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Adobe Premiere Pro: A First Look

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Adobe Premiere Pro: A First Look
A Creative COW "First Look" at Premiere Pro 7.0


A First Look At Adobe Premiere Pro

--Adobe's New Premiere Pro 7.0 Is Powerful, Functional, Feature Packed and Sports a Streamlined Workflow
-

Mike Velte

Mike Velte velte@cox.net
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA

©2003 by CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.

Article Focus:
If you are one of the many using Adobe Premiere in your studio or are one of the many people Adobe is targeting with a greatly expanded tool kit, then the latest release of Premiere -- now rechristened "Premiere Pro" -- is sure to be big news. In this "first look" overview, Creative Cow's Mike Velte explores many areas of Premiere Pro and concludes that this latest incarnation is a winner. Mike gives it 4-1/2 Cows. Read on to learn why...

COW RATING: 4-1/2 Cows


If you are a long-time user of Adobe Premiere or are one of the many new users that Adobe is targeting with the added powers and abilities of Premiere 7.0 -- which has been rechristened "Premiere Pro" -- join me for a quick overview of Premiere Pro. There are many new features that work together to make this latest incarnation of Premiere worthy of serious consideration in your own projects. In this overview, we'll look at some of what I feel are many of Premiere Pro's important powers and changes/refinements.


TIMELINE & EDITING REFINEMENTS IN PREMIERE PRO:
In Premiere Pro, Adobe has opted to support the popular "single track editing" metaphor that has long been found in systems like Avid, Final Cut and others. If you are reading this and think you can't live without A/B editing, let me show you some of the power found in single track editing and Premiere's other interface enhancements and how easy they are to use...

Let's start by looking at Premiere Pro's new Timeline:





NESTING TIMELINES & SEQUENCES:
One of the most exiting new features of Premiere Pro is the ability to work with multiple sequences or Timeline windows. No more virtual clips!

Notice the sequence tabs in the upper left of the Timeline window, they are three separate sequences (counting my main timeline sequence) that I have created and refined and later dropped two title sequences into my main timeline. These sequences are:

  • Animated Open Title
  • Master (the main timeline)
  • Animated End Title

One of the sequences is a complicated animated title consisting of 10 tracks, but when positioned on the master timeline, takes up only one track! Changes to the original sequence are updated in the master. (Adobe After Effects users will quickly recognize this ability as the same as that which is found in AE, known as "Precomposing.") This feature alone is sure to revolutionize the way that many of us work and aside from the additional editing advantages offered users to create, refine and then place fully edited "pieces" of your project -- the simplicity of reducing complex animations to a single track, greatly speeds editing and refining the overall project. Especially on those late-night edits when you are under looming deadlines!


SAMPLE RATES FOR AUDIO EDITING IN PREMIERE PRO:
Another less noticeable but important new timeline feature is that the program's basic "time unit" can be changed to audio units, allowing audio trimming done at sample rates -- critical in supporting accurate editing for audio pros.


TRACK DISPLAY MODE INDEPENDENCE:
Another new timeline feature is the independence each track has for its display mode (track height and display style). The zoom function is much improved, ala After Effects. Oh! and I almost forgot...transitions can be applied in any track!


PREMIERE PRO'S TOOLBAR:
The timeline tools are now assigned to floating pallettes, as in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. This, as the Adobe engineers work to bring all Adobe tools into a single interface environment that allows users to more quickly learn and move between the different Adobe tools. The image below shows a much simpler tool bar, with all of Premiere Pro's tools visible. 

Premiere tools

There are fewer tools but no functions have been lost. Each tool can be modified with a key to perform a different function. Those who are keyboard-shortcut-challenged might be intimidated by this, especially since there are no redundant alternatives as in previous versions of Premiere. New to the tool kit is a pen tool which (when combined with new rubberbands) greatly improves setting rubberband keyframes. No more hidden keyframes at the end of a clip and no more accidental 98% opacity.

Using the new toolbar pallette, there are several new functions that need to be understood. Dragging a clip from the Project Window to the timeline can wreak havoc on your project if you are not careful -- this, as you can now drop a new clip on top of another clip that you had previously placed, effectively ripple deleting all or part of what was there. Learning the tool modifier keystrokes is fundamental to editing with Premiere Pro.



PREMIERE PRO'S EFFECTS CONTROL WINDOW:

The image at left shows the Effects Control Window with a transition on the timeline selected. The "A" and "B" graphically represent both clips found in the A/B configuration with the transition found between the two tracks. Simple and straightforward.

All aspects of the transition are easily manipulated in this window:

  • The "cut" point;
  • The duration of the transition;
  • The number of frames added to the in and out points.

The graphical representation in the timeline is also updated.



THE MONITOR WINDOW:
At left, we see the Monitor Windows new interface. Switching between sequences can be done with the tabs at the top or in the Timeline Window.

One of the great new features of the Monitor Window is the ability to change scale and position values by simply clicking and dragging handles (scale) or the clip (position), just like After Effects! There is even the dotted motion keyframe trail, but unfortunately no bezier curves.


THE REFERENCE MONITOR WINDOW:
Another great new feature of the Monitor Window is the REFERENCE MONITOR Window which allows Premiere Pro users to do important tasks like maintain broadcast legal signal, adjust gamma, etc.

The Reference Monitor can be added and placed alongside the Program Window to display one or more of the new professional broadcast tools in various combinations.

  • Waveform Monitor
  • Vectorscope
  • RGB Parade
  • YCbCr Parade

The new Reference Monitor settings allow the kind of advanced channel controls that are found in high-end systems and third-party software tools. Now. they are a part of Premiere Pro and are some of the most important and asked-for tools added to Premiere Pro.



COLOR CORRECTION IN PREMIERE PRO:
The new Effects Controls window (at left) gives users access to Premiere Pro's new Color Correction effects. These effects are very intuitive to use, especially with the Monitor Window split option and looping a section of the clip. The color correction effects are keyframeable.

While these effects are powerful, they do require lots of CPU power to speed onscreen previews while making adjustments. An XP 1700 could only chug out a frame every second or so and render times can be long on machines slower than the latest crop of Pentiums. Dualies are recommended, especially in production environments where time is money.


AUDIO IN PREMIERE PRO:
Audio is the next step in our tour of what is new and exciting within Premiere Pro. For starters, Adobe has fixed what has been a buggy area in past versions, audio previews. All imported audio references that do not match your project settings are automatically converted to "Conforming" audio files. Be aware that until process is complete, audio playback of tail sections of long clips will be silent. This small inconvenience is well worth the wait.

Audio editing has taken a big leap forward with Premiere Pro. Many of the effects and their interfaces are new and much more intuitive. Because of these new capabilities resident within Premiere Pro, side trips to SoundForge or Cool Edit Pro might be less frequent -- though sometimes still necessary for advanced noise reduction profiling.

While the features of the Audio Mixer from 6.5 remain, new functionality has been added. Effects can now be added at the track level as well as for individual clips. The image at left shows that Audio 1 and 2 each have an effect applied. This method sure beats trying to globally apply effects to a large number of clips in a track.

Also notice Submix 1. It is a track added to the timeline that allows for several tracks to be mixed down for possibly applying additional effects.

Premiere Pro has also added Voice Over capability and it works as expected.

A look at the new Audio Effects and interface shows one of my favorite areas of the new Premiere Pro -- The MultibandCompressor, shown here.

This effect is easy to understand and use. Like most audio effects, it is keyframable.

A major improvement is adjusting effect parameters and previewing the results. In Previous versions, audio effects would preview the first 8 seconds of a clip while making adjustments. Premiere Pro will allow for the all or part (loop) of the clip or track to play while making adjustments. If "Toggle animation" is turned on, keyframes are created with each parameter and time change.


All in all, Premiere Pro is a powerful and feature-rich editing system that may give old users some irritating adjustments to make as they get used to it but once you begin to tap the new features and benefits, I think that Premiere Pro will prove itself a strong competitor regardless of the comparison -- even with much higher priced tools.

COW RATING: 4-1/2 Cows



To learn more about Mike Velte, please read his bio.
Mike Velte is a host in the following Creative Cow forums:

For more information Premiere Pro visit: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/main.html

###


©2003 by CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.


Click here to visit Creative COW's user forums and many other articles if you got here by a direct link to this page



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