By CHONG JINN XIUNGbytz@thestar.com.my
If you are looking for a rich set of tools for editing videos, the Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium suite has it all.
The Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium suite is a massive collection of applications and it's next to impossible to review them all.
Many of the applications included in the suite are targeted towards professionals and this time the most recognisable software in the suite, Photoshop, hasn't been updated.
Also, video recording is really starting to pick up, so we decided to check out Premier Pro, the video editing application in the suite.
Premiere boasts an upgraded Mercury Playback engine that now supports GPU accelerated filters and effects as well as near real-time video playback regardless of the video format and resolution used.
The improved engine now supports a wider variety of graphic cards in the market but it's still only limited to nVidia's Cuda-enabled ones. The full list of supported cards can be found at adobe.ly/eQyiP8.
The 64-bit engine is supposed to be able to open projects faster and handle complex effects and long format footages effectively. Unfortunately, we didn't have a PC or Mac with a compatible nVidia graphics card to appreciate the GPU at work.
If your computer is having trouble playing back footage in real-time, the engine offers the option to adjust the resolution to half or quarter of the original to lower the load on your machine.
It also offers the ability to combine different video formats - in their native format no less - which saves the hassle of having to re-encode footages before being able to edit them.
Adobe has kept the software up to date with native support for the latest formats used by tapeless and DSLR cameras like RED R3D, AVCHD, Canon X and JVC ProHD.
One of the more notable improvements made to Premier is the addition of Warp Stabiliser which greatly reduces camera shake in recordings.
Not only does it smooth out shaky camera work but it also compensates for rolling shutter effect from progressively scanned CMOS sensors.
However, the trade off is the slight loss in resolution and a longer processing time. Having said that, the results are nonetheless impressive.
With the advent of DSLRs, more filmmakers have opted to record sound separately on a portable recorder.
The Merged Clips command addresses the problem of working with separate audio and video clips. This feature allows users to better manage multiple video and audio clips. It can even synchronise up to 16 audio clips with a single video recording.
You can also refine the audio clip by using in and out points, time code or numbered markers as sync points. Merge Clips is also smart enough to prevent audio from going out of sync as you refine your editing.
It's amazing how easy it's to move assets between Premier and other products within the suite such as After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and Audition.
There's also tight integration with Story, an online service for creating scripts or outlines for video projects and streamlining video production workflow.
The tool helps greatly in organising scripts and editing based on text cues set up in Story that are imported into Premier.
This means that words or phrases in dialogues are searchable, and you can see the words even as you scrub through the timeline.
You can also export sound clips into Adobe Audition which is a better tool for fixing and editing audio, and later transfer them back to Premier. Sending audio clips between the two applications is a simple and seamless process.
Even though it's only a 0.5 update release, Premier Pro has a host of new and handy features.
The improved Mercury Playback engine makes video editing smoother for computers with supported video cards. For those with older machines, the software can lower resolution to make the video play smootly.
The program also plays nice with other Adobe products like After Effects, Audition, Photoshop and Media Encoder - this makes working on different parts of the video very easy.
However, one disadvantage of Premier is that it doesn't support WebM and Ogg which are to two HTML5 friendly formats.
So it isn't perfect for working on content that you want to publish online because you will have to take the extra step of converting the video yourself.
Although Premier Pro has only received incremental improvements and not a major overhaul but it is still a very robust product that's great for professional video editing. It's especially worth checking out if you skipped the earlier CS5 version.
Pros: Adobe products work seamlessly with each other; Mercury Playback engine gets GPU acceleration; Premier has native support for many popular video formats.
Cons: Premier doesn't support some HTML5 friendly formats.
Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium
Video production suite for PC, Mac
PC System requirement: Windows Vista/7, Intel Core 2 Duo/AMD Phenom II, 4GB RAM, 16.3GB HDD space
Mac System requirement: Mac OSX 10.5.8, multi-core Intel processor, 4GB RAM, 10GB HDD space
Bundled apps: CS5.5 version of Premier Pro, After Effects, Audition, Flash Catalyst, Flash Professional, DeviceCentral, Media Encoder; CS5 version of Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, OnLocation, Encore, Bridge
Rating: 3 1/2
Review copy courtesy of Adobe Systems Southeast Asia