NAB Perspectives: Adobe’s Wixted Caters to File-Based Media, Tight Budgets

The proliferation of file-based media combined with tight – although loosening – budgets has forced the postproduction world to adopt new techniques to streamline workflows. Adobe looks to rise to these new challenges with CS 5.5 Production Premium, which was unveiled at NAB this week.

Included in the update, are new versions of Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, Story, Media Encoder, and Device Central. New to Creative Suite 5.5 is Adobe Audition CS5.5, bringing its audio-for-video multitrack editing environment to both Mac OS and Windows for the first time.

“It seems like the economy is coming back and NAB is noticeably busier this year,” said Ellen Wixted, senior product manager, video and audio. “But people are still extremely budget conscious. In the production world, people need to do projects on shorter turn times with lower budgets while also keeping the level of quality up. That is where I see our tools starting to get more traction because our workflows are significantly smoother and cleaner.”

A Smoother Workflow

Key to this clean workflow for CS 5.5 will be a smoother editing workflow with new trimming and editing tools that provide more precision and control. Dual-system sound support from the new Merge Clips command in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 lets users quickly sync video with audio recorded on separate devices like location recorders. Leveraging an integrated workflow with Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere Pro users can save time by sending individual clips or sequences, including reference videos, directly to Adobe Audition for audio editing and restoration.

In another addition aimed at speeding up the Production Premium workflow, the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine, introduced in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, broadens its GPU hardware support to include laptops and more supported cards, and allows users to open projects faster, get real-time feedback for more GPU-accelerated features, and work more smoothly at 4k and higher resolutions.

File-Based Media on the Rise

“The proliferation of file-based media has also changed the entire game in terms of workflow,” says Wixted. “Going forward, we see that there is a huge advantage in working with file-based media. It is going to change the way you think about logging and ingest. Changing the way you think about workflows from start to finish. File-based workflow will create a stronger focus on metadata and the role that can play in accelerating productions.”

Adobe addresses this growing reliance on file-based workflows in CS5.5 with enhanced support for RED and other tapeless cameras, including improved RED Source Settings dialog in Premiere Pro and After Effects CS5.5 and native support for up to 5k media from RED Epic cameras via an extension available on Adobe Labs. Providing a native editing solution, CS5.5 saves users time and eliminates the need to transcode or rewrap footage.

“When you shoot an event and you want to get that footage edited you have to transcode it before you can do anything if you’re using another system and that can take a significant amount of time,” she continues. “But with our tools, you plug it in and you’re ready to go. That ability to compress the timeline is huge.”

Pricing and Availability

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium is scheduled to ship within 30 days. Estimated street price for Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium is expected to be US$1,699. Upgrade pricing and volume licensing are available. In addition, a new Subscription Edition is available for as little as US$85 per month.