Tag Archives: Adobe

Adobe Premiere Elements 14



Adobe Premiere Elements 14

Back in the heyday of the FireWire interface, I became fairly proficient with Final Cut Express. However, in 2011 Apple stopped developing it, and Final Cut express just wasn’t designed to work natively with compressed video file formats that virtually all modern cameras output. I really liked the Final Cut Express interface and was sad to see it be left behind.

Many people rave about iMovie. Unfortunately for me, I’m one of those people that doesn’t like the iMovie interface. Just give me a linear editor with stackable clips and I can easily and quickly find my way around.

In the meantime, my 2007 MacBook Pro 17” inch became quite long in the tooth and I started leaving it at home. For the past year I’ve been doing relatively simple video editing on my phone.

The recent purchase of a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 256 gigabyte machine inspired me to try out a trial version of Adobe Premiere Elements 14, the latest version of Adobe’s consumer verson of Premiere, which is aimed at high-end professional video editors. Premier Elements 14 is somewhat different than Final Cut Express, but actually very similar since it is a linear editing approach.

Unlike Final Cut Express, Premiere Elements 14 is quite up to date and handles all of the modern compressed digital file formats. It is even capable of editing 4k video. It’s quite flexible in output formats, and is capable of uploading directly to YouTube and Facebook.

I am still learning my way around the interface. My biggest complaint so far is that using the animated titles seems a bit clunky. I’m sure I will become proficient with them over time as I continue to use the software. Some of the options at first blush seem to be a bit hidden.

Before I pulled the trigger and purchased the unlock key from the Adobe website, I watched a number of tutorial videos on YouTube to make certain that the program could do everything I expected it to be able to do. It turns out that all of the features are present, but proficiency requires a bit of time and effort. Alas, this is video editing after all!

Version 14 of the software has 4 modes, Live, Quick, Guided and Expert. The two most useful modes for my needs are Quick and Expert. Though I am spending most of my time in Expert mode, switching to Quick mode can be useful from time to time in order to gain quick access to certain features. To instantly switch from one mode to another it’s as easy as clicking on the appropriate word just below the title bar.

Premiere Elements 14 sells for $99 dollars US and is available for download at the Adobe website. The 30 day trial version is easily converted to the full purchased version by purchasing a license key from Adobe.

Overall, I like the software. I will be happy to purchase the next upgrade.


If you thought the Adobe hack was bad, you should see the user data



Computer securityBy now you have likely heard of the attack on Adobe — the one that seemed to grow worse with each new bit of information. What started out sounding like a problem quickly deteriorated into disaster. Originally said to affect some three million customers, the number swelled to 38,000,000 and finally landed at 150,000,000.

But there were bigger concerns than just just that — security firm Sophos analyzed the compromised data and released a case study of its findings. The results are staggering, in terms of what it revealed about the average computer user.

Sophos lodged an almost immediate complaint regarding the situation — “One of our complaints was that Adobe said that it had lost encrypted passwords, when we thought the company ought to have said that it had lost hashed and salted passwords”, the security firm states in the report.

Then the data analysis begins. The number one password, used by 1.9 million customers, was “123456”, while “password” followed in second place. Appearing at the 25th slot on that list was “LetMeIn”. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. One user’s password hint read “try: qwerty123”, while another user cryptically stated his hint as “rhymes with assword”. The sad list goes on.

Sophos points out that “With very little effort, we have already recovered an awful lot of information about the breached passwords, including: identifying the top five passwords precisely, plus the 2.75% of users who chose them; and determining the exact password length of nearly one third of the database”.

Image Credit: Bigstock


Audio Evolution Mobile App



Audio Evolution Mobile 1.7.2 is a powerful multitrack audio recorder for Android that is somewhat reminiscent of Adobe Audition 1.5 in both form and function. Priced at $7.45 US, the app is a real bargain for anyone looking to do serious multitrack audio recording and editing on an Android tablet or smartphone.

Back a few years ago I switched from Windows to Mac, and Adobe Audition 1.5 is one of the pieces of software I had to let go of on a day-to-day basis in order to end the endless frustration of dealing with Windows. Newer versions of Adobe Audition have never struck me as having the same appeal of Adobe Audition 1.5.

It might be just me and the way I relate to software interfaces, but I’ve never had much use for Garageband on either the Mac or on my iPad. I was able to make use of Apple’s Soundtrack app, but it was just never as quick or as easy as Adobe Audition 1.5 was in quickly cranking out a tightly-edited piece of audio.

Audio Evolution Mobile 1.7.2 was easy for me to instantly make use of. The software maker suggests that you download the trial version to try on your particular Android hardware before you buy it, to make sure it will work for you. I downloaded the trial version onto my Galaxy S3 smartphone, and quickly determined that it would not only work but that I really liked the software and the way it worked. I uninstalled the trial version and purchased the full paid version and was able to crank out an hour-long edited recording quite easily with a minimum of confusion.

The software vendor makes it very clear that Audio Evolution Mobile 1.7.2 cannot directly output into the MP3 audio file format because of MP3 file format licensing issues. The app can output mixdown files to WAV, AIFF, FLAC or OGG file formats.

Of course the podcast file format standard is MP3, so in order to be able to convert the mixdown files to the MP3 file format, I downloaded the free MediaConverter app that converts files using the open-source FFMPEG libraries from many different file formats to MP3.

To add ID3 tags to the converted MP3 files, I installed the free MP3dit app that is able to edit ID3 tags for many different audio file formats.

To upload the MP3 file to my podcast server, I use the free ANDftp FTP client for Android.

Finally, to make the WordPress post I simply go to a browser such as Firefox for Android to the regular full browser view, log in and make the post as I would on a regular desktop or laptop computer.

To be honest, the last step is the hardest to accomplish on a tablet device. WordPress just isn’t laid out in a very touchscreen-friendly manner, but it can be made to work in a pinch.

From a podcaster standpoint, the mobile device recording, editing and posting software is slowly getting there.


Adobe claims tablet traffic has passed smartphones and UK leads the way



Perhaps we knew this day would come, but certainly not this soon. However, Adobe today released some statistics that claim that the day has come — “Our latest Adobe Dig­i­tal Index has revealed that global web­sites are now receiving more traf­fic from tablets than smart­phones, with 8% and 7% of monthly page views respectably”.

adobe tablet study

In conducting the study, Adobe analyzed more than 100 bil­lion vis­its to 1000+ web­sites world-wide to generate the data that was used to compile this report. Not only did the company find that tablets have surpassed smartphones, but that the country leading the way was the U.K. Adobe claims it “found that the UK is leading this trend, with internet users most likely to surf via tablet”.

For the record, the U.K. came is with 12.2 percent and was followed by Japan at 9.2 percent. The land of the rising sun was just ahead of the U.S. with 9.1 percent of the tablet traffic.

Adobe’s study also found that tablet traffic across nations doubled in 2012 — “tablet traffic growth has been con­sis­tent through 2012. All countries saw their share of traffic from tablets double over the course of last year and that trend is expected to continue through 2013”.

It is becoming increasingly harder to distinguish between tablets and smartphones, as the market seems to be headed towards the “phablet”. Perhaps devices like the Galazy Note 2, with its 5.5-inch screen are more the future than anything else.


BlackMagic Intensity Extreme with Thunderbolt Connection [Review]



Blackmagic Intensity Extreme
Blackmagic Intensity Extreme with Thunderbolt Connection

Two weeks ago, I wanted to bump up my live camera action. Knowing that camera companies like Canon have decided to remove DV and component video connections on their newer lines of cameras, I had to find a solution to pull video from the HDMI output. Therefore, I bought the Intensity Extreme.

BlackMagic Intensity Extreme Advantages

The biggest feature on this device is that I can connect directly to the Thunderbolt™ port on my MacBook Pro. This is the machine I do the majority of my video, using Wirecast to record and broadcast.

The BlackMagic Intensity Extreme can also get video from a composite source, using the breakout cable (included). Therefore, it’s a perfect way to stream your gaming session to uStream or Justin.tv. If you have an SD camera, you can also connect to the Intensity Extreme to broadcast. Therefore, I could connect my Kodak Zi10, or a Flip camera using the composite cable.

Intensity Extreme is compatible with Avid, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, DaVinci Resolve, Wirecast, and many other programs. You can even use it for a program like Screenflow, to enhance the video with your face in the corner.

No Windows Drivers – Yet

The Intensity extreme does not have Windows drivers just yet, so you Bootcamp users out there will want to use your Mac for recording. It doesn’t mean you cannot get it to work in Windows, but you will not have support just yet. You will have to purchase the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle to have Windows support.

BlackMagic Intensity Extreme – Overall

The device is simple to set up (camera to Intensity to computer). There is no external power, so you don’t need to worry about a battery or plug. The Thunderbolt cable does not come with the Intensity Extreme, so you will have to drop another $50 for that.

The BlackMagic Intensity Extreme is $284, and is a perfect way to add a 16:9 camera to your mix (like the Canon VIXIA R20 I used). This can give your recordings more depth because you will have focus, white balance, exposure, zoom, and other features a webcam cannot offer.

The Blackmagic Intensity Extreme is also part of Todd’s new High Definition Mobile Broadcast Studio.


One More Reason to Get Rid of Flash



Usage of Adobe Flash on the internet has been on the decline for sometime now and most users view that as a good thing.  Flash, while being a great technology, has proven problematic over the years.  There have been countless security vulnerabilities, endless updates from Adobe, and many fake versions that have compromised unsuspecting users.  Now, the folks over at HTTP Archive have added one more reason to the growing list of why Flash is bad.

They recently conducted a study of the response, or download, time for some prominent web site features including Flash, Javascript, HTML, CSS, and several different image formats.  The results probably aren’t really that surprising in the sense that most of us already knew that Flash could be slow and cumbersome.  However, just how much slower than virtually all of the other web technologies, may come as a bit of a shock.  Flash is almost 4 times slower than the second slowest technology, JPEG.  The chart they published, which can be seen below, shows the “average response size” in kilobits (kb).

Flash was once the darling of the internet, but it has slowly been replaced by newer, more efficient, technologies that can bring dynamic content to web sites with much better performance.

object response size

Source: HTTP Archive is a site that analyzes thousands of web pages each month to get these types of statistics.


Adobe CS6 Production Premium Release to be Previewed at NAB 2012



Adobe Production Premium is a suite of apps geared towards video production.  The suite includes such Adobe software as Premier Pro, After Effects, Audition, and more.  Today Adobe released word that they will be showing off version 6, or CS6 as it’s known, at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show which gets underway on April 14th.

NAB will be running April 14-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Adobe, in addition to showing off CS6, will be “participating in the NAB Post|Production World Keynote, which will address how the intersection of creativity and technology can help video professionals create impactful, engaging work more quickly than ever before. Adobe product manager Steve Forde will be joined  by two-time Academy-Award Winner Rob Legato , Steve Wozniak, and Fusion-io director of entertainment Vincent Brisebois.”  That event will take place on April 15 at 10:30am.

Here is some of what Adobe claims they will reveal in CS6:

  • Powerful new versions of Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Audition, Adobe Story, Adobe Media Encoder and Adobe Photoshop
  • The debut of SpeedGrade CS6 for professional color grading
  • The introduction of Prelude CS6 for logging and ingesting file-based and metadata workflows
  • An elegant new user interface for Premiere Pro CS6  and  the inclusion of OpenCL support in the Mercury Playback Engine
  • A significant boost for After Effects in performance and 3D capability

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Adobe Lightroom 4 Officially Released



Adobe announced today the official final version of Lightroom 4 is now available.  Lightroom is a popular photo editing tool that is used by many amateur and professional photographers alike.  Lightroom is part of Adobe’s Photoshop family, but is a cheaper and more dedicated version geared specifically towards working with digital photos.

Adobe claimed they had 300,000 users of the public beta version of Lightroom 4 and used all of that feedback to make changes before their final release.  Changes made since the Beta version include:

  • Reverse geocoding now available in the Map Module
  • Revamped and improved auto tone in Develop based on new controls
  • Increased range of local white balance controls (temperature and tint)
  • Updated Develop presets plus added new presets for video
  • Maximum Blurb book size is now 240 pages
  • Over 800 bugs found and fixed!

Lightroom 4 is available now for $149.  You can also download a free trial version if you want to check it out first.  You can buy it or download the trial from Adobe.


Adobe Releases Photoshop Touch for iPad



Adobe recently announced their new Photoshop Touch app for the iPad.  The app was specifically designed for the tablet interface, and is the new centerpiece of the Adobe Touch Apps.  “Photoshop Touch combines the magic of Photoshop and its core features with the convenience of a tablet, bringing image-editing power to the fingertips of millions of people.”

Photoshop Touch gives users the ability to create layered photos, touch up pictures, paint, remove parts of an image by utilizing Refine Edge technology from Photoshop, which makes hard-to-select areas with soft edges easy to capture when making selections.

The app was announced on February 27th at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain and is available now from the iTunes App Store for $9.99.


Boogie Board Rip Hands On Review



Boogie Board RipThe Boogie Board Rip from Improv Electronics is an electronic clipboard that will save handwritten notes and drawings to Adobe‘s .pdf format for later transfer to a PC via USB. You draw or write with the included stylus on the pressure-sensitive 9.5″ dark monochrome LCD screen, which results in light coloured lines and writing.  When you want to save your work, you simply press the “Save” button at the top. To start over, the “Erase” button wipes the screen. It’s that easy.

Here’s a few scribblings and the complementary .pdf. I’m no artist. That’s an A4 notebook behind it for scale.

Improv Electronics Boogie Board Rip

Improve Electronics Boogie Board Rip PDF

I’m not sure exactly how the stylus and the screen work together to record the image as any stylus can be used to write on the screen, but only writing from the included stylus will be recorded in the saved .pdf. Sometimes, I found that I wasn’t pressing hard enough for all the lines to be recorded; if you look at the picture of the hedgehog, you’ll see that the drawing is much spikier than the .pdf. This was an early trial picture and you get used to pressing that little bit more firmly.

Boogie Board Rip Hedgehog

Boogie Board Rip Hedgehog PDF

The internal memory is only 8 MB but this is sufficient for around 200 .pdfs. Getting the .pdfs off the device is simple – just connect up via micro USB and the Rip appears as an external drive. I had no problems connecting it up to both Windows and Linux machines. The Rip has an internal rechargeable battery which charges via the USB and lasts ages – the manufacturer suggests a week of normal use and I can see no reason to disagree.

I found the Rip to be a great partner for tools such as Evernote. I could take notes in a meeting and then transfer the notes into Evernote, creating a chronological record of meetings and discussion. Personally, I was looking for a simple paper notebook replacement that was a relatively cheap and robust, and nowhere near as expensive as a full tablet.

In the end, I had mixed feelings about the Rip. It does what it does well, but it’s not the complete package that I need it to be for the Rip to replace my A4 notebook.

First, the 9.5″ screen is too small. Being used to A4 notebooks, I struggled with the narrower page and often used the Rip in landscape mode rather than portrait to get extra width.  If you are a Moleskine person, more used to the A5 format, it will perhaps be less of an issue but I look forward to a larger screen.

Second, the “resolution” of the screen and stylus combination isn’t detailed or fine enough. When I write with my normal handwriting, it’s difficult to read the writing on the screen because the lines are quite broad. As a result, I have to write larger which compounds the small screen issue. To be fair, the saved .pdf does record the handwriting accurately so perhaps I just need to get over the display and rely on the .pdf.

Boogie Board Rip Handwriting

Boogie Board Rip Handwriting PDF

I admit that I have specific needs so I would also emphasise the Rip’s good points.

First it’s very easy to use. There are two buttons, “Erase” and “Save / Wake” and when you do press the buttons, the device responds almost instantly. There’s no PIN or password to enter.

Second, it’s lightweight with little difference between it and a paper notebook.

Third, the saving of drawing and notes straight to a .pdf is the brilliant bit. No need for scanning or special paper. I can instantly upload the .pdf to Evernote (or Microsoft’s OneNote) for a historical record of meetings and other activities.
Finally, it’s fun and you’ll never run out of paper.

In summary, Improv Electronics’ Boogie Boards are styled as paper replacements and they’re not far wrong but for me it’s just not there. At the moment, the Rip is best suited to drawings and sketches but falls short for handwriting, so I’ll be keep my A4 notebook for now. However, I genuinely look forward to the Rip 2, which will I’m sure will have a larger screen and a more detailed stylus.