Documentary Studies - Premiere Elements

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Collect Source Media

Before starting a project in Premiere Elements collect and organize any materials that will be used in the project: audio, still images, video clips.

  1. Create a folder with your name.
  2. Inside your folder, create folders for audio, stills, and video, and place files accordingly.

New Project

  1. Go to File > New > Project
  2. Name the project descriptively (with your name)
  3. Select a location to Save.

Save Location

Computer Center Macs
  1. Click the Browse button.
  2. Select the Desktop icon on the left.
  3. Click the New Folder button on the bottom.
  4. Name the new folder.
  5. Click Choose.

Projects Settings

You can’t change the project preset after starting a project, so verify the format of your source footage before selecting a project preset. Depending on your source footage, you may need to change the preset or create a new one.

Changing Project Settings

  1. When you drag in content that does not match the project settings Elements will inquire if you want to use the closest available preset.
  2. If you select not to change your project settings, you may encounter problematic playback.
  3. For working only with still images, or full HD footage shot with the T2i Rebel camera select:
    • DSLR > 1080p 30 29.97

Importing Still Images

Still images can only have a maximum dimension of 4096 x 4096 pixels. Anything larger will not be compatible in the program. Resize images smaller before bringing in images.

  1. Go to File > Get Media From > Files and Folders.
  2. Find your project folder.
  3. Select the folder with the images.
  4. Click Import.
  5. There might be an error message about a .DS_Store file. Ignore this and click OK.
  6. The folder will now appear in the Project panel. Double click the folder to see the images.


Editing Modes

There are two different modes to edit content: Timeline and Sceneline. It is recommended to use the Timeline view because of more available features.

Trimming Source Clips in the Preview Monitor

Remove unwanted footage from source clips.

  1. Double click on a video clip in the Task Panel
  2. A preview window appears of the video with playback controls and handles for setting in and out points.
  3. Adjust the handles or place the playhead and press I to set an in point, or O to set the out point.
    • The in and out points can always be adjusted to reveal the full length of the clip.

Insert Edit

Shifts other clips in the timeline out of the way-

  • Click and drag a clip from the task panel into a video track in the timeline.
  • Release the mouse when an icon with a right pointing arrow appears.
  • Other audio/video clips will move forward or backward out of the way.

Overlay Edit

Covers up one clip with another-

  • Click and drag clips over other clip into the timeline by pressing and holding the command key.
  • Release the mouse when a centered arrow icon appears.


When moving clips in the timeline this will align to other objects (playhead, other clips, markers, etc) and prevent gaps.

  • From the top menu Timeline > Snap, or press S.


Adding Titles

Included in Premiere Elements are themed titles through the Edit Tab. It is recommended to create your own titles through the monitor window on the bottom right T icon. Please spell check content in a text editor.

  1. Click in the text field to edit content.
  2. In the right hand edit screen change formatting properties just like a text editor.
  3. Use the edit tools to change on-screen position, create shapes, and change color.
  4. Refine positioning adjustments layering from the top Title menu.
  5. Keep all text content within the inner-most guide frame to ensure content will remain visible on any viewing device.
  6. To apply changes click Done the bottom right of the Edit tab screen.
  7. The title will appear as a purple video clip. Drag this over another clip to have it superimposed, or have it over black.
  8. Adjust the duration by dragging on either side of clip to shorten or lengthen.
  9. Make adjustments by double clicking on the title clip in the timeline to re-edit.

Scrolling Credits

  1. Create a title.
  2. Use return to make sure each line of text fits horizontally on screen.
  3. From the top menu, Titles > Roll/Crawl Options....
  4. In the dialog that appears change the type to a roll and click OK to apply changes.

Adding Transitions

Apply transitions in the finishing stages of editing. Transitions must be shorter than the clip length.

  1. In the Edit tab select Transitions.
  2. Click and drag a transition over a clip, release the mouse when a color overlay appears.
  3. To edit the transition double click on the icon.
  4. To preview the actual clips press the eyeball button and make adjustments using the value sliders on either side, adjust the length with the Duration slider'.
  5. To apply changes click Done.
  6. Delete a transition by selecting it and pressing delete.

Playback & Rendering

  • To get a rough preview of content press the Play button in the Monitor panel, or press the Spacebar.
  • When red lines appear in the timeline over footage, or playback is slow/jerky, grab the Work Area Bar near the start of the timeline and span it over all content. From the top menu, Timeline > Render Work Area and all content will be processed, or rendered, for improved playback.
  • Press the Full Screen button on the top right to view content fully. Press esc to exit.

Exporting a File

  1. In the Tasks Panel select the Share tab.
  2. Select to share to Computer.
  3. Select the AVCHD format from the list.
  4. In the Preset menu choose:
    • MP4 - H264 1920x1080p 30
  5. Name the file descriptively - with your name.
  6. Choose to save into your folder.
  7. Click Save on the bottom right. It may take a few minutes to process the exported file.
  8. After exporting is completed, quit Premiere Elements and preview the file to confirm everything is correct in Quicktime player.