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Adobe Streamlines Multi-Project Management with Premiere Pro Productions

Joining a number of prominent vendors making key online announcements this week in the absence of the cancelled NAB, Adobe unveiled a Premiere Pro update that ought to prick up the ears of pro editors everywhere who do unwieldy longform or episodic projects.

Joining a number of prominent vendors making key online announcements this week in the absence of the cancelled NAB, Adobe unveiled a Premiere Pro update that ought to prick up the ears of pro editors everywhere who do unwieldy longform or episodic projects.

The new update, v14.1.0 (Build 116), features the brand new Productions panel (Figure 1, below), designed to streamline complex workflows by providing a flexible organizational layer above the Project level in Premiere Pro. Designed to make the voluminous media assets used in longform or episodic projects available to editors working on specific segments of those projects without having to lump them all into the project at hand--often engendering long launch times as Premiere Pro makes all of those media elements ready to edit, and creating layers of organizational complexity within a single project--Productions enables editors to organize those productions into manageable groups, while still keeping associated assets available for reuse and application without having to duplicate them in every project that might have need for them.

Figure 1. The new Premiere Pro Productions panel. Click the image to see it at full size.

In a live presentation today, Adobe Senior Technical Sales Manager, Film & Video Karl Soule outlined the essential features of the Productions panel and explained how editors will use it. He also noted that some noteworthy editors are using it already. “A lot of the tech in this was battled-tested in films like They Call Me Dolomite on Netflix and Terminator: Dark Fate. It’s also being used in production in David Fincher’s new film, MANK. This is not something that we built in the lab and are putting out there for the first time.”

Soule took pains to point that the Productions panel adds new features to Premiere Pro (like the Assembly, Graphics, Color, and Libraries before it) rather than replacing familiar elements of the worfkflow. “The project file isn’t going away,” he explained. “You can still do single projects. But we needed something that lived one level above a Premiere Pro project. A Production is a way of organizing a set of projects by maintaining a relationship between those projects. For the first time ever, it’s possible to create projects that just contain clips, or to create projects that just contain sequences, and have the clips in the sequence reference other projects” without requiring the sequence-only project to contain all those clips.

Soule described an issue that most Premiere Pro editors have likely encountered, where a project might contain hundreds of media files, all of which Premiere Pro needs to make edit-ready each time the project is opened. “By breaking things up into different projects” all associated with a given Production, Soule explained, “you can open the Production in seconds, then you can dive right into that specific project with the specific sequence you want to work on. You don’t have to worry about Premiere Pro trying to catalog and index 100 days’ worth of shooting every time you open up the project.”

Productions also facilitate more transparently edited collaborations between editors working on discrete elements of the same show. As shown in Figure 1, the Productions panel consists of folders and subfolders with projects inside them. “The project icons can tell me at a glance what I have open,” Soule said, “what I have open, or what other people have open if I’m working in a group, and what is closed. I see a green pencil if I’ve got it open in a state where I can go in and make changes, and also where I can’t, using the project locking functionality that’s been in Premiere Pro for a while.” Project availability is provided on a first-come, first-served basis; whoever double-clicks on it first gets to edit that project.

In addition to making video footage easier to find and access within a complex production, Soule underscored the value of the Production panel for working with libraries of media assets—sound clips, graphics, audio tracks—that edits pull from for multiple projects, particularly in episodes of the same show. “Productions also makes it easier to re-use those elements,” Soule said. Traditionally, he continued, “the more media you have in a single project, the longer that project takes to open. If you need to do a quick change to a sequence, and you’ve got 50,000 sound effects and 50,000 media clips all living in that same project, that can take a while. With Productions, you can create different projects for those elements you’ll use over and over again, and you can really easily import them into a new production when you’re getting started.”

Adobe notes that Productions is designed for collaborators working with media and projects on shared local storage. For collaborators working remotely in different locations (as so many editors are these days), Adobe offers Team Projects, a distinct toolset available only through Enterprise Premiere Pro Licenses with project files stored securely in Creative Cloud. In order to support users working from home due to COVID-19, Adobe is making Team Projects available to all users from April 14 through August 17, 2020. Details available here.

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Though the latest version of Premiere Pro introduced this week isn't a complete facelift, there are pretty dramatic changes during import and export, the bookends in every project. The changes are designed to simplify operation for new users and streamline workflows for all users.