Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium Reviewed (Verdict: Kicks Final Cut Ass But Overpriced in Oz)

adobe_mastercollect.jpgWe've been hearing about it for months, and now Adobe has finally put the finishing touches on its Creative Suite 3 Production Premium software, shipping a package that video editors, filmmakers, broadcasters and DVD authors are going to love. The company is also offering what it calls the Creative Suite 3 Master Collection, which puts together a dozen software packages into one huge and expensive box. We've used and extensively tested all this new stuff, and are here to tell you that this software kicks major ass.

AU: The costs below reflect Australian availability. It's beyond us why local pricing is 78 per cent more expensive than the $USD price when our dollar's buying US85c ... seems like we're being gipped .

The $3025 Creative Suite 3 Production Premium package includes a video compositing app called After Effects CS3 that's the darling of special effects artists working on anything from industrial video all the way up to the highest-end film projects, and Premiere Pro CS, an already excellent video editing application that finally returns to the Mac platform after a four-year hiatus. We've used and tested this Mac application extensively, and can vouch for its unparalleled power and unique interoperability with all the other Adobe applications. Yes, this one is out to seriously give Apple Final Cut Pro a challenging run for its money. The integration between Premiere Pro, After Effects, and all the other Adobe apps is unprecedented. Should be an interesting battle between the two titans, Adobe and Apple.

Also included in the Production Premium package are Encore CS3, which is a much-improved DVD authoring app; Photoshop CS3 Extended, adding unique video and film frame-editing features that editors will like; Illustrator CS3, a vector-based drawing program, Flash CS3 Professional, just brought over from Adobe's purchase of Macromedia and with a bit of integration with the other Adobe apps added into the workflow, and then there's Adobe Soundbooth CS3, an excellent audio application that's delightfully easy to use and contains just the features that video editors need. We've spent a lot of time with the above apps running on both OS X and XP, and remarkably, they all have exactly the same features and user interface on both the Mac and PC platforms.

Also included in the Production Premium bundle is Adobe On Location CS3, which lets you record video direct to disk and gives you lots of monitoring features that look like a rack of video instruments in a broadcast studio. In fact, the software was formerly called DV Rack, developed by an awesome company called Serious Magic that was recently acquired by Adobe. Another Serious Magic application in the package is Adobe Ultra CS3, a sophisticated chromakey package that we've tested and to which we gave a big thumbs-up. Both of these applications aren't Mac-centric yet, but you can run them on a Mac if you get a copy of Boot Camp. Adobe says it's working on the Mac versions of these two apps as you read this.

Designers who also are into Web authoring may be interested in the Creative Suite 3 Master Collection, Adobe's full-boat product that contains just about every piece of software the company sells, but you have to spend $4455 for the privilege of owning this huge barrel o' fun. Here's the long list of apps that are available in that box: Adobe InDesign CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, Fireworks CS3, Contribute CS3, After Effects CS3 Professional, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, Soundbooth CS3, and Encore CS3, as well as Acrobat 8 Professional software. Good gawd, who would ever know how to use all that stuff?

Adobe tells us this CS3 rev is the most gigantic and monumental software release in its history. We would tend to agree.

Product Page [Adobe] Premiere Pro CS3/Encore CS3 Review [Studio Monthly]