So as part of the trying a DELL to replace a MacPro experiment, I was also testing out the Windows version of Premiere Pro CS6 for about 6-7 weeks.
Originally being from AVID then switching to Final Cut Pro almost exclusively for years, I am obviously now looking for a way to replace what was great about Final Cut Pro as a tool that satisfied so much of my work with something else now that Apple killed that version/flavor of it.
Enter Premiere CS6
There’s lots of tech talk about Mercury Playback Engine and newest Premiere features out there to read this week but I just wanted to focus on stuff I like that won’t get mentioned as much.
Stuff I like:
1. A Viewer Window. It’s been a staple of editing (even before non-linear) and Apple made it go away. I constantly use it to matchframe back and view source timecode of a clip very easily. It’s still in Premiere 6 and that’s a feature I’m looking for.
2. Merge Clip: Merge clip is way better than FCP’s. For double system workflows and you want to sync the good picture with the good audio (and lose the scratch audio as well) Merging clips works great. An annoying bit with FCP was that if your audio is way longer than the picture you were syncing to and even if you trimmed it to fit the picture side it still remained when you loaded the clip into the viewer as handles. FCP marked the picture in and outs but you could have minutes of audio head and tails in there. Ugh.
Premiere’s MERGE CLIP is great. You can merge from the slate marker on both, set an IN and OUT and MERGE them without even using the timeline. A checkbox can remove the scratch audio as well. Nice. The MERGE instantly appears in your bin as well and you can rename before and after as well. The extra audio is still there if you want to extend it out in the timeline - just hidden when you match from it unlike FCP7. Nice!
3. Duplicate Clip In Timeline: You can now duplicate and move the duplicate clip in the timeline with a keyboard shortcut and mouse move. You now just hold ALT/OPTION and drag copy into place. See my previous FCP workflow video for why I like this. Find In Timeline sadly isn’t in this release though :-(
4. Colored Clips in Timeline. Always wanted this in FCP. You can colorize STOCK FOOTAGE for instance and at a glance see that you’ve used in the timeline. Colorize Audio too and choose a particular stock audio library to color for easy detection later. Lots of uses. Colors the WHOLE CLIP not like FCP used to do with only the text portion.
5. Multi-cam: I didn’t get to use this yet but works with footage of different frame rates (and sizes I believe) now. Computer determines how many cameras you do and it can be quite a few. For The Last Play At Shea, FCP6 was all I could use to cut concert footage proxies at 29.97 into 23.98 timelines with more than 20 camera angles to deal with. (PS: the trailer they made for LPAS is awful btw)
6. Dynamic Trimming: Been the AVID “thing” for years and even FCP didn’t quite get it right. I am not Dynamic Trimming user - probably because I didn’t like the FCP feature - but it is in the new Premiere and it works great. I will be using it much more now. The trimming features are powerful and intimidating at first. Through a little shortcut mapping you can do AVID style tops and tails editing as well. I am a big E key (extend edit) guy in FCP and you can do it the same in Premiere. Entering Trim has lots of ways and that may rock you at first. I liked the simplicity of FCP in this way and Premiere is similar but with more (and stronger) possibilities.
7. Marker Sections: In the companion app, PRELUDE, you can create markers that don’t just mark the frame of interest but the entire span of say and interview or soundbyte. That Marker now transfers to Premiere so it’s “like” Favorites in FCPX but I prefer it much more because it retains the master clip and only puts a colored marker over the section of interest instead of a whole separate clip also. It only can be done inside Prelude though and that’s a bit of a bummer for they way I work but I expect this feature inside the Premiere app itself in an update.
8. Bins: Simply, bins still feel like bins. I can file and drag stuff in and out like FCP7. Smart collections are cool in FCPX but for now I still think the original methodology works for larger projects. Create a bin and put stuff in yourself.
9. Effects Tab: Effects tab got a little placement makeover so when you open a clip in the viewer you can jump to effects much easier than before. It’s still a lot like AE with twirl down triangles.
10. Interface: The new interface is simple and can be as complicated as you want it. It’s very customizable like After Effects. If you are a FCP user you will feel at home with the way Premiere’s default interface works. Very FCP friendly.
I was never a “customize the FCP interface guy” but I feel I will be doing this more using Premiere.
11. Hovering: I always wanted Apple’s Quicklook implemented in FCP7. You’d have to load into viewer to look or play a clip. Now in Premiere you can choose to view as storyboards and hover thru a clip and basically QUICKLOOK what it is in the clip. Even better you can add IN and OUT marks and add to the timeline right away if you’d like. Nice! It’s gonna be the “skimmer” of Premiere but it’s implemented more the way I like and not as a replacement to the VIEWER window. It’s not quite the Quicklook I would have wanted for FCP8 while browser viewing in text mode, but I will use it similarly.
12: VIDEO or AUDIO INSERT ONLY: It’s simple but I like this. You have clip loaded in the viewer. You set and IN and OUT but you only want the AUDIO. Premiere has 2 little icons to choose that when you drag the AUDIO icon (or VIDEO icon) from the viewer to the timeline - Just the audio (or video) moves. Simple and welcome for me.
13. Audio Track Makeover: The whole STEREO and MONO tracks choices became much more like FCP now. Less complicated than it was in 5.5.
14. Warp Stabilizer and Rolling Shutter Removal: Both feel way more powerful than what’s in FCPX although not a ton of testing on this one was done. I felt the Rolling Shutter warped the image effectively more so than a tilt / zoom in rolling shutter fix of others. Need to really test this out more though.
(AFTER I POSTED THIS I ADDED THESE)
15. Grouping: Group a collection of clips together and they move together. Like the opening of weekly show or the staple edited elements you use over and over again. It’s like a cooler version of “nesting” and a more appropriate “connected clips” for pros.
16. Track Names: You can “name” the tracks (V1, V2, A1, A2 etc) in the timeline - BOTH Video and Audio. Call them what they are like Narration for instance… Foley etc. Couldn’t do that in FCP. This I will use.
17. Adjustment Layers: Thought this was cool in After Effects and now it’s in Premiere. Effect and Affect all video tracks under the adjustment layer with a Black and White effect for instance without having to add the effect to each clip by clip.
18. Interpret footage: This used to be a Cinema Tools thing in FCP. Conforming 60fps footage to 23.98 for instance. In Premiere you can now interpret/conform clip to a framerate, pixel aspect ratio etc inside the app itself. Even make a clip non standard 18fps for instance… and simply too. *It can remove smart pull down on the fly as well!!!
I am really searching for a replacement tool for the work I did with FCP7 and Premiere has now become the standout choice.
The other day, I returned to FCP7 and found myself missing things from Premiere. Most notably, real time playback of whatever you throw at it. It is amazing.
With all the wonderful parts there are some groans as well.
Next time, I’ll compile a list of wants and needs for Premiere, but if you are a Final Cut Pro show producer and you need to look at the future, you’re going to be looking at this release of Premiere. It’s amost 75-80% the Final Cut Pro 8 we were waiting mostly because of some missing things from this release - but then also sometimes it’s a step forward from FCP8 in many ways that Apple didn’t see in it’s pro market future… and that’s what started all this in the first place.
It’s going to be tough. I could do everything I needed in one app, FCP7, and right now duplicating my workflows still require more than one NLE to do so, but Premiere is the closest.
Now if we can just get plugin developers on board we can get this party cutting…
[NOTE: I unfortunately didn’t get to install a third party card (Decklink) or any additional hard drives. It shipped with a partitioned 1 TB internal drive and a 250gig SSD boot drive. So, not a lot of drive space for RED footage.
This Dell system contained 2 NVIDA Quadro 2000 cards (not the much better 4000 model and the second card was to be a Tesla 2075 card but for some reason Dell didn’t include it for testing as planned) and 24 gigs of RAM.]