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04-08-2014 3:49:45

Adobe Premiere – the editors’ view

Tom Pammenter|Industry

The Adobe Premiere story – previously…

In a previous article on this blog, we looked at the merits of the “the holy trinity of non-linear editing software: Adobe video editing, Avid Media Composer and Apple’s Final Cut Pro (FCP).”

In that post, we told you how Premiere and Adobe’s other leading application, After Effects (also known as AFX), were becoming increasingly popular but Avid’s Media Composer remained the software of choice for many of our clients.

Anywhere for Video

But when Adobe launched their ‘Anywhere for Video’ service, in July 2013, one of its aims was to make “the biggest headaches in video production – massive file transfers, duplicate media, and proxy files – a thing of the past.”

Anywhere for Video supports the latest versions of Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Prelude CC that are available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. The biggest switch Adobe have made with this move is taking these services to a subscription-based model, removing the ability for users to buy the licensed software in one hit.

So, eight months on, what does the industry make of this move by Adobe? How has its flagship video editing application, Premiere, fared?

“More and more small-scale production houses opting for Premiere”

“We’re seeing more and more small-scale production houses opt for Premiere,” says Frame 25’s Gary Farrell. “We have some clients who’ve just switched from FCP to Premiere.”

Freelance editor Seb Boys, whose clients include IMG, Perform, the BBC, ITV, ITN and BSkyB, is also seeing what Gary describes as a “bigger demand for editors skilled with Adobe edit systems”:

“With FCP seemingly giving up on the professional market,” says Seb, “smaller production houses currently using FCP have been forced to look at their options.

“I think the main appeal for smaller companies has to be both the integration of After Effects and Photoshop – and the costing. Most small scale productions will see the advantage in having a cheaper stand-alone system as a huge benefit. Premiere has made significant improvements recently, such as supporting more and more native formats. Reducing transcoding time will be seen as another big plus by productions.

“I have a clear choice…”

“The simple fact that more and more companies either have started or will start using Premiere more means that I have a clear choice in front of me – switch or be left behind. With a constantly changing market, Premiere seems to have put [Adobe] in a good position to be seen by many as a serious option.”

But the story takes a twist from there.

“The move from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud is still a bit controversial”

While Adobe seem to be building a strong position in the industry, this transition has not been as smooth as the software company would want: “The move from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud is still a bit controversial,” says Gary.

David Curran, a freelance editor who works for Discovery, agrees: “It is controversial. Personally, I believe it has been implemented to try and stop pirating – stating the very obvious. At my last place of work, I was using After Effects V5.5 and the other editors were on CC. They did – every now and then – experience some problems if the internet was running slow. However, on a positive note, paying a relatively small amount of money per month for a complete updated editing system does have its attraction.”

It’s a view shared by Yodhvir Kandola, an editor who produces Premier League content: “Adobe have now made it easier for the user. The switch to subscription base has allowed the editor to keep up with costs as well as being able to keep up to date with the ever evolving market,” he says, adding: “Not much has changed since the change to CC. It’s still very reliable and easy to use.”

Premiere’s rise in popularity: cost a key factor

Cost is clearly a key factor in Premiere’s rise in popularity, as pointed out by freelance editor Andreas Spanos, who also produces content for Discovery:

“The main focus of most – if not all – production companies is their budget, so using the best value for money editing software is [key].

“Since Apple has switched to Final Cut Pro X, which was a big disappointment for many reasons, and stopped providing any support for the previous versions, many companies have switched to Adobe Premiere as the ‘next’ most affordable professional edit suite.

“Also, having Premiere as part of the Adobe Creative Suite package together with Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator et cetera is an even better value for money option, especially since there has also been a rise of users that can do, more or less, everything – editing, visual effects, Photoshop, et cetera.”

David recognises the commercial pressures production companies are under, acknowledging that many companies that were previously happy with FCP are now choosing to use Premiere because of financial demands: “They [production companies] had to make a business decision – change platform to a software that is fully supported…or sink.”

“The time is right to learn Premiere”

This will apply to David’s own career, too: “At the moment all my editing work is on Avid,” he says. “However, I used to do a lot of FCP work and I now feel the time is right to learn Premiere and fully embrace it as clearly the clients that I used to work with will be making the change.”

Like many editors, Yodhvir has already made the switch to Premiere: “I’ve made the switch from FCP 7 to Adobe Premiere as there are many similarities between both editing platforms. As well as the fact I can change the shortcuts and the layout to match Final Cut, there’s the added bonus of Premiere fully integrating with other Adobe software, which is a massive time saver, plus the fact that Premiere can deal with vast amount of codec compared to any other editing platforms.”

Andreas, who learned to use Premiere three years before he started to use Final Cut Pro professionally, in 2006 (and long after Avid) says he “never liked it” and “tries to avoid it even though I am an After Effects operator.”

“I still prefer to use FCP together with After Effects having Automatic Duck plugin where possible, in both suites,” he adds, “as I find it way more stable than dragging projects or sequences from Premiere into After Effects, although I haven’t checked thoroughly the very last updates of Adobe CS6 to see if they have made any major improvements. So [I’m] still using FCP 7.0, although most of the work I do is on Avid.”

“Back in 2011,” says Yodhvir, “when FCPX was introduced, many editors felt that Apple had decided to develop an editing platform more directed at the consumer and not the broadcaster, stripping away most of the tools needed to make basic programmes.

“Many of the engineers that had been behind the successful FCP 7 had joined Adobe, to design Premiere CS6. The similarities with FCP 7 and CS6 can be seen from the interface layout to how many of the tools work.”

In today’s creative software market, it would be valuable for editors to consider adding Premiere to their weapons of choice, given the options available within Creative Cloud.

“Previously,” says Seb, “for me, roughly 90% of my work would come from Avid and 10% for FCP. The emergence of FCPX, which many users didn’t like at all, saw a shift for productions to look into other options. After the FCPX release I think I’ve had maybe two jobs in total on Final Cut.”

Are you an editor? Do you work with FCP, Avid and/or Adobe Premiere and the other CC products? Get in touch today.

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