During the Q&A at a recent Below the Line screening of Dust To Glory, I was surprised when the filmmakers stated that they finished the project on Adobe Premiere. Unusual not only because they had footage on HD, 35mm, 16mm, mini-DV and even old vintage VHS, and it all looked great, but also because Premiere has generally never been considered a “pro” editing platform.I’ve had a copy of Premiere on one or more of my computers for quite some time, but seldom used it, and didn’t know anyone who did. With Avid and Apple’s Final Cut Pro both offering HD capabilities now, I just didn’t see the need to update and use one more editing program, even though nearly everyone uses After Effects and Photoshop (also made by Adobe).The product has obviously matured. In fact, it’s made it all the way past version 6.0! But now it has a name change, so let’s take a look at Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5. The company is coming out with 2.0, but it won’t be available until fall.First, Adobe has opted to make the program Windows only. I’m told the reason it has always lagged behind other programs is that Adobe had to make all features work on both Macs and PCs at the same time. And since the Mac market is fairly well saturated with Final Cut Pro and Avid, the move makes sense.More importantly, Premiere Pro is now using the After Effects engine. Everyone is already used to using After Effects and Photoshop. And the beauty of Premiere Pro, as well as all the new programs from Adobe in the Video Collection (Adobe’s bundled software suite), is that you can simply cut and paste between them without doing any exporting or importing. Anyone who has taken any After Effects classes knows one of the first things they teach you is to be careful how you export and import files between programs to avoid headaches later when trying to output your project. With Premiere Pro, this is now moot. The interface and menus are also similar if not the same, and for the novice as well as the seasoned pro, that’s got to help speed things up.Project Manager, also from After Effects, improves the job of backing up, moving or sharing a project by including media with the project file when saved, if desired. Project Manager will also allow you to use DV versions of your HD footage to work from, and then, when finished with the edit, it can re-import just the HD footage you need to output in HD, saving disk space and computer resources.Speaking of which, it now supports HD so you can work (depending on your hardware), in 720p and 1080i as well as 24p and 24pa (used by Panasonic AG-DVX100 and AJ-SDX900). You can shoot, capture, edit and output to tape at almost any resolution you want.If you have After Effects installed, many of its filters are available within Premiere Pro, and many more of the effects are real time in this version. If you have Adobe Audition 1.5 installed, Premiere Pro automatically locates, recognizes and can use those VST effects from that program as well.And speaking of effects, there is an automatic color correction control feature that should get you close to what you need, then, you can tweak it by hand to get the rest of the way there.Of course all this is null and void if a few years from now the program is no longer supported. So how is Adobe positioning itself to be here for the long term?The company is aligning itself with the likes of Dell, HP, Intel and Microsoft to develop and certify a line of open, scalable desktop HDV and HD packages called OpenHD certified solutions. By pairing different hardware configurations with Adobe Professional Video Collection, these Windows-based systems make HD accessible to a much wider audience by significantly reducing costs. This doesn’t surprise me as Adobe has often bundled software with hardware in the past. I think my first introduction to Premier came with my old Miro DC-30 video card. So Premiere should be here quite a while.
Written by Bob Bayless