Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 review
Video editing has always been an intensive process, heavily reliant on processor grunt and high-speed local storage. As such, Premiere Pro has always sat awkwardly alongside Adobe’s more web-friendly apps – an application apart in a suite of highly interconnected software components.
It’s steadily being brought into the fold, however. Premiere Pro CC 2015 is the most integrated version yet, with changes aimed at assisting with cross-device and inter-application collaboration, alongside the usual phalanx of tweaks and new features.
Premiere Pro CC 2015 review: Sharing
Underlying Premiere Pro’s new sense of sharing is the omnipresent CreativeSync, a technology that allows CC subscribers to move graphic assets, files and colour “looks” (saturation adjustments) seamlessly between applications and devices.
As in Photoshop, the greater part of these new capabilities is centred around the new libraries panel, which lists third-party assets downloaded from Creative Cloud or the new Adobe Stock service, plus assets created in other Adobe applications, and keeps them in sync wherever you happen to be.
The libraries panel makes it child’s play to pick up projects started on the iPad with Premiere Clip and edit them in Premiere Pro. It’s possible to share any of these assets – or, indeed, whole libraries – with any other Creative Cloud subscriber; such files simply appear in the libraries panel.
Library synchronisation also includes colour looks generated with the new Adobe Hue iOS app. Essentially, Hue is a colour-picker that derives a colour Look from a piece of video. So, say I’m filming in the Highlands and the sun breaks through heavy clouds to illuminate a green sward with golden light; I can open Adobe Hue on my iPad and hit the capture button, and the colour and light information in the scene will be represented by a cluster of coloured bubbles showing the saturation, volume and luma of each colour.
This information can then be synchronised with Creative Cloud and will appear in the libraries panel as a colour Look. At this point, it can be dragged to the timeline and adjusted using the new Lumetri Colour panel in the Colour workspace.
Premiere Pro CC 2015 review: Colour
The Lumetri Colour panel is where technology from Adobe’s professional photo app Lightroom and finishing app SpeedGrade is integrated into Premiere Pro. It allows basic colour correction to be applied to the clip, with sliders for white balance, tone and saturation. The panel also allows the quick application of lookup tables (LUTs) to raw and log output from a range of pro camera models.
The curves section offers luma/RGB adjustments, and there’s a range of colour wheels for hue adjustment. A new feature in this version of Premiere Pro – Selection Follows Playhead – means you don’t even need to select the clip to get into grading mode once the colour workspace is invoked.
This is probably all most users will need for day-to-day colour correction, but there’s more included in this workspace to address the colour-finishing process.
Clicking on the creative section brings up a preview window that lets you step through tasters of looks with a single click – including those already added to your libraries. An intensity slider increases or decreases the effect. Adjustment sliders include the lovely Faded Film, for reducing saturation, and Vibrance, which increases the saturation but protects skin tones. There’s now a greater variety of Scopes you can bring up for finer calibration, too.
Premiere Pro isn’t the only modern non-linear editor (NLE) to sport powerful colour correction and grading capabilities. Apple Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer, through its Symphony option, are also strong contenders. All three applications have embraced the power of looks for creative finishing. EditShare’s venerable NLE, Lightworks, has also recently upped its game with a streamlined workflow for its real-time colour-correction tools.
However, by bringing in technology from its professional photo and colour-grading tools, in particular the capabilities to sync with mobile apps, Adobe is able to mount a considerable challenge with this version of Premiere Pro.
Premiere Pro CC 2015 review: User interface
Elsewhere, a handful of smaller changes have been made, the most obvious of which are to the front end, specifically from a workflow perspective. Like Lightroom and Photoshop, Premiere Pro now has a switcher bar for a selection of workspaces. The new Assembly, Editing, Colour, Effects and Audio tabs correspond to the typical stages of post production.
It’s a system designed to offer users a more intuitive way of working, and I took to it fairly quickly. There are also greater capabilities within each of the workspaces, particularly for colour and audio. It doesn’t mean SpeedGrade or Audition are doomed (yet), but it offers an indication that Adobe is prepping Premiere Pro to become a more comprehensive application than it has been so far.
The interface tweaks also make it slightly easier to carry out some actions on a touchscreen. Elsewhere, a new welcome screen (common to all the CC 2015 applications) introduces tutorials and new features relevant to your subscription.