Yesterday, members of the 522 team took a quick trip to Gallaudet University to check out the Adobe CS6 Roadshow. As disgruntled users of Final Cut Pro 7, we took an interest in Adobe’s new editing platform, Premiere Pro 6, which is built on the principal of quicker and easier access to your media. Needless to say, we were quite impressed with what CS6 had to offer. Here are a few things that really stood out to us:
- The Interface. Where it all begins. It was clean, easy to navigate, and fully customizable. It one of the variations demonstrated, it looked almost exactly like FCP. What I thought was really neat was the ability to enlarge any of your windows, simply by hovering over them and clicking a button. The clip hover scrub function was also really cool! New tabs can be managed easily using a modifier key so that they open within your window, rather than over your window. Existing After Effects and Premiere users are already familiar with it’s dynamic customization. But as someone who is coming from FCP, it gives an editor a sense of familiarity to an otherwise foreign program.
- The tools. Again, as in FCP, your basic hotkeys are all there: In(I), Out(O), J-K-L playback, etc… In addition, Premiere allows you set those Ins and Outs within your media browser as you hover scrub, essentially saving you the extra step of having to load the clip into your project pane. One feature I found particularly useful, (I’ll admit, I knew about this prior to attending the event, credit Rob Ruscher, @RobRuscher) was audio normalization. This is still a temporary fix for your audio, (you will want to adjust each clip as necessary in your final edit) but it allows you set the decibel levels of a set of clips before import so they all play at the same volume. How many times have you imported a music track, dropped it in your timeline, and hit play, only to blow your ears off. What? I’m sorry, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!
- Prelude. This really belongs under tools but it’s so cool, I had to give it it’s own paragraph. To say that Prelude ingests your media would not tell the full story. In addition to ingesting and transcoding media to practically any format, it allows you customize metadata, set markers, and create rough cuts! This is incredible! Before you even set foot in Premiere, you can start piecing together your story. Not cool enough? How about the fact that, now, should you choose to transcode, Prelude cuts right through the folder structure of your source media (SxS, P2, REDMAG, etc..) and gets you right to the video you’re looking to import. Now that’s awesome!
- Creative Cloud. In the old days, (early 2012) people would pay a thousand dollars or more for a box that came with a finite set of tools with which to work with. Now, instead of forking over all that dough, you can pay a monthly subscription fee and download the every program within the suite. This lowers the cost of entry. In addition, any updates to your software will be available for download immediately after they’re released. So rather than waiting for the boxed version, it’s yours with the simple click of a button. Again, quick and simple access.
- Edit Natively. This is perhaps the biggest perk with Premiere CS6. No transcoding! This is a result of the enhanced Mercury Playback Engine. Now, I’m not usually one for tech-jargon but what it all boils down to is the optimization of your RAM, and allowing you to take full advantage of your GPU (graphics card) without taxing your CPU. Granted, you will need a pretty powerful machine to get away with this. But chances are, if you are serious about video editing, you already have one. Think about how much time and space this saves. We shoot a ton with our DSLRs, and without a doubt, the most aggravating part of their workflow is the log and transfer stage. It chokes your FCP system. AND, once you’re done transferring, if you’re using a ProRes codec, you’re left with 3 times the amount of data. Who needs it? I certainly don’t, and Premiere is here to say that you don’t either.
To reiterate a point made by Abba Shapiro (@abbashapiro), who presented at the event- These are just tools. No one tool is perfect for every job. What Adobe is doing with Premiere CS6 is addressing many of the wishes and concerns of the modern day editor, and I think they hit the nail right on the head.