Price: £599 . £299 . £1409 . £1969
Pros: Premium bundle covers every area of production; strong integration; batch project output with Media Encoder
Cons: Premium bundle pricey; cheaper alternatives to standalone version
This camera is reviewed as part of our group test of Video-editing applications
Adobe has been focusing on suites rather than individual programs for some years now. You can still buy a standalone copy of Premiere Pro CS4, but even that comes with Encore and OnLocation CS4. The full Production Premium suite adds After Effects, Photoshop Extended, Flash Professional, Illustrator, and Soundbooth (all CS4 versions).
This isn’t just a huge bundle deal, either. With each generation, Adobe tightens the links between the various component parts.
Buyers of Premiere Pro CS4 will be pleased to find that editing projects can be dropped into Encore CS4, avoiding the need to output from the timeline at all. OnLocation CS4 can run on a notebook, making it a portable studio. Hooking up your camcorder through FireWire turns the laptop screen into a live preview monitor, while footage records to hard disk, where it can be logged and tagged for highly rapid editing.
However, one of the biggest additions to Premiere Pro CS4 is the new standalone Media Encoder. This allows you to encode video in batches to every format, from web to Blu-ray-compatible HD. Best of all, Premiere Pro and After Effects projects can be imported and rendered directly.
So if you edit several pieces in one day, or need to repurpose the same project in multiple formats, the Media Encoder lets you set all this up for unattended mass production. The only downside is that it’s now harder to grab frames as still images from video clips.
Integration within the Production Premium bundle is extensive, too. Photoshop layers and After Effects compositions can be imported into Premiere Pro. Any further external editing will be reflected back. Likewise, Soundbooth can be called on to enhance audio straight from the Premiere Pro timeline. All this means that while each program is powerful by itself, the ability to use them together seamlessly makes for a smooth editing workflow.
Unfortunately it’s a pricey option compared to Sony Vegas 9 or Apple Final Cut Studio.