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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.

Multicam and Sequence Settings

Shawn: Editors always have multiple different formats and framerates. And I know you can take the footage and you drop it in, it creates a new sequence, but what's the best practice when you have multiple different formats? To what kind of sequence setting should we of default? Is it to the highest, or the lowest quality?

Al: The way that works is the first clip you select is the one that it's going to assume is the basis. That will be the first angle, and it will be the thing that the sequence settings are based on. My answer to your question about what's the best one to choose-- if you have a predominant format, I would go with that. If you look at the New Sequence dialog, there's a great deal of stuff in here, but basically what you're choosing with the sequence setting is the frame rate, the aspect ratio, whether or not it's rasterized, and that's kind of it.

So we have a lot of manufacturer-specific settings, but most of the time what happens underneath is the same. Really, the best thing you can do is have a sequence setting that is based on where you want to go. So if you know your output is 1080p, 29.97, interlaced for broadcast, I would suggest you pick that. And then if you do any preview rendering or anything like that on the timeline and you want to use those things, the export format you're going to is going to be the right thing.

Another important point, though, is this version sees significant improvements to this thing we call smart rendering. And smart rendering means that if you just use a piece of a file and you haven't touched it in the sense that there's no effects on it, there's no time remapping, there's nothing like that, for certain formats we can do what we would call a smart render, which means that when you go to export we won't regenerate that piece of media. We'll just pull those frames out of the file and put it there. That means faster export times and higher quality.

So if you're working with one of the formats that we support for smart rendering, make sure you use a sequence setting that has that as the preview renderer, and you're going to see much faster performance.

GPU Acceleration and Support

Shawn: I understand that under the hood we have new advancements when it comes to the Mercury Playback Engine or the GPU acceleration. What can you tell me there?

Al: There's loads. There's a lot of news there. We make sure to test as many GPUs as we possibly can, and you know that you can run Premiere Pro without a GPU. You don't have to have one. You can run it in software-only mode, and if you're just doing cuts-only editing, and not getting into complex sequencing, that's fine. You really benefit from a GPU if you've got rich, multimedia, real-time effects-type sequences. So we like to test them, and we have tested far more this year than ever before, so the list of supported GPUs in this version is extraordinarily long.

That's partly because we've now got both OpenCL and CUDA support on both Mac and Windows. So I talk about this as being the liberalization of the GPU far more than ever before.

If you had a GPU that would work but we haven't tested, like one that met the requirements, that had a gig of RAM, there was a way to sort of slightly hack a text document to get it to work in Premiere Pro. We had a long discussion about this, and we kind of realized that that's a bit stupid. If it's going to work but we just haven't had the chance to test it, why not let the user decide whether or not he or she wants to take that risk? I think that's perfectly reasonable. So now if you have a GPU that meets the config but that we haven't had a chance to test, because there's only so many hours in a week, you can enable it in the Project Settings dialog. We will give you a little warning saying we haven't tested it, but the chances are your performance is going to be great, so more people than ever can use GPUs.

Shawn: So we don't need to hack it anymore.

Al: No.

Shawn: How many GPUs can we support now?

Al: The number I believe is somewhere between 40 and 50. And that's the supported ones, remember. The other big news with GPU is that we can now use multiple GPUs in a system. That's only for export, but for houses that are doing a lot of encoding to multiple formats, which happens more and more and more, if you're someone who needs to do a lot of encoding or transcoding, being able to harness the power of multiple GPUs in a system is hugely beneficial, and you're going to see far faster export times.

 

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