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Epic freesking and snowboarding tour improves video workflow and productivity with Adobe Creative Cloud
The Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT) is the top big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world. FWT doesn’t deal with artificial jumps and groomed slopes. Athletes use the entire slope, including overhangs and cliff-faces, choosing their own path down the mountain while demonstrating control and technique through fluid movements and jumps. The mountains don’t just up the action for the athletes; they also challenge the event photographers and cinematographers. David Arnaud, the producer who has been in charge of the television and video production on FWT since 2009, along with Editor Aurelie Monod and a crew of up to 35 people, work in extremely challenging conditions to bring the excitement of FWT to viewers.
Post-production engineer combines hardware and software to bring VFX closer to editorial
Jeff Brue founded Open Drives four years ago to design storage solutions for the media and entertainment industry. Working with top filmmakers in Hollywood provided a great test base and enabled the company to push its storage technology to new heights. Having previously worked with David Fincher on House of Cards, Brue was tapped as the post-production engineer for Gone Girl, where he collaborated with a talented team to create a next-generation editorial platform using Adobe Creative Cloud.
Post-production supervisor pushes quality and guides integration using Adobe Creative Cloud
In the past decade, Peter Mavromates has worked on more than a dozen feature films, as well as a few TV series, generally serving as post-production supervisor. One thing that many of his projects have in common is the director: David Fincher. Mavromates knows that working with Fincher means the standards will be high, but he likes it that way. For Gone Girl, the main challenge was implementing a completely new post-production pipeline that included fast machines and Adobe Creative Cloud video applications.
With his latest project, Vashi Nedomansky took a detour from the sci-fi Sharknado thrillers to the real- life struggles of returning service members. Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC over 14 months, the feature-length documentary THAT WHICH I LOVE DESTROYS ME from producer/director Ric Roman Waugh culls hundreds of hours of footage from multiple cameras and codecs. The result is a powerful look at PTSD and how two Army Special Operations soldiers struggle to overcome it. The movie will appear on PIVOT TV on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014. www.takepart.com/vets
Reposted from Vashi Nedomansky’s blog.
THAT WHICH I LOVE DESTROYS ME
Assistant editor helps assemble post-production pipeline including Adobe Creative Cloud
As a child, Tyler Nelson liked to play with Legos. He enjoyed the process of building things, taking them apart, and building something new. Fast forward 20 years and Nelson is still constructing, but now he’s helping to create feature films instead of plastic brick structures. To him, the process isn’t that different—taking a huge amount of content and putting it together in a way that makes sense. He’s worked with David Fincher and Kirk Baxter on a number of projects, including the recently released Gone Girl, where he helped build the post-production pipeline that included Adobe Premiere Pro CC for editing and Adobe After Effects for opticals and visual effects.
Academy Award®-winning editor uses Adobe Premiere Pro CC to edit hit Hollywood feature
Kirk Baxter was attracted to cinema from a young age by films such as E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars. These “popcorn accessible” movies drew him in and fueled his aspirations. He started working for an Australian production company at age 17 and quickly recognized his affinity for editing. But never did he dream that one day he would be involved in the kinds of productions he works on regularly with filmmaker David Fincher.
As a two-time Academy Award® winner, Baxter has teamed with Fincher and his post-production crew on film and television projects, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and House of Cards. For Fincher’s latest film, Gone Girl, “Team Fincher” took the workflow to a new level using a production pipeline built around Adobe Creative Cloud video applications, with Adobe Premiere Pro CC as the hub.
I’ve been the product manager for Adobe Premiere Pro for four years and have never been more excited to work with our product teams and customers as I am now. Most of you know by now that Premiere Pro CC was used as the exclusive NLE for David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the first Hollywood feature film shot in 6K. While you may already know how Premiere Pro helped the Gone Girl team work more efficiently, you likely don’t know how us working with the Gone Girl post-production team helped us build a better product.
Leading entertainment production company produces sports venue and stadium entertainment with Adobe Premiere Pro CC
When fans turn their attention to the big screens at sports’ biggest events, there’s a good chance that they’re watching the work of Van Wagner Big Screen Network Productions (VWBSN). Over the past three decades, Big Screen Networks established itself as the world’s leader in video board production for major sporting events, including the Olympic Games and World Cup to the Super Bowl, Rose Bowl, and NCAA Championships. A recent addition to the Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment family, VWBSN continues to deliver award-winning in-stadium content for audiences at events major sporting events around the world.
The production company is now implementing Adobe Creative Cloud to meet the growing demands for sports video content production. Creative Director Cameron Cone, Senior Editor Ryan Kehn, and Senior Editor Alex McMeekin work with teams across the U.S. and around the world to deliver anything that sports events need: from a single animation to full turnkey production.
Full-service video production firm realizes efficiencies and plans for the future with Adobe Creative Cloud
Walter Biscardi Jr. has worked with nearly every NLE during his long and successful career. He started editing in 1990 at CNN and was one of the network’s first Avid editors. In 1995, he moved to Foxwoods Resort Casino, designed a new production facility around Media 100, and then started his first company back in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. After working with Final Cut Pro for 11 years, he found his way to Adobe Premiere Pro, an integrated solution that could speed his workflow and evolve with his needs. At Biscardi Creative Media, he now actively works with Adobe Creative Cloud, cutting a new series and planning to launch his own television network with his faithful companion, Molly the Wonder Dog, by his side.
Adobe: Tell us about some of your best known projects.
Biscardi: I worked on four seasons of Good Eats with Alton Brown doing post-production, editing, animation, and color grading. I’ve also done some long form documentary work. I was co-producer and editor on Foul Water Fiery Serpent, a documentary that aired on PBS about President Carter’s 25-year fight to eradicate guinea worm. Next, I worked on another documentary, Dark Forest Black Fly, which also aired on PBS. Both took four years to cut. Most recently our company has completed four seasons of This American Land, a PBS series about preserving America’s wildlife, waters, and landscape.
Adobe: How has your business evolved?
Biscardi: I’ve gone from working in the bedroom of my house to building a brand new, 6,000 square foot production facility with five edit suites, a 5.1 surround sound mixing theater, a color grading suite, production offices, and 1,400 square feet of studio space. For years we did all post-production work, primarily broadcast episodics, documentaries, and corporate projects. Two or three years ago we started getting serious about full-service, turnkey productions.
Adobe: What led you to switch to Adobe Premiere Pro?
Biscardi: The launch of Final Cut X drove me back to Avid 6, which I used when I started work on the second season of This American Land. I had never touched Premiere Pro and honestly didn’t think it was useful in a professional workflow. But working with Avid on This American Land was a fiasco and by the third episode into the edit we switched to Premiere Pro and haven’t looked back. Three of the four seasons have been edited with Premiere Pro.
Adobe: What do you think of Adobe Creative Cloud and the integrated video workflow?
Biscardi: There’s nothing on the market that works as cohesively as Adobe Creative Cloud. I also love the subscription concept of Creative Cloud and how Adobe continuously rolls out new features. I’ve used After Effects since it was CoSA. All of the animation for Good Eats was done with After Effects and Photoshop. Three of the animations were well over 2,000 layers; it was so much fun doing those. The integrated video workflow between Premiere Pro and After Effects can’t be beat.
Adobe: Are there features in Premiere Pro that are particularly useful in your work?
Biscardi: The software just works. When you transition from one piece of software to another it isn’t going to work the same. You have to adapt your workflow to the tool. Nothing is perfect, but Premiere Pro is as close to perfect as I’ve seen out there right now. This American Land can have 10 camera formats in the same episode, on the same timeline, and it doesn’t choke, it just plays. It’s great to not have to think about cameras, formats, frame rates, or frame size. We haven’t come across anything we’ve thrown on the timeline it can’t handle.
The multi-cam integration with audio is also simple; as long as you have a good audio reference it’s unbelievable how easy auto sync by waveform works. The pancake timeline, where all raw elements are in the timelines above the master timeline, is easy to use and I recently discovered the new marker window with the marker notes and that is now a big part of our workflow. I love making those types of discoveries.
Adobe: How has working with Adobe Creative Cloud helped your business?
Biscardi: We’ve cut 300 to 400 projects on Premiere Pro in the past few years and it’s a rock solid tool. We were 12 days behind on This American Land when we switched from Avid to Premiere Pro and we not only caught up but we got ahead. When we cut the first season on Final Cut Pro 7 we had to convert all camera formats to Pro Res and it took 1.2 – 2TB to archive the episodes.
It took three or four episodes cutting in Premiere Pro to trust that it would cut native. We switched to an all native workflow and reduced the backup to 350GB to 500GB, which saved us money on the archive. We were also able to cut the same amount of material in 50% of the time because there was no waiting to transcode. Foul Water Fiery Serpent was all shot on Panasonic P2 and we had 250 hours of footage that we converted to Pro Res before editing, which took a couple of weeks. In Premiere Pro we would have been able to start editing on day one.
Adobe: How did you get started working on Arson Dogs?
Biscardi: Arson Dogs is a new web series for world-renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell and her Positively website. The series follows Victoria to southern Maine, where State Farm’s Arson Dog Training Program is conducted to train handlers and working dogs together to sniff out accelerants like gasoline and propane at potential arson sites.
Victoria and her crew spent five days at the school documenting many hours of raw material on up to five different cameras. We then taught her team how to organize and log the project in Premiere Pro, so when we opened it up it was in bins with notes and we could just get started editing. Our first task was to create a three minute sizzle reel from 3,500 clips in just one week. Without Premiere Pro and the Small Tree Shared Storage, which let us all work with the same media simultaneously, it wouldn’t have happened. I worked collaboratively with our editors R. John Becker and Kylee Wall to meet the deadline.
Since then, we’ve been working on editing the first 8 episodes, and anticipate there will be 6 to 10 more. Kylee has a one sentence overview of each 5- to 10-minute episode and she cuts based on that description. We’re known as storytellers, and Adobe gets all of the technology out of the way so we can just tell a story. The best part is being able to work on the project with my own Molly the Wonder Dog in the edit suite with the team.
Adobe: What’s next for you?
Biscardi: We’re currently seeking investment to launch a new 4k UHD Contemporary Living Network, which will include multiple channels and an all Adobe workflow. We’re looking at producing at least 20 original series in the first season alone, all on lifestyle topics such as food, travel, entertaining, pets, home and garden, and more. It will be our own network, with direct digital delivery.
We recently took delivery of our first Blackmagic 4K Production Camera and Teranex Express. We’ll be shooting the first four episodes of Ice Cream Nation and two episodes of Fork U in 4K UHD using that and the Panasonic GH4 cameras for Contemporary Living Network. Fork U features Simon Majumdar from Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen as one of our hosts.
Adobe: Are there any new Adobe Premiere Pro features that you’re looking forward to incorporating into your workflow?
Biscardi: The new Consolidate and Transcode feature in Premiere Pro CC will come into play very heavily as we launch Contemporary Living Network. It will enable us to create archive versions of the master cut of each and every episode in a single format. That will help us easily re-open the project at a later date to make changes to graphics, re-export into a different format, or whatever else the situation warrants without the need to reopen all of the original media.
We’ll certainly keep all the original native media for future re-use, but having the finished episode in a single format is something we’ve been waiting for. It will come into play across the board at Biscardi Creative Media. So thankful to the Adobe team for getting that feature in there!
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David Fincher crafts thriller with talented team of artists and Adobe Premiere Pro CC
If the first film review in Variety is any indication, Director David Fincher’s film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel Gone Girl will be well worth the price of admission. Many filmgoers will see the movie because they like the actors, the genre, or because they’ve read the book. Many others will go because they love Fincher’s vigorous storytelling, his impeccable pacing, and his striking visual style.
Whether the audience is conscious of it or not, it is Fincher’s careful structuring of narrative and imagery that makes his films so powerful. Gone Girl is the first Hollywood feature-length film cut entirely in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Fincher is a director known for pushing technology to the edge. To help realize his ambitious vision for Gone Girl, he shot the film with a RED Dragon camera in 6K and assembled a top-notch post-production team. Two-time Academy Award winner Kirk Baxter, ACE, edited the film with help from an editorial department that included Tyler Nelson, his long-time assistant editor. Peter Mavromates worked as post-production supervisor, while Jeff Brue of Open Drives was the post-production engineer. Fincher had worked with the group before, but the decision to use an integrated Adobe workflow with Adobe Premiere Pro CC at the hub, was a first for the tech-savvy director.
After successfully cutting a Calvin Klein commercial with Premiere Pro CC, the team set out to determine what it would take to support the demands of a two-and-a-half hour feature film using the same Adobe workflow. Brue was tasked with designing the storage system that would enable Premiere Pro to work smoothly within a demanding 6K production pipeline.
“Our goal was to get as many iterations as possible of the opticals and visual effects in a given period of time to make the story as strong as we could,” explains Brue. “The ask was for nothing less than perfection, which pushed us to do better. When it came down to it, Adobe Premiere Pro CC was faster than anything else in the market. That speed meant more iterations, more time to work on a shot, and more time to perfect an edit.”
Having worked on previous Fincher projects, Mavromates comfortably assumed the role of managing the pipeline, helping determine the post-production goals, and guiding the visual effects work. With a plan in place, Baxter got started on the edit, working closely with Fincher and relying on Nelson and others on the editorial team to navigate the technicalities of working on such a cutting-edge pipeline.
“Working with the Adobe engineers was probably the best development experience I’ve ever had,” says Nelson. “Everybody was in tune with what was going on and we always had this amazingly collaborative environment. It wasn’t just about making our movie the best movie it could be, we wanted to make every movie cut on Premiere Pro in the future the best movie it could be.”
Fincher shot in 6K with multiple takes, giving the team plenty of material to work with. With a gift for bringing out the best in everyone on a project, it would be easy to assume that the film is comprised of only “perfect takes.” In fact, 80% of the shots were enhanced in some way, from reframing and stabilization to split-screening to remove an extra breath.
The result, after a lot of meticulous detail work, is a film where every shot seems flawless. As the Variety review says, “…editor Kirk Baxter cuts the picture to within an inch of its life while still allowing individual scenes and the overall structure to breathe…”
“On every film we face the challenge of reducing the screen time without losing content,” says Baxter. “If we don’t have to cut out lines, but instead remove time from a scene by making invisible edits, that’s a win. The way David overshoots the frame in his films allows me to edit within the shot, then I throw it to the guys to sew together in After Effects, make it spotless, and stabilize the shot. That way David can judge the shots by the performance and delivery, rather than making comments on the technical aspects.”
Much of the visual effects work was done in-house, which allowed the team to work iteratively, in parallel with the editing. For example, Baxter could edit in Premiere Pro while others worked on shots in After Effects. The saved compositions would automatically update in Baxter’s timeline thanks to Adobe Dynamic Link. This integrated and interactive workflow kept shots looking cleaner and eliminated distracting back-and-forth discussions so the entire team could focus on the story as it took shape in the edit bay. This streamlined workflow was one of the main advantages for “Team Fincher.”
“On Gone Girl we managed to do a huge number of effects shots, probably more than 200, in house thanks to the tight integration between Premiere Pro and After Effects,” says Mavromates. “I don’t think the average viewer will think of Gone Girl as a visual effects movie. However, when you look closely at David’s movies he is playing little visual tricks and we are doing brass polishing on a significant number of shots.”
This talented group of self-described perfectionists, supported by a gifted and driven post-production team, put the Adobe video workflow through its most rigorous use case to date with great success. Now, with the hard work behind them, they can sit back and watch their months of work unfold for theater audiences around the world.
Stay tuned for in-depth series of interviews with Kirk Baxter, Tyler Nelson, Peter Mavromates, and Jeff Brue about their work on Gone Girl.
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