How to Edit with the Timeline Using Premiere Elements on Mac

Expert mode allows you to do a lot of work in the Timeline itself

Working in Adobe Premiere Elements’ Expert mode opens up many additional tools to help the editing process. And the one that’s front and centre is the Timeline, which is radically different to the one you’ve worked with in Quick mode. For one thing, it allows you to work with multiple layers of video as we explored in the previous tutorial, but it’s also incredibly flexible.

So why is flexibility important? Well, it allows you to work from the timeline – editing your clips – without having to resort to accessing another tool in another window, thereby removing the direct connection you have between your work and the files that comprise your project.

Although you can also do so from Quick mode, there is no discernible advantage to doing this there, because all you gain is a bigger video layer with larger thumbnails. This capability comes into its own in Expert mode, not only because you can work with multiple layers of video, but because you can also resize each layer to make them bigger or smaller, letting you see more of your work, or focus on a specific area. Larger areas make it easier to make changes to your audio layer, for instance, as we’ll be exploring here, by altering the volume of a clip over time with the use of keyframes.


SKILL LEVEL: Could be tricky

IT WILL TAKE: 30 minutes

YOU’LL NEED: Adobe Premiere Elements 12 (or trial version), video clips ready to use



1 Selective resizing?

Add a few clips to the timeline, including at least one on a different layer. You notice that the Video 2 layer is thinner than Video 1. But although you can mouse over to the top of the Video 1 layer (just above its name) and resize it, you can’t seem to do the same with Video 2.


2 Full disclosure

The trick is to click on Video 2’s disclosure triangle. This makes the layer thicker and reveals thumbnails on either side of your clip, as is the default for Video 1. Once done, you can mouse over the top edge of that layer and resize it just as you can with Video 1’s default configuration.


3 An orange line

You should see on whichever layer your clip is on (as long as it’s expanded), there’s an orange line going across the clip. Move the cursor to it until you notice it changing from black to white. When that happens, drag that line down. This line affects your clip’s opacity.


4 Audio work

A big difference between Quick and Expert modes is the ability to manipulate your clip’s audio straight from the timeline. Of course, whether you drag from the audio or the video, both move in unison, but it’s easy to change that with the help of a keyboard shortcut.


5 L-Cuts

An L-Cut allows you to make the audio start before the video or vice versa. It helps create dynamism in your edit, and you can do this straight from the Timeline: hold down å and drag the audio’s edge to alter when it starts without affecting the video part of your clip.


6 Another orange line

Click on the Audio layer’s disclosure triangle and you see another orange line. This one deals with volume; raise it to make it louder and lower it to make it quieter. But what if you’d like to alter only a specific part of your clip? This is where keyframes come into play.


7 Adding a keyframe

This is where increasing the size of your audio layer is useful. Beneath your audio title are three buttons, with the middle one accessible. This is the keyframe button. Move the playhead to the desired location, then click that button to set a point on your audio clip.


8 Altering with keyframes

Create another keyframe elsewhere on the clip. You can now move a point up or down to alter the audio in that section without affecting the clip. You can also move those points left and right to fine-tune them and change the volume exactly where you want to.