Many of the stand-out new features of Production Studio involve the smoother design and integration of the different programs, but individual programs have seen notable enhancements.
Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 builds on what was already a solid editing suite (see Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 review) with better support for HDV, preserving imported footage in its native format rather than converting to Cineform as it did previously. Premiere Pro 2.0 also supports capture, edit and output of uncompressed HD footage (see system requirements, below) and, boasts Adobe, Premiere Pro 2.0 renders faster.
A nifty feature called "clip notes" allows you to export a video clip embedded in a PDF file from within Pro, email it or FTP it to a user who can then open up the PDF in a free copy of Adobe Reader. The reader then scrolls through video clip, stopping it at various points in the timeline to add short notes in a text box under the video. The viewer then sends the PDF back to the author who can jump to each note, and the footage it refers to, in the timeline and respond to the feedback as necessary.
In a similar vein, is Premiere's support for DVD chapters. While Adobe Encore is better for outputting a polished DVD, if speed's an issue you can quickly output a DVD with a menu, there are a number of DVD templates to choose from, from Premiere Pro's Timeline. Adobe's Media Encoder is much more impressive in Pro 2.0, with a tidier interface and, now, a preview monitor where you can tab between your source and your output footage as it is being compressed. Very nice.
Now that Adobe own Macromedia, Premiere Pro 2.0 ships with Flash video output, as well as the main web standards - MPEG, QuickTime, RealMedia and Windows Media. Flash is not the best-looking video of the bunch, but it's good for the web because users are more likely to have the ubiquitous Flash player. Recognising the growing trend toward Digital projection, particularly at film festivals, there's a Digital Cinema export feature too for 720p or 1080p resolution clips.
Another highlight in Premiere Pro 2.0 is the multicam monitor, which allows you to mix up 4 different camera sources (or clips or image stills) on the fly, simply by clicking one of the windows to make an edit. It's a great feature for live or spontaneous edits, although more complex productions might find four sources a limiting factor. The introduction of "sub clips" which make it easier to break a single large footage file into multiple edits on the Timeline is also a welcome addition.
Other new enhancements include more tools for colour correction, with filters for quick fixes in real time and more involved adjustments. Premiere Pro now supports 10-bit video and 16-bit Photoshop files, while the introduction of 32-bit internal colour processing should allow for more precise colour handling.
As before, Premiere Pro 2.0 effects are activated by dragging and dropping them from a side panel onto the live footage and then adjusting as appropriate. The beauty of this setup is that you can quickly see what filters have been applied to any clip. When colour correcting, you might use the colour picker to set a more consistent white balance across various clips, spin the colour dials to bring out the warm colours of a sunset sky, or use sliders to desaturate your footage for stylistic effect.
I will go on in later columns, but suffice it to say that Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 is highly impressive. It's easier to use than ever and powerfully featured. If you are going to get just one program of the bunch for putting together video presentations then this is the one.