Overview of Digital Storytelling Tools and Techniques

Introduction to Adobe Premiere Elements 11

Adobe Premiere Elements is video editing software that allows you to organize, edit and enhance Images and Video. This tutorial will focus on the introducing you to the basic features of Adobe Premiere and the aspects relevant to create a digital story.


Once you’ve opened Premiere a welcome screen will greet you with two workspace options Organizer and Video Editor.


The Organizer interface manages the content: audio, video files and images and is put into three different sections.

The left hand side will show all your albums and folders including import folders.

In the center you’ll see the preview area of the media selections you’re working with.

The right hand side contains a tags and information panel where you can get information about clips and insert captions and notes. You will not likely use the organizer if you have saved all of your photos on desktop for digital video.

Video Editor

Before you open Video Editor it will ask you if you want to start a New Project or keep working on an Existing Project. Once you’ve chosen your project you may add files by selecting them in the organizer space bringing them across to the video editor.

Like Photoshop there are two different editing rooms in Video Editor: Quick and Expert.

  • Quick will contain a simple drag and drop method.
  • Expert gives you much more control and complexity when editing your projects. We would recommend “Expert” to make the digital stories.

Importing Content

There are many options when importing content for Premiere.

You may select media from a list of optional sources: Elements Organizer, Videos from Flip or Cameras, DV Camcorder, HDV Camcorder, DVD Camera or PC drive, Webcam or WDM, Photos from cameras or devices, and Files and folders.

Once you’ve imported your photos/videos/music etc.
your screen will look similar to this (note: if you want to see your content you need to click on Project Assets beside Add Media)


The video editor timeline located at the bottom of the work space provides you with ordering, playback controls and monitoring information for your images or clips. You simply drag photos into the “video” timeline, your recorded story into narration timeline and copyright free music into audio timeline.

The timeline in Quick View contains four basic tracks: a title track, a single video/image track, a narration track and an audio track. If you require multiple tracks for your audio and video needs then work in Expert View.

The Expert view timeline uses a time ruler to display the components of your movie and their relationship to each other over time. You can trim and add scenes, indicate important frames with markers, add transitions, and control how clips are blended or superimposed.

Note, there are Undo and Redo buttons in the bottom left corner of each timeline.


Adobe Premiere has video-editing tools that meet many needs. You can preview and trim imported clips to eliminate unwanted material. You can also revise clip properties such as speed, direction, and duration.

Split Clips

To Split a clip to remove unwanted portions select a clip in the Quick view or the Expert view timeline.

Drag the current-time indicator to the point where you want to split the clip.

Click the Split Clip button to split the clip into two sections.

Select the section you want to remove, and click Delete.

You can simultaneously split two or more layered clips in the Expert view timeline.

First drag a marquee to select clips, on different tracks, that overlap at a point in time.

Drag the current-time indicator to the place where you want to make the split.

On the current-time indicator, click the Split Clip button.

Trim clips

Select a clip in the Quick view or the Expert view timeline.

Drag the Trim handles at the vertical edges of the clip to the left or right to shorten the clip.

Action Bars

Along the bottom of the workspace sits the action bar. Menus containing: Instant Movie, Tools, Transitions, Titles & Text, Effects, Music and Graphics.

The Instant Movie panel will automatically create a movie for you based on your content and themes.

The Tools panel contains a range of useful tools to make adjustments to your content.

The Transitions panel provides you with options on how to transition audio and video from clip to clip.

The Titles & Text panel provides you with title, graphics and text templates to insert in your clips.

The effects panel contains a multitude of effects you can use for both video and audio clips.

The music panel contains music you can use as a soundtrack for your project.

The graphics panel contains graphics you can use for your project.


Effects can alter the exposure or color of footage, manipulate sound, distort images, adjust size and more. All effects are preset to default settings so you can see the results of the effect as soon as you apply it.

Standard effects appear in the Effects panel. You can apply any number or combination of standard effects from the Effects panel by first selecting a clip in the Quick view or the Expert view timeline.

Select Effects on the Action bar.

From the Effects panel, drag a special effect.

For example, the Lens Flare effect on to the clip to apply the effect.

Add Transitions

Transitions help create an esthetically pleasing bridge between two clips.

To create Transitions first select a clip in the Quick view or the Expert view timeline now click on Transitions in the Action bar.

Drag a transition between two clips. You can also modify the properties of the transition in the Transition adjustments window.

Create Titles

You can design custom titles and graphics with Adobe Premiere. Titles serve many purposes, from identifying people and places onscreen to providing movie-style credits. You can create your own title text for your video clip or use a Title template.

In the Quick view timeline/Expert view timeline, drag the current-time indicator to the clip to which you want to add a title.

On the Action bar, click Titles And Text.

From the Title And Text panel, drag a title to either timeline or the Monitor panel.

If necessary, use the Adjust panel to modify the properties of the title.

Modify the settings under Text, Style, Animation, and Shapes.

Click the Play button under the Monitor panel to preview the changes.

A default style is applied to every graphic and block of text you create. You can change this style by selecting one of the provided styles or by modifying the default style.

Double-click the title in the Quick view timeline and Expert view timeline to display the Adjust panel.

Add a Soundtrack

Drag an audio clip from the Music panel into the Soundtrack track of the Quick view timeline or you can also drag audio clips to the Expert view timeline through the Project Assets panel.

You can now preview the soundtrack to make sure that it corresponds to your video the way you want it to. Click the Play button in the Monitor panel or Press the spacebar.


You can use a USB or built in microphone to narrate clips while previewing them in the Monitor panel. Your narration is then added to the Narration soundtrack visible in either the Quick view timeline or the Expert view timeline.

To set up your microphone go to Edit – Preferences – Audio Hardware. From the Default Device menu, select your computer’s sound device and click OK.
In the Expert view or Quick view timeline, drag the current-time indicator to the point where you want the narration to begin.
Select Narration from the Tools panel.

In the Record Voice Narration window, click the Mic Source button and select your sound device from the menu.
For best results, turn off your computer speakers to prevent feedback. To monitor sound while you narrate, plug headphones into your computer and deselect Mute Audio While Recording.

Speak into the microphone and raise or lower the Input Volume Level slider until you have found a good level.

Click the Record button.

Near the top of the Record Voice Narration window, a timer appears next to Start Recording In. When Start Recording changes to Recording, begin to narrate as the clip plays. When you finish narrating, click the Stop button.

An audio clip containing your narration is added to the Project Assets panel and to the Narration track in the Quick view timeline or the Expert view timeline.

If you do not click the Stop button the recording automatically stops at the beginning of the next file in the Narration track, or 30 seconds past the end of the last clip in the Quick view timeline or the Expert view timeline.

To preview your recording, click Go To Previous. Then click the Play button.

Pan and Zoom for Images and videos

Pan and zoom effect works best with videos that have minimal movement of objects in the movie clip.

By using the pan and zoom tool in Premiere Elements you can create video-like effects from images or movie clips perfect for digital storytelling.

First open the pan and zoom tool, in tools. The pan and zoom tool dialog will now be displayed. (note: the sizeof your photos will determine how much you can zoom into them).

Face Frames

If you click on Face Frames in the pan and zoom tool, Premiere analyzes the picture and adds focus frames on detected faces.

The frames are automatically ordered from left to right in an inverted S sequence. You can customize the automatically applied effect manually based on your requirements.

You can also add focus frames manually by Double-clicking the object or area on which you want to add a focus frame.
Select the new focus frame, and move the cursor over the frame until the hand icon appears. Now drag to move the focus frame to where you want it.
To add a focus frame between two focus frames, move the cursor between their corresponding focus markers in the timeline. Click New Frame.
For images with more than three focus frames, only the selected focus frame and the focus frames previous and next to it in the sequence are displayed.

The number on focus frames determines the panning sequence, the sequence in which objects are panned into. You can easily reorder the focus frames by changing the position of the focus frames in the thumbnail strip.

You can Resize focus frames by selecting the focus frame, and moving your mouse over any of the corners until the resize (double-sided arrow) icon appears. Drag to resize the frame.

It’s easy to delete focus frames. Just move the mouse over the focus frame. Click the “X” button, or press the Delete key.

Changing the pan duration changes the time for moving from one focus frame to the next. The pan duration appears on the connector between two focus frames. Click the pan duration. In the Pan Time window, select the time duration to the desired value, or enter the value in the dialog box.\ Alternatively, you can adjust the focus frame markers in the timeline to change the pan duration.

Hold time is the duration for which the focus stays on an object before panning comes into effect. Increasing the hold time increases the time for which the object is displayed when in focus.

You can do this by selecting the focus frame and moving the mouse over the focus frame. Click Hold duration. In the Hold Time window, select the time duration.

You can Preview pan and zoom effect by clicking Play Output.

You can also use zoom to accurately position focus frames.

The zoom options in the pan and zoom toolbar help reduce the size of a focus frame beyond what is possible in the normal view.


To preview a video first you may want to render it. Rendering processes the layers and effects and saves the preview into a file, which Adobe Premiere Elements can use each time you preview that section of the movie.

First designate the area you wish to render by highlighting it in the timeline and then select render in the Expert view timeline.

Save a project

Saving a project saves your editing decisions, references to source files, and the most recent arrangement of panels.

Save your project often by selecting File – Save in the heading menu.

To save a copy of a project, choose File – Save As, specify a location and filename, and click Save. We recommend that you save your project on the desktop in a designated file folder.

Publish and Share

The Publish and Share panel will allow you to save and share (export) your finished project. You can save your project for viewing on the web, mobile phone, computer, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc.

You can start a new share by clicking any of the share options: Web DVD, Disc, Online, Computer, and Mobile Phones and Players. Each of these options opens a dialog that provides specific options and settings for sharing to respective format and media type.