As many of you are aware we’re well into Post Production on the new PBS Series “This American Land” by Executive Producer Gary Strieker.
Today I was scheduled to edit a story and once again we ran into an issue with XDCAM footage that did not include everything required in the BPAV folder for FCP to read the files. Now I know that Adobe Premiere Pro can read the native files and what we have done recently is use PPro as a conversion tool to send the raw files into FCP. In this case, the Producer had around 4 or 5 hours of material so converting all of that and THEN starting to edit in FCP was going to literally be a waste of time.
I’ve been practicing a bit with Premiere Pro and have done some smaller projects in the application to test, but nothing like sitting with the Producer for a national broadcast story because I wanted to be more fully up to speed on the entire PPro workflow before a pressure edit. Well today I said screw it, and we jumped headfirst into the edit.
Right off the bat the Producer was thrilled because there was no waiting. She was ready to do email, revise some scripts, enjoy some of our wonderful espresso while I converted all the footage to ProRes. Nope, just put all the clips into bins and go. So that was a great start.
Now we were editing XDCAM 1080i / 29.97 material and overall the edit went well. Some issues to be sure with half of them being operator error and half of them being things I would like to see Adobe address.
The biggest problem coming over from FCP is that there are so many places to set all the various preferences in PPro that you can drive yourself crazy trying to set up the application / project / sequences to work the way you expect them to. This is where operator error came in, particularly working with the Stereo / Mono workflow as Premiere Pro does it.
The performance of the software overall was good, except for very sluggish playback of all the media in the Source window. It was very laggy and I could not cleanly scrub through the video and this carried over to the timeline as the edit wore on. I had not seen this previously when editing with Canon H.264 footage or ProRes footage on small projects. The nice thing is I have folks at Adobe I can actually talk to about this and it turns out they are already improving this issue.
The biggest annoyance for my client was the inability to easily scrub through the video in the Source monitor. My workaround was to simply use J and L keys to do high speed scrubbing that way and it worked. Not the best, but it works.
Overall it was a mixed bag today but I know some of that has to do with me still figuring out the best practices workflow with Adobe Premiere Pro. On the absolute high note, I was able to just jump right in using all my FCP commands and my same basic FCP workflow without really thinking about it. Sure I was a little slower, but not by much quite honestly. Really it’s the audio part that slowed me down the most.
I consider the operation of Premiere Pro just like buying a new car. The controls are the same, a few of them are in a different place and the way you do things are a bit different, but you basically know how to operate the software if you’ve run FCP or Avid. I set the Keyboard shortcuts to emulate FCP so i was using all my standard shortcuts without thinking. I figured out some of the Adobe variations on a few of the shortcuts. Like in FCP multiple clicks of T allows you to “Select All From Here” but in Adobe Premiere it’s just T and then hold Shift. Easy.
Since the release of FCP X, Adobe has literally been inundated with feedback and suggestions from FCP editors making the switch. Sure we have a lot of great ideas to help make the interface and operation even better than it is today, but Adobe also has to respect the thousands of Premiere Pro users who have been using the product for years. You have to make sure that as you “improve” the software based on feedback, you don’t alienate the folks who have been using the product all along. So Adobe is walking a balancing act of adding new features / simplfying the interface based on all the new feedback while making sure they continue to give the long time users the experience they’ve come to expect from the software.
So throwing the application and this editor into the fire only resulted in a few minor burns and thanks to the quick response from Adobe Support, some of those user errors I commited today will be corrected tomorrow. As for the things I didn’t like or would like to see improved, well I filled out my feature requests on the website.
However the problems with Source Monitor has made me rethink my plan to work on our 2nd feature documentary next week in Adobe Premiere Pro. We’ll let Adobe get a few more updates out before we take that step.