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Master Premiere Pro’s Timeline with Source Patching

Jason Boone

Take your video editing skills to the next level by working with source patching in the timeline panel in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Whether you’re new to Premiere Pro or simply switching over from another NLE, the timeline panel can be a bit intimidating. One of the first things you’ll want to learn is source patching. While you can easily get by without knowing how to patch a source, figuring out how to use this feature will streamline your workflow and help cut through the confusion.

Let’s have a closer look at how it works.


The Journey of a Premiere Pro Clip

First, let’s talk about how a file makes its way around Adobe Premiere Pro.

When editing video, I’m essentially taking my source material from the project panel and moving it into the timeline where I’ll craft my edit. Now, there are a number of different ways to do this.

One method is to simply drag assets from the project panel and drop them straight into the timeline. With this method, I can place the assets wherever I want. I can use keyboard shortcuts to specify if I want to perform an insert, overwrite, overlay, or replace edit. This particular method is good if I’m in a hurry and want to quickly slam a cut together, but it lacks a lot of options.

Master Premiere Pro's Timeline with Source Patching — Project Panel to Timeline

For more versatility, I’ll use the source monitor. To open up assets in the source monitor, I’ll simply double-click. As with the project panel, I can drag clips directly from the source monitor to the timeline. This panel allows me to view my clips, add in and out points, view the audio waveform, place markers, and separate the audio from the video.

Master Premiere Pro's Timeline with Source Patching — Source Panel to Timeline

If you’re a beginner, you can always drag content directly over the program monitor, which will give you a quick preview of various edits you can perform.

Master Premiere Pro's Timeline with Source Patching — Drop Zone


Patching a Source

While I can use the source monitor to specify how I want to send the file to the timeline, I can also customize how I want the timeline to receive the file via source patching. With source patching, I specify which tracks on the timeline will receive the assets, whether they are video, audio, or both.

Master Premiere Pro's Timeline with Source Patching — Source Patching Buttons

Source patching won’t even be available unless you have a source selected. Once again, you can select sources in either the project panel or the source monitor. With an audio clip selected, you’ll only have patching available for audio tracks. The same goes for video clips without audio.

To activate a track, I’ll toggle the button just to the left of the lock symbol. This is located in the track header of the timeline. The buttons are labeled V1 and V2, respectively. Don’t mix them up with the track targeting buttons, which are an entirely different animal.

Master Premiere Pro's Timeline with Source Patching — Insert Gap Source Patching

There are three different modes for a source patch:

  • On — Source clips will be sent here.
  • Off — Edits are ignored.
  • Black/Silent — Gaps are placed in the timeline.

If I’m juggling a number of complex projects, I can create source patch presets. For this, I’ll simply right-click over the source patch buttons.

And voilá! With my sources patched, I’m ready to cut effectively and efficiently.


Interested in the track we used to make this video?

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