Adobe has quietly added some features to Premiere CS4 I would consider really huge. Adobe Updater is normally the little app that delivers Acrobat Reader updates what seems like every other weekday, but imagine my surprise when I opened it today: a little New Year’s present.

  • AAF support (Advanced Authoring Format, an attempt to create a more intelligent interchange format that’s open to developers, backed by Adobe)
  • OMF export (Open Media Framework, as used by various apps including Cubase, SONAR, Pro Tools, and notably as an alternative in Final Cut … not to be confused with the fantastic early 90s One Must Fall PC game … heheh)
  • Final Cut Pro import (yes, that’s native, not via OMF)

And this isn’t just about wooing current Final Cut users: fully supporting OMF and AAF is an essential prerequisite to making media production more open and standards-based. Apple, of course, already helped create a world that isn’t strictly Avid-based, which is why they’ve also been backers of some of these initiatives.

Nothing against Final Cut, necessarily, but having alternatives is good – particularly when Apple’s flagship doesn’t even run on all Macs (sorry, non-Pro MacBook). Now, I had largely looked to Sony Vegas in the past, but Adobe has been busily updating Premiere and so far, CS4 looks far, far snappier performance-wise. Dealing with these file types is tricky, but if Adobe actually has nailed some of the import/export options, it’ll be very good news. And, anyway, if it works for you in your editing workflow, that’s really the main test, isn’t it?