Edit in Premiere Pro

How To Edit in Premiere Pro [Beginner’s Guide]

Table of contents

In our first short tutorial, we looked at how to import footage. So, what comes next? Naturally, seeing as this is an editing program, it’s time to do just that. How to edit footage in Premiere Pro.

Editing footage can seem daunting if you don’t know where to start. So first, we’re going to guide you through the basics of how to add your footage to the timeline.

Secondly, we’ll then take a look at how to cut and edit it.

Source Monitor

First and foremost, with Premiere Pro open, make sure you’re still in the editing workspace. This is the best workspace when it comes to editing footage.

select editing workspace
Editing Workspace

In this workspace, above your project module on the left, you will see what is called the source monitor.

source monitor
Source Monitor

This is used for scrolling through your footage and viewing it. To select a piece of footage and view it in this window, find the footage in your project bin and double-click.

Depending on how your computer handles the playback, you can change the performance to a lower setting (¼, for example). This lowers the resolution and enables smoother playback.

Playback resolution
Playback Resolution

Next, with your footage playing, you can scrub through and pick out which part of the clip you want to use in your edit.

Using the letter I, you can select the ‘in point’. This is where the footage will begin playing from once in your timeline.

Using the letter O, you can then select your ‘out point’ further on. I for in, O for out. Easy right?

Now, simply click the footage in the source monitor and drag over to the bottom right where it says Timeline.

And that’s it! Just like that, you’ve added it to a sequence on the timeline and now you’re ready to edit footage.

Sequence Settings

Before you start editing footage, there are a few things you may want to change such as renaming the timeline or editing the sequence settings.

To rename the sequence, find it in your project bin and double-click the name.

To change sequence settings, go to Sequence > Sequence Settings. Here, you can change a few things like frame rate and resolution.

Sequence settings
Sequence Settings

Programme Monitor

Moving on, you’ll notice that as you add a clip to the timeline, it suddenly appears in the top right corner of the workspace. This is called the program monitor.

Programme monitor
Programme Monitor

At first, it can be a little strange to see both the source monitor and the program monitor side by side but there is a big difference.

On the left, your source monitor shows the whole piece of footage that you shot from start to finish.

On the right, the program monitor only shows the footage that you have cut and put together. It’s basically showing you what the full edit will look like.

Adding More Footage

Next, you’ll need to add more clips one by one to start building your edit. By repeating the process above you can keep selecting what you want in the source monitor and then drag it onto the timeline.

Also, you’ll notice that as you drag clips from the source monitor it snaps next to clips already on there like it’s drawn to them.

However, if it doesn’t, ensure the magnet icon on the timeline is blue – this means it’s active and ensures the clips all snap together. This can be toggled by pressing S.

magnet icon
Magnet Icon

If there’s space between your clips and you want to bring them together, instead of dragging, you can also right-click and select ripple delete.

Editing Footage

Next, it’s time to really start editing your footage.

Although you’ve already scrubbed through and chosen an in and out point in the source monitor, chances are you still want to fine-tune and make things tight on the timeline with some trimming.

There are a few ways to do this. For instance, you could drag the ends of each clip to shorten and trim, then move that footage around.

This technique works, but it seems a little slow.

So, if you look to the left of your timeline, you’ll see a number of tools.

Don’t be intimidated by them – we’re going to run through them and show you how each one will help. 😉


To begin, the first one is the razor. This does your cutting. To quickly select this tool, just press C.

Now, wherever you click on your footage, it will cut into two separate clips.

As a result, you can now delete the bit you don’t want by pressing V, selecting it, and pressing Delete.

Or, even quicker, as the playhead moves from left to right along the footage, you can press Q. It will cut there and delete everything on that clip before that point.

Similarly, if you press W, it cuts and deletes everything from that point on.

Next, there’s the track select forward tool. By pressing A to select it, you can then click on your footage.

You’ll notice that it selects everything on the timeline to the right of that selection. You can now move everything from that point.

If you want to select everything to the left, hold Shift and press A.

Moving on, the rolling edit tool. Select this by pressing N. This basically allows you to drag clips over one another to extend that specific clip while removing from another.

Furthermore, there’s also the rate stretch tool. Select this by pressing R. This can make things slower or faster simply by clicking on the end of a clip and dragging.

Drag the clip smaller to make it faster, drag it larger makes it slower.

And how about the slip tool? Select this by pressing Y.

Basically, this just changes the in and out points for that clip on the timeline.

Just click and drag. You’ll see it changing in the program monitor.

Other Keyboard Shortcuts

In addition to this, there are a few more keyboard shortcuts that we find particularly handy in this part of the editing process.

With a clip selected on the timeline, pressing F automatically displays that media in the source monitor.

This is particularly useful if you need to have a look at something again and perhaps change your in and out points.

Additionally, by holding Alt (Command if using a Mac), you can use the arrows to move a clip around on the timeline. Hold shift for a bigger movement.

Lastly, but by far the most important, hit CTRL + S (or Command + S if using a Mac) to save your project. This move needs to become a reflex. Second nature. You want to save your work as often as possible. 👍

So, that’s how you edit footage in Premiere Pro. In short, it’s pretty straightforward. At first, it may be difficult to remember where everything is and what all the keyboard shortcuts are but, over time, with practice, it will become natural.

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