Thanks for the feedback! We hear the "make this easier to use with After Effects and Premiere" sentiment a lot, and I completely agree. We will have better workflows for this in the future.
And it sounds like you in particular wish you could make a video as your background scene, so you could time moments to that - great idea. Yeah, the shortcut I'd do now is an audio scratch track. Watch the video and announce when things are happening, (applause, goal, happy, etc), then import a recording of that into CH and react accordingly. Or if the audio in the video is clear enough about what's going on (crowd cheering, etc), you could just bring that in. I usually animate against a talk track, so I'm usually using that as my primary data point on how to react.
Another suggestion I wish to add. I find CH too static in that it works great for a character that is static without too much action. However I find it is weak in action shots where a character has to move. At least without being a professional I have yet to figure out how to create a shot where a character turns his body position or walks/runs/skips/jumps/etc to new positions. I am just thinking with strong integration with AI and PS allowing CH to manipulate a base puppet to create the in between morphing shapes necessary for a character turn. I could envision a program with the power to take knowledge professionals have and apply it mathematically to base puppets to create a eye appealing turn, or convincing walk etc for even the most amatuer users. If it is made so professionals are able to easily alter and tweak auto generated frames I think you could have product they may switch to just because it saves time. I guess in the meantime I am going to have to read up on how to animate a convincing turn, walk, etc... Probably all of which is not easily done in CH due to the lack of key frames.
Yes - hopefully in the future things like parallax effects (for turns and more) and walk cycles will be as easy as you suggest.
Some users have gotten those effects thanks to behaviors like head turner & cycle layers. Basically, if you have multiple frames/views, you could change them by moving your head (head turner) or pressing a key to start a frame-by-frame animation (cycle layers). Cycle layers in particular is extremely powerful - like https://youtu.be/Wc8kD1rn8ds?t=4m17s. So if you wanted a character to turn to the right, you could make a 5-frame cycle layers animation to do that. Or for a walk cycle, do a looping 12-frame animation.
But yes, in the future we hope to make this more accessible for newcomers while retaining customization and depth for pros.