Adobe Production Premium CS3 and Apple Final Cut Studio 2.0 and Blu-ray Burning

by David Helmly


June 22, 2007

One of the most popular questions I get from various Final Cut Pro users is what can they expect to gain from installing Production Premium CS3 and what will it mean to their future workflows. One thing that is perfectly clear is that the FCP users should expect to view Production Premium CS3  as an add-on to their current software and not a replacement to their favorite NLE editing app. The same would be true for any longtime Avid Xpress Pro or  Avid Media Composer Mac user as well. 

For some, Production Premium CS3, and more specifically, PremierePro CS3 OSX (MacTel) will do everything they need from an NLE stand point , but for many FCP and Avid users they will want to continue to use the app they’ve been using and trusting for years. Many FCP and Avid Mac users will more than likely end up buying Production Premium strictly from a price/value standpoint and later realizing that it’s a very capable mac video suite on it’s own and when you add it your current workflow you’ll be surprised what you can do.

Read more to learn and watch workflow video

For starters, any FCP user can now burn Blu-ray DVDs by exporting a Quicktime Reference movie and importing it into Encore CS3, not only can you end up with a HD Blu-ray disc but you can also Save/Export the Encore project as a Flash video site with all menus and navigation intact. This is a huge feature for many users who would like to post their DVDs on-line for review or for final output. This is one feature that I don’t dive into in this discussion, but it should not be over looked.

For the past few weeks I have been working with different HD workflows using Final Cut Pro 6.0 and Production Premium CS3 (PremierePro CS3 , AfterEffects CS3, and Encore CS3) to see what users will experience when they attempt to use these apps together. The most common workflow questions came from typical HDV users wanting to use AfterEffects and FCP and end up with a Blu-ray disc that could be played on a standard off the shelf Blu-ray player or Sony Playstation 3.

A High Quality version of the video of the HDV workflow can be seen here:

**  Requires Flash9 to View **

Click Here to View AdobeTV Video

Please note: the system used for the demo was a new MacPro 8 Core with 8GB ram (thanks to for providing the test unit). All FCP, PremierePro and Encore rendering times were  accelerated 3x to save time on the video.

Below are some screen grabs from the video that show the basic workfow of starting the project in FCP 6.0 (capturing HDV) and importing video into PremierePro CS3 and then jumping over to AfterEffects CS3 to create a quick animated titling composition and using Adobe Dynamic Link to make changes to the After Effects comp.  A few things to note are that all of the FCP Studio CODECs are available for PremierePro and AfterEffects to import and export. This is a huge plus. The use of Quicktime Ref movies in Encore save a ton of time and help quality by not having to re-render the video.

Step 1.

Capture footage in FCP (HDV from a Canon XH G1 in this case)

Step 2.

Set up timeline in FCP and import needed clips into PremierePro CS3

Step 3.

Use Dynamic Link from After Effects and PremierePro to create AfterEffects composition

Step 4.

Export finished timeline from PremierePro and import back into FCP

Step 5.

Make additional changes and final adjustments to timeline in FCP

Step 6.

Export Quicktime Reference Movie from FCP and import into Encore CS3

Step 7.

Setup Encore for 1440×1080 Blu-ray  project

Step 8.

Complete links and authoring steps in Encore CS3

Step 9.

Burn Blu-ray disc

Step 10.

Watch Disc on Blu-ray Player

The real use of PremierePro CS3 for the FCP user in this case is being able to view your sequence of clips and the AE comp together, as they would appear in FCP but having the freedom to make changes in AE without rendering. Having this ability to jump back and forth making changes to your AE comp will save you tons of time. Once you use Dynamic Link , it’s hard to go back to rendering your AE comp every time you need to make a change and then importing it back into FCP.

Again, the main use of PremierePro CS3 in this case is to enhance your After Effects workflow. You can choose to export the final AE quicktime movie from PremierePro CS3 or AE CS3.

I also plan to look at both AJA and BlackMagic Design HD workflows as well. The most promising thing from these HD SDI cards is the ability to buy 1 SDI card and use it for both Apple’s and Adobe’s video suites. For those users who need Windows XP for their 3D workflows, these HD SDI cards also appear to work when using Bootcamp on your Desktop MacPro. Again, giving the user more output flexibility with these cards (Not to mention that the Windows version of ProductionPremium could be used in the PC 3D workflow as well) – who would have thought that we’d have so much flexibility from one desktop machine.     Now that’s cool!


  • By Howard Kalodner - 8:01 PM on December 9, 2007  

    I am quite impressed with the workflow described. I will now certainly give careful consideration to purchasing PremierPro CS3 to complement my editing with FinalCut Studio. I do not, however, understand why the Blu-Ray disc appears disproportionately wide and short. I have compared it with my usual output from HDV which is 1920 x 1080 which does not look nearly so lacking in the vertical dimension – the Blu-Ray output certainly does not look like 1440 x 1080, the setting chosen in Encore. Could you explain why? Thanks.—————–Howard,The reason the proportion looks a little off is due to the size of the computer screen used in the screen capture util , in this case 1024×768 stretched. The native format for HDV is 1440×1080 pixel aspect ratio @ 1.333. You can output 1920×1080 so long as your aspect ratio is 1.0. The most people choose 1440 and not 1920 for HDV is to keep the file as close to the original as possible. 1440 will fill a typical Plasma/LCD HD panel edge to edge with no black bars on top and bottom.Hope this helps….DKH