Price: £599 . £299 . £1409 . £1969
Pros: Innovative Speed Search transcription function; overall faster editing; separate media browser; OnLocation interface overhauled.
Cons: Still not as efficient an editor as Final Cut Pro.
While Speech Search is a useful tool, it’s the grand procession of under-the-hood and minor changes that will make the most different to many users. These range from support for more than one sequence type in a project – so you can access the same assets to create SD, HD and Web versions of a sequence – to the ability to apply effects to multiple clips at once, and capability to import PSDs with video and blend modes.
Despite the improvements, Premiere Pro just isn’t as quick to use as Final Cut Pro. On our eight-core Mac Pro, it seemed more sluggish and it lacks many of FCP’s efficiency boosters, such as visual insert options when you drag a trimmed clip to the main video window.
Premiere Pro has had the same interface overhaul as the rest of Creative Suite 4, but as many of the overall enhancements came from the video products, there’s less of a difference than with Photoshop or the print- and web-focused tools.
As before, Premiere Pro comes bundled with the OnLocation live capture tool and Encore for DVD creation. OnLocation CS4, which allows you to monitor and record from your DV or HDV camcorder to a laptop, has been released for the Mac for the first time and given an interface overhaul that places all of elements on a single screen – making it much easier to use.
However, it can’t support non-tape formats such as AVCHD and XDCAM. Encore CS4 can output projects as Flash movies, but unfortunately not as Flash projects. Premiere Pro also ships with the new Media Encoder, which is a standalone version of its encoding engine that can batch process and run in the background.
Adobe has just launched the Premiere Pro CS4 4.0.1 update, which adds AAF import/export, Apple Final Cut Pro XML project import, and OMF export – and is also necessary to work with the Red format’s massive files.