Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most professional video editing software available. It’s an awesome video editor and one that we use here at Primal Video as well.
Given that it’s so advanced, it can be difficult to learn how to edit videos with Premiere Pro at first. Which is why we’ve created this complete Adobe Premiere Pro tutorial for beginners! You’ll be creating videos with Premiere in no time.
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As well as a full walkthrough of the software, we’ll go over all the top Premiere Pro video editing tricks and techniques that can dramatically improve your editing game.
Here’s exactly what we’ll cover:
- How to Get Started with Premiere Pro
- How to Import Footage into Adobe Premiere
- How to Create an Editing Timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro
- How to Edit Videos in Premiere Pro
- How to Add B-Roll in Adobe Premiere Pro
- How to Add Titles in Adobe Premiere Pro
- How to Add Transitions & Effects in Adobe Premiere Pro
- How to Add Music in Premiere Pro
- How to Adjust Volume Levels in Premiere Pro
- How to Color Grade in Premiere Pro
- How to Export in Premiere Pro
Let’s get started.
How to Get Started With Premiere Pro
Create a Project
When you first open up Premiere you’ll see a list of all your recent projects in the middle. If you want to continue working on an existing project, this is where you’ll find it.
To create a new project, click on New Project in the top left corner.
Then give your project a name and specify where you want it to be saved.
You’ll notice there are three primary tabs at the top of the screen: Import, Edit and Export. We’re currently in the Import section. As we continue through the editing process, we’ll progress through these tabs.
Adjust Import Settings
On the right side of the screen you’ll see the Import Settings window. This is where you can adjust the settings for:
- Copy media: This will copy all media and files to the same location you just created your project in. If you leave this unticked, the media and files will remain solely on your computer where they currently are.
- New bin: This creates a new bin or folder for any of the footage you want to import.
- Create new sequence: This will create a new video sequence which is essentially your edit or your timeline.
We’re going to leave all of these unticked. Why? So we can show you how to set everything up correctly. Then you’ll know that you’re using the right settings for your footage and the type of video that you’re making.
Now hit Create in the bottom right corner. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see that you’ve been moved over to the Edit tab in the top menu.
Adobe Premiere Pro Interface
Here’s a quick rundown of the Premiere Pro interface:
- Source window (top left window): View any source video clips before adding them to your project
- Playback window (top right window): Preview your editing project
- Editing timeline (bottom right window): Where all of the editing happens
- Audio bars (bottom right of the editing timeline): This is a visual representation of how loud your music and sound effects are
- Editing tool panel (left of the editing timeline): Where the core editing tools and features are located
- Project window (bottom right window): All media and assets that you’ve imported are located here (you can also access the Media Browser and Effects in this area)
PRO TIP: If at any point you want to return the layout to the original layout, go to Window in the top menu bar and then Workspaces and select Reset to Saved Layout.
How to Import Footage into Adobe Premiere
There are three different ways you can import footage:
- Go to the Project window and make sure Project is selected at the top. Right click and select Import…
- In the top menu go to File, then Import…
- Open a Finder or Explorer window and drag your footage into the Project window
Use one of those methods to bring in all of your files for this video project.
How to Create an Editing Timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro
The next step is to create an editing timeline or a ‘sequence’ as Premiere calls it. To make sure everything is set up correctly, find your primary footage in the Project window and drag it onto the timeline.
Doing this creates a sequence. It uses the exact format, frame rate and settings from your primary footage to set up the sequence.
This is awesome because you don’t need to manually configure everything and you know that the settings are an exact match.
After you’ve dropped your primary footage in, go back to the Project window and you’ll see that the sequence has been added to the list. Rename this ‘Edit V1’ and drag it out of the current folder down the bottom so it’s on its own.
Make sure you save your project by going to File and selecting Save.
How to Edit Videos in Premiere Pro
Before we start trimming, let’s take a closer look at the layers on the timeline.
Zoom in on the start of your timeline by hitting the + button on the keyboard. Alternatively you can use the slider along the bottom of the timeline to zoom in and out.
On the left of the timeline you’ll see the video layers are named V1, V2 and V3. V1 is the primary track where your primary footage is, and the others will be empty right now. We’ll add stuff to them later on.
Below the video layers are the audio layers (A1, A2, and A3).
You can add more layers and you can also make changes to them.
Here are the other settings you’ll find on the video and audio layers:
- Eye icon: Hides that layer so it won’t be seen on-screen
- Mute: Turns off the volume
- Record: You can record a voiceover to go on that track
Now we can start trimming down the primary footage to remove all the mistakes and anything you don’t want in your finished video.
There are a few different tools you can use to do this: the handle tool, split tool and ripple edit tool.
Editing Using the Handle tool:
- Drag the playhead (the vertical blue line on the timeline) to where you want your footage to start
- Hover your cursor over the beginning of the clip and it will change to a handle icon
- Click and drag the handle icon to the playhead (where you want the clip to begin)
- You will have some empty space where that footage was, so click and drag the clip back to the beginning
PRO TIP: Press Command/Control Z if you need to undo anything.
Editing Using the Split or Cut Tool:
- Drag the playhead to where you want your footage to start
- Press Command/Control and K on the keyboard to cut the clip where the playhead is placed
- Now you’ll have two clips – you can either press Delete and then move it forward like we mentioned in the previous example or you can use a Ripple delete (to do this, select the clip with the bad footage and on Windows press Shift and Delete, on Mac press Shift, Function and Delete OR Option and Delete)
- This deletes the selected clip and moves the remaining clip forward to the start of the timeline
Editing Using Ripple Edit
This will remove remove the beginning or end of a clip with one keyboard button:
- Align the playhead where you want the clip to begin
- If you want to remove all of the footage to the left of the playhead, press Q on the keyboard
- If you want to remove footage to the right of the playback head, press W on the keyboard
Ripple edit is by far the quickest way to edit your footage but you’ll find these different methods come in handy for different things. You’ll likely find yourself using a combination of all of them.
Now go through and use these tools to remove any footage you don’t want in your final video.
PRO TIP: You can pick up and rearrange the clips to build out your story in the best way possible.
How to Add B-Roll in Adobe Premiere Pro
Locate your B-roll footage in the Project window. You can add in the whole clip by clicking and dragging it onto the timeline.
If you just want to use a particular part of that clip in your video, double click on it so you can see it in the preview window. Scrub through the footage to find where you want it to begin.
Press the Inpoint icon to mark the beginning and press the Outpoint icon to mark where you want it to end.
Then click and drag that clip from the window onto the timeline. This will bring both video and audio onto the timeline. If you only want video, select the Video Only button when you drag the footage.
You can also edit b-roll clips just like primary footage clips if you’d rather edit them on the timeline rather than in the preview window. And you can Mute the layer if you don’t want the related audio.
Now bring in all of the b-roll footage throughout your video project.
PRO TIP: Storyblocks and Artgrid are the sites we use & recommend for awesome b-roll footage.
How to Add Titles in Adobe Premiere Pro
Go to the beginning of your project on the timeline. Press the T icon in the Editing tool panel. Then you can draw a text box in the Playback window.
Start typing and you’ll see that this generates a title clip in the timeline (it’s a pink clip). Double click the pink text clip to open up all of the text customization tools.
You can change the font, color, alignment, opacity, etc. To move the text, make adjustments using the four-headed arrow icon under Align and Transform.
Once you’re happy with the text, you can save that styling to use for future tiles. Under Styles press Create Style… and give the style a name. Then next time you can draw a text box, type your text and then select that style to immediately have the same styling.
You can edit and adjust the length of text clips using the same tools we covered earlier. Now go ahead and add in all the titles or text you want in your video.
How to Add Transitions & Effects in Adobe Premiere Pro
In the Project window select Effects at the top menu. Go to Video Transitions and then Dissolve.
There’s a ton of transitions in there to choose from but some of them can make your video seem cheap or amateurish. So we recommend sticking to basic ones like dip to white, cross dissolve or film dissolve.
Let’s say you wanted to add a fade transition to the text clip:
- Click and drag the Cross Dissolve transition onto the start of the text clip
- The transition will appear as a green rectangle inside the clip
- Adjust the length by dragging the side of the clip
- Click and drag a Cross Dissolve transition onto the end of the clip so that the title fades out
- Adjust the length of the end transition
You can use these transitions in between primary footage clips as well. Simple drag it onto the cut between two clips and it will fade out on the first clip and fade in on the second clip.
How to Add a Zoom In Effect
For videos where the primary footage clips all look really similar (e.g. our YouTube videos!), we don’t recommend using a transition. Instead, we recommend zooming in on one of the clips so that it looks like it was shot from a different camera angle.
This is a great way to break up the content for your viewers.
To do this, select one of the clips and in the Source window press Effect Controls at the top. Then go to Scale and increase the number to zoom in. Don’t go overboard – this is a subtle effect.
If you have someone’s face in the shot, it’s important to make sure the eyes are lined up in both shots. Otherwise the transition can be a bit jarring.
How to Adjust the Video Speed
You can also speed up, slow down your clips or even play them backwards! To do this, right click on a clip and select Speed/Duration… Then make any adjustments in that window.
Now go through and add in any transitions, effects, zooms or speed adjustments to your video. The next step is to add music or sound effects to your video.
How to Add Music in Premiere Pro
Go to the Project window and locate the music you imported at the beginning. If you haven’t imported your music already, right click in the Project window and select Import… Then you can bring in any audio files.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have any music for your video, we recommend checking out Artlist or Epidemic Sound.
Click and drag your audio file from the Project window onto the timeline. It will appear on one of the Audio tracks. You can edit this clip using all the same tools we covered earlier.
Now let’s adjust the volume levels.
How to Adjust Volume Levels in Premiere Pro
You always want to adjust the primary audio first and the background music or sound effects second. So first up, mute your music and sound effects so that we can focus on the primary audio.
To do this, simply press the Mute button next to the Audio track.
Then go to the beginning of your project and press play. Pay attention to the audio bars to the right of the timeline.
The audio levels should be in the green and going into the yellow at loud points. It should never go into the red. If your volume goes up into the red zone, it means the volume is too loud – it will be distorted and sound bad.
You can adjust the volume on a clip-by-clip basis or you can adjust the volume of an entire audio track.
To adjust the volume of an individual clip:
- Click on the clip, then in the Source window go to Effect Controls
- Go down to Volume and press the little arrow to expand the controls
- Adjust the dB (decibel) number next to Level until it’s at a point where it’s not hitting the red zone
To adjust the volume levels of the entire audio track:
- Make adjustments on the first clip using the above method
- Right click on Volume inside the Effect Controls window and select Copy
- Zoom out on the timeline and draw a box over all remaining primary audio clips to select them
- Go to Edit in the top menu bar and select Paste
- Those volume levels will be applied to that entire track
Another way you can adjust the volume of an entire audio track is using the Audio Track Mixer:
- Go to Window in the top menu bar and select Audio Track Mixer
- If you want to make adjustments to Audio track 1, go to A1 and adjust the volume levels there
Once the primary audio is set, we can use these same tools to set the music levels. First of all, unmute the background audio and then you can adjust the volume.
We usually set background music to between -20 and -35 but this will change depending on the specific track and the type of video you’re creating. Make sure you listen through and find what volume level works best for your video.
Now let’s color grade or color correct the video footage.
How to Color Grade in Premiere Pro
Let’s start by color correcting the first clip and then if all of your clips are the same, you can just apply those effects to the remaining clips.
Select your first clip, then go to Window in the top menu and select Lumetri Color. There are a ton of settings in here that allow you to really dial in the look and feel of your video.
In the Lumetri window on the right, go to Creative and next to Look you’ll find a bunch of different filters. You can start by finding one of these that matches what you’re after and adjusting from there.
Or you can simply make adjustments in the Basic Correction panel. We recommend adjusting the:
- White balance or Temperature
PRO TIP: If you want to see what the original shot looks like, untick the Basic Correction box.
Now if you want to apply those color effects to the rest of your clips, go to the Effect Controls window and right click on Lumetri Color. Press Copy and draw a box over the rest of the primary footage. Go to Edit in the top menu and select Paste.
You can use these same tools to color grade your b-roll footage as well.
Then once you’re happy with your project, it’s time to export!
How to Export in Premiere Pro
Go to the Export tab at the top of the program. Just like with everything in Premiere, there are a ton of options available.
There are presets for YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and other social media platforms. Even though these work really well, we recommend saving out your project as a regular file and then manually uploading to social media.
This is because we think it’s a good idea to preview and check the video on multiple devices to ensure it’s all good before it goes off to YouTube.
So go to Media File and select a file name and location. Usually these default settings are fine as is because they’re based on your project settings which we set at the beginning.
But if you do need to customize all of the export settings you can definitely do that here.
Then all you need to do is press Export and your file will save out.
Now You Know How to Edit in Premiere Pro
There you have it – the complete beginner’s tutorial to editing videos in Adobe Premiere Pro!
If you want to download and print out the exact step-by-step video editing process we walked through in this guide, check out the Primal Video Method. It’ll help you edit videos faster and more efficiently no matter what video editing software you’re using.
When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!
Recommended Gear & Resources
Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!