Adobe CS4 Roadshow

This week I took an afternoon and visited Adobe’s CS4 Roadshow stop in Dallas. I thought I’d get a chance to get my hands on CS4 and see how Premiere compares to FCP. I’ve wrote about it before, non-profits can pick up the master collection for just under $1,000. This is a great deal! But I’m used to Final Cut Studio. But do I like it enough to justify the extra $600 to $1200 to keep both Final Cut Studio and Adobe’s Master Collection on my machine.

Just so you know the Adobe apps I use every week are: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects and Dreamweaver (but I’m using Dreamweaver less now that we redesigned our church website to use WordPress as a Content Management System. Needless to say by the time I buy the software I need it’s pretty close to the price of the Master Collection.

The Roadshow was held at StudioMovie Grill and it makes for a great venue for this kind of event. And then at the end I’ll wrap it up with few thoughts.

-On location looks sweet. Meta data can be great but have to take the time to enter the info.

-Premiere. Playing back 4k looks great. It’s half res.

-AVCHD falls apart. Don’t know if this is footage from the new Pannasonic HM-150 or a consumer level cam. They guys just talked about both. Don’t know of it’s the RT or the codex. 150 is supposed to play great with FCP. This guy is also on a HP windows machine.

-Premiere doesn’t auto sense & correct mismatch format to timeline.

-Mix and match format ok. AVCHD playback is process heavy.

-Claims premiere pro was used with Superman Returns.

-HVX200 looks soft compared to ex1 and red.

-Premier After Effects dynamic link is sweet. Just showed a clip being replaced with AE comp. Can you send sequence or multiple clips?

– Premiere can import AE and soon Avid. Is this Autoduck? Or is it going to kill auto duck?

– Speach to text demo. Footage is of a person with headset mic. Worked flawless. Very cool for dialogue editting. Interesting to see real world examples.

-Example video for presidental debate. Video recording is overmodulated and you can search for any word. Great for finding sound bites etc…

-You can create web pages that tie into the video and meta data. Should be out in a month or so.

-Specialized dictionaries for various specialize fields.

-Blend modes in Premiere is a new feature?

-Content aware scallong in Photoshop is nuts!!! Great for cropping /scallong for slide shows.

-NVidia card sowing off zooming around a 442 MB photo.

-Blob paint tool in Illustrator rocks.

-About to show a PC importing FCP project. Won’t bring in livetype or motion files. Title, basic motion annomation, psd files, transition. Working on export and Avid i/o.

-Media encoder. Lots of presets, YouTube, HDTV, iPod, AppleTV. MPEG2 quicker encode, good quality, larger file size that H264 for short BlueRay projects. Hmmm test BlueRay MPEG2 vs. BlueRay MPEG4 for ProPresenter playback.

-Nvidia has a crazy export plugin that can export using all the cores on the card. Results is 2-4x realtime for “their” settings.

-Encore. BlueRay. Author to flash is crazy sweet. What’s your server requirements on the back end?

-Soubdbooth: Now multitrack. Designed for someone who doesn’t do audio fulltime. Tasks geared to automate processes like volunt correction, remove a sound, create a loop, clean up audio, change pitch or time.

-Drawing on spectrograph to remove sounds is crazy!

-After Effects! AE can import Premiere Pro sequence. Big push on we want to play with everyone. Not that we are better than FCP or Avid but that we play well with everyone.

-Comp navigator nice. Especially for going back to old projects of handing off to someone else.

-Sequence search finds any parameter on any layer.

-Check out after effects cookbook.

-Walking through Mocha. Plannar tracker. Not covering adjust track. Talking about comping but not talking about gray scale matching with levels and grain. Bad comp, track is slipping and colors/ grain not mathching. Boo!

-AE stuff too basic heading out. Big feature is Mocha and I already have the full blown Mocha.

Overall CS4 biggest improvements in my book are:
-Photoshop Smart Scale

-Soundbooth Multitrack, tasks for common actions and editing a sound wave visually

-Encore always looked great for authoring to multiple formats and even Flash. But I haven’t had a need yet. All my DVD projects have been SD and simple.

-Dynamic Link is the bomb! No longer do you have to render out versions of your project for different applications. Master/ Project files are embedded in each application. Less chance of using wrong version of loosing a file. Render once. You don’t have to render out of AE at animation only to embed in your Premiere Project and render out of your NLE again. You can RAM preview to check everything and then render at the very end.

-None of the conversation was addressed at why they are better or you should switch from Final Cut Pro or Avid. They just talked about their workflows with both. How they can import FCP project files on the mac and PC and will soon be able to import and export for Avid and export for FCP. I don’t know if that means they conceede the NLE war or just want you to ease in and try Premiere and hopefully like it.

Production Suite vs. Final Cut Studio
Productions Suite:
+ Dynamic Link
+ After Effects: Mocha addition is very nice
+ Soundbooth Tasks and Visual Tools
+ Encore publish to Flash, DVD, Blue-Ray etc…
+ Photoshop
+ On Location (mac now)

Final Cut Studio:
+ Final Cut Pro: Great NLE that I know well and work fast in.
+ Color: A great grading tool and easier than AE for grading tasks
+ Soundtrack is great for scoring sound FX and included library is good. They didn’t show that side of Soundbooth

If I could only have one, FCP or Production Premium I’d choose Production Premium hands down. But I also need After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and I’ll pay my dues to get used to Premiere Pro. The other tools included are well worth it. The bang for the buck is just too good. If I have the budget will I keep both? For now I am but we’ll see how Apple responds. I’m not rushing out to buy CS4. Our budget has been tightened and I don’t see the killer feature that I need right now. I already have Mocha and I have Automatic Duck to get from FCP to AE easily.


January 21, 2009. Tags: , , , . Video.


  1. Brad Zimmerman replied:

    Great information Dave.

    Just few notes from a guy who loves the productions premium.

    – After effects can already import premiere sequences(I always render out of AE after my edit in Premiere)
    – You can create dynamic links to AE comps in cs3(havn’t used it but i know it is there)
    – I hated soundbooth the first time i used it, so limiting. But when i realized what they built it to do, it makes video editing and sound correction so fast.

    Overall you are right production premium hands down is the best for the money, final cut may have its advantages but i don’t see enough to make me switch.

  2. admin replied:

    Good points. I’ve tried to use Premiere CS3 but I just haven’t stuck with it. I was able to get a copy of Automatic Duck for free so that negated my primary reason to move from FCP to Premiere.

    My major gripe with Soundbooth in CS3 was it’s only one track. I wanted a multitrack application to score and tweak my audio. SoundBooth does this and now CS4 does it. It’s almost like they were afraid SoundBooth would cannibalize Audition sales.

    For me the biggest reason for the Production Suite is After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator. If you don’t use After Effects for motion graphics or compositing and you don’t plan to then I think Final Cut Studio may be more appealing.

    If you are mainly an editor and don’t mess with motion graphics or compositing (and you don’t plan to) I can see a big appeal for Final Cut Studio. Especially with the inclusion of Color. Once you learn how to use Color any other grading system is just frustrating in it’s limits. Hopefully Color’s integration into the workflow will improve in the next release.

  3. Kevin Bourke replied:

    Great post Dave, thanks! BTW, are you on Twitter? Would love to follow you there too, if possible.

  4. Dave Smith replied:

    I think we’re following each other on Twitter. This blog started out hosted on WordPress at I started the twitter tag of creativeideas but it’s changed to dave5mith a few weeks ago when I decided to rebrand my blog. I need to add a twitter feed to my blog. I’ll add that to the to do list.

    You represent Mocha and Automatic Duck as I recall.

    I felt bad at the AE/ Mocha demo during the roadshow. You can tell the majority of the audience doesn’t use AE but they were just breezing over Mocha. Didn’t show how well Mocha tracks objects off screen or dealing with tracks obscured by foreground action or motion blur.

    Is adobe licensing automatic duck technology for this import and export from Premiere or are they doing it on their own? Granted it didn’t seem like Premiere was translating common 3rd party filters (Red Giant stuff comes to mind).

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