This last May, I was fortunate to be invited to an Adobe Press Event at the company's main office in San Jose, California. I spent the entire day with select Adobe staff going over their new Creative Suite 6 package and learning about how Adobe plans to move their software into the Cloud.
It was a spectacular day that just got more interesting as the day wore on. All of the reviewers were on HP Z1 computers which were loaded with all of the software that was being presented. This was a very effective method of presentation since we could follow along with a particular feature demonstration and see for ourselves how the software performed.
The most enjoyable part of the day was when Adobe "evangelists" presented Premiere Pro CS6, their elite video editing software, and Audition CS6, Adobe's sound editing application. I have been using both of these applications for almost a decade now and have followed every iteration of each program with enthusiasm.
And I'm here to say that the new CS6 versions of Premiere Pro and Audition are the best versions of the program I've ever worked with. Top to bottom, Adobe has outdone itself with these new versions. They are faster, easier to use, more powerful and just more fun to use than previous versions.
So, before I dig in to what makes Premiere Pro CS6 and Audition CS6 so good, let's look at what's new in both programs. I'll just cover the major updates here, but you can find a full breakdown for Premiere Pro CS6 here and a complete list of new additions to Audition CS6 here.
The big news in this version of Premiere Pro CS6 is the nicely redesigned default workspace, the much needed new media browser with re-sizable thumbnail views, a very efficient redesign of the program monitors, and major improvements to Mercury Playback Engine.
In addition, Adobe has added the following improvements to Adobe Premiere Pro CS6:
Improvements to Audition, Adobe's flagship sound editing application, are not as extensive as those in Premiere Pro CS6, but they are well considered and very useful. Most significantly, Audition CS6 has a much needed new media browser with file preview, new clip grouping abilities, new pitch correction/manipulation tools and new hardware controllers support - including native Avid EUCON and Mackie MCU.
Other improvements to Adobe Audition CS6 include:
Both Audition and Premiere Pro CS6 are flat-out easier to work with. For example, for the last five years I've created a 3 minute trailer for a machinima festival I produce. I usually capture clips from at least 70 films to use as my video pool in creating the trailer. In the past, it's taken me at least 10 hours to create the finished trailer.
This year, it took me 2 hours from clip-capture to exported final video.
That's a huge improvement in workflow for me. I can also vouch for the same thing in at least a dozen other video projects using animation, live action, titles and VFX. Audition CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6 are just faster and easier to use.
Much of the improvements come from the redesign of the Premiere Pro interface and the hugely improved ability to find media you are using in the new media browser and to new editing enhancements which make it so much easier to move clips, trip them and preview cuts in the program windows.
Audition works easier with Premiere Pro, too. I found it a much quicker process to render a clip in Premiere Pro, open it up in Audition CS6 to make adjustments and update the new file in both applications. Adobe has taken both programs and made them extensions of each other. Frankly, editing was so much faster in both programs that it seemed like I was working with a single application only.
I also do a good deal of sound design for animation and often have over 100 effects in my composition. Finding versions of effects is often tedious, but with the new search function I can type in the first few letters of a file and all versions come up leaving it easy to pick the one I want. This functionality is also available in Premiere Pro CS6 and is equally useful in finding and organizing any media you use in a particular project.
Both programs are solid and very fast. I had a single crash in Premiere Pro CS6, but it was caught by Adobe crash protector and I was able to get back to where I was in the project very quickly. And Audition CS6 never crashed or slowed down despite having over 90 tracks with effects on at least 20% of them.
I found Premiere Pro CS6's use of adjustment layers extremely useful. Just like in Photoshop, you adjust an element in one layer independently or so that it effects the layers underneath. This was particularly useful in combining a wide variety of shots and effects efficiently and in much less time. You have much more control over the look you want using Premiere Pro adjustment layers.
And finally, the new Media Encoder for Premiere Pro CS6 is so much faster and easier to use it's ridiculous. I had to output 4 different formats for one project. I quickly found the export media template I wanted to use, moved it to Media Encoder, then copied that export while changing the format. Soon, I had all four exported clips rocking and rolling in the background while I continued on with another project.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, these are the best versions of both programs I've ever used. In combination, you almost have an entire video studio. Adding After Effects CS6, and perhaps Adobe's new Prelude CS6, which is essentially a clip-capture and clip-logging software that dovetails nicely with Premiere Pro - All four of these applications make for one very good studio workflow for animation, live action, sound design, VFX and everything in between. And, with the Cloud versions of Adobe Creation Suite 6 Production Premium going for about $49.95 a month (plus 20 GB of storage), it's a no-brainer to get the best Adobe software at a great price.
More and more, video editors are switching to Premiere Pro from applications like Final Cut and Avid. Why? Because Adobe is determined to be innovative while constantly moving forward in their product development. I know this because I've met the people closely involved in developing their software and the way they listen so intensely when you talk about an Adobe product, and this tells me they are excited and interested in what they are doing. You can't beat this kind of passion. Big company or not, it's the people that make a difference in an organization. And Adobe has some great people developing both Premiere Pro and Audition.
Is there room for improvement? Of course there is. ReWire needs to be supported in Audition and it's a shame Adobe missed it in this round. And in working with both programs so closely, the next version of Audition needs to include the ability to create bins for sound file types. As a sound designer with literally hundreds of effects to work with it's a crime you can't place the files in named bins. Having the ability to search for file name is one thing, but Audition needs to follow Premiere Pro's lead in being able to organize and access the correct file in a short amount of time.
And finally, it's time Adobe made friends with Apple and supported Flash natively as I'm tired of having to re-encode flv files to import into Premiere Pro. Premiere Pro is as good a video editor as you can find, but Adobe needs to improve the file types it supports.
All in all, both Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and Audition CS6 are major releases that will speed up your workflow and give you time to be more creative. And you can't ask for more than that from a software package. Standing ovation for Adobe on the release of these two superlative programs. They have my highest recommendation.
Be sure to try the demos for Audition CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6. I highly recommend the Creative Cloud approach for both of these programs. Current CS members can upgrade the entire Creative Production Suite for $29.99 per month for a full year. If you aren't upgrading, the full version will be $49.95 per month. Individually, you can purchase the software at $799 for Premiere Pro CS6 and $349 for Audition CS6. Both programs are available for Windows or Mac.
Adobe has a fine support system with active community support and excellent tutorials. Plus, there are focused websites for Adobe products all over the web.
My thanks to Adobe for making the CS6 Production Suite available and for a fabulous trip up to San Jose. It was a wonderful and eye-opening experience being there at Adobe Central.
Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.
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