Benchmark:Adobe Premiere 5.1 for Windows95

The Old Horse Learns a Few New Tricks

Premiere 5.1 Nonlinear Editing Software for Windows


Adobe Systems Incorporated

345 Park Ave.

San Jose, CA 95110-2704

(888) 724-4507

Aimed at anyone interested in nonlinear editing (NLE), Adobe’s latest update for its popular Premiere for Windows software is a small patch (version 5.1) to a recent overhaul of the product (version 5.0). When Adobe released Premiere 5.0 last spring, it added major revisions to the software. Because Adobe released version 5.1 so close on the heels of 5.0, we decided to cover both upgrades in the same review. First, we’ll talk about the changes from version 4.2 to 5.0; then we’ll move on to discuss what’s new about 5.1.

A No-Frustration Installation?

Installation of the software is a no-brainer. You simply need to insert the CD and click "OK" until the software installs itself. However, once you’ve installed the software, getting Premiere to work the way it should could take some work. (Note: we reviewed the Windows version of the software, and so we’ll be referring to features of the Windows 95 operating system in this review.)

First, in the Windows "Control Panel–Multimedia Devices" area, you need to make sure that your sound card or capture card’s sound is set as the preferred device. Then, in Premiere, you need to make sure that the Capture Settings–VfW Settings–Video Format–Image Format tab is also set to use your capture card. Next, you need to confirm that Video Settings–Video Compressor is also set to your capture card. Then go to File–Preferences–Scratch Disks/ Device Control and set the temp disks to your capture drives, and you are ready to capture video.

A Hearty Appetite

Although Adobe lists the system requirements as a Pentium processor and 32MB of RAM, the software bogged down and crashed a couple of times when it was loaded on a system with a Pentium 150MHz with 32MB RAM and a Matrox Rainbow Runner. When it was loaded onto a Pentium II 450MHz with 128MB RAM and a Truevision Targa 1000, the crashes didn’t happen anymore. The moral of this story: make sure you install Premiere on a computer system with lots of RAM. You don’t need a Pentium II 450MHz, but the more RAM you have, the happier you’ll be with Premiere. Of course, extra horsepower doesn’t hurt one bit either.

The New Interface

Perhaps the most obvious difference between 5.0 and 4.2 is the way the software looks on the screen. Premiere 5.0 uses a new Timeline window that replaces the Construction window of previous versions. There is also a new Monitor window that acts like the Clip, Preview and Trimming windows of the earlier versions. Toolbars are easy to customize and "Tab" as in other Adobe products; and Adobe has made it easy to transfer "Layers" created in its After Effects and PhotoShop products into tracks of Premiere. Besides the differences in looks, Premiere 5.0 also has some new operational features that are sure to please.

First, the titler makes it easier than in previous versions to create scrolls and crawls. There are also 11 new audio filters in version 5.0, as well as an easier way to insert markers in the timeline (which is particularly helpful for cutting to the beat of music). Using 5.0, you can insert a marker as the video plays by hitting the asterisk (*) key on the number keypad.

One of the more talked about features of Premiere 5.0 is that it supports three-point editing. A three-point edit is an edit where the user marks three out of the four in and out points on the clip and timeline. Premiere will automatically calculate the fourth edit point. This is useful when you want a clip to start or end on a specific frame, and you know exactly how much program space you have to fill. Also new in 5.0 is a built-in audio mixer and a selection of audio fades and pans.

From 5.0 to 5.1

Premiere 5.1 is a small enhancement compared with the major upgrade between versions 4.2 and 5.0, but there are a number of important new features. First, a number of underlying issues within the program were apparently resolved. Internet newsgroups had been filled with stories of Premiere 5.0’s sluggishness, and of system crashes, yet Premiere Version 5.1 seems as solid as any other Windows-based program.

5.1 has faster rendering times than 5.0. Adobe claims that 5.1 also has better multiprocessor support; however, since we performed our test on a single-processor machine, we were unable to test this feature. Adobe Premiere 5.1 also ships with a number of other programs. It includes a copy of PhotoShop LE, QuickTime 3.0 and Imagine Products’ Executive Producer Lite logging software.

The Grand Finale

With Premiere 5.1, Adobe seems to have jumped the hurdles that appeared when they released version 5.0. This software has enough new features to warrant an upgrade. If you own version 4.2 of Premiere, you can upgrade to 5.1 for only $199. If you own 5.0, the 5.1 upgrade is free. With its new audio controls, three-point editing and easy marker placement, Adobe Premiere 5.1 is editing software that will give you the power that you want without breaking the bank.

Tech Specs: Adobe Premiere 5.1

Platform: PC or Mac

Minimum System Requirements

Pentium Processor (PC) or PowerPC Processor (Mac)

Memory: 32MB RAM (PC) or 16MB application RAM (Mac)

Graphics Adapter: 256-color VGA adapter (PC)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 95/NT 4.0 (PC) or Apple System Software 7.5.5 or later (Mac)

Hard Drive: 60MB hard disk space (PC) or 30MB (Mac) for installation

Other: CD-ROM drive

Recommended System

MMX (PC) or Multiprocessor system

Memory: 64MB (PC) 48MB (Mac)

Hard Drive: Large capacity hard-disk or array

Graphics Adapter: 24-bit color adapter or Truecolor display

Other: Apple QuickTime 3.0 software (included), Microsoft DirectX Media 5.1 (PC), Microsoft Video for Windows (PC) or QuickTime-compatible video capture card, sound card (PC)


  • New audio mixer
  • 3-point editing
  • Simple marker insertion


  • Underestimated minimum system requirements
  • New look can confuse experienced Premiere Users

summary: Premiere 5.1 delivers the goods, but make sure you’ve got enough computer power to avoid crashing.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

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