When I decided to build a non-linear video editing station for myself, I took
some time to study what was out there that I could afford. I found there
were several levels of video editing, from the low end consumer software
that had very little in the way of bells and whistles, to the high end
software that with the help of an accompanying video card, could keep up
with many of the “professional editing systems” that production companies
and television stations spend tens of thousands of dollars for.
In what is known as the “prosumer” level of editing software I found
Adobe Premiere 6.0. My first decision in the construction of this editing
station was to purchase a Matrox video capture/compression package. After
having read a great deal on the plus and minuses of each editing package,
the Matrox system seemed to fit both my budget and editing requirements.
With that Matrox package came the Adobe Premiere software. Since I have
been using Adobe Photoshop for several years now, I had the basic understanding
of the way Adobe handled their menus. Outside of that, it was starting
I was an old film editor back in 1972. I began working at KENS-TV in
the day when all news stories were shot on film. If we wanted to create
dissolves between two shots, we had to create an “A-B” roll. In Premiere
you can create the same type of editing timeline. You put your first video
shot on line “A” and your second video shot on line “B” at the end of the
shot on line “A”. You would then pick a transition for the machine to take
you from one to the other. You could use a simple fade to a very complicated
fractal transition that would literally take the video apart by the pixel
and fly it in a million directions. Those types of transitions required
the power of the Matrox card to assist the software in creating the complicated
mathematical calculations it would take to make it happen. As long as you
kept it to two lines of video and transitions, you could produce your video
in record time without the need for the computer to “render” or create
each and every frame of your production.
Premiere has the option to add as many as 95 layers of video and 95
layers of audio. As many videos as I have produced in the last year and
a half, I have only used eight layers of video and five layers of audio
at one time. Believe me when you have that much going on at one time, it’s
difficult to keep everything straight. On top of that, it requires that
the editor/computer render each and every frame.
Depending on what you are asking the editor to do, you might be spending
a great deal of time waiting for the editor to render your production.
I recently waited eight hours for the Matrox editor to render ten minutes
of finished video. The more layers you add into the production, the more
the editor is going to have to deal with.
Premiere has more options than I could ever list in this review, but
you are able to choose from close to a hundred transitions, and an equal
number of video effects like, 3D manipulation of your video to include
edge beveling, drop shadows, color correction, motion control, depth perception
and much more.
Imputing video via fire wire is as easy as opening a window and selecting
movie or audio capture. The editing software then allows you to select
your clips down to the frame and import them in a variety of formats. Once
you have them imported into Premiere, you see a set of thumbnails that
allow you to select the clip you want to simply drag and drop into the
time-line. Once on that time-line you can trim your clips by using a razor
to cut unnecessary segments, expand and slow down the clips to create slow
motion or still frames by using your “clip options”.
Viewing more or less of your time-line is as easy as hitting the plus
or minus keys on your keyboard. You can see as little as a few frames at
a time, or your entire project. The ability to size or move any and all
windows in this editing software makes it very user friendly. I have a
21-inch monitor, and I find it difficult at times to see everything I need
to during an editing session. With the ability to move and size windows,
as I need, I am able to get the job done without much hassle. I would not
recommend trying to edit on any NLE software without either a large monitor
or two 19-inch monitors. There is so much to look at on the screen that
space is precious and hard to come by.
I am sure I only use about 50% of what Premiere 6.0 can do, but even
with that capability, I am able to turn out some impressive results. I
know there are videos and books that are available for purchase, but I
am a bit stubborn and usually like to learn by doing. Premiere has a massive
learning curve, and works best with a very powerful system, say at least
a 1.4 gig processor, 512 megs of ram and a set of fast hard drives. Anything
less and you are going to be frustrated at how long you have to wait to
see your final product rendered.