Premiere 6.0, by Adobe
Posted: 26-Mar-2002

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Adobe Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Jerry O'Neill Class: MULTIMEDIA

Reviewers previous experience with product: The reviewer has used Premiere 5.0 and 5.1 (and iMovie 1 and 2) to make amateur wedding videos.

Price: $549, $149 upgrade

Minimum requirements:

  • Power PC processor
  • Apple System software OS 9.0.4
  • 32 MB of available RAM (128 MB recommended)
  • 50 MB of available hard disk space required for installation
  • Apple QuickTime 4.1.2
  • Large-capacity hard disk or disk array
  • Netscape Communicator 4.0 or later, or Internet Explorer 4.0 or later

Additional requirements for DV:

  • Power PC processor (@ 300 MHz)
  • Apple FireWire 2.4 or later
  • QuickTime-compatible FireWire (IEEE 1394) interface
  • Large-capacity hard disk or disk array (capable of sustaining at least 5 MB/sec)

Additional requirement for third-party capture cards:

  • Adobe Premiere-certified capture card

Test system: iMac DV 400, 576MB RAM, Mac OS 9.0.4; Sony DCR-TRV7 Mini DV FireWire camera.

General Description
Adobe Premiere is a digital video editing application that allows users to import, edit, and create movies on a Power Macintosh, and save those movies to digital tape or the hard disk for use on optical disks and the Web.

Installation
Installation from CD went smoothly on my test system. Very straightforward, no problems.

Performance
Good overall performance on test system, interface responsiveness is noticeably quicker than Premiere 5.1.

Unlike its predecessor, Premiere 6.0 doesn't demand turning virtual memory off, and thus saves a trip to the memory control panel and the accompanying restart. Upon launching Premiere 6.0, the new Load Project Settings dialog box and available presets is a welcome surprise and clear improvement over the previous versions' configuration screen. Most users in the U.S. will likely choose the default preset: DV-NTSC Standard 32kHz. Online help automatically launches your Internet browser, providing a familiar way to access help quickly. Under Contents, help topics are organized logically and mimic the flow of work you will follow from importing and editing clips to applying effects and producing final video. An Acrobat pdf file containing the User Guide is found on the program CD. With version 6.0, Premiere now has excellent device support for capturing movies with DV cameras. For example, the DV options included many popular camera models, including my exact model: Sony DCR-TRV7. This in stark contrast to the generic (and quirky) DV import in Premiere 5.1.

I like the new features in the Project window, especially the ability to right- or control- click an object and insert it in the timeline, or change its properties. The Storybook is a wonderful new feature. Like iMovie's clip shelf, it allows you to import clips and still images and arrange them in any order, then move a selected few or the whole lot to the timeline with one click (using the Automate to Timeline command). You can indicate where to place the clips and specify a default transition to apply between the clips as well as the duration of the transition. In addition, you can now edit video and transitions in a single track, similar to iMovie. Amazingly, you can also print the storybook directly to tape (i.e., import and arrange clips and still images in the Storybook, and without even placing them on the Timeline, export them to video).

Premiere has so many ways to edit video, it is downright overwhelming to new or occasional users, especially those who cut their teeth on iMovie; but once assimilated, these powerful techniques will be sorely missed by those who go back to iMovie to work on even basic projects. Simple favorites include the Extract button in the Monitor window, which makes it easy to remove mistakes. Others include the Previous Edit and Add Default Transition (command-D). And these are the first-grade edits! You will have to devote much time in order to get a grasp of Premiere's power, to say nothing of the commitment required to master Premiere.
As with previous versions, you can adjust the volume and balance of audio tracks directly in the Timeline; but now you can also edit audio in real time with the new Audio Mixer.

If you had to say what about Premiere makes it so much more powerful than iMovie, it would be its ability to Superimpose and Composite video you can add up to 97 video tracks. This allows you to create special effects by making superimposed tracks transparent. For example, you can film a speaker in front of a blue screen, key out the blue, and superimpose the speaker over background clips. You can also create split screen effects this way. Another powerful feature is animation, which lets you move, rotate or zoom a video or still image clip. In addition, Premiere now includes 25 Adobe Effects filters.

It is simple to create complex titles in iMovie. In Premiere, not so. It's easy to create basic titles, but you're limited to rolling and crawling titles; thus, iMovie users may feel ripped off. However, you can create complex backgrounds for your titles, using parts of clips or images, gradient filled text, and graphics objects. Of course, you can create titles in iMovie, save them as QuickTime movies and import them to Premiere.

Although you can preview your work on a TV monitor connected to your FireWire DV camera, without the camera connected you must use the monitor window (you can increase its size) or the Print to Video command to see a full screen preview. Unfortunately, this last option produces shoddy-looking results. Interestingly, iMovie produces beautiful full screen previews at the click of a button. Export to tape worked flawlessly, creating beautifully rendered video with transitions for the test project, a combination slide show with titles, transitions, and video clips from DV and analog sources. I did not test export to QuickTime movie or the various Web options, but the previous version of Premiere worked well in the QuickTime movie test.

Although the requirements state that Premiere 6 supports analog capture cards, I have discovered that most of the capture cards that worked with Premiere 5.1 do not work with 6. Some third-party card manufactures may have developed new drivers for version 6.0 by now, so my advice to users with analog cards: check with your card manufacturer to ensure Premiere 6.0 drivers are available.

Premiere 6 comes with many built-in effects, both for audio and video. I was very impressed with the cross fade with audio, providing an easy and effective means to process audio tracks. Among the many video effects built into the effects control palette was one of my favorites, the motion effect. Using it was quite easy, and the results were very cool. There are also a variety of neat transition effects as well, such as spin away and page turning. The one drawback with Premiere's effects is the way it stole the processing power during rendering. In iMovie, the preview rendering occurred in the background, but with Premiere 6, the rendering always occurred in the foreground, disabling me from doing anything until it was complete. In addition, each time you delete or add a clip, Premiere automatically re-renders affected segments of the timeline, again making you wait before you can continue on to anything else.

Summary
Premiere 6.0 is a powerful, though complex, application for creating movies on a Macintosh. This impressive program is geared toward video professionals or hobbyists who are willing to make a commitment to learning how to tap its power and creative flexibility. If you're an occasional video hobbyist with relatively simple demands (you don't require compositing or advanced audio editing), you're better off sticking with iMovie since it is much simpler to learn and use, free with new systems, and still produces great results. If you're a bit more serious about your movies, are considering exploring more, or are a user of any previous version of Premiere (and either don't require analog capture card support or know that your capture card is supported by Premiere 6), then the performance and ease-of-use enhancements alone are reasons enough to upgrade to Premiere 6. Additional features such as increased DV support and new Web export options are the icing on the cake.

Pros

  • Amazing depth of features
  • Lots of flexibility in editing
  • DV device control
  • New Storyboard
  • Export for Web features
  • After Effects filters
  • Cross-platform compatibility with Windows


Cons

  • Steep learning curve to make use of all its power
  • Poor quality full screen previews
  • Few title options
  • Does not render in the background forcing undesirable wait periods
  • Requires a lot of "juice" (although Premiere will run on lower end systems, and its performance is enhanced over the previous version, you'll still want the most powerful Macintosh you can get your hands on)


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice