Adobe recently announced the new CS6 versions of its production tools. 100 ACRE FILMS has been an all Adobe shop since it started, and we’re very excited about what’s included in the latest versions. Adobe took a strong toolset and made them even more powerful and user friendly. We got an advanced look, and a chance to use them before release.
The hub of any production environment is the NLE, and Premiere Pro continues to grow in ways that make it a more productive and indispensable tool in the post-production world. With native format editing, the Mercury Playback Engine, and tight integration with industry standard tools such as Photoshop and After Effects, it already had come a long way from the days when it was just “Premiere” with A-B track editing, a clunky interface, and spotty performance. Today’s Premiere Pro is a fast and modern tool for cutting the wide variety of footage that exists in the production world, as well as interacting with other production software.
With CS6, Adobe has re-designed the interface to give it a new uncluttered look and making it more productive for all your editing tasks. Gone are the empty gray spaces around the play controls in the Source and Program monitor, gone is the VU meter that wasn’t resizable, and gone are the trimming tools that weren’t the most efficient. What Adobe has done is provide a modern interface with loads of new options and features. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that this is the most customizable Premiere Pro ever released. You can even choose which buttons to have at the bottom of the source and program monitor…choices are always great.
Let’s start with the trimming – dynamic trimming is now included, and works really well. Adobe has taken a cue from both Avid and Final Cut Pro and included trimming tools that are a welcome improvement. For an old time Premiere Pro user like me, this was one of the things that took some getting used to. But now I don’t know how I edited without it. One of the biggest annoyances previously was how the timeline would stop playing when you wanted to make any edits or adjustments…now – I can make edits to the timeline while it continues to play. You trim clips in a newly designed Trim Monitor that uses JKL editing. And if you like to edit with your keyboard – no problem…you can do that now with ease.
Another new feature is hover scrub. What is hover scrub, you ask? In the new, re-designed icon view (icons you can now re-size!), moving your cursor over the icons will allow you to scrub through the clip in the bin. You can even set in and out points. This works the same in the Media Browser as well. Finding that moment or shot just got MUCH easier. Honestly – this may be the feature that I’m most happy about. As I’ve been doing some editing with CS6, going back to CS5.5 just feels so inefficient. This one feature has sped up my editing so much. And in keeping with the customizable theme – if you don’t like this feature, you can turn it off…but why would you? Some of you may say, “Didn’t they just rip this concept off from FCP X” – maybe, but who cares…a good feature is a good feature.
Another great addition is the Warp Stabilizer. Previously included in the last version of After Effects, this is a really great tool for removing unwanted shake from an image. I could go on about it, but I think this short demo tells the story.
For shooters using CMOS sensor cameras, rolling shutter issues are something we’ve all come to live with or find ways to shoot around. Now included is a Rolling Shutter Reduction filter. While I’ve tested it on some really bad clips with mixed results, testing it on clips with moderate issues has produced some really nice results.
Those are just a few of the really great changes – there are a LOT more. But one important thing is that everything seems to just run faster and smoother. Because of some improvements made in After Effects, clips that are Dynamic Linked from AE play back much better in Premiere Pro. Also, AVCHD and DSLR footage plays back much smoother than in previous versions. The whole app just seems more solid and more reliable. There are a few little kinks that didn’t get worked out, but I’m pretty sure those will be addressed in an update patch.
No app is perfect, and it’s fair to say that there are still some things that Adobe needs to work on for CS Next: media management is still a weak point, Adobe needs a finishing codec that is controlled by them – not a third party, working in a shared project environment is still best in Avid, and Premiere Pro could use better color correction tools for finishing. These are all things that need improvement. But I trust that when Adobe says they are listening, they mean it. I’m really hoping that they address these issues in a future release – somehow, I’m pretty sure they will.
One new addition to the production bundle is Prelude. This new application functions as a great tool for logging footage, and creating rough cuts that can be sent over to Premiere Pro. 100 ACRE FILMS had a shoot recently that was out of town. We shot all day, then back in the hotel room we brought all the footage into Prelude, and with the client there we went through all the interview footage and marked the bits we liked and wanted to use. Using the marker feature, we were able to precisely mark the in and out point for each sound bite, and even include comments about what B-roll might be best to use over it. We then went through and were able label each shot, add any other relevant metadata, and then send it all over to Premiere Pro. This workflow was really helpful in allowing us to meet the client’s tight deadline. Prelude is a very welcome addition to our post-production workflow.
In case you couldn’t tell, we’re very excited to be using Premiere Pro CS6. As we spend a lot of time editing, having an NLE we can trust and count on is vital. For years now, Adobe has provided us that with Premiere Pro. But now, I feel, they have really gone above and beyond previous releases and given us a version that really makes editing easier. They’ve listened to those of us in the post-production community, and they’ve given us some of the best features from all the NLEs out there.
There’s a lot of talk about your software not getting in the way of your creativity – with CS6, I think Adobe has truly delivered on that.