Edit Efficiently With the Pancake Timeline in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro December 2, 2018 3 min read

Pancakes! They’re delicious, they’re light and fluffy, and they’re really good for video editing in Premiere Pro! Wait, what…? That’s right! The pancake timeline is a great way to save time as a video editor! But what is it and how do you use it? Well, let’s dive into Premiere Pro and find out together!

Part 1: Setting Up the Pancake Timeline 

In Premiere Pro, a pancake timeline refers to when you stack two or more timelines on top of each other. Think about the two timelines as being stacked like two delicious pancakes. The benefit of this method is that you can move around the clips between them, and even copy clips between both.

So, how do you set up your timelines to work like this?

  1. To begin, you would at least need two timelines
  2. If you only have one, go to your Project Manager, right-click, and Duplicate your timeline. 
  3. Add one of these timelines to either the top or bottom of the already existing timeline (like a pancake)! You can move the new around wherever you like. Release with your mouse. Now you should see the timelines stacked. 
  4. From here, you can now work on each of these timelines individually. The video playback will respond to the timeline you’re working with at the moment.

Part 2: How to Use the Pancake Timeline Effectively

Using the pancake timeline effectively can boil down to a matter of preference. But what most people go for is this idea that you have a selection of clips. Normally, you would go through your clip assembly in two parts:

  • The first part is in the Project Manager. You make selections and then drag your clip selections onto the timeline.  
  • On the timeline is step two. From here, you simply work with them and try to edit and organize to your final product.  

But with the pancake timeline, you can work in three steps. Bring your clips that have been whittled down to their usable parts from your Project Manager. Some people call this process “Selection”, and others even go as far as to call this timeline, “Selects.” For us, we just like to say, “Good Shots.” 

From here, you can duplicate your timeline, and call it something like ‘Full Edit 1’. Then, delete everything inside of “Full Edit 1” and bring it into its pancake formation. 

Now, you can get started with the new third step: 

  1. You’ve made selections from the rough clips (step 1).
  2. Brought them into the timeline of all of the selected good shots (step 2).
  3. And now, you can select from a smaller selection of only good shots to create your final edit (step 3). 

This can dramatically help you save time as you have a much smaller range of footage that you’re searching through and it’s always in clear view! Instead of having a bunch of excess unused footage at the end of your timeline, sectioned off, and just using in and out markers to not include them in the export.

With this new third step, you can actually just use an entirely unique timeline, and all your rough unused clips are still right there, but have no chance of interfering with your main edit.  

Part 3: What are the Editing Advantages?

Using the pancake timeline also gives you some flexibility to edit your preferred way. For instance, you can either move clips over during the editing process or choose to duplicate them to the new timeline, either by copying and pasting or by holding ALT or Option and clicking and dragging. 

The reason you may want to just move them over is so that when you choose to use a clip, you don’t include that in the list of other clips you may also want to take from later. In essence, it makes it easier to find a new clip to use in the final sequence because there are less selected clips to choose from.

On the other hand, you may want to duplicate them so that you have a full view of all the clips that you have to work with. For instance, maybe there’s the possibility of using the same clip twice in your final edit. Or, perhaps you just don’t like deleting things. Either way, the freedom is yours to use this method however it best improves your workflow. That’s the great part of editing — you get to do it how you want. 


We hope this tutorial not only helped you understand how to use the pancake timeline in Premiere Pro, but also will help you edit more efficiently in the future. Give it a shot, and see how it works for you!