May 8, 2015

How 'Sharknado 2' Editor Vashi Nedomansky Cuts High-Profile Projects on Premiere Pro

While at this year's NAB event, editor Vashi Nedomansky of Vashi Visuals shared with fellow editors and creatives his process for editing high-profile films using Adobe Creative Cloud. Not only that, but he explained the basics of film editing, like how to produce emotional responses through your editing decisions. You can check out his talk below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_k2dFVRPLc

Vashi's talk is important for two-reasons (okay, more than two, but here are two):

  1. He shows you the practical side of editing: workflow options, tools, techniques, etc.
  2. He shows you the inspirational side of editing: how what you do makes a difference to the overall film.

The Practical Stuff

If you're editing for professional projects, be they feature films, music videos, or commercials, you usually need to have a quick turnaround (so your clients and higher-ups don't get mad at you). This is why establishing a functional and efficient workflow is so important. As Vashi explains in astounding detail on his blog, his editing schedule for Sharknado 2  was all but 6 weeks (he says 8 in the video), which sounds incredibly tight even for an experienced editor. And with the film's over 1400 shots, there wasn't much time to make over 1400 editing decisions, let alone work with a sluggish, disorganized workflow.

The key is maintaining organization, not just for yourself (in terms of keeping your sanity), but for any collaborators or editors that may need to work on your timeline. Vashi demonstrates how he uses the different layers to separate his "base level" shots, VFX shots, and audio clips so as not to make the timeline confusing by mixing them together. Essentially, he shows us how to organize our timelines so it has some semblance of order.

The full Premiere Pro CC timeline for 'Sharknado 2'

Editing on Premiere Pro CC for major motion pictures is still in its early stages of adoption, though recently (and most notably), David Fincher's editing team, which includes two-time Academy Award winner Kirk Baxter, ACE, used Premiere to cut together Gone Girl. So, no -- Avid isn't the only game in Tinseltown. (It certainly isn't in the indie film world.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=11&v=2o6pjd2AU9c

The Inspirational Stuff

One of the slides Vashi shows his audience is a quote pulled from one of his posts on his blog, which reads:

Film Editing: The average film has 1300 cuts. Every cut affects flow, rhythm, and story. Every cut can make or break the film. 1300 pieces to an invisible puzzle...with endless combinations. None of them right or wrong. That's the beauty of filmmaking.

That's one of my favorite quotes about editing, because it illustrates the position editors find themselves in every time they sit down to their computers to work on a project. Editors, like many other workers in the film industry, are both technicians and artists (at times, magician), using their understanding of the complex and intricate tools in their hands to craft something that inspires people to cry, laugh, or scream. It's an arduous, soul-crushing, seemingly impossible experience every time, but once you see that finished timeline expressed up on a big screen, it all becomes worth it.

If you want to know literally everything about how Vashi edited Sharknado 2, head on over to his blog    

Your Comment

17 Comments

Some stuff I took from this that I found interesting or didn't know -- placeholders and text on screen to communicate to the VFX people what you're imagining; you can export DCP from Premiere; you can edit Red raw natively in Premiere (Vashi spends some time talking about how he had to cut a music video in two days and was glad he didn't have to lose a day transcoding then reconforming); the idea that a professional editor should have watched every frame of raw footage at least twice and be organised enough to find any shot instantly without having to scroll through footage.

May 8, 2015 at 8:13PM

10
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Adrian Tan
Videographer
1091

The DCP part is BS. Yes you can create a DCP using Wraptor DCP in premiere. But the only bitrate option it gives you is 250 mbps! Which is way to much for anything, films typically use a bitrate of ~150 mbps or less (I'm talking feature films like Gravity and Hobbit). For trailers it's ~75 or less. To adjust it you have to pay an additional $600! Not only that, but the program does not use industry standard naming practices for the outputted file. Yes, it will work, but in no way is it a professional solution.

May 10, 2015 at 11:50AM, Edited May 10, 11:51AM

0
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Geoff C. Bassett
Director of Photography
261

Good to know. Thanks for saying that! I'm curious, though, what effect having a too-high bitrate has at the screening end. Are they simply unable to use it?

May 15, 2015 at 3:40PM

1
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Adrian Tan
Videographer
1091

Excellent post Renee. Thank you.

May 9, 2015 at 2:21AM, Edited May 9, 2:21AM

0
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+ 1

Great post, V.

May 9, 2015 at 3:47PM

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Someone should force Adobe to develop a working proxy workflow for Premiere.
I know that PPro is cool because it edits eveything natively, but what will you do when you have to edit some RED EPIC 4k footage on some shitty MAC because someone needs you to do do that?

May 9, 2015 at 8:25PM, Edited May 9, 8:25PM

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Why go proxy when it takes so much time to transcode and the additional need for storage which is $$$? I cut the PENTATONIX music video I mentioned above in RED EPIC 5K natively at 1/2 resolution with a 6-year old "shitty" Mac Pro Tower. No problem. Edited, color graded and delivered in 2 days.

May 9, 2015 at 10:10PM, Edited May 9, 10:10PM

16
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avatar
Vashi Nedomansky
Filmmaker
104

Vashi, don't get me wrong: I use premiere since 1998 and I am a big fan of it. I train Premiere editors and I think I am one of the biggest "Premiere Fanboys" around in my town :)

BUT...

BUT, Premiere being an editing system (mainly) and not a color correction suite (at least, not only) I think Adobe should focus more on editing features than on color grading tools.

A good proxy system can be useful in many scenarios, lot of which we cannot probably know of until we get in them.
A good proxy system is a fundamental editing tool, and it should be easier to implement by Adobe than all the best and whistles that await for us in CC 2015!

ALSO

Also, Premiere lacks reliability when it comes to dual system audio and and syncing. Its "merge clips" tool is known to be buggy, expecially when it comes to Frame Matching, exporting XMLs or OMFs, AAFs and so on.

I'm sure these "simple" problems, if corrected, may assure Premiere a big leap.

June 4, 2015 at 10:49AM

0
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Wow, I thought that was a great presentation from Vashi! Very inspiring!

May 9, 2015 at 11:09PM, Edited May 9, 11:10PM

12
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avatar
Nick
Director/Editor/Compositer
276

And that's it... I'm with Premiere... and I'll keep it rollin'...
...
Just try to make a SpedGrade as good, Adobe...!!
...
:-)

May 10, 2015 at 5:25AM

2
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avatar
João Marco
Independent Director/Writer
189

I'm having a tough time editing a feature in Premiere in terms of reliability. Certain things are VERY slow and crashy. It's a double-edged sword: as Vashi said we can do a lot in Premiere that is impossible in other platforms (e.g. audio mixing). But that also means we're asking a ton of it. My feature project, with ~42 tracks of audio, 3rd party grading plugins, tons of 'live' AE comps, etc, is definitely making me pull my hair out in terms of stability & performance. I hope going forward on development they really focus on stability & performance. The feature set is GREAT. I just want it to work smoothly.

May 10, 2015 at 6:54PM

2
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Theres a good chance that if your Premiere is crashing its caused by third party plugins.

I've found premiere very solid on its own and generally only crashes when I start using some third party plugins.

May 11, 2015 at 8:41AM

0
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Export your AE comps. The live system works great for a few shots in a project, but once you have "tons" of them, it will slow premiere down dramatically.

May 11, 2015 at 4:12PM, Edited May 11, 4:12PM

2
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avatar
Timmy Schrader
Editor / Cinematographer
81

Agreed. The new "render & replace" function is great for this. It pretty much does the best of both worlds. Those are the kinds of stability/workflow improvements that I'd really like to see more of from Adobe.

May 12, 2015 at 2:52PM

0
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These are my exact experiences with premiere on big projects, very unreliable. I have a doc I'm cutting on it now, but really hate how much it crashes. Not using third party plug ins or FX, just cutting. Avid can also directly to RED footage without transcoding and so can FCX, not sure why this is still a selling point.

This sites obvious sponsorship by Adobe is kinda getting ridiculous. Can we have posts about other platforms please?

May 12, 2015 at 8:18AM

0
Reply

Interesting look at his workflow but it didn't really hit the depths that Gone Girl did with for fronting Premieres place in it. It did in parts but there wasn't much in there that you can't do in other NLE's..
His blogs a minefield of helpful tricks though

May 12, 2015 at 9:18AM

0
Reply
avatar
Greg
Editor / Assistant Editor
131

Vashi, don't get me wrong: I use premiere since 1998 and I am a big fan of it. I train Premiere editors and I think I am one of the biggest "Premiere Fanboys" around in my town :)

BUT...

BUT, Premiere being an editing system (mainly) and not a color correction suite (at least, not only) I think Adobe should focus more on editing features than on color grading tools.

A good proxy system can be useful in many scenarios, lot of which we cannot probably know of until we get in them.
A good proxy system is a fundamental editing tool, and it should be easier to implement by Adobe than all the best and whistles that await for us in CC 2015!

ALSO

Also, Premiere lacks reliability when it comes to dual system audio and and syncing. Its "merge clips" tool is known to be buggy, expecially when it comes to Frame Matching, exporting XMLs or OMFs, AAFs and so on.

I'm sure these "simple" problems, if corrected, may assure Premiere a big leap.

June 4, 2015 at 10:49AM, Edited June 4, 10:49AM

2
Reply