Premiere CC

Premiere in the down time

As you all may know, I’ve chosen FCP X as my NLE for the foreseeable future. However, I can’t always guarantee that I’ll be able to use FCP on jobs that I don’t run through my shop.

Many people I speak to in post casually mention that they are planning on moving over to Premiere. Being keenly aware of this possibility, I’ve been keeping my eye on Premiere since CS6.

Every time the software has a big update, I give it a run-through to see what’s been fixed and added. But, I never end up really using it for anything. It always ends up like this weird science project that gets stuffed in the attic, only to be dusted off every 15 years so that your child can re-use it for their science project. Immoral? Yes. Time saving? Absolutely.

I finally got a chance to get my edit on this weekend with the Premiere CC December update. This will be the shortest review of Premiere on the blogosphere:

Premiere needs Find in Timeline. Without that, I ain’t a-usin’ it. I’ve been saying that since CS6. FIT is the key to smart editing and I’m having a “fit” without it.

And that was my review.

My pal Mike Nichols over at TheEditDoctor has written the most extensive list of requests for Premiere HERE.  What do you think his number one request is? Yup, Find in Timeline. It really seems like the most basic of features. Think of Microsoft Word without Find and Replace? You’d have to scan your document every time you want to edit something. Seems very old fashioned to me. Like pre-1990s old-fashioned.

Here is my list of missing features in order of importance:

1. Find in Timeline

2. Scrub audio at normal pitch

3. Audio that goes to 12db. Why only +6.02 in the timeline? So, like, weird.

4. Make the wireframes work just like FCP 7. Can’t currently move more than 1 object at a time. They need to be able to be turned on and off. Currently, it’s cray cray. Yeah, I said it. Cray cray.

5. Fix the 3-way color correction filter. Having to always change the spread of where the blacks, mids, and whites overlap is insane. Right now, it’s barely usable in my book. Too much twirling down of tools that I need every time. And, no, I don’t plan on moving over to SpeedGrade every time I want to do some quick CCing.

6. Why is there no way to set a Marker out-point other than 2x-clicking on the marker and setting a duration? And nope, I don’t want to always use Prelude to log my stuff. If I’m mid-edit and need to log something quickly there’s simply no need to go out of Premiere.

7. There’s no keyboard command to switch between tabs in the selected panel. I really really (did I mention really?) want this. The key command was CMD-SHIFT-] and [ in FCP 7. It worked just like Safari or Chrome. It’s a necessity to keyboard-only editing.

8. Update the render engine. FCP X renders downconverts and upconverts much better than Premiere.

9. Just pony up and make ProRes presets. Just do it. You’ll make me happy. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what you really want, Adobe?

10. The multicam engine is ok. But FCP X’s is way better. Unless it’s buried deep, there’s no way to set a camera angle and tell Premiere to automatically order the clips by angle.

Adobe, get on it!

 

I am officially almost pretty much completely done with tape… mostly.

Strong words, I know! This, coming from someone who could potentially make his money by simply laying off a 23-minute show to HDCAM or capturing a few innocent Digibeta tapes every now and then for a project. Yeah, I agree, it’s kind of a huge deal. 😉

But still, I have to declare it. I am completely over tape!

So, why am I being all dramarama about this? The simple answer is that I have worked with tape for my entire career-so-far and I feel that it’s time has come and almost gone. It’s a workflow that is great for delivery. For backup and archival purposes, it’s better than hard drives. But dealing with tapes has become a huge time-suck for me in the world of freelance shooting and editing.

Digibetas and cablesNow that I’ve minimized my edit suite to two systems — a late-2012 iMac and a separate assistant’s station — I find that it’s very difficult to implement tape decks into my workflow.

Renting decks has always been a frustration and added cost. I make very little, if anything, on any rental markup. And then there’s the issue of liability — these decks cost between $30,000 and $120,000 and I need to be insured for them in the event they are stolen.

Setting up the decks used to be fairly easy in my old setup. However nowadays, it involves hooking up all the cables needed which used to just hang neatly from the back of my equipment rack. Last, there’s the issue of stability and making sure your deck has been properly serviced. The other day, the rental house delivered a PAL deck by mistake. My session was delayed by a few hours and then involved resetting everything up.

And so, my self-declared final tape job occurred on Friday, July 27th, 2013. It was a job for my old client and friend, Huell Howser. IMG_1623

Huell passed away in January of this year. There have been a lot of “final jobs” for Huell over the past year. But this was really the final, finito, absolutely last job I’ll ever do for ol’ Huell.

Part of my anti-tape declaration is based on the fact that tape was an unavoidable part of Huell’s workflow. If he had worked another ten years, then we might have moved to a file-based workflow around year ten! Huell moved very slowly when it came to updating his technology.

The other part of my tape defamation is in part because I’ve been mourning his loss and am I’m now beginning to move on with my company and career. It’s time for something exciting and new! And I’d just prefer that tape be as little a part of that as possible.

Back to my farewell Huell/Tape edit session, all I had to do was capture a few tapes, lay off a single 26-minute digibeta tape, and make a couple insert fixes on some older shows. But the session was riddled with technical gaffes and issues that sprung up mostly because my “modern” equipment and software can’t handle tape as well as an old Mac Pro tower and FCP 6/7 could. I’m talking to you, Mr. Blackmagic Ultrastudio Express (bane of my existence).

I used to be pretty upset about this. But not anymore. As I said earlier, I recognize that tape’s time has come and gone. With 2K, 4K and higher deliverables, there’s simply no tape that can support these formats for playback. LTO will continue to be used for backup purposes. I think we, in the world of production and post, are pretty much on the same page here and I recognize that I’m not saying anything new.

I used to really enjoy online editing and color correction from a financial standpoint. Now, I relish in the fact that I can spend some extra time finessing and coloring my footage inside the NLE. Dealing with exporting is still a process that requires watching down the file. If you have problems with it, there’s no “insert” or “overwrite.” It’s all about re-exporting.

But, I don’t have to worry about my blackburst generator bursting or my audio going out of sync on playback. I don’t have to worry about my old waveform monitor/vectorscope dying every few years and having to find a new one on eBay. This is all good news.

Removing tape from my workflow adds back in many needed hours for reviewing and logging footage, editing the content and just being creative.

So will I use tape again if I have to? Ok, ya got me. Sure. I’ll probably use Premiere CC since it seemed to work the best in terms of capturing footage over SDI. That all said, leaving tape behind lets me focus on one very important thing –  delivering better work.

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