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Premiere 6: The New DV-NLE Standard
by Jon Leland
Originally published in Videography Magazine, March, 2001

DV-based video editing is rapidly become the new non-linear standard on digital desktop systems. By replacing Motion JPEG boards with DV hardware both in cameras and in I/O ports like Firewire, iLink and the other forms of IEEE 1394, high quality video editing is now more accessible than ever. Now, Adobe Premiere, version 6 for both Mac and Windows, has extended the viability of this DV revolution, while also enhancing it with an outstanding new piece of professional video editing software.

Premiere 6.0At its core, certainly the biggest change in Adobe’s latest upgrade of its flagship video editing software application is the fact that it is now DV Native. There’s support for a impressive range of DV devices including cameras from all of the major manufacturers. And the input module is now also extended with a separate window for digitizing, logging and, as you might expect, batch capture. But, this is also a serious upgrade from the interface and functionality point of view as well. In fact, the only troublesome aspect I uncovered was the fact that you need to depend on your NTSC monitor for accurate sync monitoring during playback; but that’s inherent in most (if not all) DV-based editing systems because they usually have to depend on the camera or the playback deck’s hardware codec in order to facilitate full screen playback.

Workflow Enhancements
Extending the commitment of large software companies like Adobe and Macromedia to create a consistent look and feel across multiple applications, you could say that Premiere is now more fully “Adobecized.” Not only are familiar interface components — like floating palettes with tabs — more user friendly for Photoshop and After Effects users, but familiar features like the History palette, for non-sequential operation specific undos, also add functionality.

Premiere 6.0 Click to Buy Mac
Click to Buy Windows
In addition, there is new integration with other Adobe applications. Not only does Premiere 6 now import Photoshop documents directly without the extra step of conversion to PICT or another format, but once your Photoshop files are in use in your Premiere project, you may also choose to use the new Edit Original feature (assuming you’ve got enough RAM). This feature automatically re-opens the file in Photoshop, and once you’re finished editing it, of course, it is automatically updated in the Premiere project.

Extensible Interface
To my view, one of the nicest enhancements of Premiere 6 over some of the earlier versions are the interface enhancements. For example, Premiere pre-defines a series of screen/window layouts that it calls Workspaces. Each separate arrangement represents a different post-production mode. These include A/B Editing, Single-Track Editing, Audio, Effects and Custom. There is also a new Storyboard window.

These are useful because, for example, if you are mixing, you don’t need the Source monitor (assuming that you were previously using both the Source and Program monitor windows) and you do need the new Audio mixing window. But rather than this taking multiple steps to open and close various windows in order to create a new screen arrangement, you just select the Window pull-down menu and then Workspace, and then Audio. Presto, the whole screen is arranged automatically with only one Monitor window and the Audio mixer panel front and center. You can also customize a new screen arrangement just the way that you like it, and then save that under Custom so that you can jump back to your own screen arrangement at anytime.

I also liked the way that three-point editing commands (for L-cuts and J-cuts) can be facilitated from the monitor windows rather than only from the timeline. For example, if you need to split the audio and video in points because the camera was still moving at the beginning of an interview sound bite, it makes more sense to me to be able to control that right from the Source window, and Premiere 6 lets you do that.

Perhaps the most impressive example of Adobe leveraging synergy between Premiere and its other applications, especially for video professionals, is the new integration of 25 After Effects modules.

Adobe has also enhanced the process of trimming edits with two new software tools. In addition to what the manual calls Rolling and Ripple edits which enable inserts that do not or do effect the overall program length, Slide and Slip edits allow you to adjust the placement of clips being inserted in a program along either with or without effecting the program length, and these new operations are enhanced with immediate feedback via a special Slide and Slip preview windows.

After Effects Effects
Perhaps the most impressive example of Adobe leveraging synergy between Premiere and its other applications, especially for video professionals, is the new integration of 25 After Effects modules. Making special effects in Premiere is now a completely familiar process (from an interface point of view) for After Effects users, and Premiere now includes many of the most useful After Effects modules like Basic 3D, Transform (for pans and zooms) and Drop Shadow. One element of this implementation that is different than — and, in my view, superior to many other NLE software applications — is the fact that Premiere places its special effects key frames in the program timeline, rather than in a more isolated special effects interface. So, not only is the effects interface more familiar than in most editing software, but the interface with key frames is also more intuitive.

Another powerful new feature is the Automate to Timeline commands which give you to ability to add groups of clips to the Timeline in one simple operation. These time saving command may be executed from either the Storyboard window or with selected clips in the Project window, and includes a convenient dialog box which appears to allow you to automatically apply a transition between each and every clip.

Mixing It Up
Another major upgrade in this version of Premiere is the new Audio Mixer panel. Using an familiar interface like a traditional audio mixing board, the new Mixer allows you to adjust pan as well as gain during playback including software VU meters, and by utilizing the new Automation features to save your “live” mix.

The Titler is also updated, and I especially like the fact that there is no more saving the Title file and then importing it. Now, you can simply drag and drop your Title into timeline directly from Titler window. The PC version of Premiere 6 also ships with additional CG software, Inscriber TitleExpress or TitleDeko RT; however, because these are provided by Matrox and Pinnacle who make real time effects board for use with Premiere on the PC, they are not available on the Mac.

Save For The Web
Like many other NLE systems, including Avid’s, Premiere now also bundles and integrates Media 100’s Cleaner 5 EZ with a Save for Web command. This integration also includes the ability to place markers for streaming video chapters, web page URL links, or HTML frame targets in the timeline and to have them recognized during export. (For more on this type of “interactive streaming,” please download my free White Paper, “Interactive Streaming: The Creative Foundation of More Compelling, Competitive Web Sites” from

And, of course, there’s much more; but, perhaps more importantly, this valuable upgrade couldn’t come at a better time. With PC’s becoming more and more powerful, with IEEE 1394 input boards becoming cheap, available and easy to install (or already integrated as on the Mac and the Sony VAIO), DV cameras becoming higher and higher quality, and hard drives becoming larger and larger as well as radically less expensive, Premiere 6 fits in perfectly as a reasonably priced ($549., or upgrade $149.) professional NLE software application.

I am impressed and pleased to find every feature that I’ve found missing in earlier versions of Premiere or in other NLE applications. This fact, combined with the familiarity and integration with other Adobe products makes this an extremely powerful program. Furthermore, for anyone familiar with After Effects (and aren’t we all?), the integration of AE’s modules right within the Premiere’s interface is huge learning curve time-saver.

Bottom line, Premiere 6 is a solid performer, a well thought out application and a pleasure to behold. I look forward to taking advantage of this new tool by putting it to work. Thank you, Adobe.

Jon welcomes feedback and suggestions via e-mail at [email protected]


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