How to Edit Your DSLR Movie with the Premiere Elements Timeline

Depending on the view, Premiere Elements shows different amounts of the timeline you can use for digital film editing. In Quick view, the timeline basically shows a thumbnail of the clip. To keep things simple, it doesn’t allow for much else than to assembly-edit your movie.

For your purposes, work in the Expert view so that you'll have all the features at your disposal. Click the Expert view at the top center of the main Premiere Elements window to get the full timeline.

The stock timeline supports three video and subsequent audio tracks along with a narration track and one for soundtrack. Adding media is as simple as clicking the giant billboard that sits in the middle of the interface. You’ll have access to it until you import your first assets into the program. Other than that, it’s a pretty standard timeline.

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The Premiere Elements Organizer

Accessible directly through Premiere Elements, this organizational application shows the audio, video, and image assets available for your movie. It reduces the time needed to search for different audio and video clips. In addition, it allows you to create projects from those assets, as well as share them.

Premiere Elements tools

Premiere Elements offers a lot of cool tools, accessible either through the Tools drop-down menu or a button menu on the timeline. These include the following:

  • Adjustments: Provides a series of tools to adjust the inherent properties of your clip like color, exposure, lighting, and others. And for quick fixes, the Smart Fix tool can easily enhance the quality of your video footage.

  • Audio Mixer: Lets you control the audio of each track.

  • Beat Detect: This feature enables you to adjust your scenes according to the beat of an audio track.

  • Freeze Frame: Lets you to grab a single frame from a video clip to use as a still image in your movie.

  • Movie Menu: Provides several template choices for making your movie a DVD.

  • Narration: Accesses the tools needed to create a voiceover track for your movie.

  • Pan and Zoom: Lets you apply the pan and zoom effects to your movie clip.

  • Smart Mix: This audio mixing control facilitates automatic adjustment of the volume of the background music to enable hearing the foreground dialogs.

  • Smart Trim: Enables you to enter the Smart Trim mode and easily trim clips.

  • Time Remapping: Lets you play sections of your footage at variable speeds, such as slow motion, fast motion, reverse motion, or a combination of speeds.

  • Time Stretch: Allows you to let the clip play faster or slower.

Add media to Premiere Elements

Adding media with Premiere Elements is as simple as firing up the program and clicking the Add Media panel in the middle of the screen. It’s staring you right in the face when you launch the program. And until you actually import something, it prominently stares in your face. Click it, and it prompts you.

But that’s not the only way to add content to your project. Premiere Elements offers other ways to bring content into your movie. You can choose the pull-down menu at File→Add Media From and choose a variety of ways to bring files from a variety of places.

You can import footage from the camera, transfer it from the media card, or import an existing file on your hard drive. These self-explanatory choices include

  • Elements Organizer

  • Movies from a flip or camera

  • DV camcorder

  • HDV camcorder

  • DVD camera or computer drive

  • webcam

  • Photos from cameras or devices

  • Files and folders

Import video files to Premiere Elements

You can grab content from lots of places on your computer, but more than likely, you’ll be opening existing movie files or transferring directly from your camera. Files that you add to a project are visible in the Media view and are automatically added to the Organizer.

Import to Premiere Elements from a camera

When you plug your camcorder into your computer, you’ll be able to import footage directly into the program. Just go to File→Add Media From→(pick the choice you need) and follow the prompts.

Set your scratch disc

The key to building a successful video-editing suite lies in how well it’s organized. That begins with setting up your scratch disc. A scratch disc is a place where the program saves temporary data. This is essential for non-linear editing programs, which require a lot of temporary and permanent space.

Whenever you edit a project, Premiere Elements uses hard drive space to store temporary information required for the project. The files of temporary information are called scratch files. These include video, audio, and conformed audio. The program uses the latter, along with preview files, to optimize performance, allowing real-time editing, high-processing quality, and efficient output.

By default, scratch files are stored where you save the project, but that’s not always the best place for it. Ideally, you should use a separate hard drive to save your movie.

Premiere Elements allows you set scratch discs for the following:

  • Captured video

  • Capture audio

  • Audio previews

  • Video previews

  • Media cache

  • Disc encoding

To specify where the programs saves each scratch files, do the following.

  1. Go to Adobe Premiere Elements 11 Preferences→Scratch Disks.

  2. Click the Browse button and navigate to your external hard drive.

  3. Repeat Steps 1–2 for the others.

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