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Interview: Al Mooney, Product Manager, Adobe Premiere Pro

Shawn Lam and Al Mooney of Adobe discuss new features in Adobe Premiere Pro, including improved multicam and expanded GPU support, and new keyboard-driven editing enhancements.

Keyboard-Driven Editing Enhancements

Shawn Lam: I'm here with Al Mooney. He is the product manager for Adobe Premiere Pro, and we're at NAB 2013. We're having a look at the next version of Premiere Pro. What can you tell us?

Al Mooney: One of the biggest features of this version is an area which I call “editing finesse.” We've redesigned the timeline and the way you engage with the timeline to be much more fluid and intuitive and to present key information visually to an editor. More and more people are working on long-form projects in Premiere Pro. If you're cutting a three-hour nature documentary and you can't remember if you've used the three-second shot of a bird on a tree, duplicate-frame indicators and through-edit indicators are going to help with that. Cleaned-up track headers, making it much easier to find the key things. Easier source patching, easier track targeting, and just a whole bunch of things throughout the UI of the timeline that help you when you're working on these big projects.

Also, we've got many new keyboard-driven editing enhancements, and this is responding to some of the most common requests. A really good example of that is something that seems very simple: the ability to use a keyboard shortcut to nudge a clip up and down. That seems like a small thing, but if you do something 1,000 times a day, it becomes enormous. There are loads and loads of other keyboard-driven enhancements, like being able to select the clips under the playhead, move things around more easily, Paste Attributes functionality for moving effects from one clip to another.

Shawn: I know that the Paste Attributes one was one that I had challenges with. You wanted to paste the attributes from one clip to the next, and you had to copy everything. Or if you did...

Al: It was clunky. What we're focusing on is, "If it takes three clicks, can we make it one? If it takes 10 clicks, can we make it three?” It’s about removing these little things that slow you down. People are cutting with this product in earnest for 14 hours a day, and it makes a difference.

Shawn: And I think a lot of it too has to do with the fact that editors now are using laptops, and we don't have necessarily a mouse to work with anymore.

Al: Fast, professional editors are keyboard-driven, or at least the vast majority are. Now, if you're a mouse kind of a guy, feel free. You can do this stuff with a mouse. But what we hear, time and again, is, "Make the keyboard editing fluid and intuitive and fast," and that's really what we've tried to do.

Multicam Editing

Shawn: Let's move to multicam editing. What's new there?

Al: We did a lot of work with multicam in CS6, and really that was all about just simplifying the multicam experience, but here we've really focused on "What do people want to do? What would be the smoothest workflow for multicam?” So let’s say I have three shots. Just like I could in 6, I'll select across these three clips, I'll right-click, and I'll choose Create Multi-camera Source Sequence. But the big new thing, is that now we're able to synchronize these different angles by audio waveform. So it's such a common situation that there either wasn't a clapperboard or you don't have time to use the clapperboard. You don't have time-of-day timecode. Now you can just analyze the audio waveform and create that Multi-camera Source Sequence from it. It will automatically generate a Multi-camera Source Sequence, which I can just put on the timeline. If I just scrub to where the Multi-camera is, we also have a new Multi-camera button right in the Program Monitor, which, again, means no clicking. You don't have to rummage around and find it. You can just move the panel--another one of those little things that add up to big things. You can just switch it in, and there you are in Multi-camera mode. You can hit Play, and do your edit.

If anyone was ever frustrated by the fact that when you hit Stop, we used to jump back to camera one, we've taken that away. Multicam in CS6 is very powerful, but if you wanted to export an XML to something else, it was a bit of a dead end. Now, once you've made your multicamera edits, you can just go ahead, choose Multi-camera, and choose to flatten. That basically goes back to all the source clips, and now this is just the Premiere Pro sequence with those cuts as I placed it in there. Now I can export an XML and take it anywhere. And very briefly, another really useful new feature is single-sequence XML or AAF export, so we used to export the whole project. These little things make for a muchsmoother workflow.

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