Improvements in Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere continues to dominate the video editing market, particularly in the enthusiast to semi-professional arena. In this column we take a look at a couple of the exciting new features to be found in Premiere Pro.

Workflow changes

Premiere Pro is a significant change from the previous version, providing the user with new professional effects, stronger audio and colour tools, and more control over the workspace.

Many of the menus, buttons and icons have been altered to more closely resemble other Adobe applications such as After Effects or Photoshop, and editing improvements bring Premiere Pro more in line with professional editing applications such as Apple Final Cut Pro 4 and Avid Xpress DV.

The ability to work with multiple sequences within a timeline window should please anyone working on a variety of footage within a project. This nesting feature has been available on high-end video editing packages for a while, and will save you time when it comes to trimming video or adding an effect.

Transitions can now be applied to any video track, with the ability to add transitions onto overlapping clips. The ripple delete feature, where a clip automatically takes up the slack following a change in the timeline, will please anyone who likes to experiment. You can select and trim multiple clips at once or cut and paste groups of clips to a timeline, knowing that Premiere Pro will now automatically integrate the changes into the project timeline.

Colour correction has always been an area in which Premiere has lagged behind applications such as Apple Final Cut Pro 4 and Sonic Foundry’s Vegas 4, so three-point colour correction is an important new feature in Premiere Pro. Select a clip and adjust the hue, saturation and brightness for highlights, midtones and shadows, or replace a colour throughout a clip.

Audio improvements

Audio is an area where, in the past, Adobe’s product has not performed strongly when compared to com­peting programs such as Sonic Foundry Vegas and Ulead MediaStudio Pro.

New functionality has been added to the audio tools introduced in Premiere 6.5, and effects can now be added at the track level, as well as to individual clips. This method is more elegant than applying effects to a large number of clips in a track. You still need to conform to Premiere’s workflow design; for example, all imported audio references are automatically converted to ‘conforming’ audio files, although this conversion would have to take place before exporting to the final project in any case.

Premiere Pro has added Voice Over capabilities, a great feature for anyone producing a documentary or family video. You can now talk directly over a video track and a separate audio track will be laid down in real time.

Control and preview in audio has been improved dramatically, with the ability to adjust audio effect parameters and quickly preview the results. In previous versions, audio effects would preview the first eight seconds of a clip while making adjustments. Premiere Pro will allow for all or part (loop) of the clip or track to play while making adjustments. If ‘toggle animation’ is turned on, keyframes will be created with each parameter and time change.

The ability to get down to sub frame level is an exciting aspect when working with audio, as you can now work on a minute level with any inconsistent audio aspects that you want to change. In the past, the limit would have been one-thirtieth of a second (or one frame). Premiere Pro forces all of your audio in a project to work as 32-bit ‘conformed’ audio files. This means that Premiere is uncompressing your audio into working files that can be edited to a much greater degree than previously possible.

Easier DVD creation

Another strong feature in Premiere Pro is its added functionality when working with video for DVD creation. Unlike Premiere 6.5, you can now encode to MPEG-2 and burn from the timeline with chapter markers, saving a lot of time when working on simple projects. DVDs burned directly by this method are set for auto-play upon insertion into a DVD player. Although you may want to tweak the menus and audio for larger projects, the ‘export to DVD’ function is a perfect way to look at a work in progress.