Coronavirus (COVID-19) information: Live classes available in-person or online from our fully vaccinated instructors. Learn more about our reopening.


What is Premiere Pro

  • Published on March 19, 2022
What is Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is a software application for video editing from Adobe Systems. Premiere Pro is used for editing videos, commercials and other film, television, and online video. It also includes audio editing functionality. It is a comprehensive video editing software application and is available individually or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud set of applications. Premiere Pro is often used in conjunction with After Effects and Photoshop on creative projects. Premiere Pro can be used on Mac OS or Windows computers.

What is Premiere Pro CC

In the Premiere Pro CC name, the CC is represents “Creative Cloud” and is a subscription-based version of Premiere Pro. New updates to the Premiere Pro program are available for download for current subscribers. In order to use the CC version of Premiere Pro, a current subscription is required. Older versions of Premiere Pro, such as Premiere Pro CS, do not require a subscription. Adobe made the transition to subscription-based versions of Premiere Pro as part of the Creative Cloud in 2013. Adobe releases new updates to Premiere Pro CC approximately every 12 to 18 months. The updates from year to year are often modest, making the difference between versions such as Premiere Pro CC 2020 and Premiere Pro CC 2021 not noticeable to most users.

What does Premiere Pro do

Premiere Pro can be used for all common video editing tasks necessary for producing broadcast quality, high-definition video. It can be used to import video, audio and graphics, and is used to create new, edited versions of video which can be exported to the medium and format necessary for distribution. When creating videos using Premiere Pro, various video and still images can be edited together. Titles can be added to videos, and filters can be applied along with other effects.

Who uses Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro is used by video production firms, news stations, marketing professionals, and design firms. Individuals working in roles such as video editors, production managers, marketing managers and multimedia designers all use Premiere Pro to create and edit video content. Premiere Pro is developed by software development firm Adobe Systems.

The History of Premiere Pro

Adobe Premier Pro started as simply Premiere, and was introduced in 1991 for the Mac operating system. It was one of the first computer-based non-linear editing systems. The name Premiere Pro was introduced in 2003 and has been used for all subsequent versions. The very first version of Premier Pro had a number of names, ranging from Premiere Pro 1 through Premiere Pro 7.

Each subsequent Premiere Pro release has included additional changes, which are noted below:

  • Premiere Pro 1.5 was released as a version that was more stable than its predecessor, PPRO. It included bug fixes, glitches and a few small additions.
  • Premiere Pro 2 had a number of changes, including a new interface, new features, and improved integration with other applications in the Adobe family. With this release, multi-camera editing, record-to-DVD, GPU accelerated processing and native HD/HDV support were introduced.
  • Premier Pro CS3: This version was released in 2007. One of the new, notable features of this release was time remapping. Mac support was also reintroduced during this time.
  • Premiere Pro CS4: This version of Premiere Pro was released October 2008, with an improved editing workflow, more flexibility and increased format support.
  • Premier Pro CS5: Released April 2010, the Mercury Playback Engine was a significant addition. This allowed render-less previewing. This version also included minor enhancements to the software.
  • Premiere Pro CS6: In May 2012 this release delivered a number of changes to the interface. Enhancements included adjustment layers, the rolling shutter repair effect, three-way color corrections, new preset browser, and more. Users were also introduced to Adobe Prelude, SpeedGrade, and Adobe Creative Cloud. This was the last edition that could be purchased as a stand-alone software package. There have been updates to fix bugs that were affecting performance, but the migration to CC is permanent.
  • Premiere Pro CC: The initial release of the Creative Cloud version of Premiere Pro CC was in June 2013, with a number of improvements. This included link & locate, redesigned timeline, improved audio mixing, Lumetri Deep Color Engine, improved multicam editing, integration of Adobe Anywhere and more. This was very first version of PPRO only available through the subscription service. Continued upgrades have been ongoing, with each version of Premiere Pro CC adding the year of release following the CC. For example, there have been versions of Premiere Pro CC 2015, 2017, and 2018. Premiere Pro CC 2018, or Version 12.0, added new features including motion graphics templates, options to use After Effects motion graphics templates without needing After Effects, immersive video editing using head-mount display, and more. The current version is Premiere Pro CC 2020.

Importing still images and movies into Premiere Pro: size limits

The maximum frame size to import still images and movies into Premiere Pro is 256 megapixels, with a maximum dimension of 32,768 pixels in either direction.

Premiere Pro GPU acceleration: when Premiere Pro uses a GPU

Whether a frame can be processed by the GPU acceleration with Premiere Pro as part of the Mercury Playback Engine depends on the size of the frame compared to the amount of GPU memory. A frame that meets the following requirements can be processed by GPU acceleration: ((width x height) / 16,384) megabytes. If the resulting value of the calculation exceeds the available memory, Premiere Pro uses the CPU only for rendering of the current segment.

Video and audio formats Premier Pro can import and export

The following formats are supported by Adobe Premiere Pro. While Premiere Pro can import these formats, it may need specific codecs to import certain file types. Once a file is edited and included in a Premiere Pro project, it can be exported to the original format or a different format.

Most of the main file formats that can be exported are listed below:

Multimedia container format (3GPp, 3G2); Advanced Audio Coding (AAC); Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF); Apple video compression format (Apple ProRes); Adobe Sound Document (ASND); Microsoft AVI, Types 1 & 2 (.avi); Broadcast WAVE format (BWF); Raw DV stream (DV); Animated GIF (GIF); MPEG-1 Video Files (MV1); MPEG-4 audio; MPEG-4 video files; QuickTime format (MOV); MP3 audio (MP3); QuickTime Movie (MP4); MPEG-1 and 2 (MPEG, MPG, MPE); Media eXchange formt (MXF); Audio Project Format (OMF); Windows Waveform (WAV); and Windows Media, Windows only (WMV)

Native camera formats Premiere Pro can import

These media formats can be imported and edited in both Mac OS and Windows systems: ARRI AMIRA camera; Canon XF; Canon RAW; CinemaDNG; Panasonic AVC; P2 cameras; Phantom Cine media; RED support; and, Sony cameras.

Supported still-image and still-image sequence files

The following format extensions support still-image and still-image sequence files:

Adobe Illustrator (EPS, AI); Bitmap (DIB, BMP, RLE); Cineon/DPX (DPX); Graphics Interchange Format (GIF); Windows only icon file (ICO); JPEG; Macintosh Picture (PICT); Photoshop (PSD); Portable Network Graphics (PNG); Adobe Premiere Title (PTL, PRTL); Targa (TGA, VST); and Tagged Interchange Format (TIFF).

Closed captioning and subtitle file formats

Premiere Pro supports the following closed caption and subtitle file formats:

Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP); MacCaption VANC (MCC); Scenarist Closed Caption File (SCC); Subrip Subtitle format (SRT); EBU N19 Subtitle File (STL); and W3C/EBU Timed Text File/SMPTE (XML).

Video project file formats

Premiere Pro supports the following project file formats:

Advanced Authoring Format (AAF); After Effects project (AEP, AEPX); Character Animator Project (CHPROJ); Batch lists (CSV, TAB, TXT, PBL); CMX3600 EDLs (EDL); Windows only Adobe Premier Elements project (PREL); Premiere Pro project (PRPROJ); and FCP XML (XML).

How to learn Premiere Pro

There are many options for both professionals and students to learn Premiere Pro.

Learning Premiere Pro in the Classroom

Many Premiere Pro classes are available through local educational institutions and offer hands-on instruction for individuals. These courses are a good option for those who prefer to learn in a traditional classroom setting where they can interact with others and benefit from a live instructor. In-person public Premiere Pro courses generally have an instructor demonstrate, provide feedback and enhance the learning process. Students use a combination of computer hands-on time along with lab and exercise files to learn Premiere pro fundamentals and apply them to video editing projects. American Graphics Institute offers Premiere Pro courses in Boston and you can also learn Premiere Pro in Philadelphia as well. These are in addition to many other video editing courses that are available individually, or as part of a video editing certificate or a bootcamp.

Premiere Pro Training Online

For those who are unable to travel to a classroom location, it is still possible to learn Premiere Pro form a live instructor with Premiere Pro online classes. While online training can be administered in several ways, live online training is often the most beneficial, as classes are led by live instructors who can answer questions and provide real-time feedback.

Private Premiere Pro Training

For businesses with a team needing to learn Premiere Pro, private onsite training is a good option to ensure employees learn what they need while maintaining business operations. As the instructor can travel to your location, there is no need for employee travel. When conducting private Premiere Pro training, instructors can assess what the trainees already know and tailor lessons to specific topics and components which are most beneficial to employee’s tasks.

Self-Paced Premiere Pro Training

Both books and video tutorials are available for those who prefer to learn Premiere Pro on their own. The Premiere Pro books from American Graphics Institute are available at many libraries and in bookstores, and includes lesson files and video tutorials along with written instructions. As a book, it can be completed at the pace and timeframe of each individual learner.

Premiere Pro Differences Mac vs. Windows PC

Premiere Pro has few differences between Mac OS and Windows PC systems. The application is developed from a single code-base, which makes Premiere Pro consistent between both Mac and Windows computers. The file system for locating and importing files is one of the few areas with noticeable differences. If using Adobe Bridge to manage files, these differences between platforms are nonexistent. Most users can move between Mac and Windows versions of Premiere Pro without noticing any differences.

Premiere Pro speed differences Mac vs. Windows PC

In testing between identically-equipped Mac and Windows systems, there is little difference between Mac and Windows PC computers, but many Windows PC systems are available with faster specifications that are better equipped for video editing. Because some niche PC manufacturers are focused on high-end computing needs, and offer upgraded computers more frequently than Apple updates their hardware, it is often possible to find a Windows PC system that is faster than a Mac OS system. Frequently Windows PC systems for Premiere Pro are available with the latest processors and faster GPU (video) systems while Apple may be using processors or GPUs that were good at the time they first shipped, but have become outdated. While Apple’s equipment is often top-of-the-line at the time they deliver a computer, their release cycle of delivering new or updated computer hardware every 12 to 18 months causes them to fall behind in the rapidly changing high performance computer market that users of Premiere Pro need.

An example of this can be seen in a test conducted by a maker of PC computers, Puget Systems. They tested three comparable models: a Mac Pro lusing the MacOS Sierra, a Core i7 3.2GHz, and a Core i7 3.0GHz using Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. The software used on all three was Premiere Pro 2017.0.2. As Puget Systems tested the performance of Premiere Pro on the Mac and Windows computers, it was noted that Premiere Pro crashed more often on the Mac system. Additionally, Adobe software is optimized the software for use with Nvidia video cards, which were available and used in the Windows systems, while the default AMD video processing cards were in the Mac systems. This likely contributed to the results in which Windows was faster than the Mac when rendering previews, exporting, and applying warp stabilize. This was especially true when using 4K footage in Premiere Pro. On the Mac, live playback, red 4K footage and 8K pro-resolution were seen to be limited.

How much does Premiere Pro cost

Premiere Pro costs aproximately $30 per month for most users, or on a yearly basis is $240 per year. The exact price depends upon the type of subscription purchased and whether it is purchased by an individual, organization, or educational institution including their students and faculty. If the subscription is not renewed, the software application cannot be accessed.


About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.