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Now that Adobe is heavily locked into a strategy of suites rather than individual applications, most of the company's software gets a revision at the same time. So whilst much of the excitement has been about Photoshop CS4 and its alleged GPU acceleration, Adobe's video apps have new versions as well. This week we look at Adobe's workhorse video editor, Premiere Pro CS4.
As the oldest video editing app on the PC platform, Premiere has an illustrious history. The switch to Premiere Pro accompanied a complete change of the codebase, but the interface has simply evolved. So CS4 doesn't look significantly different from CS3, although it does have a couple of important innovations. The New Project dialog no longer sets an overall format, just your preferred capture configuration. This is because individual sequences within a project can now each have their own base format. This will come in handy if you shoot with a variety of disparate camcorders. You can edit each natively, then nest the sequences together.
But the most significant development ‘under the hood' is that, like Adobe Premiere Elements 7, AVCHD files are now supported. Whilst this is predominately a consumer format, Panasonic in particular has been backing it with professional models, such as the AG-HMC151, which we will be reviewing next week. Consumer models have also reached a level where they could well be called upon for occasional shoots. So Adobe has added AVCHD just in the nick of time.
The delay seems to have been worthwhile, though, as Adobe's implementation is very slick indeed. Editing is extremely fluid. Naturally, frame rates drop more rapidly than with HDV as you add effects and layers, but it's still the most responsive AVCHD editing we've experienced yet. This isn't the only new format support added, either. Premiere Pro can now edit footage from the Red One, Panasonic's P2 cards, and Sony's XDCAM EX and HD, which covers pretty much every professional tapeless format currently available.