Premiere CS 5.5 is very slick

My editing station at home is rather old – dual core E6600, 4 GB of RAM and Matrox APVe graphic card with no 3D acceleration. It is hardly a setup that inspires confidence that any more serious work except basic cutting, especially with HD compressed codecs like XDCAM EX or H.264, is possible.

And yet, scrubbing the XDCAM EX 1080i50 timeline is very slick, and I had almost no problems running 4 streams of the said footage in the multicam mode with basic fast color corrector (that’s color corrector for you FCP people), and making it work. I am constantly impressed by the new improvements that Adobe did make in the recent editions.

I also discovered a few tools that I didn’t really know existed, or didn’t pay too much attention to before. For one, Premiere Pro does have face detection algorithm, alongside speech analysis. The latter is of limited use to me, since it does not have Polish language, but the former was a kind of surprise to me. It resides in the same place as speech analysis: right click on the clips, select “analyze content”, turn on “face detection”, and you’re all set. You can choose from three algorithms of varied speed and fidelity. When you click ok, the footage is sent to Media Encoder for analysis. You can keep on working, the results are updated in real time, and the processing takes place in the background.

If you want to find out where the faces were found, click on the search icon in the project panel, and select the option [Find faces]. Only the clip with faces found will be shown. I admit, it is not yet as slick as the feature from FCPX, but it can be useful, it works in background, and it was added I think in version 5, about a year ago.

Now, there is a feature in Premiere Pro that I almost completely disregarded due to the fact that logging and describing clips takes a lot of time, and in our workflow this commodity is in very short supply. Premiere Pro has a whole panel dedicated to logging and previewing metadata associated with a given clip.

Not only you can enter and view description, comments, log notes, tape, reel, take, shot location and so many other properties – and this abundance is perhaps one of the reasons that I never took to play with metadata until now – but all the metadata that was entered when the footage was shot, or perhaps added by OnLocation or even integrated by Adobe Script is available as well.

And again, one of the slickest tools in Premiere comes to the rescue. Search box allows you not only to find the clips containing specified keywords, but also to limit the fields that you see in the metadata panel. So if I want to add a comment, I start typing “com” in the search box over metadata, and the only column left is exactly the one I was looking for, ready for editing. On the other hand, project window search box allows me to find those clips that I’m interested in. Of course it is possible to select multiple clips and change their metadata in bulk. Very nice feature.

Is it a smart collection as touted by FCPX? No, but it’s very close. The only two things that are lacking are a possibility to create a virtual bin which would automatically show the clips with a given keyword, and a tagging mechanism that would allow to use shortcuts to apply keywords to clips. Apart from that, there is not much difference between FCPX and Premiere Pro, except perhaps for the fact that FCPX handles metadata using  a database, and Premiere with XMP files stored alongside the original media. Perhaps one missing feature is the possibility to add custom fields, like it is possible in Avid.

I also played a little bit with time remapping tool, but it is a subject for another time. And had I had a microphone, I would have made a screencast out of this blog entry. Well, perhaps next time.

As for now, I’m happy to discover new things in the program that I thought I knew so well.

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About Bart Walczak

I'm a video editor, and an aspiring colorist and VFX artist, with some experience in desktop publishing, web development and programming.
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