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Adobe Premiere Pro CS6

The product's aesthetic and workflow improvements boost editing efficiency

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6’s aesthetic and workflow improvements over the previous version are immediately obvious at first glance. Whereas Premiere Pro CS5’s most notable features-64-bit processing and the Mercury Playback Engine-were under the hood, the CS6 interface has undergone a comprehensive redesign that not only transforms the overall look and feel of the program, but facilitates a more efficient editing workflow. The new release is also designed to integrate two newcomers to the Creative Suite: Adobe Prelude for ingesting and logging file-based media, and Adobe SpeedGrade, a color correction and grading tool. Premiere Pro’s companion DVD authoring program, Encore, is now a 64-bit application.

Premiere Pro’s Project panel has always let you view and organize assets in list form or as large icons. CS6 includes several enhancements designed to take full advantage of icon view’s visually oriented approach to organizing clips.

In previous versions, icon view’s video thumbnails were static; playback was possible only in a separate preview area of the Project panel. CS6’s icon view lets you scrub video playback (without audio) by moving the mouse pointer over a thumbnail image. This feature, called hover scrub, provides a much better reminder of a clip’s contents, and obviates the need for the separate preview area. If inadvertent scrubbing becomes a distraction, you can disable Hover Scrub in the Project panel’s menu.

You can also control a thumbnail’s video and audio playback by selecting it and using standard J-K-L keyboard shortcuts. You can even set a clip’s In and Out points by using the standard shortcuts, I and O. Consequently, it’s often more convenient to edit a clip right in the Project panel.

In previous versions, rearranging clips in icon view meant dragging and dropping thumbnails in a fixed grid that didn’t automatically remove gaps between thumbnails or reflow them according to the size of the panel. CS6’s icon view dynamically shifts the thumbnails as you reorder them or resize the panel. A new slider lets you resize the thumbnails themselves. These features make working with icons much easier, and make storyboard style organization and editing not just more feasible but more attractive.

With the introduction of Prelude and SpeedGrade-not to mention the advent of the Creative Cloud-it’s tempting to define Premiere Pro CS6 in terms of a larger video workflow. But although its place in the Creative Suite (or Cloud) is an important consideration, it shouldn’t bury the lead: Premiere Pro CS6 stands on its own merits. CS6 extends the performance gains of CS5 to a wider range of users, particularly mobile editors with the proper laptop configuration. But what makes CS6 a worthy upgrade is its focus on enhancing its raison d’être: more fluent video editing.