You can also set up different views as tabs, for example having one bin viewed as icons, whilst another is pure text. Another useful feature is clip replacement, where you can swap a clip on the timeline for another in the bin, whilst maintaining all the original effects and editing settings. This is much quicker than having to save custom presets for every filter and effect you applied, and is great if you regularly reuse old projects with new footage.
There isn’t much in the way of new effects, though. The headline act is Time Remapping, where you can vary the playback speed dynamically throughout a clip, rather than simply having it play fast or slow. Avid Liquid and Canopus EDIUS 4 are already able to do this, but Adobe’s approach is pretty simple, using a similar keyframing and rubber band system as the existing opacity and audio volume controls. It can require a little dexterity to operate, but once you understand how the special keyframes work the system is not hard to understand and produces some pretty cool results, such as sudden freeze frames or high-speed sections in the middle of a clip.
Most of the rest of Premiere Pro CS3’s new features revolve around output – which is appropriate considering how rapidly this element of video production is changing at the moment. In particular, the Adobe Media Encoder now includes a host of new options, mostly revolving around the new support for MPEG-4 H.264, in all its guises. You can use the Adobe Media Encoder to create Blu-ray-compatible files in both MPEG-2 and H.264 formats, making Premiere Pro one of the few editing apps around currently able to support anything other than MPEG-2 for Blu-ray. There are now loads of presets for portable devices as well, including Windows Media options for the Zune, Creative ZEN Vision and Palm. The iPod, 3GPP mobile phones and Sony PSP are catered for by the new H.264 support.
Of course, Web video has been the big growth area over the last couple of years, and Premiere Pro CS3 is well equipped for this as well now. The Flash video encoder seems a lot faster than it was, particularly as it now misses out the intermediary stage of encoding to QuickTime first. The H.264 support we mentioned earlier also extends to creating video optimised for the big names in video sharing, including Google Video, MySpace, Yahoo!Video and, of course, YouTube.
Adobe has also streamlined the creation of Clip Notes by making them an option from the Export menu rather than hidden under Sequence menu. The Export to DVD option has also been replaced with a much more powerful Export to Encore, where you’re given the choice of a disc with or without menus. The wizard then loads up Encore automatically and either takes you straight to loading media and burning to disc, or lets you author your menus if you chose this option. Since Encore CS3 is even included with the standalone edition of Premiere Pro CS3, you now always get industrial-strength authoring bundled, as you have with Avid Liquid for many years. More on Encore later in this review