CS3 Production Premium Package
By Kyle Doris
To video professionals, words like "export" and "render" can initiate an overwhelming sense of dread, produce many gray hairs, and almost always leads to excessive caffeine consumption. And what can be worse than watching that progress-bar crawl from left to right at a snails pace? Sometimes I stare and wonder if it's actually moving at all! And imagine being able to work seamlessly between your NLE motion graphics software, and DVD authoring suite with almost no exporting necessary, now that would be progress.
The good news is it's here in the form of Adobe's new CS3 Production Premium (available late June, $1698.95) package using DynamicLink. Complete with new versions of Premiere Pro (available late June, $798.95), After Effects (available late June, $998.95), Illustrator ($598.95) and Photoshop ($648.95), along with the addition of both Flash and Soundbooth), the package covers almost every aspect of video production. And there's extra good news for all you Mac-heads out there: the suite is heading back to OS X.
Premiere Pro CS3 is a substantial leap forward from previous versions, streamlining the post-production process starting with the initial edit, and carrying through all the way to delivery. Adobe hasn't stopped there. They've also included some production enhancement goodies, such as a new sophisticated time remapping tool and complete integration with programs such as Photoshop.
A notable difference from previous versions of Premiere Pro is the integration of Adobe's DVD authoring software, Encore, which now comes bundled exclusively with the application. When in Premiere Pro, simply choose the “Export to Encore" function and the program will automatically encode the selected project. When the process is complete, the finished movie will be imported directly into Encore, chapter markers and all! If high definition is more your style, Encore CS3 also supports burning content to Blu-ray Disc.
On the subject of production, Windows users can take advantage of Adobe OnLocation, previously known as SeriousMagic's DV Rack. OnLocation essentially turns a computer display into a professional-grade field monitor. OnLocation is especially useful for cinematographers shooting high definition formats. Anyone who has used a prosumer HD camcorder knows how hard it is to verify focus using those onboard 2" LCDs; it's nearly impossible!
OnLocation is a convenient alternative to the expensive and hassle of hauling around bulky field monitors by allowing you to use your laptop on location for editing and viewing purposes. Other OnLocation features include direct-to-disc recording and pre-record buffering. Windows users will also be able to take advantage of Serious Magic's vector keying application Ultra, which is included as well.
Soundbooth, being new to the suite, is ideal for those video professionals looking to make precise audio adjustments, but are not necessarily as sound savvy as others. While working in Premiere Pro, users can automatically export a clip directly to Soundbooth and make a wide variety of changes. Changes might include scrubbing audio to eliminate unwanted noise or tweaking amplitude and pitch.
After Effects has been the cornerstone of professional motion graphics for many years. The program has been revamped to increase performance across the board. Not only is it now supported natively on Apple's Intel-based machines, it also takes advantage of dual-processors and multi-core equipped machines. New features include innovative tools such as shape layering, puppet, and brainstorm as well as the Clip Notes tool previously only incorporated into Premiere Pro. Clip Notes is great for small business that require direct feedback from their clients. It's one of those nifty things you simply need to try to believe; it's really cool.
Shape layering lets people quickly define and produce vector based shapes that can be manipulated in a variety of ways with just a touch of a button. This can save time by lessening the need to use a program like Illustrator to produce simple motion graphics.
The new Puppet tool can turn almost any 2D image or text field into a dynamic animated layer. By creating “joints" within the image, users can reshape, extend, squish and rotate objects, making incredibly life-like character animations in the fraction of time previously experienced though more complicated methods.
The Brainstorm function makes experimentation far easier than previously thought possible. Traditionally one would tweak attributes one by one, experimenting on a variable-to-variable basis. With Brainstorm, users are given a grid of 9 pre-determined possibilities. When one is selected, the grid can reconstitute itself, while keeping selected versions on the grid. This process makes exploring different avenues, otherwise missed, extremely easy and fun. It's truly a whole new way of working.
The suite has even extended its scope to mobile devices, courtesy of Adobe's new mini-application, Device Central. Device Central lets users preview, test, and navigate their Mobile Flash content with templates for a variety of mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs.
Macintosh users will need to have one of the new Intel-based processors to take full advantage of the package. This shouldn't be a huge issue, since the performance increase for Mactel hardware really is necessary to harness the full potential of the suite. Keep in mind, both OnLocation and Ultra will only run under Windows based systems (OnLocation can be used under Bootcamp if needed.)
Windows users will need a 1.4 GHz processor running either Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista for standard definition, while HDV will need 3.4 GHz or higher. They also recommend having 1GB of RAM regardless of platform. For those planning on going high def, expect to need 2GB or more. Adobe's Production Premium CS3 package is expected to hit shelves in the 3rd of 2007 and looks to be quite the powerhouse.
Note: Please be aware that customers who purchase an earlier version of Adobe Production Studio Premium, After Effects 7.0 Professional and Premiere Pro 2.0 between May 27th and August 28th, 2007 will receive a complimentary upgrade to the new CS3 version of these products when they ship. (Currently slated for July 2007).
For upgrade information, please call Adobe’s Customer Service Center at 1800-833-6687.