Adobe obviously wanted to make a statement with its CS3 range of products. Although the company has been focusing on its bundles for some years now, with the acquisition of old competitor Macromedia, Adobe gathered its forces and launched simultaneous revisions of virtually every product in its portfolio. One of the last bundles to see the light of day is Production Premium, aimed at video. Bringing together Premiere Pro, After Effects, and a host of other goodies, this is a huge video editing bundle, at a fittingly huge price.
Suite as a nut
Before we go into details of what’s new in the main Production Premium CS3 apps, a few words on changes in the bundle itself, as there are quite a few differences. For a start, where there used to be Standard and Premium versions of the Production suite, there is now only one. An upgrade from either of these will cost you around £668, while the full price version for PC will cost around £1,500. Your only other option is the Master Collection for around £2,200, which contains virtually every piece of software Adobe currently sells.
So CS3 Production Premium now stands alone, and contains an updated software bundle as well. Premiere Pro and After Effects remain the core apps, with the already reviewed Photoshop included as before, but in this case the CS3 Extended version. Illustrator CS3 is bundled too, as it was with the first Production Premium. New additions include the full Professional version of Flash CS3, plus OnLocation CS3 and Ultra CS3, of which more later. Soundbooth CS3 replaces Audition entirely, and the Encore disc authoring app is included, as with Premium before. So you get a huge amount for your money. Add the standalone costs for all those apps together and the total comes to a lot more than Adobe’s asking price – assuming you use enough of them on a regular basis, hence the full-fat value score.
Premiere Pro CS3
Although CS3 is officially the third iteration of Premiere Pro, this doesn’t feel like such a huge upgrade as version 2 was from 1.5. However, it is if you use Apple hardware, as this is the first version of Premiere Pro for the Mac OS since pre-Pro days. For PC users though, the interface looks almost identical to the last incarnation, and you have to dig fairly deep to find what’s new.
When you get to grips with it however, Premiere Pro CS3 does have some important new capabilities, some of which may seem trivial but will certainly aid workflow. For example, you can now open multiple instances of the Project window. This makes moving assets between bins much easier than the balance of ingenuity and dexterity required before when working with asset-laden projects.