Since its introduction, Adobe Premiere has been a popular choice for editing in the corporate and educational sector, but the product never made a big impression in the broadcast market. With strong players like Avid and Apple Final Cut, there was little demand for an alternative.
Many FCP7 users in the broadcast market are now looking for a replacement for the aging product, and FCP X has not proved to be the obvious replacement. Instead, post-production departments are looking at (returning to) Avid or taking a fresh look at Premiere. Adobe is already on many workstations with Photoshop and After Effects, so Premiere is always a possible option.
Adobe has transformed Premiere over the last few releases, starting with CS5. The current release, Premiere CC, adds more to CS6 and makes Premiere a strong contender as an FCP7 replacement. With common roots from Randy Ubillos' software development team who were the designers of Premiere and Macromedia’s Key Grip (which was sold to Apple and emerged as Final Cut), its not surprising that the user interfaces are similar, making transition from one to the other relatively easy for editors.
However, the business side makes the choice more that just which application is best liked. With Adobe’s move from a capital purchase to a licensing model, the decision gets more complex, should it be OPEX or CAPEX?
The Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) was released earlier this year, making Adobe’s products available on a subscription basis rather than the single version outright sale of the earlier Creative Suite. With the breadth of Adobe’s Creative Suite, synchronizing product releases across print, Web and video products meant careful synchronization of development. With the subscription model, the CC, a point product can be updated at any time. The subscription model means that users always have the latest version. If Premiere is upgraded to support a new codec, the application can be updated without regard for InDesign or Dreamweaver. Support is easier as all users are on the same version. Regular feature updates to products are freed from the yearly or 18-month product release cycle of the Creative Suite sales model.
Adobe has several licence types, with term licences for permanent installs for the enterprise user like a broadcaster and monthly or annual licenses for teams for a small station or post house.
Already Premiere is into its first update since CC was released in June 2013. This update includes support for Adobe Anywhere, the video collaboration platform announced at NAB 2013, and released July 10. The product requires detailed systems integration and is initially only available to enterprise customers like CNN. Anywhere is integrated into the Premiere and Prelude user interfaces. After Effects is not supported yet, but promised later in 2013.
Anywhere centralizes the big lifting — the rendering of the timeline — and the media storage to a server farm. The edit workstation runs Premiere and operates as the user interface. The viewing windows show video from the servers, which render and stream the timeline in real time. By keeping the source files and rendering in a central location there is no need to move big files back and forth to the workstation. The real-time delivery of the viewing proxy needs around 20Mb/s to 30Mb/s of network bandwidth, easily achieved by an enterprise LAN.
The rendering engine uses GPU acceleration; with 15 workstations typically sharing three render engines. The actual load depends upon the complexity of he timeline and the resolution of the files being edited. The collaboration and sharing of content is managed by the Adobe Collaboration Hub, which manages access and resolves conflicts and versioning.
Where is the DAM?
A quick look at Anywhere and the missing component is DAM. Adobe has chosen to work with partners to provide the management of assets. Adobe’s qualified integration partners should install the Anywhere software, the hardware platforms and the DAM, as well as suitable media IP networks if necessary.
Many DAM products are compatible with Premiere, including Axle Video, Cantempo, CatDV, Dalet, eMAM, Ibis, MediaBeacon, MediaSilo, Metus, Sienna and Vidispine.
Indications are that early customers will be using Anywhere in the newsroom, a typical collaborative environment. Broadcast Engineering spoke with Mark Gilbert of Gallery Sienna about its recent announcement of support for Anywhere. Sienna is an end-to-end media infrastructure for news and sports production. The central data hub, Sienna OriginOne, provides asset management and a MOS Gateway for the newsroom. Sienna was already compatible with Premiere, using a panel in Premiere to access assets in Sienna. With the new support for Anywhere, and editor drags an asset to Premiere, and Sienna actually introduces the asset to the Anywhere server, and the user sees it via the Anywhere streaming. To the user, it is like editing with local assets, but all the media remains in the central server farm.
This allows Premiere Pro CC and Anywhere to be used for news editing. Sienna sites can seamlessly mix different edit clients in the same infrastructure, and with Anywhere support journalists and editor can cut local media, or edit remotely across a WAN. Gilbert said “we would have loved to have had Anywhere for the London Olympics for remote editing.” Broadcaster Televisa used Sienna systems to support its coverage of the games, with huge savings in staffing the London operation, with the majority of the production work in Mexico. Gilbert foresees future events being covered with an Anywhere server at the venue and remote editors back at HQ. That way the broadcast-resolution files stay at the venue, and only the edited package need be backhauled to the broadcaster.
Sienna also manages the presets used by Premiere, allowing broadcasters to enforce a specific or different codec format for each Sienna delivery point. Full integration with Sienna Web logging and MOS NRCS Systems rounds off the support for Premiere in the Sienna environment.