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Little Things Make the Big Difference – Editing in Adobe Premiere CS 5.5

About a month ago, Shane asked me to join the Elite Team as his editor. There’s an old saying: “I may be dumb but I’m not stupid.”…I said yes. To be on the cutting edge of this new era in filmmaking, I’m privileged to get my hands on Shane’s footage that, regardless of camera, is always stunning and a joy to cut. Once the shooting is done, my job begins. My choice of NLE is Adobe Premiere CS 5.5 (you can find the 30 day trial here), which I’ve been running nonstop for the last couple of months. I was on CS 5 since it came out and wanted to compare the two. I was excited to see what the new Final Cut Pro X was going to give us. I won’t delve any deeper into the option of using Final Cut Pro X but to say that it does not fit into my workflow and too many professional options are missing. What I want to focus on in this blog is the little things in PP CS 5.5 that make a big difference.

My last post concentrated on the creative process and editing aesthetics, so, this time around let’s geek out on tech and spec stuff that’s new in CS 5.5.

I like things in lists, so here’s mine for new features that help me work faster and better.

1. Search Keyboard Shortcuts I like to do as much work from the keyboard and short cuts as possible. I hate digging through menus and submenus to do one little thing a keystroke can do. Under the Premiere Pro tab is Keyboard Shortcuts. I mentioned last time it has a FCP 7 and Avid MC 5 template and both are updated with the newest configurations of the host program. The little change that rocks is the SEARCH BAR above the shortcuts. You can now enter the function you’re looking for and as you type…those matching functions and preset shortcuts pop up. In CS 5. you had to hunt for the function (that may be named something different than what you are used to) and this caused a couple of “accidental” catastrophic failures to my mouse as it flew across my edit suite into a wall.

example 1

2. Maximize Panels Quickly The accent (`) key that I mentioned last time (I called it tilde last time but I’ve been since informed by a prickly fellow editor that it’s actually the accent (`) key) makes the active frame maximize to full screen. Now you can hit “SHIFT+`“ and it will maximize the panel your cursor is hovering over and you don’t have to select that panel before maximizing. That’s one less keystroke you probably use thousands of times a day. I personally make the MAXIMIZE UNDER CURSOR my (`) shortcut instead of MAXIMIZE FRAME.

Timeline is active and I hover cursor over Program panel and hit (`).

Timeline is active and I hover cursor over Program panel and hit (`).

Program Panel is MAXIMIZED and active.

Program Panel is MAXIMIZED and active.

3. Video and Audio Transitions I like to set the Keyboard shortcut “Q” to be my default video transition and “W” to be my default audio transition. They’re bunched together at the top left of the keyboard and I don’t use them for “go to in point” and “go to outpoint” as the default in FCP. CS 5.5 doesn’t have the right-­‐click apply video transition or audio transition option but I prefer using a keyboard shortcut for this anyway. This brings me to a new addition to CS 5.5…the FILM DISSOLVE transition.

4. FILM DISSOLVE vs. CROSS DISSOLVE FILM DISSOLVE is a new transition that I make my default instead of CROSS DISSOLVE. (CMD+Q makes any transition you highlight in your video transition folder the default) The technical explanation of the difference is that FILM DISSOVLE has a linear light response. Someone told me that. Then they said gamma, highlights, 32-­‐bit, curve, log and pixel. Somewhere in there is the answer. All I know is that FILM DISSOLVE gives a more organic transition that deals with the highlights better. Usually in CROSS DISSOLVE the highlights fade away quickly and turn a fake grey muddy color for a second….translation UGLY. Here’s an example… in the first shot, I used CROSS DISSOVLE over the lead actor and an overlay of clouds. In the second shot, I used FILM DISSOLVE and it maintains more of the cloud layer as the whites carry over. It’s easier to see in motion, but I prefer the FILM DISSOLVE look over CROSS DISSOLVE.

CROSS DISSOLVE transition

CROSS DISSOLVE transition

FILM DISSOLVE transition

FILM DISSOLVE transition

5. Zooming Another keyboard shortcut essential for quick navigation is to set “Z” to zoom into timeline and “X” to zoom out of timeline. That way, I can plow deep into the timeline or back off quickly without activating the Zoom tool then deactivating. It falls in line under “Q” and “X” on the keyboard and is easy to find and remember. I don’t know about other editors, but I always end up tapping the “A” key numerous times after making an edit or change to something. Pressing “A” gets me back to the selection tool and out of any other mode I was in. It’s kind of like a nervous tic for me to tap it A LOT so as not to suddenly slip or move a clip one frame and not catch it until I’ve delivered the project.

6. New UNLINK UNLINK is a feature that will be the boon of many editors dealing with DSLR projects. Once you select one or several clips in the timeline…you can right-­‐click and choose UNLINK. This was available in CS 5, but the new little thing that means a lot in CS 5.5 is that the audio clips are unselected as well as unlinked. This means you can move the video clips, which are still selected, out of the way without dragging the audio. Or lasso the audio and hit the delete key without deleting the video. On import and dialog synching, this can take days and days for features or TV shows. A big thank you to the assistant editors out there that this job often falls upon. It is brain-­‐numbing and soul-­‐crushing but essential. What really sucks is that you have to turn off Pandora during this, as you need your ears to be frame accurate. As small as this UNLINK feature may be, it saves much time and many keystrokes. After you unlink…it’s time to drop in the good audio, synch and then use…

Select clips in timeline and right-­‐click to find UNLINK option

Select clips in timeline and right-­‐click to find UNLINK option

7. MERGE CLIPS MERGE CLIPS is another new feature that specifically applies to all dual sound system projects. Every no/low/indie budget seems to be shooting DSLR for the amazing visual impact and small form factor (not just razor-­‐thin DOF please!) and attractive price. Once you synch the new audio (up to 16 tracks) with video, right-­‐click and choose MERGE CLIPS. This creates a new clip in the Project panel that says “-­‐MERGED” at the end of it. You can also drag the clips you want to merge directly into the Project panel, but that is just plain awkward and scary looking when 16 audio tracks float across the screen.

8. Subtract and Divide Blend Modes OMG! Subtract and Divide blend modes added under the OPACITY tab so you can…ummm…hmmm…make your own “2001” eye-­‐blink time travel scene? Hey if you need them, there they are. I’m sure someone will send me a clip with killer usage of them and I will eat crow. But hey, it’s better to have more options than less.

artistic use of the DIVIDE blend mode

artistic use of the DIVIDE blend mode.

9. The Mercury Playback Engine CUDA (GPU) This now supports many more graphics cards to give better real-­‐time playback of video and effects. Here’s a link. CS 5 could only handle 4G of VRAM while CS 5.5 can handle 4+, so go crazy! Anything that helps me get my day done quicker so I can get out of my cave and frolic in the sunshine is cool by me.

10. AUDITION for MAC Bundled into CS 5.5 is the powerful audio software AUDITION that is finally available to MAC users. Editors are expected to do more and more audio work on the front end so the clients get a better idea of what the final product will sound like. I think it behooves all editors to spend as much time as possible in becoming Audio Gurus to complement their video editing skills. It’s amazing how much smoother your edit looks/plays when audio is addressed as you go. Nothing looks worse than the new BMW M9 uber-­‐turbo 800hp roadster drifting around a corner and there is no audio bed. Export your sequence to Audition by…

Selecting the sequence in your Project panel, right-­‐click and chose EDIT IN AUDITION…

Selecting the sequence in your Project panel, right-­‐click and chose EDIT IN AUDITION…

Drop in some screaming engines, squealing tires, whooshes, low- end rumble and Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone (optional). The built-­‐in preset tab has an impressive collection of commonly used FXs that I used to build from scratch. Round-­‐trip back to PP CS 5.5 and your client will thank you because your picture now rocks.

Preset Filters options in Audition

Preset Filters options in Audition

11. Adobe Media Encoder This is updated for CS 5.5 as well. It’s wicked fast, has a cleaner interface than any other encoder. Even a monkey can kick out pristine files. But don’t trust monkeys…just believe me on that one. With all rough cuts, reels, short films, teasers and client review files being posted online or shown on iPads, Media Encoder has added specific new templates to address this. New Vimeo and iPad presets guarantee the best quality versus size for these and most other platforms. Nothing screams amateur more than funky aspect, pillar-­‐boxed, low-­‐rez Youtube videos. Also, I love the After Effects chime signaling the encode is done. It’s the little things, right?…

Media Encoder CS 5.5 export options

Media Encoder CS 5.5 export options

If you have read this far, I thank you. It may not be the most exciting information but if my NLE and workflow are optimally set up to my liking, I can slay the material and get it to a good spot much faster. You may not even realize how many little things you do in such repetition that wear you out. Fatigue is a common byproduct of editing…both mental and physical. We’ve all left the edit bay after 12 hours of sitting down all day cutting and your body feels and smells like a bucket of Spam. Dialog and songs wake me at night, days after the spot is done.

Analyze your most common edit techniques and see if there’s a way to do it simpler. Dig into the keyboard shortcut menus and even if you have a set‐up you like, I’m sure you will find a new shortcut to enhance your bag of tricks. If you have any questions or have any projects that need a sneaky Czechoslovakian editor…feel free to contact me. Thanks again to Shane for having me on the Elite Team and I hope everyone gleaned at least a couple of nuggets of goodness from my post.

Ciao for now…

Vashi Nedomansky
vashikoo@yahoo.com

Author: Vashi

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96 Comments

  1. Hey man, great read! I have to agree with you with some things like film dissolve and blend modes.

    You talk about hating the dialogue syncing process but there is a program/tool/addon called Plural Eyes that syncs the pro audio to the in-cam audio. This makes syncing audio to video a breeeze!!!

    Other ‘elite team’ member should post more articles about their specific field!! Keep it up guys, great looking stuff!

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Alex! Thanks for the nice comment. I agree with you on Plural Eyes. I do use it and it makes it a lot easier for editors…I was just staying within new additions to PP 5.5 that I found helpful…without resorting to a 3rd party. Besides, the assistants have to cut their teeth in the trenches by synching hours of footage manually! It’s not supposed to be fun! Thanks again for bringing up the Plural Eyes option!

      Post a Reply
  2. Love this entry and would appreciate more feedback and technique info from the pros regarding the post productions tools you guys are using. Vashi, do you also incorporate After Effects in your workflow? Any favorite plugins for Premiere that standout in your view?

    Thanks Shane and the Elite team for acting as mentors for us aspiring film makers out in the middle of America.

    Post a Reply
    • John,

      I use After Effects on every project for one reason or another. I love the Dynamic Link option and having all the control and options of AE to tweak my shots, then see the clip updated in my PP timeline. It’s seriously some kind of voodoo magic trick. In terms of plug-ins…I’ve beta tested for Red Giant Software and was involved in the Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista process. I use both of those in the color correction phase. Colorista is superb for quality as it works in 32-bit float and has very intuitive and easy 3 way controls…and since Colorista II came out (and even more recently is a part of MBL 11), they offer awesome secondary color correction modes. I don’t care for the Magic Bullet Looks presets too much…they all look too extreme for my taste. What’s great about MBL is that you build from scratch all the single tools you need. A little goes a long way! Both Colorista and MBL work in PP and AE. Besides that I love Andrew Kramer’s stuff. One called Twitch, I use all day long. Thanks for the comment John and let me know if you have any other questions!

      Post a Reply
  3. When I was looking at getting into the DSLR “film” world I had a choice of buying FCP or Premiere ( the bundle of PP and AE actually ). I was not hearing anything about Adobe’s offerings and everyone of course was using FCP. I downloaded the trial of PP and loved it. Working with Canon 5D files without conversion sold me and I picked up the whole workflow very easily. I had doubts though because everyone else was using FCP and I thought I should be too. After some more thought, I went with CS5 and haven’t looked back since. Its a great package and am glad to see my decision is one more and more people are going to, which can only be good for everyone. Adobe seems to listen to its users and adapt its products based on feedback.

    Thanks for the post, Vashi. I learned a couple keyboard tricks while reading this and I also learned to not trust monkeys. A valuable lesson for all.

    Mel

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Mel,

      Sorry you had to learn about the monkeys the hard way like me. Such is life. I’m glad you’re enjoying PP and the rest of the CS5 suite. Once I started cutting 5D footage almost 3 years ago, if it wasn’t transcoded, it wasn’t happening. The freedom now to shoot, dump a card onto a USB hard drive or even edit off a card reader plugged into a laptop is nothing short of mind-boggling. All in real time as well! I’m sold on PP and look forward to whatever surprises they have in store for us in the future. Best of luck Mel!

      Post a Reply
  4. Great review of PP CS 5.5. I’ve been a FCP user since version 3. I’ve dabbled in PP CS4 occasionally. Work on AE EVERY day. It’s just logical to go with the Adobe Suite, especially with Audition now in the bundle. Apple just made the decision for me much easier with the release of FCPX (really it’s like iMovie on steroids). Thanks for sharing!!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for posting Matt. I’ve cut on FCP since 2002 and had no major complaints and appreciated each upgrade and new set of options…until now. Enough said. I found PP CS3 so buggy and crash-prone that I wanted to Hulk Smash things all day. PP CS4 was better but still dodgy. When CS5 came out…Adobe killed it. Same interface but everything just sang. Audition just pushed the Suite into super awesome land for MAC users. The last time I opened FCP 7 was to export XML timelines of my projects so I could migrate to CS5. Now give us CS6!!!!!!!

      Post a Reply
  5. Nice job Vashi. 30 years ago I was hopping with enthusiasm to learn CMX. Today Im just as excited as I go through the learning curve with PP CS 5.5. As a Avid DS and FCP editor I learned to love what After Effects could do for my clients. Now the thrill is how easy it is to dynamically link from PP to AE.
    I share your exuberance for what Adobe is doing, especially after the disaster many of us just experienced with Apple. Im hopeful the depressed economy here in Las Vegas will pick up soon so I can really have fun cutting with CS5.5. Until then I will bury myself in tutorials (Lynda.com, Richard Harringtons new book) in preparation for that day. Happy editing!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Tom! I appreciate 2 words you used in describing the editing experience with CS 5.5. EXUBERANCE and FUN. Editing should be FUN and you should be friggin excited while your’e doing it. Giving us tools that let you build your story without getting in the way of the creative process is what I’ve been looking for. I found it here. Happy editing to you too!

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  6. Been using Premiere and After Effects in CS5 for almost a year when they had switched over to CS5.5. Didn’t notice anything huge right of the bat, but once you start doing your regular work… You find brand new features.

    I was super impressed with the Warp Stabilizer Filter in After Effects, dolly shots with even the slightest vibration or movement can be really apparent on a large screen. Running this on your footage really saved some shots IMO.

    I love the interdependence of these two software’s, I do wish it was all wrapped up in to one though. Having to “Replace with After Effects composition” can get old, wish I could just apply the filter I want and not have to leave the currents window to do so.

    Anyways, love and been loving Adobe since birth… Keep going!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Tom. Great point about Warp Stabilizer in AE. I just shot a short film last weekend as DP and there were a couple slider and dolly moves that would bump a little bit. I knew, in editing, I could stabilize them and move on. The time it takes to reset and do another take, with big moves, adds up quickly and then you’re scrambling later in the day on getting the rest of your shots. I don’t mind the “Replace with After Effects Composition” option but I know what you mean. I just appreciate that all my FX shots live in their own AE project that I can send to other VFX artists or work on them separately. Either way, its nice to have the seamless integration and harness the AE power.

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  7. Thank you Vashi I needed the geek diff between the two versions. You’ve convinced me, too many unlinks and keyboard customizes in the old regime combined with a love/hate on cross dissolve means I’m moving to 5.5 hasta pronto. Plus export improvements and improved sound. I personally think premiere CS5 titles suck, any improvements there you enjoy such as auto-matched res to footage, better adobe like/illustrator style font magic? I use AE to animate but an in app improvement would make me happy.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Scott, glad you appreciated the peak under the hood. There are more improvement but I just touched on the ones I use daily or are suited to indie filmmaking. I use the PP Titles as needed or to temp, then end up getting PS files or building them in AE for the final. I’m just glad I never have to deal with FCP’s prehistoric built in Titler ever again.

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  8. First and foremost, great post Vashi! I edit in both Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, I’m just now learning Avid. I have been using Adobe Premiere Pro since version 2.0 (which I don’t think they were calling it Pro at the time), and Final Cut Pro since 2005 (not sure the version, but that’s when I started using it). I have watched the development of Adobe Premiere Pro and it is definitely my #1 preferred NLE, especially with the integration of the Master Collection products (After Effects, Photoshop, Soundbooth/Audition, etc.) The ability to have more than one software open, save a piece of the project in Photoshop or AE and watch it update immediately to Premiere Pro, saves a lot of time (and money for that matter) and it is truly what makes Adobe’s products powerful. Especially now with DSLRs, Premiere Pro is honestly what convinced me to begin using the DSLRs (aside from the great imagery I feel in love with), knowing that I didn’t have to wait 30 minutes to an hour for a miniDV tape to import, that I can dump the footage onto a hard drive from the card, open the project and dive in. Adobe Premiere Pro has come a long way, but I’m sure to hear Hollywood raving about this product in the months to come. Can’t wait to see what comes of Adobe Premiere Pro 6/7.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Jude, (had to do it!) I’m in the same boat. FCP and Avid for a long time and now just really happy with my edit system and how much more productive I am. I literally can address any issue (video, sound, image, mastering) at the highest quality and farm out the stuff I can’t do in a industry standard format that anyone can work on. Self-contained madness at its best! Take care….

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  9. Great post. What’s your workflow for CC and grading? Do you use the Color Finesse plugin in AE at all?

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Jim. I love babbling about this stuff and trying to share tips to make editing quicker, smarter, easier and more fun. My workflow for CC/grading depends on the gig, but I’ve gone to basically on-lining inside PP as much as I can for the initial CC and evening stuff out. I use Colorista as my go to initial balance tool. On 30 and 60 second spots, it’s basically to give the client and myself a better idea what the final image will look like. There’s always (sorry Shane!) a shot or two that just slightly off from the others and I jump on it so the piece will flow and not be jarring if a rogue shot pops up. After that I’m really comfortable doing the bulk of the work all in AE. I know that Social Network and Monsters were both on-lined/finished in AE and that’s 2 extremely different budgeted films that use the same workflow to finish. If it’s good enough for them……
      I’ve used Color Finesse and it is really powerful but I find myself quicker on Colorista and other plug-ins. I also use Magic Bullet Looks, but I only pick and choose what I need from the toolkit. A little goes a long way. I hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions! Thanks again Jim…

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks!
        Agreed on Looks…great program that would be so much better IMHO if they removed all the presets!

        Post a Reply
        • …and I assume u are referring to Colorista ll, and NOT the free Colorista plugin which only has the 3 way.

          Post a Reply
          • Actually the free Colorista is identical to the Colorista II plugin minus the secondary color tools. The free version is all you need for just tweaking and matching footage without doing more intensive, specific adjustments. It also includes saving CDL’s which allows any color correction with Colorista Free to be moved onto any dedicated CC high end systems (Davinci, Pablo, SpeedGrade). That’s pretty insane for free!

  10. Vashi,

    Another question about CC and your final output. I find that Media Encoder always sucks the life out of my color. I know it doesn’t support color management, and I assume this is why video rendered there lacks the punch I want. So, do I correctly infer that you use AE for your final delivered output? AE supports color management. I’ve had trouble getting appropriate files, though, for online delivery. What do you recommend for rendering your best, final piece ready for Vimeo or Youtube?

    Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • We use Media Encoder at Hurlbut Visuals for all the projects I’ve edited (25+) and haven’t encountered the “color suckage” yet. It all depends on source footage codec, project settings and other initial decisions you make before you start the edit. Fire me off an email at vashikoo@yahoo.com with your project info and a screen capture of timeline and then output images and I’ll look into. I’ve exported from PP and AE and it always matches for us so I’m curious to see what little gremlins are running around on your end! Thanks Ken.

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  11. This and the last post you did were really invaluable to me. Thanks Valshi.
    I’m curious to know your process and whether you save color grading as one of the last steps. I personally like to edit a bit, then grade and back and forth until I get it right. I feel that seeing the grading helps to define the tone of the scene and can even effect the edits based on the mood being creating.

    However one problem I run into on Premiere is the ability to turn off all effects especially when I’m not grading anymore but editing and want to preview without any hiccups due to heavy grading effects. Can you share some of your thoughts or perhaps this is another blog.

    Post a Reply
    • Patrick Z, good question. I tend to do only light CC during the edit just to smooth out footage so it plays smoothly and nothing jumps out as a rogue shot to take you out of the viewing experience. If I go hog wild with a bunch of effects in the PP timeline, I’ll get an occasional hiccup so I save those more intensive corrections for once we have picture lock so I don’t waste time grading shots that might not be there at the final edit. Under the pressures of deadlines for broadcast and edit schedules, I can’t eff around with too much CC at that stage, even though I want to so the images pop and really sing. Hope that helps!

      Post a Reply
  12. Thanks so much for that. A question for you- some 5d footage does not look very filmic at all, looking more like video even though it’s shot with cinestyle profile, 25fps, 1/50s and cinematic lighting. Any thoughts as to why this may be? Is is simply a question of good grading or is there some other element that affects this? Cheers

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Leon…you pose a very subjective question. Everyone’s sensibilities are different and the tone of the project dictates what the images should look/feel like. Feel free to email me (vashikoo@yahoo.com) some screen grabs of the footage in question and I can tell you what I think. Coolio?

      Post a Reply
      • That would be so awesome, thanks man – they are on the way!

        Post a Reply
  13. Hi Vashi,
    Thank you for taking the time and effort to write this post.
    It is an unique one and got some helpful tips for me.

    I think it is great that this blog has also posts from others then only shane.
    It makes it more divers, and for me interesting.

    thanks,
    Pepijn

    Post a Reply
    • Pepijn, thanks for the kind words. Glad you got something out of it…I love passing on tips that help other filmmakers achieve their visions quicker and more efficiently. If you have specific questions, feel free to email me or send Shane a note so we can have more edit/workflow blogs in the future.

      Post a Reply
  14. hi! thanks for the tips, but i’m curious to know what configuration for the mac pro do you use, I have to buy one but I don’t know if i need to wait for the new sandy bridge processor and thunderbolt interface…

    And do you use some color correction panel like the euphonix or the tangent device? are they good enough?

    Post a Reply
    • I’m running a 3 year old Mac Pro Tower with 12gigs RAM. I have a GTX 285 cuda card and a GT 120 to unleash the Mercury Playback Engine and my Davinci Resolve 8 seat. I’m looking to get a Tangent Wave Panel as soon as I finish up a couple edit gigs and can track one down.

      In terms of the new Mac Pros with sandy bridge and thunderbolt…if you need something now there are many options that won’t come at the premium price of a whole new rig. Depends on your budget and necessity for what you are doing right now. My system is older, but stable and consistent and sometimes that means more then newer and unproven. Hope that helps!

      Post a Reply
      • Just to add a note, Federico check out Apple’s refurbished options (on Apple Store – bottom left side under Special Deals). We watch it often and have bought a few systems at a much lower cost (and not all that outdated). It’s a nice option with full warranty. Worth a look.

        Post a Reply
  15. Federico…good question. I have 3 edit bays at my post house M-Theory Productions. All Mac intel towers. I think the most important component for CS 5.5 is the graphics card so you take advantage of the Mercury Playback Engine. It takes the load off the processors so you can get more realtime playback and just work without glitches and dropped frames. CS 5.5 now supports many more graphics cards so take a peak and see what fits your budget. Get as much RAM as affordable and away you go! Also here’s a quick guide that might answer the Sandy Bridge processor..

    http://www.videoguys.com/Guide/RE/0xf7a4e1e76627e8051251d28ba726e4f8/Videoguys+System+Recommendations+for+Video+Editing/0x4aebb06ba071d2b6a2cd784ce243a6c6.aspx

    In terms of control surfaces, both the Euphonix and the Tangent are more then good enough! They really let you fly through the color edit and those 2 that you mention cost around $1300. That investment saves so much time compared to mousing through a color grade. I have used both with Color Finesse (bundled in CS 5.5) and my Davinci Resolve and love the fluidness and speed I can color at. Hope this helped!

    Post a Reply
  16. Hey Vashi,
    It was great working with you this past weekend! I only knew you as a DP, but this stuff is AMAZING! I started cutting TAPE TO TAPE, then moved to Adobe Premier 6.5 (I think, if I remember correctly?), then on to FCP. Never got to Avid but this seems to be the best system for Mac editing as you can correct just about any problem! I will look into the system further, but your info is really detailed and your technical knowledge is impressive! I haven’t edited recently because I always encounter too many technical issues, but I love cutting scenes together and putting the flow of the story on screen. Alas, the enthusiasm and joy always seemed to give way to wanting to “Hulk Smash” the computer! Great blog! I will be going over this for a long time! Thanks and good luck with the new system!

    Post a Reply
  17. thanks Vashi, Glenn Hartong & I Have recently downloaded Premiere Pro CS5.5 to try it out. We’re excited about so many of the features. We had a few questions you’ve addressed here – so I just had to say thank you for taking the time to write this!

    Post a Reply
    • My pleasure Malinda. Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions…

      Post a Reply
  18. Does CS5.5 currently have anything like the audio sync feature in FCX? Or is something like PluralEyes still the way to go for dual-system audio?

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Bolejnic,

      CS 5.5 doesn’t have anything automatic to sync audio as of now. You have to manually sync and then merge clips. PluralEyes is what I use right now to sync and is definitely worth the $149. Have heard from a couple other editors that FCPX’s automatic sync is hit or miss.

      Post a Reply
  19. I’ve got one more project to edit on FCP7 and then I’m going to switch to Adobe CS5.5.
    Planning to shoot a feature on the Alexa this winter but can’t seem to find an Adobe post workflow anywhere.
    Can anyone point me in the right direction or tell me what’s what?
    Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Will. Very good question. I think it depends if you are editing ARRIraw or 4444 prores or 422 prores. Fast drives or RAID will help and was checking around for some CS5.5 workflows. Found this linkhttp://www.arridigital.com/forum/index.php?topic=5413.0 I’m sure details and workflows will be updated, tested and improved by the time you get ready to shoot. Hope that helps!

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks Vashi – cheers for the reply. Could find almost nothing on the subject online.
        Plan is to shoot ProRes 4444. Nice and simple with no faff – gonna be a pretty low budget movie. Just saw the trailer for IN TIME which Deakins shot on ProRes 4444 and it looks truly fantastic.
        I know it’s all so simple with Final Cut but I’m moving on. Don’t fancy FCPX and want 64 bit and want the After Effects integration. If I can work it out I’ll do my own “online” then export as either 2k DPX or ProRes and get the grade done properly in Baselight.
        I love the idea of Adobe and guess I hope someone comes up with a simple solution to post workflow as it looks so simple with Alexa and FCP7.

        Post a Reply
  20. Appreciate this post – thank you!! We’re loving CS 5.5. Absolutely no problems with it thus far.

    Post a Reply
    • Shane, glad to here you’re enjoying the experience! That makes at least 2 of us!

      Post a Reply
  21. Hi Vashi, thanks for sharing. I teach PremierePro in college. Your post has highlighted the most important features in PP. I’ll point my students here for their reference and inspiration :)

    When it comes to editing corporate films, I use Edius.

    I love Edius with its HDSLR native editing, free style mask, support for various formats. I don’t mean to compare softwares, I’m just interested to know where does Edius stand in your line of work? What are your thoughts in this, from another professional?

    Post a Reply
    • Baron…thanks for the kind post. I had a previous CS 5 editing post that had some cool tips you might want to share with your students as well…
      http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2011/02/18/editing-shane-by-vashi-nedomansky/

      I haven’t used Edius yet personally or professionally. Avid MC and FCP for almost 10 years and Adobe Premiere since CS3. I’ll take a look into it but right now everything is humming along for my workflows in CS 5.5, which is my go-to NLE.

      Thanks again Baron,

      Vashi

      Post a Reply
      • Vashi, thanks for the reply. You know what? I’ve been sharing that post of yours with my students for some time now. I thanked you then and I thank you now for listing down those 9 clear cut editing rules.

        Looking forward to reading more of your posts, if you find the time, that is!

        Congratulations on your new engagement with the Elite Team :)

        Post a Reply
  22. Hello Again Vashi:
    Since we last spoke I have been assimilating knowledge of the Adobe software and support hardware like an industrial vacuum cleaner. I am curious how you output video for client viewing and QCing the image. Do you use an engineering type monitor? Ive always used AJA Kona 3 for this purpose and they have really stepped up to the plate in developing drivers for CS 5.5. This method means I don’t use any CUDA technology off a graphics card. What is your experience in this part of the work flow?

    Post a Reply
    • Welcome back Tom! I too am scouring the intrawebs for any/all info on workflow, tips and scoops to aid my daily editing experience. Fun and exciting as everyday brings more tidbits and nuggets to test and hopefully implement.

      In terms of client viewing I utilize 2 options. First is my HP Dreamcolor monitor that Shane also recommends and is simply amazing. Second option for a larger viewing experience for my clients is a Matrox Mini HDMI out to my 42″ Vizion LCD which is wall mounted across from my client couch. Matrox has an excellent color calibration tool to tweak the LCD and then I’m absolutely confident in what the client is seeing is accurate. Hope that helps…

      Post a Reply
  23. As a shooter/editor who migrated from Avid to Adobe Premiere (gasp!) years ago, it’s so cool to see PP getting some love. I recently acquired my own Canon 5D Mark II–with that gem, my CS5 and a great codec called CineForm–I can hear the words of Obi Wan whispering, “Congratulations my boy, you’ve entered a whole new world…”

    Post a Reply
  24. Just started testing 5.5 for the first time. So i dumped in raw 5d footy. Right away I started to get wierd flickers in playback on the time line. Using an mac with i7 cpu and 8gig of ram. So far im not impressed. So can it really handle 5d raw or should we still transcode?

    Post a Reply
    • I haven’t seen flickering on my end. I’ve even cut right off a CF card reader with no issues. What are your project settings in PP? Playback settings? Fire me off some more info on your system and set-up and I’ll tell you what I think. thanks for asking Travis!

      Post a Reply
  25. I can’t believe I’m giving serious thought to moving over from FCP. Been on FCP since the first version but times have changed and so have the formats & workflow. PP is really strong. Everyone I talk too and everything I see about PP 5.5 is really impressive. Great tools. Looks like it’s time. I’m coming over and bring my Mac with me :)

    Thanks for your perspective and input Vashi.

    Best,
    Paul

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for chipping in Paul. I’ve been on FCP since 2003 and have been very happy till the last 2 years. With the stagnation of FCP and the fluidity of Adobe CS5, I made the switch almost 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. Things change…we have to move on and evolve. I hope you have a painless transition and let me know if you have any questions…

      Vashi

      Post a Reply
  26. Hi for the third time Vashi. I wanted to share a discovery I just made that gives PrP a wonderful tool set for the creation of innovative and unique transitions. The only other nle I used that had this power was Avid DS and its node structures. You might not need them all the time, but its great to have when you do!

    There have been several discussions recently regarding the lack of good transitions for PrP. As a working editor I need a variety of tools just in case that marketing video or music video needs a different kind of transition just to spice things up. The Avid DS excelled at this by using a node structure to allow you to mix and match every filter in the box to create something unique and different when that need arose (i.e. clients asking for it).

    I spent my share of Google time researching this and all I found was limited and weak (in the sense of programming controls).

    Well, last Friday I stumbled upon a product that I prematurely dismissed many months ago. Boy was I wrong.

    Boris Red will soon release Red 5 for Mac (64 bits).Its already available for the PC. It does many things I dont need since After Effects is my go to motion graphics software. But it does one major thing that I see as an answer to the prayers of editors like me… it allows you to make customized transitions or to use their vast library and alter as needed. It has lots of things from Continuum as well as the AE library known as Final Effects complete. You can stack them, matte them,blend them as you choose.The degree of control rivals that of Sapphire and Avid DS. It renders fast and gives PrP editors more choices when they want it. It should be released soon. I now feel like I have what I need to make just about every client happy. I tend to do more commercial, marketing and corporate communication projects which tend to need a little more glitz then narratives or docs. I feel like I have discovered a real treasure. I neglected to add that Boris Red 5 is already out for the PC as a 64 bit plugin for PrP. The Mac version will be out in the near future. I think this is a positive thing for PrP and enhances what it can offer the vast variety of editors flocking to it these days .

    Post a Reply
    • I used Boris a lot in FCP and enjoyed their plug-ins. Anything that gives you more options to be creative and visually striking (especially in corporate/commercial spots) is good by me. Between PP and AE, there are a shit-ton of options available now and more to come every week. Keep me updated Tom! Thanks….

      Post a Reply
  27. Hi Vashi,
    Thanks for the post and all the tips, very helpfull.
    I was wondering if you could help me out. I do my editing in PP 5.5 and then go to AE for cc in ColoristaII. I use dynamic linking for that but PP fails to send handles with the clip so I end up with a problem. Probably I’m missing something but do you know if there is a way to send clips with handles to AE?

    Thanks, Mario

    Post a Reply
    • Good Morning Mario!

      I checked my workflow and here’s what I do that should solve your problem. In the PP timeline, I select all the clips i want to send and right-click…Replace with AE composition. In AE, it will open with each separate clip on its own layer with as much handles as the original footage contains.

      If you copy the sequence from the PP project window, you can copy that into an AE project with the same result but it is not Dynamically linked.

      Let me know if that helps you out!

      Vashi

      Post a Reply
  28. Im not Vashi, but why dont you just use Colorista as a clip effect in Premiere Pro ? Ive done it and it works very well.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Tom! I use Colorista in PP when I’m doing a 30/60 second spot or short form project. It is fast and i maintain the highest color/quality fidelity on the fly. I go to AE through dynamic link for any heavier lifting work or if I need to access 3rd party plug-ins that don’t live in PP.

      Last week I cut a 5K project for RED with up to 3 layers and we stayed in PP 5.5 the whole time and used the Ultimate Keyer and simple CC. It looked amazing but we really bumped down the playback resolution to achieve realtime playback. It was so impressive to not have to leave PP for the whole workflow and then export with Media Encoder in Quad HD and 5K custom presets. Insane!

      Post a Reply
      • Hey Vashi, if you plan to do a lot of Red, you might want to consider getting a Red Rocket card or 2 for your system They really supercharge your ability to cut 5K and Epic pieces ,at a monumental cost ($4995 I think).

        Post a Reply
        • Yup yup! Had one Red Rocket card for the gig. 3 layers of 5K is many much pixels and info. Played back at 1/4 resolution and still looked amazing. Beast of a video card.

          Post a Reply
  29. Wow, you had a RR card and you STILL had to go down to 1/4 resolution? Time to get another RR card :D

    Post a Reply
  30. Hlello Vashi

    I’m a FCP user since 2001, now with the DSLR progress, I guess I will switch to CS5. I read about everything is 32 bit floating point in PP, but I cannot understand in witch codec will render PP if I use an effect. If the input file is AVCHD, the rendered effect will be also AVCHD? In FCP you choose what codec will be (mostly the sequence setting or prores ), but how is handled in Premier Pro?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Toni,

      To my knowledge, PP keeps everything native in AVCHD (if your sequence is set to match the footage) during the edit and applies the effects in 32-bit floating as they state. The only time codec comes into play is on the export through Media Encoder. At that point you can choose native codec export (same as sequence format) or kick it out to Prores, DPX, h.264 or any other codec of your choice for the master file. PP then goes back to the source footage and renders it out from there. The renders during the edit are temporary…but can be used for the export if you stay in the codec of the sequence for the export. Hope that helps!

      Vashi

      Post a Reply
      • Thx, helps, but I wonder, if you put on the monitor the image, for Color correction, which needs render, is not important what you see? I mean, monitoring a 4.2.0 Avchd is not the same like monitoring a rendered prores sequence. Or every time will be processed the original footage for monitoring during the color correction? Why is then the render preview?

        Post a Reply
        • A couple things to consider. PP converts h.264 DSLR footage to 4:4:4 and processes at 32-bit inside your sequence. Any color correction is done at the highest quality. If you export a prores you can choose 8 or 10 bit but any work done on that prores file will be done on a 8-bit 4:2:0 file that was converted to 10 bit. That is nowhere near the same level of quality as working inside PP. Also, any color work has to monitored on a calibrated monitor (LCD,CRT.LED) and not on your computer main monitor. I use a Matrox MX mini out to a 42″ LED that is calibrated through the Matrox software. It’s a nice, inexpensive workflow that clients appreciate. Also plan on grabbing a HP Dreamcolor shortly as well for the edit bay and on set.

          Post a Reply
  31. Hey thank you for posting such an informative article. I am a new Premiere CS5.5 user, I am having problems rendering my project in general. I cut it in Premiere then do color in After Effects. After this I tried rendering in After Effects but it does not work, the program crashes. I then tried rendering the project into a QT MP4 file in Media Encoder but it freezes. How do you successfully render a project into a view able file?

    Post a Reply
    • HI Pavle,

      I’de love to help you out but without knowing what version of PP and AE you are running, what kind of computer, footage codec, project settings, sequence settings and all the other little gremlin-inducing specs on your end…it’s almost impossible for me. If you’de like to email all the specifics of your project, I can suggest or narrow down what your problems could be. Google is also your friend in the meantime…It’s solved a shit-ton of my issues. When I had this problem in my project, I tracked it down to a corrupted file which, in my case, I found because the encode froze at the same time (36%) so I looked in my timeline and narrowed it down. I hope that helps and email me at vashikoo@yahoo.com with all your specs so I can give it the once over. Hang in there!!!!

      Post a Reply
  32. Hi Vashi

    I read all the stuff You linked above, and more, so now is clear for me the color management in CS5. For thous interested, I put a summary here:
    No matter what codec you use, internally CS5 will represent in 64 bits 444 color space the footage. If you make color corrections, fx, or no matter what changes, CS5 will play back or not in real time, but if you need to render for smooth playback, CS5 will render it in I frame MPEG, ( at least in my settings, this is the only available setting ). But if you export the whole edited sequence, CS5 will take the original footage, process the CC, FX, etc., and export in the targeted export format ( DPX, ProRES, mp4, etc. ) at the best quality. Opposite in the FCP, you can choose the render format (ex. ProRes ), and if the rendered sequence parts were in the same codec like the final export, FCP read those portions without any additional rendering ( but rerender if not the same codec ). For example: shoot in XDCam EX, render for preview in ProRes, export in XDCam Ex, needs to rerender the altered portions. Shoot in XDCam Ex, render for preview in ProRes, export in ProRes, needs to render the unaltered XDCam files, read and put together the previous rendered portions.
    Am I understood well? Can you confirm this Vashi?

    Best regards

    Post a Reply
  33. hey guys i have a question im trying to build a editing machine and ill be using adobe premiere pro cs5.5 and after effect AE can anyone give me a advise which computer should i buy? thanks

    Post a Reply
    • My advice is don’t ever buy Adobe Premiere. It is incompatible with Windows 7.

      Post a Reply
  34. I am so angry at Adobe and the fact that their software is the most useless editing application I have ever used. I just spend $8,000 on a new editing machine and another $1,600 on Adobe Productions Suite CS 5.5.

    Even on this brand new machine with two six core processors and 16GB of RAM, Premiere cannot do even the simplest of operations, including:

    1. Cannot play files (captured through Premiere) without crashing.
    2. Cannot generate a peak file without freezing up and requiring a forced shutdown.
    3. Cannot edit a timeline with more than six clips without crashing.

    When I called Adobe tech support, they told me that I had to pay more money to make these features work.

    Without any of this functionality, what the heck good is this as an editing software?

    Post a Reply
    • Sorry you’re having these problems Don. I don’t have any of them. I doubt that the software is the worst of your problems.

      Post a Reply
  35. @Don,

    Make sure you have at leas 16GB of RAM — because in spite of the enhanced CPU & GPU multithreading less ram will cause a bottle neck. I think the technical term is “through put” — and 16GB or more is what increased your through put so that your main hard drive running the app can function smoothly while editing multiple HD clips.

    You’ll also want to split the scratch disk tasks, so you’re not over utilizing any one of your extra hard drives. I’m assuming you have at least 3 total internal drives. And if so, you might want to consider setting them up as RAID 0 – which is actually a non-redundant RAID with double the processor strength, so be sure to have external back ups.

    Hope that helps. …I had to figure all of it out the hard way.

    Post a Reply
  36. p.s. I meant to say you may want to set up two internal HDs as RAID O and keep your main HD for running CS5.

    Post a Reply
  37. Much thanks for this Vashi. Please keep sharing your brain and your experience in editing, I’d love a part 2 to this.

    One thing I noted – when you want to set your default video transition there is a typo above: (CMD+Q makes any transition you highlight in your video transition folder the default)

    CMD+Q, I found that you can CTRL+click the transition you’d like, such as Film Dissolve, to set the default transition. Then you just select at least two of your frames, hit Q once you have the keyboard shortcut setup and you’re off to the races.

    I’m curious, what is your preferred audio transition default?

    Post a Reply
  38. Thanks for the post.

    How does PPro handle large projects like a feature film? Does it bog down with huge amounts of edits in the timeline like FCP sometimes can? Media Composer seems to handle that part with more ease. Curious if you’ve had experience along these lines?
    Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Dan,

      Good question and definitely a very important one when dealing with feature film size projects that easily push into the hundreds of hours range. I’ve cut feature films on all 3 NLE (Avid, FCP and Premiere) and would agree that Avid deals quite well with huge amounts of footage.

      That said, I feel Premiere is more then up to the challenge and equal to FCP 7 performance levels. There is always an extended launch time as the media is located/checked and loaded, but once that is complete…I’m off and running. A good amount of RAM (12+) will keep you running smoothly and make dynamic link with After Effects, Photoshop and Audition more seamless. I’m so glad I don’t have to export quicktimes, open them in AE, render out another quicktime and reimport it as I had to in FCP.

      If you feel like a project is getting bogged down, you can always save the project into reels of 20 minute chunks or even into just 2 projects as needed. Again I havent had too much of a lag or slow responsiveness but even in FCP (not so much in Avid) we would chunk out the projects for better performance.

      With digital formats being so easy to capture and with multiple cameras being normal on most film productions, the sheer amount of footage has spiralled into a mountain of Terabytes. With Adobe CS6 around the corner, i’m very confident that the Adobe workflow will continue to plow through footage and allow us as editors to just edit instead of wait for the NLE to play catch up.

      Just as an illustration to the amount of footage in projects….the hockey movie Miracle (2004) that I worked on had 240 hours of raw footage. To contrast that…No Country for Old Men (2008) had 45 hours of footage and won the Academy Award for Best Film. A short film I just completed that comes out November 3…had 18 hours of raw footage and a final running time of 10.5 minutes.

      I don’t think you should have any problems using Premiere for your feature film…just keep your project organized and clean on the way in so that you can easily find the footage you need!

      all the best,

      Vashi

      Post a Reply
  39. I was wondering what should I render out as. I currently render as
    Format: H.264
    Preset: HDTV 1080p

    Post a Reply
    • I forgot to say that I use Premiere Pro CS5

      Post a Reply
  40. I figure I should mention my favorite little tool, since it just happens to be an even faster way to unlink and delete audio.

    The alt key. If you hold alt while making a selection, all clip linking and grouping is ignored.

    I use it to make J/L cuts, delete audio in one fell swoop, or even make edits to grouped clips without ungrouping them.

    Post a Reply
  41. Premiere CS 5.5 is a joke. I have been using both Final Cut and Premiere for seven years. The new CS 5.5 can’t even handle simple dissolves. At least one third of them in any project fail to render correctly, causing a ‘clunking’ immediate transition half way through. How the heck do you put out a ‘professional’ level editing software that can’t do a simple dissolve???

    Post a Reply
  42. Hi guys,

    I have a HUGE problem right now. I have been using FCP for a while now but I am new to Premiere cs 5 but I started using it because I shot with a new HD camera and Final Cut was having trouble viewing the footage. Anyways, this project is byfar the biggest I have worked on in terms of footage. I have somewhere around 6 1/2 hours in the timeline but my editing system seemed to be handling it just fine. I hit a major milestone in my editing after around 30 hours of editing and I let it render as I went to work. After I got home, there was still 2 hours of rendering but I needed to start exporting some videos so I cancelled the render… I believe that is where everything went wrong. I was some test exports when I noticed that Premiere was running a bit slow so I rebooted the system. After rebooting, I tried to reopen the project and now Adobe Premiere is stuck in the “Load Project” screen. I had about 20% left to render when I stopped it and it seems like that is where the load bar stops. What can I do??? I can open up any other file in Premiere but when I try to open this one, it seems like it freezes Premiere and then I can’t safely remove the harddrive that I have the files on and I can’t shut down my computer unless I just pull the harddrive out of the computer. I have also tried waiting out the “load Project” menu and I saw no progress after an hour.

    If anybody can offer any ideas as to what is going on, I would be extremely grateful.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jon,

      I’ve had this happen on larger projects (20+ hours of footage). There are numerous reasons or possibilities for this to happen. To try to help you I would need more info on your computer, version of Premiere, codec of the project you are working on and other essential info about your system. Usually this problem can by caused by a corrupt file so think back to the last files/images you imported before this started. You mentioned that you had a 6.5 hour timeline (!!!!) in your project and that could also cause Premiere to choke on the load. I’ve used 2 hour timelines for feature films but even that is a huge amount for Premiere to cache and open. I was curious why you were rendering before exporting videos as if you are on CS5 of CS5.5, the Mercury Playback will allow real-time playback in most cases…again not knowing your CS version or sequence preset doesn’t allow me to help you. Also, pulling hard drives out of your computer to exit Premiere may not be the best idea and could damage the contents of your drive and further corrupt files. On export, Premiere will create new render files for the final video file so there usually is no need to render before that point.

      I would suggest the first thing to do is go into your Auto-Save vault and try to open the last saved version of your project BEFORE you did the export that is locking up Premiere. I set mine for 5 minute intervals so you should find a date-stamped version that occurred at some point before you initiated the render. You can also trash references for Premiere to see if that un-boggles the project. I’ve also tried cancelling the load before it goes to far and getting the project to open that way. You can then copy the current sequence and copy/paste that into a new project with the same settings. This has saved the day for me in the past.

      I hope this helps and you get back up and running on your project. Also, don’t be afraid to go to the Adobe Premiere forums or Google this problem as there are literally thousands of people who have posted and discussed this exact issue. It is not uncommon but usually stems back to something very simple and easily reversible.

      All the best,

      Vashi Nedomansky

      Post a Reply
  43. Vashi and all, except perhaps @Don, who seems to have had issues I have not experienced even on a two stroke Toshiba, my question is related to CineForm (now called Studio Premium).

    Does CS5.5 PP internally up-convert h.264 to 422 8 bit, or 444 10/12 bit natively in 64 bit machine?

    In either case would the addition of transcoding using ProRes on an iJOBS box or CineForm on a PC, make the eventual rendered output “better”?

    The base format is Nikon’s HDslr’s, D7K and soon D4.

    Thanks in advance for your reply, I was unable to search an answer to the conditional aspects that resolved my question.

    Great forum regardless, always a lot to learn.

    Rob

    Post a Reply
  44. Hi, great post. At the beginning of the post you mentioned Final Cut Pro X. You said there were a lot of profesional features missing and, your right. But now that XML has arrived and multicam is coming anytime now, have you looked much into it? What are your thoughts on X?

    Post a Reply
  45. Hi there,
    Pretty new to editing with Premeire Pro, but was curious to know if you have Adobe Premeire Pro and After Effects, do you really need anything that Magic Bullet has to offer? It seems like you can color correct in Premiere, so why would you need ColoristaII? I guess to make my question simpler—is there anything Magic Bullet Suite does that Adobe Premeire cannot?

    Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for the question Kevin. I have always been comfortable inside Premiere and After Effects…and now with the addition of Speedgrade to the Adobe CS suite and the option of Davinci Resolve Lite (free)…I don’t rely on Magic Bullet anymore. The biggest problem with MB Looks was no realtime playback and often a different frame grab from what you froze the timeline on would come up. It’s still very effective and deep software but I prefer to create my looks from scratch and really need realtime playback for myself and clients.

      I hope that helps and sorry for taking so long to get back to you!

      all the best,

      Vashi

      Post a Reply
  46. What is the best preset to use in Premier 5.5 for converting TV commercials in HD for broadcast? Is it H.264 HDTV? Also, if I am editing using various files such as RED, DVCPRO and other HD files which initial project settings should I sue? This is with the end use to be for broadcast HD TV commercials.

    Post a Reply
  47. Hey, this is really nice and good job.

    Post a Reply

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