Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Premiere Pro CS3 - new project

Take a good look at the graphic above. What do you see? This is the New Project / Custom Settings dialog box in Adobe Premiere CS3. What stands out? Let's take a look ...

Let's take a hypothetical situation, you've got some digital multimedia evidence (DME) and you need a still image. Quick, easy, no frills. You just need something quick for a flyer. The first step in Premiere is the New Project dialog. I've seen so many students just bypass this dialog and use the presets, that I thought a little "heads up" was in order.

Start from the top. How many frames per second is this project looking for? Answer, 29.97 fps. What about your DME? Is is running at 29.97 fps? Probably not. So what happens if you import an AVI file that runs at 7 fps or lower? 

Move down to frame size. What is it looking to do? Your project is set to have a frame size of 720x480. What's the frame size of your DME? Chances are, it's one of the CIFs. What's Premiere going to do when you drop that QCIF file onto the timeline?

What about aspect? Do you know in what aspect your DME was recorded? The answer is not always as obvious as it seems. Is a 720x240 file a problem of aspect or interlacing?

What about audio? Does your file contain audio information. Many do. What do you know about the sample rate of the original. Is it important to match sample rates? What happens if you don't?

Now, understand that I am not setting these questions to anger or frustrate folks. I am only attempting to point out the many pitfalls of accepting the default settings upon the creation of the project. We have to know the tools that we use. We should have a good understanding of what's going on under the hood. Whilst we don't necessarily need to know the code or other proprietary info, we should understand the settings, what they mean, how they affect our work, and so forth. 

We are going to start our look at other "helper" programs by looking at Adobe's Premiere Pro CS3. We'll start by looking at the first step in the process, creating a new project. We'll look to answer some of the questions posed here. Many of the answers will depend on the files that you will be working with. But, with an understanding of what each setting does and what it affects, you can be prepared to answer questions about your work. Remember, forensics is not just science. It is also oration and debate. There's what you know, there's what you can prove, and then there's what you can explain about what you know and what you can prove. Often times, experts get tripped up on the explanation - not the facts of the case.


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