Key Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 Updates

Premiere Pro CS6

Adobe’s booth at NAB 2012 is a madhouse.  The seating area for every speaker is full and the aisles surrounding the booth are packed as well. Lots of third-party vendors are also showing off CS6 products as well. Adobe is clearly on the march with the new apps in Production Premium CS6.

I sat down with Premiere Pro Product Manager, Al Mooney, on Monday at NAB 2012 to discuss some of the new features in the app that is buzzing among editors at NAB.

OpenCL (read: Mac) Hardware Acceleration

One of the big, buzzing features for CS6 is the addition of OpenCL support for recent MacBook Pro models – a clear sign of things to come for Mac graphics support.  If you aren’t familiar with the Mercury Playback Engine, it uses both hardware and software support.  That is, it has worked on CS5+ for all Macs, but only on the software side of the coin (with the exception of the handful of Mac Pro setups using specific, aftermarket NVIDIA cards.

The new iteration of the Mercury Playback Engine supports the Spring ’11 and Fall ’11 releases of the MacBook Pro using only the AMD Radeon HD 6750M or 6770M with a minimum of 1GB RAM required.  Additionally, OS X Lion is required. While hardware acceleration is now an option for some Mac users, there is still not full parity between OpenCL and CUDA acceleration on PCs. To that end, a fast PC with a CUDA card is going to provide more extreme performance.

Warp Stabilizer

Another pair huge features in Premiere Pro are Warp Stabilizer and Rolling Shutter Correction.  While the Rolling Shutter Correction effect is a flavor of Warp Stabilizer, it doesn’t use all of the analysis as Warp Stabilizer and, as a result, is less resource intensive.  Accordingly, Adobe saw fit to offer it as a separate effect and reduce the processing load required to make it shine.

Warp Stabilizer is the same tool that we saw introduced in After Effects CS5.5; however, there are a few tweaks to the controls in order to make it more user-friendly in Premiere Pro.  Warp Stabilzer’s analysis portion is not GPU-accelerated; however, when analysis is complete and the effect begins rendering, it will take advantage of hardware acceleration courtesy of the Mercury Playback Engine.  What’s more, is the ability to make adjustments in real time as your footage plays back.

Adjustment Layers

Adjustment layers are yet another big feature in Premiere Pro CS6.  Adjustment layers are something familiar to both Photoshop and After Effects users – and they essentially work the same way.  One huge benefit to adjustment layers is global application of effects, which will, in turn, cut down on the need to nest sequences – something required in days-past to apply the same effects across multiple clips.

Adjustment layers are treated just like any other video layer.  They are key-frameable and can be blade, faded, etc. in order to obtain the desired effect.

Alt-Drag to Copy!

One last big feature that I confirmed was the ability to alt-drag to copy – that is, you simply click on a clip in your timeline while holding down the Alt key, drag your mouse to a new location on the timeline and you get a copied version of your clip.  FCP 7 editors have been griping about the lack of this “feature” in Premiere Pro for years.  Finally, Adobe has relented and given us this simple, yet incredibly useful, shortcut.  Big kudos to Adobe from yours truly on that one.

There are a ton of other new features in Premiere Pro and the rest of CS6, which I’ll be following as we creep up toward the official release date of CS6.  (Note that Adobe still has yet to confirm what that date will be.)

Stay tuned for the latest.