David Fincher’s Smash Gone Girl Marks First Hollywood Film Cut Entirely in Adobe Premiere Pro CC
David Fincher’s Gone Girl, which opened Oct. 3 to rave reviews and has secured the top spot at the box office the past two weekends, is the first major Hollywood feature film cut entirely in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The post-production company made the decision switch from Final Cut Pro and use Premiere Pro CC because of its tight integration between Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC, which allowed multiple editors and VFX artists to work on the same project. And, Premiere Pro CC was able to play back 6K files in real-time for VFX review.
As a director, Fincher has a reputation for pushing technology to the limit. 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 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.
After successfully cutting a Calvin Klein commercial using Premiere Pro CC, the team looked at what it would take to support the demands of a two-and-a-half hour feature film. Team Fincher decided to use Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Jeff Brue with tasked to design a storage system that would enable Premiere Pro to work quickly and efficiently within a 6K feature film 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 good as we could,” says Jeff Brue, post-production engineer. “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 on 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, Peter Mavromates assumed the role of managing the pipeline, helping determine the post-production goals, and managing the visual effects work. Kirk Baxter worked on the edit relying on Tyler 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,” said Tyler Nelson, assistant editor. “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 CC in the future the best movie it could be.”
Additionally, much of the visual effects work was done in-house, which allowed the team to work in parallel with the editing. As Kirk Baxter edited in Premiere Pro CC, Tyler Nelson worked on the shots in After Effects CC. Whenever Tyler Nelson saved a composition, it automatically updated in Kirk Baxter’s timeline thanks to Adobe Dynamic Link. This integrated and interactive workflow kept shots looking cleaner and eliminated distracting back-and-forth interactions so David Fincher and Kirk Baxter could focus on the story as it evolved in the edit bay. This streamlined workflow was one of the main advantages for ‘Team Fincher’.