Adobe Premiere 6.5
Smartsound Quicktracks is a plug-in that creates custom soundtracks based on parameters provided through a wizard-like interface. This creates music tracks that are every bit as dull as one would expect an automated music-selecting plug-in to be. Premiere 6.5 ships with 27 different styles of Quicktracks, ranging from Techno to Zydeco. It can make loopable beds and stings from any of these styles, and it's tightly integrated into the Premiere interface. This is useful, but the result is as creative as clip art. Premiere is speedy and responsive. Each editor can choose if he wants to edit in classic Premiere 'A/B' style, or the streamlined FCP 'One Track' style of editing. Also, many of the key commands in Premiere are identical to FCP, so switchers can navigate the program with little fuss. Exporting a timeline as MPEG-2 for DVD Studio Pro was also identical to FCP, even when exporting timeline markers as DVD-chapter points. The transitions and motion tools haven't changed a jot in years, but they should've. Animating a DVE-style movie is clunky, and it's difficult to co-ordinate more than one layer of animation. However, Premiere projects can import into After Effects - essential for serious animation. Premiere 6.5 has two glaring omissions that keep it from being a truly professional editing package. First off, it can't import EDLs - although it can export them. That, to me, makes it professionally useless. It means that anything edited on another system can't be finished on Premiere. My other problem with Premiere is that there is no internal RS-422 deck control, which cuts out the use of most professional-video decks that aren't DV. There are third-party plug-ins that give Premiere RS-422-deck control, but they don't come bundled. Still, Premiere has grown into a robust, feature-rich editing package. It goes without saying that it captures DV flawlessly and supports just about every third-party hardware card and DVCAM device on the market today. Premiere 6.5 is also Mac OS X compatible, and ran flawlessly under OS X 10.2.
OS X compatibility, real-time effects preview, and the great new title tool are enough reasons to upgrade if you're currently using Premiere and have no problem with it. And if you're looking for a cost-effective entry into digital-video editing then give Premiere a look. Still, Adobe won't win over many switchers from Final Cut Pro or Avid Xpress DV with this version.