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first serious attempt to address growing competition from the likes
of Avid, Pinnacle and Sony came last year with Premiere Pro. To long-time
DV enthusiasts, this was the seventh incarnation of Premiere, but Adobe
considered the overhaul so significant that it not only renamed the
program Pro, but also reset the version number to 1.0. Premiere Pro
brought on-board many of the more professional features associated with
competitors such as Pinnacle Edition (possibly the program's biggest
threat, due to Pinnacle's highly aggressive marketing), and Apple's
Final Cut Pro (the light version of which, Final Cut Express, has surely
dealt Premiere a killer blow on the Mac platform). Interestingly, most
of these pro features were concerned with the program's interface and
workflow, rather than cutting tools or effects.
Despite being more businesslike in its approach than Premiere 6.5, Pro
1.0 left us disappointed. Most frustrating was the discovery that the
program required a very powerful host PC to deliver anything approaching
fluid performance. In our initial tests, V1 had bluntly refused to run
on a PC with an AMD Athlon Thunderbird processor (due to its lack of
SSE instruction sets), and staggered and lurched on a PC with a 2GHz
Pentium 4 CPU. We were eventually able to review it comfortably on a
3GHz P4 laptop, but even then, from time to time, we felt that Premiere
Pro was grumbling.
Indeed, while Adobe lists an 800MHz processor and 256MByte of RAM as
minimum requirements, it also makes a point of recommending a 3GHz P4
processor and 1GByte of RAM - these recommendations should be taken
seriously. This all seems rather perverse when Adobe is currently trying
to hold on to an existing user base in a market where DV and FireWire
are open standards, and most editors aren't tied to the software that
came with their capture boards. With that in mind, we'd have expected
Adobe to make the transition to Premiere Pro rather less painful - and
certainly not force the purchase of a brand new PC to support it.
Another grumble came from the fact that editing methods had been brought
more in line with competitors from Avid and Pinnacle, forcing existing
Premiere users to spend time re-learning the interface if they upgraded
- again likely to reduce the chances of keeping customers loyal. With
Premiere 1.5, none of our major gripes about V1 seem to have been addressed.
System requirements are still formidable, and none of the old working
methods (notably A/B roll editing) has been restored.
This isn't a full point update, so we can't expect any mind-blowing
additions to the toolkit, but Adobe has followed the current market
trend of adding High Definition support - import, edit and export of
HD content at resolutions of 480p, 720p and 1080i using supported third-party
hardware, plus capture of 24P progressive scan content from Panasonic
camcorders such as the AG-VX100E DV. These formats are yet to break
real ground in the UK, and we were unable to test V1.5 in this environment.
Bézier path curves for motion effects and keyframes are new,
too, and there's closer integration with Photoshop and After Effects.
The program offers CMX3600 EDL-import capability (earlier versions were
limited to export only) along with in/out support for AAF (Advanced
Authoring Format) - the multimedia file format that simplifies the exchange
of digital media (with metadata) across platforms and between systems
Premiere Pro 1.5's system requirements are hefty, and this paired
with the learning curve when moving from V6.5 to Pro won't do much to
encourage users of V6.5 or earlier to upgrade. Project management tools
are useful, and Bézier curves in the motion editor are nice,
but High Definition support isn't likely to have a huge impact on the
UK market for some time yet. Overall, Pro 1.5 is a relatively minor
upgrade, so some V1 users will choose to wait for V2 before upgrading.
But, Pro 1.5 does its job well, and our intensive usage across three
big projects resulted in no tantrums and no crashes. So, possibly, the
real appeal of Premiere Pro 1.5 to existing Pro users might be increased
stability and a relatively bug-free environment.
There's no denying that Premiere Pro is a very able editor, though we
don't find it as tactile and friendly as Edition, or regard its advanced
audio tools as anything like as accessible or intuitive as Vegas's.
On the whole, V1.5 moves Premiere Pro in the right direction, but without
undoing some of the backward steps taken by the original version.
Reviewed in this issue:
Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5
Adobe Encore DVD 1.5
Adobe After Effects 6.5
Canon Bubble Jet i865
ProDAD Adorage Magic
In Ocotber's news:
Affordable ArcSoft editing and authoring
Canon XL camcorder - MkIII
NEC and Pioneer 16x DVD writers
Curtain lifted slightly on 3D Edit
1,600GByte Raid storage
Remote control DVD burning
Canopus Mac/Win analogue<>digital converter
Hauppauge enhances network playback
ProLogic II Encoder for Mac
Take it to the max 7
Canopus Edius HDV support
Reflecmedia chromakey plug-in