Clean up your messy projects with these five underused organizational tools in Premiere Pro.

When it comes to video editing, organization is everything. Unfortunately, video editors are notorious for being incredibly disorganized and messy people. This is especially unfortunate if you are collaborating with a team in post. So if you’re sick of being messy, here are a few things you can do to stay organized in Premiere Pro.

1. The ‘Remove Unused’ Feature

5 Underused Organizational Tools in Premiere Pro: Remove Unused Example

The Remove Unused feature basically takes away any unused item from your project panel. This is great if you are ready to hand your project off to someone else like a colorist or VFX artist… and not so great if you’re still assembling the edit. To use the Remove Unused feature, simply navigate to Edit>Remove Unused. After you hit the Remove Unused button, any clips or elements not used in a timeline will disappear.

2. Custom Color Labels

5 Underused Organizational Tools in Premiere Pro: Custom Color Labels

Color labels are an incredibly important way to keep your footage organized, but I like to take it one step further. Instead of simply choosing a color for certain types of footage, I like to physically name each category before I begin color labeling. For example, If you navigate to Premiere Pro>Preferences>Label Defaults you will see different colors for Bins, Sequences, Video, etc.

Instead of setting this to default, I like using my colors to tell me what type of footage or audio is in the timeline. For example, if you navigate to Premiere Pro>Preferences>Color Labels, you can change the default name and color for your clips. I’ll typically label the following eight categories:

  • Interviews
  • B-Roll
  • Narrative Footage
  • Graphics
  • Voice Audio
  • Location Sound/SFX
  • Music
  • Everything Else

Now you can go into your project panel and label your clips with the appropriate color label. Simply right click, select Label, and choose the right category. After you do this, it will be much easier to quickly navigate your timeline and determine what type of footage you are working with. This is, of course, secondary to organizing your footage once you import it into your project.

3. “Magic” Markers

5 Underused Organizational Tools in Premiere Pro: Marker Example

You probably already use markers to set edit points when you’re editing a video to music queues, but markers are highly functional beyond simply marking a location. Markers are fantastic for giving and sharing feedback regarding a project.

Markers don’t have to stay at a single point; they can actually span across a duration. Markers can also be transferred between programs and software. So if you import a Premiere Pro composition into Adobe After Effects, you will see the markers in your timeline and vice-versa.To set a marker, simply hit the “M” key on your keyboard. If you double-click the marker you can select color, add comments, change the duration, add links, and set chapter markers for DVD authorship.

4. Subclips

5 Underused Organizational Tools in Premiere Pro: Making Subclips

If you’re working with B-roll, one clip doesn’t mean one shot. For example, you may have a long clip in your project panel that has five potential B-roll shots in it. So how are you supposed to keep track of which shots are in that clip? Using subclips of course! A subclip is a small snippit of a larger clip that can be edited seperately from the master. Most of the time, editors will use subclips to organize all of their b-roll shots in their project panel before they start editing.

To make a subclip, all you have to do is set an in and out point in your preview panel and select Clip>Make Subclip (Command + U). You will see your clip pop up in your project panel. To rename, simply select the clip and hit the return key. You can make subclips from video and audio. I highly recommend using subclips if you are working on a big project.

5. Effects Bins

5 Underused Organizational Tools in Premiere Pro: Custom Effect Bins

Sure you can make a bin in the project panel, but did you know that you can create a bin in the effects browser to keep all of your most-used effects in one place? Just hit the New Custom Bin button (folder icon) in the bottom right corner of the effects browser. You can name the bin and easily drag and drop your favorite effects for recall later.

Know of any other underused organizational tips for Premiere Pro? Share in the comments below.