Apr 22, 2022 · 6 mins read

After Effects vs. Premiere Pro: Where to Use Which One?

Christopher Enriquez

Christopher Enriquez

Architecture & Content Writing

After Effects vs. Premiere Pro: Where to Use Which One?

Technology has truly changed how we can capture and preserve our memories. Gone were the days when recording these events are reserved only for special occasions. We have moved forward from portraiture in paintings, to still images in the camera, and to the moving pictures in videography today. Nowadays, every moment is made special as we can capture, frame, and share these fleeting memories on social media via the use of smartphones.

Not only that an average mobile phone equipped with a camera can capture and record, but it can also now enhance and add creative effects to our photos and videos. From flat stickers to animated overlays, creative effects are continuously becoming in demand as an add-on feature. Although these gadgets are becoming more pocket-sized and powerful, there are still limitations to their capacity in editing videos. This is where post-processing becomes a crucial part of the video-making process.

Compared to built-in editing software, a dedicated program for processing is much more capable of producing professional results. The flexibility and creative freedom that these tools offer the user are almost boundless. Not only that these programs can render complex effects in videos, but they also feature easy access and seamless workflow for editors.

Photo by Spartan Xozz on Unsplash

Available to both the hobbyist and the professional, software such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After effects are the most commonly known tools used in the industry. As choosing between different programs is often a confusing endeavor, it is important to recognize the goal and intended purpose of the user first.

For the serial hobbyist, editing might mean basic trimming, merging, and adding effects into scenes while for the commercial videographer, fewer edits mean they can produce faster output and deliver efficiently to clients. Despite the minimal difference in startup costs between the two, Adobe After Effects remains relatively the preferred program for most people.

Features and Workflow

Most editors have a common workflow that integrates both programs in the process. One common approach used by experts in creating professional videos is by doing the initial and basic editing within Premiere Pro and adding the finishing touches in After Effects.

The different tools available within each program are crucial in creating a complementing workflow in post-processing videos. These distinctions allow the editor to pick and choose their priorities and strategies in tackling situations related to video editing. The main difference between the two programs is the tasks that they are able to handle. While After Effects can handle complex tasks such as motion graphics, Premiere Pro is regarded to be a faster and lighter tool when it comes to basic editing.

Most professionals opt for Premiere Pro when it comes to editing raw footage as it supports the easy transfer of files from their device to the program aside from a speedy response time. In terms of interface and tools, the program is sometimes considered an upgraded version of the Windows Movie Maker. With a wide variety of tools in its interface, one can easily touch up and edit videos in a breeze.

For example, Lift & Extract tools allow extracting snippets of the video as stills and editing them per frame to create smooth transitions in between. Other distinctive tools unique to this program are the MultiCam and Audio Mixer tools. The MultiCam tool allows multiple videos viewed simultaneously, enabling the editor to compose a composite video. Premiere Pro also has a tool that can help create virtual reality environments.

The role of After Effects in this workflow comes after the basic editing done in Premiere Pro. Editors transfer the file to After Effects to be able to add titles, graphics, and modify transitions. With a huge library of 3D assets and effects available within the program, After Effects can help translate your creative visions into reality.

A huge plus for this program is project and video management tools available to help you collaborate across multiple disciplines and teams. As After Effects is primarily a tool for adding effects after the edit, it is no wonder that it is the go-to tool for those looking to enhance their videos.

Although there are differences in the overall function of the two programs, there are also tools that are redundant and overlapping within each interface. For example, tools for visual effects such as motion control, color, and shadow enhancements are both available in both however, most users find it much easier to use in After Effects. Aside from that, editing tools such as Masking and Camera Tracker are among other features that we can compare between the two programs. Although Premiere Pro has the same masking tool feature After Effects does it smoothly and efficiently. The masking tool allows isolating and embedding of images, texts, and videos to create overlays within frames in the video. This is a useful tool known for its capability in changing the backgrounds of a video while maintaining the selected component isolated.

Photo by Spartan Xozz on Unsplash

Meanwhile, Camera Tracker is a distinct feature of After Effects as it can bridge two different scenes seamlessly together by merging the instances where camera movements and angle changes meet. Through a frame-by-frame editing feature, it gives the editor the ability to edit graphics with precision and generate smoother transitions.

Despite the upsides of the program, After Effects is seen as a more sluggish and demanding program as processing the outputs takes a longer time to reconcile. Hence, it is mostly preferred to be used for short clips and animations only. Runtime speed and response time are what make Premiere Pro the preferred tool when it comes to basic edits and same-day outputs often required for professionals.

Gearing up for success

As with any project, video editing requires not a single “one and done” approach but rather a multi-dimensional one. Collaborating and experimenting with different combinations of programs can help create the ideal setup for a scenario for certain videos. Here, the software is as crucial as the equipment that will be used.

Integration and working across devices are also becoming a crucial consideration for these programs. Not only that editing software tools limited to computer use, but they are also being integrated into mobile devices nowadays. Available via Android, apps for Premiere Pro and After Effects have also been developed.

A few observations that users noticed is that compared to After Effects, the mobile version of Premiere Pro is yet to benefit from a better user interface. With the rapid changes and evolution in how people work and collaborate, ease of integration and use between two programs in remote work is not difficult to see in the near future.

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