Adobe recently updated its video suite, with full new versions of…pretty much everything and having spent the past couple of months putting it through its paces, I’m lovin’ it, lovin’, lovin’ it, lovin’ it like this…
Currently it’s available in 3 flavours. Below are the differences between the first two,
‘Standard’ and ‘Premium’:
The third flavour, ‘Video Bundle’, adds the fruits of Adobe’s recent acquisition of Macromedia, by combining Production Studio Premium with Flash Professional 8.
Confused? You won’t be, since I’ve just explained things, however, those without the benefit of The Rebbe’s sagely wisdom, may be, which is why Adobe, having gone to all the trouble of prefixing Production Studio with ‘Creative Suite’ to bring it in line with their other products, really should have stuck to one naming convention (e.g. ‘Standard’, ‘Premium’ & ‘Premium Plus’) instead of confusing the issue…or simply offered a standard and a premium version and included Flash for free with the premium version.
But sermons aside, it’s definitely a must have upgrade, as, like CS2 before it, Production Studio/Video Bundle has finally moved from being a bunch of separate applications in a box, to being a fully integrated…production studio.
This is down to three things. Firstly there’s a new unified interface that’s shared by After Effects, Premiere, Encore DVD and Audition. It’s modern, it’s slick and best of all its clutter free, as many of the palettes have been replaced with intelligent panels…resize one and the others automatically change size accordingly.
Secondly, ‘Adobe Dynamic Link’ means that any changes made in one application are automatically and instantly reflected in the others…without the need for re-rendering, saving time and computing resources and creating an almost seamless workflow.
Thirdly Adobe Bridge, which came into its own in CS2, has been incorporated, allowing you to search for, preview and open files in a purpose built browser.
After Effects 2.0 offers new features for every level of user. The professional edition (included in the video bundle but not Production Studio Standard) now supports 32 bit floating point colour, AKA HDR (high dynamic range) colour, which, according to Adobe, allows you to achieve photo realism (and to import 32 bit PSDs & TIFFs). Also new in the professional edition is ‘timewarp, which offers comprehensive controls for slowing down and speeding up footage.
Those with workstation graphics cards (or a limited number of high end enthusiast cards) will benefit from Open GL 2.0 support, which allows donkey work to be shifted from the CPU to the GPU, for hardware accelerated rendering, blending, effects, etc.
Meanwhile, everyone will love the hundreds of fully customizable animation presets that ship with all versions and which include presets for animating text, effects, transitions, backgrounds and behaviours; everyone creating content for the web will applaud the fact that they can finally export to Flash and audiophiles…or should that be audiofiles, will love the support for 32 bit…audio files.
Talking of audio files, Audition 2.0 has been rebuilt around a new low latency mixing engine with ASIO support, allowing you to record and mix an ‘unlimited’ number of tracks, with full automation, ‘nuff routing flexibility, plug in delay compensation and support for hardware controllers…welcome to the 21st century!
Other improvements include two alternative scrubbing modes, which make locating audio within a file, much easier than before and a new mastering rack, which lets you preview multiple effects simultaneously, including a new analogue modelled multiband…and multicoloured compressor…which looks very pretty…though not as pretty as the new spectral pan and phase display modes, which are designed to help analyse your audio and which I found worked particularly well in conjunction with Acid…and I don’t mean Sony Acid…
There’s also provision for video, which can be imported into Audition as MPEGs, AVIs, WMVs and QuickTime files, displayed as a thumbnail, have its audio track edited and which can be moved seamlessly between Audition and Premiere from within each respective application.
On the subject of Premiere, the headline news is its support for editing of multicam shoots. You can view the footage from up to four synced source tracks in the new quad view monitor (whilst simultaneously previewing the switched output in a linked window) and create a rough cut (or in my case, a ruff cut) by simply hitting record and clicking the relevant window to cut between source tracks…excellent…as is Premiere’s newfound ability to work with film. Not only can it display timecode in feet and frames, but, more importantly, it also provides native support for the 4K standard, making full resolution film editing (for those with the budget) a reality and taking Premiere to a whole new level.
Like After Effects, Premiere provides 32 bit internal colour processing (though there’s no support for 32 bit PSDs). There’s also native support for HD and HDV (as well as DV and SD) and a handful of GPU accelerated effects.
Other big news is Premiere’s newfound ability to author and burn DVDs direct from the timeline, which is something I hope that Adobe will continue to develop to a point where they are able to drop Encore from their line up, because, as I’ve said before, It’s my least favourite Adobe application.
Having said that, the unified interface makes Encore DVD 2.0 easier to use than before, as do ‘flowcharts’, which provide you with…flowcharts of your DVD project’s navigation, as well as a visual means of creating navigation for it, though, as with Dreamweaver and Reaktor, once these flowcharts get complicated, they can become a pain to navigate…ironically…
The one thing I do like about Encore is the new slideshow feature, which makes it uncharacteristically easy to author DVDs consisting of a…slideshow of still images (with or without added effects and background audio).
Both suites include Photoshop and Video Bundle includes Illustrator, which I have covered in depth elsewhere.
Video Bundle also includes Flash Professional 8.0, which, as a certified web head and animator, I am, of course, a big fan. Even though Flash has never been an intuitive application to animate with, I love what can be achieved with it. Not that it’s just an animation tool, by any means. It’s also the definitive application for authoring rich content for the web and the last couple of releases have seen exponential leaps in what can be achieved with it…particularly in its handling of video.
The current version of Flash was originally released about a year ago and so lacks the unified interface of the other applications…in fact it’s not actually a part of the suite, but a separate disc that’s bundled with it (which probably explains why it’s called Video Bundle instead of Production Studio Premium Plus). Nevertheless, it’s a superb and very powerful tool, with numerous uses from web authoring to VJing, to creating animation for broadcast and the combination of its inclusion in this bundle with Premiere’s newfound ability to export Flash files is both very welcome and a clear signal of Adobe’s intent!
When I reviewed the forerunner of Production Studio (Video Collection Professional 2.5) last October, it was little more than a bundle of separate (albeit good) applications and one of my main criticisms was the lack of a common interface. The advent of the unified interface, answers this criticism…and proves that Adobe appreciate the sagely wisdom of The Rebbe…on the subject of which, here’s some more sagely wisdom, this time on the subject of selecting the bundle that’s right for you…my selector…
If you are working with Maya or 3D Studio Max, can make use of network rendering, or need 16/32 bit colour support, you need After Effects Professional, which, as a single application costs approximately UKP 400 more than After Effects Standard. Production Studio Premium costs approximately UKP 500 more than Production Studio Standard and includes After Effects Professional…and Illustrator…and Audition…and Encore DVD, saving you about a grand on the total price of these additional apps (if bought separately), making the decision a bit of a no brainer.
Illustrator is just over UKP 500, if you require it (and if you are doing anything with effects or titling, you’re bound to find a use for it), once again, Production Studio Premium makes sense.
Audition comes in at just under UKP 300 and has a multitude of uses, from cleaning up soundtracks, to creating backing music, voiceovers and foley tracks, making it highly desirable. If you have a need for it, you might as well spend the extra couple of hundred and get the Premium suite.
If, on the other hand, you’re on a tight budget, are making traditional movies, or have the time to wait for renders, Production Studio Standard will do you proud.
Finally, if you are doing anything for the web, Flash is completely essential and to make the most of it, you will need a Vector illustration program such as Illustrator. Flash costs UKP 574.58, Illustrator costs UKP 511.12, making a grand total of UKP 1085.70. The difference in price between Production Studio Standard and Video Bundle is UKP 827.20, making the decision another no brainer.
So there you go, I’m not just your technology advisor, I’m also your financial advisor…and if you want a loan, my competitive interest rates start at just 100%…
More info: www.adobe.com
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