Intro to CS4 and New AVCHD Editing
by David Helmly
The new Production Premium CS4 now supports AVCHD for Premiere Pro, AfterEffects, and Encore. With the various price ranges of AVCHD cameras, tapeless workflows will surely reach the mainstream in the near future. I’ve been using CS4 internally for quite a while and have been totally converted to the new CS4 workflow.
Take a look at the quick workflow video and see what’s new in Production Premium CS4 and AVCHD. I also show a few more CS4 features like the new Media Browser which lets you browse media from any drive right from Premiere Pro. (The big advantage is here is not having to import unknown clips just to view them).
Other features like Send to Encore will save you countless hours of rendering. Now you can make changes in Premiere (or AfterEffects) and see the changes update in EncoreCS4 automatically. PremierePro Sequences are now read directly by Encore, once you complete building your DVD/BD or Flash project, all you need to do is to is click Build. Encore will do the final render and build your project.
A few of my notes on CS4 and AVCHD:
- Yes, you can do a rough cut on your SD card, but I recommend creating a folder on your video drive and copying the contents of the SD directly to that folder. Make sure you leave the folder structure alone. Drag it to the new folder as an exact copy. This will ensure that you will have everything you need. PremierePro’s Importer (also used by AfterEffects & Encore) uses the various folders and files to help indentify the tapeless file types and settings. I normally create folder names that match the shot or the day. It really helps to keep things organized.
- AVCHD smooth playback totally depends on your systems performance. Most Laptops will work just fine with AVCHD editing but don’t have as smooth a playback as a highend desktop. AVCHD is very processor intensive and takes nearly 95% of your systems performance to decode it(obviously depends on how many cores you have) . There are solutions that will convert your AVCHD for better playback (Cineform.com has always been an excellent choice) , but now you can get started with AVCHD and move to other Adobe plug-in partners if needed.
- YES – we use all Cores for playback , effects, and rendering for both Mac and Windows.
- I highly recommend switching to Vista 64 if you are a Windows user (Mac guys are OK with 10.5.4 or higher) Vista 64 will allow Production Premium CS4 to run using more than 4GB of Ram (XP/Vista32 Limitation). As with most NLEs, there are several programs running at the same time to give you the NLE experience. CS4 now allows each process to take up to 4Gb of RAM. If you have 16GB of RAM, then 4 processes can take up to 4GB each. This is a HUGE advantage over CS3. What are some examples of processes? DynamicLink, AfterServer, Photoshop Server, Adobe Media Encoder, Titler, Playback, Capture, Importer, and many more. I tell most people to count on buying 8GB minium
There are tons of new changes in CS4. Here are a few of my favorites:
- OnLocation has a completely new interface. All functions can now be view on one screen. (Now on OSX !)
- Over 50 new customer requested features for the PremierePro Timeline Panel alone.
- Speech to Text allows you to transcribe your audio to searchable text. It’s now possible to edit by words. This feature works excellent for interviews and normal conversations. Videos with excited discussions where voice pitch changes (screaming) don’t do particularly well. Background noise is handled fairly well so long as the volume of the speaker is louder than the noise.
- DynamicLink now works directly from the PremierePro timeline. Now you can click on a green screen clip and send it to AfterEffects and apply the Keylight effect. DL also has more improvements with Encore and Soundbooth support.
- Adobe Media Encoder now has Batch support and works as a separate app. Now you can keep exporting jobs from Premiere Pro without having to stop between each render. Perfect for queuing up Blu-ray , iPhone, and web output. No need to sit and wait.
- Encore now supports 50GB discs and new menuing support for in video “PopUp” menus. These Blu-ray menus can be called up while the movie is playing. Lots of internal work to make Encore Faster as well. I spend hours with Encore (mainly on Blu-ray) and can tell you that there are tons of changes internally. We received tons of great feedback from users on different problems they were running into. Many of these issues were more related to odd workflows and not being too familiar with menuing rules. However, in many cases, Encore would not catch the issue and fail. I sent several large customer projects to engineering to test in CS4 and all passed. I look forward to seeing more people pickup on Blu-ray authoring. Lots of new stuff for the Flash Export as well (templates !!)
- AfterEffects now supports 3D PSD files which means you can get those files into Premiere via DynamicLink. The Cartoon effect is also really cool – just take time to learn the Fill & Edge settings.
- Lastly, Flash CS4 finally has a Timeline I can use. It now works more like AfterEffects. Lots of new AE & Flash support as well.