Adobe's Premiere Pro CC in Review
Sergio Rosa [nemirc] - Sr Staff Writer
A few months ago, Adobe released their latest version of their Adobe Creative Suite, now called Adobe Creative Cloud (or Adobe CC). As you already know, the biggest change they made was regarding their licensing model, as you are no longer able to purchase a license outright for the software. Now Adobe is using the “software as a service” model, meaning you pay a monthly fee to continue using the software. I am curious to see how this new model works in the long run, mostly regarding software updates and additional services, but I think the change can bring many good things.
This time I will focus on Premiere Pro CC, Adobe’s video editing application. As you might know, I used to be in media production, but now I work as a game developer, and most of the time I work with 3D models, textures and animation. However, sometimes I use video editing applications to put together video game trailers or small animations. On a side note, when I used to work in media production I mostly did motion graphics, so I have never used Premiere Pro’s live-action video features (such as video ingesting, multicam editing, or color correction). This means my review will not touch certain aspects of video workflows.
When using Premiere Pro you will spend a lot of time on the timeline. That area now has a few nice enhancements to make editing easier. My favorite is the “show duplicate frame markers” setting. Sometimes when you are editing and you split a clip in two, after moving the in and out clip points you may end up with duplicate frames. This setting marks the clips with duplicate frames, displaying a bar on such frames. For example, say you have two clips and they have duplicate frames (one of them at the beginning of the clip, the other one at the end). The duplicate frames marker is drawn on top of the duplicated section of each clip, so you can decide which frames to delete.
Another nice feature is the ability to copy settings from one clip to the next. This is especially useful if you want to copy a group of filters from one clip to another one, making it easier to apply the same settings to multiple clips. All you need to do is right-click on the source clip, and then right-click on the destination clip, and select the “paste attributes” option. A window is displayed, asking you what attributes you want to apply, and, among other things, you will see a list of all the different effects that were copied from the source clip.
Also, when working with clips, sometimes clips are changed or transcoded (mostly if you’re working with live action footage), meaning that sometimes you open your Premiere Pro project just to realize clips are missing. Premiere Pro CC makes it easier to relink those clips. For example, you can just link one, and the application will look into that specified path to check if the other missing clips are also found in that path.
By the time I was writing this review, the ability to generate close captioning had been added to Premiere Pro. Previously, you could import close caption files (as a matter of fact, you’ve been able to work with close captions for some time now), but now you can generate those close captions directly inside Premiere Pro CC. All you need to do is create a new close caption sequence, and you’re presented with a window that lets you input your close captions, as well as set in and out times.
Just like previous versions, Premiere Pro CC uses the Mercury Playback Engine. This engine allows the software to provide real-time playback in most situations. The new Mercury Playback Engine adds support for more NVIDIA cards (using CUDA), but it also offers support for OpenCL cards (for those who don’t know, OpenCL means Open Computing Language, and can be used to increase performance of GPU-accelerated applications). I would have loved to run some tests, and even compare performance between OpenCL and CUDA, but the system where I can install this application has a 3 year old ATI FirePro card (that has unfortunately been discontinued…) and doesn’t support OpenCL.
Data exchange between applications remains pretty much unchanged. You can easily send video clips from Premiere Pro to After Effects (you can also use SpeedGrade for color correction), as well as send audio to Adobe Audition. If your workflow relies on multiple applications, you can transition to Adobe CC knowing your cross-application workflow will remain the same.
As the name implies, Adobe Creative Cloud offers cloud services as part of the suite. The suite can be installed on two computers, and you can sync application settings between them. This is a very useful feature because you can be sure the applications on both computers will behave the same. One of the planned features is to use the Adobe CC host application to save files to the cloud and access them across different computers (although you can already upload and store files to your Adobe CC account via the web browser).
When you upload files to your Adobe CC account, you can also share them with others and exchange comments. For example, say you upload an image or a document. If you share that file with someone else, a link is sent to that person’s email address, and then that person can write comments about your file, even if they don’t have an Adobe ID. While this feature falls outside of the main focus of this review, I thought it was worth mentioning, as cloud services is one of the reasons why Adobe Premiere Pro CC makes sense as a service, not as a stand-alone application.
One last thing you need to keep in mind is that Adobe Premiere Pro CC will only work on Windows 7 or Windows 8 (you can consider this as a sign that Windows XP is no longer an option). As I said, I’m interested to see how this transition to “software as a service” works out. I expect more cloud services to make it to Adobe CC (like the ability to sync files). Many additions to this version will help you edit faster and easier, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, I was unable to test this version’s speed compared to Premiere Pro CS6, because of my video card, so I can’t say much about rendering speed improvements.
Sergio Aris Rosa [nemirc], is Sr. Staff Writer for the Renderosity Front Page News. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields. You can follow him on Twitter, and if you want to see what he's up to you can visit his blog.
September 23, 2013
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