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Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 - Extras, Improvements and Verdict

By James Morris

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

Summary

Our Score:

9

Adobe has been taking the suite approach for years now, and with CS5 this extends even further towards a selection of online services available via CS Live. These include the general CS Review, BrowserLab, Acrobat.com and SiteCatlayst NetAverages, and also the new Adobe Story screenwriting tool. This uses Adobe AIR and must be downloaded from the website prior to usage as it's not included on the installation discs. It can import files from Final Draft and Movie Magic, but also offers capable screenwriting facilities in its own right.

Adobe Story, available via the Live online services, integrates scripting with scene tagging in OnLocation

and dialogue recognition in Premiere Pro for more powerful clip organisation.

Most importantly, Adobe Story supports industry-standard tags, which can be imported into OnLocation for use when organising live video capture. The script is included as metadata as well, so each shot will have the associated dialogue included. This can then be used to enhance the accuracy of voice recognition, which was added in CS4 but didn't entirely impress. When it's working, this will provide the facility to search for a phrase as text and find the associated point in your video clips.

The final significant improvement is to the Media Encoder, which is faster at loading Premiere Pro and After Effects projects. It now displays information about source footage and output settings. The Automatic mode will match parameters for H.264 and MPEG-2 DVD and Blu-ray output from the TV Standard, Frame Rate, Field Order and Pixel Aspect ratio of the source, and set bit rate based on frame dimensions. The Interpret Footage option from Premiere Pro CS5 is also now available, allowing you to avoid interpolation by, for example, forcing PAL-region video to be interpreted as 24fps, or vice versa. You also no longer need to use the Media Encoder just to grab a frame of video, as there is now a button in the Source and Program preview windows allowing rapid bitmap exportation.

Verdict

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 is a huge leap forward. Give it a decent quad-core processor, plenty of RAM and one of Nvidia's supported graphics cards and the editing experience will be smoother than any PC platform yet. We've been using it to edit our video reviews for a few weeks and found it remarkably stable as well. It's a must-have upgrade for existing Premiere Pro users, with the necessity of relinquishing the 32-bit environment our only caveat. This may well be the version of Premiere Pro that lures a few die-hards away from the competition, too.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 10
  • Value 8
  • Features 10
  • Design 10

GherkingTR

August 9, 2010, 1:24 pm

Great review, thanks.





The improvements look great, but the graphics acceleration support is a bit disappointing! Even the old 7600GT nVidia cards support use as a GPGPU, it'd be a shame to not see video acceleration on the consumer-level kit, like the 9400m's in so many macbooks/mac minis.

James Morris

August 9, 2010, 1:48 pm

It is a little annoying, although there will allegedly be a wider range of supported cards as the software matures. I also tested on a system with a Quadro FX 1700 and that didn't supply hardware acceleration. I wonder if there's a feature on the newer GPUs which is required, or it could just be the age-old issue of driver/hardware qualification. With professionally-oriented applications, stability is more important than performance, so the range of hardware is limited to a small subset which there is time/budget to test thoroughly for accreditation.

GherkingTR

August 9, 2010, 2:42 pm

Thanks James, your last point makes a lot of sense.





I'm running PrPro CS4 on a 2009 Mac Mini at the moment, and AVCHD editing is smooth, even though the 'auto quality' playback preview gives a few artefacts. Not really an issue, as I'm editing interviews, not Top Gear! I'm interested to see if they brought this acceleration to After Effects too - are you planning any more Adobe reviews from CS5?

James Morris

August 9, 2010, 3:00 pm

The acceleration does apply to After Effects CS5 too, although you'd need a supercomputer to make After Effects play back many of its capabilities in real time! Maybe one day. We don't have a review planned at the moment, but if there is sufficient interest... The other video apps haven't seen much change for CS5.

colonelclaw

August 10, 2010, 7:29 pm

Hi James.


How does this latest version of Premiere compare to the two big hitters Avid and Final Cut Pro? Given the choice of a free copy of any of these three suites, which would you go for personally, and why?

McDermott Movies

August 11, 2010, 4:37 pm

I have been using Premiere for years and had actually become more and more frustrated with it. I stopped upgrading on CS3 as I lost confidence in Adobe. However, with CS5 I was impressed with the feature list and decided to give it one last chance. It has turned into a nightmare for me and I will never again cut a film on this program. Initially it appeared to work like a dream, but I have encountered glitch after glitch, with the helpdesk unable to offer any insightful advice to resolve my issues. The main problem has been with audio. I have been using the Panasonic SD700. CS5 coped with the video very well, top marks for this, but random glitches were heard in the audio that were not present on the source footage and which followed all the way through to output. I had to find a long winded work around that involved encoding all footage using Cineform. However, Premiere then presented another unexplainable problem - it would not inport any footage in Cineform codec over 4 minutes in length. I have since found another complex workaround for this. I am just about finished my latest film and will certainly never be returning to Premiere once again after this. There are more competent, reliable and professional software solutions out there.

James Morris

August 16, 2010, 6:37 pm

@colonelclaw I actually have free copies of Premiere Pro CS5, Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro, and the one I use regularly is Premiere Pro. However, this is in large part because I've been using Premiere since version 1.1. The latest version of Final Cut is excellent, and if I owned a decent Mac I'd be sorely tempted. I find Media Composer a little more difficult to get to grips with, but until the Mercury Playback Engine came along it was the most fluid PC editing app around in terms of scrubbing etc. The latest version of Media Composer also has similar video format compatibility to Premiere Pro CS5. With NVIDIA hardware, though, CS5 is the more fluid editing platform right now.





@McDermott Movies Sorry to hear about your problems. What video format did you shoot with the Panasonic SD700? Was it 50p? If so, this is a slightly unusual format, and not AVCHD. I do have some Panasonic 50p footage somewhere here I can try. But I've been editing all of TR's videos on CS5 for a couple of months now, and must say that it's the most stable, dependable Premiere Pro I've personally ever used. I'm mostly editing HDV footage.

Bob Dix Photographer

August 31, 2011, 2:50 am

Not equipped with Stabilizer is a big no, no. CS5.5 mercury engine in 64 bit on a i7 Quad Core 64 bit was sluggish compared with 32 bit Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 and to use a legacy driver for HDV/mpeg-2 should not be needed, sent it back as it did not perform as good as Premiere Pro 1.5.1 for HDV which is 4 years old, nor did i think timeline operations with H.264 mov clips was that exciting. I'll think about it when the bugs are taken out, it is too sluggish ?What about an Video Stabilizer instead of having to invest in After Effects ?

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