On Randy’s computer

Jpremiere4uly 1992

Nick Schlott was porting code to enable Adobe Premiere to run with Microsoft’s Video for Windows (VFW).

Premiere for Windows was to be based upon VFW and of course that wasn’t released yet, so we were under Microsoft NDA’s and we would travel up there periodically to see what they were up to. They had started after QuickTime and therefore were trailing behind and of course QuickTime was no good to me on the PC, so I wrote my own file format for playing back video. I had to make it work at 1.5mb/s. 

And back then I was young and worked long long hours and I could program as fast as anyone I knew, some was good code, some was not so good but I needed to be quick early on to get my head around the task.  We had to create a huge amount of infrastructure for the Windows version that we took for granted on the Mac, like the Macintosh’s QuickDraw API. That had to be written almost from scratch. 

Schlott hired consultants who had worked on Supermac’s Videospigot to replicate the Mac toolbox.

I wrote as much of that performance-enhancing code (Premiere/Win 1.0) as I could before VFW was complete and then we had to shoe horn the VFW stuff in, once it was available from Microsoft. 

Despite Adobe’s growing size with products like Photoshop, the Premiere team was small. Schlott recalls the differences in programming then, and now.

Of course there are people within a company like Adobe whose job it is to get the final version of an application like Premiere and ship it and store it and so forth but on a day to day basis, if you were to ask anyone where the latest build of Premiere was? The answer would be “On Randy’s computer”. That simple. Of course it’s different now but back then it was…different. Teams of people on Photoshop and Postscript, and two of us on Premiere. 

One programmer on the Mac, and one on Windows. Every now and then I would come across something in Randy’s code and go ask him how he had done it and it would be a very Mac type of solution he had engineered and I would go away and try to come up with something similar in the Windows world. 

The complete behind-the-scenes Adobe Premiere story is available in John Buck’s book, ‘Timeline 2’.  premiere4Available at iBooks and Amazon

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