Adobe has quietly added some features to Premiere CS4 I would consider really huge. Adobe Updater is normally the little app that delivers Acrobat Reader updates what seems like every other weekday, but imagine my surprise when I opened it today: a little New Year’s present.

  • AAF support (Advanced Authoring Format, an attempt to create a more intelligent interchange format that’s open to developers, backed by Adobe)
  • OMF export (Open Media Framework, as used by various apps including Cubase, SONAR, Pro Tools, and notably as an alternative in Final Cut … not to be confused with the fantastic early 90s One Must Fall PC game … heheh)
  • Final Cut Pro import (yes, that’s native, not via OMF)

And this isn’t just about wooing current Final Cut users: fully supporting OMF and AAF is an essential prerequisite to making media production more open and standards-based. Apple, of course, already helped create a world that isn’t strictly Avid-based, which is why they’ve also been backers of some of these initiatives.

Nothing against Final Cut, necessarily, but having alternatives is good – particularly when Apple’s flagship doesn’t even run on all Macs (sorry, non-Pro MacBook). Now, I had largely looked to Sony Vegas in the past, but Adobe has been busily updating Premiere and so far, CS4 looks far, far snappier performance-wise. Dealing with these file types is tricky, but if Adobe actually has nailed some of the import/export options, it’ll be very good news. And, anyway, if it works for you in your editing workflow, that’s really the main test, isn’t it?

  • Brendan

    Those are some nice features – Open standards, yes please!

    Did you know Photoshop CS4 Exteneded (actually, since CS3 extended) could process video and apply filters to it? Sound too good to be true? It is – filters only work if they're "scriptable" or some such garbage, so most interesting 3rd party filters will not work.

    If any readers give it a try, just remember to convert your imported video to a "smart object" (oh, the irony) in order to use the built in photoshop filters on your video clips.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, yes, Adobe isn't *always* as open as we'd like, but I'll give credit where it's due.

    The filter feature is semi-cool, yep. It sounds like what we really need is Pixel Bender (the new filter API) for Premiere, and not just static images in PS and Flash. :)

    There is an SDK for Premiere filters, and it's both Mac and Windows compatible: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/premiere/sdk/cs3/

    But Pixel Bender would be even better, if possible. http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/pixelbender/

  • http://momothemonster.com momo the monster

    Ooh – quite a present, indeed!

    I've been using Final Cut Pro since my film school days, and just started using Adobe Premiere a few weeks ago.

    Mostly, I wanted to natively edit the files from my Canon HF100, and I need support for multiple formats on one timeline. I know FCS 2.0 does the latter, but I needed to buy CS4 much for than FCS2, and Apple does not offer an upgrade for Final Cut Pro alone :(

  • Doug

    "particularly when Apple’s flagship doesn’t even run on all Macs (sorry, non-Pro MacBook)"

    The whole suite doesn't run, but Final Cut itself along with a large number of the applications do run on a non-pro Macbook (basically all except Motion and Colour). If you're paying for it yourself then it's probably not much use to know this, but my employer bought the license which I'm using so I just installed the bits I could run (and needed) onto my macbook.

  • http://wileywiggins.com Wiley Wiggins

    Doug took the words out of my mouth, you can do an install of just fcp from the studio suite onto a macbook without issue. Motion won't run correctly without a beefier graphics card though.

    You might want to re-examine Final Cut Studio. Motion, in particular, has come a long way- with the addition of 3D layers and cameras, midi control, tablet gestures and write-on animations… FCP and Motion both speak XML and can open Quartz Compositions… there's a lot to offer.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Oh, don't get me wrong — I still have a soft spot for Final Cut Studio, and Motion in particular (I reviewed both versions for Macworld). But for quick-and-dirty editing for the Web, I want something that's fast and well-integrated and edits everything without re-rendering, and so far that has tilted toward Premiere and Vegas. (There's also my small personal matter of my newer machine being a PC, which isn't necessarily Apple's fault.)

    You can indeed run Final Cut on a non-Pro MacBook, but it isn't officially supported by Apple. I'm impressed by how well Vegas in particular performs on low-spec machines.

    And just generally I'm interested in a little competition. ;)