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October 2011 DDMC Meeting With Adobe Summary

By: Stephen Toback

Even on such a beautiful day, we still managed to get a good crowd to attend an awesome demo of Adobe video tools at the Perkins Library today.  Molly Aiken (Duke’s Adobe Rep was joined by her SE Steve Adler and Colin Smith and Sebastian DiStefano from Adobe’s pro video team. Some of you may know Colin from his Adobe TV show “No Stupid Questions” in which he answers questions posted to his blog:

Adobe has an interesting story to tell now that Apple has seemingly changed focus with Final Cut X, Premiere Pro is more traditional time line editing tool that FCP users may feel more comfortable with.

First up was introduction of a new product called Adobe Story. Story is a cloud based screen writing tool similar to Final Draft or using templates in Word. Since it is a cloud based service, it allows you to collaborate with folks similar to how you would a Google Doc. It’s strength comes in when you look at how it combines with the other Adobe media tools. Once you finish your script, it can do shot breakdowns and tagging of scenes to run reports. It can also export as an XML file to help inform Adobe’s speech to text engine – improving recognition since you have the script (assuming your talent follows the script). It is offered as a free service until April 2012. No information was given on the cost after April.

Speech to text in Premiere Pro? Yes, but… 🙂 It seems to work quite well. You can add on the fly lists of words to help the recognition work better. When you export to Adobe Encore (their DVD authoring tool) it will build a SWF file with searchable text that was really cool. The “but” is that it will not export a standards based XML file for captioning and you cannot batch process files. They indicated they had multiple requests for these features, as well as converting the text into captioning and are considering it. They had a really interesting point about “automated closed captioning”. There are really strict regulations about captioning – it’s not just the words,  but music and action and the placement of the caption for it to be legal broadcast captioning.

One of the really cool features of Premiere was its ability to play back multiple file formats, with no import transcoding and no rendering. You can also mix multiple versions of file formats on the same timeline. We’re testing MTS format files as we often run into problems in the MPS bringing these into Final Cut.  They have something called the Mercury Playback Engine that allows this all to happen in real time. It will either play the files back immediately, but really slowly or allow you to reduce the quality to get full speed playback. If you have files with multiple audio tracks, Premiere allows you to merge them together for easier editing. It will not do track synchronization like PluralEyes but they are considering that in the future.

Adobe Soundbooth appears to be no more. Adobe Audition which has been available on Windows is now on the Mac. It was a really impressive audio editing suite which incorporates some of the plugins from iZotope, an audio tools company I’ve reported on for the last few years in my NAB reports. This was one of the mind blowing demos where they showed how you can visually “paint out” noise, errant sounds and even a phone ringing in a shot.

There were many familiar Photoshop style tools such as “healing brush”, lasso and selections that allowed you to visually edit. Was very powerful.

Although we were quickly running out of time, we were able to see some amazing integration and features of After Effects. The real time linking between the applications is astonishing. They showed bringing a video file into AE, adding snow, switching back into Premiere and it was just there. No pre-rendering, no import export, it was just there. You can even quit AE and the effect is still present in the other application. They mentioned a workflow where you create something in Illustrator, then bring it into Photoshop to edit, then bring into After Effects to animate it, then bring it into Premiere to add it to your program then bring it into Encore to author the DVD. If you go back and change the file in Illustrator, it will immediately update across all applications. It won’t be finalized until you render your final file.  They also showed the warp stabilizer plug in.  This does true 3D image stabilization that looked really impressive.  AE has added 3D (2.5D) effects such as light fall off which controls how light falls off over distance, plugins that emulate camera “rack” focus (showing near objects in focus, far out of focus or vice versa) and a tool that will take a 2D composition and build it in 3D (emulated) for output on 3D televisions. That might be interesting to experiment creating content for our 3D DDI program.

Finally, a quick look at Flash Media Encoder (a batch encoding tool) had presets for HD YouTube and others that would allow you to render footage in that format so that YouTube would not have to re-transcode the file – giving you faster uploads and better quality.

Looking to see everyone in December… Details to follow.

Categories: DDMC Info


  1. An MPS staffer was able to drag some MTS files (from a hard drive video camera) directly into the timeline of Adobe Premiere – which FCP was unable to import. Pretty cool!

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