|Production company standardizes on an Adobe Creative Cloud workflow to efficiently deliver up to 28 TV episodes per week|
For more than 20 years, UFA SERIAL DRAMA has produced some of the most popular serial dramas in Germany. Classic shows such as Good Times, Bad Times (Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten) and Among Us (Unter Uns) have been on the air for more than 4,000 episodes each. UFA SERIAL DRAMA currently runs five daily shows and can produce up to 28 episodes in a week; for this team efficiency is key. Post-production supervisor Marc Schwellenbach works with the post-production teams to continually refine and optimize the standard workflows to be as quick and smart as possible.
Adobe: Tell us about the shows you produce through UFA SERIAL DRAMA.
Schwellenbach: We produce five unique daily serial dramas, which translates to 800 minutes of material every week. Four of our shows run in Germany. In fact, the first series that we produced back in 1992, Good Times, Bad Times (Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten), was the first daily serial drama made for German television. It’s still on the air; we passed the 5,000 episode mark a few years ago. Even our “newest” series has been around for eight years and nearly 2,000 episodes. Our fifth show is actually a serial drama made for Hungarian audiences. It’s been running for 16 seasons, and it’s one of the top-rated shows in Hungary.
Adobe: Why are production workflows so important to you?
Schwellenbach: We work on five shows that run five days a week with almost no breaks. To get all of the shows ready for air, we may produce up to 28 episodes a week. We need a rock-solid workflow to keep up the pace without compromising quality.
We have one big advantage on our side: experience. We’ve learned over the years to take the time to think through our workflows and look for ways to improve them. We take it a step further at UFA SERIAL DRAMA by standardizing about 90% of our workflow across productions. If one team comes up with a new process that helps them work faster and better, we can easily apply their innovations to other teams.
Adobe: How has your software changed over the years?
Schwellenbach: Several years ago, we switched from Avid to Final Cut Pro with the intention of becoming more flexible and speeding up workflows in post production. We worked with the Final Cut Pro workflow for a few years, but we felt that we still needed to move our editing process to the next level. By better integrating editing into the rest of the post-production workflow, we would improve turnaround speed for dailies and increase our overall speed and efficiency.
We recently started looking into Adobe Premiere Pro, and that’s when we realized the advantages that we could achieve using the integration between Adobe creative applications. With Adobe Creative Cloud, our workflow has not only gotten faster, but also tighter. We’re tying everything together into one smooth Adobe framework, which helps us get much more power and flexibility out of our daily workflows.
Adobe: How important is the integration of Adobe tools to your workflows?
Schwellenbach: We had used Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop before, but we had never considered how everything could work together in a bigger way. The integration among Creative Cloud applications not only changes how we work, but it encourages us to think about how all of the steps fit together to create the big picture.
Previously, our post-production artists would use After Effects to composite green screen shots and hand the finished shots over to the editors. The Dynamic Link between After Effects and Premiere Pro simplifies things so much. Even our editors who are not visual effects artists use After Effects to create their own graphics, or use templates we’ve created for graphical inserts, such as cell phone displays. They can then easily bring these effects into their Premiere Pro workflows. Edits and adjustments are practically seamless, as we no longer need to wait to export and import clips. We can be much more flexible while maintaining consistent information on the shots.
We also appreciate how Adobe software invites collaboration. We see lots of great third-party integrations, and with Adobe XMP and panel integration, we can even see ourselves leveraging metadata to develop our own integrations as we need them. The Adobe framework opens up whole new ways for us to speed up and simplify the workflow.
Adobe: What steps did you take to transition to Adobe Premiere Pro?
Schwellenbach: The key to a smooth transition is planning and communication. When you’re changing a key component of your workflow, you have to make sure that you think through everything beforehand. We didn’t want to even start the move until we were sure that our editors would be able to work faster right away. We talked with editors about the changes that they wanted to see and used their input to design the new workflow. Giving them ownership of the transition helped to assure them amidst the changes.
Trainers worked with our editors to help them feel comfortable with the new software and features. The entire transition felt very collaborative with Adobe, with everyone coming together for a common goal. As a result, our transition has been very smooth. Two teams have completely switched over to Premiere Pro with more still in the final training phases. Our editors are very pleased with the ease and functionality of Premiere Pro. Other departments have also successfully made the move to Creative Cloud.
Adobe: Are there any other applications in Creative Cloud that you’re excited about?
Schwellenbach: Adobe Story CC Plus looks very interesting and has definitely caught the eye of our head writer. We’re currently syncing Word documents with our scheduling system, but Story will help us leverage metadata in the scripts so that we can see exactly what we need in post production.
Adobe Prelude CC is another piece that’s bound to be very useful. We’re always talking about logging on set, and Prelude and Live Logger will provide us a way to log information on set and preserve that metadata in Prelude for the post-production process. We’re already using a digital movie slate integrated into an iPad app, so I could see us using Prelude Live Logger right away.
Adobe: What is the future for UFA SERIAL DRAMA?
Schwellenbach: We started using Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, but we’re switching to Creative Cloud for enterprise as our business continues to grow and use of the software expands. We’re also talking to other businesses in the UFA family. We’ve developed powerful workflows for our fast-paced production and along the way we’ve learned a lot about working with Adobe software. We look forward to sharing our knowledge and best practices with other UFA productions.
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|Award-winning host of underwater documentary series tackles the world’s first live-action planetarium film using Creative Cloud|
Cinematographer Jonathan Bird is one of the lucky ones. He’s successfully combined his love for scuba diving and photography into an award-winning career. After more than a decade of delivering underwater photography and video to National Geographic and Discovery Channel, Bird started his own series that combines humor with science in a highly educational, family-friendly format. Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, now airing on PBS, won the CINE Golden Eagle Award, a total of eight New England Emmy Awards, and has been nominated for two National Daytime Emmy Awards. For his next project, Bird is connecting the sea and space with an innovative film made for planetarium theaters.
Adobe: Tell us why you decided to create Jonathan Bird’s Blue World.
Bird: I had been working both as a cinematographer and producer for years, but I still dreamed about working on a show that entertained audiences of all ages without talking down to them or losing the educational slant. No one else was making the show that I wanted to see, so I finally just decided to do it myself! It wasn’t until we got an audience on YouTube that people started paying attention to our show and we made the jump to TV. We just finished the fourth season on PBS.
Bird photographing Lemon sharks in the Bahamas, photo by Mark Tarczynski
Adobe: What are some of the challenges of shooting underwater?
Bird: Even in the clearest water, you need to be very close to the subject to get an image with any kind of contrast or sharpness. We try to shoot everything from less than five feet away with wide angle lenses. When trying to film wildlife, of course, that means that we have to figure out how to get close to our subjects without frightening them away.
Color is also a big issue. Blue light has a short wavelength, which makes it the only color that penetrates water well. The deeper you go, the bluer your image becomes. In shallow water we can use filters and white balance to help bring out the colors, but at greater depths the only way to add color is to use powerful lights to illuminate everything. We can’t just add colors or clarity in post, so we have to use the right camera and techniques to get it right while we’re filming.
Bird filming on the reefs of Bonaire with Atlantis LED video lights
Adobe: What is the production schedule and format of Blue World?
Bird: The show is massively low budget, but we take the time to make it good. It takes about 18 months to shoot a season. Last season we produced 11 half-hour shows. The season before that contained 9 shows. It is a magazine-style program, so it isn’t all one story. We typically put between two and three different stories together, and they can be completely unrelated. This format also makes it easy for us to package content online into webisodes.
Adobe: What can you tell us about your upcoming film project?
Bird: Space School is going to be something completely different: the world’s first live-action planetarium film. Planetariums are traditionally about space, so I proposed a film that takes people into the world where space travel and underwater experiences meet: astronaut training. Astronauts train underwater in the Johnson Space Center Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory to simulate weightless conditions, and later they spend time in Aquarius, an underwater research laboratory in the Keys, to get used to living and working in cramped, isolated conditions.
NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston where Bird shot for the first time with his new Gates Z100 housing equipped with a Fathom SWP44C wide angle lens and Ikelite Vega video lights
Adobe: What opportunities do planetariums represent for filmmakers?
Bird: When most people think about planetariums, they tend to think about a Zeiss machine that just shines bright lights to represent the stars. But planetariums have moved way beyond that. They have banks of computers calculating huge data sets of imagery that can fly you around the solar system. With their full, domed screens, planetarium theaters offer a completely immersive environment that will work incredibly well with the underwater footage.
Astronauts Thomas Pesquet (ESA) and Mark Vande Hei (NASA) setting up a drill designed to take core samples on an asteroid
Adobe: Why didn’t you just create a film for the IMAX DOME theaters?
Bird: There are 500 planetariums across the United States, compared with only about 40 IMAX DOME theaters. Almost nobody is making content for IMAX DOME theaters anymore because it is too expensive to make a 70mm IMAX film for only 40 screens, and it takes too long to make your money back. So IMAX has gone completely to flat-screen style 3D projections, which are absolutely amazing in their own right.
The reason why there aren’t more live-action films for planetariums is simply because they’re incredibly advanced. The planetarium market is all about realism, with content shot at 60 fps, which is unconventional for traditional movies. The displays are also extremely high resolution at 4,000 pixels square. You’d need an 8K resolution camera to perfectly fill the screen—and no commercial manufacturer makes 8K cameras! That’s why most of the films shown on planetariums so far have involved CG animation.
Filming NASA's NEEMO 18 mission at Aquarius Reef Base in Key Largo, Florida on the RED Dragon 6K
Adobe: How did you approach making Space School given these requirements?
Bird: When we started, RED had just come out with its 6K DRAGON camera, so we could come close to true planetarium resolution. Once we had the camera, though, we had another problem: we needed a system that could handle editing our footage. At 6K resolution and 60 fps, we were looking at an extraordinary amount of data—about 8 GB per minute—in RAW format. We did a lot of research into the subject, and we finally figured out that the only setup around that could handle the load was Adobe Premiere Pro CC running on the fastest HP Z Workstation available.
Adobe: What is special about Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Bird: Adobe Premiere Pro CC has the best playback engine of any non-linear editor on the market, even for video that is notoriously difficult to play back in real time. Premiere Pro doesn’t care where video comes from; it just plays it, no transcoding required. Being able to cut out the transcoding process is a huge time saver. And Adobe makes the transition from Final Cut Pro so easy (for those of us that have been using FCP for years). I was up editing on Premiere Pro in a couple of hours.
Bird editing underwater footage on his HP Z workstation using Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Adobe: How was the switch from a Mac to a PC?
Bird: I’ve always loved working with Macs. But when we decided to move away from Final Cut Pro, we realized that we didn’t have to stick with Macs anymore. We decided to switch to the fastest computer we could find, which turned out to be the HP Z Workstation. We did a rendering test to compare the speeds, and an Adobe After Effects project that took 12 hours to render on the Mac took two hours on the HP system.
There are probably lots of people in the same boat as me—people who want the power of a PC but are uncomfortable with Windows. Creative Cloud is great because the software is exactly the same across platforms. I can even move files between the Mac and Windows environments without any problems. I also like how all of the software we use, like Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Encore, and After Effects, share similar interfaces and operations. It makes it easy to pick up new software.
Adobe: What’s next for you?
Bird: We started shooting with NASA in May and we’ll be delivering it to theaters in January. We’re also continuing with Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, and our YouTube audience continues to grow. We recently launched Shark Academy on YouTube, which features two to three minute shark videos that kids really like. Another focus for us is to put out highlights from some of our videos that are more shareable. Overall, we want to continue telling great stories for audiences of all ages.
Read more about Jonathan and his work here
|Video production company wins clients with outstanding time-lapse photography and videos developed using Adobe Creative Cloud|
Over the course of 12 years, Drew Geraci’s has gone from being a photographer’s mate on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to a sought-after time-lapse photographer and videographer. After leaving the U.S. Navy, Geraci worked as a multimedia producer for the Washington Times before his amazing time-lapse photography was discovered by Academy Award nominated director David Fincher. A year later, Geraci’s work was being featured in the opening sequence of the award-winning Netflix series House of Cards, which led to jobs from big name clients including PBS, Corona, ESPN, and the National Football League. Along with fellow Navy alumnus Arthur Breese, Geraci founded District 7 Media, a fast-growing video production company that specializes in time-lapse photography.
Adobe: How did you get started as a photographer and videographer?
Geraci: I really fell in love with photography during high school. After I graduated, I figured I could go straight to college or join the military. I joined the U.S. Navy as a photographer’s mate, and it was the best choice I could have made. I spent nearly five years on an aircraft carrier before attending Syracuse University for broadcast journalism.
I finished out my enlistment producing and disseminating video for the military—first from a little island in the Indian Ocean, and then from Defense Media Activity in Washington, D.C. My time in the Navy really helped me grow as a storyteller. I started out as a photographer, but I learned to work with video, audio, and motion graphics—whatever I needed to tell my story.
Adobe: What did you do after you left the Navy?
Geraci: After I left the military, I stayed in D.C. to work for the Washington Times, where I was able to tell stories that I wanted to tell, the way I wanted to tell them with different types of media. During that time, I never stopped working on my own projects. One particular video was an experiment I shot around D.C. that combined time-lapse photography with high-dynamic-range imagery. I threw the video up on Vimeo and it got more than 50,000 hits, so I was pretty happy.
Adobe: What led you to pursue time-lapse work full time?
Geraci: A few months after I posted the video, I got a call from Netflix. The next thing I knew, I was having lunch with David Fincher at Union Station. He told me that he was working on a new project and he wanted me to do some time-lapse photography of the “dark and gritty” side of D.C. He didn’t tell me anything about the show but of course I said yes—it’s David Fincher!
I hired an assistant and for the next eight months we went out shooting time-lapse content and then handed it off to a production house. I found out three months later that the footage was being used for the opening sequence of House of Cards.
Adobe: How did House of Cards change things?
Geraci: Everything exploded. Suddenly I was getting calls from all over: Corona, Coach, PBS’s Frontline, Discovery Channel, and even the NFL. I started my own company, District 7 Media, and we’re growing every day. We still specialize in time-lapse photography, but we do full video production as well. It’s amazing how much things have changed, and it all started from one little video.
That’s the power of social media, really. It’s so important for artists to get their work out there. It doesn’t matter if a million people are watching or just a few hundred. All that matters is that the one right person sees it.
Adobe: What is the process for your time-lapse photography?
Geraci: Depending on the scope, we may shoot up to 4,000 images per day for a project. The first step is color and exposure correction in Lightroom. The ability to save and apply the same settings to all the images using Lightroom is a lifesaver. It really helps us streamline processes while ensuring consistent metadata, exposure, and color temperature for the final video.
We export all the frames into After Effects, which is where we composite all the images and adjust the speed and movement to get the final take. Sometimes, we use Dynamic Link with Premiere Pro to create proxies and streamline the editing process even further. The integration between apps within Creative Cloud is really key for us, since it allows us to switch between programs without losing quality and work much more efficiently.
Adobe: Have you always worked with Adobe products?
Geraci: I started out with Adobe Photoshop back in high school. During my time in the Navy, I became familiar with all of the other Adobe creative software as well. Adobe Creative Suite really blew me away. Animation always sounded so difficult, but After Effects made it seem so easy. Premiere Pro also ignited my passion for video. Manipulating clips on the timeline is incredibly simple, but the features are much more versatile and robust compared to other software that I’ve worked with.
At District 7 Media, we mainly use Lightroom and After Effects for our time-lapse photography, but we also work with Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, SpeedGrade, and Bridge. The ability to easily migrate data between systems through Adobe Creative Cloud makes sharing files and collaborating on projects a snap. With Creative Cloud the software is more integrated than ever, so we can get the most out of the functionality.
Adobe: What are some of the other projects you’ve worked on with District 7 Media?
Geraci: We did an amazing project with Corona called Luna Corona, which just won a Golden Lion at the 2014 Cannes Lions. Corona set up a billboard in Manhattan, and if you got the perfect angle, the moon dipped into the bottle like a wedge of lime. We had to work with mathematicians and astronomers to get it the angles just right. That project involved the time-lapse photography plus documentation, which Corona used as an advertisement. Another company bid for the job, but since we’re able to operate so efficiently, we were able to produce a higher quality project for less.
We’re also very involved with the NFL. We produce the time-lapse content for the Super Bowl XLVII and Super Bowl XLVIII videos. The Super Bowl in New Orleans was particularly memorable. The video combined time-lapse and high-speed photography to really tell the story of the city and get the audience pumped for the upcoming game.
Adobe: Did your experiences in the military shape your creative experiences?
Geraci: One of the great things you learn in the military is leadership—how to take control of new situations. Not only did it really prepare me to set up my own business, but it helped me learn how to express myself and give my stories clear direction.
Adobe: Where do you see your business going in the future?
Geraci: We’ve started expanding into stock footage. We’ll be producing and providing incredibly unique content that people won’t be able to find at any other agency, including time-lapse and high-speed photography. We’re also looking to get more into feature film and documentary storytelling. Time-lapse may be our specialty, but we’re all excited to keep growing and opening ourselves to new challenges.
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|Airline’s in-house video team uses Adobe Creative Cloud to tell stories that engage and inspire crewmembers and customers|
JetBlue Airways began flying in 2000 with a promise “to bring humanity back to air travel.” That commitment is the backbone of the airline’s external brand, as well as its internal culture; JetBlue’s workers are “crewmembers,” whether they’re based on the ground, in the sky, or at the offices.
In 2014, for the tenth consecutive year, JetBlue received the highest honors in airline customer satisfaction among low-cost carriers in the J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction Study. A technological innovator from inception, JetBlue maintains and builds on its rapport with customers and crewmembers through a steady stream of story-driven videos. Jonathan Weitz is the manager of digital and online communications for JetBlue Airways, and he approaches his work with enthusiasm.
Adobe: Tell us about your background.
Weitz: I started my career in broadcast journalism, working as a camera operator and video editor in local affiliate television. After seven years, I wanted to move into a reporter/producer role. Unfortunately, I looked too young for broadcast television. I went into radio, working my way up from weekend host to morning show co-host and executive producer. But my heart was in visual media, so I went back to school to get my master’s degree.
Graduate school led to my current career in digital and online strategy. I orchestrated the digital strategy at Pratt Institute, an art and design school. As a freelancer, I worked on video projects for commercial companies and for nonprofits like the Coalition for the Homeless, United Nations Foundation, and the 92nd Street Y.
Adobe: What led to your position at JetBlue?
Weitz: I’m a huge aviation geek; I even got my pilot’s license. When I heard that JetBlue was looking for a person to lead video projects, I jumped at the opportunity.
I’ve been here since July 2013. There are three of us on the video team and we produce approximately eight videos a month. It’s about 50/50 internal and external content. When I first started, entire projects were hired out, often at great expense. Now we do the majority of the work in-house but we also rely on a trusted list of New York-based freelancers to edit or shoot a project.
Adobe: Is there an overarching approach to content?
Weitz: JetBlue has a very strong external brand because of our culture, our crewmembers, and our values. We look at storytelling through lens of our crewmembers. What stories can we tell to engage, activate, and inspire them? For example, we recently produced a video tied to our new service to Detroit. Whenever we add a destination, we do something special to give back to that community.
In Detroit, we partnered with First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books to children in need. On our first day, JetBlue executives and crewmembers went to a grade school that had the poorest performance record in the state of Michigan for 2012/2013; its library was virtually empty. We donated brand new books and laptops, and students got their own books to take home.
We made that video for our crewmembers. A video like that makes people within JetBlue feel good about where they work, and encourages them to find their own ways to give back. JetBlue is in 87 different cities; showcasing these stories strengthen internal culture. That’s why JetBlue is the company it is.
Adobe: Is there crossover between internal and external videos?
Weitz: We consider repurposing potential with every video request. A lot of internal videos go external, including the Detroit video. We may edit an internal video to better address an external audience but the more longevity a video has, the better the return for us. All external, customer-facing videos go on YouTube and Vimeo, and are posted separately on our Facebook page. We use Vimeo for internal JetBlue videos, privacy-restricted to our Intranet site.
In June 2014 JetBlue introduced Mint, its refreshing new take on a premium coast-to-coast experience. We wanted a way to get crewmembers excited about Mint’s fully-flat seats, fresh dining options, and revitalizing amenities. We created a video series titled (Mint)roducing to highlight our partners and provide a bit of personal insight into the founders and vision behind each company.
To date, we’ve created a video for
, Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, Flying Food Group, and Saxon + Parole, with more to come. This is an ongoing series that will continuously live on and grow as we grow. The series certainly has crossover. It gives insight to our customers on what to expect onboard. It also gives crewmembers knowledge on the products and little gems of information that they can use when interacting with each other and our customers.
Adobe: Have you always worked with Adobe Premiere Pro?
Weitz: Earlier in my career I used Final Cut Pro a lot. After graduate school, I worked on a freelance project for Dell. The footage had been shot on RED, and I knew transcoding would take forever. That’s when I tried Premiere Pro for the first time. I’ve never looked back.
Filming Dell project
We use Premiere Pro for all video editing and Adobe proficiency is part of every discussion I have with freelancers. In fact, we have a template project folder setup—with an organized folder structure, project files, fonts, and style guides— so that our freelancers can spend less time on mechanics and more time on creativity all while keeping our videos consistent.
Template folder structure - open
Adobe: Are you using other applications in Creative Cloud?
Weitz: Creative Cloud is great because it covers the entire spectrum of our creative departments. We use After Effects for all lower thirds, title cards, and graphics. We can create project files in After Effects and easily transfer them into Premiere Pro; there’s no need to import or export anything.
Adobe After Effects template - lower third
Creative Cloud is also a boon to our work with JetBlue’s design and brand team that creates the visual brand of JetBlue, everything from signage and seatback cards to the paint scheme of the airplanes. We’ll send the designers footage when we’re working on a video; they’ll, create an asset in Photoshop, send us the file, and everything is updated automatically. We finish projects very quickly and we all work well together because everyone is one the same platform.
Adobe: Are there particular features or individual products in Creative Cloud that you like, or that help with deadlines?
Weitz: It used to be that you installed software from CDs and DVDs, and you had to wait for the next version to fix any bugs. With Creative Cloud we’re always working with the latest versions of a product. We have immediate access to anything that’s new, be it a feature or a fix, which is critical.
We spend a lot of time in Premiere Pro and the layout and user interface are elegant and easy to use. Adobe really understands what filmmakers and storytellers need to best do their jobs. The integration among app in Creative Cloud is terrific. We can be working in Premiere Pro and easily open an audio track or music track in Adobe Audition to clean up the sound, or jump to After Effects to add graphics.
Adobe: How did you create the “Thank you” video?
Weitz: We were ecstatic when we learned the results of the J.D. Power survey. We’re nothing without our customers and crewmembers, and we wanted to make a video to recognize the people who made this honor possible.
Whenever I visit a historic building, I think about what it must have been like at its peak. I began picturing an airport terminal that was deserted, but had clearly once been alive and thriving. “Thank you” juxtaposes empty spaces in a terminal against the audio hustle and bustle of a busy airport. When we scouted the airport to figure out our shots we also recorded the sounds that help tell the story: a baggage carousel turning; people talking; a gate announcement; the boarding call; the inflight crew welcoming people. The video came out exactly as we wanted: a heartfelt thank you to customers and crewmembers who bring this airline to life.
See more JetBlue videos on YouTube
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @weitzjonathan
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|As a senior engineering manager at Adobe, I’ve been very lucky to visit broadcasters, post houses, and other customers all around the world. I really appreciate learning about how customers use our products and what types of content they produce. Getting to know the people and the cultures during these trips is always my favorite part. |
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil for that big international soccer (of course I mean football) event that just concluded. Adobe Premiere Pro CC was selected as the editing platform for the event, so we put together a team to go on site at the IBC (International Broadcast Centre) to learn from the workflow and the editors. Learning about how they build the production and how the people setup for such a huge event was very interesting.
I could tell from the moment I landed that the people in Brazil were excited about the event, everyone was obviously soccer crazed! The IBC was like nothing I have ever seen. I have been to broadcast networks around the world but this was very different. It was a huge presence that took over an entire convention center with three halls filled with broadcast networks and equipment.
It was all setup just for the event and everyone was working together to make it a success. Many people moved to Brazil for months at a time to bring the event to life, which was something I hadn’t realized. I enjoyed talking with the editors about other worldwide sporting events they’ve been involved with in similar ways.
To support all of the people working there, the IBC had restaurants, laundry services, drug stores, and even an ice cream shop. There were buses all organized to take you from the IBC to wherever you wanted to go. It was definitely an amazing logistical effort. Of course there were TV screens all over the IBC showing every game that was on, including an 8K TV from NHK Japan.
From a broadcast perspective, it was impressive to see how many games and how many feeds per game were being captured. There was so much video available on a daily basis. The production team not only covered all of the games but also produced player profiles, supplemental content from around Brazil, as well as a range of graphics. The amount of content was enormous. And then they turned around the spots in mere hours with all that content and it looked amazing. All of the people working on the project were so talented and productive.
Of course, it was also great to see the editors working with Adobe Creative Cloud applications, from Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC to Audition CC and even SpeedGrade CC to get the creative looks they wanted. It was essential that we supported growing files, especially AVCi100. This was the quality they wanted and it is a very demanding format. Over the past year, we worked very hard to optimize AVCi100 so it would be a fluid editing experience for the project and it was great to see our hard work pay off.
Many of the editors work with Avid and Final Cut Pro, and they really appreciated the high performance and stability that Premiere Pro offered. They loved learning about the keyboard shortcuts and streamlined editing tools, and commented on how easy it was to focus on being creative without the software getting in the way.
The editors also seemed to really appreciate the native workflows supported through Premiere Pro CC. No matter what the producer or other content providers gave them, they were able to drop it on the timeline and start working. This was different than past years when they first needed to ingest that media and wait. Integration among the applications was also something they really loved. After Effects was heavily used and the ability to start in Premiere Pro and Dynamic Link to After Effects saved them a lot of time.
Members of the Premiere Pro team were in Brazil to make sure the use of Premiere Pro CC was successful and that we secured valuable feedback that we can use to make the product better. But it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the event. I lived in Germany for about six years so I learned to enjoy watching football and the fans during the 2002 games. In Brazil, we watched almost every game at the IBC, as they were on every screen, but it didn’t compare to when I got the opportunity to attend the Chile vs. Spain game.
The stadium was amazing and the organization of the whole event was perfect. The fans were all very happy and cheered for the entire 90 minute game. They were overwhelmingly rooting for Chile, which worked out as they won. It was my first time going to a live game and the energy at the football stadium is not comparable. It was much more emotional and louder than I expected after only going to U.S. sporting events. The game was great and really topped off the Rio experience. It made me appreciate why people around the world love the sport.
The overall feeling in Brazil was great and the people were very friendly. Everywhere you went you could feel football was in the air. Going to the beach in Copacabana, which I didn’t have much time for, was quite an experience. There were so many people from all around the world. The whole beach was set up to celebrate with large screens everywhere. I even had a few caipirinhas at the beach until sunrise with some of the team, which was lots of fun.
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David McGavran is the Senior Engineering Manager for Adobe Premiere Pro. He has been at Adobe longer than he can remember. Dave has worked on many of the video apps at Adobe and is known for his work on Dynamic Link.Unfortunately, as an engineer, Dave isn't clever enough to write a funny bio so this will have to do.
|Filmmaker embarks on journey documenting creativity around the world|
When we last spoke with Graham Elliott he was just starting work on his next film, World In Motion, which he describes as, “a documentary film series that explores the dynamic connection between location and expression.” Since that time, Elliott has taken two trips to Brazil, the first stop on his global journey. In addition to interviewing creative professionals, he spent a significant amount of time capturing b-roll that will add texture and reference to the film. Now, he’s back in the United States and will spend the next few months working in Adobe Premiere Pro CC editing his content before his next trip to Japan in November.
Adobe: Tell us about your time in Brazil.
Elliott: I first went to Brazil in October for three weeks, then went back again this past January. With preparations going on for the World Cup and then the Olympics, there was an incredible buzz of activity. Brazil is all about rhythm and color. It takes a lot of influences from Africa, Europe and North America and makes them its own.
Adobe: How is this project different than your last film, New York in Motion?
Elliott: When we made New York in Motion we had three months to shoot, student help, multiple cameras, and the luxury of an open timetable. With World In Motion we needed to do a lot more advance planning. I traveled to Brazil four or five days before my partner, Roswitha Rodrigues, came to conduct the interviews. I spent time shooting b-roll to give the interviews context. Because of security concerns in Brazil, I had to rethink my camera package to be more mobile and inconspicuous. I did most of my shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II and GoPros.
Adobe: What type of footage did you capture?
Elliott: Before I set out to shoot, I worked out a way of organizing the shots I wanted to capture. There is so much you can do and see and when you are on location it can be a little overwhelming. So, I created an index card system with a storyboard of the shot I wanted and all of the necessary logistics: time of day, equipment, security, etc. One example of content I captured was the view from the cable cars that go over the favelas. Shooting from this perspective let us show the expanse of humanity in these poorer areas.
Adobe: How much time did you spend interviewing?
Elliott: When Rosie came in we did seven days of interviews in Sao Paulo and seven days in Rio. We wanted to go in without any scripted questions so we could have more of a conversation. We asked interviewees to describe their work, and from there each person took a different path. We didn’t want to go in with a preconceived notion of the creative essence of Brazil.
We started with Lobo, a company that has been a major inspiration, working with American and European clients, doing incredible motion graphics. The team there is incredible, and the founder, Mateus de Paula Santos, recommended other people for us to interview. We also connected with Super Uber, the company that recently did a huge texture-mapping project at the assembly hall in the United Nations building, projecting visuals onto the different surfaces. The team there gave us more recommendations of who we should see in Rio.
Adobe: What is different about the way work is created in Brazil?
Elliott: The school system in Brazil lacks proper funding and doesn’t have rooms full of computers, so students do a lot of tactile work. They have to make do with less, but that makes them push the boundaries of creativity in different ways. We saw a lot of handmade art that was then scanned into computers, giving the end creations a more tactile feel.
The work that artists create is also different depending on the city. Both Rio and Sao Paulo are interesting hubs of creativity. Rio is very green, has beautiful beaches, people are outgoing, and the artwork seems to reflect that with a lot of natural, organic elements. Conversely, Sao Paulo is a concrete jungle and people seem more introverted, which ultimately affects the way designers work and what they create. It will be interesting to look back after we’ve visited different locations and compare the references – how people create, what tools they use, where they start, and how much is influenced by culture, religion, tradition, and history.
Adobe: What type of tools are creative companies you interviewed using?
Elliott: Many of the established motion graphics agencies are using Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Rather than starting everything on the computer they do a lot of organic work, including models, paintings, and collages. After Effects is very popular for working with content after it is captured; it is the quintessential motion graphics tool. Designers we interviewed in Brazil are excited about Adobe Creative Cloud and keeping everything within the same workflow.
Adobe: What do you like about working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Elliott: I really like the workflow in Premiere Pro. I shot a lot of timelapse content with the 5D Mark II, and it is so easy to bring the stills into After Effects, apply some moves, and then open them in Premiere Pro. Rendering is so much easier in Premiere Pro than it was in Final Cut Pro and there is also a lot more flexibility with color correction.
Adobe: Where else do you want to go on your World In Motion journey?
Elliott: In November I’ll be traveling to Japan and we also hope to go to South Africa, India and Europe, especially London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Vienna. The film is about creativity and the field of motion graphics serves as the backbone. But we’re not just interviewing motion graphics artists, we’re also interviewing people in other art fields. Motion graphics is so much about rhythm, music, dance, photography, and design so we’re going out and talking to dancers, designers and musicians, which is really invigorating. It will be a long journey but I’m already excited about the story we’re going to be able to tell.
View some of Graham Elliott’s World in Motion footage from Brazil
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|EMMY-winning U.S. Army videographer uses Adobe Creative Cloud to create powerful portraits of soldiers’ lives|
Robert Ham is passionate about filmmaking; he takes a video camera and tripod whenever he travels and capturing people’s stories. From 2007 to 2013, he served as an Army Combat Correspondent stationed in Afghanistan and the Pacific, where he focused on interviewing soldiers and documenting subjects ranging from close combat to the trials of PTSD.
As a soldier and filmmaker, Ham is part of a cohort that dates back to the early days of Hollywood and includes such greats as William Wellman, a World War I fighter pilot who directed the 1927 Oscar winner Wings; John Ford, John Huston, William Wyler, and George Stevens, who were embedded with U.S. forces and documented the fighting of World War II; and Oliver Stone, a Vietnam combat veteran who studied film under the GI Bill.
Filming in more than 40 countries, Ham used Adobe software to document soldiers’ lives with honesty and artistry. He received four regional EMMY nominations for his work, two of which won awards in their categories. He also won the Department of Defense’s Military Videographer of the Year award in 2009, 2012, and 2013. Ham rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and completed six years of service in December 2013. He is now a graduate student in the prestigious Master’s Degree program at USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Robert Ham at the White House National Press Photographers Dinner receiving the 2013 Military Videographer of the Year Award
Adobe: Where does your love of filmmaking come from?
Ham: I grew up just outside of Los Angeles, so film was never far away. I started shooting my own videos when I was a teenager and convinced my parents to let me take some local filmmaking classes. Once I started working with Premiere Pro and After Effects, I fell in love with storytelling and filmmaking. Throughout high school, I shot videos and edited them at home using Adobe software, just for fun.
I got my bachelor’s degree in film production, but one of the biggest lessons came when I did a semester abroad in Israel. I got my first taste of backpack journalism—just me and my camera, talking to people from all walks of life. It opened up a whole new world for me and helped me discover my passion as a storyteller—listening to peoples’ stories and finding a way to share them with others.
Robert Ham with his pocket dolly and camera on the top of a mountain in Sri Lanka.
Adobe: Why would a filmmaker join the armed forces?
Ham: I worked as a freelance editor and production assistant in Los Angeles, trying everything I could to break into film. After I got married, I wanted more consistent work. A member of my family was in the Army, so I decided to try something completely different. I discovered that the Army had positions for dedicated videographers. In addition to a steady paycheck, I’d get to do what I wanted to do. It was like a dream come true!
After basic training, I went to the Defense Information School (DINFOS) to study visual communications. At DINFOS, they had just standardized on Adobe Premiere Pro, so I got very familiar with it as an efficient and easy-to-use tool. I ended up in the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division and deployed with them to Afghanistan, filming several documentaries there. After that, I toured around Asia and the Pacific doing stories about military exercises or documenting our military humanitarian efforts, such as working to protect women and children, aid displaced people, or assist people after weather-related disasters.
Robert Ham posing with Malaysian Soldiers after the culmination of exercise in Malaysia.
Adobe: Were you using Adobe solutions throughout your time in the Army?
Ham: I have experience on all the platforms—Premiere Pro, Avid, and Final Cut—but it was great for me that DINFOS was teaching Premiere Pro, because that was my preference. Adobe Premiere Pro just lets me do so much more with so much less effort. I love playing with the Lumetri Looks to bring my footage to light in different ways.
Adobe: What are some of most important Adobe features for you?
Ham: I’m not really a technical guy; I prefer to focus on my story and tell it in the way that it deserves to be told. I’m always looking for ways to do things more efficiently. I love how the Adobe tools talk to each other, so if I make changes to assets in Photoshop or After Effects the changes are automatically applied to the Premiere Pro timeline. It really saves me a lot of time because I’m not constantly exporting elements.
The native video editing in Premiere Pro is even better. When I was in Afghanistan, I would work with all sorts of video, from raw RED footage to video from a soldier’s helmet camera. At that time, I had to take the time to transcode all of the footage, but now I can just place all of the footage on the same Premiere Pro timeline and start editing right away. It might not sound like a huge deal for some people, but when you’re trying to work with a wide range of footage, cutting down on render times is a huge benefit.
Robert Ham with his jib and camera in the bush of Australia during an exercise in 2013.
Adobe: How are you using After Effects CC?
Ham: I create a variety of 2D graphics in After Effects. Whenever I don’t think I can do something, I watch a tutorial and realize I can do it—and do it easier than on another platform. One of the last films I did in the Army was De-Mining in Sri Lanka; the first minute is a history of the Sri Lankan Civil War, created with After Effects.
Adobe: Where do you find the inspirations for your stories?
Ham: There are so many interesting people in the Army, who have done remarkable things. Most of them are just regular people, but they’ve been thrust into environments and situations that have made them extraordinary. That’s not how they see themselves, though; they see themselves as average people who go and do their job. We live in an age of social media and self-promotion, and these guys don’t do that. In fact, they don’t like to talk about what they do. I was in a somewhat unique situation, because I was one of them; I wore a uniform and deployed with them. So I was able to get them to open up on camera.
Adobe: Tell us about your regional EMMY Award nominations.
Ham: My first EMMY nomination was in 2009 for a documentary I did in Afghanistan, which was followed by a second nomination in 2010. My third and fourth nominations came this year and recently won in their categories. One was a film that I’m really proud of: Level Black: PTSD and the War at Home. I followed a soldier, Staff Sergeant Billy Caviness, who was severely wounded when he was hit by a mortar in Afghanistan. After the attack, he struggled with severe PTSD on top of his physical wounds. Level Black chronicled his recovery for a year. I loved telling that story, because it’s one that not many people would have heard otherwise.
Robert Ham and Billy Caviness holding up the Hawaii Star Advertiser featuring Level Black on the front page.
The other win was for Missing in Action: The LTC Faith Story, which is a film about the journey to find and identify the remains of a hero from the Korean War. That was an interesting project technically, because I mixed in archival footage to create a sense of history and explain the story better. I used After Effects to create a visual timeline with the archive footage, which gives viewers a clearer picture of the order of events and the passage of time.
Adobe: What are your plans now that you’re a civilian again?
Ham: I just started on my master’s degree at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. I’ll always love documentaries and backpack journalism, but I’m starting to work on more narrative films and I’ve even worked on a few comedies. My experiences in the military introduced me to so many people and I want to keep telling their stories in a more mainstream environment. I’m hoping that working with different approaches can help me reach more people.
Adobe: What do you like most about Adobe Creative Cloud?
Ham: I’ve always loved the integration between the Adobe tools, so the idea that integration has gotten deeper and simpler in Creative Cloud is incredible news. I’m really excited about the idea of getting to experiment with all sorts of Adobe apps without needing to buy each one separately. I’ve worked with Photoshop, but I’d love to try out Illustrator as well. I also plan to get a lot of use out of SpeedGrade. And since I’m getting into narrative storytelling, I can’t wait to dive into Story CC Plus. It should make it a lot easier to collaborate with writers and organize productions.
See more of Robert Ham’s work on YouTube
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|Post-production studio stays nimble with Adobe Creative Cloud|
Located in the historic Silver Lake neighborhood in Los Angeles, Coyote Post offers clients a range of post-production services, from editorial through to final color. Only a couple of years young, the studio has assembled a talented team of video editors, visual effects artists, graphic designers, and expert colorists. Top-notch editing suites are equipped with the most current tools, including Adobe Creative Cloud. Creative Director Martin Desmond Roe and Executive Producer Rik Michul are two of the creative minds that help deliver stunning film, commercial, and music video projects for clients.
Adobe: How did each of you become part of the team at Coyote Post?
Roe: As an undergraduate I studied Latin and Ancient Greek. Through the process of putting on plays I became fascinated with storytelling and acting. That led me to the University of Southern California where I decided to focus on film editing. After a stint in London directing music videos I came back to the United States and started Coyote Post. We’re a team of talented freelancers and we work closely with other companies like Flawless FX and Dirty Robber. It’s really a team comprising the best of the best.
Michul: I went to the University of Kentucky and studied finance, thinking it was a practical career choice. But then I realized that I needed to be in a more creative environment. I landed my first production job with Earthquake Productions where I soon met Director Philip G. Atwell of Geronimo Film Productions and worked with Philip and music producer Dr. Dre at Geronimo for eight years producing music videos, commercials and other content. After that, I helped start up a post house called bonch and then moved on to work on the 3D animation film Free Birds. After that, I just started looking around. I met the Coyote Post guys, we clicked, and here we are.
Adobe: What kind of work does Coyote Post do?
Roe: We started off just doing color correction, but now we do everything: editorial, VFX, color and online. We’ve been involved in several high-profile projects including feature films for LionsGate and MTV, music videos for labels like Universal, Warner Bros and Sony, and commercials for agencies including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
Most recently, we worked with production house Dirty Robber on a fun spot for the "Wake Up & Smell the Bacon" campaign for Oscar Meyer. The campaign even includes a device that can be plugged into an iPhone that sprays the smell of bacon frying and makes a sizzling sound when your alarm goes off. The video has gotten upwards of four million hits.
Final comp for Bacon Rain for the Oscar Mayer spot combining 422 footage, animation codecs of stock footage, image sequences of 3D hero bacon, as well as particular driving lesser bacon sprites.
We also did a spot for Comcast XFINITY promoting its on-demand programming. We were up against some big established post houses with more traditional technical pipelines for that business, so it was one we were proud to land.
Composition for end shot of Comcast spot. Shot began with a Cinema 4D project integrated into Adobe After Effects. The final version plates for 3D were rendered from Cinema 4D and brought back into the timeline as multipass image sequences.
Adobe: Do you have employees or do you primarily work with freelancers?
Michul: We have two main VFX leads that are the lifeblood of that department along with an inner circle of freelance artists who we work with or try to hire on every job. We continually try and build our freelance rosters so we can expand and contract our VFX crew to stay flexible and efficient for our ever changing workflow. Some of those freelance jobs can carry on for weeks or months at a time depending on the workflow and overlap of projects.
Adobe: How do you keep all of your freelancers on the same page during a project?
Michul: We have great production supervision and management from our staff. Our VFX leads are excellent leaders when it comes to managing the workflow, putting the right artist on the right task, and having the entire team working in unison to a high standard to achieve the common goals of the final product.
Adobe: Can you tell us about the tools you use in your workflow?
Michul: We are heavily into Creative Cloud. All of our editors have switched to Premiere Pro and After Effects is a mainstay, as is Photoshop. We love Creative Cloud because it is seamless going from platform to platform, and everything in Premiere Pro gets updated in After Effects and vice versa, so our process is very streamlined.
Final comp of Wasteland for the Oscar Mayer spot.
Adobe: What does the Adobe pipeline mean to you from a business standpoint?
Roe: With Creative Cloud, everything is well integrated, and that equates to efficiency. As a young, hungry company, we need to prove ourselves in a competitive market. We can be highly adaptive and go back and forth between editorial and effects. The important thing is to remain nimble and fast, and to be able to multi-task. One day we are primarily an effects house, the next an editorial house. Creative Cloud lets us handle a range of post-production demands and more easily meet client deadlines and budgets.
Adobe: What are your editors saying about Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Roe: I think one of the most common things I hear from our editors is that Premiere Pro is intuitive, elegant, and easy on the eyes, yet it has the high-end professional features we need. Its competitors may have much of the same functionality, but the applications look boring and complicated—so they are not enjoyable to work with day in and day out.
Our editors are constantly at work on productions involving all types of formats. More often than not, the client needs a lightning-quick turnaround. Getting media into After Effects from Premiere Pro is a matter of copying and pasting clips; there’s no painful and time-consuming rendering, exporting, and importing of media in order to go back and forth.
The ability to open all different types of media in Premiere Pro is also extremely handy, especially because Coyote Post typically receives raw format files from many different camera types for the same project. We can edit any format natively, saving countless hours of transcoding, re-linking, and creating onlines.
Adobe: Which features stand out in Adobe After Effects CC for your VFX teams?
Michul: Our teams rave about the integration between After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop because they can move back and forth between editorial timelines and graphics comps effortlessly. Our VFX artists like the new features complementary to the Roto Brush tool in After Effects. The New Keyer effects help us to clean keys and the Refine Edge tool helps us fine-tune edges when isolating objects—a process that would normally be massively time consuming.
The new camera tracker combined with CINEMA 4D integration in After Effects has improved the workflow for match-moving cameras among programs. Also, because we’re a collective of smart, independent freelancers, the ability to keep work organized in folders in After Effects is crucial for hand-offs to artists further down the pipeline. Finally, everyone can bring in multiple different formats and use them all in a single workspace, whether we’re working with high-scale budgets, small budgets, motion control rigs, green screens—whatever variables are involved.
Using the camera tracker to track a plate for Comcast spot that will integrate a 3D rendered flat screen. Keylight being used to key the chroma green background that will also lead way to a 3D set extension.
Adobe: What’s your reaction to Adobe Creative Cloud overall?
Roe: We love having access to all the applications and updates at any time and installing just what we need. We can expand our creative toolkit if we want to include tools such as Bridge, Media Encoder, or Encore. Creative Cloud takes the headache out of customizing every workstation for individual preferences and needs.
The bottom line is that Creative Cloud makes us more adaptive as a small post house. We have our fingers in commercials, music videos, features, and TV. Because we are nimble and creative, we get interesting work that keeps our talented artists engaged and wanting to excel. One of our driving forces is to do good work, and Creative Cloud makes that far easier because we spend less time on technicalities and more time on creativity.
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|Talented Swedish director edits first feature film using Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Premiere Pro CC|
Pablo Fernandez began his career at 15, working as a full-time graphic designer. His father owned a successful Swedish advertising agency and growing up surrounded by creativity greatly influenced his style and passion for design. By the age of 18 he owned his own production company and was experimenting with Motion Graphics and 3D. After a brief time in South America and Spain working in 3D Engineering, he returned to Sweden and turned his attention to film, commercial, and online 3D post-production work. Eventually, he started directing and is now achieving his goal of working on his first full-length feature film, edited using an Adobe Creative Cloud workflow.
Adobe: What is your background and how did you get started in film?
Fernandez: I’m a Sweden-based director with roots in Uruguay. I worked as a visual effects supervisor for a while but realized that directing was my passion so I’ve been directing small projects for many years now, including music videos, TV commercials, and ads for the web. During this time, I've also been writing scripts for shorts and features.
Three years ago I decided to take the big leap and focus on what I really wanted to do—write and direct—so I sold my company and shot a couple of short films. Last summer I couldn’t wait anymore so I invested all the money I had saved and decided to shoot my first feature, We Will Part.
Adobe: What is the film about?
Fernandez: We Will Part is a story of two people, Zoe and Taylor, who find themselves forced to be together in a little cabin in the countryside in Sweden. She is from the big city and he lives in the country. The story is about doing what you love, and not taking anything for granted. It is about that person that changes you forever, that one that you’ll always remember, who forced you to take those steps that you thought were impossible.
Adobe: What special considerations went into the production?
Fernandez: I knew it would be difficult to do with the little money I had, so I wrote the script knowing it needed to include as few actors and locations as possible. I finished the script in 10 days and I wrote it in English, even though I knew my dialog wouldn’t be good enough. I planned to let the actors improvise, so perfect dialog would not be necessary. I wanted to fool them into thinking the movie would be set up a certain way, so I didn’t show them the script. I only told them what the scenes were about and then let them find their way to make the scene work.
Adobe: Can you give us an example of how this played out during the shoot?
Fernandez: I told the male lead that the movie was a romantic drama, which it is, but I told him that if he didn't make the girl fall for him we wouldn’t have a movie. Then, I told the female lead the opposite. I told her that whatever the male lead did, she would never fall for him, that he had nothing she wanted. This caused the actors a lot of frustration because they thought the other one didn’t understand what we were doing. Creating the film in this way made the dialog very natural and real. They did a great job with the little info I gave them and I’m really pleased with the result.
Adobe: What Adobe products did you use on We Will Part?
Fernandez: We used a full Adobe Creative Cloud workflow, beginning with Adobe Premiere Pro for editing. I’d worked with Adobe products for many years, and Roberth Nordh, the film’s editor and a long time Avid user, thought this would be the perfect time to learn how Premiere Pro works. We used After Effects for some shots and we even designed the poster for the film in Photoshop. We are also using Media Encoder constantly now to export renders and we used Audition for some sound edits. Creative Cloud offers a great set of tools with everything you need to complete any project—visuals, sound, graphics, web, you name it.
Adobe: What did you like most about working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Fernandez: We shot the film on RED Epic (HDR-mode) and the Blackmagic camera in raw. What we love the most is how Premiere Pro handles different formats without any problems. Whatever format you throw at it, Premiere Pro seems to be able to play without issues. The ability to use Dynamic Link, which eliminates intermediate rendering between Premiere Pro and After Effects, is also great. I must add that Roberth Nordh’s work is amazing. He really took the material to a higher level.
Adobe: What is next for your film?
Fernandez: Right now we have a rough cut of the movie and in June we have four days of pick-up shooting for the movie. Some scenes need some extra footage and there are a couple of new things we need to add to make the story work on every level. After that, we will make the final edits. We haven't started yet with the visual effects for the movie but we’ve already used After Effects on some shots that needed some tweaking, such as sky replacements, combining two different shots, rotoscoping, stabilizing, and tracking. The music is being written by the talented Swedish band Notice To Airmen whose song “Elegant Words” we used in the trailer.
Adobe: Are you already looking forward to another project?
Fernandez: After We Will Part I’m planning on shooting one of two scripts that I’ve been working on. One of them requires some money, while other one can be done with less. Which one I do first depends on the financial support.
Watch the trailer
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|Warren Miller Entertainment keeps on thrilling audiences with breathtaking athletics, brilliant production, and Adobe video apps|
Many winter sports enthusiasts recall sitting in high school auditoriums or theaters on the edge of their chairs watching content from Warren Miller, a legendary American ski and snowboarding filmmaker. Miller produced, directed, and narrated his films until 1988. His talented staff continues to create iconic films about skiing and other outdoor winter sports that are renowned for their stunning photography, witty narrative humor, and impressive athletic talent. Two of the people who’ve kept the Warren Miller Entertainment legacy alive are John Barcklay, post-production supervisor, and Kim Schneider, executive editor. Both have spent decades working with Warren Miller and recently adopted an all-Adobe workflow, including Adobe Premiere Pro software.
Adobe: Tell us how both of you got started with Warren Miller?
Schneider: I was living in my truck in Lake Tahoe, California at a ski area when I met Warren. I knew what I wanted to do from the time I was 12 years old—to ski and make movies about skiing—so there was no hesitation in taking the job as editor with Warren. People tell me I’m one-dimensional, and my answer is “Isn’t that great?” That’s how I got started, and I have been working in editing films with Warren Miller for 35 years. I’m now executive editor—it never gets old.
Barcklay: I have been working with Warren Miller Entertainment for 25 years. I started back in 1989, running film back and forth from Hermosa Beach to Burbank to drop off dailies and bring them back. I would log all the key codes on the film, a very time-consuming and tedious process. I gradually worked up through different positions to become post production supervisor.
Adobe: How has the workflow changed since the early days?
Schneider: I’m dating myself, but I used to hack frames apart with a razor blade and then tape them back together. If frames were missing, I’d have to hack up film and put back the missing frames. We would cut the film and hang the footage up on hooks that were called trim bins—that’s where the term bin that is used today in digital video originated. Using bins was never foolproof, and sometimes cuts of footage got lost or fell. It was nightmarish trying to stay organized. Then we went to videotapes, which also had their issues. We tracked videotapes of footage using arcane methods like Polaroid pictures with time codes pasted on sheets of foam or cardboard. Then we had to find a shot by going through footage to find the right time code.
Adobe: When things first went digital, what was your strategy?
Barcklay: We started out with Avid, then moved to Final Cut Pro in 2003. But then when Final Cut Pro X came around, it didn’t meet a lot of our needs as professionals. We took a look at Adobe Premiere Pro and were impressed with its professional color correction, compositing, and so on. Also, when we saw that we could throw virtually any format on the timeline whenever people got back from a shoot without having to transcode it, we were instantly sold. We can just import footage and start working. That’s crucial for us for two reasons: we work with huge volumes of footage, sometimes upwards of 200 hours, and we have to cull it down to a 90-minute feature. And, we typically have a lot of cameras running in different locations using different formats when we’re making our annual feature film, so we can’t spare the time to transcode everything.
Adobe: What is your editing process?
Schneider: We start by formulating a plan for the year. In theory I’m just an editor, but I’ve been with Warren Miller for so long I’m always involved in the planning stages. We talk about the direction we want to go, but our plan is somewhat dictated by the weather. Eventually, the footage ends up on a drive in front of me. I work offsite for a good part of the year, and I just start dragging it into Premiere Pro and wailing away on it. In a lot of ways you can put us into the music video category because we rely heavily on the soundtrack to motivate the edits. In the end, it’s all about the action – how someone turns, how deep the snow is, and the overall beauty of a shot.
Barcklay: Before everything goes to Kim, we send out the shots for a quick color-correction on the dailies. After the edit is complete, we organize the shots and remove any spots on lenses, hair, or dirt using Adobe After Effects or Photoshop. We may also transform some of the footage for YouTube, Vimeo, and tablets for our Active Interest Media publishing arm. We also use After Effects for various graphic based projects and Adobe Encore to create Blu-ray discs for our annual feature film tour and many other projects.
Adobe: Has working with Adobe Premiere Pro made editing fun again?
Schneider: For me, it’s almost like playing a video game. The way we do it now has given me the longevity I needed. The computers just have to get faster and faster to keep up. Filmmakers are now able to bring excitement to editing, a part of the filmmaking process that’s usually not considered that glamorous. I remember the days when we laid pieces of film on top of each other and crammed them into a projector or sent them off to an optical house. We wouldn’t see the results for a week, and they were often not even close to what we were imagining. Today, we can composite several shots and see the results in 10 minutes—it’s amazing. The speed and professional features, combined with the ability to instantly work with any format on the timeline—all these facets have completely transformed our workflow for the better.
Adobe: Do you have any favorite features in Premiere Pro?
Schneider: I’ve never sat in an editing room with a monitor two feet away from my face. Instead, I work on a three foot by four foot screen that’s eight feet away. In my ultimate world I would edit in a movie theater. The one keystroke I use all day long is when you hold your mouse over the media browser and hit the tilde key and the frame goes full screen. I also like using the Blend Mode in Premiere Pro for compositing. My presets are all there and I can just cycle through them all the time and try new things. I’m convinced that many of the things that happen in digital that are truly amazing come from people’s mistakes.
Adobe: Do you think you will continue along this path for a while?
Schneider: This is a phenomenal line of work and I like what I do. I work with extremely passionate people throughout the industry but the people at Warren Miller are the best. The cameramen are on the side of a mountain shooting when they could be in a studio making $5,000 to $10,000 a day. It’s amazing to be able to marry our passions into a career. The work on the films we’re doing really conveys the passion people feel for skiing. We have a 75% return rate of audiences every year, and viewers range from 8 to 88 years old. It is something we’re privileged to be part of.
Watch the Ticket to Ride trailer
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