Premiere Pro Tutorial: Organizing Your Project with Markers
Optimize your editing workflow with markers in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Cover image via Shutterstock.
Markers are an often underutilized tool in the Premiere Pro CC toolbox. They are little colored tabs you can apply to both your timeline and your source clips to indicate important points in time with a color or note. Like little sticky notes across your project, markers can help you stay organized and keep track of editing notes. Markers are non-destructive, meaning they show up in your workflow but never in your exports. And there are more ways than you’d expect to make the most of them in your project.
But first, a quick introduction. There are three different types of markers you can use: comment markers, segmentation markers, and web link markers. Comment markers let you leave yourself notes about specific points in a sequence or clip. Segmentation markers can help you define entire segments or stretches of a clip to apply a note or organized title. A web link marker is exactly that: you can use it to add a relevant url. You can actually export web link markers, and compatible video players will launch a link to the url.
To apply a marker simply hit the “M” key on your keyboard, or the Marker button (which looks like a little tab with a point) in the Program Monitor, and it will automatically add a green marker. To add a note to that marker or change its color, immediately hit “M” a second time, and it will open the marker window. In this window, you can change the duration of the marker (making it a segmentation marker) or add a url to make it a web link marker.
You can use the different colors to signify different things. For example, I use the red or orange markers to note a big problem I need to remember to fix in an edit. Alternatively, I’ll use the green to note a section that is picture-locked. Other times, I might just use the red marker, like a stop sign, to signify the time limitation I have on a piece I am working on. So if I have a commercial I am trying to get under a minute, I put my red marker at that minute mark, and I can see how much I have to trim out of the project.
I also frequently use the blue marker to help me mark beats in the music or a spot where the music drops out really nicely, and I know I want a big edit transition there. Using markers for this seems to be the quickest and easiest way to make my cuts right on the beats. When you double-click a marker, it will take your playhead to exactly that spot.
The marker panel (Window > Markers) is a great place to sort through all your markers in one place. You can view your various markers by color (by clicking on the color at the top of the panel) and read all of your notes. You can also jump to any of the various markers in a clip or sequence by double-clicking on it in the Marker Panel. This can be especially helpful in larger, longer-form projects to help you move around quickly in your edit.
You can also create a segmentation marker in the Marker Panel. Simply drag your in and out points to cover the length of the notation, and add your note. Segmentation makers are great for notes about the placement of an entire sequence or, as I most regularly use them, to note where you need to add effects, like color corrections or warp stabilizing. This is especially helpful when you’re removing all your effects at picture lock to prep for sound and color mixing, but want to note what you need to add back in when they come back fully mixed.
You can also add markers just to source clips by clicking on the individual clip in your timeline and then hitting “M” — or by opening the clip in the source monitor and adding them there. I use this most frequently when syncing audio to video. I place one marker on the spike of the slate in the audio and then another when the slate hits in the video and drag to line them up. You can use Premiere Pro’s “Merge Clips” tool to merge them, and the markers will reduce the possibility of error with this sometimes-finicky tool.
Do you have suggestions for using markers in Premiere? Let us know in the comments.