Taking a Timeline Tour

The timeline is the heart and soul of Premiere. Everything you do in Premiere relies on the timeline. Premiere records every editing decision you make here, and your output emanates from it.

The first thing you'll notice is your ordered clips residing on Video Track 1 with their audio (in this case, natural sound) on Audio Track 1. It should look a lot like Figure 4.17. The name of each clip appears right after each edit point.

Figure 4.17. The timeline, immediately after completing the Automate to Timeline process.



Depending on the length of your project you probably see only a few of the clips. Expand the time displayed in the timeline by pressing the hyphen (-) key (the one at the top of your keyboard, not the key on the numeric keypad) as many times as you need to display all the clips in your project. Conversely, you reduce the time displayed by pressing the equal sign (=) key (the "+" is an uppercase "=" but you don't need to use the Shift key).

If you have a large project, this is also a good time to look at the Navigator palette. Simply click its tab to open that window. You can navigate to other parts of your project by moving the Navigator's large green rectangle.

Take a look at your masterpiece in action. Press the spacebar and Premiere automatically jumps to the start of the timeline and plays whatever it finds there. It'll display your video in the program screen in the Monitor window. You can stop it by pressing the spacebar again. You also can use the VCR button controls in the Program Monitor.


You quickly can "scrub" through your project using the edit line and time ruler. I've highlighted them together in Figure 4.18. Click that time ruler and the edit line marker will jump to that point. Now drag the marker left and right and watch as you "scrub" through your piece.

Figure 4.18. The Timeline window's edit line marker. Click the time ruler to move it to that point and then "scrub" through your clips by dragging it left or right.


You gave the timeline a bit of a test drive in Hour 2, "Premiere Setup," when you switched from A/B to single-track editing. Now I'd like you take a closer look.

In a departure from standard Premiere how-to books, I think the best way to learn about using the timeline is to experiment with it a bit. When I first learned to use Premiere by reading how-to books, their narrow, specific, step-by-step explanations kept me from seeing the big picture. I think the way around that is for you to take Premiere's timeline for a test drive by doing a few straightforward edits.

And don't worry. There's really no way you can mess up your storyboard handiwork. Premiere is fairly forgiving. If you do something that looks wrong, you always can click Edit, Undo to fix it. Do several things "wrong" and you can use the History window to move back as many steps as you like. And if you totally botch things up, you always can reopen your saved storyboard (click File, Open Recent File and select your storyboard) and then automate it to the timeline again.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video