Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro
And After Effects Review

Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro and After Effects comes with some serious improvements over the previous versions. Notable changes have been made in the core applications which are used most often.

These two software applications are great for professional level video editing - however, you do need some serious computing power to get them to run smoothly.

If you have a computer system that is just enough to satisfy the software requirements, you may need to consider upgrading that machine. The last thing you want is to have to wait a long time when you're doing some rendering for your movie.

Ok, let's get started with our Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro and After Effects review right away.

1. Overview

Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro is a great piece of software. This latest incarnation of Premiere boasts a slew of new features, such as the Mercury Playback Engine, a powerful new 64-bit architecture, a new Ultra keyer, Adobe Media Encoder, Adobe Story and Adobe OnLocation.

We'll look at these features in this review, along with a brief review of After Effects as well.

Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro video editing package

The Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro video editing package

2. Mercury Playback Engine

This engine in Adobe Premiere Pro allows you to edit HD and higher resolution footage in real time without having to first render it or lower its resolution by transcoding or rewrapping it with an intermediate codec. If you've done video editing before, you'll know this is a post-production dream come true.

Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro Mercury Playback Engine

The Mercury Playback Engine

3. 64-Bit Architecture

With a 64-bit system running Adobe Premiere Pro, you can open projects faster, scrub through HD and higher resolution projects fluidly, and handle long-form content and effects-heavy sequences more reliably. The enhanced, native 64-bit system architecture in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 lets you use all available system RAM (up to 128GB in today's computers), so you can run multiple software applications at the same time. For example, you can simultaneously edit a very complex, effects-laden project in Adobe Premiere Pro while your system's CPUs render an elaborate After Effects composition in the background.

4. Expanded Native Tapeless Workflow

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 builds upon the industry's best native tapeless workflow by offering new native format support for Sony XDCAM HD 50, Panasonic AVCCAM, DPX, and AVC-Intra. Native support for RED R3D files has been enhanced, and native support for video shot with Canon, Nikon, and other DSLR cameras added. These newly supported formats expand existing support for variants of Panasonic P2; Sony XDCAM, XDCAM EX, and XDCAM HD; HDV; and AVCHD.

5. The New Ultra Keyer

The new Ultra keyer in Adobe Premiere Pro is optimized to handle real-world greenscreen conditions. Using simple, intuitive controls, you can pull a high-quality key quickly. Parameters can be animated to accommodate changing conditions.

6. Adobe Media Encoder

The Adobe Media Encoder now displays the video asset being transcoded. A single source file can be output in a variety of formats and resolutions for archival, web, broadcast, and mobile delivery.

Industry professionals typically use a variety of production and post-production tools on virtually every project. To move video clips between video editing software packages requires format conversion, plug-ins, or tedious workarounds.

Adobe Premiere Pro cuts a lot of that away by allow you to share between Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, as well as between Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid NLEs such as Media Composer.

7. Metadata For Faster Editing

In Adobe Premiere Pro, you also get metadata capabilities, which allows you to efficiently manage and locate media assets throughout the production process. You can track crucial details such as where a clip was shot, who's in it, and whether you have the rights to use it in your project.

Take an example. At the start of your project, a script written with Adobe Story (a new CS Live online service), captures vital information and stores it as metadata that can be imported into OnLocation. While you're recording footage directly to disk, OnLocation automatically captures all of the important metadata coming from the camera. Comments you make in the OnLocation Shot List are also stored with each clip as metadata.

During post-production, you can use metadata to quickly locate media assets and clips by filename, date, time, camera setting, shot location, or any information you've added to your asset or clip.

8. Adobe Story

Improve your storytelling with new Adobe Story for scriptwriting. This service accelerates the process of turning screenplays into finished media. Adobe Story is tightly integrated with CS5 and extends its benefits into broader parts of the production and post-production workflow.

Adobe Story

The Adobe Story online scriptwriting tool

9. Shortcomings

The downside is the immense requirements on your computer hardware. The Mercury Playback Engine provides native 64-bit, GPU-accelerated support for Mac and Windows, but your system will be best utilized if it is 64-bit as well. So consider getting a new computer for video editing if necessary.

Adobe After Effects CS5

Adobe After Effects CS5 is the powerful new version of the special effects software. It delivers the visual richness required to get noticed in today's media culture. You'll be able to create motion graphics and visual effects with professional industry standards.

Adobe After Effects CS5

The Adobe After Effect CS5 video editing package

1. Compositing And Animation Tools

Adobe After Effects CS5 allows you to create high-impact communications by combining moving imagery, still images and graphics, text, and sound in 2D or 3D space, and then animating virtually any aspect of each element.

2. 64-Bit Architecture

Just like in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 described above, Adobe After Effects CS5 allows you to tap on the 64-bit operating system you use to work more easily with complex high-resolution projects. Enhanced disk caching also allows you to spend less time waiting and more time creating. If you need to upgrade to a 64-bit computer system, consider doing it over here.

3. Unlimited Creative Options

A hallmark of all Adobe After Effects software is its ability to support so many creative options. You can manipulate moving and still images using hundreds of effects that stylize, distort, shatter, and more. Combine effects to create Hollywood-caliber visual effects. Create grids, radio waves, particles, and more.

Create special effects with After Effects

Create special effects like this futuristic HUD with After Effects

Adobe After Effects also provides comprehensive masking and keying tools, including the new Roto Brush Control. With Roto Brush, you can separate foreground elements from complex backgrounds in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional rotoscoping techniques. You can also remove bluescreen and greenscreen backgrounds with the award-winning Keylight feature in the software.

4. Powerful Motion Controls

After Effects 5 allows the user to also apply realistic motion blur. You can slow down and speed up footage using TimeWarp, or remove unwanted movement with the Motion Stabilizer. You can also precisely match the motion of source footage with mocha for After Effects.


This Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro and After Effects review has shown you some of the great features of these video editing packages. If you're looking for professional grade video editing software to perform quality edits, you can't go far wrong with these two programs. For information on other good video editing software, check out this page.

However, those with a lousier computer system should consider upgrading it to a 64-bit system with loads of RAM, so as to optimize the new architectures in the two video editing tools. If you need to buy some RAM for your existing PC, check out this site.

You can also click here to buy Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and Adobe After Effects CS5. Oh, and one useful thing is to also get a good book on Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. I like Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Classroom in a Book which is published by the original Adobe Creative Team.

Return from this Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro and After Effects review page to my main product reviews page.

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