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Adobe Announces Premiere 6.5

Latest release to include software real-time previews By Dave Nagel
Adobe has officially announced Premiere 6.5, the latest generation of the company's non-linear editing suite. Version 6.5 adds scads of new features, including software real-time previews and new titling functionality. It also adds enhanced support for preparing content for DVDs and marks the first version that will run natively in Mac OS X.

It's no secret that Adobe has acquired DVD technologies and is in the process of developing its own DVD authoring package. In the meantime, the path for DVD authoring has diverged somewhat along platform lines. The new version for Windows includes Adobe MPEG Encoder and integration with DVDit! LE, which ships on the Windows CD. The Mac version does not include the Adobe MPEG Encoder but does offer integration with Apple's DVD Studio Pro and iDVD for those who have these programs.

In terms of new audio features, the versions for Mac and Windows also differ. The Mac version gains real-time two-track audio processing vis a vis TC Works Spark LE, which is included on the Mac CD. It also includes support for VST and ASIO. In the Windows version, Premiere 6.5 includes three DirectX audio plugins, also from TC Works. They include EQ, dynamics and reverb. The Mac and Windows versions both include an updated version of SmartSound Quicktracks. Using the SmartSound Maestro, Premiere allows you to set the length of each track, the tempo and the style. It includes 11 new source tracks for a total of 27.

But the two big, new features in Premiere 6.5 are real-time previews and a new title designer. I had a chance to see the real-time capabilities in action on a variety of video tracks with effects and transitions, including picture in picture, dissolves and the like. Everything in Premiere 6.5 can be previewed in real time, including third-party effects filters. Premiere uses automatic degradation of the image and frame rate to ensure that the preview plays back in real time. (Optionally, effects can also be rendered for full-quality previews.) The real-time preview functionality is software-based and scales up as processing power increases.

For titling, Adobe has added its new Adobe Title Designer, which behaves like an application within an application. Choosing a titling function calls up a new window showing the current frame and allowing the user to create a variety of title effects, including preset upper and lower thirds, frames and stylized text. The templates also include still, roll and crawl presets. Text files can also be imported, and textures can be mapped onto text. The Title Designer then outputs a single title layer to the timeline, which can be edited later as well.

Version 6.5 also includes five new After Effects plugins (for a total of more than 30) and 90 Adobe fonts. The new plugins include Blend, Channel Blur, Directional Blur, Ramp and Lightning.

Premiere 6.5 is expected to ship in the third quarter for $549. Upgrades will run $149, and there will also be cross-platform upgrades available. A move from Premiere LE to Premiere 6.5 will run $249. The new Digital Video Collection will now include Premiere 6.5, bringing the entire collection into the native Mac OS X realm. It includes Premiere, Photoshop 7. Illustrator 10 and After Effects 5.5. It will run $1,199 to $1,999, depending on whether you purchase the standard bundle or Production Bundle. For more information, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at [email protected].

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