Adobe is leading the pack when it comes to system performance, and offers a much-improved NLE.
By Oliver Peters
Adobe is shipping its much-anticipated Creative Suite 5. The video applications are available either as single products or bundled in the Master Collection or Production Premium suite. Most video editors will be interested in the latter, which includes Premiere Pro, OnLocation, Encore, After Effects, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Adobe Media Encoder, Soundbooth, Flash Catalyst and Flash Professional.
The big story is native 64-bit operation for all of the applications, which requires a 64-bit OS (Windows Vista/7 or Mac OS X “Snow Leopard”) running on a processor that supports 64-bit operation. The upside of this is much better performance, but the downside is that you’ll have to upgrade all of your plug-ins to 64-bit versions.
Concentration on Performance
Adobe really honed in on performance. I’m running a late-2009 8-core (2.26GHz) Apple Mac Pro with 12GB RAM. The change from CS4 to CS5 provided noticeably faster launch times and, in general, more responsiveness in all of the Adobe applications—but Premiere Pro in particular.
There have been quite a few “under-the-hood” workflow improvements, but the general editing features have not significantly changed. If you liked Premiere Pro before, then you’ll really love CS5. If you weren’t a fan, then improved performance and the easy integration of RED and HDSLR footage might sway you. I’ve never had any real stability issues with Premiere Pro, but one complaint you often hear is that it doesn’t scale well to large, complex projects. I haven’t tackled a large job with CS5 yet, so I can’t say, but over all, the application “feels” much more solid to me than previous releases.
The highlights are the Mercury Playback Engine, more native file and camera support and accelerated effects. According to Karl Soule (Adobe Technical Evangelist, Dynamic Media), “The Mercury Playback Engine is made up of a number of different technologies that use the latest hardware in computers. The three main technologies are 64-bit native code, multi-core optimization and GPU acceleration. 64-bit code means that Premiere can access more RAM than before and can process larger numbers much faster. Multi-core optimization means that Premiere Pro will take full advantage of all cores in multi-core CPUs, splitting processor threads so that the load is balanced and distributed evenly. GPU acceleration uses both OpenGL technology for display playback and [Nvidia’s] CUDA-accelerated effects and filters for color correction, chroma keying and more.”
Sean Kilbride (Nvidia Technical Marketing Manager) continues, “By moving core visual processing tasks in the Mercury Playback Engine to CUDA, the [Adobe] team was able to create highly efficient GPU-accelerated functions with performance gains of up to 70 times.” Adobe has certified several CUDA-enabled Nvidia graphics cards, including the Quadro FX 5800/4800/3800 series and the GeForce GTX 285.