Editing on Surface

Video editors understand how visuals can tell a story that isn’t explicitly spelled out for audiences. An editor’s inclusion of certain images, especially when it comes to corporate videos, can give us a sneak peek into what our favorites companies have in store for us – intentional or not. Plus, it gives us video geeks something to talk about and argue over for weeks on end.

With that in mind, here’s the video Adobe dropped earlier this month about updates coming soon to its Creative Cloud suite of video tools:

Obsessing over small details within their promotional materials could give us some insight into where Adobe thinks the world of post-production is headed, which is pretty important, because Adobe continues to see strong adoption of its influential Creative Cloud platform.

Let’s start with the most striking image: a video editor cutting footage on a Microsoft Surface tablet. This image demonstrates how creating proxy files during the ingest process will make it easier to edit on tablets or other lightweight mobile devices. It also shows some of the possibilities for how we’ll be able to store this lightweight media in the cloud and work with it anywhere.

Final Cut Pro X users have raved about this proxy-creation feature on Apple’s editing software, so it’s a welcome addition in Premiere, especially with the increasing amount of 4K and RAW footage being acquired these days.

In terms of the future of editing, there’s no doubt in my mind it will include a mobile aspect, but the extent of what we’ll be able to do on a tablet is not yet clear. No one will cut and deliver a 40-minute wedding video on a 10-inch screen just yet, but I can see editors producing rough edits of corporate interviews or YouTube clips while the production team is still packing equipment. Tablet hardware is almost capable of making this a reality today, but usability is still an issue.

Also, where’s the Premiere Pro icon on the task bar in the header image? The highlighted purple icon is clearly not the trademark “Pr” element icon. This could be an internal beta icon, though, so you can safely remove your tinfoil hats. For now.

360 Video in Premiere

Let’s talk about virtual reality workflows. Editing VR content is still a new concept for the vast majority of post-production professionals. Adobe’s latest update takes advantage of users’ familiarity with the Premiere Pro workspace to introduce a new way of experiencing visual media, and that may be the ticket to the proliferation of VR video.

360° video is typically filmed on multiple cameras, often GoPros, and then “stitched” together utilizing specialized software. This software spits out a file that can be imported and edited within your typical NLE. Adobe’s upcoming tools will make the process feel more “official” and the ability to pull and drag your way through the image inside the Preview panel is a big plus.

There’s no word yet whether Adobe will produce their own stitching software at some point, but perhaps these features can one day spin off into their own application once users are more acclimated with virtual reality workflows and 360° consumption breaks into the mainstream.

Adobe has a lot of power to make this happen, and the movement needs everyday users and freelancers for the format to really break out into the public consciousness on a meaningful level.

Editing Audio in Audition

Lastly, Adobe introduced the Essential Sounds Panel in Audition, with tools to make editing audio more accessible for new users. This feature bears a striking resemblance to last year’s introduction of Lumetri Color edit tools in Premiere Pro. Adobe borrowed familiar editing tools from Lightroom to make color correction less intimidating for users coming in from that workflow.

Just like colorists are comfortable working with color wheels and scopes, audio engineers stare at wave forms and levels for hours. The simplification of these workflows will push the trend of the “jack-of-all-trades” video professional as they grasp more aspects of the post-production process.

Colorists and audio engineers won’t be out of a job any time soon, but freelancers and independent filmmakers will be able to accomplish more with their work. Software truly works when it empowers users to produce better work, and this is a big step in helping video editors use more of Adobe’s powerful tools.

There’s no doubt that companies are interested in guiding our favorite tools into new directions. Final Cut Pro X introduced the magnetic timeline and DaVinci Resolve brings a node-based workflow to color correction and grading. While Premiere Pro’s upcoming features are exciting, it’s the little details that really make me wonder how the industry will change in the future.