How to Put Your DSLR Film Together in Premiere Elements

DSLR filmmaking goes beyond setting up your editing suite; it also pertains to putting your movie together. The more you know where your assets are located and named, the easier it becomes to efficiently make your movie. The first step to creating an efficient workflow is setting your preferences.

Setting Preferences

Go to Adobe Premiere Elements 11→Preferences.

In the Preferences dialog, you can adjust many aspects of how Elements works. You can go with the default settings or adjust them to your needs:

  • General: This panel controls multiple preferences. The most prominent ones allow you to alter the transition and still-frame duration. It’s not a bad idea to extend both slightly, especially still frames, which at the default 120 frames stay on the screen for either two or four seconds, depending on whether you are working in 60 or 29.97 frames per second.

  • Audio: The defaults here are fine.

  • Audio Hardware: Controls whether you’re using your internal speakers or audio output using a specialized board. If you’re plugging in speakers, leave it on the default setting.

  • Auto Save: Automatically saves a copy of your project at a duration that you specify in a separate subfolder titled Premiere Elements Auto-Save, which is located in the folder containing your current project file.

  • Capture: Alerts you if the ingesting footage has dropped frames, and lets you decide whether to abort capture when it happens. Unless you're ingesting tape, you can ignore these settings.

  • Device Control: Leave these settings on default, unless you’re connecting another device like a deck.

  • Media: Allows you delete cache or show, or not show, time code or media in or out points. The defaults here are fine.

  • Scratch Discs: Lets you set destinations for video, audio, cache, and other aspects of the movie.

  • Stop Motion Capture: Lets you adjust the opacity level, number of skins, and the playback frame rate.

  • Titler: Offers a single field for style. The defaults are fine.

  • web Sharing: Allows the option to check for online services.

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Set up your movie

Now that you have your movie clips all ready to go, it’s time to bring them into the system. After firing up Premiere Elements and setting your scratch disc information, if necessary, be sure to click the button to work in the Expert view.

It’s a good idea to start a new project for every movie. Go to File→New→Project. When the dialog opens, name your movie and save it where you normally save your files.

Adding media is as simple as clicking that billboard in your face. However, you can still click the Import button on the left side because it doesn’t disappear after the first import.

Select the type of media you’re looking for, and a dialog pops up. For example, if you click Files and Folders, just navigate to the clip that you want and click Get Media. It goes into your project bin. After you drag all your assets into the bin, you can start work.

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Customize your film workspace

Because the Premiere Elements interface is relatively straightforward, you have little reason or ability to customize it. The interface consists of a series of panels. You can adjust their size and placement by dragging the edge of the panel.

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Save your film often

Name your project right away and save it often. This way, you’ll protect yourself when the gremlins of power surges come calling.

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