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Adobe Director of Video Product Management Bill Roberts
is bringing its A game to NAB 2013
, with the introduction of Adobe Anywhere and new features in Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Prelude, SpeedGrade and Story. At a pre-NAB briefing in San Jose, Adobe Director of Video Product Management Bill Roberts puts all these changes in context of "three vectors of transformation" going on in the industry: the network as platform, and the explosion of capture and delivery. "You can get your content from any device," he says. "We think that's huge for content creators. Who doesn't have an HD-capture phone in their pockets? In this environment, we need pervasive, cost effective tools." He pointed to the fact that both the BBC and NBC turned to Adobe's primetime solution for streaming at last year's Olympics. "People can dig into more detail with their secondary apps," he says. "The monetization strategies are starting to make sense."
At NAB 2013 (Booth SL3910), says Roberts, Adobe will "reveal the next generation of video." "We've got 'plan to playback' with best of breed products that tie into a task for every workflow," he adds, introducing the new features of the products that make up Adobe's Creative Suite.
for video is described as "a modern, collaborative workflow platform that empowers teams using Adobe professional video tools to work together accessing and managing centralized media and assets across virtually any network. "It's all about collaboration, or a deep view from within the application, sharing the same project file with instant handoff and versioning," says Adobe Anywhere Product Manager Michael Coleman, describing the three key areas for the new product. "Work Anywhere (LAN & WAN via VPN) means the user can work without proxy files through the network, with the high-res media always dynamic and always there. Third, the user has accessibility to Adobe's familiar creative tools through Creative Cloud, which means ease of use, minimal training required, as well as integration with existing infrastructure."
Adobe Anywhere ties together Mercury Streaming Engine and Collaboration Hub and, says Coleman "dissolves the boundaries between project files, turning projects into an uber
project on steroids - multi-user, multi-application." "If you already know Prelude or Premiere Pro, you pretty much know what you need to know to work collaboratively," he says. "It's the same skills and interfaces. You create an Anywhere Production like a project file at work and add whoever you want."
"Most people can't tell the difference between a local file and a remote file, because the performance is so good," he adds. "I've done this with a Mac
Book Air playing back RED
4K playback. There's compression on the transport stream, but it looks really good and it's not lower resolution."
Video professionals in North America will be able, up until April 19, to join Adobe Creative Cloud for $29.99 a month for the first year, 40 percent off the regular annual membership price.
Premiere Pro. Click image for larger view.
Adobe Premiere Pro
features five top features: editing finesse; link & locate; Lumetri Deep Color Engine; audio enhancements; and closed captioning improvements. Product Manager Al Mooney notes that, as an increasing number of editors use Premiere Pro, Adobe has been asked for new and enhanced features. "With great power comes great responsibility," he jokes. One of those key improvements was a response to issues of "editing finesse," or what Mooney describes as "anything that takes you out of the zone."
"There are now hundreds of new keyboard shortcuts," he says. "We've redesigned the timeline to be cleaner. The key thing we've tried to do is present important information to editors so they don't have to rummage around menus, that they can know something just by looking at it. These keyboard-driven enhancements speed up workflow, from paste attributes to customizable track headers."
Link & locate is for when some of the media has gone offline, something that happens more and more as editing is changing. "Link & locate takes the pain out of this type of media management," says Mooney. "Now you get a dialogue box with last known file; you can see what's offline and search for it. This makes it as approachable as possible."
Adobe has always placed an emphasis on color and now, with the Lumetri Deep Engine Color built into Premiere Pro, editors have the ability to work with color while editing. "It enables LUTs support from other applications," says Mooney. "In the effects panel, I have a folder for Lumetri looks, which gives the editor the ability to work with beautiful pre-set looks without leaving Premiere Pro or do any grading. It's designed to be super-simple: just apply a look. We'll add to these looks over time, and you can build your own library of looks."
Audio has been one of the "potential hiccups" when moving from FCP," says Mooney. "We now have a bunch of new effects built into Premiere Pro, such as a new clip mixer for clip-by-clip control, new audio effects host and support for 3rd party control surfaces," he says. Closed captioning is also easier, with the new ability to let editors do full caption editing. "It's not a full caption creation system but it's import, edit and export," says Mooney. "You can slip-sync, change position, color, and so on."
Adobe Anywhere integration means the users can collaborate and share media and sequences from anywhere, as long as they have Internet connection. Also new is support for more GPUs including Open CL and CUDA for accelerated export times and GPU-accelerated 3rd party effects and transitions.
How about Premiere Pro Lite for the iPad? Not any time soon, says Roberts...but don't despair. "We won't do Premiere Pro on a tablet because it's a different interface," he says. "But is Adobe interested in tablets? Darn right, we are. We've reached the tipping point, but we think it is a different experience. Things that make a desktop app shine are not the things that make a tablet app shine. And that's all I'm going to say."
Prelude. Click image for larger view.
is Adobe's ingest and logging tool for file-based camera material, enabling the user an easy interface to bring material in, organize, log it and add metadata. Prelude Product Manager Wes Plate noted the new features for NAB 2013: "Hover-scrub thumbnails, introduced in CS6, have now been added to Prelude," he says. "You can hover over a clip and see what's there, without having to open it up in the timeline." The ability to create presets at ingest is an easier process that makes the files easier to search. "People want the ability to rename files as they come into ingest because the file names from the camera may not be meaningful and may be repetitive," explains Plate. "You can also define the information you want collected and applied to the ingested clips."
A new read-only view into the Story account allows the user to turn scripts into searchable metadata. "Accuracy from audio files aren't always so good, so the script gives the analysis engine something else to analyze and increases accuracy," says Plate. "You can then send it to Premiere Pro, which shows the text and then find words. If you search a specific word...and it brings the playhead to the quote you want and then drag it into a sequence. It helps you find clips really easily." Another feature, the Prelude Live Logger app for iPad (which will ship Q3 2013), lets the user log footage on the iPad.
now has a completely redesigned user interface, says Senior Product Manager Patrick Palmer, who joined Adobe through the acquisition of Iridas. "We've added all the things that people like and what they used the most in terms of organizing the work, so we have an entirely new UI that will be familiar to Premiere Pro users," he says.
Integration with the Adobe workflow means that users can now load native SpeedGrade looks in Adobe Premiere Pro, as well as drag EDLs from Adobe Premiere Pro onto the SpeedGrade timeline for finishing projects. Shot Matcher enables a one-click match for material shot with different cameras or under different lighting conditions.
Mercury Transmit enables the addition of a second display, using selected SDI-Out video cards to provide accurate reference monitoring while color grading. "We noticed lots of people are at least occasionally working on mobile workstations or laptops with smaller screen sizes," says Palmer. "We customized the look section so you can see dozens of looks and the dedicated monitor can scale appropriately. And we came up with a flexible scope lay-out as well."
Palmer also mentioned that SpeedGrade supports numerous ways of working, including with mouse and keyboard, tablet, trackball, or Tangent
control surface, including Tangent Element. Layer-based grading lets the user customize grading layer names to organize complex grades while crafting looks, and a new Continuity Checker spots color discrepancies.
After Effects. Click image for larger view.
is celebrating its 20th year as a major Adobe creative tool and numerous features have been added, says Senior Product Manager of VFX Steve Ford. "CS6 for After Effects was huge," he says. "We introduced several significant key features; it was the biggest release of AE in 10 years.
This year, Adobe After Effects introduces a Refine Edge tool, Warp Stabilizer VFX and Pixel Motion Blur. But the bigger news is a strategic alliance between Adobe and Maxon. "After Effects artists use more and more 3D and they love Cinema 4D," says Ford. "Maxon
and Adobe got together to work together to design a link between the two companies. Maxon's Cineware lets you control the render process in AE, for performance. This changes the pipeline entirely; you render once out of AE and that's it. Integration is so tight that you can make many more decisions than before."
has had eight updates over the course of the year and numbers approximately 150,000 users. "We're cracking into high-end post pipelines," says Adobe Senior Business Development Manager Sebastian DiStefano. "We've made this as easy as possible so you can bring transcripts into the system that creates a framework that drives the workflow."
Now Story Plus adds many new features requested by users, including the ability to work offline or online; industry standard formatting with auto-completion; and customizable as well s pre-designed script templates. Scene-based tagging is one of the biggest requests Adobe has had, says DiStefano, so "people can connect ideas before they have a script." Now manual and automatic tagging lets users prepare a script for production with either easy manual or auto tagging for production elements such as props and sound effects.
Other new features include automatic shooting script creation; permission assignments for projects, enabling producers or filmmakers to control whether various team members can read, add comments, or modify the scripts, schedules, reports, and other documents in a project; and synchronization between the evolving script and the production's schedule.
"This is your virtual script board," says DiStefano. "It's truly a collaborative pre-production process." He also reports that Adobe is turning this into a Software As a Service offering, initially for European users that want scheduling.
A subscription to Story Plus is $999 standalone, or $49.99 a month with Creative Cloud, which includes Story Pro. There is a web-only free version but that does not offer any offline applications or the feature set available in Story Plus.
Audition. Click image for larger view.
has been known for years as "an incredible tool that borrows a lot from Photoshop," says Senior Solutions Architect of Pro Video Colin Smith. "It's always been able to take out sound blemishes. But we have a new feature -- sound remover -- to take out anything that reoccurs without selecting each instance of it." I witnessed this tool first hand, and saw Smith display the spectral frequency of the clip and then use paintbrush tools to quickly paint out a recurring sound. "Although the police siren occurs multiple times, I can just select one cycle of it, and it's smart enough to go in there and get it out every other time," he says.
"The most difficult sound to get rid of is a microphone in the wind because it's a broadband sound and it's all over the map," he says. "This tool can. Nothing else that touches the noise reduction/sound restoration tools here. Forensics and the military use this tool."
Other features include a preview editor; enhanced multi-track editing; sound design tools to warp, filter, and blend audio; audio finesse workflow refinements, including new shortcuts and faster navigation tools; and 64-bit performance.
"We've ended up delivering more technology this cycle than we expected," admits Roberts. Nobody's complaining now, and they won't be complaining at NAB 2013 either when they can finally get their hands on the new and improved toolset.
The trend is towards the cloud and integrated work environments, and we'll see many companies at NAB make the same play. Adobe's move into the space is compelling because its familiar and powerful toolset is already much in use in the industry. Roberts also notes that "gigabit/second connectivity is becoming real," and that Adobe is building for what's coming. Being prepared isn't just a rule for Boy Scouts and it applies to our industry more than ever before.
Follow Debra Kaufman on Twitter @MobilizedDebra for more great articles and NAB coverage.