Adobe's new line of editing suites - CS5 - were launched with great fanfare on Monday. Among them is the video editing package, Production Premium CS5, which looks to build on the strengths of Adobe Production Premium CS4, as well as iron out some of its wrinkles.
The big draw in CS5 is going to be the speed improvements. Under the hood in Premiere Pro is a new software engine, the Mercury Playback Engine, which, says Adobe, harnesses the power of 64-bit operating systems for up to 20 times faster rendering and previewing for HDV.
However, at the moment you also need an Nvidia Cuda graphics card to see those CS5 speed improvements. There's only a handful of supported Nvidia cards, although Adobe may add more to that list.
More than anything Adobe seems to be responding to the heavy duty demands of modern high end HDV and resource intensive formats like the RED HD format.
Improvements such as native 64-bit support for After Effects will allow longer RAM previews.
Adobe says that new memory controls for individual programmes in Dynamic Link will make it more responsive. The integration between Adobe programmes that Dynamic Link offers is one of the big draws of these software bundles. However, editing with multiple programmes open at the same time (like creating a credit sequence for a Premiere Project inside After Effects, with Bridge, Photoshop, and possibly Soundbooth open and ready) can create a strain on a system's resources, so the faster Dynamic Link is going to be particularly welcome.
Adobe is still trying to make more of the web with five new facilities in its CS Live Online services. Among them is Story, a script editor that has features for automating and colloborating on scriptwriting and that integrates neatly with Adobe's Speech Search feature.
The facility to download and import a script into your project, from what I've seen of it, looks like being a useful feature for navigating footage and meta tagging. It also sounds far more reliable than the ambitious voice recognition, speech search tool that Adobe introduced in CS4.
Each CS edition seems to introduce a new editing tool or two. In CS5, After Effects has a Roto Brush, which allows you to remove backgrounds in moving footage with a quick click and a drag. In Premiere Pro CS5, there's a new chroma key tool, the Ultra keyer.
There have also been improvements to the Adobe Media Encoder and enhanced support for tapeless media.
As well as interface upgrades for Production Premium's audio editor Soundbooth, CS5 now comes packed with Royalty free media. 10,000 sound effects and over 130 customizable Soundbooth Scores to be precise.
Of course, all this power will come at a price when it comes out in the first or second week of May: in the U.S., Production Premium CS5 is priced at $1699 (according to the press release).
Due to the idiosyncracies of Adobe's pricing system, the price tag is significantly larger for UK users. It's showing on the Adobe Store as £1,773.08 (upgrade is £606.30/£516 ex VAT). You may save a few quid at Amazon especially on the Educational version which Amazon.co.uk has listed as £302.99 at time of writing.