Ten Adobe Premiere Shortcuts for Faster Editing in 2015

Adobe Premiere Timeline

Editing can be tedious, but it doesn’t have to be slow. If your New Year’s Resolution is to improve your editing skills, learning your software’s keyboard shortcuts for repetitive tasks will allow you finish projects faster with less clicking, searching through menus, and aiming for tiny buttons. Here are ten shortcuts for beginners and advanced users of Adobe Premiere to add to their arsenal in 2015:

  1. Ctrl + S (Cmd + S Mac)
    • Save – This one’s obvious, but must be said. My left hand hovers over this side of the keyboard throughout the editing process and I save every time I make an edit I wouldn’t want to repeat in the event of a crash.
  2. Page Down / Page Up
    • Go to Next Cut / Previous Cut – This is a fast way to get your playhead exactly on a cut, or to fly through the timeline without zooming in and out so much. This command will ignore clips on video and audio layers that aren’t highlighted; click on the layer name (e.g. “Video 1”) to highlight or unselect a layer.
  3. Ctrl + M (Cmd + M Mac)
    • Export – This quick keystroke saves you several clicks every time you need to export, especially useful when queuing several short timelines from one project.
  4. ~ (Tilde a.k.a. “the squiggly worm key”)
    • Maximize Panel – At first glance, there is no “full screen” option in Premiere. In fact, you can maximize any panel by selecting that panel and pressing the “~” key. Use this to get a closer look at a cluttered bin or timeline on complex projects.
  5. J / K
    • Fast Forward / Rewind – When you’re scrubbing quickly through a timeline using the space bar to start and stop playback, many users reach for the mouse to drag the playhead back a few seconds to watch an edit again. Just hit rewind, then play again to accomplish the same with two quick keystrokes. Press these multiple times to increase the speed.
  6. I / O
    • In Point / Out Point – If you set in and out points on source clips, try these handy keys. I keep my hand ready on the “I” while playing through source clips looking for good material, then switch to “O” as I wait for the moment to end. If you aren’t setting in and out points to isolate a clip before putting it on your timeline, give it a try! That’s another blog post…
  7. * (asterisk on number pad)
    • Set Marker – Using markers is a great way to mark your timeline and find your place later, but mousing into menus to find this command is tedious and will stop playback. Just reach for the asterisk!
  8. Ctrl + D (Cmd + D Mac)
    • Video Transition – Hover near a cut to apply a transition on selected layers (see tip #2 about selecting layers). This is a personal favorite of mine, as it saves me many repetitious click-and-drag operations. In combination with tip #2, this is my secret weapon for slideshows. By default this applies “cross dissolve,” but you can right-click any video transition and “set as default.”
  9. Ctrl + Shift + D (Cmd + Shift + D Mac)
    • Audio Transition – Same as #8, but on audio layers.
  10. Backspace / Delete
    • This one is self-explanatory, but I’ve seen a lot of users right-clicking clips and choosing “clear” to remove items from the timeline. Just hit backspace as you would when typing. On that note, be careful not to hit backspace accidentally while a clip is selected, thinking you’re typing in another window.

Do you have any favorite tips or shortcuts? Share here, the list doesn’t have to stop at ten!


Adobe Premiere Media Cache

(or: How I Learned to Read the Manual, and Free up 294 GB on my Hard Drive…)

I go back to the days of Premiere 7 (as in ‘regular’ 7… before CS 1 came out), so for years my Premiere projects have created folders beside them to store cached media (copies of your raw files, generated upon import when Premiere says “conforming/indexing media”). Somewhere in the last few versions, Adobe changed this strategy without me noticing. In order to share cashed files across all of their programs, they created a central location called the “Media Cache Database”

“This media cache database is shared with Adobe Media Encoder, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore, and Soundbooth, so each of these applications can each read from and write to the same set of cached media files.” -Adobe Help

The downside:

If you’re accustomed to cleaning your projects out in one motion by deleting a root folder or moving it to archival storage, you may be surprised to discover that for all of the associated media, a cached file remains on your C:\ drive. If you’re like me and you have all the raw footage for a feature film, edit 1-2 hour event videos weekly, and sometimes just convert media in bulk for clients, this cached media starts to stack up.

The fix:

First, open Premiere and go to Edit>Preferences>Media. If you’re enjoying the upsides of Adobe’s shared cache strategy, this screen will allow you to clean your cache and even relocate it. The latter may be a wise choice if your C:\ drive is limited in space or you store your projects on another drive. I suspect this will be essential for those with SSD (solid-state) drives, where storage is a pricier commodity.

Clean CacheThere is also a checkbox here labeled “Save Media Cache files next to originals when possible,” which I suspect will make the program operate more like it did in the past. Keep in mind that this will make it easier to delete the cache files simultaneously with your project, but will also mean beefier project folders. If you’re working from or backing up a project to an external drive, this cached media will be moving along with your project.

More insight from Adobe Help:

“…the Clean button does not remove files that are associated with footage items for which the source files are still available.”

“If you change the location of the database from within any of these applications, the location is updated for the other applications, too. Each application can use its own cache folder, but the same database keeps track of them.”

So what does 2 years of cached media add up to? On my office computer, I just cleared 294 GB.

More information from Adobe about the Media Cache Database: Here