MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2009 (#40)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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100 MacDirectory REVIEW | CREATIVITY ADOBE CS 4 PRODUCTION PREMIUM > REDEFINING THE PROCESS Even though there are only a couple of serious competitors, it's not a far reach to say that the video post-production market for the Mac is already pretty well saturated. Artists (electronic or otherwise) like to stick with the tools they know best. So, when the program named Premier rejoined Adobe's Mac lineup in Creative Suite 3, the news wasn't especially earth- shaking. What was overlooked was the fact that the program had little in common with its namesake. (In fact there was reportedly considerable debate within Adobe whether to go with an entirely new moniker instead of simply tacking "Pro" onto the original name.) With all its changes and improvements, however, there were few compelling reasons for editors or production houses to switch to a new system and adopt a new workflow. Simply put: now there is. And the reasons go far beyond the improvements found in this one application. Adobe's Creative Suite 4 Production Premium is built on several concepts that have come to revolutionize the fields of print and Web production and combined them in a way that has the potential to provide an equally significant change to video and special effects. In an ideal world, the production process is pretty much linear — the work flows steadily downstream to the output format. But more often than not, minds get changed, mistakes are discovered and projects ricochet around the various workflows with considerable time lost in backtracking and rebuilding. One of the great new capabilities that CS4 Production Premium brings to the table is Dynamic Links, the video equivalent of smart objects and round-trip editing. If you find out that you have to revise a sequence from After Effects based on a 3D model that originated in Photoshop CS4 Extended after you've already started laying out the project for DVD in Encore, you simply go back and change it. The updates are reflected in the Premiere Pro project file and back into the DVD. In most cases, Dynamic Links will also let you continue working with unrendered footage. Adobe's new ASND file format brings the capability to the audio realm, as well. ASND files live as fully editable projects and can be tweaked and revised throughout the production process. Metadata Rules! The second part of the revolution can be expressed with an arcane word that takes on new meaning in video production: metadata. Metadata is the wealth of information that invisibly travels with media files. CS4 Production Premium takes this once-esoteric concept into really groundbreaking territory and it results in greatly improved convenience and efficiency. Generally, the more information that you can track about a given element, scene, shot, reel, rating, source, rights, etc., the easier it is to search and sift to find what you need. With the addition of On Location, the direct-to-disk recording utility that's now included in the Mac version of the Suite, you can maintain a virtual database of your project from the point of putting together a shot list during preproduction to authoring the DVD. The really big breakthrough in CS4 is the addition of a voice transcription capability to the Adobe Media Encoder. It maintains a dialog-to-time code relationship that can be used in virtually any part of the production workflow. Most notably, linked transcripts can also be saved in FLV files, so libraries of video content can be searched by words and phrases. This one feature has the potential of being a media landmark. Direct-to-disk recording is by no means new. What On Location brings to the table is a compact recording package that includes extensive shot cataloging capabilities and a field monitoring system that's the video equivalent of an aircraft's "glass cockpit." The video monitor and collection of scopes would please the pickiest videographer and the hardware equivalent would represent thousands of dollars and dozens of pounds. Some of the most splendid touches are in the details, like the traditional blue-gun filter on the monitor that lets you use SMPTE color bars to fine-tune the screen for local lighting conditions and "pop" alerts on the VU meters. Even if you choose to work with tape, On Location should be extremely useful for on-site logging and monitoring. Final Cut Imports Premiere Pro CS4 handles tapeless production equally well, with direct support for Sony's XDCAM and Panasonic's P2 file formats as well as the WORDS BY RIC GETTER SOUNDBOOTH > EDIT SCORE TO VIDEO

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