Adobe Premiere Project Settings

Once you have a basic understanding of frame rate, frame size, and compression, you can better choose settings when you create a project in Premiere. If you choose your project settings well, you’ll produce the best quality video.

You first choose Project settings when you create a new project. The Load Project Settings dialog box shown in below appears when you first load Premiere, or when you choose File»New Project.

The creators of Premiere have streamlined the process of choosing project settings. To get started, you simply need to click on one of the available presets. Notice that Premiere provides DV (Digital Video format presets) for NTSC television and the PAL standard. For Web and CD-ROM work, Premiere supplies Multimedia presets.

Clicking one of the presets displays the prechosen settings for compression, frame size, pixel aspect ratio, frame rate, and bit depth, as well as for audio settings. Although the project settings provide an excellent starting point, you may need to change them when you create a project, or when you export a project to tape or disk.

To change settings in a new project, click the Custom button. To change settings while working on a project, choose Project»Project Settings. When you Export a movie, a settings button also allows you to change settings.

To see all settings in a project, choose Project Settings View. This opens the Settings Viewer dialog box shown in Figure below. To change Project Setting from the Settings Viewer, click the Project Settings button.

No matter which path you take to change project settings, all roads lead to dialog boxes that are divided into five categories: General, Video, Audio, Keyframe and Rendering, and Capture.

The General settings section of the Project Settings dialog box, provides a summary of the individual project settings. What follows is a description of some of the choices.

  • Editing Mode—The editing mode is determined by the preset chosen. The choice here is most likely to be QuickTime, Apple’s Desktop Video compression system, or Video for Windows (used by PCs only). The editing mode popup menu also allows you to set DV playback options.

Choose DV Playback, and then click the Playback Settings button. This Opens the DV Playback Options dialog box where you can select Playback on DV Camcorder/VCR. Viewing DV playback on a monitor connected to a VCR or your DV Camcorder provides the best preview of your project.

  • Timebase—Timebase determines how Premiere divides video frames each second when calculating editing precision. The Timebase also determines the positions of the tick marks on the Timeline window. (If the frame rate does not match the Timebase, Premiere uses the frame rate.)

If you are outputting to video work, leave the setting at 29.97, the video standard; for QuickTime, and Video for Windows multimedia and Web projects, choose 30. If you are working with a production that was captured from film, choose 24, the standard frame rate for film.

Typically, the Timebase matches the capture rate, so if you capture video at 15 frames per second, set the Timebase at 15 frames per second. If you capture video at 30 frames per second and the Timebase at 15 frames per second, Premiere skips every other frame when you are editing.

Futhermore, you should generally choose a Timebase that matches the frame rate in your production. However, to further reduce the file size of a production, you can have a lower frame rate than Timebase.

For instance, the Multimedia preset uses a 30 frame Timebase, but the project frame rate is 15 frames per second, and the export rate is 15 frames per second. (If you do change the frame rate, remember that better quality is achieved by using a frame rate [such as 15] that is a multiple of the Timebase rate [such as 30]. However, lowering the frame rate usually produces poorer quality output.)

  • Time Display—This setting determines how time is displayed during the project. Time is displayed using standard video time readouts. For instance, if the time display after the first 29 frames is 00:00:29, the next frame in the video would read out as 00:01:00 (at 30 frames per second), which means 1 second and 00 frames.

Here are some recommended settings. For Professional video, match the original video. If the original video uses 30, then choose Drop Frame. For Web or CD-ROM production, choose 30 frames per second Non Drop Frame. For PAL projects, use 25 frames per second. For Motion picture, choose Feet frame 16 (for 16 mm) or Feet frame 35 (for 35 mm).

  • Current Settings—Click this to see all settings.
  • Advanced Settings—Available only with specific video boards.

The Video settings section of the Project Settings dialog box, includes settings specific to the creation of your video project. These settings are described in the following paragraphs.

  • Compressor—Premiere uses this codec during Timeline playback. Typically, you will export to disk or tape using the same codec. (The codecs are set automatically when you choose a preset.)
  • Depth—Specifies the color Depth. For the best quality video, leave the color depth set to 24 bit. You can switch to 8 bit if allowed by the current codec chosen in the compressor field. For instance, if you chose QuickTime Animation or Cinepak as your codec, you can lower the Depth to 256 colors. You can also click the palette button to load a custom palette from disk.
  • Frame Size—The frame size of your project is its pixel dimension. The first number is the frame width, the second number is the frame height. Use the default presets for DV-NTSC video (720 × 480). For Web work, you should use a smaller frame size than the multimedia default of 320 × 240.
  • Quality—The quality settings are dependent on which codec is chosen. The higher the quality, the better the video output—but the greater the file size.
  • Aspect—Aspect controls the aspect ratio, horizontal to vertical. The standard video aspect ratio is 4:3. If you are using video clips and change the aspect ratio, you will distort your image. If you are using D1/DV Widescreen (a 1.2-pixel aspect ratio), the frame aspect ratio is 16:9.
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio—This determines the shape of the video pixels—the width to height of one pixel in your image. For analog video and images created in graphics programs or scanned, choose square pixels. The pop-up menu allows you to choose different settings for outputting to videotape.

For instance, for output to video using a DV video, you can choose D1/DV NTSC (0.9); for output to D1/DV Widescreen, choose 1.2; for D1/DV Pal, use 1.0666; for D1/DV Pal Widescreen, use 1.4222. Choose the Anamorphic 2:1 choice if the video was shot on film with an anamorphic lens.

  • Data Rate—A variety of codecs allow you to change the data rate to limit the amount of data that is sent to your computer over a given time. This setting helps to ensure that the video output doesn’t go beyond the internal transfer capabilities of your computer system during previews. If previews are choppy, you can try reducing the number that appears in the Data rate K/sec field.
  • Recompress—If you lower the data rate, select this option to ensure that the lower data rate is maintained. Select Always to recompress every frame; select Maintain data rate to only compress those frames higher than the data rate. This option provides better quality than the Always settings.

Recompress—If you lower the data rate, select this option to ensure that the lower data rate is maintained. Select Always to recompress every frame; select Maintain data rate to only compress those frames higher than the data rate. This option provides better quality than the Always settings.

Rendering options include the following:

  • Ignore Audio Effects—Select this option to prevent audio effects from being previewed when playing back projects from the Timeline.
  • Ignore Video Effects—Select this option to prevent video effects from appearing when playing back from the Timeline.
  • Ignore Audio Rubber Bands—Audio rubber bands can control fadein and fadeout. Select this option to have Premiere ignore these effects in the Timeline.
  • Optimize Stills—Choosing this option can result in better compression, because Premiere uses only one frame for still frames. For instance, at 30 frames per second, choosing Optimize Stills results in the creation of one frame instead of 30 frames. Choosing this setting may produce choppy playback.
  • Frames Only at Markers—When working in the Timeline, Premiere allows you to tag frames with markers. This option only plays back the frames with markers.
  • Preview Settings—Premiere 6 allows a variety of Preview settings that can speed up the preview process. Here are the choices:
  • To Screen—When this option is chosen, Premiere creates a preview as quickly as possible. Select this option to obtain only a general idea of your production because the preview does not run at the correct playback speed. Preview speed under this option is determined by frame size, bit depth, effects, and the speed of your computer system.
  • From Disk—This option creates a preview at the final playback speed by first rendering the preview to a playback file on disk.
  • From RAM—This option creates a preview file in RAM, instead of on disk. Because no preview file is created, this creates a faster preview than the From Disk setting. If the system does not have enough RAM, Premiere drops frames during playback. To use less RAM, you can switch to a smaller frame size.