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Boutique studio turns work into play with Adobe Creative Cloud

Commercial video editor expands business with a wealth of new creative tools

Jeff Patrick is passionate about his work. He owns Current Communications, an 11-year-old company that creates quality regional and local television commercials for everything from local construction companies to restaurants and schools. Since 2002, Current’s productions have aired on broadcast and cable TV networks throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Recently, Current began using Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC through its Adobe Creative Cloud membership. The comprehensive software solution gives Patrick everything he needs to stay productive, meet deadlines, and keep clients happy. He quickly realized that Creative Cloud gives him the tools to do more than just video production. He shared how he’s exploring new areas such as digital photography and web design using tools including Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Muse CC, and Business Catalyst.

Adobe: We’d love to hear more about your business.

Patrick: I was in video for 20 years, and then started Current with my wife and a team of super-talented freelancers. We write, shoot, edit, and post-produce television commercials and a few short promo pieces. Our niche is pretty small and our clients aren’t big spenders. We have no illusions about what we do. Our customers need things done at a reasonable rate with a quick turnaround.

Adobe: Why did you decide to join Adobe Creative Cloud?

Patrick: The model is so simple. We get instant updates and access to all of Adobe’s must-have creative software tools and services. The approach makes a lot of sense because it provides everything we need as a small business, all at a predictable, affordable price point. Plus, we get extra cool goodies like the downloadable font kit, and we can try new things. For instance, I recently redesigned my business site using Muse and switched to Adobe Business Catalyst to host it for free—it’s a deal and a half. Publishing my new site to Business Catalyst took all of 15 minutes.

Adobe: What do you use most in Adobe Creative Cloud?

Patrick: We spend most of our time in Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects—that’s our triumvirate. Everything is so well integrated that the applications blur together to provide a seamless workflow. With Adobe software, we can accomplish so much more without even really realizing which particular program we’re working in. There’s never a big learning curve because all the interfaces and commands are similar and familiar. Everything about us is speed and what you get with all of the tools in Creative Cloud is instant gratification.

Adobe: You’ve used Adobe Premiere Pro for years. Can you tell us more about your experiences with the software?

Patrick: I’ve used Premiere Pro forever, even when it had some frustrating limitations. But now it’s taking a leadership position in the market. Its tight integration with After Effects and Photoshop is a major bonus. I have forever ditched the hassle of rendering and exporting my work from one application before importing it into my editing software. That’s unheard of with other editing options out there.

The fact that you can throw stuff on the Premiere Pro timeline and it automatically synchronizes everything including sound is like magic. One of the super useful features in Premiere Pro CC is the ability to align clips in a multi-camera sequence according to their audio waveforms. This helps a lot because we’re often combining the work of multiple people.
Premiere Pro is also scalable, so we can create video for short-form movies, the web, and broadcast TV. We often start with a commercial, and then clients want us to produce segments for their websites, which is a snap in Premiere Pro.

Adobe: Tell us about your use of After Effects CC.

Patrick: After Effects is a constant workmate for me. It is so incredibly powerful. If I’m doing a car commercial, I can bring the assets into Premiere Pro, review them, create a rough cut, import it into After Effects and do all the graphics layers. Often, 90% of the spot is done in After Effects. We work with car dealers quite a bit, and they always like whiz-bang effects. There’s nothing better than After Effects. Dynamic Link makes it easy to incorporate effects into clients’ commercials, lightning fast. Our business is all about speed, so that’s crucial.

Add to this the CINEMA 4D integration with After Effects CC. It’s flipping fantastic. Upgrading to CINEMA 4D when it wasn’t part of Creative Cloud used to be tough on the wallet, but no longer. Now, if clients want some 3D graphics or words, then I can make that happen easily.

Adobe: Are there any of the newer software programs in Creative Cloud that you think will help you in your business?

Patrick: When I tried Adobe SpeedGrade for color correction and grading, it blew my mind. I picked up on it by watching a session or two on Adobe TV. It’s amazing to be able to find a frame from a movie I like and duplicate that look in SpeedGrade in a few clicks. Color grading and correction software of this caliber would typically set you back $20,000, just for the one package. So the fact that SpeedGrade is part of Creative Cloud is killer.

What else? We are using Muse to create and publish our own and clients’ websites, without writing code. It’s crazy simple and produces sites that look like they took months to create. I also want to learn more about Dreamweaver and Edge Animate so I can produce sites with eye-catching interactivity and animation. All these tools let us add value to our client work and boost our bottom line. With Creative Cloud, we can offer clients a bundle, including both video content and a website without a lot of extra effort, and without having to buy additional software.

Lightroom isn’t an entirely new thing for us, and it’s nice to have it available as part of Creative Cloud. We use Lightroom to shoot stills on location in raw format and batch-process them so they’re teed up for post-production.

Adobe: How would you sum up the value Creative Cloud brings to your business?

Patrick: We serve a specific market and we like what we do. As a small business, we have everything we need at our fingertips to delight our clients. From our standpoint, Creative Cloud is the playground that makes our work feel less like work and more like fun.

Learn more about the video apps and services in Adobe Creative Cloud

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 18, 2013 at 4:59:32 pmComments (1) Creative Cloud, Customers

Award-winning television commercial editor switches to all Adobe workflow

Captain Morgan and “got milk?” commercials cut with Adobe Premiere Pro software

A study abroad program to London is what first sparked Adam Pertofsky’s interest in the film and television business. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he moved to London where he spent time as a production assistant on music videos and commercials. He moved up through the ranks before turning his attention to editing. A move to Los Angeles eventually led him to Rock Paper Scissors, where he’s been editing television commercials and working on the occasional music video for the past 17 years. He’s earned numerous commercial editing awards, including a Gold Clio, a Bronze Clio, as well as multiple AICE and AICP awards. Pertofsky also wrote and directed The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306, a documentary created to honor the 40th annual remembrance of the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which was honored with Academy Award and Emmy nominations.

Adobe: You didn’t come up through the traditional “editing” ranks. So how did you become an editor and also a director and writer?

Pertofsky: I got tired of being on the set and never seeing the end result of what I was working on, so I got into editing and then into the writing and directing side of things. I moved to Los Angeles in 1993 and got a job as a production assistant through a friend. Then I started editing an independent film at night. Avid was the predominant editing software, and I was able to learn about editing while I learned the software.

Adobe: Tell us about your work editing commercials, specifically the recent “got milk?” and Captain Morgan spots.

Pertofsky: Every commercial we do is interesting and most have multiple media components. They are short projects. We have only two to three weeks for heavy editing. The timelines are crazy, especially when you think about a movie taking six months to a year at the least to edit.

Pete Berg directed the “got milk?” commercial and it was my first time working with him. It was a spot for the Super Bowl, and Pete did a previs of it beforehand so I was able to get the idea of what he was trying to achieve. Of course, once it is shot it is different from the animatic, but the idea is the same.

The Captain Morgan “Perfect Getaway: Chapter One” 60 second spot recently launched on the internet and also ran during an episode of The Walking Dead. It was a heavy effects project and a lot of fun to work on.

Adobe: What do you like about Adobe video tools for editing?

Pertofsky: I spent the last seven years cutting on Final Cut Pro, and before that I used Avid. I recently switched to an all Adobe workflow, including Premiere Pro and After Effects. The practicality aspect is huge. I switched because of the integration and I love Dynamic Link because I can stay within Adobe Premiere Pro for some effects, and automatically update masks I’ve created in After Effects.

Adobe: Were there other reasons for switching to Adobe Premiere Pro?

Pertofsky: I tried out Final Cut Pro X, and I knew immediately it wouldn’t do what I needed it to do. We’ll get four to fifteen hours of footage for a commercial and there’s a specific way assistants load and organize it. When they’re done I have my own specific process of going through footage and reorganizing sequences. I then go through and pull select sequences based on how I think the commercial will run. From that point, it’s a matter of losing what isn’t needed, and putting things together. I have a few days with the director and then more time with the advertising agency. They all want to see every take or alternate shorts; the organization element of Final Cut Pro X is just not there in terms of allowing me to work that way. With Premiere Pro, everything I need is right there, ready to go.

Adobe: What was the learning curve like in terms of moving to Adobe Premiere Pro?

Pertofsky: It was fast. When I start working with new software I like to experiment with it on a test project first. I edited some footage of a hot air balloon ride my family took in Tuscany and Premiere Pro worked great.

Adobe: What is the biggest advantage of Adobe Premiere Pro?

Pertofsky: The biggest advantage by far is how much time it saves me. I have been doing very heavy effects projects, and the amazing thing is that I don’t have to render at all. I recently had to jump on another project for a day and going back into Final Cut Pro 7 and seeing how much rendering I had to do was eye opening. For the “Perfect Getaway: Chapter One” spot I had some dailies that were in ARRI raw and Pro Res and the director didn’t like how the footage was colored. I just imported the raw footage into Adobe Premiere Pro and threw a lut on it to change the look. I use the trim tool all the time and love how you can scrub on the left or right over the edit point to find the exact frame. I also like to mix on the fly and it works terrifically in Premiere Pro.

Adobe: What inspires you when you’re working on a commercial project?

Pertofsky: I get inspired by the footage, and everything else is a tool to help me realize my vision. Editing is what I do and what gets me excited. Being able to go fast is important, because when an idea strikes you want to get to it without waiting. Premiere Pro helps me realize my goals and what I want to do more quickly.

Learn more about Adam's process

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Sign up for a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud (you can download After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more)

Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 18, 2013 at 9:34:21 am Premiere Pro, Customers

December 2013 brings new Creative Cloud pro video releases

Fourth feature update this year for Adobe Premiere Pro

Creative Cloud is always evolving and ongoing updates are one of the most popular benefits for users. In a fast-changing industry, Creative Cloud members always have the latest versions of the pro video tools as soon as they are available, including feature enhancements and optimized performance.

This morning updates for Adobe Premiere Pro CC, SpeedGrade CC, Prelude CC, and Adobe Media Encoder CC will begin rolling out. The new video updates will become available to Creative Cloud member over the next 24 hours. A new After Effects CC update will follow soon.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro CC has seen four new releases in this year (June, July, October, and now, December) –  all within the 6 months since the CC version was announced. Guided by user requests, the Adobe Premiere Pro CC December 2013 release adds Open CL performance enhancements, media management improvements like multiple Media Browser tabs, new editing enhancements for even greater workflow efficiency, and delivers more intuitive voiceover recording.

“Adobe is committed to delivering the best professional NLE in the industry,” said Al Mooney, senior product manager for Adobe Premiere Pro. “Video pros need tools that keep up with ongoing developments in film and broadcast. That’s exactly what Creative Cloud gives them.”

After Effects

After Effects CC, the leading motion graphics and visual effects application, is evolving faster than ever with Creative Cloud. “Our team turned around this release in a matter of weeks based on direct feedback from our users,” said Steve Forde, senior product manager for After Effects. “With regular Creative Cloud updates, we’re able to continually evolve and enhance our feature set. Your tools just keep getting better.”

The After Effects CC December 2013 release will offer customizable output of file name and path templates, improved snapping behavior, enhanced scripting options, and the ability to migrate user settings when updating to newer versions.

More updates for video pros

Creative Cloud offers video pros an integrated workflow across the video production applications. The December 2013 releases also includes updates to SpeedGrade CC, Prelude CC, Adobe Media Encoder CC, and Adobe Anywhere for video. Along with performance enhancements, SpeedGrade also offers expanded camera format support in Direct Link mode. Prelude CC has added support for the latest Adobe Anywhere protocols. Adobe Media Encoder now includes Sony XAVC format support, and Adobe Anywhere introduces performance improvements and diagnostic tools for monitoring system status.

Creative Cloud: one million strong and growing

There are already over one million Creative Cloud members with more joining every day. Already a Creative Cloud member? Launch the Creative Cloud application to get started using these great new features. The new updates will be available there within 24 hours.

Not yet a Creative Cloud member? Sign up for a free membership and get access to 30-day trials of every Adobe creative desktop application, including the latest versions of all the video tools.

Want to learn a new creative app? Both free and paid members also have access to cool new training videos, including sample work files, in Creative Cloud Learn to help you get up and running fast.

Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 12, 2013 at 9:44:27 am Creative Cloud, Premiere Pro

VFX pro produces short film with a Macbook Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud offers virtual production hub for collaborative workflow

Hasraf (HaZ) Dullul is a well-known visual effects supervisor in the motion picture industry. He began his career in video games and computer-generated sequences before moving into visual effects and compositing for feature films. As a visual effects supervisor and lead compositor, he’s worked on well-known films such as The Dark Knight and Hell Boy II, as well as several commercials and broadcast series for clients such as Discovery and The History Channel. He has also been nominated for several Visual Effects Society (VES) awards.

In 2012, he released his directorial debut short film: Fubar Redux, which screened at several festivals, including Cannes Short Film Corner 2012. His newest short film is Project Kronos, released on Vimeo, which he’s created entirely on a laptop with the video tools in Adobe Creative Cloud. The sci-fi documentary focuses on an intricate mission to enable interstellar space travel. We had the chance to sit down with him to share his experiences.

Adobe: Tell us about your first short film, Fubar Redux?

HaZ: I’ve always worked on my own projects on the side, and short films give me the opportunity to do things that I don’t get to do in my usual job. Fubar Redux was my first actual short film with a full story. I didn’t want to work with the usual film set, cameras, actors etc., so I decided to tell the story driven by the visual effects/animation style, without any 3D animation or expensive CGI work. I looked at a style called motion comics and decided to take that further with 2.5D. I took some pictures of my cats and miniature military model toys I collected over the years, and then composited and animated them to created sequences in a compositing environment. It was an action packed film that got some recognition and from there I really got the bug to make short films. With Project Kronos, I wanted to show that I could shoot and tell a story with live action.

Adobe: After previously working with Nuke, Final Cut Pro, and Avid, why did you switch to Adobe Creative Cloud?

I primarily work as a visual effects supervisor on films, so I knew in creating Project Kronos that I would have to work on my own time and work fast. When I saw the integration offered by Adobe Creative Cloud, I could hardly wait to get started. First, I used Adobe Story to write the script. I was working all over Europe and with Adobe Story, I could write the script on the fly on my laptop and just save it in the cloud. It was such a massive bonus. I was able to write a professional looking script fast and easy anytime, anywhere around the world. I could share sessions with others who could add in notes, or have a script consultant review it from anywhere. I also used Adobe Story to store my research, character bios, and planned schedules, and imported anything I needed out as a PDF.

Adobe: Where did your workflow go from there?

HaZ: I’m a very visual person, so from there I started creating animatics, sketching (often on my iPad using Adobe Ideas) and moving them into Adobe Premiere Pro. I cut together a mini-film using the images to get the story flow down. Then I started doing basic compositing in After Effects to find a style and look and get a rough edit before starting to shoot. I captured the footage using a Sony EX1 in AVCHD and ingested it using Adobe Prelude. Adobe Premiere Pro read everything—from MOVs of various codecs to DPX frame sequences—perfectly. I tried this in the past with Final Cut Pro and it didn’t work. It’s genuinely amazing to be able to throw anything onto the Premiere Pro timeline and it just works.

Adobe: What was the ultimate result for you?

HaZ: Everything was so easy and seamless that I could just focus on making the film and staying in the creative flow. I fell in love with the Adobe workflow and with Premiere Pro in particular. The tools are so easy that I even tried Adobe Audition. I’ll admit that I’m not much of a sound person, but I like to put temporary music and sound effects in because it’s almost impossible to describe music and sound effects in words. Using Audition, I was able to give my sound designers and composers a good idea of what I wanted. Then everything starts to get more synergistic: the music helps the editors, the visual effects influence the music, and the music helps inform the choice of visuals.

Adobe: What was it like learning the software and using the whole set of Adobe tools in Creative Cloud?

The learning curve was virtually nil. I moved among Audition, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop, but it never felt like I was jumping from compositing to editing. The whole experience felt like one big environment. What made it even more incredible was that I did it all on my Macbook Pro laptop hooked up with cinema display screen and external raid drive.

Adobe: What did you use for color grading?

I had used Baselight in the past but switched to Adobe SpeedGrade for Project Kronos. I usually shoot the film and then do color grading at the end of the process. With SpeedGrade, I applied the look at the beginning and then edited with graded material. It let me see the bigger picture and what the end line looked like.

Adobe: Did Adobe Creative Cloud help with collaboration?

HaZ: People contributing to Project Kronos are located in many different places: audio designers in Italy, other people in the UK, and so on. We can all dump big files onto Creative Cloud and store our main work in progress edits and audio. It’s like having a production hub that lets everyone work on the project from anywhere.

Adobe: What are some of the most useful features in Adobe After Effects? How did they help your workflow?

HaZ: I love the Global Performance Cache in After Effects. I used an external RAID drive for caching and never had to render anything, unless for some reason I needed a QuickTime file. It saved endless hours of time. The tracking is also really impressive, and I’ll admit I’m a motion graphics snob. After Effects has great Warp tracking. I used the 3D camera to move things in the 3D space and the camera blur to create a realistic motion blur and depth of field effects. It made the whole compositing and VFX work so much easier. That’s really important when you’re working on a sci-fi project.

Adobe: What’s next for the film?
HaZ: Scott Glassgold at I AM Entertainment is representing me as a director and the film. We are planning to show it at some upcoming sci-fi and short film festivals, in addition to the Vimeo release. But most importantly we are developing it further into a feature film, and we’re exploring other areas such as TV. I strongly believe in making short films, which lead onto bigger things rather than just make shorts as stand-alone projects. Project Kronos could well be seen as a “proof of concept” for the feature film treatment. As I develop my film career, I know I will be relying on the Adobe Creative Cloud tools as an integral part of my workflow in developing my productions.

Watch Project Kronos on Vimeo

HaZ Discusses Making the Switch to Adobe Premiere Pro & Creative Cloud

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Sign up for a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud (you can download After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more)

Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 12, 2013 at 9:36:14 am Creative Cloud, Customers

SILBERSALZ Film takes color to new depths with Adobe SpeedGrade CC

Adobe Creative Cloud drives editing and color grading workflow

The human ear is precise, but the eye is subjective. This means that color grading is much an art as it is a science. SILBERSALZ Film is a studio that focuses on the subtle color adjustments that give commercials and films a distinctive look to please even the most discerning viewer. Founded by Thomas Bergmann, Kyrill Ahlvers, and Willem Bramsche, the studio is highly regarded for the quality of its post-production and finishing, as well as its production and set expertise. We sat down with Thomas Bergmann to learn more about SILBERSALZ Film and its approach to commercials and color.

Title: SILBERSALZ Logo, Director: Thomas Bergmann, Production: SILBERSALZ Film GmbH, Colorist: Thomas Bergmann

Adobe: How did you get your start?

Bergmann: I started as a cameraman and DP shooting commercials. I found myself getting more and more involved in the post-production process—splitting my time between shooting, editing, and color grading. Six years ago, we formed a company that we feel sits somewhere between film production and post-production.

Adobe: Tell us about SILBERSALZ Film.

Bergmann: We’re small, and we want to stay small. We primarily work on commercials for the web and TV. We also create original on-screen content for big opera productions at the Royal Opera House. Ultimately our goal is to produce great films and we try to do that, in small way, with everything we create.

Adobe: What makes your studio unique?

Bergmann: We have three mobile color grading stations and often go to where the work is happening. We collaborate a lot with clients and their agencies, and it is important that we are mobile. We’re not a post-production house with a big suite. It’s common for us to be called in to do the color grading on a project right after it is shot, or even while it is still shooting. With shorter and shorter timetables, and many parties involved—including the client, an agency, and a director of photography—it is often easier to just go and spend a day on location doing the color grading.

Title: Ciucasville, Client: Ciucas Beer, Director: Linus Ewers, Production: MME, Colorist: Thomas Bergmann

Adobe: What Adobe products do you use in your workflow?

Bergmann: All of our editing stations look the same. Through our Creative Cloud membership, we download Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and SpeedGrade, and we use all the same keyboard shortcuts. We worked with SpeedGrade before it was an Adobe product, and now that it has been purchased by Adobe we know it has a bright future. We’ve always liked the program’s platform independence and how it is built around the graphic card. It really just needs the graphic card to do its magic. We can just buy a fast Dell laptop and it works like a dream in 2K and HD. SpeedGrade is really fast, and the developers understand grading problems and what editors need. As for editing, I was a Final Cut Pro editor for years, but when Final Cut Pro X was introduced I knew I needed to find a new solution for post-production. Premiere Pro CC has all of the features of Final Cut Pro 7 and more. It is faster, more flexible, and very stable. It is clear that Adobe is very serious about its pro video tools and listens to its customers.

Adobe: Tell us about a recent project.

Bergmann: A short while ago, we served as the film production company for three Nintendo Deutschland commercials. The client had called us three weeks before, and asked us to shoot and do post-production on the spots. I directed and Willem did DP and post-production. We shot all three commercials on two ARRI Alexa cameras in one day. The color grading alone took two to three days. We sat with the client and agency and discussed the look they wanted and then did the look work and rendered it inside of SpeedGrade before importing it into the projects for editing. We’re really happy with how it turned out.

Title: Turnaround, Client: Nintendo, Director: Thomas Bergmann, Production: SILBERSALZ Film, Colorist: Willem Bramsche

Adobe: What do you like about working with SpeedGrade?

Bergmann: Good color grading is usually quite subtle and requires a lot of precision. It has to fit into a specific environment and achieve exactly the right look for the client. We also want to make sure it is technically accurate. SpeedGrade is very precise and gives me nine different areas of adjustment to the overall image—and that's before we even get into masks and secondary color corrections! We can go into the highlights and blacks and change the gammas or increase contrast in the middle, giving us even more control over the clarity of the image and colors. If you want to put in the time you could achieve something similar in Davinci, but in SpeedGrade it is faster and the luma and colorometry look sharper and crisper.

We try to make this image precision visible to the viewer. Clients are often spending a lot of money on a project and don’t want to get anything wrong. It can’t be too black, too saturated, or have too much contrast.

Title: Nachts im Museum, Client: Mercedes-Benz, Director: Björn Amend, Production: GoodFilm, Colorist: Thomas Bergmann

Adobe: What’s next for your studio?

Bergmann: We have a full slate of work in the next six months, including grading and post-production jobs from external film productions and projects we’re shooting ourselves. We are also looking forward to improving our workflow between CGI and VFX. Today CGI is more and more popular, so we want to acquire deepen our knowledge in this area to meet the needs of our clients. Our goal is to achieve the same level of quality and time-savings in our CGI and VFX workflows as we have achieved in our regular post-production pipeline.

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 11, 2013 at 11:18:26 am SpeedGrade, Customers

Rams Broadcasting Network creates winning entertainment

Small team produces hours of professional football content each week using Adobe Creative Cloud

The St. Louis Rams have celebrated victories and suffered losses during the 2013 football season thus far—however, videos produced by the Rams Broadcasting Network are always a big win. The network creates everything from videos introducing cheerleaders and players, game-winning plays, interviews with coaches, and more entertaining content that make it fun to be a fan. Video Manager Chris Slepokura sat down to tell us more about the Rams’ content strategy and how the videos are produced for broadcast, online, and mobile delivery using Adobe Creative Cloud software.

Adobe: Tell us more about who you are and what you do.

Slepokura: I’m the Video Manager of the Broadcasting and Creative Department we call the Rams Broadcasting Network. We produce content for the web, in-game video boards, and three TV shows that are air on our local affiliates. All of this content is edited with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. We also use Photoshop CC for photo editing, After Effects CC for motion graphics, and Illustrator CC for graphics, logos, and so on, to make it all happen.

Adobe: How long have you been with the Rams?

Slepokura: This is my fourth season with the team. I was brought on as Video Producer to help build out a fledgling broadcasting operation. Over the past three years, we’ve grown tremendously. From just me acting as a lone editor to now seven workstations and six editors we have the ability to create amazing content our fans can enjoy.

Adobe: Can you tell us more about the content you're producing and how Adobe Premiere Pro fits in?

Slepokura: Our main focus is TV content because we produce three shows. To create the content, all assets are stored in a centralized server that each workstation can connect to. We use Premiere Pro and import media from our server in raw format. We previously used Final Cut Pro, and we had to constantly import and wait for a while for media to transcode to ProRes. That pain is gone now, because we can import into Premiere Pro immediately without transcoding. It makes the workflow much quicker so TV shows are ready to go sooner to make deadlines.

Adobe: Can you estimate how much time you are saving now that you’ve moved from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro CC?

Slepokura: We ingest media at different times, but I would estimate the entire production team saving about two hours per day. Even if we saved just an hour a day, that time ads up. We all shoot, ingest, and edit. If we have a home game on a Monday and we shoot a ton of footage, then it takes longer to ingest, so consequently we’re saving more time on those days. Regardless, just working with raw files in Premiere Pro saves a ton of time. We can also sketch out and present ideas and discuss them with my boss on the spot. He’s always accessible and amenable to a lot of back and forth. Adobe software makes it possible to be more immediate, not to mention very fun, loose, and collaborative. That brings out the best in everyone.

Adobe: What cameras do you use?

Slepokura: We have a RED EPIC and also shoot on Canon EOS C100s and C300s. They are all digital, cinema-based cameras. To make things look different, we also use a camera slider, jib, Contour helmet cams, and other cool equipment.

Adobe: When you switched from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro, how was the transition?

Slepokura: Everyone picked up Premiere Pro really quickly. The learning curve is similar if you know any type of video editing software. We knew we had the option of mapping the Final Cut Pro keyboard shortcuts in Premiere Pro, but passed on that because we wanted the whole team to know the Premiere Pro shortcuts. It has been great because we use After Effects a lot and the commands and shortcuts are similar.

Adobe: Tell us more about the TV shows. What type of content do they feature?

Slepokura: Rams 360 is a sports documentary that follows a week in the life of a player. It recently won three Emmy awards (Editor-Sports, Audio, Sports Regularly Scheduled Program). Another show is RamsNation, a magazine-style program with five segments that may include a wired segment with a player or coach, a community appearance, or a fun interview with a cheerleader. The third show, What to Watch, is a type of pre-game show in the studio with hosts and a ton of graphics and highlights. These are typically shown on FOX Sports Midwest, our local FOX network, and our local FOX/CBS station. We repurpose the content for the website as well.

Adobe: Tell us about the in-game footage. How quickly are you putting things up?

Slepokura: We come to each game with pre-produced material: graphics, highlight videos, interviews, cheerleader profiles, opening videos, and sponsor elements. There are 22 time-outs in football and those breaks need to be filled with our best creative content. While the fans are watching the video boards our production team is filming our next “Wired” segment and also capturing b-roll for Rams360.

How are you using other Adobe applications?

Slepokura: Our motion graphics designer uses After Effects and Photoshop a ton, as well as CINEMA 4D to create 3D graphics. The integration with CINEMA 4D in After Effects CC has been a great addition. The workflow is a lot smoother.

Adobe: What do you like about working with Adobe Creative Cloud?

Slepokura: Creative Cloud lets us easily access all the applications we need on all seven of our connected computers. We love it because it is so much easier to download the software via the cloud than use a disc and worry about licensing complexities.

Adobe: What future plans do you have?

Slepokura: We want our videos to reach more fans so we can gain new fans. Give them access to their favorite players so they can connect with them on a more personal level.

Adobe: Compared to what other teams do, is what you’re doing typical?

Slepokura: I don’t know what every team is doing, but we’re trying to be cutting-edge, and I believe we are. Keeping things in-house, and utilizing the newest and latest technology keeps our content fresh.

Adobe: How does your schedule change from in-season to off-season?

Slepokura: Off-season, we are not producing the same deadline-driven TV shows. Instead, we are stockpiling content for the shows: building graphics for in-stadium; graphics for TV shows; or doing lots of pre-production that goes on creating new elements for the season. It is not the same workflow, so it’s a little bit of a breather though there is still a lot to accomplish before the season begins. NFL Draft, Scouting Combine, mini-camps, community appearances, etc., are events we cover in the offseason. So, the good news is, the fun never ends!

Check out the St. Louis Rams sizzle reel

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 9, 2013 at 1:52:05 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

Adobe employee’s clever music videos get over one million views on YouTube

Extraneous Lyrics 2012 leveraged integrated Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects workflow

Creativity is the name of the game at Adobe, so it’s no surprise that many of Adobe’s own employees are creative types themselves. Dave Werner is one example. By day, Dave is a senior experience designer, using video and animation to help design new Adobe products. In his free time, he turns his attention to personal projects that leverage the same creative tools. Dave’s popular Extraneous Lyrics videos are verbose versions of pop songs from the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber, Gotye, One Direction, and Taylor Swift. The acoustic send-ups feature him playing his guitar and singing—and have gotten more than one million views on YouTube. We grabbed Dave to talk about the intersection of his personal and professional passions.

Adobe: How long have you been doing video production?

Werner: As a kid, I was always doing video reports. I even played around with Mario Paint on my Super Nintendo to make animated content as bookends for my reports. Early on I recognized both the entertainment value and the storytelling value of video. Later, I created movies of family vacations—little two- to three-minute memories of what we did.

When I went to graduate school at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta in 2003, I focused on learning more about video. While I was there, I was exposed to a wide variety of design projects, including annual reports, logos, and websites, and even a 300-pound metal chair. For all of my school projects, I made videos about how I created them. Video was the best way for me to explain the challenges, mistakes, struggles, and successes I had. It was also a great way to help potential employers get to know me. I included all of the videos in my portfolio at

Adobe: What was your path between grad school and Adobe?

Werner: After grad school I jumped between startup companies that make web, mobile, and social games. For four of those years, I was creative director at a make-your-own video game company. I realized I’ve been trying to give people tools to do creative things, which felt like a logical progression for me. I wanted to help people be creative in the same way that Adobe has allowed me to be creative. I eventually reached out to John Nack, who used to be the senior product manager for Photoshop and is now on the video team at Adobe. Six years ago, he wrote a blog about my graduate portfolio,, and I’ve kept in touch with him ever since. I asked him about opportunities at Adobe, and the same day, John got a call regarding the need for someone who could do video and animation on a special project. Now I’m working at Adobe as a senior experience designer lead. I’m working on some really cool stuff, surrounded by smart, talented people, and learning on a daily basis.

Adobe: When did you create your first Extraneous Lyrics video?

I did the first Extraneous Lyrics video in 2010 and posted it to YouTube under my Okay Samurai channel. After hearing the same pop songs over and over and over on the radio, my wife and I started making up different lyrics for fun. I eventually got the idea to make a video. I had no idea it would strike such a nerve. I’ve made two more versions, one for 2011 and another for 2012. I’ve tried to do things a little differently each year.

Adobe: What’s different about the 2012 version?

Werner: It’s been my biggest undertaking so far from a YouTube video standpoint. I pushed myself to up the production value to make the 2012 version look and feel more professional than someone filming in their house. Instead of inserting the lyrics like captions at the bottom of the frame, I represented them with typography that flows around me while I’m singing.

I used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the video and Adobe After Effects to integrate the lyrics in an interesting way. I started with a basic font, Whitney, and then drew over it to give it a hand-lettered look. Lyrics are in every scene, and I was able to use After Effects to track my movements and have the lyrics flow in and out of the frame around me. For me, After Effects was like Adobe Photoshop with motion. It allowed me to explore some cool visual ideas.

Adobe: What made you decide to do the 2012 Extraneous Lyrics video using Adobe Premiere Pro?

Werner: I started making the videos using iMovie, and then moved up to Final Cut Pro 7. I tried a demo of Final Cut Pro X, but it was confusing. I knew I wanted to integrate typography effects from After Effects, but with Final Cut Pro it was a long and complex workflow. I couldn't move back and forth between the editing and effects without jumping through hoops. A friend from graduate school who is well-versed in motion graphics and video editing recommended that I check out Premiere Pro. He said it would feel very similar to Final Cut Pro, but the After Effects integration would be seamless and would save hours of work.

I made the transition from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro before I came to Adobe, and it was super easy. The tool feels powerful and natural, and at no time was I confused. I could have tons of layers of video and still sync everything to the music, and then add motion graphics over the top of that. If I wanted to go between two clips and see which is the best take, it was easy. I was able to jump right in and everything felt natural, quick and efficient.

Adobe: How long did it take you to complete the project?

Werner: It took about three months to do six songs. I like to spend the bulk of my free time with my wife and two-year-old son, so anywhere I could save time was great. The features in Premiere Pro helped me be as efficient as possible. I did a lot of editing and visual effects on my laptop while commuting on the train to and from work. I squeezed in time whenever I could.

Adobe: As an Adobe employee, you may be a bit biased, but what do you like about Adobe Creative Cloud?

Werner: Creative Cloud allows me to use five or six Adobe products at any given time, switching between solutions without any interruptions. Plus, it’s nice to be up-to-date no matter what. As a grad student, the school always had one version of software and I had something else. It’s really great to have updates instantly and always know I’m using the latest version. It’s a privilege to work at Adobe, too. I get to see new stuff and know that when it’s released it will work. I use the products daily, both at work and on side projects and hobbies. Personally, I want to try Adobe Audition for audio mixing. I’m already thinking about my next project, a Sesame Street remix. I want to push myself to try new things and bring imagination into reality.

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 5, 2013 at 1:54:35 pm Premiere Pro, Customers

Scruffy.TV transforms workflow with Adobe Creative Cloud

Distributed team relies on Adobe video tools for latest parody, Flight Club

Ambitiously aiming to lead the media revolution, Scruffy.TV creates custom content and is building a full, online network that is hosting all-original content. Kanen Flowers is the creative director behind the initiative, which includes That Post Show, Scruffy Thinking, Scruffy Shows, and HERO PUNK. Other team members include Kristin Martin, Ryan Jacobi, and Weston Woodbury.

We sat down with these multitalented creatives and talked about why they decided to move to an all Adobe workflow based on Adobe Creative Cloud with an emphasis on Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Photoshop. A recent endeavor, Flight Club (a spoof on the movie Fight Club), was their first collaborative experience working with an end-to-end Adobe pipeline using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe: Why did you decide to create Scruffy.TV?

Flowers: A while ago there was a show called That Media Show, which was kind of an “Access Hollywood for geeks.” I was interested in restarting the show, but soon realized that nobody wants to watch something online to get information, like they did in 2008 – they get everything from Twitter, Facebook and other sources now. I started to think about how to be more modern and interesting and thought an ensemble sketch show would be good. We have a team of utility infielders who can pretty much play any position, from video to audio editing and VFX.

Adobe: What makes the content on Scruffy.TV different?

Flowers: For one thing, literally everything is shot against a green screen, so we rely a ton on technology for digitally creating the sets, sound, effects, and so on. We produce matte paintings in Photoshop, 3D backgrounds in Cinema 4D, edit in Premiere Pro, adjust audio in Audition, and composite and grade in After Effects.

Tell us about the workflow for Flight Club?

Flowers: It is 10 minutes of 100% green screen work shot in a tiny studio in San Francisco. It was also the first production we did with an all Adobe pipeline. We did use Red Giant VFX plug-ins, but otherwise, it was 100% Adobe. It’s far and away the highest-quality piece we’ve done with the most sound design, the best script, and the most love put into it.

Woodbury: We shot it on three cameras, a 60D, a 7D and a Canon T3i, all on green screen. It’s important to note that we’re a totally distributed team with me in Utah, Ryan in Virginia, Paul [Del Vecchio] (one of our camera operators) in New York, and Kanen and Kristin in different parts of Northern California. I started by cutting three multicam angles in Premiere Pro. We’d review the cut remotely, lock it, and export it to QuickTime. Then we brought that into After Effects for compositing and color grading.

We all have the same masters on hard drives with copies of the footage that are mailed out to everyone. From there, we just pass around project files over Dropbox. Anything that changed literally opens and automatically links to the footage we already have on our local drives, thanks to the incredible integration of all the tools in Creative Cloud.

Flowers: We thought of Flight Club as the seed for the sapling of our future workflow. Believe me, we’ve used all the major video editing and audio programs over the courses of our careers, and we are violently in love with Creative Cloud. Before, we were all over the place with Smoke, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, Avid Pro Tools, you name it, and none of these were integrated. But now we can share files so easily and just link them to our local copies of the master file. The versioning is so easy and we’re only sending tiny files around.

Adobe: What was it like for you working in Adobe Premiere Pro?

Woodbury: Bringing clips into Premiere Pro from whatever camera and format is so easy it’s ridiculous. And the performance is tremendous. I also used After Effects, but I did a lot of pretty complex things right within Premiere Pro. For instance, in one part of the story in Flight Club, there’s a white void that I created entirely from the green screen using the Ultra Key in Premiere Pro. The Adjustment Layers in Premiere Pro are great too. I did a final pass in Premiere Pro to match the grain levels in each shot. It’s such a clean way to grade quickly.

Adobe: What is it like for you working in Adobe Audition as a traditional Pro Tools user?

Audition has been tremendous for sound design, considering we only have the dialogue from the boom microphone to start with. I think Audition is a full-featured product, but the best part for me, because I’m a “jack of all trades,” is the round-trip workflow between Premiere Pro and Audition. For NAB this year, we did over 32 interviews for That Post Show. I could hardly believe how smoothly the process went due to the integration between the applications. For the shows I edited, working with native footage was simple. For episodes edited our remote team, we used a proxy editing workflow and I relinked the proxies to the raw files. We were able to turn around most of the interviews in a day—having been in the industry for a while, that’s crazy!

Adobe: How do you like Creative Cloud?

Flowers: Creative Cloud makes the team more efficient. Everyone is on the same version of the software and it's hugely affordable. Before the entire team was on Creative Cloud, I was looking to upgrade our Avid licenses, buy a bunch more Smoke seats and invest in a lot of training. This was not only going to cost me a lot of money, it was going to delay our project by six months. Now that the team is on Creative Cloud, Flight Club was released sooner than we expected and we saved a ton of time and money in the process. When you look at it from all angles—creativity, efficiency, and cost savings—Creative Cloud is genuinely a huge step forward for us and for our industry.

Adobe: What do you see as the future for Scruffy.TV?

Flowers: There’s no doubt we’ll be getting even more creative and ambitious. As for now, we’re working on our next project using the latest version of Creative Cloud. We're really excited about the new integration between After Effects CC and Maxon Cinema 4D. This is huge for us and completely eliminates some serious problems we used to have working in 3D. Everything we’re doing is building toward a future in which we will be doing full-length feature films with Creative Cloud as the centerpiece of our workflow.

Watch Flight Club

  • Vimeo

  • Scruffy.TV site

  • iTunes

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    Posted by: Adam Spiel on Dec 3, 2013 at 9:45:09 am Creative Cloud, Customers

    Find out what the movers and shakers in Adobe's Digital Video & Audio Organization are thinking about, and get a glimpse into their vision on everything from product direction to hot trends in the worlds of video production and content creation, as well as see how other filmmakers are using Adobe products to realize their creative visions.
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