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Premiere Pro / After Effects - what's the difference?


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#1 Mei Lewis

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:09 AM

I'm new to shooting and editing video. At the moment I'm using a 5D2 and trying to figure out a workflow on PC.

In particular I'm trying to understand the exact roles of Premiere Pro and After Effects.

PP seems to be mainly for editing and AE for doing effects, titles etc. But there's a big overlap between the two programs. Most of the common effects in AE are also in PP, like color correction, levels controls etc.
On the other hand it looks like AE can do editing.

It seems like I'm _supposed_ to edit a sequence together in PP then transfer it to AE to do the effects work and grading. Stu Maschwitz's Rebel DV Guide (http://www.amazon.co...h/dp/0321413644) says you should never grade in PP because of something to do with bit depth and image quality, but that info may be out of date.

Is there just a difference of emphasis between the two or something more fundamental?
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:56 AM

Premiere now theoretically uses the AE rendering engine, but of course there's always a million and one ways these things can be configured and the fine detail of that configuration is not exposed to the user.

In my view AE is not really designed for grading and is somewhat cumbersome at it. There is little you can do in AE by way of grading that you absolutely cannot do in Premiere, assuming you're talking about basic colour tasks. Personally I think if they put the draw-on masks from AE into Premiere it would help enormously as otherwise an area selection is a two-layer effect. Otherwise fine.

There are of course the "maximum render quality" and "high bit depth" checkboxes in Premiere. Nobody, including Adobe, seem to be very clear on exactly what they do, but presumably on equals better.

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#3 Kevin W Wilson

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 06:06 PM

I agree with Phil.

Premiere is strictly a non-linear editor. That's what it was designed for and what it is used for. Can you color correct in it? Sure, I do quick grades in it all the time for client approvals. Can you edit in After Effects? Definitely, it's a bit cumbersome since that's not what it was designed for, but it can be done. The beauty of the Adobe products, Premiere and After Effects especially, is the many ways they integrate with one another and save you time. It's extremely easy to bounce a timeline back and forth between the two programs, maintaining all your cuts and effects and negating a lot of rendering time. They are very well thought out pieces of software.

Stu Maschwitz (super knowledgeable guy) recommends using After Effects for two main reasons. The first is the bit depth, which allows you to work in a higher, more accurate color space. Giving you more control and flexibility with your footage. You can't work at a higher bit depth than your footage natively allows within Premiere. Why? Because that's not what it's for really. Reason two is the ease of use and flexibility it allows low budget filmmakers access to without paying an arm and a leg. Is it a Da Vinci Resolve system? Nope. But it will do a mighty job and make your stuff look damn good if you take your time and know what your doing. After Effects also has a very accurate render engine built in, allowing you to dig a pretty impressive amount of information out of your footage.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:27 PM

I think the comparison here is not really Da Vinci Resolve, it's Color. Because Adobe doesn't have a direct competitor to Color (and in my view doesn't really need one) it makes the lack of layer masking tools in Premiere even more problematic. If they added featherable masks to Premiere (and perhaps a Duplicate Above command in the context menu for a clip) I don't really see what else it would need.

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#5 Mei Lewis

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:29 AM

Premiere now theoretically uses the AE rendering engine...


I'm beginning to think this is the case, so the quality should be the same when exported from either AE or PP. The Rebel DV guide is a few years old now and could really do with an update, there's no mention of DSLRs for example which have had a big impact on budget film making.


Even so I think the best way to go is to use PP to edit then take the whole project to AE to color correct/grade and add titles etc.
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