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Adobe Premiere 2.0 Now Ready for Prime Time

Editing software includes new pro-level tools, bolstered underpinnings and enhanced collaboration By Charlie White

Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0Adobe is now shipping Premiere Pro 2.0 ($849, $199 upgrade), a powerful revision of the nonlinear editing software which adds features both under the hood and in the user interface. In an effort to make Premiere Pro a more professional tool, Adobe expanded its format support, added convenience features such as a new way of reviewing segments and included specialized new capabilities such as multicam support. It also sports a new native HDV implementation. It’s a big release, and it interacts well with Adobe’s other applications which make up its Production Studio ($1699, $1249 upgrade). Here’s a first look.

Adobe is playing to its strengths with this new release of Premiere Pro, making this editing package even more interactive with the other members of the Adobe Production Studio stable, most of which are also heavily revised in this major update. In addition to Premiere Pro 2.0, the Adobe Production Studio includes compositing powerhouse After Effects 7.0, audio editor Audition 2.0, DVD authoring application Encore 2.0 and the current versions of Photoshop CS2 and Illustrator CS2.

At first glance, you’ll see there’s a new order going on with this update to Premiere Pro. Gone from the box is that tired old horse, which has been sent to the glue factory and replaced with a shiny graphical representation of a stylized strip of film that looks like Lucite dominoes. Also replaced are the many other old icons of the Adobe Production Studio, such as the radio tower from After Effects. But that superficial difference is symbolic of what’s gone on under the hood of Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 and its brethren. Major improvements such as 10-bit video support and a highly sophisticated and completely-rewritten color correction engine with 32-bit processing at its core, show that there’s more than just new graphics on the box—there’s new power underneath, too. 

From the most basic standpoint, the user interface is improved. Perhaps the most striking difference is the ability to drag the various parts of the interface around and the others dynamically change along with it. For instance, drag the little grippers on the corner of the timeline and the project window and all the others move in concert with it to accommodate your wishes. You can also snap off a part of the interface and drag and drop it somewhere else within the arrangement, and rectangular outlines indicate where the object will land if you drop it. Adobe software engineers were trying to avoid what they humorously call “Palettosis,” where busy users would end up with various palettes and windows strewn all over the place on their screen. I think it’s a tremendous improvement. Best of all, parts of this new unified and dynamically-moving interface has been spread out all across Adobe’s Production Studio, especially After Effects 7.0. Then, there are all those tabbed parts of the interface which remind me of Photoshop, the feature that’s been with Premiere Pro for a while now where a whole new area of the interface is available with just a click of a tab. Bringing this all together are the new Workspaces, where users can choose from a variety of preset Workspaces which are perfectly tailored to the task at hand, such as color correction, audio editing, video editing, and effects, or if none are exactly what’s needed, users can save their own presets as well.

Here's a look at the new user interface in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, in its new darker default color (which you can lighten to your liking).

I’m also impressed with the rearrangement of the various effects, filters, and transitions within Premiere Pro. Now they’re arranged in a more logical way, where you can more easily find them. For instance, all the color correction filters are within one folder where they can all be easily accessed together. And, tucked inside that more-logical arrangement are addition filters, too, such as new lighting effects filters. Then, making all of these effects move along very quickly without much rendering is perhaps the most profound improvement for effects-meisters, the new GPU-accelerated rendering. You can also change the brightness of the interface, a welcome capability continued from versions 1.0 and 1.5. Is Premiere Pro’s new darker default interface (seen in the graphic above) too somber for you? Brighten it to your taste as you could with its predecessors, or now you have the ability to select a new toggle that uses whatever you’ve chosen as the default Windows background color.

The basic editing of Adobe Premiere, which has always been one of its strong points, has also been tweaked and enhanced. Although it’s not new, I still like way you tweak a transition on the timeline, where you can drag that transition icon on the video track and you automatically see an outgoing and incoming frame in the program window. That was already a nice way of doing that, but now Adobe’s added the ability to see the two shots’ time code superimposed over the two frames. That could come in handy in a lot of instances. Even better, now you can select to display either time code, or for filmsters, go with feet and frames for either 16mm or 35mm film. Speaking of film users, let’s not forget Premiere Pro’s ability to handle 24p footage without even breathing hard. Those who are doing digital intermediate and film work will also appreciate Premiere Pro’s new capability of sending 32-bit film-out.

I'm still a big fan of Premiere Pro's easy-to-use trim window.

Another great feature is the enhanced keyframe controls, which are getting more like those of Adobe After Effects with every revision. Here’s where you can control every nuance of your effects, and if you’re comfortable with After Effects, you’ll feel right at home in Premiere Pro, because these controls are almost an exact duplicate of each other, giving you precise command over every aspect of each effect. And now there are complete graphs and curves that show the results of your effects, and they are easy to use, too.

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Related Keywords:Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, nonlinear editing software, format support, convenience features, new capabilities, multicam support, native HDV, applications, Adobe Production Studio, After Effects 7, Encore, Audition 2.0, first look, Charlie White

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