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Premiere Pro CC for Broadcasters

For the last several years I have spent a fair amount of my time working with a large number of broadcasters, media & entertainment companies, large post production houses, networks and even a film maker or two.  While there is a ton of information out there about Premiere Pro CC for users of all types, I wanted to write about how the latest version of Premiere Pro is ideal for broadcasters and other media houses.  Whether you’re an executive, management or a creative within a media organization, this post is my own take on how the workflows and features of Premiere Pro CC make creating and publishing media easier than ever before.

The biggest challenge is where to begin? Perhaps with some of the fundamentals of Premiere Pro and how it’s a bit different from the competition.  If this is old news for you skip on down a bit and you’ll

  1. True interchange, truly cross platform: Adobe really is about not making the Operating System or the hardware platform part of your decision making process.  If you like PC’s, rock on.  If you’re a Mac zealot – that is cool too. PCs and Macs can work together and share projects back and forth and as for open, our FCP XML has long been recognized as pretty robust and this go around our AAF has improved greatly.
  2. No transcoding/rewrapping or “Adobe won’t touch your pixels”: This has always been a big one for me.  Both Avid and FCP 7 (legacy) have traditionally ‘encouraged’ you to convert your source footage to either DNxHD or ProRes in order to work.  That’s not a bad thing per se, it’s just a choice.  If you want that choice within Adobe, that’s not a problem.  However, rendering/converting/transcoding (you pick whatever word you like) always costs you time.  Adobe would rather have you working with your footage as quickly as possible.  Premiere Pro has a ‘resolution independent playback engine.’ Essentially, this means you can throw anything on the timeline and expect it to play within reason.
  3. Never “Render” until you’re ready for final output: In a well equipped system, I have found that I will never render anything (temp effect, spot AE comp, PSD file, compositing in the NLE and so forth) until I’m ready to output to whatever formats I need.  This is huge as it keeps the creative person creative! Why deal with an ‘unrendered’ message when you should never have to? Why slow down the creative process?

Doubtless, I could go on, but in covering the above three points, I think you get the idea about Premiere Pro’s approach and how it aligns itself to time sensitive broadcasting like news, sports and content creation in general.  I mean, when’s the last job you got that said you could have more time than the last job? ;-)

So, what follows are my picks for what makes Premiere Pro CC ideal for broadcast. Closed Captioning Example

Closed Captioning: This was a big one for me personally as it kept coming up in talking to broadcasters.  For the average editor, it’s a complete non-issue.  Even production houses that create TV content likely don’t deal with it.  Closed Captions however are the law and each broadcaster must have 100% of their content captioned.  With Premiere Pro CC, we introduce a brand new captioning workflow designed for the re-use of captions.  This feature has three basic tenants: 1) Do no harm to caption data if it exists, 2) allow viewing and light editing of the caption data and 3) export captions either as embedded data or as a sidecar file.

What I particularly like about our implementation is that it is simple and doesn’t get in the way of editors if they don’t want to see caption data.  You can toggle captions on/off in both the source and program views and the caption data is represented as a second video track, which again makes sense.  Why does it make sense?  Well, if I move video that has audio, the audio tracks move in sync with the video, right? Why shouldn’t it be the same exact way with captioning data?  Indeed, for Premiere Pro CC, it is.  Take a look at the graphic to see some of the details on our closed captioning implementation.

One final note on this.  While closed captioning is a requirement in the United States, it is not in many other geographies and nations.  That said, what I hear from many of my colleagues is that the interest and possibly requirement for some sort of captioning or subtitling is increasing abroad, so its something that will continue to become important over the coming years.AvidDNxHD

DNxHD and ProRes(for Mac only): I am very excited to see the inclusion of DNxHD encode and decode in its native MXF wrapper on both the Mac and PC versions of Premiere Pro CC.  In addition, we have implemented encoding of ProRes on the Mac platform without the need for any Apple ProApps software to be present.  This is big because Adobe recognizes that no matter how popular our non-linear editor is, there will be healthy competition and therefore the need to play nice with other edit systems.  In addition, both ProRes and DNx are well thought of as intermediary codecs (or DI codecs) and including these two makes a true DI workflow much easier now inside of Premiere Pro CC.

Smart Rendering: “Time to air” are three words that many broadcasters live and die by.  Getting the content out as quickly as possible is critical for news and sports and tends to be the mantra for just about any broadcast entity.  Smart Rendering is the concept that if your source footage format is also your destination output, that it Premiere Pro will only render things like dissolves but cuts will be more akin to a file copy than anything else.  The end result is a much faster, accelerated output.  Remember – time to air!  For Premiere Pro CC, our list of supported codecs for Smart Rendering include: DV, DVCProHD, AVC-Intra, XDCAM, XDCAM-EX, XDCAM-HD, ProRes and Animation in MOV(Mac only), and DNxHD in both MXF and MOV.  This is a pretty good list given that it includes the most popular broadcast codecs used today.

Edit Finesse: This is a less defined feature in that it isn’t any single thing, but rather a collection of little things that add up to making the editor faster and happier with Premiere Pro CC.  Over the last several product cycles, we have spent a lot of time evaluating former FCP and Avid user requests for the things that they really miss from those editors.  When you have thousands of feature requests and input coming in, you quickly get a sense for the things that stand out.  With Premiere Pro CC, I think we’ve take the largest step yet to making forlorn FCP editors happy with Premiere Pro.  A couple of specific call outs on edit finesse features: The new audio clip mixer allows FCP and Avid users to animate keyframes in the way they were comfortable with.  More keyboard shortcuts like a command to move clips up and down in the timeline. A reworking of track targeting to make it a single click instead of three.  In total, there are several dozen features that are designed to delight the editor and make them more productive.

Are there more features or workflows I could talk about? For sure, but I’m not sure I care to write a book about Premiere Pro CC, so will stop here…

So there you go, four things that are important to media and entertainment companies about Premiere Pro CC.  In conclusion, there are a lot of changes going on amongst editors and broadcasters around the world and Adobe is doing our very best to engage with everyone: to learn what the most important things to address are.  Over the last few years, Adobe has developed a reputation for listening to our customers and responding in kind.  Some would like to write that off as marketing gobbily-gook, but as one of those people who is listening and taking the information back to our engineering and product management teams, Adobe’s listening attitude is for real.  We believe ultimately, that living in an ivory tower with no contact to the customer results in a poorer product with no feedback on how things can and should be done by the customer.

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