Written by T. Michael Testi
This is a series of reviews that will cover what is contained in the Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) Master Collection. When Adobe released CS4 this fall, they not only released single version products, but also six separate suites of products. They are Design Premium, Design Standard, Web Premium, Web Standard, 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.
What do you need to run Adobe Premiere Pro CS4? On a PC you need a 2GHz or faster processor, Windows XP SP2 or Vista; on Mac, PowerPC G4 or G5 or multicore Intel processor, Mac OS X v10.4.11 – 10.5.4 (Leopard), 512MB RAM, 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card, 10GB hard drive space for installation and DVD-ROM Drive.
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.
Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 attempts to reduce the complex process that is video production. It does this by including copies of the products Adobe OnLocation CS4 and Adobe Encore CS4 to try to make each step of the video production more efficient and giving you more time to work your story.
So what is new with Premiere Pro CS4?
• End-to-End metadata workflow – will let you add metadata to clips both on set with Adobe OnLocation, and while editing via Premiere. This will give your workflow greater project intelligence as you can use the new speech recognition technology to create text-based metadata that you can use to organize your assets.
• Speech Search – this technology offers you the ability to turn the spoken dialog in your clips into text-based metadata which will make your video searchable. No more hand entering key words. Now through voice analysis, keywords can be automatically added, allowing you jump directly to the frame that you are after.
• Tapeless Camera Support – now lets you use video that has been captured directly to disk and opens the door to new workflows that save time and maintain a higher quality throughout the production process. You can now import and edit content from Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM EX, and HD cameras directly, which will save you a tremendous amount of time.
• Dynamic workflow – use in conjunction with other Adobe tools gives a more tightly integrated toolset in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. For example, this will eliminate intermediate rendering when moving sequences into Adobe Encore CS4 software, and take advantage of new support for Adobe Photoshop files with video and blend modes.
• Batch encoding - in the background using Adobe Media Encoder, a separate, included software application that automates the process of creating multiple encoded versions of your source files and sequences. You have the ability to manage priorities and control advanced settings for individual files.
• Redesigned OnLocation – is now cross-platform with a new Adobe-standard interface. Save time and take the tedium out of logging with shot lists and metadata-based project intelligence. Now you can take your footage right in and it can automatically be logged for you.
• Editing Efficiency – now available through the inclusion of more than 50 new editing enhancements provided to streamline your workflow. Things like applying an effect to multiple clips, applying multiple effects to multiple clips, copy and paste transitions, and more precise editing and communications with clients based on the use of timecodes is all here to help you be more efficient.
• Blu-ray Disc authoring – now lets you create high-definition Blu-ray discs with Encore CS4. Working with the same interface used to create standard-definition DVDs, but now incorporating advanced Blu-ray features like pop-up menus and subtitles and dual-layer burning.
• SWF output – gives you the ability to create SWF file versions of your DVD and Blu-ray projects for the Web, complete with DVD interactivity, menus, URL links, and customizable HTML templates, all without opening another application.
• Final Cut Pro project import – will let you complete your Final Cut Pro project in Adobe Premiere Pro. Use Final Cut Pro XML interchange to transfer projects directly from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro without conversion or re-rendering. It will preserve your commonly used effects and transitions.
Premiere Pro CS4 is really a major upgrade to an already great product. Significant in this release is the ability to import and edit AVCHD Files. This is huge with regard to the new camcorders that are coming out. The increased integration into the Adobe family of products is also welcomed. For example, no longer do you have to render your Premiere Pro timeline before you can bring your video into Encore. The time you will save with this one feature alone will pay for the upgrade many times over.
The interface change to OnLocation is a welcome feature as well. No longer do you have to deal with the cumbersome methods of the previous version. Also welcome for Mac users is a native version of OnLocation.
The metadata is another prominent feature. The ability to view and input information about a clip or its source is fantastic. You can store and track copyright information and much, much more. And it can be taken through the workflow. Add to this the Speech transcription; Adobe calls it metalogging. It analyzes a selected clips audio and translates the words to the metadata panel. There are several languages that it can transcribe, including four varieties of English.
Then there is the Media Encoder that allows you to batch process media files, you can convert a MP4 file into Flash, and in fact it automates the whole process of creating multiple encoded versions of your source files. While there may not be a lot flashy, high profile new features, filters, etc, there are a whole lot of time-saving, workflow streamlining advantages that come with Premiere Pro CS4. These alone make it worth the upgrade and so I highly recommend Premiere Pro CS4.