[#PremierePro25] Make The Cut: meeting with Timo Hensen, creator of ‘the Most Unexpected’ video
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Adobe Premiere Pro, we organised a unique contest together with world-renowned band Imagine Dragons. In the Make The Cut contest, filmmakers had the opportunity to edit the official video for the new Imagine Dragons single “Believer” using Premiere Pro CC. Filmmakers across the globe set to work en masse on the provided visual material, which resulted in over 9,000 submissions. From all these submissions, Dutchman Timo Hensen was selected as one of the five winners. According to Adobe and Imagine Dragons, Hensen created the most surprising video, thus being awarded the prize in the “Most Unexpected” category.
Adobe: Can you tell us something about yourself?
T.H.: I’m Timo Hensen, 26 years old and a professional filmmaker. I got my degree in Audiovisual Media from the HKU University of the Arts in Utrecht. My final project was a short film, for which I was the screenwriter and director. I chose to fulfil these roles consciously because that’s where my passion lies: telling a story from beginning to end. My company TH Productions primarily makes music videos – including for one of the world’s best violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers – as well as short films.
Adobe: Why did you decide to take part in Make The Cut?
T.H.: I saw the contest being promoted on Facebook and didn’t hesitate for a second. Adobe is a household name for filmmakers. I work with the tools in Creative Cloud every day. Combine that with one of the world’s biggest bands, and it was obvious that I simply HAD TO participate in the contest!
Adobe: Can you tell us how you approached the task?
T.H.: Like I said, the story is always the guiding principle for a video. That’s why I first downloaded and carefully studied all of the film shots, so that I could ascertain what story it was that Imagine Dragons and the director themselves wanted to tell. Then I left the shots alone for two days to think about the story that I myself wanted to add. After two days I took another look at the shots so as to connect the two stories and then I started editing.
Adobe: What was the editing process like?
T.H.: I constantly switched between Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop while working on the project. I did the editing entirely in Premiere Pro and created additional effects in After Effects. But Photoshop was valuable as well. In one of the shots the star of the video – Imagine Dragons’ lead singer – falls backwards onto a mat in slow motion. I wanted him to float through the stars.
Adobe: Did you use any visual materials from Adobe Stock?
T.H.: Not in this case. I wanted to do it using the materials that were provided for the contest. But I am certainly familiar with the possibilities of Adobe Stock – it even showcases some of my own assets.
Adobe: What were your greatest challenges when developing your video?
T.H.: The most difficult thing for me was to merge the two stories. By making the specific shots available, Imagine Dragons and the director had obviously already left an indelible mark on the visual material. I wanted to put my own stamp on it, and that’s what made it challenging. What’s more, my motto is that whatever I create must always be my best creation. So I didn’t exactly make it easy on myself either, especially on account of the short time frame I had to work with.
Adobe: Why do you think your video was selected as “Most Unexpected”?
T.H.: When formulating my own story for the video, I specifically looked for scenes that I thought the band itself might want to delete. Then I tried to work them into the story nevertheless but in a surprising manner. I think that my plot twist at the end of the video – where the little boy’s head is transposed onto the boxer’s body, thereby having him throw the last punch – certainly contributed to this element of surprise. In any case, it created the necessary controversy online, haha.
Adobe: What are you most proud of when you watch the video?
T.H.: From the technical perspective, I’m particularly pleased with the special effect choices I made to tell the story. And, of course, I’m proud of the fact that I had the opportunity to create something for a well-known band like Imagine Dragons.
Adobe: What’s the nicest compliment you received?
T.H.: When the finalists were announced on the Adobe YouTube channel, I received a lot of positive reviews. It’s nice to hear not only from other filmmakers but also from Adobe and Imagine Dragons that they were “completely blown-away”. The greatest compliment was actually for both me and Adobe. And that was that many people said it wasn’t possible that I did this only using Adobe tools. But it’s true!
Adobe: What’s your next challenge going to be?
T.H.: I want to start focusing more on developing short films and hope to get a subsidy for this. My ultimate dream is to make a long film for which I am the screenwriter and director. But I also want to be involved in camerawork, lighting and editing. I also studied these subjects during my study because I want to understand all aspects and play a role in the creation of the entire story.
Adobe: Any final words?
T.H.: I’d like to thank Adobe and Imagine Dragons for this wonderful opportunity!