The Suite Spot


Let’s follow a hypothetical filmmaker’s workflow at the script.

Adobe Story (beta): CS5 owners are entitled to a one-year subscription to CS Live, an online group of services. This includes Adobe Story, a collaborative script-writing tool. Begin your project by writing or importing your script directly into this specialized word processor.

Adobe OnLocation: This program provides two essential attributes. First, it converts your laptop into a multifunction monitor array. Simply connect FireWire jacks between your camera and laptop to monitor program, waveform, vectorscopes and audio levels. Each screen can be zoomed up fully or nested.

Second, OnLocation turns your hard drives into a video recorder. Click, Record Takes and OnLocation logs each shot into a database that includes Shot Name, Scene, Shot Number, Take Number, Description, Comment, Good Rating, Shot Location, Shot Size, Camera Angle, Camera Move, Camera Label, Order, Day of Shoot and Duration (automatically calculated).

OnLocation interacts with Adobe Story to create shot lists, sorted by character, location or time of day. Later, when editing with Premiere Pro, metadata from OnLocation assists in rough cutting. Use the Speech Search feature to synchronize the script to footage.

Premiere Pro: While there’s no room here for a complete review of this extensive NLE, the key feature of Premiere is the collaboration with NVIDIA and HP to perfect the Mercury Playback Engine. During a recent online interaction with a key NLE programmer, I demonstrated a Mercury Playback of four simultaneous, 1080p HD, picture-in-picture effects to tape in real time. The programmer, who had recently perfected his own product to do three such screens simultaneously, thought he had the best NLE in the world. He was stunned. I was, too.

For this article, I employed the Quadro FX 4800 ($1,400 Mac, $1,600 PC) mounted in an HP Z800 Workstation, with dual quad-core Intel Xeon W5590 3.33 GHz processors, 18 GB RAM and 3 TB of media storage ($1,799 base, about $11,000 as tested). But HP just released the first dual hexacore machine—Intel’s new Westmere processor uses a new manufacturing technology to enable six cores on each CPU—and HP Product Manager Mike Diehl states, “There’s no additional cost for the six-core processors over the four-core processors. Excellent results can also be obtained from lower-frequency processors, less memory and a Quadro FX 3800.”

Adobe Bridge: Bridge allows you to organize all your media assets across your entire workflow. The interface, based on the Adobe Photoshop file browser, is easy to master, and I now use it to replace Windows Explorer. Bridge provides fast search for any asset and shows each title’s content immediately (it can even play an .flv file). Use Batch Rename to reorganize assets under project names. Bridge supports basic editing of digital images even in raw camera format.

Soundbooth: Feature films and high-end documentaries require significant audio sweetening prior to their release. Soundbooth allows sync sound from a fine edit to be imported into one of an unlimited amount of tracks. Automated dialogue replacement (ADR) can be executed directly to the hard drive and edited live to match the sync track. Additional tracks can be employed for music, effects and atmospheres, with a full array of included, keyframe-controlled tools such as noise reduction, panning, pitch, speed, echo, flanging, etc.

Illustrator: Primarily a print tool, Illustrator will be of some use to filmmakers for creating superimposition graphics with independent resolution. Illustrator works by making vector-based graphics. So if you make a logo to fit on a mobile device, you can zoom it up to 35mm theater size without getting jagged edges.

Later, these assets can be passed to your print-promotion and game-development departments for seamless workflow to ancillary profits.