Having been in the market for new video editing software this year, I was waiting to see what Apple would bring to the table with their upgrade from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X. I was also one of the many with high expectations and was ready to purchase. But with all the latest negative feedback from professional video editors (and rightly so), I figured it’s time to look elsewhere.
While I’m far from a “fulltime” video editor, I’ve worked with both Adobe and Apple editing software the past several years and have come full circle back to Adobe Premier Pro. I’m all for pushing the envelope in creativity, developing new rigorous software that not only performs but can be upgraded as technology changes. I admire those that spend hours behind a computer screen coding, but for any software system to work, it has to have a basic strong foundation to build upon, not a substructure of something that might be. It appears Apple wanted to use their current customer market popularity as beta software testers with their Final Cut Pro X release; a common practice which often occurs in the software development industry.
But I, like many, don’t have the time. I haven’t written Apple off totally. They are a resilient creative company as their track record shows. They can afford to lose part of the video editing market share and focus on a growing population of YouTube consumer editors but I’d rather put my money back in a company that will offer continued support and development in a product that is time proven and versatile. Perhaps in a couple years I might return to Apple’s video editing software. After all, in the end, content is more important than what camera or editing software one uses. Its just that having the right tools often means better quality, and as technology changes, having an editing software that accepts the old technology along with the new allows for greater editing diversity with the needed ability to edit in different camera codecs, and formats. With a little time, practice and persistence, it doesn’t take much to learn the basics of editing in Premier Pro CS5.5.
Here’s a few highlights of common editing features along with a few things I would like to see changed in the next upgrade of Adobe Premier Pro CS5.5. These are edit controls I’ve picked that I thought stood out to make your work flow a little smoother.
One thing I appreciate in CS5.5 is the Media Browser window. Instead of always going back to File > Import to ingest your video clips in your project, CS5.5 makes it much easier to preview and select the clip you want. You can import your clip into both your time line and project with one key stroke or mouse movement.
Find the selected clip in the Media Browser Window, double click or Right Click on clip > Open in Source Monitor, mark your in and out points, drag your clip into your timeline. Another option is after you select your in and out points, use the default keyboard short cuts for insert ( . ) or overwrite ( , ) and the clip will appear at your red NLE line.
Back in the timeline it’s easy to add an effect to a series of clips. For this example I’ve used the Effects > Color > Fast Color Correct. Drag and highlight with the pointer the selected clips in the timeline. Drag the Fast Color Correct and drop it on the clips. Side click to un-highlight then select the clip you want to CC on. Open the Effects Controls tab in your source monitor window and the effect will appear below.
Use the same process for adding the Sharpen Effect or Brightness/Contrast. Add both at once by highlighting using the Apple Command Key or Windows Control Key.
If you do a lot of internet uploading or if you just want to grab a frame from your video, it’s not that hard to follow but could be improved upon in CS5. Select the timeline sequence. Go to FILE > Export > Media as you normally would after editing your video. In the Export Settings under Format select JPEG, Preset > Custom, Output Name > (select name and location to save). Set quality at 100 and the width and height parameters as needed. Select export and a JPG will appear at the file location selected.
Update: 03-2012 On the right side below your source monitor window there is a small icon of a camera. Use this instead of the above method. Click on the camera and choose which file type. I usually use JPEG or TIFF and save it on your desktop or in a project file. Import it back into Premiere like you would do with a video file and insert it into your timeline. This workflow for grabbing a frame is much easier and faster.
While I was impressed with the speed of the Mercury Playback Engine and how well it played unrendered footage, I found that after rendering the footage, the red NLE indicator always jumped back to the beginning of the timeline and started playing the video clip over again instead of continuing where I was working at. This may be an oversight on my part in a setting, but I found this annoying and could be improved upon.
Very helpful in speeding up your editing process are the keyboard shortcuts. Premiere Pro CS5.5 has made them easy to customize to your preferred setting. Go to > Premiere Pro in the upper left hand corner and in the drop down window, > Keyboard Shortcuts.
There are a couple of key ways to access the different scopes for editing in CS5.5. The quickest and easiest is to use the small graphic three color wheel at the bottom right hand corner of your monitor windows to access the scope menus. Most commonly used scopes is the Vectorscope for color correction and the the YC Waveform. Both are used to make sure your footage lies between the NTSC acceptable broadcast standards. While I won’t go into detail here about how to use vectorscopes, I’ve added links to other tutorials that go into further detail about what I’ve found to be some of the most commonly used edits in Premier Pro CS5.5.
Adobe TV has a list of available tutorials to follow. A link to: Exporting A Still Frame: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-premiere-pro-cs5/gs05-exporting-a-still-frame/
Creative Cow is an informative site for film and video. This excellent video by Andrew Devis simplifies the use of the vectorscope. http://library.creativecow.net/articles/devis_andrew/Premiere-Pro-Vectorscope/video-tutorial