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Premiere: Timeline & Sequences Overview

Version: Adobe Premiere Pro 2020. Be aware that different versions of Premiere will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guide: View/Download


Media is added to the Timeline, and video projects are assembled within “sequences.” All editing takes place within sequences in the Timeline. When media is added to the Timeline for the first time, a new sequence is automatically created. Projects can have multiple sequences, which may be helpful in editing different segments of a lengthy project.

To create a new sequence, right-click an asset from the Project Window and select “New Sequence from Clip.” Sequences have settings based on the asset they’re created from. If you’re working with media files of varying types, such as a mix of low and high resolutions, always create a new sequence based on the highest resolution video clip to avoid cropping. After a sequence is created, click-and-drag additional assets into Timeline to assemble the video.

Timeline Interface

Once a sequence is added to the Timeline, the Timeline interface will change.


1. Sequence Tabs: If multiple sequences are open, they can be accessed here. Most entry-level projects will typically only contain one sequence.
2. Settings: Timeline options, such as how clips are displayed, can be configured here. Opacity and volume keyframing can be toggled.
3. Tracks: A track houses clips within the Timeline. The top of the Timeline has visual tracks such as for video, titles, and photos, represented as V1, V2, V3. The bottom has audio tracks such as for music and sound effects, represented as A1, A2, A3. By default, sequences will already have multiple tracks. If more than three tracks are needed, simply drag-and-drop a clip above (visual) or below (audio) the others and a new track will automatically be added. Blue highlights on track indicate that the track is selected.
4. Visibility Toggle: Show/hide visual tracks. Keep in mind that hidden tracks won’t appear in the final video upon export.
5. Audio Toggle: Mute/Solo audio tracks. Keep in mind that muted tracks won’t be heard in the final video upon export.
6. Playhead: Indicates the play position. The media in the Timeline at the playhead position will display in the Program Window.
7. Audio Meter: Displays the volume of the audio in the Timeline as it’s being played.
8. Zoom Sliders: Used to zoom in and out of the Timeline, horizontally as well as vertically. Click-and-drag the handles at the ends of the sliders to zoom.

Order & Stacking

The Timeline is played from left to right.  Clips can be placed in different tracks and stacked on top of each other. For visual clips, the top-most clip will be visible, covering the clips below it. Stacked audio clips, however, do not cover each other up. They will play simultaneously and all be heard playing at the same time. Stacking can be utilized to add text on top of video, or to do superimpositions of different visuals over each other.
To re-order a clip (up/down or sideways), use the Selection tool to click-and-drag it.

View Settings

Zooming in and out is important to the editing process, as it allows up close and specific edits as well as broad, big picture edits. 
  • Zoom Tool (Toolbar): The Zoom tool in the Toolbar can be used to zoom in and out. To zoom in with the tool, click within the Timeline with the Zoom tool. To zoom out, hold the Option key while clicking. 
  • Scale Sliders: Use scale sliders to stretch and shrink the Timeline to see tracks/clips. The Timeline has three scale sliders: a horizontal slider, located at the bottom of the Timeline; and two vertical sliders on the right (one for video tracks and one for audio). Click-and-drag the handles on the ends of the scale sliders to zoom in and out of the sequence.
  • Adjust Track Height: click-and-drag the top of the track in the track panel of the Timeline to make it taller or shorter.

Rendering & Smooth Playback

Premiere Pro will attempt to play sequences in real-time at full quality. More complicated clips, such as those with effects, slow down this process and need to be rendered to play properly. Rendering is a computer process that produces accurate playback. If playback is stuttering, use rendering to smooth it out. Be aware that rendering will take some time. 
Excluding audio, clips in the Timeline have a colored bar above them to indicate whether or not they need to be rendered.


Red: Unrendered and will most likely have playback issues.
Yellow: Unrendered but will most likely playback well.
Green: Rendered and will playback perfectly.

To render a portion of the Timeline:
  1. Highlight the section using in- and out-points in the Timeline. Navigate to the start of the desired portion and press the i key, then navigate to the end and press the o key.
  2. Navigate to Sequence > Render In to Out. Every clip within the highlighted area will be rendered.
To render a single clip, select it in the Timeline and navigate to Sequence > Render Selection.

To render the entire Timeline, select all clips (Command+A on Mac, CTRL+A on Windows) and then navigate to Sequence > Render Selection.


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Keywords:Adobe, editing, video, audio, movie   Doc ID:100571
Owner:Misty B.Group:Pacific Lutheran University
Created:2020-04-14 11:31 PDTUpdated:2020-04-21 12:56 PDT
Sites:Pacific Lutheran University
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