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Software Review: Adobe Master Collection – Premiere Pro CS5 from Adobe Systems

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This is the fourth of a series of reviews that will cover what is contained in the Adobe Creative Suite 5 (CS5) Master Collection. When Adobe released CS5 this year, they not only will release single version products, but also five separate suites of products. They are Design Premium, Design Standard, Web Premium, Production Premium, and Master Collection. You can go online to compare what is contained in each version. The goal of this series it to define what each product does and provide information of what the new version brings to the table.

Adobe Premiere Pro is a real-time, timeline based video editing software application. It has gained acceptance within the film and video industry and has been used in part in such films as Dust to Glory by Dana Brown and Superman Returns for the video capture process and so, as the name implies, it is a professional level editing package.

 Premiere Pro CS5

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 attempts to reduce the complex process that is video production. It does this by including copies of the products Adobe OnLocation CS5 and Adobe Encore CS5 to try to make each step of the video production more efficient and giving you more time to work your story. Please visit Adobe for complete system requirements.

One thing to note with Premiere Pro CS5 is that beginning with this version, this is a 64-bit only application. This means that to run this application, you will need a 64-bit operating system for Windows or the Mac.

So what is new with Premiere Pro CS5?
• Mercury Playback Engine – now provides true native 64-bit, GPU-accelerated support for both the Mac and Windows. This will yield dramatic improvements in the performance and stability of your process. This also gives you the ability to open projects faster, scrub through HD and higher resolution projects more fluidly, and handle long-form content and effects-heavy sequences much more reliably. The Mercury Playback Engine works hand in hand with NVIDIA CUDA technology that leverages the parallel compute engine in NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs) to solve many complex computational problems in a fraction of the time that it would take a CPU to perform the same task.

• Expanded native tapeless workflows – have become more effective through the offering of new native format support for Sony XDCAM HD 50, Panasonic AVCCAM, DPX, and AVC-Intra. Also included is native support for RED R3D files which have been enhanced as well. There is also native support for video shot with Canon, Nikon, and other DSLR cameras. This gives you two key advantages. First, you are able to save time, because with native support you’re able to start working with footage immediately—sometimes directly from the camera—and thus eliminate the time-consuming transcoding and rewrapping process typically required when you use the same media in other NLEs. Second, you can maintain the pristine image quality of your source footage throughout the production process. Native support also means that the metadata coming from the camera is retained.

• Open workflows with Final Cut Pro – and Avid software are made much easier whether working solo or with a workgroup that is involved in a large multistudio production. As with many industry professionals, there are a variety of production and post-production tools used on virtually every project. Moving media and sequences between tools in complex production pipelines often requires format conversion, specialized plug-ins, tedious workarounds, or a lot of manual work to recreate elements that don’t transfer. The ability to share projects and assets between Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, as well as between Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid NLEs such as Media Composer, means you can share files and timelines without conversion or rendering, preserving commonly used effects and transition.

• Faster editing with metadata – plays an essential role in helping efficiently manage and locate media assets throughout the production process. You automatically track crucial details such as where a clip was shot, who’s in it, and whether you have the rights to use it in your project. Innovative new metadata features enable the new script-to-screen workflow in Adobe Premiere Pro, bringing new efficiencies to the editing and production process.

 Premiere Pro CS5

• Script-to-screen workflow – through the use of Adobe Story, a new CS Live online service for scriptwriting, can help accelerate the process of turning screenplays into finished media. Available separately from Production Premium, the tight integration of Adobe Story with CS5 Production Premium extends the benefits of Adobe Story into broader parts of the production and post-production workflow.

• Integration with CS Review – Clients, project managers, and members of production teams don’t always work in the same location, in the same city, or even in the same country. Through the use of CS Review, a new CS Live online service, you now have a fast and simple way for your teammates and clients to take part in reviewing video sequences, all just by using just a web browser and easy-to-use annotation tools.

• Tapeless support for OnLocation CS5 – can provide an impressive array of production tools to help you shoot better and faster while saving time and money, both on set and off. And with the new support for tapeless cameras, it can extend the ways you use OnLocation in your production workflows.

• Streamlined encoding – with the revamped Adobe Media Encoder Whether you produce instructional videos, trailers for your independently produced films, or music videos for viewing online or on iPods, distribute your work on YouTube, Vimeo, or Hulu, or even output it to broadcast playout servers, you will now be able to efficiently deliver your content in a variety of formats. Adobe Media Encoder, a separate, 64-bit software application included with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 that saves you time by streamlining the process of creating multiple encoded versions of your source files and Adobe Premiere Pro sequences.

 Premiere Pro CS5

• Dozens of timesaving improvements – have also been added like the ability to create a new sequence from footage by simply dragging a clip onto the New Sequence button in Adobe Premiere Pro. This convenient feature helps save time by automatically matching sequence settings and footage attributes, or using automatic scene detection to create separate clips from HDV tapes. Literally dozens of "small" upgrades have been added to this release.

• Ultra keyer – has greatly improved the process of chroma keying. Chroma keying has typically been a tedious, time-consuming process. Now, through Ultra, the high-performance keyer that is now included in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, will make much faster and less painful. Normally, when shooting footage to be keyed, you must evenly light the background screen so it is a single, uniform shade of whatever color you are keying out of the scene. You must also take care to eliminate color spill for the background to be believable. Designed to handle footage shot under real-world conditions that result in uneven lighting, wrinkled backgrounds, and frizzy hair — Ultra preserves shadows and can achieve complex keys on smoke, liquids, and transparent objects. It's intuitive, easy-to-use controls make pulling accurate keys a breeze.

• Searchable web DVDs with Adobe Encore CS5 – makes for a versatile, interactive authoring tool for video distribution that allows you to deliver your projects beyond DVD and Blu-ray Disc. In a single operation, you can easily turn your DVD and Blu-ray Disc projects into web DVDs that now include a search interface. This new interface gives viewers a more engaging experience by enabling them to search within a web DVD using keywords. During authoring, Encore automatically creates a search database using metadata from speech-analysis text, subtitles in timelines and slideshows, and menu and button names.

 Premiere Pro CS5

Remember in the opening when I said that Premiere Pro CS5 is a professional level editing package? This means that you need a professional level machine to work with it. Not only with the 64-bit system, lots of memory and hard disk space – all of which are relatively inexpensive, but you need a GPU-ready video card to make this really work. This means one of a select class and generally expensive graphics cards. If you want to be sure, check out the system requirement listed above.

That being said, Premiere Pro CS5 has taken video editing and production to another level. In fact, it's a whole new game. With just the 64-bit, the availability of more RAM, and the new Mercury Playback Engine, this is a worthy upgrade. With all of the other enhancements like metadata, tapeless workflows, Ultra, searchable webDVDs, and all the little fixes, this upgrade is really a must have, especially for the professional level editor and so I highly recommend Premiere Pro CS5.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.