NAB 2012: Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 debuts with new interface, faster performance, better colour correction

Adobe has launched Premiere Pro CS6 at the NAB 2012 exhibition in Las Vegas. It features a redesigned interface and playback engine, Photoshop/AE-style Adjustment layers, new Warp Stabilizer and Three Way Colour Corrector effects – and there are two new companion products, Prelude and SpeedGrade.

Adobe has also announced After Effects CS6, and Photoshop CS6 has been available as a beta since last month. The rest of CS6 is expected to be launched soon.

Premiere Pro CS6 has a new interface that gives over the top part of the screen to the Source and Program monitors. The amount of buttons has been reduced drastically – though you can add back some or all of them. The Project panel has 16:9 scrubbable thumbnails, to which you can add trim marks.

The improved Mercury Playback Engine delivers even more performance from multi-core processors, according to Adobe. While still largely tied to Nvidia’s CUDA engine – where it now supports Tesla add-in boards for even greater performance – Open CL acceleration has been added to allow AMD graphics chips in the latest Apple MacBook Pros to be tapped as well. Other AMD cards won’t deliver the same performance benefits.

New trimming modes help with standard, roll and ripple tirms, while you can use the Program monitor to see outgoing and incoming frames of a trim at once for better cuts.

The Three Way Color Corrector (below) has been redesigned so its tools are better sectioned and it’s easier to make standard adjustments without being overwhelmed by fine-tuning controls.

The Warp Stabilizer is the same as that added to After Effects CS5.5. This takes your wobbly footage and applies two passes in the background to analyse and then apply the correction. Like After Effects CS6, there’s rolling shutter repair, to get rid of the rippling motion common on digital SLR footage

Adjustment layers work similarly to those in After Effects, and differently to those in Photoshop. They are essentially empty clips that sit on tracks in the Timeline just like traditional footage, and the effects you apply to them are applied to whatever the results of what’s below looks like.

Improved multicam editing allows you to edit with more than four cameras for the first time – there’s no limit beyond how many streams your computer can handle at once.

Redesigned Audio Mixer and Audio Meters panels, different-coloured markers to make distinguishing easier, support for gestural controls on a Mac trackpad, and an enhanced Media Encoder.

Prelude CS6 doesn’t ship with Premiere Pro CS6, but you do get it with Creative Suite 6 Production Premium or a Creative Cloud subscription. It’s a standalone ingest and logging application for working with file-based media. Large groups of captured media can be quickly brought in and catalogued, and then only the clips you need sent to Premiere Pro.

SpeedGrade CS6  is also only available as part of Creative Suite 6 Production Premium or a Creative Cloud. Bought as part of Adobe’s acquisition of Iridas last year, it’s a professional-level colour grading tool similar to Apple’s Color that it used to ship alongside Final Cut Pro in Final Cut Studio. This looks to be essentially the same tool as Iridas’s – it doesn’t follow the same interface conventions as the rest of CS6, though considering its focussed approach, this could be a good thing.

SpeedGrade CS6 has been integrated with Premiere Pro CS6 to some degree though, as the editors gains a Send to SpeedGrade command.

Adobe hasn't released details of pricing or when CS6 will ship, beyond confirming it will be in the first half of the year.

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