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Friday, August 27, 2010

Premiere Pro Anyone ?


A Long Time FCP Editor Goes with Adobe Premiere Pro

I am an early adopter. I started with Media100 back in the mid 90's around ver 2.6. I cut tape before that, and still did for a few years during the transition to total NLE based editing. When it seemed like Media100 was running out of gas, the company wasn't doing well, and I had a 3 camera project to edit, I switched for the first time. I used Premiere 5.0 to edit the job. It went well for the most part, and it got the job done. That opened my eyes.
I continued to work with Premiere, in DV mode for a while. I also got onto the FCP bandwagon around the same time at ver 2.0. When FCP 3 came out, I pretty much moved to it full time. It changed my work. With layers in the timeline, more effects, I changed the look of my work considerably, and I was getting it done faster and easier. 
Lets jump to today. I've continued to work with what is now Premiere Pro since it started. I've used it on a PC for cutting simpler projects and spots for a while. I can say I've had 10-15 layers going at once in some spots. I'll also say I've taken a few FCP projects, exported the audio and finished the sound in Prem Pro because of its near DAW-like audio handling. It edits audio down to the sample level, in case you didn't know. It filled a need to have a second editing system and the projects that got done there. 
With CS4, I started doing projects in it on my main Mac powered system. It worked just fine with client driven sessions. With CS5, MPE / CUDA powering full resolution, full frame rate effects on a bunch of layers, the direction was clear. I would open up FCP projects and watch them drop in resolution and frame rate, choking to play back 720p24 projects. Prem Pro on the same hardware was doing EOS h.264 1080p24 without a problem. Let me qualify the hardware, 8 core mac @ 2.8ghz, 12G of RAM, and a Quadro FX 4800 card. Very respectable hardware that should of let FCP fly, but it wasn't. 
The one thing that really sealed the deal was Prem Pro's RGB curves color correction. I can stack 2 or 3 of them onto a 1080p24 clip, use secondariness, and still be in full res full frame rate real time. Being able to see grading working in real time context of the edit was great. 
The second thing that killed FCP for me was simple, native format support. Prem Pro just eats anything you throw at it. Drag it in, hit play. There is  no format conversion required. The amount of time to process the clips, organize them, the disk space, made FCP just seem antiquated. With all the tapeless formats coming, native file support is critical if you want to get your work done efficiently. 
I don't think apple is standing still. Clearly they will have another release which might equal Prem Pro in its current state. Of course you can bet adobe isn't standing still either. The other A name NLE, Avid, is also coming around too with many things that Prem Pro has been doing. It should all be very interesting over the next year or two to see how this all shakes out.