Commentary: Adobe Welcomes Back Mac Premiere Users with $299 Upgrade Pricing
Posted Mar 28, 2007

At a time when Apple is rumored to be moving Final Cut Studio even more upscale, and Final Cut Pro is no longer available as a standalone application, what can Mac users do for under $1,000? There's Final Cut Express, which removes many of the features Final Cut Pro users have become accustomed to over previous versions, like the Audio Mixer tool. Avid is trying to woo back some of their customers with Avid Free DV which it says is a "free way to join the Avid family and test-drive the industry-standard editing interface used by more professionals than any other video editing solution."

But back at the dawn of Final Cut Pro v1, Adobe Premiere was the juggernaut of prosumer digital video editing on the Mac. In fact, the first several versions of Premiere were Mac-only applications. Most users of the first version of Final Cut Pro—if they had used a pro NLE previously—were probably Premiere users.

Now, with the announcement of their CS3 packages, Adobe has stepped back into familiar territory by bringing Premiere back to the Mac. Adobe's After Effects and Photoshop never left the Mac, but have not yet become Universal applications to take advantage of Apple's move to Intel processors. With CS3 (which will ship this summer), all of Adobe's applications will take advantage of Apple's Intel processors. In fact, some applications are Intel-only and will not run on Apple's previous PowerPC chips.

Pricing is also an interesting development. At a time when Apple is stratifying users between $80 consumer iLife apps—iMovie and iDVD—or the $1,300 Final Cut Studio package, Adobe basically invites Mac users to dig out their old copy of Premiere and sign up for the Premiere Pro CS3 Upgrade for just $299.

This relatively low price will buy Premiere Pro CS3 for video editing, Adobe OnLocation (formerly DV Rack), and Adobe Encore CS3 for DVD and Blu-ray authoring. In fact, Adobe's Blu-ray authoring provides the flip side to Apple's HD DVD authoring capability in DVD Studio Pro, also only part of the much more expensive Final Cut Studio Package.

Adobe's previous upgrade policy was to offer upgrades to the previous two numerical versions of an application. With the CS3 upgrade, Adobe specifically states the upgrade is available for "any previous version of Adobe Premiere, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Adobe Encore."

It also notes that, for Macintosh users, Adobe OnLocation requires Boot Camp and Windows (purchased separately) or a separate Windows-based computer. Also, all Adobe software packages come with Adobe Bridge CS3, Adobe Dynamic Link, Adobe Device Central CS3, and Adobe Acrobat Connect.

For $1,200, Premiere for Mac users can buy the $1,700 Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, which includes almost any application one would need for a video production: After Effects CS3 Professional, Premiere Pro CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Flash CS3 Professional, Illustrator CS3, Soundbooth CS3, Encore CS3, OnLocation CS3 (Windows only), and Adobe Ultra CS3 (Windows only).

As software companies work hard to integrate their various products and make it easier for users to work on their media in different applications, these bundles will become more tightly knit. Mac users who still use Photoshop and After Effects will likely jump at the opportunity to weave their video back into Premiere and out through Encore. It's just icing on the cake that Adobe is making it quite affordable to do so.

Anthony Burokas of IEBA Communications, a self-confessed "gadget guy," has been an event videographer for more than 15 years. He has shot award-winning video internationally and is technical director for the PBS series Flavors of America.