Adobe revealed today, that Adobe Media Encoder will receive a few very worthwhile updates, including long awaited GPU acceleration, direct implementation of Premiere Pro engine, and a number of new features. There are two, which are of special interest to me: the so-called mini-pipe – adding new effects such as image overlay, timecode burn-in, or a given SpeedGrade look – and the ability to import FCP XML sequences without the need to pass them through Adobe Premiere. Both have potentially important workflow considerations in the long run.
Let’s tackle the mini-pipe first. The image overlay and timecode burn-in are pretty obvious, and there is not much to say here, we’ve all been waiting for these features long enough. However, adding the ability to include SpeedGrade’s .look file is a very nice touch. For one, it can simulate any LUT. Secondly, it can be used as the one light grade. Both can be pretty useful in preparing media in dailies workflow or proxies for off-line editing. And with an assortment of .look files, AME can now do these things on its own, without any need of other tools.
Also, we are told that it is just the first implementation of the new features, and that more will be incoming in the future. I sincerely hope that among the new effects included in the subsequent releases, we will find Lens Distortion, which would be perfect for transcoding footage from cameras like GoPro. Also, the notion of implementation of the whole Premiere Pro engine in AME makes me wonder, if some day we will be able to select any combination of Premiere Pro effects to be applied, which might open new areas of batch workflows.
The second feature – importing FCP XML sequences for direct rendering – has amazing potential. Not because you can take your old FCP 7 projects or import projects from other NLEs. This is still problematic and requires reconforming in Premiere Pro. But because FCP XML can be relatively easily created and edited by various tools. This essentially adds the scripting capability to AME.
Why is it great? Let’s say you have 2000 files which require you to add intro and outro, and downscale them from 1080 to 720. Good luck doing it manually in Premiere. On the other hand, any decent programmer can within an hour write a short utility that will automatically create the XML file for each clip with required structure. Some can do it in a command line. All that remains is just prepare the presets, set the output directory in AME, and then import the XMLs. It’s like batch encoding using ffmbc/ffmpeg.
Granted, you need to know FCP XML, but I’m sure that pretty soon we will see a number of interesting tools from the likes of Intelligent Assistance or Digital Rebellion which will make such automation easier. A lot of Media Asset Management systems also recognize and use FCP XML as an exchange method. Therefore it really is a great feature for all large scale workflows and facilities.
AME, I declare you officially mature now. You earned your place amongst your peers.