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When Apple released Final Cut Pro X last year, many veterans were up in arms. FCPX wasn’t just an update to the program they’d come to rely on--it was a complete departure from what they were used to. You either loved it or hated it, and Adobe was only too pleased to welcome new clients to its platform. With Premiere Pro CS6, Adobe is working very hard to make sure its clientele stays put.
The entire interface has been redesigned. Everything is centered around the editing process with very large Source and Program monitors at the top, and huge thumbnails in the browser section. Although they take up a lot more room, the thumbnails are extremely useful for seeing at a glance which clip you want, and Adobe took a page from iMovie and Final Cut Pro X, letting you mouse over a clip to skim through your footage. It also does one better: click the clip to reveal a small timeline. Drag a clip’s playhead to look through it, and if you’ve already set In and Out points, they’ll appear there as well--this functionality almost makes the Source monitor redundant.
The new interface has been redesigned to give it a stronger focus on the clips you're using.
Such a focus on your clips leaves less room to display tools like the traditional jog and shuttle controls, although it’s hard to imagine who would miss them when everything can be controlled with keyboard shortcuts--which are a more efficient way of working, anyway.
Many of CS6’s new features appear to be a direct response to Final Cut Pro X--it’s great when a rivalry brings out the best in the competitors. You can drag clips from any window onto the timeline, which can handle many different formats within the same sequence without skipping a beat. The very impressive Mercury Playback Engine actually played everything back in real time, even clips with tons of effects applied. New editing tools include a trim view (when you double-click an edit point) where you can alter both sides of the edit at the same time. You can even insert a default transition between your clips from there, and all this is done from the Program monitor.
You’ll find a few new video effects as well, like Warp Stabilizer, which has the double purpose of stabilizing your shots (as long as your jitters aren’t too extreme) and compensating for rolling shutter. This is often a problem with CMOS sensor-equipped cameras, which create a wobble effect when they’re moved too fast. Just as importantly, the color correction tools have been redesigned, and the three-way color corrector comes with many more options to help you tweak your footage exactly.
Color Correction offers many new tools along with traditional ones.
If you frequently work with multiple cameras, you’ll appreciate Premiere Pro CS6’s ability to finally handle more than four angles. In fact that number is now limited by your Mac’s computing power. It’s also been designed with the future in mind by introducing support for some of the latest formats. Of course DV and HD are still present, but you can now also work with 2K, 4K, and 5K with no need to convert the footage prior to working with it.
The bottom line. Premiere Pro CS6 is a very worthy upgrade, one that should satisfy existing users and tempt many others to give it serious consideration, especially since, thanks to Creative Cloud, the financial barrier to entry is lower than ever.
Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, Mac OS 10.6.8 or later, 2GB RAM (8GB recommended), 4GB available hard disk space, 1280x900 display, 7200-rpm hard drive, OpenGL 2.0-capable system.
Skimmable thumbnails. New trimming tools. Better color correction. Support for modern formats. Better multi-camera support.
No groundbreaking new ideas.