Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 review

£695
Price when reviewed

Ingeniously, Premiere Pro CS4 has also integrated the ability to transcribe dialogue to text automatically, so you can use this as searchable metadata to aid finding specific parts of a script in a complicated project. You can also click on individual words in a transcript, which the current time marker will then show in the Source window. This is a feature that sneaked into Avid Media Composer a few minor releases ago, and is now fully integrated with version 3.

It has garnered quite a positive reaction, so it’s no surprise seeing similar abilities arrive in Premiere Pro. Our review copy came with only the US_English dialect recognition files, however, and didn’t do very well transcribing our UK English test files, although you can edit the text manually. But its recognition abilities should improve with the right pronunciation libraries, which will ship with UK copies.

The Metadata panel within which this_transcribed text appears is a new addition. This reads all manner of information about the chosen file, such as EXIF schema. The Find box in the Project and Effects panels also extends to the Metadata panel, so when you type in a word from a script, for example, it should be highlighted in the Speech Transcript. Unfortunately, the search facility doesn’t extend to phrases.

Premiere Pro CS4 includes a selection of lesser, but still useful productivity enhancements. The Media Browser brings hunting for clips within the app itself, which makes importing from hard drive, disc and Flash memory easier. Another useful tweak is the ability to apply effects to multiple clips at once.

Timeline scrubbing and previewing are more responsive, too. Adobe has added a new Yellow playback category. Clips that need rendering are still given a red timeline marker, and clips that don’t are still green. Yellow clips are in between – they don’t match the project settings, but don’t need rendering to play back in real time. This saves time and hard disk space.

Encore CS4

Although there’s a CS4 release of Encore, with every new version it feels like more of an adjunct to Premiere Pro, which isn’t such a bad thing considering how well the integrated disc authoring in Avid Liquid works. Encore is still a separate app in CS4, but the ability to render Premiere Pro projects without having the_full application open has paid dividends. You can now import Premiere Pro sequences directly into Encore CS4 and add them to the timeline, cutting out the intermediate rendering stage.

This works particularly well alongside the ability to author once and then output to Blu-ray, DVD and Flash from the same project. You can start with a high-definition project, then render to the three different formats without quality loss. Repurposing for the web will still be necessary, in particular to add online interactivity, but the workflow has been considerably streamlined.

As with the previous ability to add chapter markers in Premiere Pro, which are then carried forward in the export to Encore, chapter markers and Flash cues are recognised when a project is imported. After Effects projects can also be imported for use as motion menu assets, and the Dynamic Link capability means they can be edited live, with changes showing up immediately.

Other than this, however, Encore CS4’s new features are relatively minor. You can now export subtitles as a TXT file for editing, as well as importing TXT, images and FAB images to add subtitles. Pop-up menus can be added to Blu-ray projects, but there are no advanced Blu-ray interactivity authoring capabilities beyond this, such as BD-Live.

Details

Software subcategoryVideo editing software

Requirements

Processor requirement3.4GHz Pentium 4

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?no

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