Glenn Reynolds' Army of Davids thesis implies that technology has allowed the masses access to information resources that, up until a decade or so go, only elites controlled. In the past, owning a recording studio was a serious capital investment, a television station or film studio even more so. However today, the underlying technologies that drive the "information factories" of the past are simply a matter of combining the right software with sufficiently powerful computers, and then harnessing the Web to distribute your product.
Adobe's Creative Suite products, which include Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects and several others, have long powered a lot of multimedia projects, ranging from Hollywood TV series to online videos. This fall, the Creative Suites products received their latest facelift as part of Adobe's CS4 line, so let's take a look at what's new. (Note: This review was based on the Beta version of these products, so we couldn't test all of the new functionality that Adobe is promising. Released versions may well have slight difference from the descriptions that follow.)
Premiere Pro CS4
First released in 1991 and updated innumerable times since, Adobe's Premiere Pro serves as the timeline to assemble and edit raw video, add shots processed in After Effects or chromakey programs such as Adobe's Ultra, as well as still images manipulated in Photoshop.
Many sessions in Premiere Pro begin with capturing video shot on camcorders. While DV and HDV cassettes have revolutionized camcorders, their one drawback has been the need to port their data into the computer in real time. So if you've shot an hour of raw footage, after plugging the video camera into the PC, you loose another hour of time waiting for the footage to be captured. While Premiere Pro CS4 can still capture DV tape footage in real time, it incorporates two newer capture methods to speed up the process.
The first is Premiere Pro's support of MTS files, the file format used in Sony's hard-disk-based HD-handycams (a very popular format amongst renegade online TV networks, incidentally). Simply plug in your Sony hard disk camcorder via USB, create a folder to hold the files you've recorded, drag and drop them into the new folder, import them into CS4, and then start editing.