Adobe Premiere Pro CS3

Adobe Premiere Pro CS3

Premiere’s interface borrows the tabbed panels and detachable panes you’ll find in Photoshop, After Effects, and other Adobe CS3 applications. It looks a little cluttered, but it’s easy to navigate and customize.

 

The prodigal son returns. It’s been about five years since Premiere, Adobe’s video-editing software, made its quiet exit from the Mac stage. But Apple’s recent shift to Intel chips made it possible for Adobe to move its flagship video editor from Windows exclusivity back to the Mac, where it all began in 1991.

 

Of course, Adobe has picked a competitive time to come a-knockin’. Apple has not only kept Final Cut Pro in top fighting form, but also offers the surprisingly good Final Cut Express ($299), which is aimed squarely at the intermediate users that Premiere used to attract. Avid, too, has kept its Xpress Pro editor fairly competitive, and it still enjoys a loyal user base. Given the stiff competition, can Premiere carve out a piece of the Mac video-editing pie? We were skeptical, but getting reacquainted with this new and improved version of Premiere has left us impressed.

 

When last on the Mac, Premiere earned itself a so-so reputation because it lacked cutting-edge features and suffered from more than its fair share of bugs and glitches. That’s not the case this time around - Premiere proved very stable in our tests and sported some industrial-strength features, although it still has a few holes we’d like to see filled.

 

Premiere can work with major video formats such as plain-Jane DV video, HDV (in native form, no rendering to an intermediate codec necessary), and uncompressed standard-definition and high-definition video (provided you have a compatible third-party capture card from the likes of Blackmagic or AJA). But we were disappointed that Premiere can’t work with DVCPRO HD video, a popular format used by Panasonic cameras. Premiere can’t handle video from Sony’s XDCAM HD cameras or the new AVCHD format used in many new consumer camcorders these days, either. Adobe says that expanded format support will come in the future, but for now, Premiere’s repertoire is a bit limited.

 

But things improve from there. Provided your footage is compatible, you’ll have a lot of options for turning it into something amazing. For instance, you can view your project clips in a variety of text and thumbnail views, split master clips into smaller subclips, and quickly home in on clips with an effective search feature. You can also perform advanced ripple and roll edits, slips and slides, and replace edits. And unlike the Premiere of old, this version lets you create multiple timelines and nest them together.

 

On the audio side, Premiere includes plenty of standard audio effects, and works with VST-compatible plug-ins. You can also mix your tracks with a mixing-board-style interface, though you might want to use Adobe’s Soundbooth app for advanced sound work. As for video effects, you’ll find dozens of filters, from blurs to levels and other color-correction controls to more stylized fare, and many After Effects plug-ins work with Premiere as well. Premiere can show real-time previews of multiple effects layers, as well, saving rendering time.

 

When you’re finished with your edit, you can record it back to tape, or export it in any number of formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, Flash), although without the advanced batch processing of Apple’s Compressor. Finally, you can consolidate your project for archival purposes, saving only the media your edit used.

 

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