With Final Cut Pro X increasing in popularity thanks to ProRes RAW, and DaVinci Resolve rapidly growing in use, Premiere Pro must now react. Every year the software evolves, but will the arrival of Premiere Rush, ‘easy’ audio correction tools, or improved colour grading functions be enough to give a new lease of life to this mythical software?
The key merit of Premiere Pro – besides its age – is that it is rational to use, and can be found almost everywhere. The competition to Premiere Pro meanwhile have recently come up with some confusing innovations (the logic of FCPX and the nodal system of Resolve come to mind), and at the same time have become incredibly efficient. Adobe meanwhile have continued to add more formats, whilst sprinkling each new version with a few evolutions rather than revolutions.
For example, it wasn’t until 2017 that we were able to create titles directly in the Program window, and in 2019 we were finally able to change the font of a title template! It is clear that the developers seem to have understood that they need to do more to keep themselves afloat, and we are therefore dealing with a software that is becoming a little simplier and with developing functionalities. We’ve outlined some of the new features below.
A shortlist of new features
- The revision of the Lumetri panel, which is equipped with a selective colour corrector tool after the auto-matching function between two clips
- An ultra-simple tool that allows you to repair audio with simple sliders
- Changing fonts of the motion graphic templates directly in Premiere, as well as support of vector images which avoids losing resolution whilst zooming
- Development of VR tools
- The introduction of Adobe Premiere Rush CC, an all-in-one application that works across all your devices. Whilst it is very simple in its structure, you are able to capture content from a smart device and add it into Premiere very easily.
- An auto-save function that saves all open projects, and not just the one that is active
- Press ESC to deselect all the elements of the timeline
What’s the point of Premiere Rush CC?
Premiere Rush has been around for the last year or so, and is an application that can be registered with or without a Premiere Pro package. The idea is to offer a platform for all devices and is incredibly straightforward to use. The beauty of it is that it is connected to the cloud, meaning in practical circumstances, a journalist can make a rough edit of their work on-site, whilst the editor retrieves the content and refines the edit on Premiere Pro remotely. Premiere Rush allows you to publish content easily onto all social networks.
We tested it on an older-generation iPad Air and it works without difficulty. Without being fundamental, this application shows that Adobe offers tools that are more orientated toward remote application, but is something that can be used by beginners to understand the basics of Premiere. With 5G likely to be getting rolled out over the next couple of years, Rush could be a fantastic gateway for 4K edit workflows in the cloud.
Lumetri: beneficial improvements
Lumetri is the colour grading software found within Premiere Pro. When it was first released, it was a little ahead of its time, but very quickly it was surpassed by the functionalities of Resolve. Adobe seemed to have gotten this and have added some useful features. For example, in the last version we were able to ‘auto-match’ two clips, whereby you select a reference clip and the second clip is automatically colour-graded to match it. Adobe have also added selective colour correction, meaning that you don’t need to rely upon the difficulty in handling the ‘secondary selective correction (HSL)’ tool.
We can now finally stack Lumetri effects by giving them a special name so it doesn’t get lost within the system. This allows us to create preconfigured sets, which are extremely useful for colour grading elements such as skintones, skies, shadows and so on. Unfortunately, it is still impossible to assign the saved presets to a single project, and you therefore need to frequently clean the presets, particularly as we for one usually create these presets for a single use.
Audio cleaning tools – the really good idea!
Audio has certainly had its strengths and weaknesses within Premiere Pro. On the downside, there was a clear lack of ergonomics for the use of audio. The strength on the other hand was that when you subscribed to the Creative Cloud offer, you would also get Audition and After Effects. Despite this, both tools requires you to master the software and in turn they have almost nothing to do with Premiere Pro.
Adobe then decided to release a panel called Essential Sound Repair, and it was a success because it included everything that was essential to audio control, and could be simply managed with the cursor. You can select the audio, choose as to whether it is for dialogue or background music for example, and you can then correct the background noise, the reverb and so on by adjusting the sliders. Easy and efficient, and an instant result is obtained! We particularly like the automatic volume adjustment function, which harmonises the different dialogues. The main disadvantage from our side was that the processing seems to lengthen the time to export. In addition, the lack of a loop playback button for a configurable time is also an issue, and the only solution to this is to create an in and out point in the program window to enable loop playback.
Titling and motion design: the pros and cons
The ‘Essential Graphics Panel’ first appeared in 2017. In our view, even if it finally allowed you to write text in the Program window, we never found it to be ergonomic – the parameters are limited, there is duplication with the Effects Option, and both the library management and the Templates (*.mogrt) file management between Premiere and After Effects is disastrous. Worse still is that these templates often use English expressions, therefore if you are working in German or French for example then there’s a good chance that the Templates won’t work. At the time of writing, Adobe have still not found a way to standardise the expressions from one language to another.
In short, it is essential and usable, but not great to use. On the latest version, the font is finally modifiable, Premiere now supports vector files, and the interface has been streamlined, and is therefore better. Why it took so long when it is the most basic of parameters to stick to, we just don’t know!
We have been working on Premiere since Version 5.1, and we have not left it despite its flaws. It remains a giant mixer in a way that, edition after edition, progresses and takes care of pretty much everything – regardless of what computer you are using.
Our test machine is a three year-old PC with 64GB RAM, and the performance of the latest version is pretty much about the same as the old one, but with a greater level of robustness. For example, when editing a conference lasting 3 hours 30 minutes, we had no problem. On the other hand, the processing of audio requires a little more time.
In short, we are satisfied but are always hungry for further updates. For example, we would like a more transparent data management system. Our main gripe comes when we are duplicating an element, and that you have to add the ‘copied01’ to the naming convention rather than a simple numbering, meaning we often spending a lot of time looking for preset sources. A simplier opening to third-party plug-ins that is completed so well by FCPX and Resolve would also be great.
All-in-all, when Premiere Pro is registered in the Creative Cloud suite, it is capable of doing absolutely everything that you need whereas on the other programmes, you have to export, replace or use EDL and XML. Premiere Pro remains a reference that seems to be on the way to modernisation. But please, make it quick!