ETHICS STATEMENT: I have not been paid by Adobe to use Premiere. I have all the main NLEs and I have been BETA testing CS6 for a few months. The improvements as detailed below convinced me to go with the CS6. I have no financial relationship with Adobe. Read more on my ethics statement here.
I learnt to edit tape to tape about 16 years ago at Sky News whilst working as a News Cameraman. It made my camerawork SO much better. It was a great way to learn to edit. No “Apple Z” – you had to make hard decisions and stick with them. You also had to be FAST. First time I cut my own work, I said “Who the f*** shot this?!” I didn’t hold shots long enough, didn’t get enough coverage…etc, etc. Knowing how to edit makes you a better shooter. Fact.
My first editing experience on an NLE (Non Linear Editor) was Final Cut Pro 1. I used this for personal stuff on my Mac. It was fun and very freeing. I loved it and could afford it! At work I trained up on Avid Newscutter and Media Composer. It felt very natural and easy too. I loved it. Way better than FCP 1 but very expensive.
When I went freelance 6 and a half years ago, I invested in Final Cut Studio as it was the most affordable editing solution for me. I knew it well and Avid was still too expensive for me and (at the time) needed additional hardware. Once I made that investment, I stuck with it and used Final Cut Pro 7 very happily ever since then.
Now, I love Final Cut. I am incredibly fast on it and I can almost edit blindfolded. But for over 3 years it stayed stuck where it was. It didn’t use the hardware of my fancy new Macbook Pros or iMacs or Mac Pros. It barely used any of my system’s memory. It stayed at 32 bit. Speed performance just stayed where it was. It was frustrating. I desperately wanted a Final Cut Studio 4. It didn’t come.
Last year Apple came out with FCPX. A revolutionary editing system that is very progressive and bold. But it didn’t and still doesn’t do a lot of what I want. I bought it, tried it and went back to 7. It is getting better and better though. I have friends who use it and like it. I am sure I will give it another try at some point. The problem is that, when it came out, it simply was not a replacement for FCP 7. Just a different way of editing, I wanted FCP 8 essentially.
So I messed around with the Avid MC5.5 and now 6. MC6 is a huge improvement and is one of the best editing platforms out there. Keeping up to speed on it for me is essential, even though it is not something I use professionally right now. It’s fast, stable and easy to use, and the price has crashed down since I first went freelance. MC6 finally opening up to 3rd party plug ins is a huge step for it.
I tested out Premiere CS5.5 last year and found its interface clunky and unattractive but with nice features. It wasn’t for me. Especially as without an Nvidia card I wasn’t getting the full speed benefits of the Mercury Playback Engine.
When I was offered the chance to BETA test CS6 I jumped at it. This was about 6 months ago and I was still using FCP 7 after trying the other systems as described above and needed to find a replacement I was happy with. It’s not that FCP7 was getting slower for me, I just knew I could work a lot faster than it was letting me.
Since getting CS6, I have been sinking my teeth into it and found it incredibly rewarding and exactly what I needed FCP to become. It’s also better for mac users without Nvidia cards as the Open CL means we can get the Mercury Engine working on non-Nvidia graphics cards. Multi-format timelines with NO TRANSCODING? Brilliant! I can even mix 24p and 25p on the same timeline. One of the projects I am editing currently is a documentary with epic, F3, a f100,5dmk2 footage all on the same timeline, all native. It works. Yeah the 5k stuff struggles on my laptop and I have to drop resolution, but you can do it. The rest of the stuff works beautifully.
In some ways I miss editing on Final Cut, and in other ways I don’t. I am not as fast or confident with CS6 yet but I am getting there… Does this mean I won’t still keep checking out Final Cut X? Of course not. I am always watching what is going on. For now, CS6 is the best editing system for me. Is it for you? Maybe. I cannot say! It depends on your needs! FCP X is revolutionary in its design and will I am sure become a great platform. MC6 is a powerhouse and used all over the industry. CS6 though, and in particular with the production premium suite, gives you integration with After Effects and much more. Premiere CS6 on its own is incredible for me. With the integration, again for me, it cannot be beaten. I am using it, loving it and very importantly I save so much time now. My computers are being used to their max and finally I have software that has caught up to my hardware.
You can also buy the bundled production premium boxed version from B&H or the download from Amazon below. It doesn’t cost you anything but it helps to keep my site running! You can also get just Premiere via the link below too!
Adobe: When did you first start learning to edit video?
Bloom: I was trained to edit approximately 15 years ago using a tape-to-tape workflow. I initially learned how to use Avid at work, and became very familiar and fast with it. For personal work, when the first version of Final Cut Pro came out, I began using that because it was more affordable than Avid.
Adobe: Why did you start looking at Adobe Premiere Pro for editing?
Bloom: With the more recent Final Cut Pro releases, I felt the hardware wasn’t being utilized to its full potential and the software should have been faster. Time is important and doing things quickly is a huge benefit in my line of work. I started exploring alternatives and purchased Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.
Adobe: What did you think when you first started using Adobe Premiere Pro?
Bloom: In all honesty, I thought it was ugly and not very intuitive. Avid was good but it lacked integration with third-party plug-ins. When Final Cut Pro X was released, it became even more difficult to do what I wanted to do. I was a bit stuck, but then I upgraded to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 and felt it was much better than the previous version. Still, I kept going back and forth between Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5.
Adobe: What finally convinced you to switch to Adobe Premiere Pro?
Bloom: I got to test a prerelease version of Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and felt like I was finally making a natural progression from Final Cut Pro 7. It was intuitive and looked clean. After working with it on two or three different kinds of projects, I was comfortable using it. When I tried going back to Final Cut Pro 7, it was like taking a big step backwards.
Adobe: What do you like most about Adobe Premiere Pro CS6?
Bloom: It’s really a long list of little bits and pieces. Overall, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 feels more fluid. The interface is cleaner and simpler to use, which makes it an easy transition from Final Cut Pro 7. I spend 90% of my year traveling and I often have to edit on my laptop so the ability to go full screen is very important. The enhanced audio controls are simpler and much easier to use. I love the integration of Warp Stabilizer, which I would Dynamic Link to in After Effects when I was using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5. It’s great to be able to link to other software, but it’s also nice to be able to do everything in a single program because it conserves resources.
Adobe: What do you find different about working in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6?
Bloom: Initially it can be tricky to move from one NLE to another. The analogy is like driving on the right versus left side of the road – you know you can do it, but you need to get your head around it each time. With Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, I actually felt like I needed to re-learn how to do things, but it was like I was now learning to drive properly. I realized that the way Final Cut Pro did things worked, but I never realized how clunky the implementation was. The way Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 works now makes more sense and seems more thought through. It’s like Adobe took what was great about Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro and put them together.
Adobe: What would you say is the best thing about working with Adobe Premiere Pro CS6?
Bloom: The ability to play various formats on the timeline is wonderful. I’ve recently been editing native footage from the new Canon 5D Mark III. Even with a totally new format like the Mark III, Premiere recognized it and let me work with it natively, whereas other NLEs would not recognize it and try to convert it. Another documentary I’m editing has a mixture of footage, including RED Epic, Sony F3, Panasonic AF100, and Canon Cinema EOS C300. If I was working in Final Cut Pro I would have to transcode everything to ProRes, which would take a long time. I also just shot a documentary on a boat using a Canon C300 and was able to just offload the cards, throw the footage on the timeline without transcoding, throw on some color grades, and do rough edits in my cabin. The ability to edit these different types of footage natively is huge.