2. Customize Your Workspaces
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
1 Start a New Project
3 Nest Your Panels to Save Desktop Space
Premiere Elements is a task-oriented tool. Many capabilities have been added to the program to allow users to create workspaces that suit their needs. At times, some of the panels and various screens can get in the way of getting the job done. For this reason, the workspaces in Premiere Elements can be changed to each user's requirements.
Many options exist to help you get and stay organized, as well as to help create a smooth workflow. Changing defaults, creating label colors, and shrinking panels can all help make Premiere Elements a versatile tool.
Adjust Interface Brightness
From the main menu, choose Edit, Preferences. When the Preferences dialog box opens, click the User Interface (UI) option at the bottom of the list on the left side to open the dialog box to the User Interface page. Drag the slider to set the darkness and brightness of the application's user interface. This setting does not affect the way video or any images appear on the screen; only the workspace windows and panels are affected by the changes you make here. You can also specify that you want Premiere Elements to use the Windows background color as its own background color. The best way to see what type of effect this has on your workspace is to change the settings and look at the difference. Moving the slider to the left darkens the UI; moving it to the right lightens the UI. You always have the option to return the UI to the default setting by clicking the Default Brightness button.
2. Customize Your Workspaces
Set the Auto Save Feature
To get to the Auto Save settings, choose Edit, Preferences, Auto Save (if the Preferences dialog box is still open from step 1, click Auto Save in the list of categories on the left). You use the Auto Save feature to save copies of your project at regular intervals. This function saves you tons of time if something bad should ever happen to your computer while you're working on a project. To activate the Auto Save feature, check the Automatically Save Projects check box (it should already be checked by default). By default the Automatically Save Every field is set to 20 minutes and the Maximum Project Versions is set to 5. Changes to these numbers take effect immediately. The Auto Save message pops up for a second or two at the set intervals. Because this message can be annoying when you're working on a project, make sure that the setting is low enough to save your work frequently, but not so short that you are constantly being interrupted by it.
The Auto Save feature is not activated until you save your project manually at least one time. After saving manually, the Auto Save feature kicks in and saves your project at the intervals set in the Preferences dialog box. The project versions are saved to the Adobe Premiere Elements Auto Save folder. The saved projects can be used to recover your project after a crash or to start your project over from a specific point. If you select five project versions (the default), five versions of each project are saved. These project files take up very little space, so for safety, more is better.
Set the Default Durations
Chances are you will want to change the duration of certain transitions or images at some point in your editing career. These durations can be changed easily under the General category in the Preferences dialog box. From the main menu at the top of your screen, select Edit, Preferences, General to open the General Preferences dialog box.
Changes to the duration settings are not applied to any items already on the Timeline in any project. If you already have all your images and transitions on the Timeline and decide the durations are too short or long, there are two options: You can change all the transition and image durations manually (see 24 Set Still Image Duration and 44 About Transitions). This can be quite a time-consuming procedure, as you can imagine. Alternatively, you can remove all the transitions and images from the Timeline, change the default durations in the Preferences dialog box, and then put the images and transitions back on the Timeline. This can also be quite time consuming. The best practice is to think ahead; make sure your defaults will work with your project before you start. Video transitions, by default, are set to 30 frames because you are working with the NTSC format (that PAL format has a 25-frame transition default). Your video is captured at 30 frames per second, so a 30-frame transition lasts for a total of one second. If your transition is between two clips or images, one-half second would be over the first clip and another one-half second over the second clip. This might or might not work for your project at any given time. It is not difficult to change the duration of transitions manually if there are only a few.
To change the duration of a single clip on the Timeline, drag either end of the clip to the right or left. Be careful if there is a clip on either side because dragging over the adjacent clip could overlay the video. If you want to overlay the video, just drag the edge of the clip over the adjacent clip and drop it there. If you do not want to overlay, press and hold the Ctrl key while dragging the clip to move the other clips over to make room for the current clip's new duration. You can use this technique to make clips longer or shorter. But if you are going to add many images and many transitions, make sure that the default is set where you need it before adding items to the Timeline. When changing the duration, remember that you set the value in frames, 30 frames per second for NTSC, 25 frames per second for PAL.
Audio transitions, like video transitions, last for one second by default. Changes you make to the Preferences dialog box do not affect any audio files already on the Timeline. This setting is given in seconds of audio.
As you drag still images from the Media panel to the Timeline, Premiere Elements needs to determine how long that image will be displayed in your movie. By default, the still image duration is 150 frames. 150 frames divided by 30 frames per second equals a 5-second duration (for PAL, the default still image duration is 125 frames). Again, manually changing the duration of a few still images is not hard or time consuming; changing the duration for hundreds of images is. Think ahead before adding groups of stills to the Timeline; is the default duration going to be too long or short? For information about changing the duration of individual still images, see 24 Set Still Image Duration.
Set Label Colors and Defaults
Open the Preferences dialog box if it is not already open and click the Label Colors category on the left. This page of the dialog box shows the default label colors available. Click the button next to the color name to open a panel that enables you to choose a color. Then click in the box with the color name and change the name to best describe the color you just selected (you can type whatever you like in this text box). After you have chosen and named up to eight colors, it is time to apply them to the various available items.
Click Label Defaults in the category list on the left side of the Preferences dialog box to see a list of the items to which you can apply the colors you just selected: Folders, Timeline, Video, Audio, Movie (audio and video), Still, and Adobe Dynamic Link. For each of the items listed, choose a color from the drop-down list next to the item. Play around with assigning colors to the items until you have everything the way you like it, just like doing some interior designing. The colors visually separate one type of item from another when you are working on a project to help you achieve a well-organized project.
Sometimes the panels get in the way of the work you're doing on a project. By clicking the little blue triangle in the top-left corner of a panel, you can shrink, or collapse, the panel. Click the arrow again (it faces right when the panel is collapsed) to open the panel again.
Shrink and Enlarge Panels
In 3 Nest Your Panels to Save Desktop Space, you learn to move the panels to make more room in the workspace. Here is another means of creating some extra room in the work area when you need it.
Click and hold on one of the panel sides to drag the panel up and down or right and left. Changing the size of the panel will be a big help when, for example, you need your Monitor panel to be a little larger.