Five Alive: The Brave New World of Adobe Production Premium CS5

Event DV by Jan Ozer

If I were to take a long-term view of the successive Creative Suite (CS) releases from San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe Systems, I would equate them to a product created a bit further north in Napa Valley. As you may recall, for most Windows-based users, CS3 was a bit thin—Mac compatibility was the most prominent new feature. At some point, seemingly late in the game, it felt like Adobe measured the value of CS3 for Windows users, decided it was weak, and bought Serious Magic so it could throw OnLocation (then DV Rack) into the suite.

In contrast, CS4 was very robust and full-bodied. Not only did Adobe deliver AVCHD support, it also extended Dynamic Link from Premiere Pro to Encore, so you didn’t have to render between editing and authoring, which was a huge timesaver. Adobe also debuted Adobe Media Encoder, a competent and easy-to-use batch encoding utility. Throw in lots of smaller but highly useful improvements—such as multiple sequences with different parameters in Premiere Pro, one-to-many edits in Premiere Pro (i.e., the ability to apply one filter to multiple clips simultaneously), multitrack capability in Soundbooth, a new interface for OnLocation, and many others—and you had a true vintage release.

Where does CS5 sit in this continuum of good years and relatively inconsequential ones? As I sit here playing with one of the late-stage betas, the story has yet to be completely written because the final performance numbers are not in. At a high level, however, CS5 has two main focuses: performance—specifically the Mercury Engine and GPU acceleration—and script-to-screen metadata workflow. Since performance affects all producers, let’s start there. Just to let you know, I focused my attention on Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder (and, to a lesser extent, Encore) since these are the apps that I use and know the most. If you’re looking for extensive information about Photoshop, After Effects, Flash, or any other CS5 component, you’ll have to look elsewhere unfortunately.

PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENTS
As you may have heard, several programs within CS5 (but not all programs) are now 64-bit applications that only run on 64-bit systems. read more...

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