You've most likely already heard about Adobe's move to get rid of Creative Suite and offer rental-only software from now on. When the announcement was made my Twitter feed exploded with both love and hate for the new policy.
While some of the negative points people made are purely hypothetical or FUD for its own sake, others are genuine concerns. There has also been a lot of misinformation flying around, in particular with regards to being connected to the internet. You do not need a constant connection - the software will connect once a month and you will have a grace period of 99 days (soon to be 180 - thanks Todd) if the connection is unsuccessful.
Another common misconception is that the apps will run off the cloud or that they will automatically update without your permission. The apps run locally on your system as they did before but the licensing is handled on the cloud, so instead of a product key you now use your email address. Software updates will not occur automatically without your permission and Adobe has said they will periodically create fixed archived copies of the applications so you can revert to a particular version if desired.
I have no issues with the cloud or rental policies as concepts, my only objection is to being forced into them. It is difficult not to interpret this as a power grab.
Another thing Adobe may not have considered is that they have different traction in different markets. Photoshop is clearly the king of print and graphics, but Premiere has only started to gain traction since the demise of FCP 7. I know several people who were looking for FCP 8, thought they'd found it with Premiere CS Next and are now hesitating.
I have been fortunate to have access to pre-release versions of some of the new Adobe apps and the new Premiere is fantastic. The dev team has really listened and I try to use the new version over CS6 whenever I can. It's sad that instead of talking about the great new features, the whole Adobe MAX event was overshadowed by this decision from upper management.
The worst part is that in spite of all this I will still unhappily subscribe and so will many others. I am certain that this will end up being financially beneficial to Adobe, but it erases a certain amount of goodwill.
This past weekend I used Adobe Encore for the first time to create a Blu-ray for an important screening. I'd previously tested the workflow and everything had worked well, but this was my first time using it on a project.
I initially had some issues encoding the Premiere Pro sequence to H.264 because Adobe Media Encoder told me it would take 42 hours, and after leaving it for a few hours it seemed to be making good on that promise. I eventually narrowed the problem down to a corrupt Dynamic Link cache which I trashed with CS Repair and got the more respectable prediction of 10 hours (it was a 90 minute feature with 10-bit RGB source files).
I checked the original source files and they were fine. I checked the AC3 and it was fine. I restarted Encore and the problem was still there. I cleared the media cache from within the preferences menu; no change. I thought it might just be the preview but the problem existed on a test disc that I burned.
I eventually traced it to project corruption. There is a file in your project directory called ProjectMedia.acx. This is what the end of the file looked like:
The file should end with the closing XML tag </EncoreProject> (and there should only be one) but extra data has been added at the end. To fix this, close Encore, open up the file in TextEdit and delete everything beyond the first </EncoreProject> tag.
Then trash your media cache. For some reason the button in preferences doesn't remove everything so I'd recommend removing all files from the media cache directories at ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common or by using Housekeeper.
I relaunched Encore, everything worked properly and I was able to create the disc and breathe a sigh of relief. I would definitely recommend keeping an eye on ProjectMedia.acx though because I just checked it again and more corruption has crept in.
Dynamic Link is a key selling point of the Adobe suite that many people rely on for their workflows. Here's what to do if it doesn't work as expected. This article is mainly aimed to dynamic linking between After Effects and Premiere but many of the suggestions will apply to the other applications in the suite.
In the Preferences dialog for Premiere Pro there is a section called Memory that allows you to specify how Premiere Pro and other Adobe applications will use your RAM.
Premiere will allow itself a certain percentage of memory by default and you can decrease this by increasing the RAM reserved for other applications and the operating system. This is a maximum limit and the memory is only used up if it is actually needed.
Premiere, After Effects, Encore, Prelude, Media Encoder and Photoshop all use the same memory pool so the RAM is assigned between them. Premiere and After Effects are assigned the highest priority within the pool so closing these applications can improve performance in the other apps.
Adobe applications are designed to share data in realtime through dynamic linking so it is common for users to run multiple apps at once. It is therefore recommended to set these settings as high as possible. The default is around 70-75% of total RAM. Note that it's possible for third-party plugins and importers to exceed the memory limit.
After Effects has a Details button in its Memory & Multiprocessing pane that for some reason the other applications don't have. If you click this button you can see which Adobe apps are running, how much memory they are using and what priority has been assigned to them. As you switch applications from foreground to background, watch the maximum allowed memory change as the priority is lowered.
If you install additional memory in your system and it is not reflected in the Memory dialog, close all Adobe apps and delete the file ~/Library/Preferences/Adobe/dynamiclinkmanager/6.0/memorybalancercs6v2.xml (or whatever version you are using). On Windows 7 the file is located at C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\dynamiclinkmanager\6.0. When you relaunch Premiere the file will be recreated and it should see your new memory.
In the Memory pane you can also optimize rendering for performance or memory. In performance mode Premiere runs several tasks in parallel and uses all of your processor cores (up to 16). In memory mode it runs fewer tasks simultaneously so these settings will lower both CPU and memory usage.
Tips for optimizing memory usage
Today Adobe announced the full feature set of Creative Suite 6. Here are the features that stood out at me:
What's clear from this release is that Adobe is aggressively targeting a broad range of users. There are features in the new release that will be familiar to Avid, FCP7 and FCPX users. Since the demise of Final Cut Studio, Creative Suite is the only suite in town and this release fixes many of my complaints with CS 5.5 (although no word on new developer features yet). I don't think it will change my plan to use Avid for long-form and Premiere for short-form but the wide-open nature of the NLE market right now is something that is clearly producing great results for editors.
I'm currently working on a feature film that will be my last Final Cut Pro 7 project. I'd just finished implementing a custom solution to automatically log and sort clips as they are brought in, when it suddenly occurred to me that a lot of what I was doing would not be possible in the future with a competing NLE (at least not on the Mac; Sony Vegas has great scripting capabilities).
Here is a summary of things we can do with FCP 7 that is impossible or less smooth with its replacements:
(Note: we don't develop effects plugins so this post does not delve into plugin-related differences between the apps. But it's a post I'd be glad to link to if someone else writes it.)
Controlling the NLE
Developers can use Apple Events to perform such tasks as programmatically saving and loading projects, highlighting items in a bin and searching. None of the competing apps are able to do this.
We can also communicate with Final Cut Pro over MIDI, which we put to good use in Cut Notes, but Premiere and FCPX unfortunately lack this feature.
It is important to be able to easily get data in and out of the editing application. There is mixed support for this among competing apps. Avid has XML output via FilmScribe but this is not as fully-featured as FCP XML and I have found the FilmScribe app to be unreliable. FCPX XML exports do not include all of the information within the project or event. Premiere gets full marks for including FCP 7 XML interchange support.
Avid does get some bonus points for being able to import and export marker lists though, which none of the others can (it's even better than FCP 7 which was limited to export only). Some people would say this feature is unnecessary if you have XML input, however it's very useful for applications that don't need or cannot access the underlying project, such as our own Cut Notes app.
Manipulation of project data
Probably the most useful feature is the ability to change data within the project. You can add new clips, batch modify metadata and sort clips into bins. It's very powerful and you can specify various options when importing a clip or bin such as only adding clips that do not currently exist or making copies of existing clips.
Avid doesn't support this at all and Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere only support this via manual XML import / export.
Premiere wins extra marks for basing its project file format on XML but it then loses most of them by not documenting the project file format nor encouraging development of it.
These are all great features that we're putting to good use in our apps and it's a shame to lose them. We've developed workarounds for most of them but these often require additional manual work by the user, which we're keen to avoid.
Apple created third-party developer ecosystems with FCP 7 and FCPX that simply don't exist with other NLEs (and FCPX's developer features still need some more work, as noted above). We're putting this post out to encourage NLE manufacturers to increase their focus on third party developer-friendly features. Fostering third-party development helps end users, developers and the manufacturers themselves. Everyone wins.
Editors spend a lot of time rendering and exporting, and it's very useful to know when a render is complete if you are not currently at your computer.
Render Watcher in Pro Media Tools can watch for renders and then perform various tasks when a render is complete. It supports Final Cut Pro 7, Compressor 3 and 4, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder.
Render notifications are not supported for Final Cut Pro X because it has background rendering and the alerts would be going off constantly, however you can get export notifications via Compressor or by adding your export folder to the Watch Folder pane. This also works for other apps not natively supported by Render Watcher.
There are three ways to get render notifications from Render Watcher on your iOS device - text message, email and push alert. (Compressor has email support already, however it is impractical for most users because it requires you to run an SMTP server on your computer.)
Push alerts are the most flexible option because you can customize them independently to make sure render notifications don't get lost in your regular email and SMS alerts.
Here's how to setup render and export notifications on your iPhone / iPad:
1. Download and install Pro Media Tools.
2. Launch the Render Watcher application and tick the boxes for all of the render notifications you wish to watch. If desired, add watch folders for applications not natively supported.
3. Go to the Actions tab and select all of the actions you wish to perform when a render is detected. There are lots of options here including playing a sound effect and showing the exported file in the Finder.
4. If you want to send an email or text message, tick the relevant checkbox and enter the destination email address or phone number (selected carriers only).
If you want to only setup push alerts, skip to step 5.
4a. Go to Preferences and enter the details for the account you wish to send email from. Presets have been included for common email providers but you will be able to get the relevant SMTP server information from your email provider's website. In most cases you should leave the Port field blank.
Note: Your email address and password are not sent to our servers and are stored on your computer in encrypted form.
4b. Click Send Test Email and if your settings are correct you should receive an email from Render Watcher in your inbox.
If you don't wish to setup push alerts, skip to Step 13.
5. To setup push alerts, make sure Display Growl notification is ticked in preferences and then download Growl from the Mac App Store for $1.99. If you don't want to pay for it or are running OS X 10.6 or lower, older versions are available here free of charge.
7. Sign up for a Boxcar account here.
8. In the Boxcar iOS app, sign in and tap the icon in the top left corner that looks like a grid of nine squares. Then tap Add Service.
9. Scroll down the list (it's not alphabetically-ordered) and tap the entry marked Growl. Setup the notification settings as desired and then click Save.
10. Download the Boxcar plugin for Growl. Unzip the .growlView file and double-click it to install. When prompted, select Yes to open the Growl preference pane or alternatively launch System Preferences and open it manually. If you are running the Mac App Store version of Growl on Lion, the preferences dialog is accessed via the menu bar icon.
11. Go the the Display Options tab in the Growl preference pane (called Displays in the Mac App Store version) and set Default Style to Boxcar. This will send all Growl alerts to your iOS device.
Alternatively, if you only want Render Watcher notifications sent to your device, go to the Applications tab, select RenderWatcherHelper, click the Configure button and then set Application's Display Style to Boxcar. RenderWatcherHelper will only appear in the list when it has displayed a Growl alert at least once.
12. In the Display Options tab, select Boxcar in the Display Styles list on the left and select the option to display notifications using Smoke (or whichever theme you prefer).
13. Enter your Boxcar login information below this and click Verify Login. If your login is accepted, click Preview and you should see a Growl alert on your desktop and iOS device.
14. Start a short render and wait for it to finish. If everything is setup correctly, you should see a Render Watcher alert on your computer and then your iOS device. If you don't see this, double-check that you followed the above steps correctly and that the name of the application is ticked in the Applications tab in Render Watcher or that you are exporting to a directory listed in the Watch Folders tab.
Render Watcher is just one of ten useful tools for editors, assistant editors and post production professionals in the Pro Media Tools suite. To find out more, see the features page, watch the overview video or download the free trial.
Apple's recent obsolescence of Final Cut Studio has forced a lot of us to reexamine which editing platform we want to use for future work. Ironically, Adobe Premiere Pro is a much easier transition for FCP 7 users than Final Cut Pro X due to its similar interface, support for old FCP projects and ability to use FCP's keyboard shortcuts.
The transition to Premiere is easier than any other NLE but there are lots of little things that I miss from Final Cut Pro. Here's a list of some of them, in no particular order.
The Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut in Final Cut Pro can be used to make a cut on the timeline at the current playhead position. While Premiere also has a keyboard shortcut for cutting (Cmd+K), it pauses playback when it does so. There is no way to cut and continue playing.
Premiere Pro is limited only to four multicam angles.
Unlike Final Cut Pro, the audio mixer in Premiere doesn't work on a clip-by-clip basis. Every adjustment affects the entire track.
It took such a long time for colored markers to be introduced in Final Cut Pro 7 that I was sad to see them disappear in FCPX. Premiere needs this too.
Final Cut Pro can also export text-based marker lists, which is a great way of sending markers to another application. If Adobe were to implement this, I would also recommend they include a way of importing markers from a list, which Final Cut Pro unfortunately lacks.
Like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere has a useful Paste Attributes command. However, unlike FCP, this function does not allow you to specify which attributes you would like to paste - it just pastes everything. This is often not what you want.
Ctrl-G in FCP can be used to easily close a gap in your timeline. There is no equivalent keyboard shortcut in Premiere to do this in one step.
Update: This one seems to have been misunderstood by a lot of people so I'll repeat it with additional emphasis: there is no way to do this in one step. There are many ways to do this in more than one step.
Only one project can be open at a time in Premiere. There is no way to refer back to another project without closing the first one.
When you cancel a render halfway through, Premiere discards the entire render file, unlike Final Cut Pro where the portion you rendered remains valid.
Using the JKL keys to navigate through media in Premiere can sometimes be tricky because the audio becomes high-pitched and difficult to understand.
Scrolling your mouse vertically scrolls the Premiere Pro timeline horizontally. This is useful if your mouse is only capable of vertical scrolling, but if you have a trackpad or a mouse with a scroll ball, there is no way to scroll vertically to see extra tracks. There should at least be a preference for this behavior.
(FCP tip: if you have a mouse with a vertical scroll wheel only, hold down Cmd when scrolling and it will scroll horizontally.)
There is no indicator icon to show a through edit. A through edit is a cut within a clip where the frames on either side of the cut are adjacent to each other. It appears to the viewer as if there is no cut at all, and in most cases it is unnecessary and should be removed.
When media goes offline, you can browse to the location of the file if you know where it is but there is no way to search your entire hard drive.
When inserting or overwriting a clip to the timeline in Final Cut Pro, the tracks that the video and audio will end up on are controlled by the buttons in the patch panel that are normally marked v1, a1 and a2. If you don't want to insert a track, click the button in the patch panel to disconnect it.
In Premiere things work differently. The patch panels AND the tracks need to be selected in order for this to work. If you want to insert video on video track 2 without any audio and have disconnected the A1 patch button, having an audio track selected will insert a blank space into that track. It seems redundant for patch buttons and audio tracks to need to be selected in order for this to work as expected when only patch buttons are needed in other NLEs.
Walter Biscardi gives a video overview of this problem here.
Final Cut Pro 7 finally brought us a long-requested timecode overlay window. While Premiere does show timecode in the Info window, this is not a direct equivalent.
In Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 and higher, if you drag a clip and press the N key to toggle snapping, snapping will be switched on or off only for the duration of the drag. Once you let go of the clip, snapping reverts to its previous value. I found this feature very useful.
Final Cut Pro can place markers on a clip whenever an audio peak occurs. There is no such function in Premiere.
While you can view how many times an entire clip has been used, there is no way to see if a particular frame has been used more than once. This is crucial for film projects that will be having a negative cut.
Sequence markers in Premiere Pro allow you to set a name, description, duration and various other options. Clip markers cannot be customized at all.
This is a list of things I think FCP does better than Premiere. In some cases, Premiere has no equivalent feature. In others, the feature exists but I feel it is lacking. None of these problems have prevented me from editing successfully with Premiere, but things would be smoother and certain workflows much easier if these features were present. I'm sure Adobe has been getting a lot of feedback from former FCP users and I have high hopes for CS6.
Sound off in the comments if you can think of any more things Adobe should borrow from Final Cut Pro.