Editing Manual

This article is out of date. Many sections contain inaccurate information, or instructions that run contrary to current practice.

Consult an experienced editor for more information.

See also: Adobe Premiere Pro Help

Video editing is the process of post-production (for shows) or pre-production (for VTs) that pulls together raw camera footage, audio tracks and other bits and pieces into a finished product. YSTV's edit machines are currently running Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, which is what this guide is based upon.

This guide is not intended to be a replacement for training on the edit suites, instead consider it more of a reference guide for various common tasks. Often in Premiere there is more than one way of doing things, when this happens this guide will tend to describe the most straightforward method, though it is not necessarily the correct one in all situations.

Before you do anything

When you use Premiere for the first time on a user account, you must set the media cache to the correct folder on the machine. Failing to do this will fill up your profile and you will be unable to logout!

Once you have loaded a project, follow these steps to set up the media cache:

  • Go to Edit -> Preferences -> Media...
  • On Media Cache Database, choose Browse... and set the folder to be D:\Adobe Scratch
  • Set Media Cache Files to the same folder. When prompted if you want to move or delete, choose Move.
  • Congratulations, Premiere is now ready to use!

It is worth checking that the media cache is set to the correct folder whenever starting a new project, even if you think it hasn't changed. Assuming the cache is set up correctly when it isn't will inevitably mean you'll run out of profile space and have to re-import everything from scratch (no pun intended). This is especially problematic with HD video, so don't let it catch you out!

Setting up a project

1. Use the correct drive

Main article: Storage

Each edit PC has a D: drive named Tempvideo. As a rule, all footage you want to edit should be copied into, or captured straight into, an appropriate folder on the Tempvideo drive (e.g. D:\<your show>\<episode name or number>). Editing directly over the network (i.e. from Pending Edits) is not allowed, especially for large projects, or HD video, as it will cause massive slowdown, and clutter the Pending Edits drive.

Between editing sessions, you must copy your video files and project files to a folder for your show on the Pending Edits network drive - this is backed up, but Tempvideo is not, so if the only copy of your show is on one of the edit PCs' Tempvideo drive and the drive fails, you've lost it. Don't duplicate footage though - it takes up a lot of space. You can leave a copy of your footage on Tempvideo (as long as there's also a copy on Pending Edits) and just copy your project files (.prproj for Premiere and .aep for After Effects) back and forth each time you finish/start an editing session - it's only the project files that change when you edit. Pending Edits is backup and storage - never work directly off it.

Finished video clips should be exported to Tempvideo then copied to Finished Shows, which then allows them to be uploaded to the website. Footage on Tempvideo and any unused video files on Pending Edits should be deleted once editing has been finished. Leave the footage you used and your project files on Pending Edits for a while after your video is uploaded - you might need to come back and change something, or we might need to recut a video for the NaSTA showreels. The Computing Team will clear out unused non-current material from Pending Edits after the NaSTA showreel editing deadline each year.

2. Organise yourself

Plan ahead. Using placeholder names may seem easy enough to begin with, but it is an extremely bad habit to get into and can lead to footage being lost, or simply never being deleted since nobody knows exactly what it is. Some general tips:

  • Name your project after the episode, scene or VT it is for, not the show it's in. Example: "RAG parade report" not "Roundup report".
  • Avoid adjectives, use dates or revision numbers instead. Example: "Nouse Reports Spring Week 6" not "Nouse Reports latest". If you have multiple versions of the same project, use revision numbers to keep track (avoid "York Come Dancing FINAL EDIT", use "York Come Dancing rev3"), and consider deleting older versions you no longer need.
  • If you expect to be managing multiple projects (different VTs, separate episodes) for a single show, move them (and their captured footage) into sub-folders to keep track. Avoid having several projects in the same folder unless they relate to each other.
  • Export videos to a different folder to your captured footage, and name them appropriately.

3. Capture footage

HDV footage

We capture footage from HDV tape using Adobe OnLocation. Start OnLocation on one of the edit PCs and rewind the tape in the camera. Create a new OnLocation project on Tempvideo in an appropriate place and give it a descriptive (and sortable) name - a good start is the tape number, then date, camera angle, location or interviewee. Do not call it "Tape 1" or "Ed's camera" - these names become useless in editing.

Connect the camera to the computer with the Firewire cable poking out of the desk. You can find the Firewire connector on the back-right corner of the camera body. Press Record (red circle) on OnLocation, then Play on the camera's screen. The tape will play through and OnLocation will capture the playback to a file. Don't worry if OnLocation crashes - you haven't lost your footage as it's written to the drive in real time. You might want to capture it again from the beginning just to keep the files organised though.

If there's any discontinuities in the video stream (usually means the camera was jolted, or they can occur when a new recording starts in the middle of an old one), OnLocation will split the recording into several files - these appear in the bottom pane. If you accidentally capture an old clip you don't need and it's split off like this, find the file and delete it to save space and reduce clutter.

Do NOT capture HD footage in Premiere! If there are any slight errors on the tape, Premiere loses the ability to keep the subsequent audio and video together. You should instead capture your footage using Adobe OnLocation; if such an error appears, OnLocation just starts a new file.

4. Import footage

The easiest way to import items into Premiere is to click and drag from Explorer straight into the bin on the Premiere window. You can also right click the bin and choose "Import..."

What can be imported:

  • Video files: Duh.
  • Audio files: MP3s, voiceovers, etc.
  • Images: See Graphics and lower thirds.
  • Entire folders: This will create a new bin in Premiere, and all importable items inside the folder will be added to this bin. This does not preserve subfolders.
  • Other Premiere projects: This will import all sequences, videos and other files into your project, and essentially allows you to nest one project inside another. Note that changes made to the imported project will not be reflected in your project unless you re-import it.
  • Text files: Oddly enough. Not much use unless you want easy access to Notepad.

Premiere Pro window layout

More information can be found at Adobe Help: Adobe Premiere Pro Help and Tutorials

The Project Panel (bins)

More information can be found at Adobe Help: Organizing assets in the Project panel

Program monitor

The timeline

Effects list

Preview monitor, Effects control and Audio mixer

Basic video editing

These sections need expanding. Anyone can contribute to our knowledge of how YSTV is run.

Consult an experienced editor for more information.


Linking/Un-linking audio

Basic audio editing

Normalising audio

Dealing with mono

Using L/J-cuts (a.k.a. cut-aways)

Using effects


Graphics and lower thirds

Saving and exporting

When exporting, your first concern should be where the footage will be sent to/played on. Premiere CS4 has a number of different export settings depending on what you need to do. Below are the most sensible options to use (most useful at the top, most specialised at the end).

For the website, from an HD source

  • Use for: Finished shows ready to be uploaded to the website which have been wholly or mostly filmed on the Sony HVR1000Es or other 1080i/p HD source.
  • Format: H.264
  • Preset: YSTV HD Export

For the website, from an SD source (DV camera, live show capture)

  • Use for: Finished shows ready to be uploaded to the website which have been edited from live show captures. You will rarely export an entirely SD video from any other source - a mostly-HD video with some SD elements (e.g. archive footage) should be treated as HD.
  • Format: H.264
  • Preset: YSTV Widescreen SD

For VTs

  • Use for: Videos to be played as a VT during a live show, through XineNet Desktop and the VT server.
  • Format: H.264
  • Preset: YSTV Widescreen SD

Further reading