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(Credit: Adobe)

It used to be a pipe dream to become a TV celebrity, but now people of all talents are finding fame in YouTube channels and other online video outlets. For some, producing videos is a full-time -- and occasionally extremely lucrative -- job. Others may find themselves creating in-house corporate or training videos.

But in every case, all that video footage needs to be edited. And the tools for slicing and splicing those clips tends to be either laughably simple or professionally complex.

Enter Premiere Rush, a video editing app introduced by Adobe in October. Although the company already offers two popular video editors, Premiere Pro and Premiere Elements, Premiere Rush is a completely new application for content creators on desktop and mobile devices designed to assemble YouTube-style videos quickly and easily. Even if you're not looking to create your own YouTube presence, you may find Premiere Rush the perfect editor for video projects.

Easy to get started

Following the path hewn by the recent Lightroom CC (not the venerable Lightroom Classic), Premiere Rush is an all-new video editor built from the ground up to work with Adobe's Creative Cloud service. That delivers two advantages: a fresh start from Premiere Pro and Elements, and the ability to work on projects seamlessly between devices.

One of the difficulties of video editing software is getting started within a daunting interface. Premiere Rush features a streamlined interface that makes it easy to add several media clips to start any new project. Those can come from your computer's drive or mobile device's storage or from cloud services such as Creative Cloud files (of course), Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud Drive. Select several clips, and they're added to a project's timeline in the order they were clicked.

Although clips are uploaded to Creative Cloud by default, you can choose to keep them local if you don't want the cross-device synchronization, or you don't wish to push the limits of your current CC storage level -- this is video, after all, which consumes a lot of storage.

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By default, a single timeline is visible, although you can layer up to four video tracks (which are also used by titles) and three additional audio-only tracks. Clicking the Control Tracks button reveals additional controls, such as to mute, hide, or lock tracks. Trimming, rearranging, and splitting clips are all straightforward.

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(Credit: Jeff Carlson)

Several areas display just simple controls but reveal more complexity if you choose. For example, double-clicking any clip (or selecting it and clicking the Color button) reveals a collection of presets to color-grade the footage. When you click the Edit button in the Color panel, you get more control using the same basic image-editing controls found in apps such as Lightroom to adjust exposure, contrast, color temperature, and saturation. You can also apply a vignette or faded film look.

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(Credit: Jeff Carlson)

Titles are another example. Premiere Rush includes several title styles -- from basic to garish -- with the option of downloading additional titles from Adobe Stock. Switch into editing mode in the Titles panel, and you see options for font, style, size, line spacing, baseline shift, and color and shadow alternatives. You can also grab motion graphics templates from Adobe Stock.

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(Credit: Jeff Carlson)

Also worth noting is a control that's suited specifically for social media: orientation. Movies can be in the traditional landscape, phone-friendly portrait, or Instagram-native square aspect ratios. Switching between them requires some monkeying about with the scale and positioning of each clip, but it's a way to accommodate multiple social scenarios.

When your video is complete, Rush includes several presets for sharing it directly to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Adobe's Behance service (or you can save the file locally). On the desktop version, you have more control over resolution and frame rate when saving locally; on mobile devices, for instance, there's no option to save at 4K resolution.

A first release with a few rough edges

Premiere Rush is a version 1.0 product, and some areas have that just-starting-out feeling. Audio editing is still basic, enabling you to change the overall volume of a clip, but not fine-tune the audio within the clip; you can apply a cross-dissolve transition to the start or end to fade in or fade out, though. Audio can't be detached from video clips, but when you expand a track, you can trim just the audio portion.

That said, there's sophistication lurking within: Premiere Rush detects the audio type -- music, voice, or other -- and can automatically duck (reduce the volume) as needed, such as when someone begins talking over background music.

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The app currently lacks speed adjustments, but Adobe has said it's a feature it's working on. Only a few transitions are currently available. I'm also surprised it's not possible to access media in a Lightroom CC library, instead of just the general Creative Cloud storage.

And then there's the performance, which I found to be hit or miss. Rush sometimes sputters with footage after it's been added while the app renders a workable copy, even on recent hardware. I encountered odd anomalies, such as two still photos merged into a single clip on the iPad version of a project but not on the desktop. So even at version 1.0.2, the one I used to write this, Adobe is still working out the kinks.

Premiere Rush pricing

Premiere Rush uses Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription model, starting at $7.99 per month for individuals. Premiere Rush CC is also included as part of Creative Cloud All Apps, Premiere Pro CC single app, the Student plan, and comes with 100 GB of CC storage. And if you want to check it out first, a free Premiere Rush CC Starter Plan lets you export up to three projects.

Some people simply refuse to pay for subscription software, but if you're making videos for a YouTube channel that earns revenue, or you're creating material for a company, the cost may be justified. It's worth giving it a try to see if it works for your situation.

Pros

  • Interface. The easy to understand interface should make video editing less intimidating for new video creators.
  • Format. Edit colors and looks using presets, or dig in with image-adjustment sliders for more control. Text formatting isn't limited to just a few premade templates.
  • Orientation. Choose from landscape, portrait, or square orientation options suitable for social sharing. You can switch between them with some framing adjustments.
  • Tracks. Add content to up to four video tracks and three audio tracks.
  • Sync. Using Creative Cloud, Premiere Rush synchronizes projects and media on multiple platforms between computer, phone, and tablet devices.

Cons

  • Performance. Sometimes Premiere Rush would act sluggish or erratic. It feels like a 1.0 product.
  • Storage. Project synchronization requires a lot of cloud storage, which means you need to take into account the time and bandwidth needed to upload and download footage. If you don't care about synchronization, however, you can opt to keep all your assets local.
  • Transitions. This first release of the editing software includes a limited number of scene transitions.
  • Audio editing. Although there's an AI-backed feature for identifying types of audio tracks, the controls for editing audio are basic.
  • Speed. Premiere Rush does not yet include controls for adjusting clip speed.

Bottom line

Premiere Rush 1.0 succeeds as an entry-level tool for video editors for small projects or social-media posts, encouraging new content producers who want to easily edit video and incorporate motion graphics. The Creative Cloud synchronization acknowledges that people no longer need or want to be confined to one device, and if your storage level and bandwidth can handle it, makes for seamless editing on any device. However, it's still an early version, with some performance hiccups and limited features for now.

Apps

Competitive products

  • iMovie. Apple's iMovie app for MacOS and iOS devices is a surprisingly powerful video-editing tool that lets you create compelling movies. It's available only for Apple devices, however.
  • Premiere Elements. Adobe's previous entry-level video editing application is now the intermediate choice for creators, available only on desktop computers.
  • LumaFusion. This full-featured iOS app appeals to mobile video editors who are more accustomed to traditional interfaces (and not as pared-down as iMovie).

Also see

Disclaimer: Jeff Carlson has previously done contract work with Adobe to write about its software.

Author and photographer Jeff Carlson (jeffcarlson.com) is the author of the books Take Control of Your Digital Photos, and Take Control of Your Digital Storage, among many other books and articles, and co-hosts the weekly podcast PhotoActive. He believes there's never enough coffee, and does his best to test that theory.