Adobe Premiere 6.5 suite

Version 6.0 of Premiere provided belated but vital support for FireWire and DV (digital video)-enabled hardware. A year later, this new version addresses two remaining major weaknesses: the lack of real-time software previews and disappointing titling.

The arrival of software-based, real-time editing is big news. In the past, desktop PC users had to wait an age for transitions to render, or employ expensive add-on cards. Real-time playback — which can be toggled on and off via a dialogue box — removes the need for extra hardware. Effects, transitions and edits are all shown in real time on your monitor or external video display. However, you need a high-end PC to really benefit.

Premiere 6.5’s new Title Designer feature takes care of the vast majority of titling needs. By selecting the Text tool from a floating palette, titles are added to a central text input area and the video background can be toggled on and off to preview the effect. Saved titles are then stored in the project window and dragged into the timeline.

Full DTP-level typographical styling is available, including pixel-level tracking and kerning. Nearly 100 extra fonts are bundled with the program — although not all are really suitable for titling purposes. Usefully, formatting attributes can be stored for future use, so you can build up an effective titling library of your own.

The Title Designer’s Tools palette also includes rudimentary drawing tools, among them a Bezier pen and a selection of basic geometric shapes that can be dragged over the titling window. Adobe Illustrator it isn’t, but it’s an easy method of spicing up an otherwise bland title track. Titles can crawl horizontally across the screen or roll vertically with adjustable speed settings.

Alongside a batch of still images suitable for backgrounds, Title Designer includes 170 titling templates, created for various environments, including business, nature and travel.

There is now support for DVD authoring in the shape of a new MPEG encoder. The encoder isn’t restricted to Mpeg-2, the format used by DVD discs, and it also encodes to Mpeg-1, suitable for Video CD authoring. Mpeg-2 files can be seamlessly exported into a bundled third-party DVD authoring application, Sonic’s DVDit LE.

Three DirectX plug-ins improve sound quality, which is a boon if you’re recording video using a built-in microphone that picks up extraneous audio or cancels noise automatically. The EQ adjuster lets you emphasise particular audio elements, while the Dynamics plug-in evens out peaks and troughs in sound during a recording.

Premiere 6.5 adds the ability to import audio and video in Windows Media format and a handful of extra After Effects filters. Further deal-sweetening includes an upgrade of the bundled SmartSound Quicktracks utility, which lets you produce royalty-free soundtracks, to add more than a dozen new source tracks.

Amid these changes, Premiere has resisted the temptation to tamper with the program’s interface. It’s still uniquely versatile: not only can you adjust and store your workspaces, you can also choose between timeline editing modes. Single-track editing, in which clips and transitions appear in a single video track, tends to be favoured by professionals, while A/B editing, which splits transitions and video tracks, is ideal for beginners.

In brief:Adobe Premiere 6.5
The addition of real-time software editing and a long-awaited titling feature make this a must-have upgrade.
Price: $1349; upgrade $329; education $439
Phone: 1800 550 305

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Tom Gorham

PC World
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