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a much-needed overhaul put Adobe's Premiere back at the top of the mainstream
DV editing market? We check out V7 - Premiere Pro
The DV hardware
market is no longer dependent upon Adobe's video editing software, Premiere,
and many Premiere users are willing to jump ship to competitor products
rather than upgrade. Pinnacle, once Adobe's biggest OEM customer for
Premiere, is now pitching its own program, Edition, as a direct rival,
and Apple has driven Premiere out of the Mac video editor arena with
its aggressive marketing of Final Cut Pro and recent introduction of
the keenly-priced Final Cut Express. Now confined to Windows, Premiere
is having to compete against the likes of Sonic Foundry's Vegas and
Ulead's MediaStudio Pro, as well as Pinnacle Edition. Perhaps a little
late in the day, Adobe has come out fighting with Premiere Pro.
The new version looks impressive on paper, with a lot of good features
that seem to be deliberately intended to catch up with Edition and Vegas.
There's also an occasional nod to Final Cut, even though Adobe seems
to have waved Mac-based DV editors farewell. Our first impression, though,
was far from rosy, with the realisation that Premiere Pro can't be run
on AMD Athlon Thunderbird processors - they don't support the SSE instruction
sets that Premiere Pro needs. And, as we were also to discover, Pro
really needs a 2GHz processor (ideally one that's much faster) if it
is to deliver fluid performance. That's a limitation that may prevent
many from upgrading to the new version.
Our first attempted test bed was a 1.4GHz Athlon Thunderbird-based system.
Premiere Pro did install but couldn't be launched, so we tried a 2GHz
Pentium 4 system that does have SSE support. This was able to run the
program, but was rather unresponsive during playback. As a result, the
bulk of our tests were carried out on the fastest PC available to us,
a 3.06GHz Pentium 4-based laptop.
Premiere Pro has a lot to recommend it, and certainly appears to
be taking a number of steps in the right direction to allow it to compete
with the likes of Edition, Vegas and MediaStudio Pro. Media management
tools are greatly improved and the program feels altogether more serious
than previous versions.
But, to show its best form, Premiere Pro needs to run on an ultra-high-speed
system, and that's likely to stop many would-be purchasers, including
upgraders, from taking the plunge until such time as they're ready to
splash out on new hardware. Some of the changes made in the work flow,
especially the loss of A/B roll editing, are also likely to hold back
sales - at least to existing Premiere users who may not want the bother,
on top of a considerable outlay for hardware, of relearning the program,
even though the advantages of such changes are considerable.
So, should you upgrade or move over to Premiere Pro? Well, not if you
don't have the very latest spec on your PC or use one of the few accelerated
editing cards - notably Matrox's RT.X100 and RT.X10, or Canopus's DVStorm
2 and RTRaptor 2 - that are said to support Pro (and will likely be
fitted to a very fast PC anyway). Even owners of such cards should hold
off until compatible drivers have been launched and it's clear how well
they allow Pro to work on PCs of different specs. For anyone else, we
suggest not making a decision without looking around at what else is
on offer - the competition has never been stronger.
Read the full review
in December 2003's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
Adobe Premiere Pro 7
Adobe After Effects 6.0
Apple DVD Studio Pro 2
Pinnacle MovieBox USB
Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator
In December's news:
2003 Show report
Apple PowerBook overhaul
Pinnacle Edition relaunched
Avid FreeDV available for download
Pure Motion EditStudio 4 feature upgrade LaCie four-way external burner
Canopus's OHCI-friendly LetsEdit
LG five-way burner
Royalty-free music scores
Double recording time DVD discs