Premiere Pro CS6 vs. CC 2017

Last month, I was forced* to upgrade my Adobe CS6 Production Premium to CC.  I have been fighting with it ever since.  If anyone asks me, it is a downgrade.

The most debilitating problem with Premiere Pro CC is that the new playback engine under CC didn’t like my video card.  Playback was extremely choppy, and even when paused, the wrong frame was usually displayed.  This wasn’t simply inconvenient; it was so bad and so unusable I couldn’t edit anything until I got this resolved.  I dropped a bunch of cash to buy a video card that the Mercury Playback Engine likes (an MSI NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G†), and that has basically resolved the problem.  However, playback is still not quite as responsive as it was under CS6.

The Dynamics audio effect has been made obsolete.  I rely on this for most of the video I edit.  I just drag it onto the audio track, and the default settings are just what I want: a little compression and a little amplification that gives a subtle and consistent result, but a definite improvement.  When opening an old CS6 project, Premiere will complain that Dynamics no longer exists, and it will drop it from my project.  Fortunately, I found that it does still exist, under the Obsolete Audio Effects category.  For older projects, I’ll have to manually put the effect back in place.  There is a new replacement effect, called Dynamics Processing, but it is not the same.  The default settings evidently do nothing, and none of the presets are exactly like the old Dynamics effect.  Specifically, they are … well, dynamic.  The levels change during playback based on what was just played, which results in something that sounds awful, because it is inconsistent through the playback.  A boomy sound is followed by momentarily muted audio, and the fact that the timing differs between the left and right channels makes it very noticeable.  I suspect I can find a way to customize the settings to be more consistent, and then save that as a custom preset, but it is going to take some time.  Also, I may have damaged my hearing trying all the presets, because some of them are just dangerous.

The most offensive problem is that Adobe has dropped support for Encore, the DVD/Blu-ray authoring tool.  There is no replacement.  I realize that physical video media is on the way out, but it isn’t dead yet.  Many of my customers still ask for DVDs, and they aren’t swayed by my explanations of easier and better ways to access and play their video.  So I accommodate them, even though it’s more work for me.  What am I supposed to do now?  A quick search for answers has suggested that I can re-install and use Encore CS6 and use it with Premiere Pro CC.  However, my old work-flow will no longer work, because Dynamic Link doesn’t work between CS6 and CC.  So instead of letting Encore transcode a Premiere Pro sequence directly using the amount of compression that it calculates is necessary to fit the video on the disk, it appears that I will have to render an intermediate video file and import that into Encore.  I haven’t tried this yet, so I don’t know what frustration I will encounter.  Will I lose chapter markers set in Premiere?  Will I have to use a giant lossless format to avoid degradation due to double compression?  Will I spend hours of trial and error to get the compression right?

So far, I have not enjoyed a single “upgrade” benefit from CC.  There have been a handful of features I had heard about in CC that weren’t available to me in CS6, but now I don’t remember what any of them were.  There’s a cartoony new user-interface, and I get free and easy upgrades, but that’s all.  My experiences with Photoshop and Audition are basically unchanged.  I haven’t even cracked open After Effects or Illustrator yet, and frankly I dread doing so.  The bottom line is that Adobe comes out ahead, financially, and I’m the loser.

Update: Alright, I spoke too soon.  I have discovered a couple of improvements that are useful to me.  One is that many of the video effects have a built-in mechanism to create a shape mask for them.  Maybe this existed in CS6, but in CC, this is right there in the effect controls, and it is real obvious.  This greatly simplifies a task I frequently need to perform: obscuring a portion of the video with a mosaic or gaussian blur.  The other is rendering speed.  It is now rendering about 1.92 seconds of (5.5 Mb/s 720p) video per second, which is about a 75-100% improvement over my old render times.  This is actually not an improvement in CC, but my graphics card, because all those CUDA cores are being used to assist in the rendering.

(* I bought a new still camera, and Photoshop CS6 didn’t support it.  When I shoot stills, I shoot in RAW.  Every camera has specific variations that must be accounted for when processing RAW files.  Adobe has stopped providing updates for new cameras for the CS6 Camera Raw plugin.  Therefore, the only way to process RAW images from this camera in Photoshop was to upgrade to CC.)

(† I chose that graphics card for two reasons.  Most importantly, because of its silent, 0 RPM idle mode.  Quiet components are very important to me.  The other reason is because of the large number of CUDA cores.  I dabble in photorealistic 3D modeling, and I understand that CUDA cores are the workhorse for GPU accelerated rendering.  I guess a third reason is that I got a good deal on an open box item.)