My First Adobe Premiere CS5.5 Experience – From a Final Cut Pro Refugee

New Media Musings by Bill Vincent

It’s been several weeks now since Apple released their new version of Final Cut for the masses. Having seen a demonstration of Premiere Pro CS5.5 in use at a recent video production conference, I was fairly impressed at what I saw. But as we know from even Apple’s NAB demo of Final Cut Pro X, demonstrations are not the real thing. However, seeing Apple’s demo of FCPX made me realize I didn’t want to go down the path of the iMovie-style interface, so even before Apple’s release of FCPX I was keeping a close eye on both the Premiere and Avid platforms. Why I am not a fan of Apple’s new interface design is personal preference more than anything else, but I have used iMovie enough to know that it’s not very appealing to me personally. Having it expanded upon in FCPX is not much of a consolation.

In the end I chose to go with Premiere over Avid for various reasons I won’t fully get into here – but suffice it to say that I really loved the integration features of Premiere with Adobe’s other products, already “professional standard” apps such as Photoshop and After Effects. I know that Avid is widely considered the only other “pro-level” video editing application for big film and video houses or studios besides Final Cut Pro 7 – but my gut was telling me that Premiere was/is poised to step up to the plate now that Apple has… ahem… “Chosen another market segment to focus on”, shall we say. Photoshop and After Effects have long been given pro-level status as great tools. Adobe Premiere’s team is listening to their customers and has made great leaps in giving professionals what they want in an edit system. I have seen many improvements since the late Nineties, when I last used Adobe Premiere on a PC before “going Mac”. I think Adobe is building a professional base that will grow significantly – especially with so many editors now looking for a new professional workflow.

So, I’ve hopefully expounded enough on why I chose Premiere for my needs. Now for the real question – how was it in a real world first project? Well, first of all, I realized very, very quickly that to run Premiere on a Mac takes a lot of horsepower. Right out of the box it’s a 64-bit application suite. So, it was off to the memory store to get beefed up. I originally had 14 GB of RAM, which was more than enough for Final Cut 7 – but Premiere seemed sluggish and not really happy with that. So, I added another 8 GB of RAM, which brought me up to a total of 20GB after losing a couple of Gig to memory card slot configuration. The increased memory did help some. However, throughout my project I found myself still having to stay in ¼ or ½ playback resolution, which is acceptable for general editing chores, but I found myself wanting full resolution at certain times and feeling frustrated I couldn’t get smooth playback without rendering even minor color correction tweaks. read more...

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