Adobe Creative Cloud for teams standardizes a studio’s design workflow.
AppStudioz is an innovative web and mobile application development company that specializes in developing applications for various platforms and devices including iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, and Facebook. In just three years, the company has developed apps for diverse industry segments including healthcare, consumer and retail, gaming, augmented reality, and wearable computing.
Although the dynamics of such a nascent industry keep evolving, core app design remains at the heart of what AppStudioz does to deliver its services across the world. The company needed a platform that would enhance the creative ability of its design team and one that was easily scalable and agile. A cloud-based solution emerged as a default answer.
“When we started our cloud discussions, we did a lot of research and held extensive sessions with designers,” says Preeti Singh, vice president of technology at AppStudioz. “After careful deliberations, top management, designers, and the IT team collectively and unanimously decided to adopt Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.”
For AppStudioz, adopting Adobe solutions was a natural choice primarily because the platform is an industry standard and the firm was already using Adobe tools extensively—specifically Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Additionally, a majority of its clients based in the United States and the United Kingdom had already adopted Adobe Creative Cloud; using Adobe Creative Cloud for teams helps standardize the process for the company and its clients.
Broadening designer expertise
The migration to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams took two weeks and was completed without any work disruption. The Adobe team helped AppStudioz train designers and programmers on Creative Cloud tools. “The ease of use of all the components of Adobe Creative Cloud for teams allowed us to quickly train our team on these tools to deliver great results for clients,” says Singh.
AppStudioz works extensively in the area of scalable graphics and Adobe Creative Cloud tools, specifically Adobe Photoshop CC, come in very handy. Photoshop CC makes it easy for AppStudioz’s designers to customize vectors at any point in the design stage. For instance, previously, if there was a figure with four sharp edges and designers wanted to make those edges rounded, they had to remake the entire figure. With Photoshop CC, designers can bring in alterations at any stage. “Such innovative features have given our designers the power to create newer designs with ease and efficiency,” says Singh.
The design team at AppStudioz is a mix of graphic designers, illustrators, and user interface designers, all using different Creative Cloud tools. “Adobe Creative Cloud tools integrate flawlessly with each other, which lets our designers concentrate on the creative challenges before them and not get bogged down in the technology,” says Singh.
With Creative Cloud, AppStudioz designers can start creating images in Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC and later open them in Adobe Dreamweaver CC or Flash Professional CC. Further, the team can switch back-and-forth between the tools and experiment with designs to get different results. “The integration among the tools in Creative Cloud has gone a long way in making our workflows smoother,” says Singh.
Adobe Creative Cloud for teams enables the AppStudioz design teams to work and collaborate from anywhere in the world. Additionally, it has helped the firm’s designers to explore new approaches for designing and developing content delivered across various channels and devices. Migrating to Adobe Creative Cloud gives the creative team the flexibility to work effectively at any location and experiment with the latest tools to deliver content across platforms and devices with ease.
Raising productivity while lowering total cost of ownership
The streamlined administration in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams has greatly helped AppStudioz to eliminate time-consuming manual processes such as installing packaged software and maintaining version consistency. It has also helped raise productivity across the company by simplifying software administration with license management, automated tracking, and version upgrades.
For AppStudioz, Creative Cloud for teams membership has significantly reduced the total cost of ownership for Adobe solutions by creating a standardized model for purchasing and deploying the most current versions of Adobe Creative Cloud tools. “The predictable, easily managed membership model in Creative Cloud for teams eliminates having to deal with lump-sum software purchases,” says Singh. In addition, Adobe Creative Cloud helps support AppStudioz’s rapid growth and streamlines management of creative tools for designers.
“Our firm is continually growing and changing,” says Singh. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is helping us manage this growth and scale up rapidly by giving ready access to the latest creative tools to our designers.”
Read the AppStudioz case study.
A brilliant emerging filmmaker uses Adobe Creative Cloud to edit weekly videos for the popular online channel
Extreme sports videos are a hit on YouTube, but few think about the behind the scenes work that it takes to capture these daring events on film and share them with the world. Devin Graham, aka Devin Super Tramp on YouTube, knows firsthand. To stay one step ahead of extreme sports enthusiasts, he has paddled for hours through waves with camera gear in a dry bag, hiked through jungles, and braved extreme temperatures to capture shots that may last only a few seconds. The result? Millions of viewers, 1.8 million subscribers and plenty of high-profile endorsements. For Graham, living on the edge is an everyday part of life, one he tackles with joy, enthusiasm, and the video tools in Adobe Creative Cloud.
Adobe: Tell us more about your background.
Graham: Since I was a little boy, I always wanted to make movies. I created LEGO movies, music videos with siblings, and snowboarding videos with friends. I bought cheap cameras and ultimately broke them. Making movies always made sense to me. I started editing with Pinnacle Studio software in high school, but quickly switched to Premiere Pro.
After high school I went to Brigham Young University (BYU) for filmmaking and learned Final Cut Pro and Avid. I thought that I wanted to do big Hollywood productions for the entire world to see. During my time at BYU I had the opportunity to go to Hawaii to work on a couple of projects. That’s when I learned about YouTube and realized I could have a bigger voice online, creating content that I wanted to create without a producer or studio dictating what I could and couldn’t do. I started making YouTube videos and right away they went viral. Recognizing the opportunity that was in front of me, I dropped out of film school to pursue a YouTube career.
Adobe: How do you explain the success of your YouTube channel?
Graham: A lot of people think I just go out and have fun, and I do, but it’s also a lot of hard work. I made a video, Fighting for your passion—Inside look at what I do for a living because I’m asked about it so often. As I say in the video, I want to get the shots that no one else will get, and there’s usually a crazy story that goes along with each one.
As soon as my videos started going viral, advertisers contacted me and wanted to get involved. I’ve recently done work with Ford and Mountain Dew—which has been really fun and I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to work on these projects. A few months ago Universal Studios invited me to fly out and use their backlot for a shoot. Again, I know it sounds glamorous, but there are a lot of other shoots where we’re sleeping in tents, getting up before dawn, and hiking for miles to try to capture a four-second shot.
It’s all worth it, though. I love knowing that when I post a video it goes out to hundreds of thousands of fans. Those are ultimately the people who determine my success.
Adobe: Why do you call yourself Devin Super Tramp?
Graham: Super Tramp comes from the book and movie Into the Wild, about Christopher McCandless. He abandons his possessions, gives his entire savings to charity, hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness, and changes his name to Alexander Super Tramp. It’s a story about how he went out and pursued his dreams, much like I’m doing. In the end, he realizes he should have shared his joy and adventures with the world. I’m taking that next step, learning from his mistakes, and sharing my experiences. It’s been awesome because I’ve gotten email from fans around the world telling me how I’ve touched their lives, which is incredibly meaningful.
Adobe: How do you come up with the ideas for your videos?
Graham: I want to create content that people want to see and I want to do projects that interest me. People love the extreme sports videos, but I’ve also tried to branch out and build my audience in other ways by looking at what’s popular and trendy. For instance, I created the video Assassin’s Creed Meets Parkour in Real Life and timed it with the release of the Assassin’s Creed video game. Because it focused on a popular, timely topic it got more than 30 million views. I also look at Facebook and Instagram to see what people like. A friend’s picture on Facebook, of a puppy in a package at Christmas, had an amazing number of likes. I decided to do a video called Puppy Christmas that was very successful; it was even showcased on Good Morning America.
Adobe: Tell us more about your workflow and your transition from Final Cut to Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Graham: I had been using Final Cut Pro for years, because that was the editing software taught at BYU. I knew all the shortcuts and was familiar with Final Cut, but the workflow was painful. I spent so much time converting file formats before I could even start editing, and the multiple resulting files consumed tons of storage. I knew I needed to move back to Premiere Pro, but honestly, I was dreading the switch. When I opened Premiere Pro I realized I could use the same keyboard shortcuts that I did in Final Cut Pro. It took one or two days to get familiar with the software again, and it’s been great ever since.
I shoot on a Canon 5D Mark III and Mark II, Canon Cinema 1DC, as well as a GoPro Hero3, iPhone, Epic, and Phantom cameras. When I finish shooting I put everything on a hard drive, label it, open Premiere Pro, and start editing on my laptop—it’s that simple. I often edit when I’m on airplanes, in airports, or in hotel rooms and Creative Cloud gives me the flexibility to work from anywhere. I keep my editing process as simple as possible, using Warp Stabilizer to smooth out shots and the Lumetri Deep Color Engine to apply SpeedGrade looks from within Premiere Pro, then Premiere Pro allows me to easily optimize and export files for YouTube.
Adobe: Did you transition to new hardware as well?
Graham: For years, I’ve been an Apple user however I was open to new hardware that could perform faster. Recently, I stepped into an HP Z820 system and found it performs faster than my current MacBook Pro Retina. Additionally, it handles my 4K files without issue which allows me to work with my files in real time, so my workflow is certainly faster. And I need that.
Adobe: What does your use of Adobe Creative Cloud mean to you from a professional standpoint?
Graham: I put out a video every week, and I usually try to stay ten to fifteen videos ahead of schedule. I typically have a lot of footage already shot that is ready to edit. Premiere Pro helps me work a lot more efficiently than I could before. I use Photoshop CC to tune up still photos and upload them to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for promotional purposes. I also use After Effects CC on occasion for creating VFX, and Illustrator CC for vector graphics.
Adobe: What do your film school friends think of your success?
Graham: When I decided to go this route my film friends didn’t really think anything would come of it. Since then, about half of them have started their own YouTube channels. BYU also brought me back to teach a semester on social media and how to launch a film career. The biggest lesson I tried to impart was that it’s not easy, that you have to go the extra mile to capture that special shot. For me, that will always be what’s next: I was born to be a filmmaker who gets the shots others won’t have the ambition or drive to get.
“Pictures in books, planetarium models, even telescopes are pretty misleading when it comes to judging just how big the universe is. Are we doing ourselves a disservice by ignoring all the emptiness? I thought I would see if a computer screen could help make a map of a solar system that’s a bit more accurate.” —Josh Worth
Last week, we stumbled across “If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel: A tediously accurate scale model of the Solar System.” Also known as Josh Worth’s explanation of the universe, it was a project inspired by his five-year-old daughter. When he mentioned that he’d used Creative Cloud to design and build it, we jumped at the chance to hear more:
So, Josh, it’s the Solar System… How did you decide where to start? The sun, of course! Even though the moon was the main point of reference for the scale, the big bright thing in the middle seemed to be the best place to start. Solar system maps often seem to show the Sun at the left so I wanted to build off a conceptual model that most people are familiar with.
And, when you were designing it, did you imagine an audience, in addition to your daughter? My daughter actually turned out to be more the inspiration, rather than the intended audience. I wanted it to be for curious people in general—more casual and approachable than something you might encounter at a science center.
Which Creative Cloud apps did you use? And which features proved most useful? I used Dreamweaver and Illustrator and a little bit of Photoshop.
I based the initial calculation of the size of the map on a moon diameter of 1 pixel, which came out to a width of about 1.7 million pixels. I wasn’t even sure a browser could handle content that wide so I started by defining a single div using Dreamweaver and it seemed to work. I also tried it as a single .gif in Photoshop—which would have technically worked, since the black space compresses down to a relatively small file size—but that would’ve made it a little more difficult to make quick edits to the text. And it seemed like cheating.
I used Illustrator CC for the typography that appears at the beginning. I wanted it to scale, and look crisp in the browser so I exported it as a .svg. I had to experiment with various settings in the SVG dialog and try it in various browsers before I eventually settled on a purely outlined version with no embedded fonts, since variations in font rendering kept messing with my character alignments. I doubt anyone would’ve noticed, but I’m careful about such things (and a bit fearful that typophiles will laugh at me).
Once the vector graphics were created, the rest of the work was done in Dreamweaver CC. The CSS Designer tool came in very handy when I couldn’t remember how to define a particular attribute. Code-hinting and instant syntax checking were also invaluable for someone like me who often puts brackets and semicolons in the wrong places. What really surprised me was that I could compose the copy right in Dreamweaver. Usually I need some kind of stripped-down text editor for writing, but toggling between code view and live view allowed me to see the sentences floating on a single line out there in space. It allowed me to get into a nice zone where I could contemplate the subject matter.
Tell us about some of your design decisions: We like that you chose a less, well, “scholarly” approach for your copy; why did you choose that style? For starters, I’m in no way an expert on astronomy, so I wanted to avoid any pretext of authority. Scientists are in the business of standardization and objectivity, which is great when you’re communicating straight data but I was more concerned with the emotional impact of all the emptiness in space, which seemed to call for a more personal interpretation of the data. I thought people might better relate if the information was coming from just another puny human contemplating his place in the universe. Plus, the copy is more or less my usual writing style; I enjoy making light of heavy ideas and finding hidden depth in frivolous subjects.
How did you decide where to put the comments? The positive and negative space of the Solar System has an inherent emotional quality that I thought would be fun to try and match: I started off light where the territory is more familiar then used the bigger expanses of space for more expansive ideas; the thoughts got deeper as the distance became greater.
How did you decide on the color of space and the planets? I just went with the most obvious color associations, or at least the color that I felt was most indicative of each planet—Mars is red-orange, Neptune is blue-green and, of course, space is #000000.
Tell us about the design of the planet icons. I figured there needed to be some kind of shortcut in case the scrolling became unbearable. The astrological symbols seemed like a subtle way to incorporate that, since text links would have been too inviting. I found examples, through Wikipedia and a Google image search, to use as reference, then re-drew them in Illustrator to give them a uniform stroke width. I’m happy that the functionality is also decorative.
Why the distance counter? With just ruler ticks, movement (through space) wasn’t obvious enough and it got boring. I added the distance counter to help convey a sense of progress and motion; to make it work, I got some help from Kyle Murray (Krilnon), a member of the scripting forum on Kirupa.com. I eventually hope to make a mechanism that enables people to switch between different units of measurement
What’s been the response? Are people finding it useful? Will there be a v2.0? And, most importantly, how did your daughter respond to it? I just think the coolest thing about being alive today is that so many people are in the business of designing and sharing mind-blowing ideas and work. I was just happy I could find a way to be a part of that. According to Google Analytics, I’ve had over one million visits since Colin Devroe of Spacebits.co first posted a link on Hacker News on March 4.
I’ve gotten tons of thoughtful feedback from Twitter users and website visitors. Astronomers, physicists, UX developers, and general users have chimed in with some great suggestions. A number of science teachers showed it to their students, a lot of parents said they liked sharing it with their kids, and a museum in the Netherlands has asked to use it in an exhibit (a number of lovely people have volunteered to translate the text). Multi-language support will be the main feature of the next version, along with a few other ideas that people suggested.
As for my daughter… She seemed to get it, though she got pretty antsy between Jupiter and Saturn. I think kids are actually better than adults at handling big ideas. For them, it’s all imagination anyway, and their brains are still elastic, so it’s fun to see just how far they can stretch them.
What’s your favorite bit of it? Prior to building the site I hadn’t spent much time thinking about the emptiness inside of atoms in the midst of the Solar System.
And, because we always want to know… How do you like working in Creative Cloud? I love Creative Cloud! I move between a Mac Pro desktop system and a MacBook Pro laptop at least once a day, so it’s great to know I have access to the latest versions of so many great apps wherever I go. The paradigm shift from individually licensed applications to a single, cloud-based, all-access account completely renovated the way I think about my workflow. Web designers can no longer get away with just doing static mockups in Photoshop and handing them off to coders, so I really like how Adobe keeps creating tools to help designers bridge that knowledge gap.
The SXSW Film Conference & Festival is an opportunity for creative professionals to experience the latest and greatest of what up-and-coming filmmakers have to offer. Many of the films featured at this year’s festival were touched in some way by Adobe creative software; for editing, visual effects, title treatments, and even posters, it plays a critical role in helping filmmakers realize their visions. Six films that SXSW attendees can experience during their time in Austin, Texas:
Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2013, Iva Radivojevic’s first documentary feature premieres at SXSW 2014 on Tuesday, March 11. Radivojevic was born in Yugoslavia and moved to Cyprus with her family to escape the war. When she was eighteen, she came to the United States and has resided in New York City for the past fifteen years. She returned to Cyprus to film her first feature-length film, Evaporating Borders, a five-part visual essay/feature film that explores topics of migration, tolerance, identity, and belonging. The film first premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January and is now poised to impress at SXSW in the “Visions” category.
Co-directors Jason Sussberg and David Alvarado met in Stanford University’s Documentary Film and Video program. They worked on a few projects together and soon realized that they shared an interest in science and technology. After graduating with MFAs, they collaborated to make the documentary film The Immortalists about two scientists working to discover a cure for aging. Initially edited with Final Cut Pro, the team switched to Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Premiere Pro CC mid-production. The Immortalists premiered on Saturday, March 8.
Directors Travis Rummel and Ben Knight have been making films together for ten years. After starting out as still photographers with no real working knowledge of how to make films, they were inspired to try filmmaking after attending Telluride’s Mountain Film Festival. Their first short film about fly fishing and water rights focused on the Black Canyon of Colorado’s Gunnison River and was accepted into the festival. Since then, the duo has made several films together, the most recent of which premiered at SXSW 2014 on Monday, March 10. Edited with an all-Adobe workflow, DamNation is a documentary about dam removal in the United States.
Premiering at SXSW 2014, Joel Potrykus’s film Buzzard intentionally doesn’t fit a particular genre. A follow-up to his first film, Ape, the movie tracks a deadbeat check scammer through Detroit and is chock full of 1980s references—chugging Mountain Dew, Nintendo jokes, and heavy metal music. Brandon Bowman joined the production by chance, and shares his first experience working on a feature film and editing with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Buzzard premiered at SXSW 2015 on Saturday, March 8.
Since 2009, Rob Bralver and Jeff Broadway of Gatling Pictures have worked together on documentary films that tell stories of social importance. Their latest project, OUR VINYL WEIGHS A TON (THIS IS STONES THROW RECORDS), explores the history of Stones Throw Records, a record label committed to independence and artistic freedom. The film—featuring interviews with Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Common, Questlove, Talib Kweli, Mike D (The Beastie Boys), and Tyler the Creator—premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2013 and screened at SXSW 2014 on March 7.
Jeffrey Radice got into filmmaking in a non-traditional way. He was working in IT and making a decent income when friends asked him to fund their moviemaking efforts. After producing two consecutive short films at the Sundance Film Festival, he decided to jump in and try his hand at directing. Ten years later, Radice found himself back at Sundance for his directorial debut with the feature film No No: A Dockumentary. On Saturday, March 8 the film opened at SXSW 2014 in the “Festival Favorites” category and as part of the inaugural “SXsports.”
We wanted to share some information about support plans for the next major release of our Creative Cloud desktop applications:
The next major releases will run on Mac OS X 10.7 and higher. Users on OS X 10.6 will continue to be able to use their current applications, but will need to update their operating systems if they want to install and run the newest Creative Cloud releases.
We’re seeing a small percentage of our members on OS X 10.6 and wanted to let users know in advance, so they can prepare for the next release of our desktop applications.
We’re packing our gear for the Education, Interactive and Film Festivals at SXSW 2014. Next week, web designers, developers, filmmakers, educators and social marketers will descend on Austin, Texas—and, this year, Adobe has something for everyone.
We’re sponsoring the Razorfish, #UseMeLeaveMe Digital Campground (March 7–March 11) at 1206 E 4th Street in downtown Austin. Stop by our daily afternoon Happy Hours, grab something to eat, listen to live bands, make a videogram postcard in our decked-out Airstream trailer, and get your hands on some innovative technologies.
If video’s your thing
Jason Levine, Adobe’s worldwide evangelist for video apps/Creative Cloud, is leading a start-to-finish workflow session titled “Capture, Cut, Color, Deliver.” Or, sit in with Adobe marketing manager, Meagan Keane when she moderates “Content Creation with Soul” with Soul Pancake CEO and executive producer, Shabnam Mogharabi and her team. And, finally, don’t forget to come by the Adobe booth; during the Film Festival we’ll be in Exhibit Hall 4 of the Austin Convention Center with live demos, presentations and Creative Cloud workflow experts discussing our innovative apps.
Designing developing for the web?
Friday March 7 in the Riverside Ballroom at the Radisson Town Lake we’ll be holding our annual All-Day Creative Camp for web designers and developers. In addition to the Typekit pop-up library we’ll have five sessions all with topics focusing on shaping the modern web and, since making it through SXSW requires constant refueling, we’ll also have food (sliders, petit BLTs, gourmet popcorn) and a Happy Hour during our final session of the day.
Educating the next generation
Attending the SXSWedu Festival? Check out “Creativity in Education: A Call for Transformation,” Adobe’s panel on fostering and inspiring creativity in a new generation. Also, don’t miss our Creativity in Education Meet Up to network and learn about the proposed creative changes in education.
Keep tabs on Adobe during SXSW
Out desktop/mobile guide to everything Adobe at SXSW 2014
See you there!
Commercial television editor delivers stunning spots using an Adobe Creative Cloud workflow
Our friend Adam Pertofsky at Rock Paper Scissors has been busy these last few months. Since we last spoke with him, he’s completed the third part of the Captain Morgan series of commercials and cut three additional spots, one of which aired during the Super Bowl. We took a few minutes to catch up with him on his recent projects and use of Adobe Creative Cloud:
Adobe: Tell us about the Super Bowl commercial you worked on.
Pertofsky: It is the 60-second “Going All The Way” Coca-Cola spot that aired during the second half of the game. We worked on it with Wieden+Kennedy. I did all of the editing in Premiere Pro CC, as well as some color correction for the client presentation. It is a really sweet, classic spot that a lot of people will be moved by and enjoy.
Adobe: What other projects have you worked on?
Pertofsky: I cut a simple, funny commercial for Chevy that will air during the Winter Games. It was an easy process of working in Premiere Pro to do cuts and throw in some graphics using the Luma Key. I also used the title tool in Premiere Pro to set up a string of options for the creative director to look at and it was amazing and super simple.
Adobe: Did you use any other Adobe tools on this project?
Pertofsky: I’ve been using a lot of Adobe Media Encoder, which I find really fast and terrific. Recently, I was at my daughter’s volleyball practice and I needed to do some unexpected cut downs for the Chevy spot. I jumped into the back of my car, set up the project, did the cut downs, threw them into Media Encoder and was able to upload them using my phone.
Adobe: What’s the biggest project you’ve worked on recently?
Pertofsky: I cut a four-and-a-half minute commercial for Samsung with R/GA San Francisco. In the spot, aliens take over the earth and challenge the world to a game of football (soccer). It is a massive spot with a lot of variations and the version I worked on ties everything together. I used a lot of tools within Premiere Pro and a lot of After Effects CC, which was terrific. Reframing things and putting them in the right position before sending everything to the post house for final finishing was so easy and fast in Premiere Pro.
Adobe: How do you feel about the Captain Morgan series you completed?
Pertofsky: The last Captain Morgan spot came out great and I’m really proud of it. The project involved heavy use of After Effects and Premiere Pro. I love knowing that when I have a big effects gig going I have powerful programs that I can work with to make the offline presentation look good. For the Captain Morgan spot I used After Effects to create a garbage matte around an object that let me move things around easily and quickly, which was a huge help. Moving elements around and reframing is much easier and faster thanks to Dynamic Link; I can line everything up in Premiere Pro, quickly jump into After Effects, and then easily go back and open the project in Premiere Pro again with all of the moves applied.
Adobe: Now that you’ve been working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC for a while, have you made any new discoveries?
Pertofsky: One of the tools that works great in Premiere Pro is mixing on the fly. I can set it up, mix the spot, and it leaves keyframes behind that I can manipulate further later. A lot of times as I’m showing a rough cut to a client I’m actually mixing it in Premiere Pro at the same time. Then when they ask to watch it again, I’m just fixing the mix and it speeds up the whole process. This is also useful because clients don’t have the appetite to look at rough cuts, they want to see it as close to finished as possible without paying for it to be finished. We have to do as much as possible in the cutting room to make it look good. All of the LUTs that are in Premiere Pro are terrific for doing quick color changes.
Adobe: Are there any other tools that help speed your workflow?
Pertofsky: I have an NVIDIA Quadro K5000 and it makes me completely forget about rendering. With everything going in and out of After Effects and adding effects in Premiere Pro, it never slows me down.
A remote team uses laptops equipped with Adobe Premiere Pro CC to edit and package athlete stories
Since the beginning of the Winter Games, Hearst Television has been on site in Sochi delivering general coverage, as well as profiles of individual Team USA athletes. Hearst relies on a tapeless workflow and reporters in the newsroom and out in the field use Premiere Pro, part of Adobe Creative Cloud, to assemble and edit their stories.
The broadcaster moved its news operations to a file-based pipeline four years ago. As part of the transition, it partnered with Adobe for its editing platform combined with a Bitcentral production system.
“We brought people from the stations into the transition process very early, so it worked out well and they were really pleased with it,” says Joe Addalia, director of technology projects for Hearst Television. “In our creative services group the team immediately wrapped their arms around the Adobe workflow; when the creative people start saying how much they love Adobe tools the news people hear them and start becoming champions too.”
Today, 19 of the 25 Hearst stations that produce news use Premiere Pro for day-to-day cutting of news stories. In the field crews are equipped with HP or Dell laptops running Premiere Pro and sometimes Prelude.
This month, the remote workflow is being put to the test: A team of eight people, including a mix of photojournalists, reporters, producers, and a technical lead are working on-site in Sochi putting together human interest stories about athletes who live in the communities where Hearst broadcasts. The team is covering U.S. athletes in their local markets, with additional material delivered to Hearst’s ten NBC affiliates.
“It’s my job to make sure everyone’s laptop does what it is supposed to do in a foreign environment,” says Larry Vancini, Hearst’s technical lead on the project. “Once the crews and teams acquire the news and create a package, I get the finished packages back to the stations and handle any necessary embargoing. If something is shot only for NBC, and only for Louisville, the correct metadata must be present when that package is uploaded.”
Vancini uses Media Encoder to output the proper file formats, including presets he has created for standard definition and high definition H.264. Of the nineteen stations that have Premiere Pro, seventeen of them also use Bitcentral as their production system. Metadata is entered within Bitcentral whenever content is uploaded. Once the material is ready, the network of Bitcentral stations are alerted that the content is available and the remaining stations have access to it via a web browser.
In order to handle the amount of content it’s tasked with creating in Sochi, the Hearst team pre-writes most stories—which helps the team organize their time and gives them the ability to jump on stories that develop in the moment. Reporters may use previously shot content of local athletes and combine it with fresh Sochi footage. Producers laying out the plans have a seven hour time difference in their favor so they can work a day ahead and get direct feedback from the stations, when necessary.
While reporters don’t have the luxury of working a story right until the moment it goes to air, in Sochi only one news package each day is date- and time-sensitive, all other stories can be completed and uploaded a day ahead of time, so the stations have plenty of time to bring them to air. Despite distance and bandwidth constraints, the team is excited to be working on site at The Games and delivering high-quality content back to local stations hungry for coverage.
“We’ve dabbled with the system since the election and also used it for localized coverage of the Zimmerman trial,” says Vancini. “In that case we were in the same time zone and all content was edited locally with Premiere Pro and encoded using Media Encoder. We pushed the files back on a high speed pipe and it worked flawlessly. We’ve taken this model and applied it to our Sochi workflow and it’s going well.”
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Broadcaster uses Adobe Creative Cloud workflow to create opener promoting the winter games
The Winter Games are a chance for us to witness magic moments of incredible artistry and athleticism performed by the amazing athletes competing there. But in order for us to do so, broadcasters around the world spent months preparing for that short period of intense coverage. For Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), a publicly funded broadcaster serving the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the preparations included creating a stunning opener that builds excitement for audiences tuning-in to the games. Patrick Arnecke, head of design and promotion, leads the creative team responsible for design and production of the on air campaign.
Adobe: Tell us about the Swiss Radio and Television.
Arnecke: The SRF is a publicly funded broadcaster that serves the German-speaking part of Switzerland. We maintain two full-blown 24/7 TV channels, a TV repeat channel for news programs, seven radio channels, and an extensive online portal.
Adobe: What teams do you work with at the SRF and what do they produce?
Arnecke: I’m the head of the design and promotion team. The design team consists of 25 designers who do all corporate design, motion graphics and interaction design for SRF. Creatively they are responsible for channel branding, campaigns, image clips and labels as well as show packaging. We also do all of the 2D and 3D animation used for our TV magazines and news shows. The promotion team has eleven editors and promo producers who work on traditional on-air trailers as well as cross media campaigns.
Adobe: Tell us about the work you’ve done for the Winter Games?
Arnecke: Last year during the summer we started to rethink our overall sports design. We have various sports programs on air and wanted to repackage the whole set of shows for SRF zwei, our main entertainment and sports channel. We regularly cover huge events like the Winter Games for the Swiss audience, and we needed to come up with a solution for those events as well, and tie that into the overall design.
We decided to center our redesign around the core idea of the “magic moment”—those rare moments when extraordinary athletic performance seems almost supernatural. We then spent five days shooting all the necessary plates using RED Epic and Phantom Flex cameras, special camera rigs with a high speed camera carousel, and a huge 15m x 9m x 7.5m green screen area. Among other things, we staged ice hockey, alpine skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, ski jumping, and cross country skiing. Everything was conceptualized, directed, and pre- and post-produced by four in-house designers. From that footage we produced a 28-second opener for our Sochi coverage along with the show packaging, and the promo teasers that we used to ramp up the campaign in January.
Adobe: What products are you using to produce your content?
Arnecke: Right now we have a mix of Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6 software. On the design team we use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Our main tool for 2D animation is After Effects, and we rely on Cinema 4D as our main 3D package. The closer relationship between Adobe and Maxon and the strong connection between Cinema 4D and After Effects comes in very handy for our pipeline.
At the beginning of 2013 we started using Edge Animate to create small, interactive HTML5 elements to give our online news articles more depth and interactivity. For our video content, we started to work with SpeedGrade to give content from different sources a uniform look. During the last months we switched to Premiere Pro as our main editing tool, which replaces Final Cut Pro.
Adobe: What was the workflow for creating the Sochi opener?
Arnecke: In pre-production the responsible designers Martin Bernhard (director) and Simon Renfer (co-director) used Photoshop, with Wacom tablets and screens, to create the storyboards. On set and after the shoot was completed, we used SpeedGrade to convert the Phantom material and then edited the content in Premiere Pro. Lead 3D Artists Jürg Dummermuth and Simone Nucci did all of the 3D CGI with Cinema 4D. In addition to using After Effects for previsualization and animatics, it was also used for 2D animation, keying, rotoscoping, retouching, compositing, and grading. We’ve done a lot of smaller projects such as show openers and image trailers using Premiere Pro, but the Sochi opener is one of the biggest projects we’ve done to date with the new workflow.
Adobe: Why did you make the switch to Premiere Pro?
Arnecke: After Apple didn’t continue Final Cut Pro, we were looking for alternatives. The pipeline efficiencies that let us easily switch between Premiere Pro and After Effects are important to us. Premiere Pro is especially useful if we shoot on RED cameras because thanks to the Mercury Playback Engine we don’t have to convert and we can edit right away. We usually like to edit on set to see if what we’ve shot is exactly what we need.
Adobe: Tell us how you’re using Adobe Edge Animate CC?
Arnecke: We have a small team of designers who work on infographics for our daily news shows. We use graphical content created for on-air programming, add interactivity and repackage that content for our news articles online. For example, for the election of Pope Franziskus or the 50th anniversary of the President Kennedy assassination we created interactive explanatory pieces with Edge Animate. These interactives give more depth to our news articles online and typically take us one to three days to produce—last year we did more than 150 of these.
See examples of the infographics here
Adobe: What’s next for your team?
Arnecke: We’re planning a seven day shoot that will take place in March for our summer sports. With the success of the winter sports workflow, we’ll be using a similar setup.
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We were on pins and needles during Interaction14 in Amsterdam, where we were presented with the award:
Which, by the way, looks like this:
Thank you IxDA jury. We’re honored. And thrilled.
That was the short story; here’s the long(er) version:
Because inspiration doesn’t always hit when we’re in front of our computers, and the colors of the world are not always right outside our windows, Gabriel Campbell (lead designer), David Ericksen (product manager), and the rest of the Adobe XD team created a way for people to take some of the functionality of the desktop version of Adobe Kuler into the world:
It’s called the Adobe Kuler iPhone App.
With it, users can sample colors and create color themes. On the go. With an iPhone. It’s functional, it’s fun and, when the Kuler app is combined with an Adobe ID and synced with Creative Cloud, the color themes are available in Illustrator CC, Flash Pro CC and Edge Code CC in the Kuler Panel (with no need to save them as Adobe Swatch Exchange files).
So, not only does the Kuler app capture colors, it organizes them in a way that makes them useful and usable. It’s why, after launching the app in May 2013, the proud Adobe XD team submitted it to the 2014 IxD Awards. And, well, the rest of that story is… We won!
As if that weren’t enough, jurors Aaron Siegel (Fabrica) and Anab Jain (Superflux) discussed the category and why the Adobe Kuler app stood out among the nominees. Our favorite bits from their three-minute video: Aaron’s comment, “We selected this primarily because the range of creative outlets for this particular application is unforeseeably unlimited,” and Anab’s acknowledgement that she finds the app as useful as we do, “In a sense it becomes an enabler for people to start doing things they would not do otherwise.”
But, really, don’t just take our word for it (or, for that matter, the word of the jury), the Adobe Kuler iPhone App is free in the iTunes store. Download it. See for yourself why we, and the 2014 IxDA jury, love it so much.