Since making the transition from a Final Cut Pro 7 workflow to a Premiere Pro workflow, things have been great. I was able to modify my keyboard shortcuts to be more FCP friendly and I don’t deal with as many hassles as I did when editing in FCP 7. As great as that is, there were some things that took a little getting use to. In terms of actual transitions, Premiere Pro’s native transitions were lacking to say the least. If I wanted to use a fancy or cheesy transition on an edit, I would have to use one of the many filter based transitions or send my clips to After Effects via Dynamic Link. Another area of interest I felt that FCP 7 had on Premiere was its compositing and masking capabilities. The amount of native masking and compositing tools FCP has puts Premiere Pro to shame.
Now it’s possible to achieve certain masking/compositing effects in Premiere but most times it would require help from the Title Tool and the available matte key filters (Image Matte, Set Matte and Track Matte) or the limited crop filter. Over the last year, two independent entities have created transitions and compositing filters that help fill the gaps between FCP and Premiere Pro. They are Film Impact and Creative Impatience. Film Impact is comprised of a group of developers who create professional, inexpensive plugins for both FCP 7 and Premiere Pro CS5-CS6. Creative Impatience is the brainchild of developer/editor Bart Walczak. With Bart’s plugins, you get plugins that allow you to crop, feather edges of your media, vignette and mask out multiple sections of one or more videos.
Film Impact Plugins
This suite of transitions have been a welcomed addition to the Premiere Pro ecosystem. With transitions such as Impact Flash, Impact Push, Impact Blur Dissolve and more, I have the ability to give my projects more polish. One of the strengths of these transitions is the user interface that is available. Within that interface, I have the ability to effect how my transition will look and interact with my media. For example if I was using the Impact Flash transition, I have the ability to effect the Blur, Glow and Softness parameters which in turn effect how the transition looks. I can take it from its default state to a different variation of the transition.
The best part about these transitions is that they are actual transitions. Many third party transitions that you can purchase for Premiere tend to function as filters that need to be keyframed in the Effect Controls panel as opposed to be placed on an edit. There is a time and place for using those types of transitions but in most cases I like the ease of a transition that can be placed at the head or tail of clips. Overall, Film Impact has definitely been able to figure out the plugin SDK of Premiere and create a great suite of transitions. If future iterations are as good as the first collection, then I know Film Impact will become a power player.
Creative Impatience Plugins
This collection of filters addresses an editor’s need to do simple masking and compositing tasks that you would usually send out to After Effects to take care of. Within this collection, you can download Feathered Crop, Vignette, Power Window and Simple Mask all for free (if you find these plugins useful, you can donate to the developer to help with the progress of current and upcoming plugins). One of the standout filters I found immediately useful is Feathered Crop. Back in my FCP 7 days, being able to feather the edges of a clip for a nice composite was one of my go to techniques. Switching over to Premiere, I found this to be rather difficult with the native tools. To do anything remotely close to this would require the Title Tool and Track Matte Key. Also, the Edge Feather filter was not as resourceful as I thought it could be. When this plugin came out, I instantly found myself using it quite often. With it’s in depth interface, the user can selectively crop and feather from top, bottom, right and left. They also have the ability to add a border around their image if they choose to.
The newest plugin I’m finding immediately useful is Simple Mask. This filter allows you to create a simple and adjustable mask around your media. The best part is you can add multiple instances of this filter to focus on specific portions of your footage or create a unique mask design.
Overall, Creative Impatience has been able to address my masking and compositing needs in Premiere with this collection of plugins. Their ease of use and incredible design makes them accessible for quick and dirty compositing techniques.
If you are a recent FCP 7 convert or diehard user of Premiere Pro, I highly recommend adding these plugins to your plugin arsenal. What these 2 developers have created is nothing short of phenomenal.