Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 review

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Premiere Pro CC 2015 review: Editing

Grizzled editors who might balk at all this newfangled modernity should have no difficulty with the improvements Adobe has made to the core editing tools. The basic, timeline-based editing workflow is preserved (no Final Cut Pro X reboot here), and Adobe has added a number of new editing features, including improved four-point editing, new keyboard shortcuts, enhancements to clip markers and captions and the creation of subsequences. Audio editing gets a boost from the integration of the Audition audio engine and faster voiceover recording.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 review

There’s a new way to work with jump cuts in this version that should help smooth out the “umms”, “ahhs” and pregnant pauses in talking-head interviews. The effect in question is Morph Cut, a video transition that quickly analyses the footage surrounding cuts in the timeline, then uses a combination of face-tracking and optical flow interpolation to create a “seamless” transition between clips.

In practice, it needs fine-tuning to achieve the desired effect. I had to adjust the duration of the morph and drag the transition slightly in Effect Controls to realign it off the edit point before it created a clip smooth enough for my liking. It only really works with a single talking head; any more seem to confuse the face-tracker and produce a blending effect from one face to the other in the transition. Static backgrounds are essential, too: in one of my tests, a screensaver behind an interviewee caused a smearing effect. However, in general, this facility will cut down the time taken for this sort of task.

Duration is at the heart of another useful analysis-based tool, Time Tuner. Accessed via Adobe Media Encoder, it’s an effect that can shorten or lengthen a project by as much as 10% – and with minimal intervention. Enter values for the duration change or target duration before encoding and Time Tuner will analyse the footage for scene changes, quiet audio passages and sections with still images or low visual activity then automatically add or remove frames in order to meet the target time.

This should come in handy for meeting stringent video-delivery requirements, as well as cutting showreels. As ever with automated processes, though, give the result a quick play-through first.

Premiere Pro CC 2015 review: Pricing

What hasn’t changed with Premiere Pro CC 2015, however – and is unlikely to change in the near future – is the purchase method. The only way of getting hold of the software is through an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Many users still balk at “renting” software in this way; for those users, the only option is to look elsewhere.

Media Composer (£1,126), Final Cut Pro X (£300) and Lightworks Pro (£249) are all available as perpetually licensed standalone products, and there’s a free version of the latter, too.

Many users still balk at “renting” software – for those users, the only option is to look elsewhere.

Even if you do get on with the subscription model, you have choices there, too, with an annual subscription to Lightworks costing £100, and Media Composer costing £26 per month. To put it in context, that’s about the same price as subscribing monthly to use Premiere Pro, although the price falls to £17.50 per month if you pay annually.

A full Creative Cloud subscription represents better value if you intend to use After Effects, Photoshop and SpeedGrade together. That’s £68 per month, falling to around £45 a month if you sign up for a year.

Premiere Pro CC 2015 review: Verdict

Colour is big news in the video industry, a fact that will become evident with the growth of TVs with HDR capability. With the integration of Lightroom and SpeedGrade technology, this release of Premiere Pro strengthens Adobe’s hand in the colour game, while the focus on speeding up common editing tasks and the general collaborative workflow also offer greater returns for users.

Adobe isn’t going to drop its subscription-only model, so it will remain a reason for some users to look elsewhere. By continuing to develop the value-added aspects of Creative Cloud, however, Adobe is increasingly positioning Premiere Pro as part of a connected system rather than standalone software. In that sense, it remains ahead of the game.

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