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Premiere Pro Tips

Whether you’re editing an interview or the next Oscar worthy motion picture, when you’re dealing with an editing process, there needs to be a proper and efficient way to go from step A to Z. This process, method, procedure, or whatever you’d like to call it can be nebulous at times. Throughout my day to day editing, I’ve found that this process can alter and shift if I’m editing a commercial or a short film, sports or dramatic subject matter, or an interview or a feature length. However, even though there are many variables involved, there have always been a few constants that, when properly managed, have helped me go a long way. I’d like to share these with you.


I use Premiere Pro CC 2015 but the philosophy behind these tips can be applied to your NLE of choice.


Set your Drives Efficiently

For the majority of you editors out there, your hard drive situation is your biggest bottleneck. Here is how I set my computer up to maximize the throughput of the media:

  1. OS and editing program on a SSD
  2. Working files on a hard drive with at least a READ throughput of 500 MB/s (SSD/HDD*/RAID) * >2 Caviar Blacks in RAID
  3. A SSD scratch disk for all scratch files (As high READ/WRITE throughput as you can get)
  4. A hard drive with fast WRITE throughput for exports (SSD)


Forgetting about budget for a second, the fastest setup you can build, the better. With a setup like this you’re able to reduce as much overhead on all the steps involved in the editing process (ingestion, media cache creation, export, etc.) so that you’re able to have a smooth editing experience. All of these hard drives should meet the 6Gbps standard to maximize efficiency.

Oh, and how can I forget. Backups, backups, backups. Make sure this machine has a double backup of both your working files and exports. Double meaning at least have 2 hard drives that are separated and placed at 2 separate physical locations. This will, hopefully, ensure the avoidance of the worst-case-scenario.


Proper Sequence Settings

If you do your own colouring and final delivery like me, you’ll find that this tip will save you a lot of time especially when it comes to revisions. We’ve all been there, you finish colouring your edit and your sequence needs to be rendered to play back smoothly, going from a red bar to green. You render your sequence, you like it or do a couple of changes in colouring, head to export and you see you have to wait the same amount of time you’ve already waited around to render. Well, no more.

The answer to your angst is to set the Video Preview setting, under sequence settings, the same as your export setting. In the media export window, you’re able to select ‘Use video previews’ to drastically improve the export times. For example, if I know I am going to be exporting to ProRes Proxy I set the Video Previews to ProRes Proxy. When I’m now rendering the sequence, the scratch disk will host ProRes Proxy generated video preview files that can be re-used to export later on, greatly reducing the time needed to export. And since you are going from the scratch disk to an export disk, you are also reducing the amount of overhead if you were reading and writing from the same hard disk.

And for you purists out there, at least use this tip for the revision phase and you can turn it off for final delivery.


Duplicate your Sequence to Mark your Progress

I hold this tip dear to my heart. I always duplicate my current working sequence to mark a shift in my editing process. For example, I always start with curation of the material, move onto story building, and then second level curation, followed up by sound design, third level curation, etc.. For all of those steps in the editing process, I can recall back to them in order to have access to my train of thought at that certain point in time. This is very helpful for when you’re dealing with clients that would like to see a different edit with different takes. I also append the date at which the sequence was duplicated to not lose my place in spacetime.

Duplicating sequences is important as well to mark the progress of different versions of the edit. There’s nothing worse than submitting, let’s say, version 5 to the client, and then later hearing that the client wants version 4 but version 4 has been overwritten with version 5.


Redundant Project Files

This one is pretty simple, you can use the service you prefer but I use Dropbox to store my project files to always have redundancy of my work. Even with triple redundancy, if I am to lose the project file housing my work, that is countless hours and dollars lost. With Dropbox Pro I have access to unlimited versions of the project file in case I need to harken back to a previous edit. Also, in the event that the project file becomes corrupted, I can go back to a version still intact.


Take Breaks

What we do is art. I always find that I’m most efficient and creative once I come back to an edit rested, relaxed, and clear minded. By taking a break and shifting focus and perspective you’re able to give your mind a chance to gain insight into your current state of editing. You’re then able to objectively look at your edit and see if you’re going in the right direction or not. If there’s no need to rush take your time to give yourself a chance to explore all possibilities the edit can take.



These tips are by no means the most important tips: your situation might lead to other priorities in your editing process. If so, leave a comment or write me a line at as I love sharing knowledge. ∎

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