IBC 2008: Adobe shows off After Effects, Premiere Pro CS4

Adobe has used the IBC 2008 trade show in Amsterdam to provide a sneak peek at the new features offered by the video products within the company’s forthcoming Creative Suite 4 collection. The full set of features will be announced on September 23, so check back here for a full preview of the new tools.

After Effects CS4 (or ‘the next version of After Effects’ as Adobe staff are being careful to call it here) will feature better integration with Premiere Pro, expanding on the current Dynamic feature that allows AE compositions to be placed on the Premiere timeline. The new software enables users to ‘open’ clips from the timeline – or entire timelines – into After Effects, build comps around them, and have them automatically update in Premiere Pro.

There’s also roundtrip editing between AE and Soundbooth in the new version.

Adobe showed a new cartoon filter than turns clips into animated movies, creating an effect similar to A Scanner Darkly. This uses the host workstation’s graphics chip to boost performance and is based around a brand new technology that creates much smoother animation than rival filters , according to an Adobe spokesperson.

After Effects CS4 ships with Imagineer System’s Mocha-AE, which previously sold for £149. This is a 2.5D tracking application (which we reviewed here) based on the company’s high-end tool that exports to AE-only. The software features a powerful tracking engine that takes the position, scale, rotation, shear and perspective of four points. Tracking points can be cut-and-pasted from the version shipped with AE CS4 to Adobe’s application, saving time over the usual text file export process.

Adobe is also showing how to use After Effects to create animations for mobile phones. By automatically creating compositions to match the size and framerate of mobile phone templates from the Device Central application.

Premiere Pro CS4 will gain support for the AVCHD format, as used by many tapeless camcorders, and a Speech Search facility that scans footage and creates a script by ‘transcribing’ the words said. This is rendered as text where if you click on a word, you’re taken to the corresponding footage. You can search the text and pull all of the clips that contain a certain phrase onto the timeline, and if you’re working manually, Adobe notes that it’s much quicker to skim text than audio.

Adobe says the text transcription is about 80 per cent accurate, and it can understand British English – though it gets more easily confused, the further an accent is from 1950s BBC presenter-style received pronunciation.

Automation of metadata is a major part of the video products in Creative Suite 4. Adobe has added improved metadata creation tools in its On Location software, which monitors and captures footage directly from a camcorder to a laptop or workstation on set.

The interface has also been given an overhaul to make it look more like an Adobe application – the current version looks the same as when it was developed by Serious Magic and called DV Rack, before Adobe bought that company’s technologies almost two years ago. It also puts all of the application’s functions on a single page, so users no longer have to scroll between tools.

More features for each application are expected to be announced on September 23, along with the details of the CS4 versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash et al. No release dates have been announced.

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