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Television commercial editor delivers stunning spots using Adobe Creative Cloud workflow

Our friend Adam Pertofsky at Rock Paper Scissors has been busy these last few months. Since we last talked with him, he’s completed the third part of the Captain Morgan series of commercials and cut three additional spots, one of which aired during the Super Bowl. We took a few minutes to catch up with him on his recent projects and use of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe: Tell us about the Super Bowl commercial you worked on.
Pertofsky: It is the 60-second “Going All The Way” Coca-Cola spot that aired during the second half of the game. We worked on it with Wieden+Kennedy. I did all of the editing in Premiere Pro CC, as well as some color correction for the client presentation. It is a really sweet, classic, spot that a lot of people will be moved by and enjoy.

Adobe: What other projects have you worked on?
Pertofsky: I cut a simple, funny commercial for Chevy that will air during the Winter Games. It was an easy process of working in Premiere Pro to do cuts and throw in some graphics using the Luma Key. I also used the title tool in Premiere Pro to set up a string of options for the creative director to look at and it was amazing and super simple.

Adobe: Did you use any other Adobe tools on this project?
Pertofsky: I've been using a lot of Adobe Media Encoder, which I find really fast and terrific. Recently, I was at my daughter’s volleyball practice and I needed to do some unexpected cut downs for the Chevy spot. I jumped into the back of my car, set up the project, did the cut downs, threw them into Adobe Media Encoder and was able to upload them using my phone.

Adobe: What’s the biggest project you've worked on recently?
Pertofsky: I cut a four-and-a-half minute commercial for Samsung with R/GA San Francisco. In the spot, aliens take over the earth and challenge the world to a game of football (soccer). It is a massive spot with a lot of variations and the version I worked on ties everything together. I used a lot of tools within Premiere Pro and a lot of After Effects CC, which was terrific. Reframing things and putting them in the right position before sending everything to the post house for final finishing was so easy and fast in Premiere Pro.

Adobe: How do you feel about the Captain Morgan series you completed?
Pertofsky: The last Captain Morgan spot came out great and I’m really proud of it. The project involved heavy use of After Effects and Premiere Pro. I love knowing that when I have a big effects gig going I have powerful programs that I can work with to make the offline presentation look good. For the Captain Morgan spot I used Adobe After Effects to create a garbage matte around an object that let me move things around easily and quickly, which was a huge help. Moving elements around and reframing is much easier and faster thanks to Dynamic Link; I can line everything up in Premiere Pro, quickly jump into After Effects, and then easily go back and open the project in Premiere Pro again with all of the moves applied.

Adobe: Now that you've been working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC for a while, have you made any new discoveries?
Pertofsky: One of the tools that works great in Adobe Premiere Pro is mixing on the fly. I can set it up, mix the spot, and it leaves keyframes behind that I can manipulate further later. A lot of times as I’m showing a rough cut to a client I’m actually mixing it in Adobe Premiere Pro at the same time. Then when they ask to watch it again, I’m just fixing the mix and it speeds up the whole process. This is also useful because clients don’t have the appetite to look at rough cuts, they want to see it as close to finished as possible without paying for it to be finished. We have to do as much as possible in the cutting room to make it look good. All of the LUTs that are in Adobe Premiere Pro are terrific for doing quick color changes.

Adobe: Are there any other tools that help speed your workflow?
Pertofsky: I have an NVIDIA Quadro K5000 and it makes me completely forget about rendering. With everything going in and out of After Effects and adding effects in Premiere Pro, it never slows me down.

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Feb 21, 2014 at 2:09:22 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

Hearst Television covers the Winter Games

Remote team uses laptops equipped with Adobe Premiere Pro to edit and package athlete stories

Since the beginning of the Winter Games, Hearst Television has been on site in Sochi delivering general coverage, as well as profiles of individual Team USA athletes. Hearst relies on a tapeless workflow and reporters in the newsroom and out in the field use Adobe Premiere Pro CC, part of Adobe Creative Cloud, to assemble and edit their stories.

The broadcaster moved its news operations to a file-based pipeline four years ago. As part of the transition, the broadcaster partnered with Adobe for its editing platform combined with a Bitcentral production system.

“We brought people from the stations into the transition process very early, so it worked out well and they were really pleased with it,” says Joe Addalia, director of technology projects for Hearst Television. “In our creative services group the team immediately wrapped their arms around the Adobe workflow. When the creative people start saying how much they love Adobe tools the news people hear them and start becoming champions too.”

Today, 19 of the 25 Hearst stations that produce news use Premiere Pro for day-to-day cutting of news stories. In the field crews are equipped with HP or Dell laptops running Premiere Pro and sometimes Prelude.

This month, the remote workflow is being put to the test, as a team of eight people, including a mix of photojournalists, reporters, producers, and a technical lead work on site in Sochi putting together human interest stories on athletes from the communities where Hearst broadcasts. The team is covering U.S. athletes in their local markets, with additional material delivered to Hearst’s 10 NBC affiliates.

“It’s my job it is to make sure everyone’s laptop does what it is supposed to do in a foreign environment,” says Larry Vancini, Hearst’s technical lead on the project. “Once the crews and teams acquire the news and create a package, I get the finished packages back to the stations and handle any necessary embargoing. If something is shot only for NBC, and only for Louisville, the correct metadata must be present when that package is uploaded.”

Vancini uses Adobe Media Encoder to output the proper file formats, including presets he has created for standard definition and high definition H.264. Of the 19 stations that have Premiere Pro, 17 also use Bitcentral as their production system. Metadata is entered within Bitcentral whenever content is uploaded. Once the material is ready, the network of Bitcentral stations are alerted that the content is available and the remaining stations have access to the content via a web browser.

In order to handle the amount of content that the Hearst team is tasked with creating in Sochi, many stories are prewritten. This helps the team organize their time well, so they are always ready to jump on stories that develop in the moment. Reporters may use previously shot content of local athletes and edit that together with fresh Sochi footage. Producers laying out the plans have a seven hour time difference in their favor so they can work a day ahead and get direct feedback from the stations, when needed.

While reporters don’t have the luxury of working a story right until the moment it goes to air, in Sochi only one news package each day is date and time sensitive. All other stories can be completed and uploaded a day ahead of time, so the stations will have plenty of time to bring them to air. Despite distance and bandwidth constraints, the team is excited to be working on site at the games and delivering high-quality content back to local stations hungry for coverage.

“We’ve dabbled with the system since the election and also used it for localized coverage of the Zimmerman trial,” says Vancini. “In that case we were in the same time zone and all content was edited locally with Premiere Pro and encoded using Media Encoder. We pushed the files back on a high speed pipe and it worked flawlessly. We’ve taken this model and applied it to our Sochi workflow and it’s going well.”

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:31:01 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

Graham Elliott puts creativity in motion

Fearless filmmaker and innovator explores the world of creativity with help from Adobe Creative Cloud

Growing up, Graham Elliott desperately wanted to become a pilot and devoted himself to learning about flight. At 17 he received a scholarship to the RAF in London and within a week he was flying solo. Although Elliott ultimately decided he didn't want to be in the Air Force, he took away a simple life lesson: all you need to do is apply yourself. His natural artistic abilities led him to Manchester University, where he graduated with a degree in graphic design. He then went on to the Royal College of Art to earn a Masters in Illustration, a program that touched on multiple artistic disciplines.

Elliott’s dedication and never-ending curiosity have fueled a career spanning multiple creative endeavors: animation, illustration, photography, writing, multimedia, and film. In 2011, he created New York in Motion, a documentary about the motion graphics industry in New York. Inspired by his experiences creating New York in Motion, he’s now working on World in Motion, a new documentary film series that examines how environment and cultural context strongly influence designers and their work in different countries around the world. This post offers an introduction to Elliott, and we’ll continue to check in with him as he works on the new series to hear more about his experiences with creative professionals around the world.

Adobe: How did your career begin?
Elliott: When I graduated from the Royal College of Art, I got invited to speak at a big American illustration festival in New York and met several influential industry people, including Steve Byram, art director at CBS/Sony Music. He told me to tack my postcard up on this enormous 24-foot-long wall crammed with business cards, tear sheets, and postcards. He called a few months later and said the U.S. band Living ColourLiving Colour wanted me to design their record cover. After that, I started to get a lot of work in the music industry doing record covers, stage designs, posters, and so on. I got known for a specific digital illustration style and was soon going to New York every few months.

Adobe: How did you get into film?
Elliott: When I got a body of work together, people started saying it would be really great if I could animate it. At that point, I had only toyed around with moving imagery. I asked the band if I could direct a music video and they were dubious. I didn't have a reel, or any experience. A few months later, they came to me and said they had a song they weren't quite sure what to do with called “Glamour Boys.” The next thing I knew, I was on the set of directing a music video. It was outrageously scary. I pretended I knew everything the first day, and then realized I was such a rookie and started asking everyone in different departments for guidance. It was a great way to learn, almost like going to film school for two years within two intense days.

Adobe: How did you wind up in New York?
Elliott: I moved to New York because there was so much more work. I was very excited by Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the children’s TV show so I went to its production company, showed them my work, and they took me on as a director. I worked there for two years directing commercials and music videos and learning the basic strategies of how to make a commercial, produce animation, and work with clients. Eventually, I started my own company with a producer. We worked for Nickelodeon, MTV, ESPN, Coca-Cola, and other big brands. I've been doing commercials and music videos ever since.

Adobe: You’ve taught at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) for some time. How did that come about?
Elliott: When I first came over to the states I met Richard Wilde, Chair BFA Advertising and Design, at SVA and he asked me to come in every semester and do a show and tell for about 150 kids just entering the visual arts program. He liked that I had done a lot of different things. For newcomers to the creative scene, it can be difficult to choose a career path. I wanted to let them know they could acquire basic knowledge in one area and then learn and evolve during a professional career. Richard asked me a few times if I’d teach there, and I felt like I wasn't ready. About 10 years into doing the seminars, he offered me a job teaching a music video class and I finally took him up on it. I've now been teaching that class for 10 years and expanded into teaching motion graphics. It’s been amazing. I've really enjoyed it.

Adobe: How did you start creating documentaries?
Elliott: I made a documentary in Cuba and it got me really excited about producing my own content. With commercial projects you get a brief from clients and the material is already pre-determined. With the documentary, it was my content and I had ownership. It was so exciting for me. Then I went on to produce other documentaries. I made New York in Motion in 2011 and now I’m in the process of making another documentary: World in Motion.

Adobe: Tell us more about New York in Motion.
Elliott: When I was teaching motion graphics at SVA, the students seemed to be taking the class because it was trendy, but they didn’t totally understand the topic. At one point when I was doing a lecture, I was trying to fully explain what motion graphics is and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to make a documentary so that my students and I could understand it and its application better?” I went to SVA and asked if, for part of the curriculum, I could work with the kids to make a film of the motion graphics scene in New York. The school agreed and gave me some backing. We thought we’d make a 12-minute film for the graduation screenings, but it began to evolve into a full 60- to 90-minute documentary. We had about 53 names of companies and freelancers in the motion graphics industry, and 52 responded. It was really amazing: we interviewed people from places like Comedy Central, MTV, and NBC. It taught me more about the industry and the opportunities for students when they graduate.

Adobe: What were some of the most challenging aspects of New York in Motion?
Elliott: The first rough cut was two-and-a-half hours. The hardest thing was trying to edit it down to 60 minutes. And I didn’t want it to be like a portfolio where you just watch a bunch of clips; instead I wanted it to be about creativity and inspiration, and living in New York as a base and catalyst. People working here in motion graphics come from all over the world, from Brazil to South Korea. There’s a huge juxtaposition of different cultures, people, views and I found each person’s formative environment really affects his or her creativity.

Adobe: Has New York in Motion been a success?
Elliott: Yes, it’s been huge. I expected it to be successful with the design community. But then I entered it into more mainstream festivals like the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam. My rep didn’t think it would get in. They usually accept mainly “big cause” films, but we got in and the screenings were sold out. For the first time, we put a face to the genre and brought it to the general public. There was real interest, and people were so engaged by how motion graphics are made and who does them, whether the graphics are delivered on a handheld device or on a huge billboard on the side of a building. We ultimately went to 12 festivals around the world and were even in the first International Motion Festival in Cyprus, where I was the keynote speaker. It was great to get a sense of what was going on with designers around the world.

Adobe: How did World in Motion come about?
Elliott: I was traveling around the world and meeting with design communities in different places. I was talking to a designer in Mumbai who spent a lot of time stuck in traffic behind trucks all hand painted in unique ways. His commute ultimately affected the way he thinks and his amazing color palette. I was awestruck by how culture, religion, history, landscape, and visual legacy affect the way we design. That is the genesis for World in Motion.

Adobe: How are you using Adobe software?
Elliott: I use Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ve used After Effects for everything I’ve done throughout my career, even before Adobe owned the software. I now love Creative Cloud and the integration among all the different components. Working with Lightroom takes me back to my early love of photography. I take a lot of stills and it’s so easy to go into Lightroom and do color correction and then save the calibration and use it on other images. My partner Roswitha Rodrigues at Magical Monkey has been creating all the posters, flyers, and other collateral for New York in Motion in InDesign CC. Photoshop CC is of course another go-to tool for us. We’re also learning Premiere Pro CC for video editing.

Adobe: As you progress on World in Motion, what’s the workflow?
Elliott: We’re getting content from artists, gathering commercial, experimental and spec pieces from their show reels. We’re showcasing their cutting-edge work that often doesn’t get seen. We thought we’d be doing it in one big shoot, but it’s coming together more in segments, which is fine. For World in Motion, we’re expanding into different fields as well as motion graphics and talking to photographers, dancers, architects, musicians, graffiti artists and others and exploring how their environment affects the way they create.

Adobe: What can we expect the next time we check in with you?
Elliott: We are starting in Brazil and then checking out Southeast Asia, South Africa, Europe, Turkey, the UK, and other areas of the world. I look forward to sharing what I learn from the design communities in these locations and will hopefully include some behind the scenes content to give even more context. As you can tell, I’m super excited to embark on the World in Motion journey.

Visit the Fovea Films website

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Feb 19, 2014 at 12:57:07 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

Swiss Radio and Television produces stunning Sochi opener

Broadcaster uses Adobe Creative Cloud workflow to create opener promoting the winter games

The Winter Games are a chance for us to witness magic moments of incredibly artistry and athleticism performed by the amazing athletes competing there. But in order for us to do so, broadcasters around the world spent months preparing for that short period of intense coverage. For Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), a publicly funded broadcaster serving the German speaking part of Switzerland, the preparations included creating a stunning opener that builds excitement for audiences tuning in to the games. Patrick Arnecke, head of design and promotion, leads the creative team responsible for design and production of the on air campaign.

Adobe: Tell us about the Swiss Radio and Television.
Arnecke: The SRF is a publicly funded broadcaster that serves the German speaking part of Switzerland. We maintain two full blown 24/7 TV channels, a TV repeat channel for news programs, seven radio channels, and an extensive online portal.

Adobe: What teams do you work with at the SRF and what do they produce?
Arnecke: I’m the head of the design and promotion team. The design team consists of 25 designers who do all corporate design, motion graphics and interaction design for SRF. Creatively they are responsible for channel brandings, campaigns, image clips and labels as well as show packagings. We also do all of the 2D and 3D animation used for our TV magazines and news shows. The promotion team has 11 editors and promo producers who work on traditional on-air trailers as well as cross media campaigns.

Adobe: Tell us about the work you’ve done for the Winter Games?
Arnecke: Last year during the summer we started to rethink our overall sports design. We have various sports programs on air and wanted to repackage the whole set of shows for SRF zwei, our main entertainment and sports channel. We regularly cover huge events like the Winter Games for the Swiss audience, and we needed to come up with a solution for those events as well, and tie that into the overall design.

We decided to center our redesign around the core idea of the “magic moment” – these rare moments when extraordinary athletic performance seems almost supernatural. We then spent five days shooting all the necessary plates using RED Epic and Phantom Flex cameras, special camera rigs with a high speed camera carousel, and a huge 15m x 9m x 7.5m green screen area. Among others we staged ice hockey, alpine skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, ski jumping, and cross country skiing. Everything was conceptualized, directed, and pre- and post-produced by four in-house designers. From that footage we produced a 28-second opener for our Sochi coverage along with the show packaging, and the promo teasers that we used to ramp up the campaign in January.

Adobe: What products are you using to produce your content?
Arnecke: Right now we have a mix of Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6 software. On the design team we use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Our main tool for 2D animation is After Effects, and we rely on CINEMA 4D as our main 3D package. The closer relationship between Adobe and MAXON and the strong connection between CINEMA 4D and After Effects comes in very handy for our pipeline.

At the beginning of 2013 we started using Edge Animate to create small, interactive HTML5 elements to give our online news articles more depth and interactivity. For our video content, we started to work with SpeedGrade to give content from different sources a uniform look. During the last months we switched to Premiere Pro as our main editing tool, which replaces Final Cut Pro.

Adobe: What was the workflow for creating the Sochi opener?
Arnecke: In pre-production the responsible designers Martin Bernhard (director) and Simon Renfer (co-director) used Photoshop, with Wacom tablets and screens, to create the storyboards. On set and after the shoot was completed, we used SpeedGrade to convert the Phantom material and then edited the content in Premiere Pro. Lead 3D Artists Jürg Dummermuth and Simone Nucci did all of the 3D CGI with CINEMA 4D. In addition to using After Effects for previsualization and animatics, it was also used for 2D animation, keying, rotoscoping, retouching, compositing, and grading. We’ve done a lot of smaller projects such as show openers and image trailers using Premiere Pro, but the Sochi opener is one of the biggest projects we’ve done to date with the new workflow.

Adobe: Why did you make the switch to Premiere Pro?
Arnecke: After Apple didn´t continue Final Cut Pro, we were looking for alternatives. The pipeline efficiencies that let us easily switch between Premiere Pro and After Effects are important to us. Premiere Pro is especially useful if we shoot on RED cameras because thanks to the Mercury Playback Engine we don’t have to convert and we can edit right away. We usually like to edit on set to see if what we’ve shot is exactly what we need.

Adobe: Tell us how you’re using Adobe Edge Animate CC?
Arnecke: We have a small team of designers who work on infographics for our daily news shows. We use graphical content created for on air programming, add interactivity and repackage that content for our news articles online. For example, for the election of Pope Franziskus or the 50th anniversary of the President Kennedy assassination we created interactive explanatory pieces with Edge Animate. These interactives give more depth to our news articles online and typically take us one to three days to produce—last year we did more than 150 of these.

See examples of the infographics here

Adobe: What is next for your team?
Arnecke: We’re planning a seven day shoot that will take place in March for our summer sports. With the success of the winter sports workflow, we’ll be using a similar setup.

Read more about the use of MAXON CINEMA 4D

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:29:34 am Creative Cloud, Customers

Charting a course for the filmmaking future

Prolific young filmmaker adopts Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud

Blake Simon is a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University studying Film Production and he’s already making his mark on the filmmaking world. So far, he has written, directed, and edited 11 short films on his own, and ultimately plans to direct features. His short western, Delarosa, won the Audience Choice Award for Best Student Short Film at the 2013 International Bel-Air Film Festival. Since switching from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro back in high school, he’s become a stalwart advocate of Adobe software, a Certified Expert in Adobe Premiere Pro, and self-prescribed Adobe evangelist.

Adobe: When did you become interested in filmmaking?
Simon: I knew I wanted to make films from the time I was in fourth or fifth grade. I have a newspaper project from fifth grade where I pasted a picture of my head on a celebrity holding an Oscar statue. I started making films as part of the filmmaking club at my high school when I was 14. Of course, you don’t start with a crew of people so I wore all the hats: writing, shooting, editing, even acting. It was great because I got to experiment with all the jobs and learn a little bit about everything. Ultimately I want to be a director, but I really like editing as well.

Adobe: You've made a lot of short films in a short time. Can you tell us more about them?
Simon: I’m interested in psychological thrillers, movies like Memento and Inception, but I've dabbled in many different genres. Delarosa is pretty ambitious. The goal was to be historically accurate. I have a friend whose family does historical reenactments so they supplied the clothes and props. We shot the film in the desert in Malibu Hills, California. I did all the editing and color grading in Premiere Pro, the sound editing in Audition, the output through Media Encoder, and created Blu-ray discs using Encore.

Adobe: You've been editing for several years. Why did you decide to use Adobe Premiere Pro?
Simon: We didn't have a film program at my high school, and the one film class taught Final Cut Pro 7 so that’s what I used. Then a few years ago, I shot a short on the RED EPIC camera and I started doing some work for RED, too. At this point, Premiere Pro CS5 was the only program that offered the ability to edit native RED footage. I decided to give Premiere Pro a try because I could jump right into editing without converting or transcoding the RED footage first. It was fabulous and I haven’t touched Final Cut Pro since.


Adobe: We rarely have the opportunity to interview young filmmakers who have just left high school and entered college. What do you think of what’s being taught in terms of editing software?
Simon: When Final Cut Pro X came out, schools did one of two things: switched to Premiere Pro or Avid or stayed on Final Cut Pro 7 in denial. I think Avid is the least user-friendly software, but the worst option is staying with Final Cut Pro 7. There haven’t been any updates in three years so it’s very outdated. These days, most people are very open to moving to Premiere Pro, and the transition is easy. My high school is now looking into Premiere Pro, and I’m glad to hear it.

Adobe: Are you using Adobe Creative Cloud yet?
Simon: I am and it’s fantastic. The great thing about Creative Cloud is that users get constant up-dates and the ability to try all the great video tools they need. The entertainment industry grows so rapidly, that if you can’t afford to replace all your hardware and software every couple of years, you’re outdated. Creative Cloud solves that problem.

Adobe: You’ve become a strong supporter of Adobe Premiere Pro. What is it about the software that you like?
Simon: It was so easy for me to become fluent in Premiere Pro. I started using the software to edit RED footage natively, and I've now tried many different cameras and it is amazing to be able to throw virtually any format on the timeline and get right to work. Premiere Pro is always pushing the limits as far as reading and processing different media. When I talk to other students, the idea of not having to convert footage is amazing. Some more experienced editors have an established workflow and like the offline editing process. I understand that, but Premiere Pro is the only software that gives you the option to edit natively, even 4K and 5K sequences, if you want to. I like options, and nothing else gives me close to as many options as Premiere Pro.


Adobe: Are there any other newer features that have helped with your workflow?
Simon: The first time I saw Hover Scrub in the Media Browser in Premiere Pro I was blown away. It saves so much time, especially when you have many takes of the same scene. I love that you can Hover Scrub and set in and out points in the thumbnails. Adjustment Layers also are amazing, because you can apply an effect not just to one clip but to layers of clips. I’m also a big fan of the Export Image feature, because it makes freeze frames a lot easier to accomplish.

Another reason that the Adobe workflow crushes the competition is because it has Dynamic Link between Premiere Pro and After Effects and Direct Link between Premiere Pro and SpeedGrade. It’s so amazing to see the changes instantly update without waiting for everything to render.

Adobe: What do you see other students wanting to do?
Simon: Many are interested in directing feature films in Hollywood. A lot of people are also interested in the web—Vimeo and YouTube. That’s another thing I love, the built in Media Encoder presets to format for YouTube and Vimeo, so the process of publishing to those sites is streamlined.

Adobe: What are students’ perspectives on what editing software to use?
Simon: Students are very open-minded. Many will learn whatever their school is teaching. But I do see more and more people using Premiere Pro. It is becoming a major contender for the industry standard among aspiring and experienced filmmakers.

Adobe: What are you working on next?
Simon: I’m always working on something. I’m currently in preproduction for a short currently titled Catalyst, which is scheduled to shoot in June of 2014. I've also just completed writing my first feature and hope to produce it in the next two years.

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Feb 13, 2014 at 10:49:25 am Creative Cloud, Customers

“Red Obsession” weaves intoxicating story

Freelance video pro relies on Adobe video workflow to edit documentary about Bordeaux wine

Paul Murphy studied writing in school, but his first job was with a publishing house overseeing the production of promotional videos for new books. He was instantly intrigued so he bought a copy of Adobe Premiere Pro and started creating the videos himself. Eventually he left publishing to focus full time on editing and motion graphics design. Murphy recently completed work on Red Obsession, a documentary about the Bordeaux wine industry and the impact of China’s overwhelming demand. The film recently earned the Australian Academy award (AACTA) for best feature documentary.

Adobe: Can you tell us a little more about Red Obsession?
Murphy: Warwick Ross, the film’s co-director and co-writer, was approached by an Australian Master of Wine who told him that something interesting was happening related to the supply and demand of wine in Bordeaux. Warwick took a crew to Bordeaux and captured 50 hours of footage that revealed more than just a basic “behind the scenes of the wine industry” story. The wealthy Chinese had decided that they didn't want to drink traditional Chinese alcohol anymore; they wanted to drink the best Bordeaux wine and were willing to pay for it. Ultimately, Warwick decided to use the wine industry as a microcosm to show what was going on in the global economy. Bordeaux used to sell most of its wine to the U.S. and U.K., but when the economic crisis cut consumption, the Chinese came in and started buying.

Adobe: How did you become involved in the project?
Murphy: Previously, I had worked with Warwick on a short documentary about World War II, and we developed a great relationship. Warwick asked me to work on this new film, and I was eager. We agreed that we didn't want it to feel like a wine documentary with boring “chocolate box” shots of vineyards and Vivaldi playing in the background. We wanted it to be visually stunning, edgy, and interesting. Ultimately, the film became a story about two very different cultures—French and Chinese—coming together over wine.

Adobe: What did you do with the first 50 hours of footage?
Murphy: I started going through the footage with the directors and figuring out what was going to work and what wasn't. Our first task was to create a six-minute trailer with the themes of the story set to music to attract private investors. While we were working on the trailer, the story was still playing out in Bordeaux. The French had pushed up the prices but then the Chinese became fickle about what they wanted to drink and stopped buying. The prices of Bordeaux wines crashed 45% overnight. The crew made three or four more trips to France as well as to China, Shanghai, and Hong Kong and we wound up with 100 hours of footage shot over about a year. At that point, I relied on my roots in writing and storytelling to find the arc of the story and cull everything down.

Adobe: Why did you select Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the project?
Murphy: I have used Premiere Pro since the beginning of my freelance editing and motion graphics career. I’ve dabbled in Avid and Final Cut Pro, but I love the Premiere Pro interface. I know it inside and out, and it allows me to work quickly and confidently. For this project, there was some debate about what software we should use because some people thought Premiere Pro couldn't be used on a feature-length film. I showed them how I could go into the timeline and locate a frame in the source file. I also demonstrated using Premiere Pro for speech analysis. We had 70 40-minute interviews and we used speech analysis on half of them, which made editing much faster. Red Obsession also has some complex motion graphics, so the integration between After Effects and Premiere Pro really helped to pull it together. It was definitely the right choice for the film.

Adobe: Tell us more about the motion graphics in the film.
Murphy: We were editing for about 10 months before we moved on to our motion graphics work in After Effects. In the film, we make visual references to news articles, and fly in and out of scenes. In one instance, we fly out of a scene and at the end the viewer is looking at a 3D image of a label on a wine bottle. The opening title sequence was also created in After Effects, with names of the people working on the film floating in space within a huge, expensive winery. It involved a lot of beautiful track shots, and I was grateful for the 3D Camera Tracker in After Effects.

Adobe: What other Adobe technologies were involved?
Murphy: I used a lot of InDesign for the end title layout, which I imported into After Effects for animation. I also used Illustrator for titling, as well as Photoshop for graphics. I always use Encore to create DVDs or Blu-ray disks for sharing and review.

Adobe: What’s happening with the film now?
Murphy: It debuted at the Berlin Film Festival and has also been shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival, and others. It’s done very well, and is available in theaters in Australia and on video-on-demand and iTunes in the United States.

Adobe: Did you edit this project using Adobe Creative Cloud?
Murphy: This project occurred before Creative Cloud was available, but I will be moving to Creative Cloud soon and I’m looking forward to it. I am anxious to try Prelude CC to manage my footage, metadata, and comments in one place. I had my own database for this, but would welcome the Prelude option. I’m also very excited to try After Effects CC. The fact that you can now bring Cinema 4D files directly into After Effects without rendering is amazing. I’d also like to try SpeedGrade CC for color grading. A good portion of Red Obsession was shot on ARRI Alexa cameras and after editing the footage, I showed rough cuts to the directors in a kind of milky, un-color-corrected state. I would have loved to use SpeedGrade CC to show them something that would look more like the final color. Overall, I’m excited to move to Creative Cloud because I like the idea of getting continuous updates, rather than waiting a year or longer for a new release.

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Watch the trailer

Watch Paul’s tutorial explaining how he created the titles for Red Obsession using InDesign Pro

Red Obsession is now available on DVD and VOD in US and Australia.

Posted by: Adam Spiel on Feb 11, 2014 at 11:02:48 am Adobe Creative Cloud, Customers

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