I have been thinking about bailing on Final Cut Pro since the release of Final Cut Pro X, aka iMovie Pro. I was so upset with the new Final Cut software lacking key elements (such as legacy support of old projects) that I demanded my money back from Apple. I got my refund.

Now, I have a decision to make… Do I hold onto Final Cut Pro 7 and wait for Apple to make the proper “Pro” fixes to Final Cut X or do I jump ship?

Back in college, I learned how to edit on an Avid. When I left college, I could not afford Avid products. I used the much cheaper Adobe Premiere 5.1 on my Dell PC. I edited a bunch of projects on Premiere and when I moved over to Mac, I tried out Final Cut Pro. I liked premiere and Final Cut about the same, but my love for Apple hardware kept me on FCP.

But then Final Cut Pro X came out and it left a bad taste in my mouth. In fact, as the NLE wars heat companies like Adobe are offering their products at 50 percent off! All you need to do is type “switch” into the promo box at checkout to save some serious loot.

I downloaded the trial version of CS5.5 a week ago but found that alot of the codecs/presets I needed (like XDCAM or RED) were unavailable. I also found out that some of the plugins were stripped in the watered down trial version. I could still use the nle interface, but I was familiar with it from my early edit days. I really wanted to have a full version with everything included!

I bought the Adobe Production Premium Suite 5.5 today for $850. This includes After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere and other Adobe Products. It also includes native support for Red footage and has a plugin for stabilization called “warp stabilizer”. I will be editing my Red Epic project on Adobe Premiere and earlier today I was wowed by warp. Good bye Final Cut Pro (I plan on editing TimeFest blog on FCP this week, my last project).

If you just want Premiere, you can get the FULL boxed version of cs5.5 for under $400 (until Sept 30, 2011) Click here to buy it.

Around 2pm today I was driving back from a job. I had my Sony SR11 and a cheap tripod in the back of my car. I stopped on some train tracks and decided to shoot a bit of footage. I sent out a tweet and asked if anyone had the full version of Premiere CS5.5. I almost immediately got an answer from a friend in the Netherlands, @igert.

Gert Kracht sent me a private FTP and as soon as I got home, I uploaded the Sony SR11 footage to his server half a world away. He quickly downloaded the file and begun to stabilize the footage using Final Cut Pro X and then Adobe warp stabilizer.

As he was doing this for me, I found a few videos on the internet showing off the warp plugin. I was amazed at how smooth the content was after treatment. Plus, people who had used the stabilizer said that this was the best they had ever used. Warp was very easy to execute, without having to set tracking points or keyframes. The plugin did all the work for you!

Gert ran the footage through a few different settings. He set the parameters for “no motion” and “smooth motion”. He also sent me versions with and without crop. Gert is currently running a very intense pass on the footage (that would tax the processor through the night) and I will post that version full screen and stand alone for you to view on this page later.

T-RECS Timelapse Showreel 2011 #1 from T-Recs (Timelapse Recordings) on Vimeo.

The warp stabilizer is not a replacement for proper camerawork. You will still need to acquire good looking footage using tools like a tripod or dolly/slider. But this plugin is very good and will open doors to creative technique never before possible without tons of post time and processing power.

I plan on doing some “stop motion” timelapses using a method that the T-Recs guys are pioneering in Germany. I am not saying I know how they did their timelapses, but I will try to do something similar using stabilization. Check out the video above.

Big thanks to Gert Kracht for helping me with this test and resulting video blog. I was not going to publish this, since it was just a test for me, but too many of you asked for it! Enjoy.

UPDATE 8/7/11:
I now own Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium retail software. Now it is time to learn it!

I was happy to see all the codecs/presets were in my paid version. Some people have stated (on Twitter) that you do indeed get Warp Stabilizer and all the Red/XDCAM presets in the trial version of Production Premium. I found that NOT to be the case. They were excluded and I was unable to use the trial for my workflow. Here is the list of presets in the FULL RETAIL version of CS5.5: