Exploring the Video Timeline Panel in Adobe Photoshop

  • Thread starter KristinaW
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May 7, 2021
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I’ve been doing some thinking and have concluded that video is the future. While I absolutely love photography and will never give it up, I think it would only be prudent for me to immerse myself in video as much as possible. I’ve been taking and editing video for almost five years, so I almost know my way around. While not an expert, I have a lot to offer. But, like many of you, I also have a lot to learn.

In today’s post, I’d like to explore the Timeline panel in Adobe Photoshop. I’m not going to dive very deep – what I’d like to do is merely touch upon some of the more important aspects and controls. In the most basic sense, I’d like someone who knows nothing about editing video in Photoshop to walk away from this post saying, “Heck, I think I can do that.” That’s the goal.

The Timeline Magnification Level​

When I fist opened one of my old video files from 2013 and after I switched my workspace layout to Motion as I mentioned in this post, the clip duration appeared rather short.


For most people in most cases, this isn’t enough to work with. Especially since the video I took was much longer than it appeared. If I click on the small arrow that’s located at the right side of the clip in the timeline, I can find out some important information.


I now know the duration of this video is 84.65 seconds. If I were including this in a production that was oven an hour long, I’d surely keep it as small looking as possible. Since it’s the only one in my project, I’ll stretch it out so I have more space to think. To do this, I’ll click the Zoom in Timeline button or slide the Control Timeline Magnification slider.


That’s better. Now, if you look at the small timing marks along the length of the timeline, you can see that they consist of 5 second increments as opposed to 30 second increments. This is a matter of preference as much as it is of necessity, so you’ll need to decide which magnification level is best for whatever it is you’re working on.

Real-Time Playback & Frame Rate​

I’m going to press the Play button that’s located towards the left side of the Timeline panel. After the clip starts playing, I want to get an idea of how my system handles the video, so I’ll keep a close eye on the Frame Rate.


I circled the Play button in the left screenshot above. Since the video is playing, it’s showing the Stop button. When the video stops, that will switch back to Play.

Below that, I circled two areas. Actually, they are the same area in the Timeline panel and display the Frame Rate. When the video is being played back at the same frame rate the video was recorded with, the frame rate text will show as green. In the above screenshot, the green text states that the current playing frame rate is 29.97 fps (frames per second). That’s close enough to the 30 fps I used to record the video. On the left side, the red text is showing a slower frame rate of 25.34 fps. While playing the video back in the editor, it appears smooth. If the frame rate really dropped down and things become choppy, I’d definitely want to take a closer look at the resources in my computer because it may not be powerful enough to handle video editing. This is a very important factor to consider early on.

Playhead & Current Frame​

When editing video, you’ll find yourself dragging the playhead around about once every two seconds. It’s an extremely popular task. I only felt it responsible to show you where the playhead can be found.


If you look at the above screenshot, you’ll see that I circled the playhead inside the timeline. It’s the indicator with the red line that travels down through the clip itself. I can drag that playhead to the left and the right to change which frame I’m currently looking at. Of course, the video above will correspond with where the playhead is located in the timeline.

This brings me to my next point – the current video frame. If I want to know precisely which frame I’m looking at, I can look inside the left-most red circle above. In my screenshot, the current frame is 0;00;17;23. That means I’m around the 17 second mark. So, when you’re working on editing a video with someone else and they ask you to take a look at the 17 second mark because there’s a ghost captured on film, you’ll now know how to get there.

Work Area Bars​

Let’s say that I had my camera running during my video for over an hour in an attempt to capture a river creature. The creature is elusive, so I had to hide behind a tree and let the camera do its work. Let’s now say that the creature appeared for only a few seconds of the video and the rest of the time, all I got was the water running downstream. To view and edit only the specific time the creature was on video, I can move something called the Work Area Bars.


If you look at the above screenshot, you’ll see that I circled two areas along the timeline. These are the Work Area Bars. Currently, they are set at the beginning and at the end of the timeline. If I click and drag them, to different areas of the timeline, when I click on the Play button, the playhead will loop inside the Work Area Bars only. This is handy when you’re working on specific areas of video.


Allow Frame Skipping​

I’m going to be honest here. In my “newer” computer, I have 8GB of RAM. As I play my video back inside of Photoshop, there’s some lag. The playhead stops intermittently, which makes for a rather horrible editing experience. Before I head out to purchase some additional RAM (which I’m going to do), I can allow frame skipping during playback. All this means is that instead of forcing Photoshop to play back each and every frame, which can slow things down, you’re giving it permission to skip some frames. This will loosen up the playback and make it appear smooth. This isn’t a big deal in a video like mine because the entire minute and a half is just water running. You’ll have to be the judge of whether or not the feature works for you.

To allow frame skipping, click on the menu that’s located at the right side of the Timeline panel and select Allow Frame Skipping. That’s all you need to do.


Muting Audio​

When I recorded my video, I used an external microphone on my Canon Rebel T3i. Due to this, I captured some really crisp sound. The thing is, even through the sound is good, I might not want to hear it during my entire editing process. So, I may mute the audio while editing. To do this, I’ll simply click the Mute Audio Playback button in the Timeline panel.


That’s all I’m going to cover for this post. I hope I began to familiarize you with the Timeline panel in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks!


May 7, 2021
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5 Methods For Controlling Video Timeline Playback in Adobe Photoshop​

Of all the tasks editing video requires, playback is probably the most popular. Editing is all about back and forth, making a change, playing the video back, making another change and playing it again. It’s the same thing with audio editing. I can remember working with an audio engineer a few times and their fingers were like lightening. Boy, when these guys get good, it’s difficult to follow along at times. They’re fast!

In today’s post, I’d like to discuss a few different methods for video playback in the Timeline panel of Adobe Photoshop. This is really simple stuff, but you’ll likely learn something. There are buttons that are taken for granted, but that actually have meaning behind them. Today, I’ll fill you in on all of this.

The Play Button​

This is probably the most obvious method for playing a video clip inside of the Timeline panel of Photoshop. I mean, it’s got the identifying triangle and everything.


The Play button offers two functions. Play and stop. When the video clip isn’t playing, the Play button is visible. When it is playing, the Stop button is visible.

To control the video resolution while playing video inside of Photoshop, you can click on the Set Playback Options button that’s to the right of the Play button.


The Resolution drop-down give you three options; 25%, 50% and 100%. Depending on your computer system and its capabilities, you’d want to set this accordingly. If you want to loop the video so it plays over and over, simply check off the Loop Playback box.

Playing in Increments​

When editing video, you don’t “willy nilly” do anything. It’s a careful process that requires precision. Many aspects need to be aligned and oftentimes, those aspects are worked on frame by frame.

To play a video frame by frame, you can continuously press the Go to Next Frame button. This button is directly to the right of the Play button.


To play a video in reverse, frame by frame, you can press the Go to Previous Frame button that’s located directly to the left of the Play button.

Here’s the cool part of jumping in increments. Instead of playing frame by frame, by can play second by second. To do this, simply follow the same exact instructions I just gave above, but press the Shift key on your keyboard before pressing the Go to Next Frame button. The Shift key merely alters the increment.

Jump Back to First Frame​

If you’re video is long and you need to get back to the beginning of the video, you likely don’t want to wait for the whole thing to finish playing before you get there. Luckily, we have the Go to First Frame button to take care of us. Take a look below.


As a side note, if you’re currently playing back the clip, you’ll need to stop it before you utilize the Go to First Frame button.

Dragging the Playhead​

If you’re interested in making bold moves and don’t care all too much about accuracy, you can easily click and drag the playhead itself to get you where you want to be. If you aren’t aware of what the playhead is, check out the screenshot below. I’ll circle it in red.


One last thing before I finish up. If you right click on the playhead, you’ll see some options. I’ll get to all of these later on in more depth, but for right now, take a look at the two that say Go to Start of Work Area and Go to End of Work Area.


If you click either of these options, you’ll send the playhead directly to the beginning or to the end of the workable area you’ve set for your video. I’ll get much more into what this area is in later posts, but for now, just know that you can quickly move your spot in the video with these two tools.

I hope I clearly explained the various methods for playing back a video inside the Timeline panel in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


May 7, 2021
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How to Make Video Playback More Smooth in Adobe Photoshop​

If you’ve ever edited video, you probably know all about how “choppy” the playback can be while working in your favorite application. There are a few reasons for this choppiness and they all revolve around your computer’s resources. Not enough RAM, a video card that doesn’t have enough power, a processor that’s too slow – all reasons to cause skipping, freezing and an overall horrible experience.

In today’s post, I’m going to quickly outline two areas that will help you immensely while working inside of Adobe Photoshop. Whether you know this or not, I’m here to tell you that life doesn’t have to be excruciating in this respect. With the adjustments of just two settings, you can edit video inside Photoshop in a relatively smooth manner with only 8GB of RAM. I know, it doesn’t sound possible. Read on to see how it actually is.

What is Playback?​

Before I begin, I thought I’d give you a bit of behind the scenes insight to my thinking. When I refer to “playback” in this post, I’m referring to the act of playing back a video or clips of different videos inside of the Photoshop interface for review. Playback is different than the final product. Inside of Photoshop, it doesn’t matter what you do to the settings I describe below. Even if you reduce them to their lowest quality, the video, after being rendered, will remain at its initial quality. Playback is merely a “review” of the original, so don’t concern yourself with how lousy things look inside the editor.

The Video Interface​

For this demonstration, I’ll need to open a video file into Photoshop. I chose a nice clip of a flower with a few bees buzzing around it.


The two methods to increase playback efficiency are quite simple to find. I’ll list both of them, with descriptions, below.

Allow Frame Skipping​

When playing back a video, Photoshop has the ability to skip frames that haven’t yet been cached by your system. This speeds up and smooths out what you’re watching. To enable the Allow Frame Skipping feature, head over to the small menu that sits at the top right of the Timeline panel.


As you play and replay your file, your system will eventually cache many more frames. This will result in an even smoother playback.

Adjust Resolution​

Even more important than skipping frames is the resolution of your working video file. Not the original or the final cut, but the working version. If you head over to the playhead controls on the left side of the Timeline panel, you’ll see a small icon that looks like a gear. If you roll over this icon, a small popup will appear that says Set Playback Options. Click the gear and you’ll see this:


Inside this options area is a drop-down and a check box. The check box controls whether or not your playback loops back to the beginning of the video once it hits the end. Changing this setting is up to you, but just realize that it has nothing to do with altering the efficiency of your editing experience.

The area that needs to be focused on is the Resolution. Setting this to 100% (which is the default) will cause all sorts of issues if your system isn’t up to snuff. Actually, if you’re dealing with problems, this is most likely the cause. By reducing the video’s virtual resolution to 50%, you’ll most likely alleviate many of those issues. Staying with 50% resolution is a very good idea. While you’ll lose a slight bit of clarity, you’ll make up for it in ease of use. Also, if your computer is really low on RAM, you may want to reduce the resolution even further to 25%, but please understand that the clarity of what you’ll be working with may be extraordinarily pixelated. 50% is a happy medium.

I recently added 8GB in addition RAM to my computer, so many of the issues I was dealing with cleared up. I still dealt with some stuttering though, until I altered the settings I described above. I couldn’t be happier with the result. Now, when I edit any type of video, it’s smooth sailing.

If you’re experiencing problems while editing video in Adobe Photoshop, please give what I wrote in this post a chance. Also, if you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!