Adobe's Premiere Pro CS5.5 in Review

Product Review: Adobe's Premiere Pro CS5.5

Recently, Adobe released a new version of their well known Creative Suites: Adobe CS5.5. Continuing my CS5.5 Production Premium review (in my last article, I reviewed After Effects CS5.5), this time I will be focusing on Premiere Pro CS5.5, while going a little into Audition CS5.5, the audio editing application replacing Adobe SoundBooth from CS5. As I had stated previously, you can take this release as an "incremental update" (due to the point-five version formatting), but that doesn't mean it's lacking significant features.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 introduced Mercury Engine, a GPU-based playback engine that offers near real-time playback, regardless of the video format and resolution being used. Mercury Engine offers the ability to combine different video formats and resolutions in the same timeline. Now in CS5.5, Mercury Engine adds support for more GPUs, for desktop and laptop computers, as well as new real-time effects. Just like the previous version, Mercury Engine only supports Nvidia GPUs, since it's based on CUDA. So, if you're using an ATI graphics card, you won't be able to take advantage of this feature.

Adobe CS3 to CS5 users know about SoundBooth, the audio editing application that shipped with those versions. Adobe CS5.5 has replaced it with Adobe Audition, an audio editing application many already know, and had wondered why it was replaced by SoundBooth to begin with. Collaboration between Premiere Pro and Audition is very simple and seamless. You can send clips, or a complete timeline, from Premiere Pro to Audition and process your audio inside it, using the video sent from Premiere Pro as a reference for audio sync and editing.

Since Audition is a multi-layered sound editor, you can add any number of clips you want to your audio composition. When you're happy with the results, send everything back into Premiere Pro with a single command, and your audio will be available in your timeline almost instantly.

Working with audio and video clips is easier now, thanks to the Merge Clips feature. Surely, you may know how difficult it can be to manage multiple video and audio clips, or maybe you have a lot of sound layers already synchronized with a video clip you need to move. The Merge Clips command lets you combine one audio clip with up to 16 audio clips. Once you do it, a merged clip will appear in your media panel, and you can replace your previous clips with this one. When using a merged clip, you can move the video clip anywhere you want, and the corresponding audio clips will follow it (just like what happens when you put on your timeline a video clip that includes audio).

Previously, Premiere Pro introduced speech analysis, a feature that can analyze audio clips and search for speech that is then turned into metadata, making it easier to edit based on actual dialogue. Now, you can use Adobe Story to send your screenplays into Premiere Pro and link that information to your available media. This is a nice feature since you can jump directly to specific parts of your clips based on dialogue, allowing you to quickly add edit points, cuts, and such. This information can be stored as the clip's metadata.

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Many will be using Premiere Pro for editing live-action footage, so the software's native support for many video file formats is more than welcome. Premiere Pro CS5.5 offers full native support for RED digital cameras, allowing you to pick a white point and color adjustments for your footage. Support for Canon XF video is also included, allowing users to use metadata for easier clip management. Of course, thanks to the powerful Mercury Playback Engine, you can start working with these files right away, without the need of any transcoding.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 offers a good set of new features and improvements. The improved Mercury Engine takes an already outstanding feature to a new level, allowing for an even faster and better workflow on either animated or live-action projects, especially in tapeless environments. Also, using Adobe Audition for audio editing instead of SoundBooth is a good choice since it's a more mature and better featured product. If you're still using CS4, or even CS3, there's never been a better time to upgrade.


Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the following related links:


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.

June 13, 2011

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