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Adobe Video Collection (Professional Edition)

Manufacturer: Adobe Systems Incorporated
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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Most professionals in the industry would probably say that Adobe has cornered the graphics market. With the immense popularity of Photoshop and Illustrator, that mindset can’t be denied. Adobe has also had a grasp on the digital video market with their Premier and After Effects products, but their hold on this market isn’t quite as tight because of the competition from companies such as Pinnacle and Sony. With the release of the Adobe Video Collection Pro, however, Adobe aims to dominate this market as well. Have they?

The Collection
In Adobe’s own words, “The Adobe Video Collection Professional edition delivers powerful, integrated tools for Windows based video production. Prepare layered images for video with Adobe Photoshop software. Transform video and audio into compelling stories with Adobe Premiere Pro software. Create visual effects for the most demanding production environments with Adobe After Effects 6.0 Professional software. Author interactive, multilanguage DVDs with the all-new Adobe Encore DVD software. And enhance all of your productions with multitrack audio accompaniments created using the professional tools in Adobe Audition software. An exceptional value, the Adobe Video Collection pairs creative control with the ability to deliver professional results for film, video, DVD, or the Web.” The Collection bundles Photoshop 7, which came out earlier this year, so we won’t go over that application.

Premiere Pro
Instead of upgrading Premiere 6.5, Adobe has gone all out and built Premiere Pro from scratch. Pro incorporates all new code to take advantage of the Windows XP operating system. Because of this, old users may have to take some time to get used to the new application. Gone is the A/B editing feature. Instead, Pro provides single track editing with clips and transitions on the same track. The Storyboard is also gone and the Project Settings window is no longer available. This may seem like a bad thing at first, but once you get used to the new workflow, you’ll enjoy Premiere even more.

For example, you can now have multiple and nested timelines. This means you can have different parts of a project on different timelines and then nest them via a master timeline. This not only makes it much easier to deal with complex projects, but you can also try out different project versions simply by copying timelines, and you can apply effects in a single operation. Awesome!

Pro also integrates nicely with the other programs in the Collection. You can import Photoshop files as flattened or with layers on multiple tracks. You can export a project to Encore to add DVD menus, etc. And you can launch Audition from within Pro to edit audio data more precisely.

After Effects 6
Unlike Premiere Pro, After Effects hasn’t been completely revamped. Instead it’s been upgraded from the previous version, but this is a major upgrade. You’ll find a new motion tracker along with new vector paint tools. These are great for creating mattes or retouching layers. And most significant are the new text features. Import text from Photoshop or enter text in the Composition window. Then animate it using individual characters or character groups. The effects you can produce are quite professional. Additional features include keying tools, 30 more effects, and networking rendering, although these are only available in the Professional version.

After Effects also provides integration with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro. You can preserve layers in sequence files, set the layer’s bounding box to the composition size, and preserve guides when importing Photoshop files with layers. You can apply effects and masks directly to Illustrator files that have continuous rasterization – no need for precomposing. You can also import sequences from Premiere Pro as nested compositions.

A new addition to the Adobe product line, Audition is not really a new product at all. Previously known as Cool Edit Pro, Audition was acquired by Adobe from Syntrillium Software. This initial version is simply a redistribution of the same code found in Cool Edit Pro 1.2. In Adobe’s words, “Adobe Audition is a professional audio editing environment. Designed for demanding audio and video professionals, Adobe Audition offers advanced audio mixing, editing, and effects processing capabilities. With Adobe Audition, you can create rich, nuanced audio accompaniments that make the film and video projects you produce with Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Adobe Encore DVD come alive.”

One thing Adobe has done is provide some integration for Audition. From the manual, “you can easily move projects between Adobe Audition and Adobe’s video applications by using the Edit Original command in Premiere Pro and After Effects. To enhance the functionality of this command, you can configure Audition to link mixdown files with related session files so you can quickly edit and remix soundtracks.”

Encore DVD
A totally new addition to the Adobe product line, Encore DVD provides professional DVD project creation and burning. After you’ve created clips with Premiere and After Effects, you can import them into a multi-track timeline similar to Premiere including multi-track audio and subtitles.

The interface will be very familiar to Adobe users with its tabbed windows and palettes. Navigation through the program is quick and easy. Project creation is also quite easy. There is a built-in menu editor that is completely compatible with Photoshop so that editing text and buttons is a smooth process. Encore also provides predesigned menu templates, buttons, and backgrounds for when you need to put together a quick, professional-looking project.

Encore is designed to handle both small and large DVD projects with a number of project management features including global link replacement for quick and easy changes of all menu and button links in a project. And to provide professional results when burning to DVD, Encore uses Sonic’s AuthorScript DVD engine (known to be the best in the industry) along with MainConcept’s MPEG video compression.

Being a 1.0 version, however, there are a few improvements that could be made to Encore. For instance, more advanced menu and video editing would be nice. It would also be helpful if programmable navigation were included. Perhaps in the next version.

Professional Media Production
If Adobe is aiming to concur the digital media market, they are definitely on the right track. By releasing a totally revamped version of Premiere, upgrading After Effects with some new advanced features, integrating Audition into their product line, and adding a brand new DVD burning application with Encore, Adobe has raised the bar for professional digital media products.

Of course, you’re going to pay quite a bit to get all this power, but that’s why it’s called Adobe Video Collection Professional. If you want professional results, you have to invest a bit more than usual to get them.
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