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With the advent of QuickTime, Apple’s digital moviemaking standard, video editing from hard disk has been the focus of increased interest. Premiere from Adobe is one of the first packages designed specifically for QuickTime editing.
Due to the hardware and software limits of the basic Macintosh, QuickTime movies are restricted to a relatively small area of the screen. Resolution and frame rate are also inferior to video; thus, QuickTime currently lacks the necessary quality for online video editing. The resulting movies are great fun for playback on the computer, however.
Premiere uses a timeline analogy to assemble QuickTime clips. Clips are visually represented by a small image, usually the first frame from the corresponding video segment. These thumbnails can be arranged, rearranged and previewed easily.
The timeline contains seven tracks:
three audio, A and B video, special effects and superimpose. A number of transition effects can be placed on the special effects track, allowing A/B-roll style digital effects between the two video tracks. These effects include dissolves, wipes and page turns. Clips can also be visually modified with a variety of very effective special effects filters.
The superimpose track does just what its name implies, allowing graphic elements to be overlayed on video. The audio tracks come complete with rudimentary editing and mixing controls. A visual representation of the audio waveform is displayed.
On all the tracks, the physical size of an event dictates how long it will be seen or heard.
Stretching a transition effect, for example, allows its length to be finetuned to match the two video tracks. In this way, the flow of a QuickTime movie can be easily controlled.
Working with Premiere is simple enough, once you get the feel for the project, clip and construction windows. The manual is alarmingly short, but conveys software essentials.
Premiere can only edit what’s already on the hard drive; getting video into your computer and finding room for it is your responsibility. Thankfully, QuickTime has spawned some reasonably affordable digitizing hardware.
Software compression allows more video to be stored on the hard drive, though some methods and compression ratios cause visible degradation. Hardware compression boards are also supported.
QuickTime movies are of limited resolution, size and frame rate, rendering them nearly useless for output to videotape.
In other words, forget editing your next documentary with Premiere. Premiere’s primary benefit lies in conveying the concepts of hard disk editing, a technology many feel to be the way of the future.
As hardware compression/decompression boards improve in quality and fall in price, this style of editing may soon be a reality. For now, Premiere represents a taste of the future.
Ease of Learning: 4
Ease of Use: 4
Desktop News & Reviews is compiled by Loren Alldrin, a Videomaker technical editor.