Adobe Premiere: Understanding Playback and Preview Options

Playback is fundamentally important to editors because we need to see how the results of our work plays. You need to watch your edits to make sure they work. Without playback you're working blind. In fact, one bad decision can lead to many more ending with you being unhappy with the final edit and starting over again. You need to have the ability to watch every edit you make so that you know you're moving in the right direction. Not only that, but you need to be able to watch the video playback smoothly so that you can put yourself in the audiences shoes.  

Playing Back Video Clips

When you add clips to the timeline there is going to be one of three colored lines above the clip. Green means that the video will play back smoothly. Red means that the clip needs to be rendered for play back. Sometimes a clip will have a yellow line over it. This means that the video format isn't exactly recognized and a preview file needs to be created for smooth play back. Once a clip has been rendered a green line appears above it and it will now play back smoothly.

Rendering Video Clips

Rendering clips can be time consuming, but it really doesn't require much effort on your part. If you see red lines then click on the timeline and hit the 'Enter' button on your keyboard. You can also go to "Sequence"-> "Render Effects in Work Area." If you are seeing the yellow lines then you need to go to "Sequence"-> "Render Entire Work Area." Now all you have to do is wait for the rendering process to complete. This time can vary depending on how much video needs to be rendered.

Understanding Preview Files

Any alteration you make to a video clip will require you to create a preview file through rendering for smooth playback. It could be something small like adding a title at the bottom of the screen or slightly cropping the image or it could be big like green screen intensive work. Regardless of what it is, it needs a preview file for smooth playback otherwise it will appear choppy. And if the video plays back choppy then your judgment is compromised. 

Manage Your Scratch Disks

Your scratch disks is the place on your hard drive where these files will be stored. It's a good idea to stay on top of your scratch disk and occasionally erase everything in it as your project goes on. Old rendered files don't become automatically deleted and this area can take up a lot of hard drive space quickly.

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