Adobe’s editing software, Premiere Pro, is an awesome video editor, but it has is quirks. In my previous article, I wrote about the free version of Premiere Pro. I’ve been using it for a while, and while it works great, I’ve found a few quirks I had to work around. We’re going to cover some of the tips and tricks I found that have helped me and I hope they help you too!
TIP 1: Go Back to Black
So if you installed the CS2 version of Premiere Pro, you probably noticed when you opened it, you were presented with a blinding white user interface. I personally don’t like this, partially due to the fact I used the CC version of Premiere Pro, and it has a nice, sleek black interface. And because it looked ugly. But that doesn’t matter. (Not) Anyways, buried deep in the preferences is a setting that allows you to change the “brightness” of the user interface. To change this, open Premiere Pro, click Edit on the menu bar, hover over Preferences, and click User Interface. On the dialog box that appears, drag the slider bar to the left. Adjust it until you like the brightness. Now Premiere Pro should look sleeker and as a bonus is a little easier on the eyes!
TIP 2: Install a Better Color Grading Plugin
Premiere Pro has some decent color grading plugins. Three Way Color Corrector is one, and it works pretty well. But there are third party color grading plugins that can do better. Red Giant is a company that creates plugins for Adobe products, and they have a color grading plugin called Magic Bullet Colorista. And just for us budget filmmakers, Red Giant released a free version of it, and it works in CS2! To get it, follow this link, click the big blue download button, and select your operating system. You will have to sign up for a free account with Red Giant to download it. When it is finished downloading, unzip the archive, and then run the installer inside. Navigate as usual through the installer, but when you come to the version selection screen (see screenshot above), select the “Adobe After Effects CS3” version. “But Joe, I thought this article is about Premiere Pro? Not After Effects.” You got that right. But in the selection screen, there is no option for Premiere Pro CS2. In order to make it work we need to do some fancy copying and pasting of files. Finish working through the installer like normal. Now open File Explorer and navigate to the following folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe After Effects 7.0\Plug-ins\Standard\Standard Effects. Scroll through the list and look for a file called: Colorista_Free.aex. Right-click it, and click copy. Now, navigate to this folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0\Plug-ins\en_US. Now, right click a blank space and click paste or press the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+V” to paste it. Now open Premiere Pro and the plugin should appear inside the Effects panel. Awesomesauce! You just installed a plugin!
TIP 3: Add Sequence Presets
Most recent cameras these days shoot at least a 720p or 1080p resolution. But back in 2006, 720p and 1080p weren’t all that common, so they didn’t create any sequence presets for those resolutions. So instead, each time you create a project, you have to manually adjust each setting to what you need. But that’s very time-consuming. So instead, I created a bunch of presets that you can install! They will be attached at the end of this article. Each preset is configured with 48000 Hz sample rate for audio, no compression on previews, and is available in 1080p or 720p with a range of frame rates. To install them, download and unzip the archive attached to the end of this article. Open the folder labeled “PP20 Sequence Presets”, select all of them with the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+A”, right click, and select copy. Navigate to the following folder: C:\Users\jtinc\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Premiere Pro\2.0\Settings\Custom. Right-click on a blank space, and click paste. Now if you open Premiere Pro up, you should have a nice selection of custom presets!
TIP 4: Add Export Presets
So Premiere Pro 2.0 came out in 2006. And since they didn’t make 720p or 1080p sequence presets, why make 720p or 1080p export presets? So also attached at the end of this article is a bunch of presets for exporting! Each preset uses the QuickTime format, along with the H.264 codec and uncompressed audio at a 48000 Hz sample rate. Each preset has a 720p or 1080p version and each version has multiple frame rates to select from. To install, download and unzip the archive at the end of the article. Open the folder named “PP20 Export Presets”, select all the presets with the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+A”, and then copy them. Navigate to the following folder: C:\Users\jtinc\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Premiere Pro\2.0\Settings\Custom. Right-click in a blank space and click paste or use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+V”. Yay! You just modernized Premiere Pro 2.0! To use these presets, load the project you want to export, click file in the menu bar, hover over export, and click movie in the pop out menu. In the dialog that appears, click the settings button, and in the window that comes up, click the load button and select the preset you want to use. A thing to note when using these presets is the quality slider under the video tab is automatically set to 100%. I would recommend bringing it down to 75% for YouTube or keep it at 90-100% for archiving and hard copies.
These little tweaks helped me use Premiere Pro better. Even though they may be little, it really helps open the doors on what you can accomplish with this older version. Do you have a favorite tweak or plugin that you like? Shoot a comment out below! Peacing out!