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Capturing the essence of Brazil through motion graphics and art

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
https://vimeo.com/93174087

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:00:07 am Creative Cloud, Customers

Soldier and storyteller

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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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Jun 16, 2014 at 1:03:14 pm Adobe Creative Cloud, Customers

Fueling creativity at Coyote Post

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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Posted by: Adam Spiel on May 29, 2014 at 12:01:47 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

Filmmaking dreams realized

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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Posted by: Adam Spiel on May 27, 2014 at 9:51:52 amComments (1) Creative Cloud, Customers

The Black Diamond run for filmmakers

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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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Apr 24, 2014 at 10:02:13 am Creative Cloud, Customers

Working hard in corporate video—and loving it

Leah Earle and Phanta Media deliver brilliant work with Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Leah Earle loves her job. As a video editor for Phanta Media in Toronto, she looks forward to going to work. Founded by Mark Drager in 2006, Phanta Media is a rising star in the corporate video universe, known for delivering great work on real-world timelines. Earle describes the 10-person company as cozy but rapidly growing, with a staff comprising business development representatives, producers, motion graphics, and video editors. Earle often works late and sometimes on weekends—and can’t get enough of it.


(Most of) the Phanta Media team: Mark Drager on the left, Leah Earle front center.

Adobe: What makes Phanta Media unique compared to other corporate video production companies?
Earle: We are extremely passionate, even if we are working on what some might consider a mundane corporate training video. We work hard and collaborate as a team. No one here is interested in being second best. This can lead to frustration, because I may get criticism from eight other people on my one great idea for an edit. But in the end it gives the client with the best possible product. We are a small company, and every client has a personal and highly creative experience with us. We “bring it,” every time to create beautiful projects on tight deadlines.

Adobe: What is it like working with Mark Drager?
Earle: Mark is the reason I took this job and also the reason I am still here. He is 31 years old and started this company when he was only 23. He had the confidence to know that he could make better videos then the next guy, and his enthusiasm is infectious—it makes us motivated to push ourselves. He promises clients that we will blow them away with our skills, and we always do.

Adobe: How did you get into this line of work?
Earle: I always wanted to do something technical, but I went to school for English literature because I was uncertain about what path to take. A few people guided me toward journalism. That led me to a video journalism postgraduate program at Conestoga College. I really liked shooting, and I didn't mind being on camera or reading a teleprompter, but what I loved right away was editing.



Adobe: When did you start using Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Earle: I had never used Premiere Pro before I came to Phanta Media. Previously, Phanta Media was a Final Cut Pro shop, but like many in the industry, the company started looking for other options as soon as Final Cut Pro X came out. Premiere Pro is very "editor-friendly," and that’s been a huge plus in growing my career.

Adobe: How would you compare Premiere Pro to other editing software?
Earle: For starters, you don't have to log and capture footage. The scrubbing and playback in Premiere Pro is much faster than Final Cut, and not having to render something just to to watch it is a dream. I find the program makes it really easy to adjust my shortcuts and organize my workspace and projects. I like being able to save things such as title templates to use throughout projects, because I do a lot of subtitle work. Even the addition of the tiny window at the top left where you can preview your clip when you click once is helpful. I need to sort through mountains of footage fast. I like being able to export using Adobe Media Encoder as I work, because no one wants to have to stop and wait to export.



Adobe: What else do you use in your pipeline?
Earle: I use Photoshop and After Effects for most graphics. I can bring graphics files straight into the Premiere Pro timeline, without having to export them every time I change the file, which is so great. I can click on something and edit it on the spot, rather than having to look for the file and open it in another program. This saves so much time on projects, especially those with hundreds of After Effects files that you’d normally have to re-time.

I sometimes edit in Adobe Audition when I am facing a complex audio problem or when I’m tasked with voiceovers. When I first started I was in charge of setting up new DVD templates and Adobe Encore was so easy to learn and use to burn DVDs. Now, I use Adobe Media Encoder a lot to create files for various media: the Internet, PCs, or DVDs—whatever clients want.



Adobe: What was your experience in moving to Adobe Creative Cloud?
Earle: My favorite thing about the switch to Adobe Creative Cloud, was the new finding and re-linking function in Premiere Pro. This is crucial, because a few of us may be working on the same project. Files often reside in different places and get moved around a lot.

All in all, the interfaces, shortcuts, and other commands among Adobe’s creative software apps are so uniform that I grow more familiar with the tools and the workflows every day. This makes me increasingly more efficient and gets rid of that frustrating gap between what the technology can do and what you think it should be able to do. With Creative Cloud, I can take greater advantage of each program’s full potential to realize any creative ideas we dream up.

Mark Drager and Kyle Wilson of Phanta Media are presenting an Ask a Video Pro session on April 24, 2014 at 10 am PT called How to Build a Successful Corporate Video BusinessRegister here to join this free online seminar. 

Visit the Phanta Media website

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Apr 23, 2014 at 9:41:50 am Creative Cloud, Customers

Creating a visual experience for Fatboy Slim at Coachella

Production company creates immersive experience for well-known DJ artist at art and music festival using Adobe Creative Cloud

Plastic Reality is a production company known for branding and other video work for big corporate clients such as BP and Unilever. But unlike most corporate video companies, Plastic Reality has a wild side, called The Happiness Labs, focused on producing experiential content and graphics for live events and installations.

In creating new realities and immersive experiences, The Happiness Labs raised the bar for British DJ, musician, rapper, and record producer Fatboy Slim at the 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Tim Fleming, executive producer of The Happiness Labs, shares how Fatboy Slim’s otherworldly stage experience came together.

Adobe: What makes you excited about working with bands?
Fleming: I worked at an advertising company at the beginning of my career, but then I had the chance to work with big-name artists and tour with various art collectives. I was excited to be working with people who were very receptive to new creative ideas. Layering visuals and lighting was becoming a big part of these shows and I started to think about how video content could further enhance the experience.

Today bands think about shows as a whole experience with intricate props and designs from the moment they kick them off, but it wasn’t always that way. Seeing how these shows were being constructed as an experience, especially in the electronic music space, and being a bit of a party boy I thought it looked like a lot of fun.

Adobe: How did you get connected with Fatboy Slim?
Fleming: I’ve had a longstanding relationship with Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook. He is a superstar DJ and lovely bloke all at the same time. When I started with him around 2000 or 2001, he was already famous for his videos. His record label had seen the work we’d done with some artists, and asked us to submit a treatment for his upcoming video, “Star 69.”

A while later, Norman was approached to do a show on Brighton Beach. It was one of the first large outdoor shows with a DJ and his team knew they would need some content for the show. They liked what we’d done for “Star 69,” so they asked us to work on the show. The first Brighton Beach Boutique show had 60,000 attendees, and the second one had 250,000. From then on I was on the bus and the next stop was a show in Brazil for about 350,000 people.






Adobe: How would you describe the Coachella show?
Fleming: Coachella in 2014 has a big focus on electronic acts and electronic dance music. The performance at Coachella was an evolution of everything we’ve been doing over the last several years to turn watching a DJ into a magical experience that transports audiences into another realm with incredible lighting, imagery, effects, video, and graphics. The heart of his show is focused on his hit track “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat.”

Adobe: Tell us more about “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat.”
Fleming: Well there’s an interesting story around where the actual lyric for “Eat, Sleep, Rave Repeat” came from. In between shows I was editing some shots for Norman and he sent me a mail at around midnight when I was still working, asking how it was going. I sent him a one line reply saying, “Eat, Sleep, Edit, Rave, Repeat.”

Next thing I knew he sent me a demo titled “Your Tune.” Then he got RivaStarr and Beardyman involved and the whole thing grew into a monster to the point where, a few months after this email conversation, we’re getting photos sent in from people who have tattoos saying “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat.”

Adobe: How did this idea translate to Coachella?
Fleming: Coachella originally approached us asking if we would like to do a show based around the four seasons. The set at Coachella is 60 minutes long, so the festival organizers were looking to split it into four parts and use a bunch of physical effects, such as fire, snow, and rain, to accentuate the different seasons. We had a think about this and obviously loved the idea of the different physical effects but thought the four seasons might be a bit like doing opera.

We got Team Fatboy together over a good lunch as we usually do and started throwing some ideas around. We realized we could re-work “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” into “Heat, Sleet, Rain, Repeat”—job done! We got to keep the physical effects but incorporate them into Norm’s global smash hit.

Adobe: What special elements are included in the Coachella show?
Fleming: As well as building a boom box that has ice, fire, and rain built into it we used a 3D model of Norman’s head that was shot at Pinewood Studios. We inserted it in with other graphics and 3D elements around the head. It appears every couple of bars in the song. All of the mapping was done and put together in After Effects CC, along with the textures and finishing.





We also put Norman in the middle of the screen in a 9x9 matrix and created accompanying video content and original graphics, including a fun fruit machine. All of the video content was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It was great to be able to throw multiple codecs and file types right onto the timeline in Premiere Pro CC and have it work seamlessly.



Adobe: How do you pull off these surreal experiences?
Fleming: We combined a well-researched history of being the last one on the dance floor with other techniques, some involving big rig or prop installations and others requiring software. We’ve always been big After Effects users. CINEMA 4D and After Effects are at the heart of everything we do and their widespread adoption throughout the creative industry is a reflection of the quality results that can be achieved. Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC are also key to our workflow and we appreciate having all of the tools available to us in Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe: What do you think of the closer integration between Adobe After Effects CC and CINEMA 4D?
Fleming: The forthcoming era of deeper integration between CINEMA 4D and After Effects CC is very exciting and we are really looking forward to seeing how it enhances our workflow. We really just find them a joy to play with and encourage all younger artists who are working with us to learn this combination. We’re also excited about the option of rendering in the cloud so we don’t tie up local resources.

Adobe: The shows you put together have an entirely new look. What is it you’re trying to accomplish?
Fleming: EDM shows tend to look very polished, high-def, and fast moving. We wanted to do something a little different to set us apart. That’s why we shot some original content for Coachella in black and white and slow motion and edited it in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. In one shot, we have people jumping around that we filmed with a slow motion camera. So the look is a bit different than your classic EDM footage. We also slapped Norman in the face with a fish and filmed that in slow-mo!






Adobe: What are the benefits of moving to Adobe Creative Cloud?
Fleming: We work with small teams plus many freelancers. Our Adobe Creative Cloud for teams membership helps us move seats around so artists working in different locations are all on the same version and have the software they need when they need it. We’re also looking at trying new tools like Adobe Prelude CC for ingest, at no extra charge. That’s a big bonus.

Adobe:
What’s in the future for you?
Fleming: Fatboy Slim has the World Cup coming up in June in Brazil, followed by the 2014 Glastonbury Festival. Norman is trying to go for the world record for the most consecutive Glastonbury Festival’s played, so he can’t miss it! There are other festivals planned during the summer months as well, so we’ll be busy.

Our work has become so diversified that we’re going to continue to use Plastic Reality for our corporate work. But now we’re developing The Happiness Labs for the fun, experiential work we’re doing for bands and brands. We’re looking to develop content for immersive, virtual reality technologies such as Oculus Rift, Leap Motion, and Thalmic Labs MYO. There’s a big shift in the way content and storytelling is being developed, and we intend to be at the convergence of the amazing new wave of tech and tools and the never-ending desire for a good story that we humans have.

Tim would like to thank long-time collaborators Chris Cousins, Joe Plant, and Bob Jaroc, as well as Mike Sansom at Bright Fire Pyro for working on this year's content.

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Apr 18, 2014 at 1:28:23 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

Setting the stage for “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

Video Playback and Graphics team uses Adobe Creative Cloud and plugins from FxFactory to create period-specific news content

To make the set of GNN, the 24-hour news channel featured in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues as realistic as possible required one essential element: content. It was the job of the video playback and graphics team to fill the dozens of screens throughout the fictional studio with realistic, period-specific news.

Rather than filling the screens in post production and using archived news reports, the team produced nearly all original content and fed it to the screens in real time. News reports were shot and composited together with stock footage using an Adobe Creative Cloud video workflow and plugins from FxFactory, which offers a broad range of VFX tools for editors and compositors.

Playback Supervisor, Todd Marks, worked closely with his hand-picked team, designers Perry Freeze and Jeb Johenning to create the functioning 1980s GNN studio and news-office that helps set the stage for the blockbuster comedy. Todd and Jeb have worked together on many projects over the last 12 years. Perry was added to the team when they worked on the film The Internship in 2012.



Adobe: What were your roles on the Anchorman 2 movie?
Marks: I was the playback supervisor, responsible for overseeing all of the content creation and playback. In this case, my team put together and ran the functioning GNN studios, and we created all of the content, some which was story specific and some was just background imagery to add to the reality of the time period and the set. We call it “bg" (background) footage and we created a lot of it.
Freeze: I worked as a designer on the film and also helped coordinate the data asset management, which involved keeping track of all of the moving pieces and approvals. On this movie we had a fairly short development cycle. We had to get up and running with a graphics package for the studio, and within the studio we wanted to have up to 10 channels on air featuring news from around the world.
Johenning: I was also a designer, working with Perry on the content. When we initially looked at the breadth of content it was enormous. We had in excess of 100 different videos with one or more ways that we needed to create them, without actually knowing how they would be used.

Adobe: How does it all start?
Marks: We get a script and have to breakdown what’s written, which involves meetings with the production designer, set decorator, director, and even the props and construction people. We make recommendations and try to push beyond what most people think can be done. With the story specific content, we needed to help tell the story in a short amount of time in a visually accurate, period-specific manner. Each film has different needs. For this movie, we needed to recreate a news studio look (we referenced CNN’s style during its launch in 1980). GNN starts with a simple graphics package at launch, as they are on the air longer, we had the look mature by increasing the complexity of the font and graphics package.



Adobe: How did you go about creating the content?
Freeze: We couldn’t possibly get clearance from actual archived material or we would have had to stick to a very narrow, stock footage type of content. So very early on we decided to make all of the content.
Johenning: In the GNN studio’s office, there is a big wall with 15 different monitors that show everything happening around the world. Every piece of footage had to look local to its environment. We hired actors to be our period reporters and we then filmed “man-on-the-street” interviews. I’m a videographer, so Perry and I worked with our video team and shot most of the unique footage for this project. The wardrobe people put the actors in period costume and we filmed them against a green screen in both interior and exterior locations.



Later, we composited them into different locations, such as in front of the Pyramids in Egypt, the slums in Kenya, or farmland in Iowa. Each one had a different graphical look and feel. We created fake names for the people and used different fonts that would be local to the region. The backgrounds were sourced from stock footage or public domain sources. We also went around Atlanta, Georgia and filmed b-roll elements that we later used as content in our news reports, in addition to the composited green screen shots.



Adobe: Was it easy to integrate the new and old footage?
Johenning: All of the new footage was shot on a Sony F3, so it was beautiful HD quality. The stock footage backgrounds were 10, 15, or even 20 years old, standard-definition video and film, so the look of the two formats was completely different. We had to dumb down the foreground shots to make them look believable with the background stuff. We used an extensive array of Adobe tools, including Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop, to make everything look authentic.
Marks: The PHYX products from FxFactory were used extensively. We used PHYX KEYER tools, PHYX CLEANER, and PHYX DEFOCUS to create composites, match the looks of the different footage, and add depth to the shots to make them look realistic. Using the PHYX filters with After Effects and Premiere Pro really helped to streamline our workflow.
Johenning: In some cases, we could stay entirely in Premiere Pro, and in other cases we would take footage into After Effects for more specialized compositing. We would ultimately always end up in Premiere Pro, where we would up-res the SD to HD so we could have the cleanest keys, edges, and color correction. The last step was to down-res and use the link to Media Encoder to output a SD piece of footage for playback on an SD monitor.

Adobe: Did you use any other plugins from FxFactory?
Marks: In addition to the PHYX filters, we used FxFactory Bad TV filters to add static hits and signal degradation, just as you would see with a normal satellite feed. Using these plugins adds a sense of reality and gives us the opportunity to do cuts that aren’t perceived by the audience. We used about 10 different FxFactory plugins throughout the film. For news elements, there are specific plugins that add realism to the feel and look.

Adobe: What was the most challenging part of the data asset management?
Freeze: Films don’t shoot chronologically, so it’s important to keep track of what media needs to be on air and how it needs to look at that point in the movie. We used Adobe Bridge to keep track of revisions, star approved artwork, and manage all folders. Bridge is universally tied into Photoshop and Illustrator, making it easy to create contact sheets of all of our work, print them out and post them, or show the top 10 revisions on an iPad to the director while on location, for quick approval.
Marks: The studio had about 150 CRT monitors, and we were able to route from 14 different feeds to each monitor at any time. It requires keeping track of what’s on each monitor in what scene, which involves lots of logistics in additional to the technical aspects. Some of first scenes we did in the studio were in Linda Jackson’s office, where there were three monitors on a far wall. We thought they would just be in the background, but the actors were placed right in front of them. You never know whether something you work on for days or weeks will be shown for just seconds or be featured prominently in a scene. This makes it even more important to keep track of shots so you don’t see the same footage in more than one scene.



Adobe: Have you started using Adobe Creative Cloud?
Johenning: I was already using Adobe Master Collection CS6, but when Creative Cloud came out I jumped on the bandwagon. An added benefit of Creative Cloud is that it included Adobe Muse. I was a user of Muse for my own business website and having that part of Adobe Creative Cloud was a real bonus! I had switched to Adobe Premiere Pro after Apple introduced Final Cut Pro X, and it’s the only editing program I use right now.
Freeze: I’m using Creative Cloud as well. The thing about using Creative Cloud is that when we’re working with teams everyone is on the same current, updated release. We used to deal with people not installing updates, or being on a different version all together, which created problems in our pipeline.

Adobe: What was the process like when you were on set?
Freeze: As prepared as we were, it was very much like a live news broadcast. We were using an AJA IO system to connect After Effects and Premiere Pro directly into our video switcher that was going out to the studio floor. It wasn’t what you would typically do in a TV production situation. We were creating content for the movie on the fly by tying directly into a switcher that was taking live camera feeds of Will Ferrell’s character, and then using After Effects to quickly apply lower thirds and over the shoulder graphics.
Marks: Because we were using standard definition CRTs, to make them look like they came from the right period, the set dressing department created plastic bezels that made the screen sizes even smaller than typical CRTs. This made the normal safety area even smaller, couple that with each old TV monitor’s slightly different scaling, and often I would actually have to be on the studio floor talking the control room through the proper positioning of the graphics on a featured screen.
Freeze: We would run around on the floor with cameras and take pictures of our work on the older TVs, go back to Photoshop or Illustrator and create a matte, and save it as a new title or action safe that could then be applied in After Effects or Premiere Pro when we were working so we knew how something would look when we put it on the period monitors. When you’re on a movie set and you have an entire crew, including all of the actors, waiting for you to finish something or change something it’s a lot of pressure.



Adobe: How is this different than the visual effects we see in other films?
Johenning: None of what we do is done in post production. A lot of visual effects in movies involve after-the-fact effects. I’m not diminishing the importance of that approach to moviemaking, but in our case rather than filling a monitor with a solid green image and creating, tracking, and coloring the content after a scene is shot, we have to do it as if it’s a live TV show and make it look real and believable.

Adobe: Why was this approach useful in the Anchorman 2 production?
Freeze: We ultimately helped make a better movie because the content was live. The actors could see themselves on the monitors and ad lib, and we made changes to things like titles on the fly.
Marks: We surprised the crew with our capabilities, and it freed the post production people up a lot. There was one scene where we were able to use Photoshop to quickly build a full map of the United States, with temperatures throughout the country, and then overlay satellite imagery using Premiere Pro. Because they were able to use the map in the scene instead of just having a green screen, Steve Carrell was able to see himself on the monitor and play off of what was happening. The director was also able to give him direction based on what he saw evolving. It was some of the most hysterical stuff we shot and it wouldn’t have happened if it was done in post production.

Adobe: Can you give an example of how After Effects was used?
Marks: One of the scenes in the movie shows the characters covering a car chase. Production was quite concerned about the cost of staging the chase, but the stock footage we had wasn’t long enough. Through some creative editing, Perry made it happen.
Freeze: We had chase footage of two cars, one grey convertible with a closed black canvas top on the freeway and one larger grey car primarily going through neighborhoods. We used the Roto Brush in After Effects to track the roof of the larger car and then darken the roof to match the other vehicle. By using tools in Premiere Pro to flip the footage and slow down and speed up shots, we were able to edit together a longer scene, with four different segments for playback.

Adobe: Were there any other benefits of working with Adobe video tools?
Marks: With Adobe tools being so portable we were able to take the same laptop we used on stage back to our hotel room and still have the same powerful workflow. It was especially useful when we were working late on graphics that were needed for the next day of shooting. Doing our job would be nearly impossible without Adobe’s powerful software tools.

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Apr 15, 2014 at 10:26:25 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

Producing content for the largest sports show on earth is no small task

An ambitious content delivery goal will be met with a workflow featuring Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Pulling off the broadcast of the largest sports show on earth, spanning nearly a month’s worth of content, is no small task. HBS, the dedicated host broadcaster for one of the largest sporting events in the world, has contracted EVS and Moovit. EVS will provide for the central Media Asset Exchange Server located at the International Broadcast Center (IBC) and all editing workstation will be supplied by MoovIT. Central to the editing workflow is Adobe Premiere Pro CC, which will help editors quickly turn around content for distribution to multilateral production facilities and Media Rights Licensees (known as MRLs).

The central media server is the hub for the production operation during the competition. All material generated by HBS will be uploaded and logged onto the server and users connected to the system will be able to search and browse via dedicated browsing stations and transfer content into their system for unilateral programming requirements. All multilateral editing workstations required for post-production and multimedia will also be connected with the large SAN storage as part of the central server based on EVS technology.

Moovit was brought on board to provide the 54 workstations with Premiere Pro CC for editing live content and creating features, promos, as well as all components required for multimedia production. This new workflow will enable editors to turn content around more quickly than ever before. The central media server, acting as a shared storage, integrates with Premiere Pro CC by using the EVS IPLink interface.

Editors using Premiere Pro CC and the IPLink interface will be able to directly connect to the server, making it easy to create final edits of updates, promos, and multimedia packages. In addition, external media from various sources will come in from the ENG crews and be combined on the workstations without any transcoding to quickly produce the content.

For multimedia clients a wide selection of Video on Demand (VOD) clips will be provided by the host broadcaster. These clips need to be provided quickly so they can be immediately featured on websites, through mobile subscription sites, or by sponsors and broadcasters. After an event happens, such as a goal or a red card, a clip should be available online within minutes and available in various languages.

Moovit and EVS will both help HBS to meet this enterprising goal so that fans in multiple countries will be able to experience the action in near real time. With a customized workflow that includes Premiere Pro CC, HBS, through this service, will keep fans around the world on the edge of their seats as they follow the action and relive key moments from their favorite teams and players.

Read the Sports Video Group Europe article

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Apr 9, 2014 at 9:43:49 am Creative Cloud, Customers

Recreating reality with visual effects

Seamless visual effects for The Wolf of Wall Street created with help from Adobe After Effects CC and Adobe Photoshop CC

Paul and Christina Graff of Crazy Horse Effects (CHE) are visual effects aficionados, with projects to their credit such as There Will Be Blood and Life of Pi. They also work with a team of some of the best matte painters and designers in the visual effects industry, and are recognized for their award-winning compositing. They recently created some seamless visual effects for The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese, with Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato overseeing the shots.

Adobe: How did you become involved with The Wolf of Wall Street?
Paul: I actually met Rob at a panel presenting outstanding work in VFX done in After Effects. We went to have a drink afterwards and he asked me about our new office in New York. We had worked on The Aviator and Shutter Island with him and he thought we could help with some of the shots in The Wolf of Wall Street. We were stoked to make the reunion with Rob, and excited to work on the project, although we joined the team late in the game when most of the effects were already well underway.

Adobe: What type of work did he send your way?
Christina: We didn't do any of the normal set extension work that we usually do. Instead, we focused on a lot of last minute fixes and designed several sequences. We worked on a lot of quirky shots! We contributed to several corporate identity “videos,” a few driving scenes, and a longer sequence with the real Jordan Belford at the end of the movie. Our work is really scattered throughout the movie.

Adobe: What sequences stand out?
Christina: We had a great scene to work on where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is dizzy on Quaaludes and stumbles down a staircase at his country club. The actual set had only four steps, but Leonardo’s Quaalude-induced point of view the staircase appeared much longer. Rob had a version of the same staircase built that was much longer surrounded by green screens. This set was a bit bouncy and needed attention. Our job was to connect the extension stairs with the original set environment and make the staircase appear sturdier by rebuilding them digitally and blending everything together. We rebuilt the scene using a 2.5D set up in After Effects CC. We also extended the country club in the establishing shot that looks up to the top of the stairs. In the end, it looked believable, as if it really happened. On other projects, we’re also using a lot of the 3D capabilities of CINEMA 4D—its integration with After Effects CC is allowing us to do 3D work with much greater speed and ease.

Adobe: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
Paul: There is a corporate identity video playing at the beginning of the film and we had to recreate all of the stock exchange footage in that scene from scratch. We had some content that was very low quality, NTSC material and we needed to basically recreate the shots avoiding any copyright issues. Rob shot extras on green screen and we did our own mini VFX shoot in our New York office and used Adobe Photoshop CC to create matte paintings for the background. We only had about two days to do it and it was very challenging, but creating environments is one of our strengths.

Adobe: Were any particular features of After Effects CC helpful?
Paul: For one shot on a yacht, we had to recreate the floor and the reflections on the floor, including replacing a diamond-shaped logo. The shots we had to work with were created using a Steadicam stabilizer, but they were not quite steady enough. Based on Rob’s suggestion, we used the Warp Stabilizer in After Effects CC, and were impressed with the results. We’ve now started using Warp Stabilizer on more shots.

Also, the dwarf toss scene was shot spherical on Alexa, so we had to match it to the rest of the sequence that was shot on film with anamorphic lenses. It was quite tricky to get the texture of the files to look close to identical. We didn't use plugins, we just relied on curves, blurs, and displacement maps in After Effects to achieve the desired look.

Adobe: What was it like coming in late on a project? How did you succeed?
Paul: We came in late, but all of our work was high quality with a fast turnaround so Rob kept giving us bigger and bigger pieces of the pie. The Wolf of Wall Street included some content that was considered inappropriate by the Motion Picture Association of America. In the last phase of post production, Rob asked us to go on site at Deluxe Labs in New York where the final DI color corrections where being done to help them with some fixes to make the film more commercially appropriate. I went to Rob’s office at Deluxe and set up an iMac with After Effects on it and started working. In one day we did 16 retiming shots and one scene where we placed a chair in a scene to block some of the content. For me, it’s all about the finishing. You really show your colors at the end of a movie, and anything that came up last minute we knocked out.

Adobe: What was the benefit of working with Creative Cloud?
Christina: Creative Cloud lets us be super mobile. We can do what we do from anywhere—in the field, on site, or in the office.

Adobe: What was it like working with Rob Legato again?
Christina: He’s a genius, one of those people who has creative vision but also knows technology. He has fantastic concepts and vivid mental images, but also gives his VFX artists the freedom to devise their own ways of doing things.

Brian Sales and Blake Loyd of Crazy Horse Effects will be presenting in the Adobe booth at NAB 2014 on Monday, April 7th and Tuesday, April 8th.

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Posted by: Adam Spiel on Apr 3, 2014 at 1:25:31 pm Creative Cloud, Customers

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