An intro to Adobe Premiere Pro: 5 tools for beginners

Editing Screen Window
Audio Mixer Window
Export Window

Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC is an absurdly fun software to play with when you’re looking to develop stylish, professional-grade home films. Whether it’s being done for commercial purposes to advertise your brand or business, for an academic or personal project to display something you’re passionate about, or to make some extra cash by vlogging on YouTube, The Studio at Wright Farms is your place to access this fantastic tool. Cost and learning curves often act as dual inhibitors to people interested in Premiere Pro’s capabilities, so we’re going to cut through some of the mire and dish out a few tips and tricks for the most common things people want to do after they’ve imported their first film clip. As an added disclaimer, Premiere Pro is very versatile, with a league of options available for customizing your films, and it is a skill best learned first-hand through experimentation (as if you needed another reason to visit us). For this reason, we're going to cover just five of the most common, beginner-level tools in this post.

Let’s get started.

Launch Premiere Pro. I’m working on a Windows operating system with the latest update of Adobe Creative Cloud, so your layout may look a little different from mine. If you’re working on macOS, simply exchange the Ctrl key for Command whenever I offer a keyboard shortcut. Once Premiere is open, you should see four separate windows on your screen:

  • The top-left box will allow you to view individual clips in high-speed so you can test out any visual effects you’ve applied to a clip.
  • The top-right will display the entire film with its applied visual effects as you assemble it.
  • The bottom-left is a command center where you can search your computer for media, open files, see data pertaining to each of your media sources, quickly search Premiere for a visual effect, and view the entire workflow history of your project (everything you’ve imported and how you’ve altered your media, which means you can return to a specific point in your project and change an effect you’ve decided you don’t like).
  • The bottom-right is your workspace, where all your clips and effects will appear as individual, multi-colored bars stacked over each other in a timeline sequence. You’ll be able to click, drag, drop, and rearrange media here, among other things. To start a new sequence, drag and drop your media into this box.

To start your workflow, click Media Browser in your command center and import a video or image clip (File > Import or Ctrl+I), or sign in to your Creative Cloud account to search the Creative Cloud Library for an Adobe Stock image or video.

Now the real fun begins.

Warp Stabilizer: Unless you’ve worked with a gimbal as you’re filming your initial footage, your clips are going to have some minor camera shake. We’re only human, and you might have tripped, been jostled by passerby, or consumed one sip of coffee too many before you started tracking your subject, but warp stabilizer – a visual effect found under the Effects menu in your command center (video effects > distort > warp stabilizer vfx) – will fix all those minor hiccups in a blink. Click on the clip you want to work with in your workspace, and then double click the warp stabilizer effect. Easy as that! (This is how you can apply any other effects to your clips in the future, as well.) You should now see a noticeable difference between the quality of your raw footage and your edited footage, with smooth action and no jarring motions.

Noise Reduction: If you were filming on a traffic-congested city street, at a concert, or on a super windy day, you’re probably going to want to reduce all that background noise so it won’t interfere with any narration or audio in your film. There are a number of great programs you can use to edit your audio tracks (look for a future post on using Adobe Creative Cloud programs for sound design), but we’re going to use the quickest option today – the adaptive noise reduction effect available on Premiere Pro. Simply click the video or audio clip you’re working on in your timeline sequence, and double-click the noise reduction effect under the Effects menu in your command center (audio effects > obsolete audio effects > adaptive noise reduction). Premiere will automatically search for sounds matching wind rumble, power line hum, and tape hiss – to name a few –and mute them. In your newly edited track, you should hear a distinct improvement in your audio – hopefully no more background hums.

Adding Tracks: Every film needs a soundtrack, right? Your soundtrack can include either music in the traditional sense, a voiceover narration of your film, or both. Import your previously recorded audio track(s), then in the taskbar at the top of your screen, click Audio to open your audio workspace. You should still be able to see your timeline workspace in the bottom box of your screen. Drag and drop your audio files into your timeline sequence. In the Audio Clip Mixer box at the top of your screen, select Audio Track Mixer and you’ll be able to adjust the individual audio levels of all your tracks here, allowing you to simultaneously run multiple tracks without having one overpower another. Be sure to keep your audio levels out of the red zone, otherwise you risk it becoming distorted.

Title Screens: This one is for those of you who would like to insert a title screen somewhere in your video. Open the Graphics menu from your taskbar at the top, and a new sidebar will open titled Essential Graphics. If you select Browse and scroll to the bottom, you should see an option for Titles. Premiere Pro will give you a handful of customizable options for title screens that can be animated in various ways, and you can also choose your font and text size and where the text box is located on the screen. Perhaps you might consider a fade-in/fade-out visual effect to introduce the title of your film.

Export to Social Media: I’m going to give an easy one here for the final task. You’ve just finished your film in Premiere Pro, and you know you worked hard on it, so why not consider sharing it on social media? Premiere gives you the option of sharing on sites like Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and Behance, among others. Go to File > Export > Media, and you’ll have a new window pop-up. Under Presets, most people select H.264 for the format and Match Source – High Bitrate for the preset. Towards the bottom-right, you should see a menu taskbar where you’ll select Publish before seeing a list of compatible social media platforms. Sign in to the social account(s) of your choice, and fill out all the usual paperwork (title, description, privacy settings, etc.). No matter what platform you use to share, always select the highest video quality whenever possible, which is 1080p. Click Export at the bottom of your window, and you’re done!

That’s it! You’ve survived this wicked fast intro tutorial on Adobe’s Premiere Pro, and you should hopefully be well on your way to making a little extra green off your amateur videos. If you found this post useful, then take the next step and drop-in to The Studio at Anythink Wright Farms for one of our multimedia production classes, where you can access our multitude of creative resources and get more in-depth information on video and audio production, YouTube and livestream management, and digital graphics and design.