Adobe Encore CS5 review

Although video production is becoming media agnostic, and online distribution increasingly important, the ability to burn video to disc is still necessary on a regular basis. However, recognising the inexorable pull of the Web for video consumption, Adobe Encore CS5 is starting to provide features geared towards this method of delivery.

Adobe Encore CS5 review

One of the key additions to Encore CS5 is therefore its ability to create Web DVDs with a search capability. These behave like DVDs or Blu-ray discs, except the interface and referenced media reside online instead of on a locally based piece of optical media, and Adobe’s SWF file format is used.

As you author a disc, the text-based assets will be collected into a database and associated with the appropriate positions on the timeline. Text assets can include speech analysis, subtitles, or menu and button names. With its Shockwave-based format, Web DVDs can have a sleekly designed interface, and can call HD video for Internet streaming.

Adobe Encore CS5

The remaining improvements merely address specific types of authoring situation. It’s now possible to create multi-page menus which share audio and video background elements without these having their playback interrupted as users navigate from page to page. However, this is one feature which hasn’t been carried over to Web DVDs just yet. Timelines now support 24p natively, too, so film assets will be preserved at the correct frame rate. For those working in a mixed platform environment, Encore CS5 projects can be shared between Mac and Windows versions without conversion.

Although Encore has had the ability to import Premiere Pro projects directly since CS4, the handling of projects using 4K film assets has been improved. When these are included on the timeline, the 4K footage will remain at its native resolution right until the encoding stage, so optimal quality is maintained whatever the final output format.

Another improvement which will particularly benefit productions using high-resolution content is Encore CS5’s use of the 64-bit CS5 Media Encoder, which can run in the background whilst you continue to author. So your encoding will be partway through already when it’s time to burn to disc.

The CS5 update to Encore doesn’t add anything essential. But this is more a sign of the stagnation in the development of optical media as a distribution format than it is of Adobe resting on its laurels. The fact that Web DVD creation is the only really new output option is particularly telling in this respect.

So whilst existing users will appreciate the minor enhancements here and there, and the update will have been necessary now that Premiere Pro and After Effects CS5 are 64-bit, the overall range of features is basically the same as Encore CS4. In other words, Encore CS5 is essential for practical reasons, but not exactly revolutionary.


Software subcategory Video editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? no

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