Last week, Adobe released a new beta version of Premiere Pro showcasing new import and export features and, more importantly, pointing the direction Adobe plans to take the software.
Adobe described the changes in their blog: “We want Premiere Pro to become a more intuitive, yet powerful editing tool that is ready to meet the demands of tomorrow while also helping today’s creators to meet the demands of delivering high-quality content at quick turnarounds and optimizing content for multiple social platforms.
“This interface refresh is a journey that has been a long time coming. It’s a nuanced challenge to take a thirty-year-old app and modernize it for new types of video content (like social video which simply didn’t exist when Premiere Pro was first built), while respecting the needs and demands of traditional post-production.
“…A guiding philosophy behind the refresh is to keep what people love the most about Premiere Pro, while adding in what we’ve learned over the years to make it better…. We’ll be rolling out these new experiences on a timeline starting with this public Beta to ensure that our customers can provide feedback, explore the changes and continue to use Premiere Pro to its fullest potential. These changes are additive and not a replacement to current workflows. We understand how important muscle-memory is and we don’t want to disrupt your flow in any way.” (Adobe blog.)
NOTE: Beta software, by definition, is unstable and likely to change. You can install the beta version without losing access to the current release of Premiere. However, use beta software only for exploration and experimentation because there is always the possibility of losing your work due to a software bug.
NEW IMPORT PROCESS
First, and most important, everything you’ve been able to do in the past in Premiere remains the same. Adobe didn’t remove anything.
What they did was to add a visual front-end to media import that allows you to see all available clips, select the clips you want to bring into a project, then, automatically create a sequence based upon those clips without first requiring stepping through any menus.
This interface is designed for visual media, it won’t work effectively for interviews or other talking head-type material. At this point, this new interface does not show audio waveforms.
(Click to see larger image. All images courtesy of Adobe Systems, Inc.)
The workflow now is to either create a new project or open an existing one. At which point, you are taken to the import screen illustrated above. From this, you can select the clips you want to import into your project.
NOTE: The Media Browser remains intact, but not part of this interface window.
Selected clips are collected into a “tray” at the bottom of the import window (see screen shot below), then added in the order you selected them into a new sequence.
If you don’t want to create a new sequence – for example, to import clips into an existing project – deselect Create new Sequence (see screen shot on the left).
This new sequence is configured as though you dragged a clip into an empty sequence.
For those who, like me, frequently need to create sequences that are different from the clips we are editing, we can bypass this entire step by clicking the blue Create button in the lower right corner, as illustrated by the screen shot on the left.
Clicking this button allows us to bypass this new interface and use the interface tools Premiere has always offered.
NOTE: Here’s a video from Adobe that showcases the new import workflow.
NEW EXPORT PROCESS
Like import, export was enhanced in this beta release. Adobe’s goal was to focus on speed and simplicity.
“The new export workflow streamlines the process of delivering completed videos by focusing on the destinations of the content. Optimized render settings for popular social platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are presented. Advanced settings are easily accessed for customizing exports.” (Adobe Help)
Select the sequence you want to export, select the destination, click Export.
NOTE: Here’s a video from Adobe that showcases the new export workflow.
NEW HEADER BAR DESIGN
Finally, though it seems the least significant of the new features, I think the changes Adobe made to the header bar are highly indicative of where they are going.
For the last several years, Adobe has worked to clean up the Premiere interface. Similar to what Apple did in re-thinking the Final Cut Pro interface, Adobe keeps finding ways to remove clutter, improve features and speed operations. Unlike Apple, though, Adobe is making these changes incrementally, while maintaining compatibility with past projects and media. A lesson Apple did not learn until too late.
Workspaces were moved to their own menu, a full line of text was removed and the overall look was improved. The “new header bar is designed to seamlessly integrate the core phases in the editing process: Import, Edit, and Export. A task-specific workspace dropdown menu and Quick Export are accessible directly through the header.” (Adobe blog)
NOTE: Here’s a link to Adobe’s help pages covering the new Import/Export features.
ONE MORE THING
With this release, Adobe now provides early access to the Speech to Text feature to all Adobe Premiere Pro (Beta) users.
From my perspective, these new changes are welcome. Premiere Pro has long been a capable editor, but it is hard to learn, often hard to use and frequently unstable. It needed renovation.
While all of us would like these changes to happen immediately, Adobe is wise to take it in smaller steps. Make the changes, allow users to adjust their workflows and comment, then, make more changes. All while maintaining backward compatibility. Not an easy challenge.
I’m very interested in seeing where Adobe takes us in the future.
14 Responses to New Features in Adobe Premiere Pro (beta)
This is a good article. I was the only one of several of my associates in my area who stuck with FCP once it went to FCPX. Everyone else went to Premiere. It will be interesting to see if a new, improved, and more stable Premiere, over time will increase their market share at all, or just make established Premiere users happier.
The first feature change in this article reminds me again of how different the editor workflow is for editors who started within the last 10 years. They just throw whole clips in a timeline and look around in there to chop them up vs loading in the source monitor, setting in/out points and inserting or overwriting. My personal opinion is that it’s totally fine to edit however you’d like, my only gripe is that timeline only editing seems to come a lack of organization. When working as a solo editor it doesn’t really matter but I always dread getting a project from younger editor because the file organization is a disaster. Younger editors are indeed often bad ass editors who do great work really fast, just wish they took that extra 5 minutes in the beginning to setup projects properly. The dreaded relink process where the “file is located on the desktop of said previous editor” is classic. Sigh…
Smile… I totally agree. NO ONE asks me about media management until they are deep into the project, files are missing and they can’t output. Then they blame the software.
Great. What I see here is not an improvement. I have no problems importing anything.
For instance: “What they did was to add a visual front-end to media import that allows you to see all available clips, select the clips you want to bring into a project…”
OH, you mean like I can already do in the Media Browser? Yeah, the Media Browser, that tool that pretty much every “young editor” asks me about, saying…”OH, I never use that!”
And this: “… then, automatically create a sequence based upon those clips without first requiring stepping through any menus.”
Gee, you mean like lassoing said clips after they’re in the bin and selecting “Sequence from Selected Clips”?
Seems to me like said improvements are meant for those who can’t read…or have an aversion to contextual menus.
However, that “create sequence’ toggle seems pretty much OK, as when working on a doc or other interview-heavy piece my first order of business is to string out all the material and watch. Though frankly, I don’t do that until all my media is imported and organized into some sort of bin structure.
But the idea that i have to click off the strangely-named “Create” button to get back to the interface I’m already quite comfy and quick with sticks in my craw.
Also I notice they pay lip service to Workspaces: “Workspaces were moved to their own menu…” NO word on whether they’ve made Workspaces user-dependent (ala Media Composer), which would mean I wouldn’t have to waste my time deleting “JB’s Big Timeline”, “Kyra’s Setup” or any number of the useless workspaces that get I acquire when I import another editor’s project.
OTHER THINGS THEY PROBABLY WON’T BOTHER WITH? Well, for one, how about deleting custom effects presets? Ever save several color corrections for a project…and then a few more presets on the next job…and then a few more after that? Only to find you now have a presets folder that’s two miles long, and can only delete one preset at a time? Two words, Adobe” SHIFT-CLICK.
And a corollary…ever try to create an audio effects preset for use in the Audio Track Mixer? Uh…AFAIK, ya can’t. Seems like you ought to be able to, but the audio effects menu in the Track Mixer is a separate beast from the menu in the Effects tab.
Ho hum, I could go on…but I’m sure Adobe’s marketing department really doesn’t care if they actually improved the interface, as long as it looks “cool” to young editors.
Would you object if I forwarded your comments on to Adobe? They would be very interested in reading them.
Looks a bit like the iMovie 2 which I loved especially the uncompressed sound. iMovie 2 had a panel with all the clips visible and you made you choice. I loved it.
I enjoy Premier Pro and I am glad I made the change but it is challenging. I have only just got the hang of media Browser and ingest and its file management which is usually never explained but it is so easy once it is. I still dread losing a file.
I am not sure I like having to use Essential Sound and not being taken straight to Audition. Essential Sound is OK if you do not know what you are doing but I prefer my own mixes.
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As a trainer (and an ‘old-time 3-point’ editor), I find a continual source of amusement in GUI designer’s efforts to ‘simplify’ the import/export commands. If newcomers to the editing world can’t be bothered with the technical aspects of the job, then maybe it’s not the right job?
I often wonder whether I’m being a curmudgeon and the change is actually better, or whether it’s just change for change sake.
This new approach is much more visual, but is of no help for interviews, dialog scenes or anything where the images are the same from shot to shot. Also, as Chris made clear, isolating editors from media management works for small projects, but often leads to catastrophe when developing projects for high-end distribution.
I don’t think it’s a young or older editor thing. It’s a Pro thing. A professional has a repeatable process, experience, and can reasonably guarantee a consistent product and experience to a client, reliably.
I know Premiere, Avid, and now have learned Resolve editing. I’ve been editing for a little over 12 years Professionally and I teach as an Instructor to University film students.
Organization is one of the first things I teach as I introduce the software. Those who don’t listen are all ears and swear by organizing footage first when they are deep in their thesis films or start doing client projects.
How we work in the timeline in my experience is defined by how our own brains work. There are multiple ways to do things. Shortcuts are a must but the ratio of drag to shortcuts to whatever and how much you checkerboard in the timeline or use your trim tools varies from person to person during the creative process (I have my arguments against messy checkerboarding 🙂 but for another time).
Encouraging people not to organize is just another hurdle I and other Pros will have to jump as we click through it or teach out students out of the bad habits, the ones that are going for a career at least.
These new features feel like they are meant to increase Premiere Pro’s market share to non-editor, or maybe better put, non Professional editors. We have to do reviews, replace clips, working on intentional storytelling. That takes ORGANIZATION and thought first no matter how old or young you are.
What features do I want. I will ask for just two right now. Please Adobe, rework audio syncing. Resolve’s ease in attaching audio to video eclipses Premiere and Avid’s in ease and utility. That’s one many pros I think would love. Another is the vestigial organ that is sync and merge. You can’t proxy after doing the sync and merge method, so yes, we all use Multicam to do that, but these may be streamlined better.
Those are my rantings. Thanks, Larry for this great write-up as usual.
Thanks for your excellent! comments.
I’ve already forward a link to this write-up to Adobe in hopes they deeply consider the thoughts pro editors are sharing here.
I’m considering trying out this Beta with a real project. Would suggest I resist the urge to do so and just noodle around on it?
Hope you’re healing well.
It depends upon your threshold for risk. There are bugs in the beta. But, the core of Premiere is still the same.
If you make frequent backups and can afford to lose your project, go ahead. You’ll learn a lot and give good feedback to Adobe. But, if the risk seems too great, stay with the release version.