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NAB Perspectives: Adobe’s Al Mooney and Michael Coleman Unveil Updates to Premiere, Anywhere

April 15th, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Jason Dachman

The Adobe booth (SL5110) has been packed throughout the day this year at NAB, as crowds stop by for demos of the latest updates to the company’s Creative Cloud video tools, Adobe Anywhere, and Primetime products.

Chief among the new announcements at NAB is a new color panel in Adobe Premiere Pro CC for instant color corrections and Morph Cut, which easily removes unwanted pauses and jump cuts for a more polished edit sequence. In addition, the company is previewing Project “Candy,” a mobile CC Capture app that allows users to capture production quality lighting schemes on their phone and then apply them to video footage in Premiere Pro CC. Finally, Adobe is previewing a new configuration for the Adobe Anywhere collaborative workflow platform that ties together Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Prelude CC via centralized media and shared projects. The new configuration allows users to utilize the Collaborative Hub without the Mercury Streaming Engine, creating a cheaper but still collaborative solution for production teams that don’t require multi-site collaboration.

The crowded demo of Adobe Premiere's new color panel at the company's booth.

The crowded demo of Adobe Premiere’s new color panel at the company’s booth.

SVG sat down with Adobe Premiere Pro product manager Al Mooney and Adobe Anywhere principle product manager Michael Coleman to address how the latest enhancements impact the sports-production community.

Can you tell me a bit about the Adobe Premiere Pro enhancements being unveiled at the show?
Mooney:
By far, the biggest thing we’ve done this year is the inclusion of a new color workspace, which features much of the Lumetri [Deep Color Engine] from SpeedGrade. It may seem like a small feature, but we have a big application and there’s an awful lot you can do with it. It’s a bit like the cockpit of a 747 with so many buttons, so we really want to make sure that our product is as accessible as possible.

We took some inspiration from applications like Lightroom [photo processor], which really got it right in terms of guiding you through the workflow. Now, at the top of the interface in the default workspace, we have created the workspace Switcher bar. We have had workspaces before, but they were a little bit hidden. We have now redesigned them and made it much clearer. When you click on the button up top that says Color, the Lumetri color panel comes in from the right and there a loads of grading behaviors that help you through the color workflow. What we are trying to do with the color panel is the liberalization of being creative with color. That does sound lofty but, it it’s true.

The new Premiere Pro Lumetri Panel

The new Premiere Pro Lumetri Panel

How much user feedback to you take into account when incorporating these new color-grading features?
Mooney:
As always, we talked to a lot of editors and users, and they told us that more and more they need to be creative with color throughout the editing process. When we were working with David Fincher on Gone Girl, he specifically said that he wants the manipulation of color and light to be something that happens all the way through the creative process. The way we use color is part of the story now. I always think it’s funny that we call it finishing when it’s really not at the finish anymore. It starts at the very beginning coming up with the aesthetics on set.

However, while we know editors need to be creative with color, we also know they aren’t necessarily comfortable in full-on color-grading applications, and we know they want to stay in the editing mindset. So we set out to create a color workflow that give editors a way to be creative with color without needing advanced knowledge of grading applications. We know that they can be scared of grading applications, so instead of just bringing a load of controls in from SpeedGrade and putting them in NLE, which we could have done and surely would have been easier, we actually started almost from scratch in order to provide editors a way to work in color that is a fundamental part of the editing.

So we didn’t include all these complicated controls, but rather abstracted controls that are intuitive to editors like Vibrancy, Saturation, Temperature, and Tint. Now, colorists would probably not want to use things like that because they want that full 747 cockpit, but our goal here is allow you to create something beautiful within a few clicks. Then, the further you go down the color panel the more advanced the color tools become. It is really like the combination of SpeedGrade and Lightroom in the NLE for editors. So far, people are responding to it very well.

Are there any new features in Premiere Pro that you see specifically helping producers of sports content?
Mooney:
Sure. For sports, in postgame interviews, sometimes there are lots of ums and awes and pauses in interviews and that can result in bad dissolves or they will just leave them in. Morph Cut is a wonderful piece of technology that uses multiple things in order to smooth out the transition between a jump cut and the cut of some talking head footage. It analyzes using our face tracking to create and separate frames and then based on the face tracker vectors, it can identify the frames that it needs and look elsewhere in the video footage to smooth it out.

What are you previewing here at the show regarding Adobe Anywhere?
Coleman:
We initially launched Anywhere as an enterprise solution, but since then we have really discovered the universal needs around collaboration. We’ve always wanted to bring the good collaboration of Anywhere to a broader group of people, which is exactly what we are doing with this release that we’re previewing here at NAB.

Anywhere has always been about two things: the Collaboration Hub and the Mercury Streaming Engine. While the streaming engine is very sophisticated and does some amazing things that is really where the complexity lies when deploying the software. So we separated the two. It’s as simple as that. Now we can deploy a standalone Collaboration Hub.

We’ve also simplified the installation, so it can be done by an end-user. We are bringing this kind of Anywhere style collaboration to a broader group of people and allowing those smaller shared productions who are in Prelude and Premiere to work on the same assets at the same time. Instead of accessing the media via the streaming engine though, they just directly mount the storage. We are taking advantage of the infrastructure that’s already established in most cases. And so, you spin up one machine as just a Collaboration Hub and away you go.

How have you seen the use of Adobe Anywhere grow since it was released in mid-2013?
Coleman:
We have been in the market about 20 months and we are very happy with how it’s gone thus far. We have some large installations and they are getting bigger – several of them in sports. I can’t speak to specific [installations] but I can say that it’s gone very well and we are even more excited for what’s ahead in the coming year.

Project Candy

Project Candy

What is the new ‘Candy Project’ that Adobe is unveiling at the show?
Mooney:
One of the broad [principles] throughout the company is the focus on mobile-to-desktop workflows that allow people to be creative with handheld devices. It’s not about having full [systems] in a handheld device, but rather allow people to be creative in a mobile app specifically designed for use on the phone. That is what Premier Clip does with its integration with Premiere Pro. This idea that you can be creative wherever you are and then come home to the full power of the desktop – I think that’s really cool.

The idea of Project Candy is capturing the look and feel of image or a scene that that you find inspiring – a sunset for example. Sometimes it’s not the thing you’re looking at, it’s the color and the way the light bounces. Candy enables you to either use the phone’s camera or use an image that’s already on the phone to extract a look, which you can then apply to a still image or video either in the phone or via CC Libraries. When you go to your desktop that look is just in you library and then in After Effects or in Premiere Pro you can then apply that look to the image. So it’s this idea of capturing an emotion or a feeling and then being able to apply it to your project.