Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

Today, Apple announced its new tablet – the iPad. Which is great for watching videos, but not so great at creating them. For that, we still need laptops and tower computers.

With that in mind, I’m up in San Jose, CA, this week in a series of meetings with Adobe about all kinds of interesting stuff.

During the course of our conversations, I learned a couple of things that I wanted to share with you.

First, Adobe made the decision that all their future applications will be 64-bit only. For Mac users, this means that this will require hardware that can run OS X 10.6. Fortunately, Apple has made 64-bit support simple by building it into the OS. If you can run Snow Leopard, you are all set.

For PC users, the issue is more complex. 64-bit means that you need to buy a 64-bit-capable system. However, many less expensive PC computers on the market today are only 32-bit. This means that whenever Adobe releases new software, it won’t even install on these 32-bit systems; even if you bought it recently.

(Note: This also means that new Adobe software won’t install on Macs that can’t run Snow Leopard; which includes all non-Intel/Macs and anyone not running at least OS X 10.6.)

As a side note, the reason that 64-bit support is so important is that it provides support for vast – and I mean truly HUGE – RAM memory. Currently, 32-bit systems, like Leopard, only allow an application to access 4 GB of RAM. 64-bit systems allow applications to directly access HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of TERABYTES! Sheesh….!

The second big benefit of 64-bit support, according to Adobe, is that applications run much faster because they need to access the hard disk much less frequently.

Better speed and performance are both good things in my book!

A second new technology that Adobe is talking about publicly is what they call the Mercury Playback Engine. Currently, this runs only in Adobe Premiere Pro and what it provides is blazingly fast performance for video editing.

The Mercury engine works in both software and hardware. And, using just the software engine, its pretty interesting.

However, when you add hardware, the speed explodes into almost frightening performance. The key point, though, is that the playback engine is optimized for NVIDIA graphics cards. (Meaning that ATI graphics cards are not supported.)

When you connect an NVIDIA graphics card to your system, performance is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Real-time multi-camera playback of four native RED 4K files. Real-time color correction with multiple filters applied to the same clip. Real-time editing of native AVCHD video, no transcoding required.

Adobe tells me that when assisted by an NVIDIA card, Premiere Pro operates 50-100 TIMES faster than it does in software alone.

At this point, both of these are technology demos. Current versions of Adobe Production Premium don’t support these features. However, as you are planning your hardware purchases for the year, you might want to keep these thoughts in mind.

Currently, Final Cut Studio does not support 64-bit memory addressing, nor does it support hardware acceleration (Motion does, but the other applications do not).

Adobe is giving us just a glimpse of what we can look forward to later this year. Hopefully, Apple will follow suit.

One other note. Next generation Adobe software will also be multicore aware. This means that the more processors you have in your system, the faster the software will run. This, too, is something Final Cut Studio does not currently support.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

5 thoughts on ““A Glimpse into the Future with Adobe” by Larry Jordan

  1. Hi Philip! A read and like very much your blogue (keep up the good work) but Sony Vegas Pro as 64-bit version for almost 2 years at a fraction of the price of FCP and Premiere Pro. I have an Intel i7 860 workstation with 8GB of RAM running Vegas Pro 9 64-bit and I can get 5 layers of filters with native M2T (HDV) files, full resolution in real-time.

  2. Thanks Pedro, Sony Vegas Pro 64bit is certainly a lot further ahead of FCP-7. I don’t know why Apple are so far behind on going 64 bit, my friend is only now running Logic Pro in 64bit and he tells me it’s a flying machine.

  3. Hello

    However, many less expensive PC computers on the market today are only 32-bit. This means that whenever Adobe releases new software, it won’t even install on these 32-bit systems; even if you bought it recently.


    It’s time to be awaken ! Pentium 4 is like Power PC…. Over !

    Most PC are sold with Core 2 Duo and are 64 bit… Idem for Quad Core all 64 Bit for a cheap video editing machine. And a lot of old Athlon64 (from 6 years) !!!

    Just Netbooks are 32 Bit.
    Many new laptops 15 & 17′ are powered with Windows Seven 64 Bit…

    And to get Adobe Mercury power now, even with 32 Bit, taste Edius…. An Appolo Rocket for video editing !

    Best Wishes


  4. so does this mean AVID will finally do 64bit. instead of following the pack ? it will lead ? recall nitris,symphony & adrenaline, & Media composer were 95K,50K, 25K, & 5K now reduced to 15, 12K, 10K & 2.5K due to the Quality of Adobe & Apple video production software –

    Avid’s Stock is doing so poorly Autodesk, Apple or Adobe could buy them for substaintly reduced prices –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *