Adobe announced Premiere 6.5 yesterday, and it’s got just about everything that should have been in 6.0.
It promises to work better with native DV (which will alleviate the need for hardware like the Pinnacle DV500 card), provides native tools for exporting your video to DVD, VCD, and SVCD, and a titling app, a busload of fonts, better audio tools, and real-time effects and transitions. That’s probably the most important thing; it’s annoying to apply a bunch of effects and then to have to wait a few minutes for it to render all the frames, only to find it wasn’t quite what you were looking for.

I guess it’s like the difference between a film camera and digital. With instant feedback, it’s easier to get good fast when you’re starting off knowing nothing, and if you don’t have to wait for the results, you’ll naturally be a little more adventurous as well. The inevitable result is we’ll see lots of amateur home movies making inappropriate use of transitions, but we’ll see more really good stuff too.

Like what? You can pan and zoom on still photos to bring them to life, but the effect can work well on video too. If you find yourself wishing you’d zoomed in on someone, you can go in after the fact and do it. You’ll lose quality if you zoom in and stay there (zooming to 200% effectively halves your resolution) but if you don’t stay there long, it’s hard to notice. And zooming to 125% can be an effective way to crop a video clip if an unwanted element happens to sneak in the frame, and you don’t lose enough resolution to really notice.

The other advantage to having the computer do your pans and zooms is that it’s always perfectly smooth. Eventually I’ll be able to do both smoothly, but I have trouble making a zoom look good by hand. I tend to rush it. Of course, I could fix that too, as long as it’s smooth but just too fast, by slowing it down… Only problem with doing that is the slower you run the footage, the grainier it looks.

Audio processing is something that always should have been there too. What you get in 6.5 is limited–the most useful effect for video editing, a compressor/normalizer to keep the volume consistent, isn’t included–but dynamics and reverb are. So, every red-blooded American male who’s ever wanted to add monster truck rally-style voiceovers to home movies–Sun-day Sun-day Sun-day!–is covered. But supposedly the Windows version uses standard DirectX plugins, and there’s a decent library of those out there. Including some freebies. Here’s a nice list.

I’m still incredibly annoyed with Adobe over its blatant disregard for free speech, but it looks like this is something I’ll need.

I’ll add that to my list of things I need to buy. It’s getting awfully long now: a tapeless digital recorder, a digital camera (at least 1.3 megapixel, but of course I want 4), a big SCSI drive, and now a Premiere 6.5 upgrade. And while I’m at it, I guess I ought to pick up a faster motherboard and CPU and some DDR memory, eh?

I won’t be buying any of ’em this month. Or next month, probably. At least I have a good excuse to put off the motherboard: I want DDR400, and it’s not available yet.