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Video Production and Halo: A Step By Step Guide

Lord Gideon

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Lesson Three: Editing & Producing Using Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5

Welcome to Lesson Three. In this lesson we're going to go over how to edit and produce video in Premiere Pro 1.5. If you don't have Premiere Pro 1.5, most of these instructions will work just as well for lesser versions, down to version 6.0. However, I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of Premiere Pro 1.5 as it has a ton of new features that make life much more easy for us editors.

Ready? Let's get into it!

It's NOT Windows Movie Maker

The first thing that I want you to understand is that PPro is NOT Windows Movie Maker. PPro is geared towards the people that know what they're doing. In some aspects it is NOT user friendly, and is NOT easy to use for the beginners. But, after this tutorial, you're going to find that the hard parts are covered, and this should be your program of choice.

Now let's get some editing done!

Time to open Premiere up. The first thing you're going to notice is the amount of time that PPro takes to boot up. If you watch the dialog box you should notice a lot of things loading in the bottom corner. These are all of the drivers that PPro needs to conduct editing buisness.

I recommend having a monitor that will at least support 1280x1024 resolution. Premiere has a lot of stuff in it, and running it on a computer at 800x600 is going to not only be extremely annoying, but you will quickly decide that Premiere is not for you. Working in a cramped enviroment is never fun for anyone!

Taking the Tour

After we make it in, you're presented with the Editing Setup. So, let's take the tour and see where everything is. First thing is the Bin. This is where all of your clips are stored. Premiere calls it the "Project Window", but it's really a bin. For fun, let's import a couple video clips. You can either go to File >> Import or you can do it the quick way, and simply right click in the bin and click Import. After you've imported your files, they are listed inside the bin. There are two different viewing options. Either listed, like the default method, or, if you lo ok closely at the top right handed corner of the bin you'll see a small round button with a triangle in the middle of it. Click on that, then click View >> Icons. Now you can see icon representations of your files.

Now let's cover the other windows. The bottom long box is called the Timeline. This is where all of your files go and are edited. To the left of it is your toolbox that contains all the tools you'll be using to take your raw video and work it into your masterpiece. To the right of the Timeline are two windows. Info, and History. I usually close these, as I don't need them. After closing them you can grab the timeline window and stretch it farther.

Next are the two most important windows. There are two boxes on the top side by side labeled "Monitor". This is only partly true. The monitor on the right hand side is what your video looks like, and the one on the left serves the dual purpose of giving you the ability to either viewing clips without placing them in your timeline, or, if you lick on Effects you can change things that the video clip in the timeline does. We'll get to that later.

Edit Me Now!

Now where you know where generally everything is, let's start doing some editing. Grab a clip and move it down into your timeline. You'll notice that unlike WMM, there's an audio track that comes with it. You can either choose to keep this audio, or you can strip the audio out by right clicking on the object in the timeline and hitting Unlink Audio and Video. Click off the clip so that it is deselected, then click on the audio and hit the delete key. Usually I leave the audio on. The natural ambiance that Bungie has worked so hard to put in actually makes the movie sound more realistic.

Next, lets drop a few clips into the timeline. If you only have one clip, go grab some avi files and import them into your project. Drag them into your timeline, and place them against each other. Of course, you need to edit these down to exactly the parts that you want to use, so let's cut them down to size. There are two ways to do this. Either hold the mouse over the clip until it turns into a funky bracket with two arrows over it, or use the razor tool in your toolbox. If you use the bracket, click on the end of the clip, then drag it inward. This will decrease the size of your clip. Usually I use the razor tool. Using the Scrubber (blue pick with the red line that goes across the timeline) find where you want your clip to begin and end. Leave the scrubber over the point you want the clip to start, grab the razor tool (looks like an exacto knife) and click on the scrub line. Click back to the arrow tool, then click on the part of the clip you don't want, and hit the delete key. Or, you can right click on the clip you don't want and hit Ripple Delete. This will delete the clip and move all the other clips up so that there isn't a gap where the old clip was.

Now go through and edit all of your clips to the points you want them to come in and out of.

Effects - When & Where To Use Them

Here's the interesting part. Now you should have your clips all put together and ready to go. Now you decide when and where to use transitions. In the Project Window (or the Bin), there's an Effects tab. Click on it. This is where Premiere stores all of it's naitive video & audio effects as well as video & audio transitions. Double click on the Video Transitions. As you can see, there are multiple kinds of transitions - all stored by their type. The best one is still the standard Dissolve. Feel free to check out the other transitions. For us, we're going to just use the simple Cross Dissolve. Grab the transition you want to use, then drag it down into your timeline and drop it between the two clips you want to dissolve between. Now, if you click on the dissolve itself, then click on Effect Controls you can change the length of the dissolve. Under Duration, there is a number. It will always say 00:00:01:00 (That's 1 second). However, video is made up of frames. Normally a full second is too long, so you change it to 00:00:00:15. That's a 15 frame dissolve. That's a standard video production dissolve.

Adding Movement

You also have the capability to move your clips around so that they're not automatically full screen. If you click on the clip itself (not the transition) you will see a new window appear in the Effect Controls window. There are two settings in it to begin. One is Motion. The other is Opacity. If you click on one, you will be represented with what you can do to change the clips position, scale, rotation, and opacity. Using these capabilities you will be able to do more than just have standardized video movement. You can customize your own stuff. But, right now we're just covering the basics. How to accuratly add movement will be covered under the next lesson - Lesson Four: Adding Special Effects Using Premiere Pro & After Effects.

Label Me!

By now you should be comfortable moving around in Premiere. You know how to do basic editing, and add transitions. Now let's add some text. After all - you've gotta sign your name on there somewhere, right?

Click on File >> New >> Title This will open the Premiere Titler. This is the easiest tool to learn in Premiere! Mess around with it! See what you like!

When you're done, hit the red x on the titler window. Premiere will ask if you want to save it. Of course you do! Name it something easy to recognize and hit Save. Now it will show up in your bin. (or Project Window.) Grab it and drag it down onto your timeline, but don't put it in the same video track that you've used already for your videos. Put it in an empty video track above them. Now, if you scrub over the area where you have placed your title and your video underneath it, you should see your title superimposed over the video clip underneath.

Scrubbing - Dragging the timeline marker (red line) back and forth across an area to see the effects of your work

Titles can be dragged to any length. This means if you hover your cursor over the end of the clip you can make the title last longer or shorter simply by dragging it out, or inwards towards itself. Transitions also can be attached to these clips. So, you can dissolve them in and out.

Crank It Up!

Here is one of the most overlooked parts of producing video. The Audio. The audio is one of the most essential parts of your video. If you can't hear the people over the music you've put in the background, how are you going to understand what's going on?

If you haven't already imported a song into your project, do it now. Then drag it into an empty audio track underneath your current edited project. Now if you play it, the music will be way too loud. We need to audio balance the video. Click on Window >> Workspace >> Audio Now you've got a little mixing board that's popped up for you to use. You can now, by using the sliders, change the volume of individual tracks so that they are more to your liking. After you crank down the music, play the video while watching the peak meter on the right hand side. The Peak meter watches decibles in your timeline. If your video is too loud, the Peak Meter will go red, and two red boxes will stay lit. This tells you that somewhere in your video, the audio is still too loud. To figure out which track is too loud, simply turn one of them all the way down and play the entire video. If it doesn't peak (or, clip) then you know that you've turned down the audio that's the problem starter. Remember: DO NOT BASE YOUR AUDIO LEVELS ON THE LEVELS COMING OUT OF YOUR SPEAKERS! This is a serious problem that a lot of Halo editors have. Their audio is simply TOO LOUD! Make sure that AT NO TIME, the audio peaks or clips!

More advanced audio editing will be offered in Lesson Five: Audio Editing Using Audition & SoundForge.

Now that you've got your audio and video edited, and your titles are added, it's time to export your movie. First watch it a few times. Are there any pauses that are too long? Is everything spelled correctly in your titles? Is the audio too loud, or too soft? When you think you're ready, it's time to export the movie to a format that everyone can enjoy.

Format Me Baby!

Right now, the best format to export to is Windows Media. I know what you're thinking. What about Quicktime? DivX? MPEG? I will now list the pros and cons of each format.


  • Pro - Good quality
  • Pro - Most people have it
  • Con - Extremely large file sizes
  • Con - Encoding takes a very long time


  • Pro - Outstanding Quality
  • Con - Seperate codec is required
  • Con - Larger file sizes


  • Pro - Small file sizes
  • Pro - Depending on the bitrate, good quality
  • Con - Long render time
  • Con - Quality can be sketchy

Windows Media

  • Pro - All Windows Machines come with it native
  • Pro - Small file sizes
  • Pro - Even when small, good quality!
  • Pro - Mac users can now download Windows Media
  • Con - Render times
  • Con - Tons of encoding settings can be confusing

Encoding Is The Spice of Life!

Time to encode this, and show it to the masses! Go to File >> Export >> Adobe Media Encoder. Up at the top, under Format, select Windows Media. There are presets that you can use, but I have my own custom that I use that I've found gives good quality, good audio, and a pretty good file size. So, let's make this preset for you! Under Preset (an option right under the Format setting) click on WM9 NTSC 512k Download. Then, on the left hand side of the window, click on Audiences. A new settings area will appear in the center. Change the size from 320x240 to 640x480. Click Export. Premiere will now ask you to save the Preset. Name it what I have - "Halo Export Settings". Now, when you make your movies, you have the preset saved!

After saving the preset, it will ask you where you want to save it. Name the file what you want it to be, and make sure you're saving it someplace that you'll be able to find it after it gets done.

After naming it, hit save, and it will start to render. When it's done, find the file and watch it. Make sure everything is where you want it to be, then start sharing it!

Our next lesson will be Lesson Four: Adding Special Effects Using Premiere Pro & After Effects.

LordGideon has been in Video Production for 5 years. When not making commercials and webites, he enjoys long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, and the dulcid tones of a chainsaw. Questions or comments about Video Production? LordGideon can be reached on the PraetoriaGuard forums, located at PraetoriaGuard.com

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