April 4, 2014

Adobe is Going to Hollywood: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Being Cut Exclusively on Premiere Pro

Gone GirlEarlier this week, Adobe unveiled the features that will be rolling out in the next version of their Creative Cloud video apps, and the response thus far has been an incredibly positive one, especially for features such as DCP creation in Media Encoder and masking/tracking directly in Premiere. However, Adobe released quite a bit of other new information about their video products on Wednesday, most notably the fact that David Fincher's upcoming film, an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl, is being cut exclusively on Premiere Pro by Kirk Baxter ACE. Will this be a major turning point for Adobe's filmmaking software in regards to its use in Hollywood? Let's take a look.

Hollywood's relationship with the NLE has been a relatively monogamous one. Avid's Media Composer has been, and continues to be, the tool of choice for many of the editors cutting major studio films. Avid has a lock on this segment of the video editing market because its solutions for collaborative editing and working with shared media are second to none. Add to that the fact that Media Composer is easily the best choice when it comes to organizing massive amounts of media with corresponding metadata -- it's clear why it's the NLE of choice in the arena of large-scale feature filmmaking.

With that said, something interesting happened in the early 2000's when legendary sound and picture editor Walter Murch finished cutting Cold Mountain on Final Cut Pro 3. That little-known NLE started to gain an incredible amount of traction in the feature filmmaking world. Most notably, the Coen brothers have used FCP to cut a good many of their films, including their most recent flick, Inside Llewyn Davis. 

Adobe's professional editing software hasn't had the same luck. Despite being a fairly well-loved tool in the world of independent filmmaking, Premiere Pro and the rest of Adobe's video tools have really never been a contender in the Hollywood NLE landscape. However, the announcement that Kirk Baxter ACE will be cutting Fincher's latest film Gone Girl exclusively in Premiere Pro CC might very well change all of that.

Premiere Pro, when coupled with the rest of Adobe's video software, is quickly becoming a truly formidable post-production system with high-end and tightly integrated solutions for everything from ingest to final output. Add to that the fact that Adobe now has a much higher stake in the field of collaborative post-production due to one of their newest products, Adobe Anywhere, which allows editors and VFX artists to remotely access media and collaborate on projects from anywhere in the world.

Here's a good rundown of what Adobe Anywhere will allow creatives to accomplish:

There's little doubt that Adobe Anywhere has the potential to provide an excellent value for studios, especially considering that real-time collaboration could potentially allow for the outsourcing of even more post-production jobs (much like what's happening to the VFX industry). Whether that's a good thing or not is another question entirely, but it certainly has the potential to save the studios money, something which they very clearly love.

The most important question here, however, is whether or not Adobe's video tools are actually ready for the major leagues of feature film post production. For CGI-driven films, the answer to that question is no, as most of the work on those films is done in non-Adobe software such as Flame, Nuke, and others. However, for films with a relatively low need for compositing and special effects, an all-Adobe workflow might be an effective post-production solution.

With that said, Premiere itself still isn't at the level of Media Composer in terms of media and metadata management, which could be problematic for an industry-wide adoption of Adobe, because those two things are integral parts of the feature film post-production process. However, with Adobe's developers continuously pushing out major updates every couple of months, it's not out of the question to see some major media management improvements that would incentivize the industry to move towards Premiere.

I'm curious to hear what you guys think about the idea of Hollywood beginning to use Adobe's post-production tools. Will the fact that Gone Girl is being cut in Premiere lead to a changing of the guard for Hollywood NLE's, or is this a promotional tactic? What features would Adobe need to incorporate in order for Premiere to compete with Media Composer on large-scale projects? Let's hear your thoughts down in the comments!

Link: Revealing the Next Wave of Innovation for Adobe Creative Cloud Video Apps -- Adobe Blog

Your Comment

46 Comments

Fincher also used Adobe for conforming The Social Network:
http://tv.adobe.com/videos/david-fincher/

April 4, 2014

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I don't care what editing software they use in Hollywood. I've been using Adobe Premiere for nearly 6 years now, and I wouldn't change for anything else. It fits my needs and integrates perfectly with my Red-material and all the other programs I use.

April 4, 2014

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Jesper

I used Final Cut since it's beginning, but switched to Premiere a few years ago just because it can ingest so many different codecs without transcoding; and resolutions - 4K, 2K, HD, SD whatever you throw at it. I'm sure Avid is more powerful and better in a major studio environment, but for many of us who use After Effects and even Cinema 4D (which are well integrated), Premiere is nice just for the constant back and forth and for the familiarity.

I'm sure FInal Cut X and Avid are cool, but I'd rather spend my time being creative and don't want to spend it learning new programs all the time. Once you switch, it's hard to switch again.

April 4, 2014

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Gene Sung (non-...

Coens cut Llewyn Davis on FCP7 NOT PPro

April 4, 2014

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watcher

It really doesn't matter. I say its a marketing gimmick. At work I cut on Avid, at home Final Cut, and I've used Premiere a few times. It just boils down to personal preference. For me, I'd chose Avid and Final Cut over Premiere but like I said that's just a personal choice. Fanboy wars over an NLE is pretty silly. You could easily cut a feature on any one of them.

April 4, 2014

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Stephen

+1

April 5, 2014

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John

-1

April 6, 2014

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Razor

+1 I use Avid, FCP, FXPX, Premiere, whichever makes the most sense for the project.

April 7, 2014

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Well said.

April 8, 2014

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Tyler

+2 to make up for Razor.

April 10, 2014

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Gary

I edit with Premiere at home and Final Cut at work (still on 7 but learning FCPX as we speak). I never worked with Avid, but I know people who do (and they are a lot better editors than me, I am just a cameraman who can edit a bit when he has to...)

What I found is that most people who work on Avid have done so ever since, and when they have to learn Premiere or FCP, of course they don't feel at home and think those programs are inferior. But so do I when I try to use Avid...

In my opinion it is really more of what are you used to, than what is really the "better" program.

I have sat next to people who showed me why Avid is the best editing program, and I believed them. I also sat next to somebody who showed me why FCP X is the best editing program ever, and I believed him, too! ;)

It is really hard to say what is best and what is not, but Avid definitely has the major advantage that all the pros use it and say it's the best - which will lead to more people learning it when they want to become pro editors.

April 10, 2014

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Heiko

Yes Coen brothers used Final Cut pro 7, probably because it was familiar and they had no time for a learning curve. Theres been a bogus rumor they used Premiere but they did not.

http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/tag/coen-brothers/

And as much as i love finchers films his choices in tech have made his films less than his earlier films. He uses red cameras which have made his films look milky and I'm not a fan. So his use of premiere gets a who cares.

April 4, 2014

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MIcp

I prefer his earlier films but I don't think the camera has anything to do with that. The technical perfection he demands is his big trademark actually. I think his most recent films have an amazing quality to them.

I shot my most recent short film on a Red Epic and got a very different look than Fincher's films. Someone on Vimeo even wrote me to ask how to budget for 35mm because of it. Here it is if you'd like to see - https://vimeo.com/75720702

April 5, 2014

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Amazing look.

April 5, 2014

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Cosmin Gurau

Nicely done.

April 5, 2014

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Brian

Thanks guys!

April 6, 2014

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Actually watched this last week as it goes whilst perusing Staff Picks. Good work. :-)

April 6, 2014

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Darren

Thanks. I was so stoked on the Staff Picks.

April 6, 2014

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Good work man I like it and totally agree the camera doesn't make the look of the film you do and you did it well.

April 10, 2014

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Gary

Your DP and Colorist are phenomenal!

August 30, 2014

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Eric

Here in Dallas, which is mostly a commercial-and, as of late television-market, the Adobe suite of programs (particularly Photoshop and AE) has always had some traction. Many of the editors around town are beginning to use Premiere to cut more when the clients don't request Avid. At the school where I teach, we start in Premiere and then teach Avid in the second class.

April 4, 2014

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Lopez

who cares?

this is literally just adobe marketing

April 4, 2014

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john jeffries

The reason for the shift to Premiere Pro is due to the Baxter/Wall/Nelson/Fincher post workflow integration and providing a necessity that FCP7 could no longer provide. I was directly involved in their transition and will be able to share the specifics soon. It's not marketing...it's a solution to a problem they were facing.

April 5, 2014

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Thanks for the comment, Vashi. Definitely let us know when you have details to share, as it sounds fascinating!

April 5, 2014

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avatar
Robert Hardy
Writer
Cinematographer / Editor

Vashi,

Please do share some details! I do assistant editing on PBS documentaries in Avid, but occasionally FCP 7 is used, and I 'd love to know more about how Premiere can fit into a team workflow. (Premiere is actually what I tend to use for personal projects and some corporate videos, and I enjoy its integration with After Effects quite a bit.)

April 5, 2014

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Ben

Warners/Legendary mandated the transition on all their films recently. :-)
Quite a few network shows have now migrated as well.
AVID still a force, but a declining one at that level.

April 4, 2014

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marklondon

One more thing: those claiming its a marketing gimmick: good luck persuading an ACE editor or Fincher to use a specific program they don't want to use for even tens of thousands.
Its not about money at that level, its about rep. They wouldn't have done it if they didn't think it worked for them. Stakes WAY too high to screw around.

April 4, 2014

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marklondon

Save often, David, save often...

April 4, 2014

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TTrain

It's an obvious boost for Adobe to be associated with high profile filmmakers. It isn't the first time adobe went to hollywood though. Its programs were used in big budget feature films, even in films like Avatar and Monsters.

Interestingly enough, Vegas Pro was used in the first paranormal activity movie but Sony didn't play on that and it's probably one of the highest grossing indie films produced. Vegas Pro would've went to hollywood with that announcement i guess.

April 5, 2014

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Roshdi

Exactly! Sony didn't advertise on it. If they did, who knows, maybe we'd be hearing about Vegas, rather than all this continuous Premiere/FCP yada-yada-yada here on nofilmschool.

April 5, 2014

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Cosmin Gurau

As a college student who was able to cut on avid, premiere and final cut both in highschool for 3 years and now two years into college I think it boils down to preference. Yes Avid has some amazing tools and I think it makes sense for a big studio but you can cut a feature on any of those (i've watched it). Personally right now I love adobe im using CS6 cause I can' afford Avid and even though i have FCPX I really don't like it. Maybe its just cause I have grown up in the computer era and got to edit on any of these programs I chose since my second year of high school but I don't find any of them to have massive learning curves to be honest. I think it really is preference and also viability each system has something the other system can't do what does your movie need? Thats just my opinion though i'm more of a camera guy but from what I can see I think any of them could be viable in Hollywood its just a matter of what the editor, director and studio choose.

April 8, 2014

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Jacob

This is great news whether I ever use Premier or not. Competition makes all the programs better as they workout new and innovative ways to solve the problems inherent in post production.

I'm an Avid editor with VFX experience in FLAME and I'm glad Adobe has gotten their apps and the metadata backend to a level that's near (or same as) these programs.

After effects is apparently quite good for compositing these days and has good 3D tracking, I just wonder that if they ever put a FLAME or nuke level node compositing system into it that they might really disrupt the market. Considering everyone in the industry will have CC for Photoshop and Illustrator, there is no cost to have AE on the system. If it's close to nuke then how do you convince magement to pay the difference for more than a few seats? All indies will have AE and thus serious compositing software for free with their editing program of choice which is great for their creative freedom.

Interesting times, should be a great NAB.

April 5, 2014

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Andy

The workflow between Premiere and ProTools is a nightmare. Premiere cannot be used by any major production until Adobe addresses this.

April 5, 2014

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Christopher

How so? I've sent many projects to sound people running ProTools without issue as long as I don't encapsulate the project and nothing is nested.

April 5, 2014

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Gabe

(see comment below)

April 6, 2014

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Christopher

I've handed off 3 feature films in the last year to major post sound houses with Pro Tools and had no issues. +1 on no encapsulation and no nesting. What issues were you dealing with on your end?

April 5, 2014

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Premiere seems to be suffering from some severe glitches concerning how it handles audio. The past three editors I have talked to have had significant difficulty trying to get Premiere to pump out either a usable OMF or AAF. If even a single clip has been changed from stereo to dual mono, the export might crash. If you used any transition other than a standard crossfade, the export might crash. (In fact, as a bonus glitch, the current version of Premiere does not let you use ANY fades. Upon render, any fades are baked in as a sort of jarring chainsaw electro-glitch...Premiere has known about this for a couple months, and still hasn't released a patch. Their solution for the time being: "just keyframe the Levels for the clip rather than use the Crossfade Transitions. (constant gain or exponential)" But surprise, surprise: using keyframes on the levels can cause the OMF export to crash!)

If you have copy and pasted a clip from another sequence (or from with the same sequence) it may cause the OMF export to crash, or the OMF will export it as a blank clip with no information. Adobe has known about this glitch for months as well, and their official solution is to "refrain from using copy and paste."

The last editor I talked to was able to successfully dodge these glitches, but when he delivered it to the sound mixer, he discovered that Adobe was botching the file names of the referenced files, and so the sound mixer had to relink each of the 3,000 clips by hand.

Another sound mixer I was talking to ran into similar problems, and resorted to exporting each track as it's own encapsulated OMF, since the file cap is 2GB. He delivered 12 different OMFs to the mixer, who had to stitch them all together.

Two important notes:
1) These are all seasoned veterans, with at least 10 year under their belt.
2) As far as I know, this is solely an issue with Premiere after they switched to their creative cloud service. The older stand-alone versions of Premiere, I never encountered such disasters.

April 6, 2014

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Christopher

I have had toms of issues like these exporting OMF From Premiere CS6 and back. The workaround I have found is to open the sequence in Audition and export OMF from there. Audition appears to have different code in its OMF export module. I don't think I have seen any of these issues since I added this step to the process.

April 7, 2014

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David Ackerman

Nice. Good for Adobe. I'm still sticking with Sony Vegas Pro.

April 5, 2014

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Cosmin Gurau

I thought I was the only one that used Vegas. ;)

April 8, 2014

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Tyler

Who cares what FIncher cuts on. The only thing that matters is what you cut on.

April 6, 2014

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Richard

thats what im saying! all these blogs do is just ramble about superficial things like equipment, its all an industry they just want you to keep buying things

April 6, 2014

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john jeffries

Coens are cutting their next film on PPro.

April 7, 2014

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Winston

Jesus, who cares?

April 16, 2014

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Chris

In my opinion it doesn't really matter what you cut on (within reason). The most important thing is the quality of the footage and the person who is handling it. If the footage is poor it doesn't matter what editing software you use because the result is going to be poor regardless of whether you are using Avid, Premiere Final Cut etc etc. I think sometimes people get caught up too much on the technical aspect of film making (especially with cameras. I mean, do we really really need 6K to shoot our own films?) and not enough on the creative side... Just my opinion!

April 24, 2014

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Brett

Just finished integrating 5 Adobe CC Premier edit suites into a brand new Grass Valley K2 Stratus television production environment. Lots of push back from the óld school' that it's not professional or its not a proper broadcast name like Avid. Production in Film and TV is very conservative by nature (and need) but Adobe have really stepped up."Sometimes its good to be ahead of the curve.

August 30, 2014

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Jamie