One of the highlights of NAB 2011 for me was having an opportunity to sit down with Sr. Product Manager for Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium and Adobe Audition, Ellen Wixted. Ellen took some time out of her busy schedule to visit with us, and tell us why the latest creative suite is the answer to the problem of rolling shutter.
One of the key things Ellen showed us was the highly impressive Warp Stabilizer effect within Adobe After Effects CS5.5. Essentially Warp Stabilizer is exactly what it sounds like. It stabilizes your footage. Over the years, there have been many programs and plug-ins that have promised to stabilize, but due to the fact they tend to clip the footage leaving a fluctuating black border around the clipped areas, they leave quite a bit to be desired. To use these, you wind up having to increase the size of the file to mask this clipping effect.
The Warp Stabilizer doesn’t work this way. It actually goes through and analyzes the footage, and instead of choosing one anchor point resulting in clipping off the ends, it truly stabilizes the footage from all points. The nice thing about this effect is that since it’s through After Effects, it’s operating from the CPU and therefore doesn’t affect any work you may be doing using the GPU. This allows you to continue unabated editing in Premiere. For those of us who like to pick up the camera and run, this is an absolute godsend to straighten out those little jiggles and bumps that seem to come up even for the steadiest of hands.
The truly revolutionary aspect of Warp Stabilizer is its ability to minimize and/or eliminate the dreaded ‘Rolling Shutter’. According to what Ellen showed me, those bowed and bent images that have plagued HDSLR shooters since the 5D Mark II hit the market could very well be a non-issue thanks to Adobe. After you apply the effect, simply use ‘Automatic Reduction’ or ‘Enhanced Reduction’ depending on the size of the ripple or roll. From what I saw first hand, the effects of rolling shutter were diminished. I’m hoping to get CS5.5 very soon, and I will put this to the test first hand.
When bokeh is achieved with a well executed rack, it can bring beauty and drama to almost any shot. However, sometimes shooters might miss an opportunity to achieve this due to time constraints, uncooperative talent or any of the other million things that can go wrong on a set. Adobe has stepped up to the help us achieve bokeh easily using the Camera Lens Blur Tool. Camera Lens Blur Tool is available in both Premiere and After Effects. It creates a rack with the option to change or mimic the iris properties to match the lens you originally shot with, including ‘pentagon’ and ‘triangle’. This is an awesome way to make up for a lost opportunity or enhance mediocre footage.
In CS5, I totally took advantage of SoundBooth via Dynamic Link to remove rumbles, clicks and pops. Beyond having access to some decent effects, there wasn’t much to do in SoundBooth. I know some people complained about SoundBooth, saying it just wasn’t beefy enough for their needs. Adobe has heard the cries of the people, and yet again responded with Audition. Just like SoundBooth, Audition allows you to edit your audio files right out of Premiere and AfterEffects by simply right clicking on the file and choosing ‘open in Audition’. Once you’re in Audition, then things change pretty quickly. If you’re used to SoundBooth, don’t worry. The environment in Audition isn’t confrontational, and the program feels like SoundBooth. What you’ll find are options such as the ability to do a multi-track mix and export it right into Premiere. You can also edit a mix down file via a video application.
Here’s the thing about production software, it’s a big investment, and let’s face it, times are hard right now. There just isn’t getting around any of it. So what do you do if you’re just entering the realm of professional video? Do you take a loan? Max a credit card? Sell a lens? CS5.5 Production Premium is awesome, but it makes very little difference if you just can’t afford it right now. With video technology advancing at light speed, it behooves you to keep up if you want to maintain a competitive edge in the market place. I don’t know what else to say about Adobe’s new subscription plans, except they are totally cool.
Many times when companies offer a subscription, they stick it to you by building in finance fees that make it so if you lease or subscribe for a few months, you’ve bought the program two or three times over. With Adobe, it’s exactly the opposite. You actually save money by subscribing. To buy a full version of CS5.5 Production Premium costs $1699. If you go for the twelve month subscription, which is $85 a month, the entire cost for a year is actually $1020 for the year. When you figure the frequency of software upgrades, that is one hell of a bargain. Of course, if you only need it for a month, you can go for the month to month plan for only $125.
50% Off For All Jilted Lovers of FCP
For all you die hard Final Cut users out there who are ready to make a switch, Adobe is going to make it painless for you. From now through September 30, 2011, you can get CS5.5 Production Premium or Premiere Pro and take 50% off. It goes without saying, this is a HUGE deal, and you have until the end of September to take advantage of it.
For more information and to order CS5.5 Production Premium, go to the Adobe website at: www.adobe.com