For the past several years, Adobe has been firing on all cylinders. As we all know, Apple’s release of Final Cut Pro X in 2011 has struggled in the pro marketplace, as hordes of editors switched to either Adobe CS or Avid Media Composer. And last year Adobe launched Creative Cloud, which has been a major success, with more than a half-million paid members and more than two million free members signing up for the service. If you’re not familiar with it, Creative Cloud is a membership service that lets users download and install Adobe’s desktop applications (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc.), video applications (Premiere Pro, After Effects, SpeedGrade, etc.) and even their Touch apps for tablets and mobile phones. It’s best to think of a Creative Cloud membership as an app store, but instead of buying individual apps, you have access to everything in the store that best serves your creative needs.
At this year’s MAX 2013 conference, Adobe announced that Premiere Pro was now number one in market share of all NLEs. But the big announcement at MAX was that instead of releasing a CS6.5 or 7, Adobe would be moving all of their software applications to their Creative Cloud and would only focus on the cloud from now on. The CS (Creative Suite) is now branded as CC and will be stored, synced and shared via the cloud, hosted by Amazon Web Services. For filmmakers, Adobe updated Premiere Pro, After Effects, SpeedGrade, Audition, Prelude and Story. It’s important to remember that your new apps are downloaded from the Creative Cloud directly on to your computer. Your video files won’t be hosted in the Creative Cloud (too large), and you won’t need a constant Internet connection to work on a project. And with these new CC apps for video, you’re going to need a 64-bit operating system to run them on.
Here are some of the new features of the video apps for Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
THE HUB: PREMIERE PRO
Premiere Pro CC is the hub of Adobe’s video apps, and it’s here where you’ll perform most of your work. Over the past few years, Adobe has made great strides with the program, and one of Premiere Pro’s best features is the ability to work natively with nearly any codec you throw at it, including files from RED, ARRI and Canon, and intermediate codecs like ProRes and DNxHD. For Premiere Pro CC, Adobe has added support to Sony’s new XAVC format, as well as Panasonic’s AVC-Intra 200. Although the UI hasn’t changed much from CS6, Premiere Pro CC adds a number of new features and tweaks to its timeline. These include Editing Finesse workflow enhancements like through edit indicators and clearer clip labels, a more advanced audio toolset, a quicker Mercury Playback Engine and a new closed-captioning workflow that editors will be able to learn quickly. One feature that previous versions of Premiere Pro was weak on was locating your files if they were renamed or moved. The new Link & Locate feature enables you to find your clips much more easily, making media management more efficient.
A recent trend that we’ve been seeing in NLE systems is the ability to primarily work within one program (i.e., Autodesk Smoke 2013) without having to constantly send files or sequences to other programs. Although there are several different programs with your Creative Cloud subscription, you can take advantage of features from many of these programs while still working within Premiere Pro. With the new Lumetri Deep Color Engine, you can use many SpeedGrade color-correction tools and incorporate looks that are located in Premiere Pro’s Effects panel. For me, using SpeedGrade Looks was similar to using Final Cut Pro’s drag-and-drop effects panel, which is a good thing.
Being a Creative Cloud member, you also have access to Adobe’s screenwriting/preproduction app, Story Plus. Incorporated into Premiere Pro is a new Story panel in which you can import a script, as well as metadata. From here, you can perform word searches and jump to specific scenes or lines of dialogue. This is a great feature for an offsite editor who never visits the set and is viewing the material cold.