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Adobe Premiere Pro: A Sneak Peak by Tim Kolb

COW Library : Adobe Premiere Pro : Tim Kolb : Adobe Premiere Pro: A Sneak Peak by Tim Kolb
Adobe Premiere Pro: A Sneak Peak by Tim Kolb
A Creative Cow New Product Introduction Overview


Tim Kolb


Tim Kolb
Kolb-Syverson Communications, Appleton, Wisconsin USA

©2003 by Tim Kolb. All Rights reserved. Used at CreativeCow.net by kind permission of the author.

Article Focus:
Tim Kolb gives Creativecow members a sneak peak at a brand new Adobe Premiere -- Premiere Pro. Tim looks at what he calls "A Fresh Horse." Tim highlights some of the new powers that you'll find in Premiere Pro.



Real time previewing, multiple nestable timelines, serious new audio tools including surround sound, native YUV video processing including 3 point color correction, totally customizable hot keys, powerful new Photoshop file handling, waveform and vectorscope and “Direct Export to DVD”….this may catch on.

The new Premiere has finally come out from under the veil of secrecy…and with a new name. Adobe Premiere Pro represents what may be one of the largest leaps forward of any of its recently released competitors.

Serious Audio

One specific area that users will no doubt be pleased with is the considerable arsenal of audio functionality. With the capability to utilize mono, stereo, surround sound tracks, and submix tracks in the same project are just the beginning. Audio tracks can now support effects as well as clips, and industry standard VST audio plug-in support enables users to utilize their favorite VST audio plug-ins with Premiere Pro in addition to the 17 new VST plug-ins that come in the package.





Have you ever had a crackle or a pop that you had to try to deal with by notching out a 30th of a second of audio because a single video frame was the smallest time increment you could affect? No problem, Premiere Pro now supports editing audio at sub-frame, audio sample increments. Audio is now handled extremely efficiently because Premiere Pro creates 32 bit “conformed” audio files at the sample rate of the project settings… essentially “uncompressing” your audio into working files to speed up the playback of audio filters and audio processing because you eliminate the decompress/recompress steps during editing and previewing. And if that's not enough, all audio processing is done in 32 bit.

Oh, I almost forgot… voiceover direct to the timeline is here with Premiere Pro. (!)


Multiple Programs

Multiple timelines, or more correctly multiple “sequences” within the timeline window (or each in its own timeline window) enable more than one version of a program edit within a single project. Sequences can be nested in one Timeline window as multiple “tabs”. Each sequence shows up in the Project Window as a droppable asset like any other clip. When dropping sequence 2 into sequence 1, it looks and acts like another clip. You can trim it and move it on the timeline as you would any other clip.

In the monitor window, each sequence is represented by a tab there as well. The monitor window holds some surprises in store. The “wing out” menus have options to display waveform monitor, vectorscope, YcbCr parade, or RGB parade (or combinations) for test measurements. Also available in the same menu, a setting that scales video overlay quality to balance the demands on processing resources.

Color Corrected




The color corrector filter in Premiere Pro is almost a software package in itself. White, black, and gray balance, color wheel hue offsets, RGB curves, and an extensive selection of control parameters are all contained in this single filter. This is an extensive step forward for Adobe Premiere users and even some of Premiere Pro’s most up to date competitors don't deliver a set of color correction controls like this without third party software. Split screen previewing allows the user to see the before and after on the same frame at the same time for better control over subtle adjustments. The ability to use the test displays mentioned earlier to keep your video within legal limits makes the tools even more usable for those delivering for broadcast.

Effect Control Freak

Color Correction, along with all other filters are totally keyframeable. To facilitate this process, the filter settings and keyframing function have been combined with motion control and opacity into a single work area called the Effects Control Window. Acting as a mini timeline in itself, all filters and motion are listed vertically on the left and stretching out to the right is the corresponding track for placing and adjusting keyframes. Each keyframe has the ability to decelerate or accelerate motion based on how the ease in and out are selected for each point.





One thing that will require adaptation for many of us will be dropping keyers onto clips as filters as opposed to setting transparency as a clip attribute. While it took me a while to adapt, I think this is an immensely positive move. Suddenly you can use two or more key types on the same clip. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to blue or green screen a clip, but also mask it in some way other than using a garbage matte... now it's possible. One other significant Effect Control Window capability… the effects are applied down the list…. in order. Why is this important? Ever try to color correct a blue or green screen clip? Pretty tough as your critical key color gets changed along with the foreground causing you to have to adjust to pull a good key… or maybe compromise on how much correction you can use… This is no longer a problem. As long as the keyer is before the color corrector in the list, the key is done first, thus the color shift that happens after it has no effect on the key settings. This order of processing has endless possibilities for variation… put a filter in twice, before and after another process for a particular effect. I suspect even Adobe can't quite visualize all the variations that will come out of this very powerful feature.

Photoshop Layers… Smarter Than Ever.

Multiple layer Photoshop documents can now be imported as a “sequence” and when you drop them on the timeline, each layer will be laid down separately for individual manipulation. Another really nice feature of bringing in footage this way is the blending modes you created in Photoshop come into the timeline properly this way.

Do Not Pass Go… Go Directly to DVD

File>Export>Print to DVD… ah, if it were only that simple. Apparently Adobe has been thinking this way as well. You can actually encode to MPEG-2 and burn from the timeline with index points as chapter markers and there is even a “looping” setting in the Export dialogue. DVDs burned directly by this method are set for auto-play upon insertion in a DVD player. If you need menus, exporting to the Adobe MPEG Encoder and using that file complete with index markers as chapter points in Adobe Encore DVD authoring software is a very streamlined process.


Power: Too Much of a Good Thing, is Necessary

For all the power Adobe Premiere Pro provides… the horse on the splash screen doesn't even provide a glimpse of the ponies it needs under the hood. Minimum system mentioned is a Pentium 3, 800 MHz. While I'm sure it might technically run on this type of system, do yourself a favor and run this on a system that has significantly more power than that. I've been testing Premiere Pro on a P4 2.8 GHz laptop with a Gig of RAM and a 533 MHz FSB and it all gets used and then some.

Adobe Premiere Pro is optimized for Pentium processors, but it will run on AMD XPs as well (not the older Athlons) and Windows XP or XP Home are the only OS’s Premiere Pro runs on. No W2K version available as XP holds so much more facilitation for handling media, running Premiere Pro on a W2K machine was going to hobble the software substantially. Adobe thought it best to stick with the OS it was optimized for… And yes, you didn't see me mention what Mac OS version Premiere Pro runs on because alas, it isn't being offered for the Macintosh. Like Encore, Premiere Pro is being targeted and optimized for Pentium Processors and Windows XP.

With dual processor 64 bit Macs now on the market for 3 grand, many of us who run cross-platform shops are wincing a bit, but there is the AMD 64 bit contender and hopefully the rest of the Wintel side of the fence will catch up, or at least lower their prices.

What’s Missing?

Funny you should ask. Gone is A|B editing mode… and while I'm sure there will be restless natives on that front for quite some time (we went through it in the tester community just a while ago), I've been able to adapt pretty quickly to the world of single line editing and I was a hard core AB’er from way back and was one of the squeakier wheels when it disappeared. The Navigator functions have been integrated into the timeline and hence the separate navigator window is no longer. The Storyboard functionality has been integrated into the project window. The icon view now sports a grid structure for re-ordering clips and ultimately automating to the timeline. With multiple sequences, the ability to save multiple versions of the clip order as different storyboard documents is really not necessary as each timeline, or sequence in a project can be an alternate program version.

Over all, Adobe has had to make some tough choices to move forward with this application. It can be a bit like moving away from home. The direction you're headed in is where your future lies, but you also have to leave some stuff behind.

AB editing mode, Windows 2000, and a host of old dialogue boxes and operating metaphors may strike many users as being so conspicuously missing as to be a roadblock to their learning and utilizing the power of this software. The positive side is that those things are being left behind to create an application that is more powerful than would have been possible if they had hung on to them. The testing phase of this software has forced me to adapt and frankly when I have to use Premiere 6.5 in production at our facility I find it much more limiting than I ever remember it having been.

What I've outlined here isn't everything that makes Adobe Premiere Pro new and different… but it's a start. For those of you attending DV Expo East, you may want to stop by the Adobe booth… I think they might have a pre-release copy or two to show you…

At this time, the information I have is the retail pricing will be $699.00 USD for a full version and a owner of any full version of Adobe Premiere (PC or Mac) will be able to upgrade for $199.00 USD.

-- Tim Kolb



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