Today, Adobe has announced new features for what has grown to become the most popular Non-Linear Editing (NLE) system, Premiere Pro CC. Improved native 4K support, the Master Clip Effect and Live Text are my favorite new features in the next major update, to be released in the coming months to Creative Cloud users.
Although Apple used to hold the number one spot in the NLE market with Final Cut, Adobe has now taken over this position with Premiere Pro CC. While some movies are still being cut on Final Cut Pro X, major broadcasters including the BBC and Viacom and independent filmmakers such as Philip Bloom, Shane Hurlbut and Vincent Laforet have all switched over. Today, it's safe to say that Premiere Pro CC (PPro) is the most popular NLE in the market.
In large part, that achievement is realized through the steady stream of updates. Adobe has kept its promise of releasing new features more frequently than its previous 18-month boxed version cycle. In fact, in 2013, Adobe released 4 major update cycles to the program, which attests to Adobe's commitment to be more responsive to its (paying) user community.
4K All the Way
The next version of Premiere Pro CC promises a host of new features, which will be showcased for the first time, this week at NAB in Las Vegas. As equipment manufacturers will undoubtedly scream 4K from every booth and corner at this trade show, Adobe is proud to announce improved support for higher resolution formats, natively:
- Ability to playback RED R3d raw 4K footage in full resolution without the need for a separate RED Rocket card, using a supported GPU. This is huge for those in professional cinema.
- Native support for the Black Magic Design Pocket Cinema Camera.
- Native support for GoPro 4K (not possible in CS6)
What I have appreciated for years on end, is that Premiere Pro CC accepts almost everything. No more fiddling with transcoding to specific native formats (ProRes, anyone?), just drag-n-drop stuff straight from your camera cards, artwork (PSD, PDF, Ai) or VFX (AEP) folders. Although proper preparation of files is always better, essentially, it always just works.
The little things (that matter)
Before we get down to the major new features, let's start off with the little things that make editing so much better in PPro:
- Performance improvements
Under the hood, Adobe has done a lot work resulting in faster loading of projects and far faster search for clips inside the Project Panel. Also, you can now specify favorite file locations in the Media Browser.
- Creative Cloud integration
In the next version, you can choose to have your latest auto-save of the project file uploaded to your Creative Cloud environment. Not sure how useful this feature is for Dropbox users (like I am), I guess it's better to be safe than sorry. Another CC integration feature may be more interesting: you can now integrate the Typekit fonts available on CC right inside the titler of PPro.
- Maintain folder structures upon import
Upon Import in the next version, PPro will honor any sub-folder structure. Although I like this feature for situations where I have created a specific folder structure on purpose (proper housekeeping is always good, especially when editing), this feature is of no use upon import of files directly from a camera that uses quirky file structures such as my C300 (C300 > Content > Clips001 > AA00001 etc, which the next version now shows as C300 > Clips001). I much prefer the way the current version collapses those folders, discards the XML goobly garb and just shows the clips. Let's just hope this is a bug and that Adobe will release the next version with an optional checkbox upon Import, allowing you to maintain or collapse file structures. It's all about choice, Adobe.
- Maintain audio pitch while shuttling
Among the little things, this is a biggie. If you're used to using the J-K-L keys to navigate through footage, the audio pitch would change as soon as you would hit the J or L key multiple times, leading to racey-spacey sounding (inaudible) footage. With a new user preference you can choose to have the audio pitch adjusted so you can still hear to what part of the interview you're navigating. Neat. Very neat indeed.
- Transparency grid in Source Monitor
In Print design, you start off with a white piece of paper; in video the canvas default is black. However, if you use black typefaces in a Title design or dynamically linked After Effects Composition, you would not be able to see this in the Source Monitor, even though it may render out fine on top of your footage. Now, thanks to the option to enable the Transparency Grid in the flyout menu in the Source Monitor, you can actually see them blacks.
- Track Select Left/Right I always compare the process of editing to solving puzzles. However, once you've created your masterpiece, the client usually ends up making changes that will require you to shift footage at any given point in the timeline. In previous versions you used to need several steps to select and drag all clips (zoom out > lasso all clips > zoom in > drag them to desired position). Thanks to the Track Select Left or Right function, selecting all clips to either end is made easy.
Although there are undoubtedly many new small feature improvements in the next version, the big ones are the following: Master Clip Effect, Live Text and Masking/tracking inside PPro.
Master Clip Effect
One of the previous updates of PPro included the ability to use Adjustment layers to which you could easily apply multiple effects over multiple clips. This came in very handy, especially for color grading. However, sometimes you want the ability to apply a certain effect to a specific clip which will then ripple throughout the edit on every instance of the clip. For instance, GoPro footage is known to have a bulge or fish-eye lens effect, which can be corrected in post. However, if you have several parts of a single clip appearing in your sequence, you used to need to apply such corrections to each individual instance. No more. Simply apply this to the master clips upon import and all your instances will be instantly corrected, thanks to the Master Clip Effect.
That is a huge time-saver.
Upon the next release, Adobe promises to release a set of GoPro presets that will correct the well-known fish-eye effect resulting from the lens on these little cameras.
Of course, the Master Clip Effect is not just for GoPro cameras - you can use this with most any effect available in Premiere Pro.
This probably is my favorite feature in the next update of Premiere Pro. One of the key advantages of using the video apps from Adobe always has been the tight integration between the motion graphics powerhouse After Effects (Ae) and Premiere Pro. Since the built-in Titler is limited especially in terms of animation, I tend to design my lower 3rds in After Effects and then dynamically link them inside Premiere. However, most sequences feature a number of people that each need their own name and function. This often required some very attentive work inside Ae where you needed to create a separate Composition for each individual lower 3rd. More so, you need to import each individual composition into Premiere Pro.
Thanks to the new Live Text feature, you can effectively separate design (done in After Effects) and content (editable text fields in Premiere Pro). Other than the ability to quickly generate multiple lower 3rds based on a single design from Ae, this also generates a huge smile on my face. I'm convinced Adobe just saved me a few years of my editing life, allowing me to focus on other things instead.
The way this feature works is that you create a composition with visual elements as well as certain text layers inside After Effects. Only those text layers that are left unlocked inside Ae will become editable inside PPro. This allows for the ability to lock certain elements of the design, while providing freedom (and speed) to the editor on other text elements. Design elements to these text layers, such as color font, size et cetera will remain only editable in Ae.
Masking and Tracking Inside Premiere Pro CC
Adobe smartly realises that integration is the name of the game. The dynamic linking capability between Ae and PPro has been around for years, but thanks to GPU-enabled performance and 64-bit technology, we are now benefiting from ever more tight integration. Not just between Ae and PPro, but also with other apps in the video department. For example, PreLude, Story or SpeedGrade. IMHO, Audition could easily become an audio editing powerhouse, if only they would fundamentally rethink and rework the program and enable a dynamic linking feature akin to the one between PPro and Ae.
Adobe is further harnessing the integration between PPro and Ae. In previous versions, they brought over the Warp Stabiliser from Ae right inside PPro, after which they further improved the effect inside After Effects with Warp Stabiliser VFX, for finer adjustment. Likewise, Adobe is now allowing the editor to directly create masks and subsequently track them, just like you would be able to do so in After Effects. Therefore, the next update of Premiere Pro will have a built-in tracker of its own. Akin to the Warp Stabiliser, you can easily copy over the masking and tracking data in After Effects for further tweaking.
Once again, Adobe has delivered on its promise of giving us editors more candy with the next release of Premiere Pro CC, as well as the other video apps. Once again, I believe Live Text is going to be a huge time saver for me personally.
To see more about these and other new features in Premiere Pro, watch the video below embedded from the Adobe TV site:
What do you think about these new features? Please let me know in the comments below.