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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 14, 2010
I've used Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express for several years now, and while I can't claim to be an expert I know them fairly well. I decided to learn Premiere Pro as an alternative - primarily because you can edit natively with several formats that Final Cut requires you to convert before editing. Since then, and after working through this book and getting to know how it works and what it can do, I've decided to stick with Premiere Pro for most of my editing projects because I find it much easier to work with for a number of advanced editing problems.

This book (which is really the only book available that focuses on teaching how to use Premiere Pro CS5 ) is very clear and straightforward. It would be helpful both for experienced editors ready to try out Premiere Pro (who might decide to skim through a few of the chapters on basics, that are fairly similar to how things work on other editing platforms), and also for those just starting out. This isn't really an introduction to editing, per se - though the authors do include some scattered but helpful advice for beginners. (One of the best and most accessible general introductions to editing principles that is platform neutral is Grammar of the Edit). This book is more an introduction to the range of features available in Premiere Pro CS5 - and it's a pretty impressive range of features, and they are clearly outlined here. The basic approach of this book - like all of the books in the Classroom in a Book series - is to lead you through a series of exercises that show you what's possible with the program. There's not a lot of explanation, but the advantage of this approach is that you get a fairly quick hands-on introduction to the range of what's possible. (I own and have worked through a few of the other books in the series, and found that apart from a few issues mentioned below this was the clearest and easiest to follow - and gave me the quickest introduction to the program.)

The lessons are easy to follow. In each case there is a quick introduction to the basic concepts of the lesson, then there are several hands-on tutorials, that make use of project and asset files on the included CD to lead the reader through a number of practical applications of the concepts. To get the most out of this book, you do need to have Premiere Pro installed and download the files on the CD and follow along. For the most part that's easy, and the CD works fine both for PC and Mac users (a few caveats below).

Lessons start with the basics, getting used to the interface and how to modify it for different kinds of projects and individualize it for personal tastes. It covers importing and managing assets, both from tapes and tapeless formats. Then cutting and fine tuning an edit, adding transitions, creating and animating titles, adding effects, applying motion and slow and fast motion, and messing with sound and compositing and color correcting. It also shows how to use Premiere in conjunction with other CS5 programs, like Soundbooth, OnLocation, Photoshop, After Effects and Encore, and how to export files and author dvd and Blu-Ray discs.

Each lesson is clear and straightforward, and they do a good job with starting out basic and moving forward to show just enough that you can see what could be done with each technique. Most lessons have "before" and "after" timelines so you can see what you were supposed to do and reverse engineer it for guidance in case you didn't follow instructions exactly.

I did notice a few problems, easy to work around, but still problems that could have been fixed. While it claims to be applicable both for Macs and PCs, it does seem that it was written by a PC user, and occasionally things they suggest aren't possible on a Mac or work differently on a Mac.

In one lesson they asked me to upload an .avi file - which is a Windows format and won't play on Macs without special codecs. In the case of this one, even though I can usually play .avi files on my Mac, this one wouldn't play. It turns out that I had a codec installed (3divx) that interfered with playback of this file - and I only figured that out after a search on Adobe's help website which revealed that a few people had the same problem with the previous edition of this book, and an author of that edition was part of that conversation. It would have been nice if they'd included a footnote explaining that the same problem was possible for users of this one.

There were a few other issues like that. For example, there are effects that don't exist on the Mac version of Premiere Pro but do for the Windows/PC version. Sometimes the book mentions this, and sometimes it doesn't - e.g. they mention that the "Camera View" effect doesn't exist for Macs, but not that the "Cross Zoom" is also missing on the Mac edition. So, when, in the course of a lesson they asked me to apply a "Cross Zoom" it took me several minutes before I remembered reading somewhere that some of the effects don't exist on the Mac version, and realized that this must be one of them. In a couple of places they referred to something that sounded like it might have been in the previous edition - e.g. they mention a "bike sound" overlapping with an interview in chapter 12, where it's really the sound of a "medieval hero" threatening a sorcerer. I'm guessing the example that came with this chapter in the previous edition of the book wasn't from a fantasy realm, and they didn't adjust this minor reference to it.

All of these issues are fairly minor - and there are easy workarounds for them - but I thought I'd mention them here in hopes of being helpful for Mac users who pick up this book and run into similar issues or confusions.

Overall, this is an excellent intro, that I found to be quite useful. After working through its various lessons, I feel as confident working with Premiere Pro as I ever did with Final Cut. In fact, more so, because there are some very handy features (like the multi-camera editing feature) that are easier to use than anything I've seen on Final Cut (I have FCE 4 and have an older version of Final Cut Pro Studio - which I haven't upgraded to the latest, so there might be features I'm not aware of there). Additionally, working through this book helped clarify in my mind some concepts I learned a long time ago but that I haven't really used very often - for example I've always been confused by the differences between the ripple, roll, slip and slide tools, and so tend just to fine tune my cuts with the razor (which is precise but not very efficient). After working through this the differences are clear, and I'll use those tools much more often. I'm also glad to have worked through the audio chapters, because I tend to treat audio just like video, and here they make clear that with Premiere it can be treated with greater finesse - especially with Soundbooth, which is a pretty astonishing tool, as illustrated by one of the projects in this book that has you eliminating hum and even removing a phone ring from a voice clip. Highly recommended guide for those starting out editing on Premiere, or for those who want to switch over or are upgrading from an older version.
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on December 27, 2010
We go back to Premier 1.0 as well as having had a traditional video editing suite, in the days of tape. Admittedly, I had not kept up with all the Premier revisions. We used to have both Macs and Windows, because there was a time when we would need to translate incompatible file formats. However, we have not had a Windows machine for nearly six years. The revision history of Premier is a little difficult to figure out. Through August 2002 there was Adobe Premier on Macs and Windows. Then, a year later Adobe introduced Premier Pro, which was a Windows-only app. By July 2007, following the Macromedia merger, Premier Pro re-emerged as a Mac app with the introduction of CS3 and the Production Premium Suite and Master Collection.

We fully intend to master the entire set of key apps in the Master Collection. Since we're rusty on Premier Pro (Pr), we have chose three key solutions to improve our skills, dramatically. We, like many Adobe professionals, have been relying upon Classroom in a Book (CIB) to touch up our skills.

We have not messed around with tape in many years. Part of what has driven us back to Premier is the native support it offers DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera users. Like ourselves, many professional photographers, we know, are diving into video, now. There's an imperative need to edit this footage. Most photographers, unlike ourselves, are going to need a great deal of hand-holding to get used to Premier Pro. The workspace bears a great deal of resemblance to Bridge, though what many of the panels do will be a brave new frontier. CIB smartly recognizes this and approaches Pr CS5 is if the reader knows nothing about the app. It starts you off with an overview of what each panel does and then makes a well, graphically documented tour of how to customize your workspace.

Adobe has designed many of the panels to act much like the components a traditional physical video editing suite. In CS5, Premier has become very much like a hardware editing suite. On both Mac and Windows Pr CS5 requires a 64-bit computer. This finally gives Premier Pro the muscle it has always needed to run multiple clips, simultaneously. Likewise, the author of this book approaches chapter two as if you have just un-boxed new hardware and now must show you how to set it up. This lesson carefully walks you through some of the essential Pr Pro skills. Getting comfortable with the panel for importing assets is necessary to the rest of your work in Premier. We go way back with CIB. Admittedly, we begin to take those DVDs, for granted. This is one of the most valuable uses of the DVD. It has all those assets you need if you are starting from square one with video editing. I was impressed with how the book also assumes you know very little about video technology. Though there is much that we do know about these basics, our presumption that this book will have a huge appeal to photographers is a good guess that all of these foundational elements are new to that audience. In the online video series that we are studying about Pr, none of these basics are ever mentioned. That's where CIB is ahead of the game. They know that if they don't clarify this to readers, the reader will never feel as if they fully understand Pr.

To take this further, lesson three is dedicated to tapeless media. Once again, CIB makes no assumption that you know anything about the various formats. We have contact with some of the best and the brightest Pr users on the planet. There have been times when I felt a few of these guys were speaking a foreign language. Pr CS5 CIB has built my understanding and confidence of this. Again, it's not directly relative to Premier. However, without it, you'll feel as if you are in a fog.

Much like a few chapters in our second book, "Stoppees' Guide to Photography and Light: What Digital Photographers, Illustrators, and Creative Professionals Must Know" the fourth chapter of this CIB gets into other essentials which takes you from preproduction to postproduction. This is the first CIB, we recall, which has done this. There's a list of tips for shooting great video. Just a few days ago we published a feature story to the Online Learning section of our website on Divine Proportion, so we were pleased to see this chapter discussing and providing an example of the Rule of Thirds. This chapter even includes some conventions for naming clips. This results in your finished project will be inline with the top professional video editors.

A cornerstone of professional video preproduction is the storyboard, something of a visual game plan for a shoot. The storyboard has been an editing launchpad for Pr going back quite a few versions. Lesson 5 takes you through building a succession of rough cuts in the storyboard metaphor and provides a clear explanation. It jumps right into another essential in video editing, the Timeline. This could dump you into a foreign territory with Premier. There are a few intricacies to Pr which could cause you to lose footing. This is the most high-gear chapter, so far. You need a little time to catch your breath with this one. I suggest you take a break to let it all sink in.

The sixth chapter is less intense and filled with wise advise on keeping your editing style professional. A poor use of transitions makes a project look amateur. There's wise advise and quite a few sample situations as to how to keep it clean.

Being into type, and having an extensive library of it, I enjoyed the seventh chapter on dynamic titling. This is a feature set strength of Pr. The app includes five panels for type usage which is specifically intended for video. I find this portion of Pr to be unlike how type is handled in the familiar InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, so I had to slow down and carefully study this lesson. In the end, I needed another breather, but I felt CIB throughly covered the topic. Type, in video, is powerful. When some CIB authors cover this, it's inspirational to see the cool things they've done in type. I would have liked to see that here.

As I started lesson 8, less than half way through the book, I felt like I had a a good grasp of Pr basics, enough to competently complete projects, yet, the author feels the reader is just now ready to delve into the productivity which allows you to work like a master. Two pages into lesson 8, the author imparts some more professional insider information on the different types of editing and how to use them to a project's advantage. That kind of insight is not important to learning the feature sets of Premier Pro, but unlike any Pr CS5 learning tools we have seen, to date. It's the difference from knowing the app's features, which the user's manual can do, and becoming a professional video editor.

The ninth lesson gets into video effects. This requires a great deal of technical know-how, and the author does an excellent job of helping the reader to understand how that's done in Pr CS5. Because of the amount of time (and pages) required to do this, I suppose the author could not allocate enough pages to advise of when these effects work, well, and when they look kind of crazy.

The tenth lesson teaches you how to put the clips into motion. These are the sort of effects, seen on cable news shows, where graphics fly all over the screen and attempt to entertain the viewer when there's a lack on compelling content. Creating these seem intimidating. These are a powerful set of features which I have never fully understood how to master. CIB made the complex seem easy.

Another complex aspect of video editing is all the time shifting capabilities. You know the ones: slow-motion, reverse-motion, speeding up a clip, etc. Chapter 11 does not have a large number of pages allocated to these complex tasks, which include time remapping. Yet, it provides all you need to master these powerful techniques.

Going into the twelfth lesson, it's obvious that CIB has been concentrating on video and holding off on the audio aspects. With chapter 12, the author took me back to my college voice and articulation class, again going beyond the call of Pr duty to provide an excellent bulleted list of professional voicing tips and setting up a good sound booth, along with microphone and headset tips. CIB then goes into the high-quality aural experience creation and offers an understanding audio characteristics. This is rarely discussed anywhere much less in Pr training, yet without that knowledge, it's not possible to produce professional quality audio tracks for your video. I must confess that there are a few discussions in this CIB chapter I knew nothing about, before.

Pr CS5 has a bunch of cool techniques which both improve and professionally punch up your audio. That's great news. The downside, to the novice, is that most of this stuff is like nothing they have ever encountered. The terminology is a foreign language and how you use the tools are unlike anything else in Pr. Amazingly, this author makes it all very understandable and approachable. CIB even goes into some audio mixing techniques and surround sound effects. All of this was concerning me until I got to page 256. As great as Premier's audio is, some of this is done better with Soundbooth CS5, which is included in the Master Collection and Production Premium Suite. At this point the author switches gears and provides a nice lesson in how to polish things using Soundbooth with which much of this chapter is applicable.

Adobe's new Story cloud app assists in collaborations between script and copywriters and the rest of a production team through Pr CS5. Lesson 14 takes you into the powerful, almost magical, feature of how Pr can transcribe speech into text. If your project requires closed captioning, this can save you plenty of time and money. But, it also permits content verification and keywording, all of which this short chapter starts to move you into.

Around a week ago we published a feature story to the Online Learning section of our website about green screening. It proved to be a popular download. This compositing of a foreground subject to a completely different background is becoming a mainstay to both still and video imaging. The author voices many of the concerns that we mentioned in our article. You have to keep the two images in proper balance, or it doesn't work. Pr has some great tools to make this happen, especially Ultra Key, which takes chroma key a step further. CIB walks the reader through some of the very professional features of mattes and keying, including a traveling matte.

Chapter 16 guides you through some very complex video technology, which I would suspect a 400 page volume would not have the time to get into. For years, on the hardware side, this has been handled by some very involved gear that even some well-equipped video editing suites did not own, such as waveform monitors, and vectorscopes. These are included in Pr and CIB provides you with the foundational knowledge to do the color correcting with these, which you may be used to in Photoshop. Another area this lesson gets into is nesting video into what has otherwise been two dimensional PDFs. There's huge future in this as the shape of interactive newspapers and magazines are replacing their printed versions.

This CIB winds down with explorations of project management, using OnLocation for live recording, an area which also has a big future, plus enhancing Photoshop and After Effects assets using Pr. This is another area I was pleased to see, since as powerful as Pr may be, some other Master Collection apps might be able to do a better job of executing these tasks.

Now that you have a great finished project, what do you do with it? The author does an impressive job of reviewing the various output formats. Without this knowledge, some readers would be lost in the current choppy seas of consumer and professional technology. This make chapter 20 something of what could be a pocket-sized handbook. The final chapter focuses on Encore, an Adobe app for creating DVDs.

I LOVE this CIB. It's thorough examination of everything relative to making you a Premier Pro professional far exceeds anything else we have found, to date. Before some Adobe apps were so intensely feature packed (we're not complaining about that) CIB was able to offer these sort of extensive expositions. Today, that would make some CIB volumes over 1,000 pages and cost better than $100. So, that's no longer possible. Some of the older CIBs had some fabulous visuals in the exercises which would inspire us to create. This volume is a little short on that. I would tend to give it 4.75 stars but since whole stars are my only choice, I'll gladly round it up to five.

As a final point, the book claims the lessons should take 1,125 minutes to complete. Since I carefully study these things, I would suggest you set aside at least 21 hours. If you decide to make this a temporary full-time job, not rushing or taking breaks, you should be able to become fully competent in Premier Pro CS5 after three days of total concentration. If you have a few other tasks in your life, set aside four days.
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on March 23, 2011
Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Classroom in a Book, like all the other books in the Classroom in a Book series, is a great tool for learning Adobe Premiere (and learning how to incorporate Premiere with other Adobe tools).

The book is divided into 21 lessons that are designed to be worked through in a step-by-step method, where each lesson builds upon the last. A DVD is included that contains all the project files you'll need to work along, so everything you need is packaged together, and you can get started immediately. The DVD also includes partially completed files, so you can jump in at any lesson, even if you haven't completed the previous lessons.

The lessons begin with an overview of the Adobe Premiere CS5 workspace and then move on to cover everything you need to know from importing files to exporting the final video (and everything in between). There are also lessons on incorporating Adobe Photoshop and After Effects into your Premiere workflow, using Adobe OnLocation during shooting, and exporting DVDs with Adobe Encore.
Whether you're new to editing or a seasoned editor who just needs to learn Premiere Pro CS5, this book will give you everything you need.
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on January 18, 2011
I just bought the Kindle version of this. The blurb is exactly the same as for the printed one (e.g. with references to DVD content for lessons). I loved the idea of having a big heavy book like this on my kindle and although I knew that I wouldn't be getting a DVD in the post when I bought the eBook, I assumed that there would be some web link to download the content.

There is - but it is very difficult to find. Amazon support was little help (they say contact the publisher). I emailed PeachPit (the publisher) and they explained to search for lesson files within the book and you will find a link.

The book itself is fine and a nice straightforward run through of PP. But they really need to get a bit slicker on how they provide access to the lesson files.
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on October 24, 2011
Did a lot of research on which book to buy in order to quickly learn Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. I settled on this one because it is published by Adobe and others had good things to say about it. I have to agree with most other reviews; this book is very helpful and allowed me to learn the software in a matter of just a few weeks. I did 1-2 lessons a day and skipped around based on what skills I wanted to learn.

I have never done video editing before and was in no way familiar with Premiere Pro or any video editing software at all; this book made learning very simple. The interactive CD that the lessons in the book are based around was easy to use and the lessons were very well constructed. I was in the process of creating my first video for work while still doing the lessons in the book and I was able to immediately apply the the information in the book directly to my first project with no problems.

One thing about this book, it does not function well as a quick reference guide. You have to sift through each lesson in order to find quick answers to common questions. This is not too much of a problem if you remember which chapter contains the information for which you are searching.

I plan on buying the rest of the books in the series for Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, and the rest, when I can afford them.
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on June 20, 2012
I was very excited when I found out that the Classroom in a Book series was available for the kindle! Now I could highlight and annotate the lessons and have access to them anywhere thanks to the amazing Kindle Infrastructure! I quickly learned after purchasing it however the Kindle version doesn't include any access to the media used in the lessons! You see, in the printed edition, there is a CD included that has all the media and setups for the lessons so you can follow along properly. Now I wasn't expecting a CD to come to me but I was thinking I'd get a link to download the content somewhere. Unfortunately there is none so unless you have a friend that happens to have a copy of the printed version you're kind of S.O.L! If Adobe includes someway to access this content I would be giving this product 5 stars but because as a learning too, it is seriously hobbled by not having it I will only give it 1 star.
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on November 10, 2012
THe Classroom in a Book series is my favorite way to learn. This book takes you step by step through lessons that build up your knowledge of Premiere Pro. Instead of just being an overall guide to using the software it provides a structured way to learn it through the use of lessons and exercises - just like if you were in an instructor-led class!

I like to work at my own pace so I find that the classroom in a book format is better for me than actually attending a class, plus you can learn on your own schedule. Have an hour or two free? Go through the next lesson. Busy tonight? Don't worry about missing a class, your book will be waiting when you're ready!

The book includes a CD with all the lesson files on it. You simply copy the CD to your computer and as you go through each lesson in the book you'll work with specific files that are organized in folders by lesson.

If you're wanting to learn Premiere for the first time then this is the book to get!
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on April 25, 2012
I used this book to study for my ACA (Adobe Certified Associate) exam. The good thing about this book is that it covers a lot of content and assumes that you really don't know much about video production. This worked well for me since I had a good amount of experience with Final Cut Pro 7 but no experience with Premiere. I used this book and did a few lessons each night starting a week before my exam. There is 3-4 chapters dedicated to other Adobe products from the Production Premium/Master Suite. While I found this a bit annoying and seemed like a bit of a marketing gimmick, it turns out that there is more than a few questions on the ACA exam that relate to this content and you will want to make sure you at least read these chapters if you plan on taking the exam. There is also quite a bit of information about best practices for video production (shooting, lighting, mics, etc.) again, its beneficial to know if you are planning on using this book as study material.

At the end of the day I passed my certification exam and couldn't be happier. This book is a good resource if you're trying to just learn the software for personal/professional use or if you're going the route I did and plan on sitting for the actual certification exam.
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on November 17, 2011
I admit that I am impatient learning new programs after having learned so many over the last 20 years. Adobe Creative Team really dealt with my impatience. So often when you learn software from books, you do not have the files you need to really learn the material. Adobe has provided a CD with files designed to have everything you need to understand the concept.

The book was written for CS5 version, so there are some updates and changes which mean that it isn't quite right if you're learning the current version CS5.5. However, as the book cover tells you, there is CS5.5 bonus content on a website. It is in the form of an *.epub file. This is a bit baffling at first because Windows does not know what program it goes with. I'll save you some trouble by telling you that it runs under Adobe Digital Editions, which is free download. Once you know that, it all works pretty well (I sure wish they told me this in advance however!)

The material is generally presented quite clearly. It is sometimes difficult to know exactly where they mean for you to go when they say something like "Select the Build Panel" and you don't see any panel with the title "Build". They are expecting you to remember a previous lesson where you got to the Build Panel by selecting Build from the File menu. What I'm saying is to expect your intelligence and short term memory to be tested by some of the instructions. The good news is that a little difficulty means you'll probably remember it better long term.

The only criticism I have is the decision to spend a lot of space explaining concepts from programs which are not included with Premiere Pro. These are Soundbooth, Photoshop and After Effects. What is the point of having this material if you have to buy another program and you don't need it? There are plenty of books available for those who own these programs.

Nonetheless, most chapters are quite useful and are very well organized. I did not find myself skipping ahead as I often do in software books that don't tell you first things first. I also found myself delighted and excited about many of the features I discovered in this book.
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on April 29, 2015
I have several volumes of the CS5 Classroom in a Book texts. I use them for my more advanced classes in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging. I like the projects, and the On Your Own exercises in some of them.
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