Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 is Adobe’s latest entry into the competitive world of professional video editing software. While previous versions of Premiere were a few steps down from Avid and Final Cut Pro, the world’s standards in editing software, CS3 has a number of new features that bring it much closer to the programs used to make the majority of the world’s motion pictures.
Compared to Other Programs
Although editors hoping to get a job in the industry may want to invest in the industry standards Avid or Final Cut, Premiere is an excellent program for anyone with a vested interest in video editing who is also seeking to become skilled in other types of visual media, such as animation and graphic design, as it is so compatible with other Adobe programs like Flash, After Effects and Photoshop.
In fact, anyone who’s interested in multiple areas of visual media should consider investing in Adobe’s Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, which includes the newest versions of Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Soundbooth and the DVD authoring program Encore as well as the new and improved Premiere. It has a hefty price tag, retailing at $1699, but considering that Final Cut Studio 2 retails at $1199 and doesn’t include nearly as many programs, it’s a good deal.
Although Premiere isn’t quite on a level with Final Cut or Avid, it has enough professional features to satisfy an advanced editor, and if you do end up working with Final Cut or Avid later, you’ll find the learning curve will be a lot less steep than if you’d started out in a more basic program. Also, the ability to work with Adobe’s other software may prove valuable, as skills in programs like Photoshop and Flash are highly sought-after commodities in the world of visual media today.
Premiere CS3 allows you an immense amount of creative control, including keyframing capability for animating effects, time remapping, and multicam editing. The editing interface is customizable, if slightly drab-looking, and the timeline controls are as varied as you could wish.
The render settings are full of useful options, like the choice to render audio or video clips without their applied effects, or the choice between a RAM preview (requiring no rendering of files), a To Screen preview (renders as quickly as possible) and a From Disk preview (renders an exact, accurate preview) depending on what you need at the time.
All the controls, from basic edits to effects, are not necessarily intuitive, and if you’ve never edited before you will quickly get lost among all the commands, not to mention all the possibilities provided for with Premiere’s array of effects, filters and transitions. Even advanced editors may find that plenty of things are hidden, although the Help section is very informative if you get totally lost.
For example, I had a hard time finding the Adobe Title Designer (FYI, it's under File > New > Title), but once I did I was impressed with the incredibly powerful tool. You can use it to create multi-font, multi-color titles that can be saved as clips in your Project window.
Premiere CS3 comes with two other useful components: Adobe OnLocation, which allows you to record directly to hard disk and monitor your footage (Windows only), and Encore, Adobe’s DVD authoring software, which can also create Blu-Ray discs. This is particularly useful as it means that all the programs you use in your production, from start to finish, are compatible.
The fact that Premiere CS3 allows for easy integration with After Effects and Photoshop, which are industry-standard programs, doesn’t hurt either. What’s more, a quick peek at the Adobe website reveals a truly staggering array of cheap plug-ins for Premiere, from film-look filters to 3D effects.
The Final Word
Premiere CS3 also looks a lot less drab than its predecessors, and all in all is beginning to catch up to the success and popularity enjoyed by other Adobe programs like Photoshop. While previously many editors were using After Effects and Photoshop in conjuction with non-Adobe editing software, preferring Final Cut or Avid for their actual editing work, the new features of Premiere CS3 makes investing in the whole Production Premium suite worthwhile.
If you’re a beginning editor, let me remind you that this is a program meant for the pros or at the very least the semi-pros: it’s a complex program built to handle complex projects. For both price and ease of use, beginners and hobbyists will do better with Adobe Premiere Elements, a simplified version of Premiere.
On its own, Premiere CS3 retails for about the same price as Final Cut or Avid, so if all you’re interested in is straight-up professional editing, Avid or Final Cut may be the way to go, as Premiere is not quite as powerful in most instances and you won’t need the integration with other visual programs it provides. But if you want a good, solid basis in visual media, consider investing in the Production Premium. For big projects, it’s absolutely worth it.