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Review: Adobe Premiere Rush

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The value proposition provided by Adobe Premiere Rush varies according to how long you’ve been editing and where you edit. If you’re new to editing altogether, it’s a great starting editor. If you’re familiar with Adobe Premiere Pro, you probably won’t want to switch when editing on your primary workstation, but if you’ve been looking for a simple and efficient way to shoot and edit video on your phone or tablet, Rush definitely fills the bill. If you’re looking to start on your phone or tablet and finish up on your workstation, Rush can’t be beat.

Overview

Rush is available on Windows and Mac and on certain (but not all) iPhones and Android devices. For example, it is available for my iPhone X but not for my Samsung Galaxy Tab A. If you’d like, you can store all Rush project files and project assets in the Adobe Creative Cloud so you can seamlessly switch editing from your mobile device to your workstation, and if you’d like to edit in Premiere Pro, you simply load the Rush project in Premiere Pro.

Functionally, on all platforms, Rush offers an impressive range of editing features, including multiple video tracks, extensive color adjustments, access to Premiere Pro MOGRT title templates, simple transitions, and extensive audio editing and filters. On mobile devices equipped with video cameras, Rush shines from the start, exposing pro-level controls for exposure, focus, and the like. On my iPhone X, rendering was shockingly fast, with export functions for most social media platforms.

From my perspective, Rush is most interesting for its iPhone functionality. Every year I film 8-10 interviews on my iPhone at NAB and the workflow to trim the heads and tails, apply titles, and upload the clips to Brightcove (Streaming Media’s OVP) has been tortuous with other iPhone editors that I’ve tried. So, I was eager to see how it worked in this limited role. To illustrate this and more, I’ll walk you through a typical project workflow covering iPhone functionality at the start and desktop at the end.

When you start your first project in Rush, irrespective of the platform, you have the option to go through a short tutorial that exposes you to most of the controls available in the program. I recommend taking the tutorial on each device you use for editing, particularly on phones where the interface is necessarily cramped and some controls obscured.

Project Creation/Video Capture

When you start working for real, you start a project by loading existing content or shooting new photos or videos. You can load content from different folders on your computer/mobile device like photos, videos, and the like, as well as from Dropbox and the Adobe Creative Cloud, along with Rush soundtracks available as accompaniment. When you choose the content to add, you can select the clips in the order you want them in the timeline, which simplifies getting to a rough cut.

When shooting video, you can either shoot in Auto mode or choose Pro mode as shown on the right in Figure 1 (below). In that mode, you get the controls shown on the bottom of Figure 1, which, from left to right start with exposure mode, where you can opt out of auto-exposure and select ISO level and shutter speed with a helpful exposure meter. Next is exposure bias where you can brighten or darken the incoming video directly. The familiar white balance icon is next, where you can opt out of auto white balance and set tint or color temperature manually. You can also select a region in the video that’s white, which is that circle thingie near my left eye in the figure.

Figure 1. Enabling Pro options on the upper right enables manual controls on the bottom for exposure, exposure compensation, white balance, autofocus, zoom, and resolution and frame rate.

Next is manual focus, which isn’t available with the self-facing camera, which is why it’s grayed out, and then zoom. On the extreme right, you can also choose the resolution and frame rate of the video that you capture. Since many of my shoots at NAB are in sub-par lighting, these controls will definitely help fine-tune and improve the source quality of my shots.

Once you shoot your video or select existing content, you end up on the timeline, shown in the iPhone in Figure 2 (below). One of the coolest features for social media producers is the ability to choose the orientation, whether landscape, portrait, or square, as shown in Figure 2. You can do this at any time, simplifying producing for multiple social media destinations.

Figure 2. You can change project orientation at any time, which simplifies producing for multiple social media sites.

Figure 3 (below) shows the basic editing interface for smartphones. You opt into the multiple track timeline view using the third icon from the left. The box next to it opens your media bin, the icon to the right opens the orientation options shown in Figure 2. You see options for titles, transitions, and color on the bottom; if you drag that bottom slider to the left, you’ll expose controls for speed, audio, and transform, which is how you control picture-in-picture or split-screen operations. The Home icon on the upper left takes you to the project folders, while the three icons on the upper right are for undo, sharing, and feedback to Adobe.

Figure 3. The basic smartphone editing interface

You accomplish most major editing functions intuitively via drag and drop, using familiar gesture controls to zoom into and out of the timeline. You trim by clicking a clip to open simple trim handles at the beginning and end. Once you add multiple clips to the timeline, they move with the sequence as you slide through it. To break this connection, you click only that clip and drag it to the new location.

You have extensive editing control over most functions, though with some the lack of screen real estate complicates operation on smartphone screens. As an example, with the title shown in Figure 2 you have control over font, style, size, character spacing, line spacing, baseline shift, color fill, outline, and shadow, for each line of text. However, deleting and swapping out the text on a smartphone screen may be challenging, though obviously much less so on a tablet, and even simpler on a computer.

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