Hi. I'm not really a video person (though sometimes i play one on closed-circuit television).
Late last week a friend had a quick amateur video project come up (<10 hour deadline) that I assisted with, and I decided that instead of using Final Cut Pro, it would be a good time to give Premiere Pro (as part of Master Collection) a try.
I ran into a lot of problems and figured it would be worthwhile listing them here. I'm sure some of them are just me doing things wrong, and others are problems with the product. It would be helpful to know which are which and whether it is worth filing wishform bugs or feature requests on any of them. I guess it would be good to know what's a known issue and what is not. Or if they are more appropriate for other forums (like the community help issue).
The project was a 1-hour debate between some middle-school students, shot 2-camera, with a JVC GY-HD100U as the A-camera, and a Canon G12 (stills camera w/ low-end HD video capability) as the B camera. I used Premiere Pro CCS 5.5 (5.5.0 233) on a 2x2.66 GHZ 6-core Xeon MacPro with 6GB RAM. Final output was a DVD and a web movie. I had a small and manageable number of clips -- four from the JVC and 9 from the Canon.
1. I started out Capturing the shots from the JVC. I wasted quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to get on-screen Preview to run during the capture, before I found in the manual that it is not supported for HD on the Mac. It would be nice if the text in the big blue Preview window indicated clearly that it was unsupported, rather than implying that it was possible to enable previewing.
2. Capturing the clips from my JVC seemed to fail to capture timecode for the clips. In the Project panel, the Media Start shows up as 00:00:00:00 for all my JVC clips.
3. In the Community Help app, the location of the < and > arrow pairs moves from page to page. This makes it really frustrating to advance multiple pages in a row.
4. There were a lot of times where Premiere Pro seemed to hang. Sometimes those hangs would be accompanied by a beachball, sometimes they would not. Generally speaking there was no indication of the reason for the hang, and certainly nothing in the lower-right corner of the main window to tell me.
5. When I tried to play back video, it ran very briefly (about 500ms) and then stopped. This was clearly broken. Very poor new-user experience. I googled the problem and found the suggestion that I should run Premiere Pro as an administrative user. That should not be necessary. But I closed PP, logged out, logged in as an adminsitrative user, opened my project, played a video, and closed it, logged back in as myself, and video playing now worked. But this has to be a bug! And a really annoying one for new users.Obviously once PP has been set up and is functional, it doesn't happen anymore. But it really sours the new user on Premiere Pro.
6. When I opened my project as an administrative user (step 5), PP stopped to conform the audio on some of my clips. I'm not entirely sure why, nor am I sure that it was necessary. I think it was maybe because the admin user did not have write access to the user's directory containing the clips. It was hard to tell what was going on, and took quite a while to notice the "Confirming audio" text in the lower-right status bar of the main window. I have the impression that the status text was not always there, either. But this was confusing. If the operation was going to go on for several minutes (And it was), a big dialog box in the middle of the window would be an appropraite way to communicate.
7. Having finally got my videos to play, then I wanted to sync up the clips between my A and B cameras. Since the Canon doesn't record timecode, and anyhow it wasn't synced to the JVC at all, I knew the syncing process was going to have to be by hand. I wanted to find a way to view both the audio and video both in the source browser, so I could find the [crude approximation of] slates. Could not find a way to do that. I could see Video or Audio but not both. Did I miss something?
8. At first I figured that the right way to sync up my clips manually would be to put a both clips in a common sequence, then put a clip marker in each clip at the common points and then use, Clip > Synchronize... to match up the clips. Unfortunately, this did not work. Numbered Clip Marker was greyed out., even though I had numbered clip markers. What's up with that?
9. Double-clicking on the name of the clip in the Project Window lets you rename it, but doens't make it the active clip in the Timeline. This is...a bit frustarting, because the icon is as a much much smaller piece of screen real estate than the clip icon, and it's instinctive to click on the clip name. Small inefficiencies...
10. Since I couldn't sychronize on numbered clips, and since the clips start and end at different times, I figured figured the next choice would be to synchronize on timecode. When I tried to change the timecode start offset for the Canon clips, PP would not let me! I googled around a bit and it sounds like this might be a limitation of the container format? Canon clips are .MOV files reported as Type: MPEG Movie, firstname.lastname@example.org. I found some suggestions for people in this situation to transcode the clips (to MXF? If only my Cannon G12 would record XDCAM! Ha!). And while that seemed to work, it seems crazy. Later, I realized that I could sync the clips visually in time timeline by dragging the clips and they would snap to the clip markers that I had placed (in step 8 above).
11. Once I had my clips laid down and the video synced up, I started to think about audio. I had 3 tracks of audio: a mono track from the G12, and Channel 1 and Channel 2 from the JVC, both of which were different mics. It turned out that we ended up using Channel 1 from the JVC everywhere, but that was partly because it was easier to do and I didn't know what I was doing. It appeared that there was no easy way to tell Premiere to seperate out the Ch1/Ch2 audio in the sequence where the clip was laid down, possibly because I had Captured clips with the wrong audio setting (I didn't specify multichannel -- was it an option?) Instead, I had to go the the Project Window, select the clip, and choose Clip > Audio Options > Breakout to Mono. Then that gave me a pair of independnt left/right clips with just a mono track, and I could lay those down the timeline, and sync them up manually with the existing video. This sync was easy since the left edges matched up 1:1, since of course the video and audio were recorded together by the same camera. Then I had to unlink the original ("stereo") tracks and delete them. Was there a better way?
12. The aforementioned Breakout to Mono function is hard to find! If you select a clip in the Project window, one of the choices in the context menu (rightclick) is Modify > Audio Channels. It looks like it might be the right thing but everything is grayed out and there's no way to convert stereo to mono. It's particularly confusing that there is a lot of overlap between that context menu and the menubar Clip menu, but not enough. It seems like there should either be complete overlap or almost no overlap. But the degree of partial overlap makes it hard to find things, and hard to remember which menu you found them in.
13. Having established four sequences, each with two video tracks and 1 audio track, it was time to do the multi-camera editing. I found the multi-camera documentation and the whole paradigm somewhat confusing. That is, it seems weird that I have to lay down both of my clips into a container sequence (as V1 and V2), and then place that container sequence into an overarching parent sequence in order to do multicamera editing. Am I missing something? Why the extra level of indirection? In addition to being a bit nonintuitive, when I have my final sequence, it means an extra level of double-clicking (except that doesn't always work, so sometimes going back to the project window to find the constituent sequence/clip).
14. In each of my lowest-level sequences (that contained the clips directly), I had marked In and Out points. I was surprised to find that that didn't seem to affect their placement in the container sequence or the multicam clip that contained that sequence. I figured I must have done something obviously wrong, so just ended up trimming those sequences in their parent sequences. This turned out to be error-prone, but it got the job done.
15. The process of multi-cam editing wasn't really smooth. The interface for recording multicam edits didn't seem very amenable to adjustment, and it seemed like hitting '1' or '2' on the keyboard obviated the need to press the Record button, but not always. And restarting playing/recording sometimes meant that a duplicate multi-cam edit was recorded, though sometimes multicam edits were lost. It was confusing, but functional.
16. Editing existing multicam edits in the timeline was awkard. I see now that probably I should have used the ripple edit tool or rolling edit tool to do those edits, instead of the default arrow tool. But messing with those tools somehow we managed to get some video/audio misalignments (or at least convinced ourselves that we did!) or loss of sync, so we paniced and restrited ourselves to the regular pointer/arrow tool.
17. The docimentation linked to prp2it_multicam.pdf, but those instructions from 2006 are marked as for Premiere Pro 2.0. I wasn't sure that they were safe to use in Premiere Pro CS5...
18. In the multicam monitor window, there were space for 4 cameras. But I only had two. No way to compress the window to only show 2 cameras? That seemed a bit rough.
19. Having done the rough multicamera edits and then gone back and tweaked them, we were then concerned about audio. Some of the clips had higher gain audio than others,so I wanted to do gain corrections, generally to an entire clip. The first approach we tried was opening an audio clip in the source browser and applying the Volume Level effects control. But this would only give a 6dB boost. Why?
20. Next, we discovered that we could select a clip in the Project browser and choose Clip > Audio Options > Audio Gain. Here it appeared that the clip gain could be arbitrarily changed. It would be nice to have an interface to see all the places that a clip or a sequence's audio gain could be adjusted, since having several places to check was a bit confusing. Also, Audio Gain has both a "Set Gain" and and "Adjust Gain" and their interaction was not 100% clear.
21. At this point, we were basically done. First shot at exporting to a DVD was via File > Export...Media MPEG2-DVD. it seemed to work OK, but then right as the progress bar was finishing, we got this gem:
it lasted for more than a few seconds and was definitely not confidence-inspiring.
Ugh. The forum just ate a long response of mine.
I have a tendancy to forget ICML as a possibility because of some local site issues that make it not work here. But it's definitely worth thinking about. But it does expect that you will not have local edits in a document, otherwise the management gets confusing — I think.
You can also use it's neighbor the Snippet file (IDMS). This is much more geared to page items though.
Note that if you change tracking/kerning/point size after you place the IDTT file, then you will lose that when you re-import it, unless you use styles carefully.
My only real issue, is if I can relink the file with another copy content. For example, lets say we have a vendor ABC company, and had their marketing language in hundreds of documents. Well, if our company went to another vender say DEF company, then all the ABC company text needs to be removed and replaced with DEF company text.
Sorry, this is confusing. If you have a single IDTT file for ABC, and it is placed in 100 INDD files, what's the problem? You change the IDTT file, open each of the 100 files and Update Links, and you're done. What's the problem?
Thanks for your help. I am going to keep testing this. I hope there is a way to print a PDF once the changes have been made, but am not sure if that requires a script, hardcoding from our IT dept or something else.
Are you saying you want to automatically produce a new set of 100 PDFs when there is a change in the IDTT file? That would require a script (or an intern), but not a serious or difficult one. People have asked for and received such things in the scripting forum, so hunt around and you can probably find one already built that meets your needs, or 95% of them, plus a minor tweak.