Speech-to-text, colorized vectorscope and support for Apple’s M1 chip
Applications such as Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects play a central role in video and film production. In July, Adobe announced updates to their video apps which include important new features that will not only make your workflow easier but enhance your creative options.
Premiere Pro Understands
While creating captions is not my primary occupation, it pops up once in a while. One particularly labor-intensive experience was when I had to create captions for an hour-long dramatic production. I made the captions in Premiere Pro and while Adobe’s editing application had the tools to get the job done, I was glad when it was over since it was a lot of work (and subsequently took lots of time). Making a film is creative and fun, however, whether it was Premiere or other third-party subtitling applications, adding captions to your creation was, until now, a necessary evil.
Not any longer. The first and most noteworthy new feature to Premiere is the addition of Speech to Text which analyzes audio dialogue and automatically generates a transcript to add captions to your films and videos.
This results in a huge boost in productivity whether you were accustomed to doing it manually or relied on other transcription tools. Now, you have a powerful ally to create captions right at your fingertips inside the editor. What might have taken more than an hour to do can be done in minutes as Premiere goes through the words spoken in your footage, transforms them into editable text, and inserts them into your subtitles and captions.
According to Adobe’s Eric Philpott, Premiere Pro is the only non-linear editing system offering an automated workflow for creating transcriptions and captions and is, on average, 5x faster than other captioning workflows.
In addition, Premiere’s new Speech to Text feature has support for 13 languages, so you can pretty much rest assured, that your language is probably included unless you are living in some remote corner of the world and speak a rare language not commonly used.
Speech to text also allows you to search your transcripts for specific words or phrases and by clicking on them, the play head will handily move to the corresponding position on the timeline. When you are finished creating your transcript, you can generate an SRT file right from the Text panel. SRT is a common format for subtitles that is used by distribution, broadcasting, streaming, and DVD companies. You can also export a text file to use for proofreading or editing outside of Premiere Pro.
What’s also nice about the new Speech To Text feature in Premiere is that it can automatically identify different speakers. That’s handy if you need to indicate who is speaking at any given time. In addition, there are new options for adjusting how captions appear on the screen, including the number of characters per line. Or, if you prefer, there is a dropdown menu that lets you choose form different standard broadcast caption presets. You can also save your own presets as well.
Premiere Pro now supports Apple’s latest M1-powered Macs. While I haven’t used Premiere Pro on an M1 Mac personally, according to Adobe everything from launch times to export is faster, and editing is buttery smooth. In addition, Apple’s Neural Engine (part of the M1 architecture) noticeably accelerates Adobe Sensei AI features. Due to the M1’s lower power requirements, expect to experience longer editing sessions while unplugged thanks to the resulting increased battery life.
Other cool new features to Premiere Pro include new typographical styling tools, enhanced label colors and clip names on the timeline, color improvements (such as Tetrahedal LUT interpolation), and a new colorized vectorscope which provides more detailed image analysis for color grading.
Finally, besides the 3X performance boost when using M1 Macs, performance, in general, has been increased on Windows and macOS up to 2X faster.
After Effects Renders Faster
No one likes is having to wait around for their projects to render, whether you are rendering in After Effects or in a 3D program. It can be derailing or even distracting as you, for example, decide to put on a YouTube video while you wait and suddenly realize that you’ve spent the last hour going down some obscure rabbit hole of strange videos.
A nice new feature in After Effects is multi-frame rendering which was developed to take maximum advantage of multi-core CPUs for up to 3x faster performance. That means less time waiting for your renders to finish. On-screen rendering for RAM previews is also sped up providing a more responsive experience while trying out new things.
Speculative Previews is a new feature in After Effects that automatically detects when your system is not active and uses that time to render compositions. That means if you step away to get a cup of coffee, get on the phone or even watch a YouTube video After Effects will start rendering your composition so it has a head start the next time you decide to preview your comp.
Character Animator continues to evolve, not only as a tool to create character animation for animated productions but as a platform for live animated character performance, a place where the software really shines.
Perhaps the most impressive new feature in Character Animator is Body Tracker which allows creators to use their body movements and gestures to animate their puppets (otherwise known as markerless motion tracking). Manual character animation is hard, and often takes years to master. Even then it is still a tedious and time-consuming process.
By setting up a camera and capturing your own motion and applying it to a “puppet” in Character Animator, you can create sophisticated animations even if you are not such a great animator. Character Animator already had the ability to capture your facial expressions and mouth movements. Now add gestural body motion to its automatic capabilities
Also new in Character Animator is Puppet Maker, a new tool that enables creators to create fun, fast, and diverse characters without having to be experts in Photoshop or Illustrator or be familiar with character rigging. With Puppet maker, you can choose from a variety of character styles including different hairstyles, skin tones, accessories, and more from a simple interface.
Character Animator also picks up a boost in performance with native support for M1-powered Macs.
The nice thing about the Creative Cloud is that Adobe can roll out new features throughout the year — whether they are major new technologies or, like the above, updates made to increase productivity and performance. Both are found in this latest collection of updates to Adobe’s video apps.