Adobe Systems today unveiled half an upgrade to Premiere, its video-editing application, and hinted at its future plans for DVD authoring.
The new version, 6.5, plugs a number of holes in the previous release and adds a couple of features. You can now preview the timeline in real time, design professional-looking titles, output Mpeg-2 directly and author DVDs, although only via the bundled Sonic DVDit LE, not natively within the application.
In December 2001 Adobe announced that it had licensed DVD authoring technology from Sonic. The solution that Adobe is working isn't ready yet, but could be integrated into Premier or sell as a standalone application; the decision has yet to be made according to Mark Cokes, European market development manager for Adobe. However, hooks within Premiere would allow tight integration if Adobe decided to go down the more profitable standalone route.
From a workload perspective, the most useful new feature is real-time previewing of edited material. Previously, viewing effects and transitions meant either waiting for a time-consuming render or spending a considerable sum on a dedicated card to do the hard work for you.
Recognising the immense increase in processing power of late, the new software preview will provide instant feedback in real time - depending how powerful your PC is.
Support for titles has been suitably beefed up - although bettering Premier's last effort was never going to be a difficult job. The snazzily named Adobe Title Designer inherits the Adobe interface, making it easy to pick up and use. It provides greater flexibility for manipulating text and graphics, and for the lazy there are over 300 templates to get started with.
You can see how titles will look over different parts of your movie directly from the designer, without having to exit to the timeline. Adobe has even thrown in 90 fonts, specifically chosen to look good on TV.
What lies beneath
Adobe has teamed up with Main Concept to provide Mpeg-2 output natively from Premier. Previously, producing Mpeg content required a costly plug-in. To keep things simple, the interface is all Adobe's, with Main Concept providing the technology that lies beneath.
Select from a number of common output formats (like DVD, Video CD and Super Video CD) and Premier will do the rest. For those that want more control, the advanced page will let you tweak away to your heart's content.
DVD authoring is catered for by Sonic DVDit LE. Integration is slight - Premier will dump any Mpeg files created in DVDit's media bin, but that's about it. DVDit's simplistic approach is unlikely to appeal to the traditional Premiere user. It provides the basics, but the more advanced user may want to look elsewhere or wait until Adobe's own application sees the light of day.
Adobe Premiere 6.5 will ship in the fourth quarter of 2002 for all platforms. The estimated street price is $1,349. Registered users of earlier versions of Premiere can upgrade to version 6.5 for $349, while the estimated price for education institutions is $439.