Last year, at the IBC trade show, I had someone come up to me and say, “You know, Premiere Pro CS4 looks absolutely fantastic! Unfortunately, I’m a Final Cut Pro editor, and can’t use it.” I inquired further, thinking it was a training issue, and he told me that since he defines himself as an FCP editor, he won’t use other NLE tools. I was left speechless.
Another story took place at an FCP user group meeting in San Francisco. A gentleman approached me after my presentation to ask how to get Encore by itself. He was a current user of Photoshop and After Effects. When I suggested Production Premium would be the way to go, he said that would be impossible, since that meant buying Premiere Pro in the package, and he couldn’t do that. What?!?
1. Using an NLE does not make you married to that NLE. There’s no ring on your finger, no marriage license, no “until death do us part.” (at least I hope not. I haven’t read all the latest EULAs.) I can see sticking with the tools you love to use, but you are not cheating on your NLE if Premiere Pro is installed on your system.
2. Use the tool that’ll get the job done right, fast, & cheap. If you limit yourself to one palette of tools, you’re limiting your creativity. You’ll have to sacrifice quality or speed without the best tools. Practicing monogamy to your NLE won’t help you get the job done faster.
Now, for the big question: WHY? Why, if I’m happy with the way I edit on FCP, why would I want to even open Premiere Pro?
I’ll give you one big reason – Integration. CS4 Production Premium is much much more than a collection of programs. One of the big advantages is the integration found between those programs, and the interoperability. Import a PSD file? Premiere does it right. See After Effects compositions mixed with footage right on the same timeline? Yep, Premiere can do it as well. Import an unrendered timeline sequence into Encore for Blu-Ray authoring? Guess what to use – that’s right – Premiere Pro.
Adobe just recently (in the 4.01 update) added a new Final Cut importer into Premiere Pro. Using the XML Export option found in Final Cut, you can now edit in FCP, quickly export/import your project USING THE SAME MEDIA, and then take advantage of the integration that Premiere shares with After Effects, Encore for Blu-Ray authoring, and even better use of PSD files. Premiere Pro becomes more than a competing NLE – it’s your gateway to faster workflows, more capabilities, and better creativity.
In case you do need to make some editing tweaks after exporting, Premiere Pro has keyboard shortcut presets for FCP users, AND you can customize any shortcut to match what you are used to. Just go to Edit-Keyboard Customization to change to a different preset, or choose your own set of shortcuts.
Look, if you still feel like you’re being unfaithful to FCP for using Premiere Pro, don’t think of it as an NLE – think of it as the “Adobe Production Premium Final Cut Importer.”
If you use After Effects and Photoshop already, getting Production Premium is the cheaper way to upgrade to CS4. Plus, you’ll get these added benefits. If it doesn’t make you more productive, FCP won’t divorce you, or hit you over the head with a frying pan. It’ll still be waiting there for you.