Review: Adobe Premiere Pro CS3

Perhaps as a result of the longevity of the product, Premiere lost some ground to rival shows. It gave the impression that Premier was not implementing innovations with sufficient agility and that it was not innovating at the expected pace or changing an editing paradigm that remained inelegant. At the same time Final Cut Pro (designed by one of Premiere’s own creators) positioned itself as the new owner in the field of editing. Adobe found itself competing for a share of the comparatively small Mac installed base; so it was hardly a surprise to find that the next version of Premiere, released in 2003 as Premiere Pro, was only a Windows-compatible application.

Things have changed considerably in the next five years. The Mac market is growing, in part thanks to Apple’s decision to switch to Intel processors, and now Premiere has returned to the Mac in its Premiere Pro CS3 incarnation.

What can you expect from the editing app once it arrives in late summer along with the rest of the Creative Suite 3 Production Premium collection? A public beta of the product provides a good overview of the product.

The changes

While Premiere Pro CS3 introduces a number of notable enhancements to the editing application for Windows PC users, for Mac users the release is essentially a new program compared to Premiere 6.5.

The most notable changes compared to the latest incarnation of Premiere lies in its appearance. Like the rest of the CS3 family, Premiere Pro has subordinated the use of windows and palettes in favor of stacked panels in a system of independent surfaces that use screen space more efficiently.

Beyond its superficial qualities, Premiere Pro bears little resemblance compared to its predecessor. Some vestiges of Premiere 6.5 remain, such as the A / B editing paradigm or its modular design. In Premiere 6.5 you can still watch video on track A and track B, with a transition track between them. Premiere Pro uses the standard editing paradigm: clips and transitions along a single video track or audio track. (Of course it is possible to add additional tracks to layer video and mix audio). And while many of the features in Premiere 6.5 functioned as a series of related but independent modules, the features in Premiere Pro are much more unified.

Premiere Pro still keeps all the editing features you can remember and also expect, but the editing line features are more flexible than the old ones. You can create multiple sequences in a single project, and even nest sequences. Premiere Pro also supports sample-based audio editing, and includes a multi-camera editing feature.

You can apply and animate effects by incorporating procedures consistent not only with those provided in Premiere Pro, but also with After Effects (which has its own update as part of the Production Premium suite). In fact, it is possible to switch between Premier Pro and After Effects project effects.

Additional characteristics

Premiere Pro’s audio mixer convincingly emulates a hardware mixing console. On-the-fly audio mixes are translated into keyframes that can be edited in the edit lane. With a sound card and suitable speakers, 5.1 surround sound can be mixed.

The Premiere Pro Titler has all the titling tools a video editor might need to create static titles and credits; while for the animation of texts it will be necessary to change to After Effects.

In addition to the standard options for dump to tape and file, Premiere Pro allows you to export to Adobe Encore for DVD and Blu-ray authoring. For exporting to other formats, particularly those with complex settings, the Adobe Media Encoder simplifies the process. An interesting feature, called Clip Notes, allows you to embed the video in a PDF that the customer can use to add comments.

A media manager facilitates an editing workflow between offline and online. You can also collect files associated with a project and copy them for backup or cataloging.

As the CS3 surname suggests, Premier Pro is designed to work alongside the programs that make up Adobe’s Creative Suite 3. Menu commands allow you to reopen any material in the movie in the program originally used for its creation. Similarly, you can export a movie that contains a link to the associated Premiere Pro project. Another command allows you to run Photoshop to create still frames ready for use in your project. The add-on program, Adobe Bridge, allows you to manage the materials for all CS3 applications.


Taking into account the substantial changes in the Mac version, Premiere Pro CS3 is not a mere sequel, but a completely redesigned application that can generate a good following. However, we will have to wait for the final version of the product to see if it can really recover part of the fee lost during all these years of absence.


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