Print to Video or Export to Tape?What Does It All Mean?

When you purchased Premiere you may have had only one basic concept in mind: Create a video project to put on a VHS tape and play it on the home VCR. Turns out that's only one of many possibilities.

As technology has changed, Adobe has responded by adding new output features to Premiere. A few years ago the idea of creating a video for playback on the Internet was unheard of. And DVDs weren't even on the radar. Now they are both major elements of Premiere.

Perhaps because Adobe adds these technologies on a piecemeal basis, Premiere's export (or output) terminology and menus have become kind of confusing. Simply deciphering what it all means will go a long way to easing the export/output process.

I'll start that deciphering process by taking a tour of the various Export methodologies:

  1. By now you've saved a few projects. Load one of them by selecting File, Open Recent Project or File, Open and then navigating to a project in the file folder {your} Documents/Adobe/Premiere/Project-Archive.

  2. Place the edit line somewhere in the project and click the video portion of a clip under the edit line. This identifies that particular clip to Premiere.


    Take a close look at the clip you just selected. As shown in Figure 19.1, you'll notice "marching ants" running around both the video and audio portions of the clip. This indicates that if you trim or move any part of the clip, that action will affect both the video and audio portions.

    Figure 19.1. Selecting the video (or audio) portion of a linked clip puts horizontal gray bars inside that clip on the timeline.


    Note also that two horizontal gray bars now run along the top and bottom of the video portion, which indicates you specifically selected that element of this audio/video-linked clip.

  3. Select the File menu. As shown in Figure 19.2, you'll note two export options: Export Clip and Export Timeline.

    Figure 19.2. The File menu has two export options.


  4. Select File, Export Timeline. As highlighted in Figure 19.3, you have 10 options.

    Figure 19.3. Export Timeline offers 10 options and is your main starting point for most export functions.


Clarification #1: What does Adobe mean by "Export"? When you "export" something from Premiere, it doesn't go all that far?either to your hard drive or your camcorder/VCR. Basically export means create a file or record to videotape.

Clarification #2: Export Timeline versus Export Clip (or a frame, a sequence, or the entire project). Export Timeline is Premiere's way of saying, "Export anything from the timeline." You will select this menu to take a clip, frame, sequence, or the entire project and convert it to a file on your hard drive. You also can take some section of the project or the entire project and record it to videotape.

Here are the different export processes:

Movie? Converts anything on the timeline, other than a single frame or an audio-only clip, to a file. You'll use it to create (export) QuickTime or Windows AVI videos as well as image sequences and animations. More on all that in a few minutes.

Frame? Creates a still image file of the frame identified by the edit line.

Audio? Creates an audio file. You can select the entire project, an audio-only clip, or the audio portion of a linked video/audio clip.

Print to Video? See Clarification #3.

Export to Tape? See Clarification #3.

File List? Creates a text file of all the clip names in the Project window bins. You may never use this menu item.

EDL (Edit Decision List)? See the following note.

Adobe MPEG Encoder? This is a big deal. Really. This option allows you to create DVDs, "super" and regular video CDs, and cDVDs (specialized CDs that play videos on PC CD or DVD drives). Adobe has tightly integrated it with the DVDit! DVD-authoring module bundled with Premiere. I'll cover this export process in detail in Hour 20, "Exporting Premiere Frames, Clips, and Projects: Part 2," and cover the entire DVD-authoring process in Hours 21?24.

Advanced Windows Media (PC only), Advanced RealMedia Export, and QuickTime File Exporter (Mac only)? The first two options are the means to create video for use in Web pages (and for other uses). I'll cover them in detail in Hour 20. The QuickTime File Exporter is a Mac-only product geared toward creating MPEG-2 videos for users with DVD Studio Pro or iDVD installed or MPEG-4 for those with QuickTime 6 Pro.

Clarification #3: Print to Video versus Export to Tape. These are the only two Export Timeline options for recording something to videotape. What's the difference?

You use Print to Video if your video recording machine?camcorder or VCR?does not have what's called Device Control. Most analog consumer recorders don't have that technology.

Use Export to Tape if your recording device does have Device Control. Most DV camcorders do. We'll try out both output methods a bit later.


Edit Decision Lists (EDLs) are a vestige of the old days.

They allow you to work "offline" (that is, use low data-rate clips to edit a rough cut of your project and produce an EDL?a text file). You then take that file and the original higher data-rate video clips to an expensive postproduction facility for final editing.

In theory the process is supposed to save money and create a better-looking product.

The reality these days is that you don't need to work offline. Your computer should have all the data storage and throughput you need. EDLs can handle only a few transitions and no motion settings or special video effects. Premiere is chockablock with transitions, layering, and special effects that blow anything you can store on an EDL right out of the studio.

Clarification #4: Export Clip versus Export Timeline. As I completed the chapter, this was an unresolved issue. An Adobe official told me they were going to change Premiere to fix this but had not done so by the time I finished the book.

Here's the deal: Export Clip should mean that you can select a clip from the timeline and export only that clip. But it doesn't work that way. If you select a clip from the timeline and then select Export Clip (as Premiere was configured during my testing), you could export only the audio or video portion of that clip. Not both.

After swapping several emails with Adobe about this, they told me they would fix it. The way it's supposed to work is that if you select a clip on the timeline, the Export Clip menu option should be grayed out (that is, it should not be an option).

If you still see it as an option, ignore it.

Instead, if you want to export only a clip (with audio and video intact), double-click that clip name within the Project window to open it in a Clip window. From the main menu select File, Export Clip. Then you'll have all the options available in the Export Timeline process.


The principal reason to export an unedited clip is to convert it to a different, lower data-rate format and then use it in the timeline to speed up editing. It's a labor-intensive process that involves placing clips, one at a time, on the timeline, marking the work area bar, and using the Export Timeline process.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video