I have been a film director for many years, mostly focused on documentary filmmaking, and my favorite aspect of filmmaking comes in the editing phase. There are more tools for editing a film now than ever before—you are not limited to just a Moviola. There are more technical editing tools, but there is no change in the nature of editing. Editing is a talent that few people have and takes years to perfect; like a musician writing music, you must be able to pick up the tempo of each film you edit.
I like what non-linear and digital editing systems offer. I have tried Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer, as well as Adobe Premier Pro. I am always concerned with my budget and where I can save, so my choice for independent work is Adobe CS 5.5 Master Collection or Production Premium package, without a doubt.
Final Cut Pro is easy-to-use and its innovative tools have made it the favorite of thousands of filmmakers around the world for editing their films. One drawback is that it runs only on Mac machines, but it is relatively affordable. Avid Media Composer is also a high-end post-production program that has been used in major film productions and, after years of having a very expensive price tag, has reduced its price in order to compete with Final Cut Pro and keep its share of the market.
There isn’t film editing or post production artist in the world that can even fathom working without using Adobe Photoshop—but why can’t we say the same about Adobe Premier Pro? Over the years and with every new version, Photoshop presented such powerful image manipulation tools that what little competition it had in the early years of its existence disappeared from the market. Premier Pro did not do the same. Hence, when Final Cut Pro was introduced for the first time, based on its new and fresh approach to editing and the fact that Apple has its own faithful fanatics, it became the most popular film editing program among young filmmakers. Adobe Premier Pro contained adequate tools and fulfilled its basic functions, but it wasn’t as easy to pick up as its competitors and, most importantly, its interface left much to be desired and remained unchanged for too long.
All that changed with Adobe’s CS series, especially since CS4’s Premier Pro was changed drastically to become a very powerful editing tool. CS5 and CS5.5 have added more features, capabilities, and power to Adobe Premier Pro—so much, in fact, that you cannot compare this program to its ancestors.
Over the last seventeen years, I have learned that as a reviewer in the technology and art realms, I can never be prejudiced or hold any pre-conceived notions towards a programs or other review subject. This enabled me to tackle CS 5.5’s Premiere Pro with an open mind, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Premier CS 5.5 is simple to use. As a conventional editor, adapting into this program was very easy. You have your conventional project window, your timeline and tools.
Using Premier CS 5.5, I was able to import footage from different sources with different resolutions and easily edit them together. It is evident that video has been concentrated on, because playback was leaps-and-bounds better than older versions. The Mercury Playback Engine was introduced with CS5, and it definitely speeds up real-time rendering within After Effects and Premiere while offering support for more graphics cards. Premiere Pro also boasts new trimming and editing tools, along with new integration with Adobe Audition.
I must say, what makes Premier Pro stand taller than its competitors is the way it interacts with other Adobe products. If you buy Adobe’s CS Master Collection, you have all that you need to run a small company: image manipulation, web design, sound editing, DVD authoring and digital film editing tools, all in one package—did I mention that all of these programs are all integrated for easy interaction?
As far as upgrades go between CS 5.0 and 5.5, most of them are on the software development side for Adobe Photoshop (as well as others in the suite). If you write programs or work closely with plug-ins, you should definitely upgrade. Photoshop is still the top-notch image editing program that it has grown to become, and continues to allow users to tinker with images in infinite ways. Experts of the program will appreciate its open-endedness when attempting to solve a problem (there are many ways to perform the same task) and familiar repertoire of invaluable tools.
In conclusion, Adobe CS Master Collection 5.5 provides a fantastic foundation for any editor, filmmaker, or artist looking for the complete package. Premiere Pro has become a force to be reckoned with, and Photoshop, Affect Effects, Dreamweaver, and the rest of the Creative Suite continue to deliver.