline is moved to the frame you want to replace if you want to do a Match Edit.

Right click on the clip in the Timeline and select Replace with Clip>Source Monitor, Match Frame. When you choose Match Frame, the click is inserted from the Source Monitor. Its location matches the playhead location in the Source Monitor to the playhead in the Timeline and Program Monitor.

Splitting Clips

When you split clips, you take one clip and turn it into two. Each clip has access to all frames in the source clip; however, they have different In and Out points.

If you split a clip that has audio and video, both tracks will be split. In addition, you can split multiple clips. We are going to learn how to split clips using the Razor tool, as well as with menu commands.

To split a clip with the Razor tool, click the Razor tool in the Tools panel. It looks like this: 

Your mouse pointer will convert to the Razor tool.

If you do not want to split both the audio and video tracks for the clip, press Alt to split one of the other.

Hover your mouse pointer over the clip you want to split. You will see a vertical line, as shown below. 

Click the split the clip.

If you want to split multiple clips, press the Shift key after clicking on the Razor tool. 

Next, hover your mouse pointer over the clip in the Timeline. The vertical line will appear over all clips in all tracks.

Clip to split the clips. All clips will be split, not including those with locked tracks, but including those with targeting disabled.

To split clips using menu commands, move the playhead to the location where you want to create the split.

Go to Sequence>Add Edit.

All clips will be split except for those with locked tracks or targeting disabled.

Linking Clips

Files that contain audio and video are considered linked clips in Premiere Pro. The audio and video stays together if the clip is moved or edited. 

If you want to unlink the audio and video, select the clip, right click on it, then choose Unlink. You can also go to Clip>Unlink.

To relink the audio and video together, select the audio and video clips, then right click and choose Link. You can also go to Clip>Link.

Synchronizing Clips

If your audio and video tracks are out of sync, click an empty space in the Timeline so that no clips are selected.

Next, select the red timecode counter for either the audio or video track.

Right click, then select:

  • Move into Sync if you want to move the track you selected into sync with the other track. With this, a clip could be overwritten by the one that you move. 

  • Slip into Sync if you do not want to move the clip, but instead want to slip the clip to sync. This can change the content of the clip.

Working with Markers in the Timeline

There are two categories of markers in Premiere Pro: comment and interactive.

Comment markers are used to basically make notes for you and your production team as you work on the project.   They will not be part of the actual video.

Interactive markers have a function in the video even after it is created. Interactive markers include chapter markers, web links, and Flash cue points.  

  • Chapter markers create chapter points for DVDs that are created using Encore.

  • Web link markers add a URL that the video links to when it is played in QuickTime.

  • Flash Cue Points markers will trigger events when the clips are played in Adobe Flash.

To add a marker in the Timeline, go to the location where you want to add a marker by moving the playhead. Click the Marker button. It looks like this: 

Next, right click on the marker and select the type of marker that you want to add.

We are going to add a Chapter Marker.

Enter the name of the chapter and any comments you want to add. 

Click OK.

There will be a red chapter marker on the Timeline.

NOTE:  Flash Cue Points markers are orange. Web Link markers are green.