Many types of projects rely heavily on still images in sequence—picture the chaotic timelapse of a city that bookends each scene as you watch your favorite forensic crime show. The shot was likely acquired over the course of an entire evening, but the sequence of images was compressed into the span of fewer than two seconds.
While painstakingly stitching your project together frame-by-frame may have its own unique appeal, time is money. Fortunately, image sequences in Premiere Pro keep every single frame in order without any hassle. Here’s how to efficiently create an image sequence in Premiere Pro.
What Are Image Sequences Good For?
Anyone who’s ever seen the movie Chicken Run already knows how powerful stop-motion animation can be. Images sequences make huge projects like this manageable.
Even if you’re not dealing with clay and wireframe, there are still plenty of ways to strengthen your project or even just your workflow by using this tool.
Timelapse sequences, as mentioned previously, are one great way to condense an event and illustrate change. Your subject can be anything from a construction project to a flower blooming over several days.
It’s exciting for an audience to be buffeted with so much action in such a short span of time. The same goes for a series of photos depicting something lightning-fast in excruciating detail.
There is a number of technical applications as well. Many coloring workflows, for instance, favor grading still files over a video file that is often interlaced with compression artifacts. If you’re working with footage that has been broken down into individual frames for one reason or another, images sequences will likely be your way of putting the pieces back together again.
How to Import an Image Sequence Into Premiere Pro
Before doing anything else, you first need to standardize your naming convention. Sequences that are derived from a continuous clip of footage will generally come out of the rendering program appropriately named already.
Two things need to happen in order to make this work:
- All of the files have to have the same root file name. In this example, we’ve chosen “image-sequence” as the base.
- After this base, the files should all be labeled with their frame number. The first frame should be named “image-sequence001,” and the one to follow will be called “image-sequence002.” The sequence carries on from there.
Once you’ve got everything in order, you can fire up Premiere and pull up your project. The process starts out a lot like importing a single still image into Premiere Pro.
In one of your bins, right-click and select Import from the popup.
Pull up your folder full of images, and click on the first one to select it. Underneath the folder, you should see a little checkbox labeled Image Sequence. Enable this option, and hit Open.
If you’re short on patience, the Media Browser offers a slightly quicker avenue. In the Media Browser panel, navigate to the folder containing your images. Select the folder, but not any of the images inside of it.
The hamburger menu at the top allows you to toggle the Import as Image Sequence option on and off.
Once it’s enabled, right-click on image number one in your sequence and select Import. The image sequence will be in one of your bins, ready to go.
Importing Photoshop Layers as an Image Sequence
Premiere Pro also gives you the option to do the same thing with the layers of a Photoshop file. This might be the way to go if you’re working with animated GIF files and want to incorporate them into your Premiere Project.
Much like we did before, begin by importing the PSD file into Premiere.
If the file contains more than one layer, the popup that follows will give you a few options for how to proceed. You can import the file as a single merged image, as a composite only of the layers that you select, or as all of the individual layers, separated into their own file packets within Premiere.
Choosing Sequence will bring all of the layers in consecutively, not as a merged still, but as an image sequence.
Spark Your Creativity With Image Sequences
Image sequences can be a deep hole to fall into. Now, you have the tools you need to create a short stop-motion film or a fascinating timelapse. The sky is the limit from here on out!
Streamline your workflow, and learn how to globally replace a piece of footage in Premiere Pro.
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