Adobe’s New Creative Cloud Formation

If you haven’t heard, Creative Cloud has been a blockbuster for the San Jose-based Adobe, adding over 644,000 subscribers – and that’s just in the last quarter! For filmmakers and editors, Adobe CC is quickly becoming the go-to post-production suite in the indie filmmaking community and it’s only a matter of time when Adobe will give Avid a run for its money at controlling the high-end feature film market. Last year director David Fincher posted Gone Girl, entirely in Creative Cloud and earlier this year it was announced that the Coen Brothers would be editing their new film, Hail, Caesar! in Premiere Pro. In just a few short years, Adobe CC has become powerhouse.

At NAB 2015 last week, Adobe previewed new features and updates to Creative Cloud. Key highlights include a new Lumetri Color Panel in Premiere Pro CC, smart phone integration within desktop applications and a new app called Character Animator that will blow you away.

Adobe Senior Product Manager Patrick Palmer illustrates new features and updates to Creative Cloud 2015

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Premiere Pro

For the past few years we’ve seen more integration of other CC apps into Premiere Pro. This year, the major integrated feature is color, which combines many advanced features from both SpeedGrade and Lightroom. The new Lumetri Color Panel gives you a new color toolset using familiar sliders and controls, as well as incorporating Lightroom-like curves to use in Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro’s new Lumetri Color Panel gives you a new color toolset using familiar sliders and controls.

More Features & Updates

• Ability to share graphic, text, and Look files between your Creative Cloud Libraries and Premiere Pro (as well as other applications).

• Morph Cut lets you replace talking-head jump cuts with smoother transitions. Uses face tracking and frame interpolation to create seamless transitions in a single interview shot.

• With the Premiere Clip mobile app, you can assemble videos shot on your phone and then open the project in your Premiere Pro desktop application for more advanced editing.

• Adds more native formats, including Canon XF-AVC, MXF-wrapped JPEG 2000, and Panasonic 4K_HS. (Unfortunately for you Samsung NX1 users, there’s no support for H.265.)

• Audio tools have better audio channel routing, multichannel export options, improved integration with Audition, and more.

• Subtle changes to cutting techniques such as a new composite trim preview, ability to use keyboard shortcuts to adjust hot text values and create subsequences. View Source Settings as Master Clip effects; easily adjust settings and see changes apply across all related clips.

After Effects

The new tools within After Effects CC 2015 let you create pro-level motion graphics and visual effects. Like with Premiere Pro, you can use your Creative Cloud Libraries to access your assets to work within After Effects, as well as share them with your Creative Clous team. Highlights include the ability to preview your footage and comps without interruption while still making changes. There’s also greater customization of the user interface to let you work the way you want to.

After Effect’s Face Tracker lets you track faces with control over the level of tracking detail.

Perhaps the biggest new feature to After Effects CC 2015 is Face Tracker, which lets you track faces with control over the level of tracking detail. You can also track specific points on a face and effects such as eye color changes or mouth movements. No more manual frame-by-frame adjustments.

Other new or updated features include an adaptable user interface, improved previews, and optimized controls for touch devices (e.g., Microsoft Surface tablets).

Character Animator

Perhaps the coolest new feature of CC 2015 is Character Animator. A companion app to After Effects, you can animate characters that you’ve created in Photoshop or Illustrator with your webcam, which tracks your movements. When you move your head, your character’s head moves, and when you talk, your character talks. You can also animate your character’s limbs with your mouse and create secondary animations like wind-blown hair, earrings, or flapping wings. You can even add actions like falling snow or a dragon breathing fire with the app. In the preview we saw at NAB, it’s pretty amazing!

Going Mobile

Knowing that the best camera is often the camera you have with you, Adobe has paid special attention to mobile. They released Premiere Clip last year, giving filmmakers the ability to shoot and edit movies on the go with their phone. For more detailed work, you can magically open your project in Premiere Pro on your desktop. Ah, the cloud!

Adobe’s Brownwyn Lewis shows us the power of Project Candy

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Currently in development, Adobe’s latest app, Project Candy, provides an easy way to capture light and color dynamics, and then save them as Looks, which can work like creative filters for your future videos. You use your camera’s phone to capture lighting and/or color schemes such as a beautiful sunset or painting. You can then refine this captured Look by using Candy’s color bubbles, which display brightness and hue in a 3D space. When you’re satisfied with a setting, you simply save the Look in your Look Library. With Candy, you don’t have to use the pre-built Looks because you can create your own in your own environment. These Looks become available to you in CC video applications like Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Premiere Clip.

Audition CC

Although there have been improvements to the sound tools in Premiere Pro, for more advanced sound editors, Audition brings several new features that let you streamline the edit. You can now send video sequences from Premiere Pro to Audition and immediately see the video in its native format without waiting for file conversions. Edits that are applied to video tracks in Premiere are also automatically updated in Audition.

There’s also Live re-linking in which you can replace an asset in an Audition project while still keeping your original edits with non-destructive effects from the original clip. For example, you can swap a scratch dialog track for a higher quality master, or an ADR file, while still retaining the original levels, fades, EQ, etc. You can also import Premiere Pro and Prelude markers and other XMP metadata to remember key points while working in Audition.

Media Encoder and Prelude CC

Media Encoder CC is a valuable tool that lets filmmakers and editors render out their projects for delivery as well as create dailies in various formats. The new Media Encoder CC simplifies conforming and has improved encoding to multichannel audio. One of the latest features is Time Tuner, which lets you lengthen or shorten run time by percentages, or by simply choosing the duration. It does this by subtly adding or removing frames during certain shots.

There’s also Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus support, QuickTime channelization and rewrap. Like with Premiere Pro, there’s enhanced format options, including MXF-wrapped JPEG 2000 for broadcast delivery and archiving.

Prelude CC will allow you to record a voice-over track as your rough-cut plays.

Filmmakers use Prelude CC to log, transcode and organize filed footage, as well as create rough cuts with metadata. The new version of Prelude CC lets you quickly log and transcode video, and you can also record a voice-over track as your rough-cut plays.

SpeedGrade

With the addition of the Lumetri Color Panel in Premiere Pro, does that mean SpeedGrade’s days are numbered? Not yet – although the majority of filmmakers and editors can probably get the job done entirely in Premiere Pro. For colorists, SpeedGrade CC is still one of the leading color grading systems available. Premiere Pro projects are brought into SpeedGrade via DirectLink while keeping the Lumetri Looks that you created in Premiere Pro. Any work you do in SpeedGrade also translates back to Premiere Pro. Adobe has added more Looks to SpeedGrade and have optimized SpeedGrade’s scopes.

All CC updates are expected to drop in the coming months. Adobe is offering a special offer aimed at video professionals who switch to Adobe Creative Cloud, for US $29.99/month for the first year, valid through May 29, 2015. For more information, visit www.adobe.com/go/video.

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