Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Adobe Premiere Rush Video Editing Software: First Impressions

Each month I compile a family video made from the random videos that my wife and I shoot on our iPhones. For this task, I typically use Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects (for the occasional motion graphics or more advanced effect), or iMovie. For October's video, I decided to give the recently released Adobe Premiere Rush on macOS a try.


Premiere Rush promises a simple, consistent editing experience across your desktop and mobile devices, with projects syncing by default across all devices. The interface is simple and refreshing--a welcome change from the cumbersome, heavy interface of Adobe Premiere Pro, which has acquired so much baggage over the years. Due to the simple interface, I often found myself trying to right-click to get more options for common tasks, but was left hanging. Here are some things I was a little bummed about, that I hope Adobe addresses about Premiere Rush:
  • No support for slo-mo clips, nor the ability to change playback speed of clips in your sequence. Since slo-mo clips shot on my iPhone are at 1080p, I had to manually scale them up by 200% to fit my sequence settings at 4K, which was easy enough, but still a little annoying:
  • In Premiere Rush, you can't have any blank space on your sequence timeline. Whenever you move or delete a clip, the empty gaps left are automatically removed (the equivalent of a Ripple Delete in Premiere Pro). This is frustrating if you want to have a title over a black background, for instance. To get around this, you'll have to create a black image in the same resolution as your sequence (in my case 3840 x 2160 px), insert it into your sequence, and put your title over it. Minor nit.
  • No snapping to align with other clips. If you want to trim up a clip to match another clip in the track above, you'll need to get really close to the screen and eyeball it. In most other apps, when trimming clips, the program is smart enough to help you snap to match the lengths of adjoining or stacked clips (sometimes by holding down Control, Shift, or Command), but not so in Premiere Rush--you're doing it by sight, by hand, and it is eye-stinging.
The quality of the final output of my 4K sequence from Adobe Premiere Rush turned out pretty nice. I have not tried Rush on the iPhone or iPad yet, but there is an option to open a Rush project in Premiere Pro. This would be good if you were away from your main editing machine, and needed to start working on a project that you shot on your phone, and finish up later in Premiere Pro. This requires that you enable sync for the project, and click "Open Premiere Rush Project" from Premiere Pro 2019 or greater.

I know that the purpose of Rush is to provide simple editing features, and that it isn't intended to be a professional editing application. Creating an application that works across desktop and mobile devices is a challenge, and the compromises are painfully apparent when you use Premiere Rush from a desktop. Despite the limitations, it is still nice to see a new offering in this space, especially one that allows for cross-device syncing so easily. However, if you're looking for a simple way to slap videos together, stick with iMovie for now, or Premiere Pro for the more advanced tasks.

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