Celebrating 25 Years of Premiere Pro

The early 1990s saw the start of a revolution in digital technology that would transform the world of film, television, and video production – and continues to do so today.

Adobe Premiere, released in 1991, was part of that revolution. Instead of a traditional video editing system comprised of expensive hardware, Premiere was software-only and could run on an affordable computer. With Adobe Premiere the user could place clips on the timeline, add effects, transitions, and a soundtrack. It looks simple by today’s standards, but it opened the door to anyone who wanted to learn the art of visual storytelling.

“I remember lying on my living room floor, editing video on my Powerbook laptop, something that was previously impossible. Premiere was the first affordable non-linear editor available to anyone,” recalled Dave Helmly, an early Adobe employee who is still part of the Adobe video team today.

From the beginning, Adobe Premiere pushed the envelope for editing technology. In 1994, Premiere 4.0 became the first version to offer full screen broadcast quality with 60 fields per frame. As early as 1996, Version 4.2 on Windows actually offered the ability to work with 4K frame size which was used in digital signage applications and in comparison, today Premiere Pro CC can work with files as large as 16k X 10k . RAM previews were introduced in 1998 and an audio mixer in 2001. In 2003 the entire application was rewritten and relaunched as Adobe Premiere Pro, along with the new Adobe Media Encoder companion app

In 2006, Premiere Pro introduced Dynamic Link integration with Adobe After Effects. This made it easy to move between the two apps while adding and refining motion graphics or visual effects on clips, giving users a connected editing, motion graphics, and visual effects production environment.

“Only Premiere Pro allows artists to combine the two disciplines of editing and multi-layering into one single moment of creative production.” Flavio Kumpah, multi-discipled artist and early Premiere (version 4.0) editor.

In 2011, Adobe switched over from selling boxed software to Adobe Creative Cloud. Along with more frequent updates, the change brought an increased focus on integrating apps and services, streamlining workflows, and collaboration across creative teams. This saw the introduction of CC Libraries and shared asset libraries, Destination Publishing, the Lumetri Color panel, powerful new Tracking and Masking tools, Adobe Stock, support for 360 VR editing, and much more (etc. add to list!)

A history of innovation has made Premiere Pro an industry leader, and the preferred choice for major filmmakers like David Fincher, Joel and Ethan Coen, Tim Miller, David Lowery and indie filmmakers like Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Jack Price and Jennifer Phang but also of the next generation, YouTubers like RocketJump, Karen Kavett, Ryan Connolly, Devin Graham (aka Supertramp) and Gunnarolla, and new creatives like Sarah Diestchy and Kayla Briet.

The introduction of the Non-Linear Editor (NLE) changed the industry by streamlining the editing process so that editors could easily make changes without having to restart. This “simplified” approach lowered the barrier to entry for aspiring filmmakers and made video editing a more attainable skill. From the silver screen to smartphones to VR, Premiere Pro continues to help drive new forms of storytelling across all types of video creators.

How are we celebrating 25 years of Premiere Pro? Adobe is launching the “Make the Cut” contest, which offers the opportunity to create your own version of Imagine Dragons’ Believer music video and a chance to win $25,000! For more info, visit our site here: makethecut.adobe.com

In addition, take a look down memory lane at the moments that have made Premiere Pro history.

As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, on behalf of our entire Adobe Premiere Pro team, we thank our creative community for your support of Premiere Pro over the past 25 years. Your passion, hard work and innovation always inspires us and we can’t wait to see what you create next.