Adobe’s Premiere Pro is one of those applications that elicits groans from many users. On the one hand, it is one of the most powerful and popular video editing tools for creative professionals. On the other, someone firing it up for the first time would be forgiven for thinking they’d just landed on a foreign planet. The learning curve continues steeply from there.
Now, Adobe has finally taken some major, positive, steps to do something about it. Learning from the much more straightforward user interface in its own Premiere Rush, Adobe has begun an overhaul of Premiere Pro, starting with the project creation, import, and export functionality.
Finally, a Comprehensible New Project Window
I’ve always been mystified by how non-intuitive it is to get started with a simple project in Premiere Pro. Sure, if you’re assembling a feature film, or are a professional who does it every day, great. But in my case, I’m often assembling just a few clips from my travels or from reviewing a new camera or drone, and it seems like I have to re-learn how to get started every time.
Adobe itself showed there was a better way with its intuitive interface for Premiere Rush, which I’ve found myself using quite a bit just because it is simpler. With this new release of Premiere Pro, Adobe has taken what it learned from Rush and incorporated it into the New Project creation process in Premiere Pro (shown as the feature image for this article). You make a couple of simple choices about the format of your video, give your project a name and optionally a location, and then drag whatever media you want to start with into it. All the existing functionality is there if you need it.
Simplified Export Workflow
While Export isn’t as daunting as Import, it can still be confusing and requires more manual effort than doing the same steps in Premiere Rush. So here, too, Adobe has incorporated what it learned from Rush. You can now specify multiple export targets (in my case, when I’m writing product reviews, it’s great to have an integrated upload to YouTube, for example). Currently, multiple exports take place serially, but it sounds like Adobe is looking at ways to optimize that over time. Helpfully, for each target selected, Premiere Pro has a reasonable default format for export. So instead of having to select your format and then a destination, you can select your destinations and get assistance in quickly specifying the formats.
Adobe has also revamped the preset interface, so you are greeted by a relatively small set of the most popular options but can manage it from there. Personally, I was okay with the old functionality, but I can see how it could be been confusing, and the new version is indeed cleaner. Everyone at the press event seemed to like it, except there were a lot of calls for Adobe to add Apple ProRes to the default list.
Re-Organized Header Bar
Adobe is working on a consistent design language for its photo and video processing applications. To that end, it’s trying to put common elements in similar places. So the new header bar in Premiere Pro features three simple “modes” — Import, Edit, and Export. While those will be familiar to Lightroom users, it might cause a little head-scratching among those of us used to options such as Color and Effects. Those workspaces are all still there but in the form of a small drop-down farther to the right. I know that will take some getting used to for me. In fairness, Adobe has emphasized that the new design is still in beta, and they are looking for feedback from users, so things can still change.
Price and Availability
The new version of Premiere Pro is available as a beta now, to anyone who has a license to the current version. We suspect how long it stays in beta will depend on the reaction Adobe gets, and how many tweaks they need to make. We didn’t get pre-release copies this time, so we’ll be trying it out at the same time you are. Premiere Pro currently costs $20.99 per month from Adobe, or $52.99 per month as part of its Creative Cloud bundle that also includes Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and many other programs. You can get started with the updated Premiere Pro via its Public Beta Forums.
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