A Loaded Suite

It goes without saying that the production industry has seen some significant changes in the past couple of years. Disruptive camera technology (the RED ONE, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, etc.) has helped create a new industry in which low-budget filmmakers can compete with high-end studios and production houses in delivering a professional-looking movie. The same can be said of the postproduction industry. New off-the-shelf, all-in-one editing and finishing suites have given editors, visual-effects artists and colorists the ability to finish projects on laptops with affordable software packages costing in the thousands of dollars instead of the tens of thousands.

Last year’s CPUG SuperMeet in Las Vegas marked an even bigger disruption in the postproduction market. It was there that Apple announced Final Cut Pro X for a low price point of $299, causing a major rift between Apple and the professional editing community. Not only did the program lack many professional features editors were accustomed to, but they also couldn’t open up their Final Cut Pro 7 projects. In the past year, Apple has quickly released numerous updates through their Mac App store to get its FCP X up to speed, but the damage was done, enabling Adobe to increase their market share for Mac licenses to over 40%.

Another reason why many indie filmmakers have made the switch over to Adobe was the whole DSLR effect. DSLRs like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II created a new army of filmmakers who were eager to start editing their footage. Since you weren’t able to work natively with the DSLR’s H.264 codec with Final Cut Pro 7 and earlier versions, Adobe (one of the first NLEs to enable this) quickly latched onto these new filmmakers. For professionals, companies including the BBC, CBS Sports Network, CNN, Hearst, Media General and NRK started using the Creative Suite Production Premium for their file-based workflows.

Last year’s CS5.5 was a big upgrade, with its Mercury Playback Engine broadening its GPU hardware support to laptops and more supported cards. It gave users live feedback (less rendering), higher resolutions and the ability to throw almost any codec at the system. At NAB 2012, people were expecting big things, especially after Autodesk announced a new version of Smoke for $3,495.

Well, Adobe didn’t disappoint and announced Creative Suite 6 Production Premium, which features big updates to Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Story, Media Encoder and Photoshop. CS6 also is releasing two new programs to the suite: SpeedGrade for color grading and Prelude for streamlining your workflow. Plus, there’s better integration between the programs so you can move shots or sequences in a more efficient manner. According to Adobe, CS6 is their biggest release in over a decade.

Here are some of the highlights, updates and new features of CS6 Production Premium.


Premiere Pro CS6 definitely isn’t your father’s Premiere. In terms of power, the new and enhanced Mercury Playback Engine lets you do a number of new things, such as scrubbing clips and performing multiformat sequences in HD, 5K and even higher resolutions.