As a beginner to basic videography and editing software, it can be difficult to switch between editing applications on the fly.
Having been involved in a multimedia program, instructors often emphasize learning how to use Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7 first. It is by far the most popular editor on the market, is considered the industry standard, and has an interface which allows ease of use. However, not owning a Mac hinders the frequency with which I could use it, so often I had to use the alternative editor, Adobe’s Premiere Pro.
Initially when I was first learning video editing software, I found FCP7 to be pristinely intuitive. Meanwhile Adobe Premiere seemed like the exact opposite. This contrast seemed consistent right down to the way each editor was designed. Final Cut’s panels where ivory white and user friendly, while Premiere’s were a sluggish grey and seemed overly technical. However, with it’s most recent release through the CS6 version, I am glad to see an improved user interface.
One of the first challenges to editing with Premiere Pro is learning to set up project presets so that the program will work natively with the video assets you are importing. Selecting the wrong one can have frustrating consequences, such as a distorted pixel aspect ratio or having an inconsistent frame rate. Though this can be easily overcome provided that you know the type of camera you are shooting with and which codecs they are set too. There is also a dialog box that appears when importing footage that does not match the preset settings. This allows you to convert incompatible footage on the spot.
With the release of CS6 there are also several improvements to the user interface. Allowing it to have a little more ease of use. For example, the project panel has some added functionality. The source clips can be magnified, show how often they have been used, and can even display in which sequences they appear. When using the media browser, you can also scrub clips by simply hovering over them with your mouse. Even the use of markers has been enhanced, now notes can be attached to them, and a tab displays their occurrence within a sequence. The presentation is also better, with the sluggish grey now being more of a crisp charcoal black.
Seeing these new improvements, it’s almost ironic that now Premiere seems like the more intuitive editor. Especially since the disappointing release of Final Cut Pro X. Although that’s not to say Premiere doesn’t still lack some ease of use. One example is trying to add a simple slug of plain black video. In FCP one simply has to click on a folder of video generators and select a premade clip. Whereas in Premiere, you have to go through one or two extra steps that I never would have guessed. It involves specifically going to the project tab, adding a “new item”, and then scrolling down to “black video”.
Despite the banality of troubleshooting these problems, Premiere pro is an effective tool. It just requires a longer learning curve, as it seems built to cater to those who are familiar with adjusting the more technical inner workings of video, as opposed to pacifying beginners who are new to editing.
Brent Jackson is a graduate of Humber College’s paralegal studies program, and is now taking its multimedia design and production technician course.