NAB 2012: Adobe CS6 Release
Adobe's booth at NAB 2012 was crowded from opening to close every day and Adobe Senior Product Manager Ellen Wixted thinks she knows why. "This is the year Adobe is in the limelight," she says. "We're delivering the right tools and we've been remarkably consistent. Plan-to-playback and multi-screen delivery is something we've been talking about for years, and now the industry is ready to hear it."
In particular, Wixted points out the new Premiere Pro and After Effects -- part of Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium -- are special draws. "This is the year Premiere is in the sun, and it's also the biggest After Effects release in years," she says.
CS6 Premiere Pro adjustment layers screenshot. Click image to zoom.
In the wake of Apple's polarizing release of FCP X, Adobe has redoubled its efforts to capture the hearts and minds of disaffected FCP editors. With the new version, the company is providing a dizzying host of new features that appeal specifically to professional editors.
The user interface has been completely redesigned, by and for editors. "It lets you edit the way you want to," says Wixted. "The interface is highly intuitive and customizable." She also points out the added power in the Mercury Playback Engine, which upped performance beginning with Adobe Premiere CS5 and CS5.5. "This third release is a native 64-bit application," she says. "The Mercury Playback Engine is also GPU-accelerated and optimized for today's multi-core CPUs." The Mercury Playback Engine also now features improved support for third-party hardware. Adobe Mercury Transmit gives direct access to the Engine for partners that include AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, Matrox and MOTU.
Premiere Pro 6 also offers features aimed at editors familiar with other editing systems: presets for Apple Final Cut Pro 7 and Avid Media Composer 5-style shortcuts are aimed to make a switch to Premiere Pro even easier. The new version also offers gestural control on Macs, including pinch controls and two-finger scrolling.
Wixted also notes that Adobe made an effort to offer maximum workflow flexibility, with new native support for ARRI Alexa, RED SCARLET-X, RED EPIC, and Canon Cinema EOS C300 camera footage. "The idea that you have to transcode is not true," she says. "If you want to transcode, go ahead. But you don't have to."
Expanded multicam support now allows editors to work with as many cameras as were on the shoot. (The previous limit was four cameras.) Also, the process of creating a multi-camera sequence has been simplified, says Wixted.
Other changes include a default to the new "two-up" workspace when Adobe Premiere Pro is launched. With this new look, both the Source Monitor and Program Monitor panels are more uncluttered and customizable, and media is easier to view, sort, and arrange by viewing resizable 16:9 thumbnails of clips directly in the Project panel. Also new are clip markers, Encore chapter markers, web links, and Flash cue points in the Source Monitor, Program Monitor, or Timeline panel displayed in color to make them easier to spot.
Dynamic trimming has been redesigned. Click image for larger view.
There are now several options for quickly selecting and shifting edit points, including dynamic trimming via standard J-K-L keyboard shortcuts. "Redesign of dynamic trimming is a big change," says Wixted. "It's a complete overhaul of how you work with Premiere now." It's also easier to create VFX: editors can now create adjustment layers similar to those in After Effects and Photoshop, apply effects once to the adjustment layer and see those effects automatically modify all the underlying tracks. The Audio Mixer has a new look and functionality, from the multi-channel mixer found in Adobe Audition.
For editors who work with the footage from small-format cameras, Warp Stabilizer -- first introduced in Adobe After Effects CS5.5 and now available in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 -- offers the tools to stabilize shaky handheld footage and remove motion artifacts.
"It's also easier than ever to create deliverables for multiple platforms," she adds. Adobe Media Encoder CS6 offers a new Preset Browser that makes outputting to multiple formats faster. Newly added presets support a variety of Android devices as well as more than 20 Apple devices and output to YouTube, Vimeo and PAL.
Adobe has gone all out with Creative Suite 6 -- and particularly Premiere Pro -- to provide an enticing package for new and experienced editors. By listening to what editors want and creating features they need, Adobe took a crucial step to reassure editors that their best interests are central. The constantly crowded booth is plenty of evidence that editors' interest is piqued. After a long slog, Adobe Premiere Pro may be at the tipping point to more widespread acceptance.