: Adobe Beyond Adobe
Projection mapping installation relies on Adobe Creative Cloud tools
It almost had to happen. Tom Wait’s spooky spoken word song “What’s He Building in There,” is so evocative, so visual
that it’s like film that plays in your mind. The challenge, though, is how to actually make a film that does justice to the genius of the original piece.
Ricardo Rivera, visual artist, filmmaker, and founder of Klip Collective
, began exploring video projections when he worked as a club VJ in Philadelphia. “In 1998 I was playing around with Photoshop and discovered how to map images to surfaces,” recalls Rivera. “When After Effects added the ability to preview work through a mini DV connection, I discovered that I could easily play content through a digital projector.” Rivera pointed the projector at a wall in his kitchen and used it to canvas the surfaces. “Then I masked all of the elements in the kitchen using Photoshop and created what was, in effect, a multi-channel projection feed through one projector and one feed.”
Once Rivera had figured out the workflow, the possibilities were endless. Today Klip Collective holds two patents on projection mapping, a technique whereby video content is projected onto non-traditional display surfaces such as the sides of buildings, often as site-specific art. Different physical surfaces come to life in unexpected ways in a dance of shapes, color, and imagery, melding the permanence of architecture with the transience of light. These are the kinds of new frontiers for art that digital tools make possible.
“We map with After Effects, tap into a projector with a laptop as a second or third display to get the 1:1 ratio, and then map the resolution,” explains Rivera. “The key is to maintain the 1:1 pixel ratio so that the final result remains visually coherent across the various surfaces and angels. It has to be accurate down to the millimeter for everything to work. It’s a very intense process.”
In addition to working with Photoshop CC and After Effects CC, the team recently switched to Adobe Premiere Pro CC. “We initially used Final Cut Pro but moving to Premiere Pro makes our workflow so much faster,” says Rivera.” The integration between the Adobe products is fantastic.”
And they’ve had commercial success with the approach as well: the company works with ad agencies or directly with a diverse list of clients, including organizations such as Central Park Conservancy, the New York Public Library, and Temple University to brands like Gillette, NBC Sports, New Balance Nike/Jordan, Target, Urban Outfitters, and more. Visual installations by Klip Collective have been featured in commercials, music videos, and films, as well as a whole range of different corporate, sporting, and social events.
And that’s where Tom Waits comes back into the story. Last year Klip Collective created a brilliant 15-minute projection-mapped installation of What’s He Building in There
? as part of the New Frontier exhibit at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Projecting onto a suitably scary-looking building, the imagery took the viewer through the walls revealing strange goings-on in different parts of the structure. Then the walls seem to slide down into the ground, exposing the entire interior of the building. A remarkable piece in it’s own right, it also solves the problem of how to bring Tom Waits’ song to the “big screen” without losing it’s strangeness, or diluting the drama of the original piece with conventional storytelling techniques.
This year, Klip Collective is back at Sundance with a clever pre-roll trailer
honoring past festival favorites, which is being shown at all film screenings, making it the only film this year that every Sundance attendee will see. The piece is a narrative, incorporating live action panels and 3D animation projected onto the front of the Egyptian Theater in Park City. A 10-minute story plays out and then loops back into abstract geometric forms against the complex façade of the building. The Egyptian Theater projections themselves will also be included in the Sundance New Frontier exhibit as part of a short called What’s He Projecting In There
“We used Photoshop for compositing and to create the setting,” says Rivera. “Then we brought that into After Effects and composited everything together to build the base map.” The team filmed all of the live action on green screen. “There are four zones and the characters moved between them.” The Klip crew used Premiere Pro for editing and then moved to After Effects for the final compositing and timing. They used two HD projectors side by side to project the video onto the theater.
“I love how Dynamic Link lets me do a little bit of editing in Premiere Pro, easily go into After Effects for the mapping, and then finish in Premiere Pro, utilizing the alpha channel masks for the piece,” enthuses Rivera. “It’s so much more efficient than if we had to render content every time we wanted to move between our tools.”
And Kilp Collective is already developing ideas for new projects that open up the interiors of buildings to tell their stories. “We have a new project in the works called Vacant America,” says Rivera. “I’ll tour America with my team and do site-specific installations on vacant buildings. For example, we may film a Campbell’s soup can factory and tell a story about that location through the use of projection mapping and the experiences of people who worked there. We’re currently bring partners on board and there’s a lot of interest in this project.”
Learn more about Klip Collective 2013 - or check out the Klip Collective Art Reel 2013
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Adobe Creative Cloud integral to working with archival content for PBS documentary
Last Days in Vietnam
isn't the first trip to the Sundance Film Festival for Director Rory Kennedy. Her film Ethel
premiered at the festival in 2012 and went on to garner an impressive five Primetime Emmy nominations. But for her Associate Producer, Taylor Johns, it’s not only his first trip to Sundance, but it’s also the first film he’s worked on since graduating and taking a job with Kennedy’s company, Moxie Firecracker Films. In addition to doing some shooting on the film, Johns’ main job was to oversee the archival content, which involved working extensively with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I studied both film and pre-med at Pepperdine. I had the opportunity to intern with Rory at Moxie Firecracker Films one summer, and she offered me a job right after I graduated. I had just taken the medical school entrance exam, and I was accepted to medical school but decided to defer for a year to explore a career in filmmaking. It’s been a really great experience, working directly for such a talented documentary filmmaker has taught me a great deal. Now I have to decide if I want to go on to medical school or keep making films.
What was the genesis for the film?
Rory was approached by Mark Samels, the Executive Producer of American Experience, who was interested in developing a story focused on the Americans on the ground during the final days of the Vietnam War. We started doing some research, were immediately interested, and jumped on board. The film doesn’t get into the politics of the war, but instead focuses on the heroic efforts of individuals to evacuate people and save the lives of South Vietnamese citizens.
A CIA employee helps Vietnamese evacuees onto an Air America helicopter from the top of 22 Gia Long Street, a half mile from the U.S. Embassy. Credit: Copyright Bettmann/Corbis/AP Images
Where did you get the archival content?
We largely secured the archival footage on our own. We had access to PBS archives from previous documentaries, but that wasn't all encompassing. There are iconic shots of the Vietnam War, but we wanted to shy away from those so people wouldn't feel as if they've already seen this story. A lot of the archival content came from the characters featured in the film. We also acquired images from Getty, AP, and other news services. As we researched and developed the story we knew what we needed. There are more than 140 photos included in the film and many weren't in very good shape.
How important was Adobe Photoshop CC to your workflow?
Photos came from both personal and professional sources, which meant that there was a whole range of quality in the images we used. Some were in perfect condition, some needed major restoration work. The Spot Healing brush and Content-Aware Fill tools in Photoshop would routinely get me 90% of the way to removing scratches and damages on the images. Any document treatment that needed to be done was similarly done in Photoshop. Most of the documents came from original scans, so some existing markings and page tears had to be cleaned up. Once again, the robust Content Aware capabilities in Photoshop again proved to be essential.
We had the text of back channel communications, essentially telegrams that were sent back and forth between Washington and the Embassy in Saigon, but not the original telegrams. I used the custom brushes in Photoshop to create a textured paper background, to apply to the text to give it a more authentic feel. It was so easy to make adjustments to these files and sync them to Creative Cloud so I could work on them from my laptop or my desktop.
We also had a newspaper headline that we wanted to use but the text of the article was oddly spaced and split between pages, as it came from an old scan. It was incredibly easy to apply a paper texture to the background and move the text around so it was inline and looked like a cohesive article. From there, it was even easier to send the PSD file to my Online Editor, Eric Robbins, to apply the necessary camera moves in After Effects to the PSD file. Any changes or revisions I made to my file would then be automatically reflected in After Effects.
Aboard the USS Kirk, crew members signal the Chinook to hover over their deck and drop its passengers out. Credit: Hugh Doyle
What other Creative Cloud tools did you use?
All of the images needed camera moves applied, such as pushing in or pulling out of a photo. Photoshop and After Effects were ideal because of how well they work together. A photo could be restored in Photoshop, then animated in After Effects. Additional restorations could easily be made as needed, as After Effects natively supports PSD files and allows you to see changes made in Photoshop instantly. This made it quick to integrate last-minute changes into a section of the film, even if the images had not been restored previously. After Effects also scales images quite nicely since it uses the full resolution of an image. A lot of the images weren't very high res, and we couldn't have any letter boxing, so we had to push in to fill the whole screen. With After Effects, we could be fairly aggressive with some of the camera moves and not impact the quality of the image.
When I had archival footage screeners that I need to show our editor, I would throw them into Premiere Pro CC and apply whatever effects I needed to make them work for our purposes, mainly simple flips or cropping, with the occasional warp stabilization. I used Premiere Pro CC for this because the clips came from a variety of sources, including some home video footage shot on one of the Navy ships, with a variety of frame rates. In Premiere Pro CC I could have them all on the same timeline without a problem.
What do you think of Creative Cloud?
When Creative Cloud was first announced I wasn't sure about the model, but now I just love it. I love having access to Typekit, and the ability to sync settings in the cloud and sync important files in the cloud is really great. I love being able to easily download programs when I need them and access new features immediately instead of waiting months for the next major release. I think I've experimented with all of the software in Creative Cloud. It’s nice to tread in waters I haven’t previously ventured into.
How long did it take to complete the film?
Rory and I started doing the preliminary research in June 2012 and worked for a year. We took a hiatus over the summer, and then came back in the fall to finish. The online editing for the film took about two months.
What are the plans for Last Days in Vietnam
PBS/American Experience owns the film. We’re starting with a premiere at Sundance, and then we hope to continue on the festival circuit. There may also be a theatrical run this year, and then the PBS American Experience broadcast will likely coincide with the 40th anniversary of the evacuation of Saigon in April 2015.
What’s next for Moxie Firecracker?
We’re in the middle of shooting two new projects that are part of a larger, eight part series called MAKERS: Women Who Make America
, also for PBS. The series consists of one-hour mini documentaries focused on the women’s movement and women who were pioneers in their specific fields. The two we’re working on are women in politics and women in Hollywood.
Visit the website: http://www.lastdaysinvietnam.com/
Watch the trailer: http://player.vimeo.com/video/83720339
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Adobe will be at the Sundance Film Festival again this year in support of emerging independent filmmakers and great new cinema.
Adobe will present a special filmmakers panel
Friday, January 17th from 3-4:30pm MST at the New Frontiers Microcinema: Engaging Story, Brilliant Visuals, Low Budget - the changing face of independent film. Presenters on the panel
include filmmakers Kyle Alvarez, HaZ Dullul, and Jim Mickle. This event will be available as a live webcast
for anyone around the world who wants to learn more about how emerging filmmakers are making higher quality films on small, or even micro-budgets.
During the festival, the Adobe Creative Cloud products can be seen at the HP booth at Sundance House. There student filmmakers will be hard at work on short films using the Creative Cloud video applications on HP workstations. Visitors can try out the Creative Cloud tools themselves, including Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC on demo machines, and artist and animator Dustin Grella will present a Sundance Animation Hotline
using crowd-sourced voicemail messages and Adobe Creative Cloud to create unique interpretive animations.
Throughout the Sundance Film Festival, Meagan Keane and the Adobe TV crew will be covering events and interviewing filmmakers. You can view these videos on the Sundance channel on Adobe TV
More information about Adobe’s Sundance Film Festival activities and information on Creative Cloud for filmmakers can be found on the Adobe at Sundance Film Festival mobile app
. You can also enter to win
a free HP ZBook 15” mobile workstation with a DreamColor display and Thunderbolt™ and a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud membership.
offers a complete creative toolset with regular updates for a low monthly membership. Increasing numbers of filmmakers are relying on Creative Cloud for cost-effective production applications – as well as other creative tools to present and promote their work. We are excited that the majority of films at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival used Adobe software for part or all of their post-production work (133 out of the 187 accepted films). Adobe congratulates all the Sundance 2014 filmmakers!
Register for the Adobe at Sundance filmmaker panel live webcast on January 17
Access the Adobe at Sundance Film Festival app from your mobile device
Animated short film leverages tools in Adobe Creative Cloud
Drew Christie is a new kind of multimedia artist, as comfortable with pen and ink as he is with computers and creative software. Allergy to Originality
, which will be shown at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a case in point, demonstrating how fluidly he moves between natural media and digital image manipulations.
Combining illustration with animation, the short film riffs on the theme of originality and plagiarism with long passages lifted verbatim from Wikipedia. The piece maintains a natural hand-drawn feel along with the uneven, slightly jumpy cinema of the old silent movies.
“I started creating animation before I knew what animation was,” recalls Christie. “When I was a young child I filmed my Star Wars figures using my dad’s video camera. It just went on from there.”
He’s been using Adobe creative tools since he started to get serious about art and animation. “They’ve just always been there,” he says. “I started experimenting with Photoshop and After Effects when I was in high school.” Along with Adobe Illustrator CC and Flash Professional CC, Christie’s primary filmmaking tools are Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC.
Many of Christie’s short films, such as his 2012 Sundance selection, The Song of the Spindle
, are like a visual editorial, offering insight, artistry, and a whole lot of whimsy in a fun, handcrafted package. “I do a lot of non-fiction based work, so I’m often researching topics, so Wikipedia always comes up,” says Christie. “That’s where the idea for Allergy to Originality
came from. There’s also a certain style to the language in Wikipedia that I find really funny.
“I’m also quite inspired by Soviet-era animation from the Eastern European countries. It was a thriving filmmaking scene that served as a way to communicate complex and abstract ideas, not just have cute animals go on adventures. For me, animation serves as a bridge between the disparate worlds of research, reportage, memoir, art, illustration and film.”
All of the images in Allergy to Originality
began on paper as drawings using pen and ink, which Christie then painted over with acrylics giving the images a washed water-color appearance. “I scanned in each image and brought them into After Effects,” he explains. “In After Effects I color corrected the images for color and lighting continuity and morphed each image into three frames. This gave me ten drawings per second, or 30 fps in filmspeak.”
To enhance the natural-medium look of the film, Christie overlaid paper texture onto the images before rendering out the complete sequence. Then he brought the whole project into Adobe Premiere Pro CC where he synced the audio and added a self-composed music track.
The result is a visually striking and very funny short film depicting a discussion between a theater patron who is lamenting the lack of original ideas in the movies, and the ticket seller who has an answer for everything – courtesy of everyone’s favorite online encyclopedia.
Meanwhile Drew Christie continues as a one-man cottage industry turning out beautiful and humorous content at a remarkable rate. He produces animated TV commercials, album artwork, is working on an illustrated book and creates editorial content for The New York Times http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/#/drew+christie, The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/5-steps-relaxation_n_1609912.html,
and Vanity Fair http://video.vanityfair.com/series/vanity-code.
He even finds time to keep up a lively, and lovingly-illustrated blog on his web site http://www.drewchristie.com/blog/.
Christie became a Creative Cloud member a year ago, not long after the new Adobe subscription model was first announced. He found it an easy decision to make since he uses so many of the tools. “I like keeping my applications up-to-date,” he explains. “It’s so easy to go up to the navigation bar and sync to the latest versions. It’s much more streamlined and I love that there are no boxes and serial numbers to keep track of.”
“Adobe is the real deal for filmmaking and gives you all the essential tools,” he continues. “I have used After Effects for 12 years for animation work. It’s like the invisible hand that allowed me to make a film that doesn’t look like it was done on a computer.”
Creative Cloud member Drew Christie is an animator, illustrator, filmmaker, and artist. Learn more at http://www.drewchristie.com
Adobe will be at Sundance! Join us for a live-streamed filmmaker panel:
Engaging Story, Brilliant Visuals, Low Budget - the changing face of independent film
Friday, January 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM PT - http://adobe.ly/p6ZMbd
With today’s technologies, low budget no longer means low-quality for independent filmmakers. On January 17, 2014 [http://adobe.ly/p6ZMbd
] Adobe will present a special panel discussion at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival where filmmakers will discuss their work, their workflows and why they believe that awe-inspiring storytelling and high production value are possible, on modest, or even micro budgets.
The panel will feature Jim Mickle, Kyle Alvarez, and HaZ Dulull. Director Jim Mickle has been earning critical acclaim for his gothic horror film We Are What We Are, which screened at Sundance in 2013 before seeing theatrical release. Writer and director Kyle Alvarez premiered his second feature at Sundance 2013. C.O.G. was released in theaters in September. Visual effects artist and director Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull earned acclaim with his sci-fi short Project Kronos and now has a Hollywood feature film project in development.
We spoke with all three filmmakers about Adobe and the Sundance Film Festival, and asked them what advice they have for aspiring filmmakers today.
Why are you joining the Adobe panel at Sundance?
: What I’ve been most impressed with as I’ve gotten to know the people at Adobe is how much they care about their customers. They want to educate, to create a community around their users. I think it’s so incredible that Adobe participates in, and supports, Sundance.
: It’s important for Adobe to take part in events like Sundance. By developing affordable, industry-standard tools that empower people to realize their visions, Adobe is already supporting many filmmakers.
: I love Sundance. It seems like a great match for Adobe to be here to celebrate the films of this year and interact with the filmmakers of tomorrow.
How are the Adobe video tools helping independent filmmakers?
: The Creative Cloud applications are leveling the playing field for filmmakers by making postproduction tools more accessible for independent filmmakers.
: I think that the use of Premiere Pro in the independent film world is going to start growing more and more each year and so for Adobe to be at the core of Sundance, the center of indie filmmaking in this country, is vital. It’s so great for filmmakers and editors to be finding out they have a really strong option out there in the Creative Cloud products.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers today?
: Just do it! Don't wait for an opportunity to be handed to you. Take whatever tools you have and whatever talent you're surrounded by and make your movie.
: Find your own voice. What kind of filmmaker do you want to be? What kinds of stories do you want to tell? So many people jump into making a film before asking themselves these basic questions. Figuring out the core of what you want to communicate as a filmmaker is the first and most important step. Staying true to that instinct will keep you grounded.
: And yet many aspiring filmmakers get trapped in the thought of waiting to write the perfect screenplay before picking up a camera and shooting stuff. Even shooting test shots with your phone is a good way to get started. It will inspire your writing and make the process real for you.
When I did my first short film, I just shot loads of photo angles I liked and then put them into my editing program and slapped some music on. When I pressed play… it really gave me that butterflies feeling inside. It’s that small cinema magic that you can create yourself that propels you to discover the stories waiting inside you to be told.
Register for free live webcast panel discussion from Sundance:
Engaging Story, Brilliant Visuals, Low Budget - the changing face of independent film
Friday, January 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM PT - http://adobe.ly/p6ZMbd
New animated short film for Universal Studios expands on the visual style of HaZ’s first film
Our friend and Adobe Creative Cloud enthusiast Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull was recently hired by Universal Studios to direct a motion comic as part of the marketing for 47 Ronin
, starring Keanu Reeves. Working with the team at production studio DSF, HaZ created the animated short film 47 Ronin: The Samurai Spirit
in the same style as his short film Fubar Redux
The animated short expands on the visual style of Fubar Redux
with DSF’s Hyper Motion Cinema format, which combines branded and original short form content and a mix of still photography, VFX, and animation. It’s created entirely with Creative Cloud, utilizing the Dynamic Link workflow between Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC and Direct Link between Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe SpeedGrade CC.
HaZ says the team at Universal Studios is very happy with the project. “The whole workflow with Adobe Creative Cloud made it such a fun project to do,” says HaZ. “We were not worried about technical pipeline but instead just pushed ourselves to see how far we could take the Hyper Motion Cinema animation format creatively using Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and SpeedGrade throughout.”
Watch the short here:
HaZ will be participating in the Adobe panel discussion: Engaging Story, Brilliant Visuals, Low Budget - the changing face of indepe...
at the Sundance Film Festival. Stop by to meet him or click the link to register for the streaming panel discussion on Friday, January 17, 2014 from 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM PT.
Commercial video editor expands business with a wealth of new creative tools
Jeff Patrick is passionate about his work. He owns Current Communications, an 11-year-old company that creates quality regional and local television commercials for everything from local construction companies to restaurants and schools. Since 2002, Current’s productions have aired on broadcast and cable TV networks throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Recently, Current began using Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC through its Adobe Creative Cloud membership. The comprehensive software solution gives Patrick everything he needs to stay productive, meet deadlines, and keep clients happy. He quickly realized that Creative Cloud gives him the tools to do more than just video production. He shared how he’s exploring new areas such as digital photography and web design using tools including Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Muse CC, and Business Catalyst.
Adobe: We’d love to hear more about your business.
I was in video for 20 years, and then started Current with my wife and a team of super-talented freelancers. We write, shoot, edit, and post-produce television commercials and a few short promo pieces. Our niche is pretty small and our clients aren’t big spenders. We have no illusions about what we do. Our customers need things done at a reasonable rate with a quick turnaround.
Adobe: Why did you decide to join Adobe Creative Cloud?
The model is so simple. We get instant updates and access to all of Adobe’s must-have creative software tools and services. The approach makes a lot of sense because it provides everything we need as a small business, all at a predictable, affordable price point. Plus, we get extra cool goodies like the downloadable font kit, and we can try new things. For instance, I recently redesigned my business site using Muse and switched to Adobe Business Catalyst to host it for free—it’s a deal and a half. Publishing my new site to Business Catalyst took all of 15 minutes.
Adobe: What do you use most in Adobe Creative Cloud?
We spend most of our time in Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects—that’s our triumvirate. Everything is so well integrated that the applications blur together to provide a seamless workflow. With Adobe software, we can accomplish so much more without even really realizing which particular program we’re working in. There’s never a big learning curve because all the interfaces and commands are similar and familiar. Everything about us is speed and what you get with all of the tools in Creative Cloud is instant gratification.
Adobe: You’ve used Adobe Premiere Pro for years. Can you tell us more about your experiences with the software?
I’ve used Premiere Pro forever, even when it had some frustrating limitations. But now it’s taking a leadership position in the market. Its tight integration with After Effects and Photoshop is a major bonus. I have forever ditched the hassle of rendering and exporting my work from one application before importing it into my editing software. That’s unheard of with other editing options out there.
The fact that you can throw stuff on the Premiere Pro timeline and it automatically synchronizes everything including sound is like magic. One of the super useful features in Premiere Pro CC is the ability to align clips in a multi-camera sequence according to their audio waveforms. This helps a lot because we’re often combining the work of multiple people.
Premiere Pro is also scalable, so we can create video for short-form movies, the web, and broadcast TV. We often start with a commercial, and then clients want us to produce segments for their websites, which is a snap in Premiere Pro.
Adobe: Tell us about your use of After Effects CC.
After Effects is a constant workmate for me. It is so incredibly powerful. If I’m doing a car commercial, I can bring the assets into Premiere Pro, review them, create a rough cut, import it into After Effects and do all the graphics layers. Often, 90% of the spot is done in After Effects. We work with car dealers quite a bit, and they always like whiz-bang effects. There’s nothing better than After Effects. Dynamic Link makes it easy to incorporate effects into clients’ commercials, lightning fast. Our business is all about speed, so that’s crucial.
Add to this the CINEMA 4D integration with After Effects CC. It’s flipping fantastic. Upgrading to CINEMA 4D when it wasn’t part of Creative Cloud used to be tough on the wallet, but no longer. Now, if clients want some 3D graphics or words, then I can make that happen easily.
Adobe: Are there any of the newer software programs in Creative Cloud that you think will help you in your business?
When I tried Adobe SpeedGrade for color correction and grading, it blew my mind. I picked up on it by watching a session or two on Adobe TV. It’s amazing to be able to find a frame from a movie I like and duplicate that look in SpeedGrade in a few clicks. Color grading and correction software of this caliber would typically set you back $20,000, just for the one package. So the fact that SpeedGrade is part of Creative Cloud is killer.
What else? We are using Muse to create and publish our own and clients’ websites, without writing code. It’s crazy simple and produces sites that look like they took months to create. I also want to learn more about Dreamweaver and Edge Animate so I can produce sites with eye-catching interactivity and animation. All these tools let us add value to our client work and boost our bottom line. With Creative Cloud, we can offer clients a bundle, including both video content and a website without a lot of extra effort, and without having to buy additional software.
Lightroom isn’t an entirely new thing for us, and it’s nice to have it available as part of Creative Cloud. We use Lightroom to shoot stills on location in raw format and batch-process them so they’re teed up for post-production.
Adobe: How would you sum up the value Creative Cloud brings to your business?
We serve a specific market and we like what we do. As a small business, we have everything we need at our fingertips to delight our clients. From our standpoint, Creative Cloud is the playground that makes our work feel less like work and more like fun.
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Captain Morgan and “got milk?” commercials cut with Adobe Premiere Pro software
A study abroad program to London is what first sparked Adam Pertofsky’s interest in the film and television business. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he moved to London where he spent time as a production assistant on music videos and commercials. He moved up through the ranks before turning his attention to editing. A move to Los Angeles eventually led him to Rock Paper Scissors, where he’s been editing television commercials and working on the occasional music video for the past 17 years. He’s earned numerous commercial editing awards, including a Gold Clio, a Bronze Clio, as well as multiple AICE and AICP awards. Pertofsky also wrote and directed The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306
, a documentary created to honor the 40th annual remembrance of the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which was honored with Academy Award and Emmy nominations.
Adobe: You didn’t come up through the traditional “editing” ranks. So how did you become an editor and also a director and writer?
I got tired of being on the set and never seeing the end result of what I was working on, so I got into editing and then into the writing and directing side of things. I moved to Los Angeles in 1993 and got a job as a production assistant through a friend. Then I started editing an independent film at night. Avid was the predominant editing software, and I was able to learn about editing while I learned the software.
Adobe: Tell us about your work editing commercials, specifically the recent “got milk?” and Captain Morgan spots.
Every commercial we do is interesting and most have multiple media components. They are short projects. We have only two to three weeks for heavy editing. The timelines are crazy, especially when you think about a movie taking six months to a year at the least to edit.
Pete Berg directed the “got milk?” commercial and it was my first time working with him. It was a spot for the Super Bowl, and Pete did a previs of it beforehand so I was able to get the idea of what he was trying to achieve. Of course, once it is shot it is different from the animatic, but the idea is the same.
The Captain Morgan “Perfect Getaway: Chapter One” 60 second spot recently launched on the internet and also ran during an episode of The Walking Dead. It was a heavy effects project and a lot of fun to work on.
Adobe: What do you like about Adobe video tools for editing?
I spent the last seven years cutting on Final Cut Pro, and before that I used Avid. I recently switched to an all Adobe workflow, including Premiere Pro and After Effects. The practicality aspect is huge. I switched because of the integration and I love Dynamic Link because I can stay within Adobe Premiere Pro for some effects, and automatically update masks I’ve created in After Effects.
Adobe: Were there other reasons for switching to Adobe Premiere Pro?
I tried out Final Cut Pro X, and I knew immediately it wouldn’t do what I needed it to do. We’ll get four to fifteen hours of footage for a commercial and there’s a specific way assistants load and organize it. When they’re done I have my own specific process of going through footage and reorganizing sequences. I then go through and pull select sequences based on how I think the commercial will run. From that point, it’s a matter of losing what isn’t needed, and putting things together. I have a few days with the director and then more time with the advertising agency. They all want to see every take or alternate shorts; the organization element of Final Cut Pro X is just not there in terms of allowing me to work that way. With Premiere Pro, everything I need is right there, ready to go.
Adobe: What was the learning curve like in terms of moving to Adobe Premiere Pro?
It was fast. When I start working with new software I like to experiment with it on a test project first. I edited some footage of a hot air balloon ride my family took in Tuscany and Premiere Pro worked great.
Adobe: What is the biggest advantage of Adobe Premiere Pro?
The biggest advantage by far is how much time it saves me. I have been doing very heavy effects projects, and the amazing thing is that I don’t have to render at all. I recently had to jump on another project for a day and going back into Final Cut Pro 7 and seeing how much rendering I had to do was eye opening. For the “Perfect Getaway: Chapter One” spot I had some dailies that were in ARRI raw and Pro Res and the director didn’t like how the footage was colored. I just imported the raw footage into Adobe Premiere Pro and threw a lut on it to change the look. I use the trim tool all the time and love how you can scrub on the left or right over the edit point to find the exact frame. I also like to mix on the fly and it works terrifically in Premiere Pro.
Adobe: What inspires you when you’re working on a commercial project?
I get inspired by the footage, and everything else is a tool to help me realize my vision. Editing is what I do and what gets me excited. Being able to go fast is important, because when an idea strikes you want to get to it without waiting. Premiere Pro helps me realize my goals and what I want to do more quickly.
Learn more about Adam's process
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Fourth feature update this year for Adobe Premiere Pro
Creative Cloud is always evolving and ongoing updates are one of the most popular benefits for users. In a fast-changing industry, Creative Cloud members always have the latest versions of the pro video tools as soon as they are available, including feature enhancements and optimized performance.
This morning updates for Adobe Premiere Pro CC, SpeedGrade CC, Prelude CC, and Adobe Media Encoder CC will begin rolling out. The new video updates will become available to Creative Cloud member over the next 24 hours. A new After Effects CC update will follow soon.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro CC has seen four new releases in this year (June
, and now, December) – all within the 6 months since the CC version was announced. Guided by user requests, the Adobe Premiere Pro CC December 2013
release adds Open CL performance enhancements, media management improvements like multiple Media Browser tabs, new editing enhancements for even greater workflow efficiency, and delivers more intuitive voiceover recording.
“Adobe is committed to delivering the best professional NLE in the industry,” said Al Mooney, senior product manager for Adobe Premiere Pro. “Video pros need tools that keep up with ongoing developments in film and broadcast. That’s exactly what Creative Cloud gives them.”
After Effects CC, the leading motion graphics and visual effects application, is evolving faster than ever with Creative Cloud. “Our team turned around this release in a matter of weeks based on direct feedback from our users,” said Steve Forde, senior product manager for After Effects. “With regular Creative Cloud updates, we’re able to continually evolve and enhance our feature set. Your tools just keep getting better.”
The After Effects CC December 2013 release will offer customizable output of file name and path templates, improved snapping behavior, enhanced scripting options, and the ability to migrate user settings when updating to newer versions.
More updates for video pros
Creative Cloud offers video pros an integrated workflow across the video production applications. The December 2013 releases also includes updates to SpeedGrade CC
, Prelude CC
, Adobe Media Encoder CC
, and Adobe Anywhere for video
. Along with performance enhancements, SpeedGrade also offers expanded camera format support in Direct Link mode. Prelude CC has added support for the latest Adobe Anywhere protocols. Adobe Media Encoder now includes Sony XAVC format support, and Adobe Anywhere introduces performance improvements and diagnostic tools for monitoring system status.
Creative Cloud: one million strong and growing
There are already over one million Creative Cloud
members with more joining every day. Already a Creative Cloud member? Launch the Creative Cloud application to get started using these great new features. The new updates will be available there within 24 hours.
Not yet a Creative Cloud member? Sign up for a free membership
and get access to 30-day trials of every Adobe creative desktop application, including the latest versions of all the video tools.
Want to learn a new creative app? Both free and paid members also have access to cool new training videos, including sample work files, in Creative Cloud Learn
to help you get up and running fast.
Adobe Creative Cloud offers virtual production hub for collaborative workflow
Hasraf (HaZ) Dullul is a well-known visual effects supervisor in the motion picture industry. He began his career in video games and computer-generated sequences before moving into visual effects and compositing for feature films. As a visual effects supervisor and lead compositor, he’s worked on well-known films such as The Dark Knight
and Hell Boy II
, as well as several commercials and broadcast series for clients such as Discovery and The History Channel. He has also been nominated for several Visual Effects Society (VES) awards.
In 2012, he released his directorial debut short film: Fubar Redux
, which screened at several festivals, including Cannes Short Film Corner 2012. His newest short film is Project Kronos
, released on Vimeo, which he’s created entirely on a laptop with the video tools in Adobe Creative Cloud. The sci-fi documentary focuses on an intricate mission to enable interstellar space travel. We had the chance to sit down with him to share his experiences.
Adobe: Tell us about your first short film,
I’ve always worked on my own projects on the side, and short films give me the opportunity to do things that I don’t get to do in my usual job. Fubar Redux
was my first actual short film with a full story. I didn’t want to work with the usual film set, cameras, actors etc., so I decided to tell the story driven by the visual effects/animation style, without any 3D animation or expensive CGI work. I looked at a style called motion comics and decided to take that further with 2.5D. I took some pictures of my cats and miniature military model toys I collected over the years, and then composited and animated them to created sequences in a compositing environment. It was an action packed film that got some recognition and from there I really got the bug to make short films. With Project Kronos
, I wanted to show that I could shoot and tell a story with live action.
Adobe: After previously working with Nuke, Final Cut Pro, and Avid, why did you switch to Adobe Creative Cloud?
I primarily work as a visual effects supervisor on films, so I knew in creating Project Kronos
that I would have to work on my own time and work fast. When I saw the integration offered by Adobe Creative Cloud, I could hardly wait to get started. First, I used Adobe Story to write the script. I was working all over Europe and with Adobe Story, I could write the script on the fly on my laptop and just save it in the cloud. It was such a massive bonus. I was able to write a professional looking script fast and easy anytime, anywhere around the world. I could share sessions with others who could add in notes, or have a script consultant review it from anywhere. I also used Adobe Story to store my research, character bios, and planned schedules, and imported anything I needed out as a PDF.
Adobe: Where did your workflow go from there?
I’m a very visual person, so from there I started creating animatics, sketching (often on my iPad using Adobe Ideas) and moving them into Adobe Premiere Pro. I cut together a mini-film using the images to get the story flow down. Then I started doing basic compositing in After Effects to find a style and look and get a rough edit before starting to shoot. I captured the footage using a Sony EX1 in AVCHD and ingested it using Adobe Prelude. Adobe Premiere Pro read everything—from MOVs of various codecs to DPX frame sequences—perfectly. I tried this in the past with Final Cut Pro and it didn’t work. It’s genuinely amazing to be able to throw anything onto the Premiere Pro timeline and it just works.
Adobe: What was the ultimate result for you?
Everything was so easy and seamless that I could just focus on making the film and staying in the creative flow. I fell in love with the Adobe workflow and with Premiere Pro in particular. The tools are so easy that I even tried Adobe Audition. I’ll admit that I’m not much of a sound person, but I like to put temporary music and sound effects in because it’s almost impossible to describe music and sound effects in words. Using Audition, I was able to give my sound designers and composers a good idea of what I wanted. Then everything starts to get more synergistic: the music helps the editors, the visual effects influence the music, and the music helps inform the choice of visuals.
Adobe: What was it like learning the software and using the whole set of Adobe tools in Creative Cloud?
The learning curve was virtually nil. I moved among Audition, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop, but it never felt like I was jumping from compositing to editing. The whole experience felt like one big environment. What made it even more incredible was that I did it all on my Macbook Pro laptop hooked up with cinema display screen and external raid drive.
Adobe: What did you use for color grading?
I had used Baselight in the past but switched to Adobe SpeedGrade for Project Kronos
. I usually shoot the film and then do color grading at the end of the process. With SpeedGrade, I applied the look at the beginning and then edited with graded material. It let me see the bigger picture and what the end line looked like.
Adobe: Did Adobe Creative Cloud help with collaboration?
People contributing to Project Kronos are located in many different places: audio designers in Italy, other people in the UK, and so on. We can all dump big files onto Creative Cloud and store our main work in progress edits and audio. It’s like having a production hub that lets everyone work on the project from anywhere.
Adobe: What are some of the most useful features in Adobe After Effects? How did they help your workflow?
I love the Global Performance Cache in After Effects. I used an external RAID drive for caching and never had to render anything, unless for some reason I needed a QuickTime file. It saved endless hours of time. The tracking is also really impressive, and I’ll admit I’m a motion graphics snob. After Effects has great Warp tracking. I used the 3D camera to move things in the 3D space and the camera blur to create a realistic motion blur and depth of field effects. It made the whole compositing and VFX work so much easier. That’s really important when you’re working on a sci-fi project.
Adobe: What’s next for the film?
Scott Glassgold at I AM Entertainment is representing me as a director and the film. We are planning to show it at some upcoming sci-fi and short film festivals, in addition to the Vimeo release. But most importantly we are developing it further into a feature film, and we’re exploring other areas such as TV. I strongly believe in making short films, which lead onto bigger things rather than just make shorts as stand-alone projects. Project Kronos could well be seen as a “proof of concept” for the feature film treatment. As I develop my film career, I know I will be relying on the Adobe Creative Cloud tools as an integral part of my workflow in developing my productions.
Watch Project Kronos on Vimeo
HaZ Discusses Making the Switch to Adobe Premiere Pro & Creative Cloud
Learn more about Adobe video products
Sign up for a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud
(you can download After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more)