Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 review

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

  • Price When Reviewed: £675 plus VAT . upgrade £238 plus VAT

  • Pros: Ultra keying effect; Improved speech-to-text; Improved performance and stability; Native support of popular formats; GPU accelerated effects; 64-bit Adobe Media Encoder; New Adobe Story.

  • Cons: Two GPUs qualified for hardware acceleration; Encore not 64-bit; Transcriptions difficult to edit; No playback frame rate display; High-end system needed for best performance.

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Premiere Pro CS5 can import XDCAM HD50 and R3D files (CS4 required a R3D plug-in). It can also import and export DPX and Panasonic AVC-Intra 50 and 100 formats. In fact, Premiere Pro’s capacity to natively play back more formats than any other editing application is a key selling point. And Adobe's zealous support for DSLR formats is exceptional. A Final Cut XML export option facilitates project sharing with Apple’s popular editing program.

A few of CS4’s features that required attention -- the titler, 3-point editing procedures, Trim panel responsiveness -- remain neglected. And CS5 drops one feature: Clip Notes, the PDF-based export option that assisted in a collaborative review process. It’s slated to be replaced by Adobe Review, the CS Live online service that will soon integrate with Premiere Pro. As with Story, it's unknown how much it will cost to subscribe to Adobe Review after the complimentary service period expires.

Premiere Pro continues to ship with OnLocation, Encore, and Adobe Media Encoder. OnLocation’s enhanced logging features enable you to create and modify a shot list (including those generated from a Story script) more easily. Productions working with tapeless formats can use OnLocation’s measurement tools to spot check clips for problems, while those using tape-based media will appreciate its ability to display DV, HDV, and DVCPro natively. In addition to new export options and an improved clip analysis feature (which includes both speech-to-text and face detection capabilities) the Adobe Media Encoder includes several small improvements that make choosing export settings easier.

And as alluded to earlier, an Encore DVD or Blu-ray project can generate a Web DVD that retains not only navigational interactivity, but also metadata the viewer can use to search the online video. Encore can also delegate transcoding tasks to Adobe Media Encoder while you author -- a feature even more significant when you consider that Media Encoder received a 64-bit makeover whereas Encore did not.

Although Story is a welcome addition to the Creative Suite and a logical extension of Adobe’s vision to promote a metadata-enhanced workflow, for most users, it doesn’t merit an upgrade to CS5. However, the productivity increase attained from Premiere Pro CS5’s 64-bit construction and Mercury Playback Engine does. Editors using Hi-Def content from tapeless formats shouldn’t hesitate to upgrade to CS5, especially if they can make a corresponding upgrade to their RAM and GPU. But even without a souped-up Mac Pro, the benefits of upgrading are worth the cost.

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