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Old April 28th, 2008, 01:42 AM   #1
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Questions for Paolo about his Adobe experiences on the Mac

Hi Paolo.

These questions stem from your comments in the JVC ProHD forum about editing with Adobe tools on the Mac. I use Final Cut Studio and Shake. I've been looking at getting the Adobe Design Suite for the Mac (Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.) but, after your comments, I'm now thinking of getting the entire Adobe Master Collection (adding in Premiere Pro, After Effects, Encore, etc.). Frankly, I'm desperate for a Blu-ray solution (which I believe Encore has) plus I'm very impressed with the Adobe design team from watching the web videos of their recent NAB presentations. They really seem "on the ball" and keeping up with developments.

1/ From your earlier comments, I gather that I can simply insert existing .m2t files into the Premiere Pro (PP) timeline. Can you still export it as a Quicktime movie from the PP timeline?

2/ Transferring over existing FCP projects to PP. I assume that you have already done this. What is the best way that you have found?

3/ Have you used Encore to author a Blu-ray DVD yet? If so, how did it go? (I saw another post where someone mentioned problems with it.)

4/ Purely from your own experience, is After Effects easier to learn and use than Shake? (I've struggled quite a bit with Shake, despite buying various tutorials on it.)

I'm not looking at abandoning FCS (I love Cinema Tools, Compressor and just bought an Intel iMac so I can run Color) but I really need to use the best tool for each particular circumstance. And running the full Adobe Master Suite in addition to FCS is making more sense.

And feel free to elaborate on any other advantages you have found that I haven't asked about. Thanks!
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Old April 28th, 2008, 09:47 AM   #2
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Hey David.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
... but, after your comments, I'm now thinking of getting the entire Adobe Master Collection
That is what I got. Although I already had AE and PS. It was wort it.
Quote:
Frankly, I'm desperate for a Blu-ray solution (which I believe Encore has)
That's correct.

Quote:
They really seem "on the ball" and keeping up with developments.
Not only that, the porting to the Mac of Premiere and the integration of the products is the best I have seen in a long time. Not to mention the consistency of the UI. From Premiere to After Effects to Encore, once you learn one you find yourself at home with the others. By contrast FCP, Shake, Motion and Color all have different UIs. Another thing that impressed me about Adobe is their corporate culture. Here in the SF Bay Area they opened the doors of their office to help the user's groups meet.

Quote:
1/ From your earlier comments, I gather that I can simply insert existing .m2t files into the Premiere Pro (PP) timeline. Can you still export it as a Quicktime movie from the PP timeline?
That's correct. The Adobe Media Encoder in Premiere allows you to export to any QuickTime file or to other formats, including Flash.

Quote:
2/ Transferring over existing FCP projects to PP. I assume that you have already done this. What is the best way that you have found?
Haven't finished that yet, I had some success via EDL.

Quote:
3/ Have you used Encore to author a Blu-ray DVD yet? If so, how did it go? (I saw another post where someone mentioned problems with it.)
Not yet but I've seen posts of people who did it successfully.

Quote:
4/ Purely from your own experience, is After Effects easier to learn and use than Shake? (I've struggled quite a bit with Shake, despite buying various tutorials on it.)
I have both and AE is my swiss-army knife for everything graphics. From my point of view AE is the must-have program for every editor/compositor. If you add Colorista to it you have a phenomenal Color Correction suite that has nothing to envy to Color, IMHO, and it's way easier to use. The integration with Premiere makes the combo absolutely phenomenal.

Quote:
I'm not looking at abandoning FCS (I love Cinema Tools, Compressor and just bought an Intel iMac so I can run Color) but I really need to use the best tool for each particular circumstance. And running the full Adobe Master Suite in addition to FCS is making more sense.
I have to say that Compressor is to me, for now, the most useful piece of the suite as it frees the NLE from that task. FCP is a good NLE but I found several parts of Premiere to be more useful to me.
As you mentioned, .m2t files are directly supported, which means faster workflow for us owners of the HD100. Finally we can have accurate capture with logging. The multicamera edits seems easier. The synchronization of sound via pointers is another bonus. Sound processing is light years ahead of FCP with support for VST plugins, surround 5.1 directly in the timeline, without requiring another app. like Soundtrack.
Keyframe management is better than FCP.
I haven't spent time to do a feature-by-feature comparison between the two apps but I feel that the trimming and editing is nicer in Premiere. And this is after four years of using FCP. What Premiere lacks is some keystrokes like "e" to trim a clip to the CTI position. on the other hand you can trim clips with much more flexibility than FCP. FCP many times refuses to perform a lift even though it would be perfectly possible. Premiere allows you to trim the timeline where FCP would not. You can do L-cuts or J-Cust mnore easily by pressing Alt and dragging the video or audio only while still keeping video and audio linked.
Like with every new application you will experience a bit of frustration in moving from familiar territory to new ground and learn how to do the same things in a different way. For example, you don't see blend modes in the clip's properties. They are in the Calculations effects. On the other hand that effect allows you to mix two different sources from the effects panel. You don't have a "bb" command to cut all the track, you use the "c" command to switch to the "cut" tool and then hold the shift to make it operate on all tracks and so on.

Going back to the Premiere+After Effects deal, to me that is the most important aspect of the mix. Being able to use those two applications together is the winning combination. You can import a Premier project in AE directly.In a matter of seconds all your assets, edit point and even the effects are inside your compositing suite. The effects are a big deal because you can start in Premiere, which shares many AE plugins, and get a feel for the timing and final work and then carry all that work inside AE 32-bit processing and finesse the work without having to redo all the effects.
Also Encore can output the same DVD project that you build as a Flash application. This means that you can use Encore as a authoring tool for your demo reel or to let your clients preview a low-res version of the project online and all without having to do additional work. That is a big deal for me.

Anyway, hope this helps, let me know if you need more information.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 06:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone View Post

As you mentioned, .m2t files are directly supported, which means faster workflow for us owners of the HD100. Finally we can have accurate capture with logging.

Sound processing is light years ahead of FCP with support for ... surround 5.1 directly in the timeline, without requiring another app. like Soundtrack.

You can do L-cuts or J-Cuts more easily by pressing Alt and dragging the video or audio only while still keeping video and audio linked.

... and then carry all that work inside AE 32-bit processing and finesse the work without having to redo all the effects. ...

Also Encore can output the same DVD project that you build as a Flash application.
Thanks for that great summation, Paolo!

I'm specifically looking at wrapping up (over the next 4-5 weeks) the post-production on a long-outstanding indie feature project. It goes way back to the days before FCP even had native capture for the GY-HD100 series!

We captured it as .m2t files with DVHSCap and converted with HDVxDV to AIC Quicktimes. HDVxDV made the audio go out of synch (but it was better than MPEG Streamclip, which gave occasional repeat frames when I tried it) and I spent endless hours re-synching each piece of audio. And, of course, there is no timecode for any of the converted footage, so I can't do a batch re-capture!

But I'm thinking I could take those existing "pristine" (i.e. not diluted into AIC) .m2t files and drop them into Premiere Pro and reconstruct.

I figure that the advantages will be a) proper timecode, b) sound in perfect synch, c) back to a pristine image (with the pure .m2t), d) able to apply 5.1 surround sound directly in the timeline(!), and e) able to export in a lossless codec like SheerVideo for applications such as Color.

I'm assuming that DVHSCap does capture with timecode and that Premiere Pro can recognize the timecode in .m2t files captured that way.

Or does PP only recognize the TC when you capture it through PP itself?

And, in terms of eventual local exhibition, quite a few of our local cinemas have digital projectors installed and I had the realization only a few days ago that Blu-ray is probably the perfect solution (as I'm "only" working in 720p and Blu-ray is a 1080p medium) for hooking up to these projectors.

So that's why Encore looks so enticing!

I just noticed on the Adobe website that they have free 30 day trials for both PP and Encore. So without further ado ...

Thanks again, Paolo for your very timely advice.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 07:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
We captured it as .m2t files with DVHSCap and converted with HDVxDV to AIC Quicktimes.
Ahhh, I remember those days :)

Quote:
But I'm thinking I could take those existing "pristine" (i.e. not diluted into AIC) .m2t files and drop them into Premiere Pro and reconstruct.
Yes, this will give you the benefit of not transcoding. Also, I checked the interpretation of .m2t and the timecode is not preserved but Premiere does an analysis of the footage and reports possible timecode breaks and sound out of synch with the location of the problem. I noticed this when importing some test footage that I acquired in DVHSCap as a single clip even though I stopped and started the camera a few times. Premiere detected and reported the location of those problems.

Quote:
I figure that the advantages will be a) proper timecode, b) sound in perfect synch, c) back to a pristine image (with the pure .m2t), d) able to apply 5.1 surround sound directly in the timeline(!), and e) able to export in a lossless codec like SheerVideo for applications such as Color.
That is a sound workflow IMHO. The timecode is not there anymore though.

Quote:
I just noticed on the Adobe website that they have free 30 day trials for both PP and Encore. So without further ado ...
Be aware that the tryout is not HDV enabled. I asked Adobe about it and they told me that they have licensing issues about that. Also, the tryout is stuck at 3.0 while 3.1.1 and 3.2 have been released with several improvements both for HDV and Mac OS 10.5. It's OK to get familiar with the new editor but it will present more glitches that are in the actual release.

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask more information.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 11:44 PM   #5
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Hi Paolo,
This is more a post for the Adobe forum. But since we are discussing Adobe products here anyway. I have a short question.
I'm currently switching from laptop XP to a MacBook Pro. (learning Mac OS).
If I install the AE and PPro, should I stay with bootcamp and run it from there to keep all the possibilities? Or should I go for the MAC version? Probably I will loose all the possible AVI, WMV export settings?
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:49 AM   #6
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If I install the AE and PPro, should I stay with bootcamp and run it from there to keep all the possibilities? Or should I go for the MAC version? Probably I will loose all the possible AVI, WMV export settings?
First of all, congratulations on the switch, please don't hesitate to ask if you need more information. Learning a new OS is a big step but you will be glad that you did it. I spent most of my professional carrier on PC since DOS 2.0, so I invested a loooooong time on that platform and I was really impressed by the Mac when I switched 5 years ago. I never looked back.
Anyway, IMHO, bootcamp is something that you don't want to use except for the few applications that you must have and that don't run on a Mac. The beauty of Adobe apps is that, with the exception of OnLocation, they all run on both platforms. Adding bootcamp and Windows will clutter your disk and take away a lot of room on a laptop for applications that you will probably use rarely. Also consider options like Parallels and VmWare Fusion which allow you to run Windows apps and not the Windows desktop, inside Mac OS.
IMHO using Windows AE in Mac OS will prevent you from accessing the usefulness of Mac OS. You are better off by using the Mac version. The WMV export option can be kept by using the Flip4Mac software ( http://www.flip4mac.com/ ), AVI I believe should be ignored as it's not multiplatform and so it limits your target audience. QuickTime and H.264 provide multiplatform, industry standard solutions that are as good as AVI, if not better. Nevertheless there is probably a software to support AVI on Mac. Remember also that if you already have a PC in the house/office, you can share disks and printers between Macs and PCs so you can work on rendering clips from the Mac and then converting them in AVI files by sharing the Mac volume and connecting to it from the PC. Just go to the System Preferences, select Sharing, click on File sharing and check the option for Windows.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 03:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for the reply Paolo. I will install the version for Mac.
Yes after 20 years of Dos, Windows...It is a fresh experience to work on a Mac.
One thing I really look for is a right-click at the moment. The multi-touch is just brilliant on the other hand.
Concerning AVI files. I need to export 99% of my footage to AVI,
as it's been used on Media Servers XP embedded based for real-time playback as a native format.
So the solution of Bootcamp/Parallels to convert locally the files with PC software on the same MacBook Pro,
is therefore the best option on site I think.
I use the Cineform Codec a lot, so that should give me also some flexibility to change files back and forth.
As the Codec is available for both OS systems.
I tried the Flip4Mac yesterday. For some reason a converted file had some frames missing after encoding.
Which is really a pain for creating seamless loopable videofiles. I have sent them a bug report with example files.
Hopefully they see the same thing and make a fix for it.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:13 AM   #8
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Marc, right click is done with Ctrl-Click on the mousepad or you can use a two-button mouse.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #9
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Compression

Great supportive answers, Paolo.

My one question is about final project output from Premiere compared to Compressor.

We've tried all flavors of compression engines for the Mac (Squeeze, Episode Pro, Cleaner etc) and found that Compressor 3 is by far the best and most robust encoder currently on the market for the Mac. Do you feel Premiere's encoding engine does as good a job of creating MPEG-2 encodes as Compressor can?

Last edited by Robert Lane; April 29th, 2008 at 10:51 AM.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #10
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Robert, I agree with you about the quality of Compressor and given that I have it because of my previous experience with FCP I still use it. I haven't tried the MPEG2 compression of Premiere yet but I will and post my findings later. I do believe that the H.264 compression of Adobe Media Encoder is pretty good, probably as good as Compressor. The thing that I wish Adobe had done was to have the AME as a stand-alone, batchable application. On the other hand Device Central is pretty cool and Apple has not yet delivered anything like that. I think that Adobe's aggressive offering in the BluRay and portable devices is step in the right direction.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #11
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Yep, I have a right-click now. Thanks.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 08:15 PM   #12
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First I agree with the Adobe UI, it's great that it fully integrates well with the whole suite. As far as mixing in surround or just mixing in general, as with most large productions final mixing with SFX and music is done in a separate app, for example pro tools, or soundtrack pro.

As far as trimming goes I just couldn't do it as fast in AP like I do in FCP or Avid. Also If you hold the option key down you can move linked clips separately to create L-Cuts, or use the extend edit feature, or use asymmetrical trimming by command clicking separate tracks (all with linked selection turned on) the option key temporally disables linked selection or snapping. Hopes this helps any confusion.
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