By Michelle Gallina, principal product marketing manager, Adobe Creative Cloud

From its humble beginnings in George Rizkallah’s home, The Product Factory has grown into a respected post-house that has worked on everything from major Marvel Studio properties to small, independent features. A lover of editing and self-proclaimed “computer geek”, Rizkallah had both the skills and drive needed to attract an impressive and loyal client base that includes some of the biggest brands in both animation and live-action entertainment.

I recently spoke with Rizkallah about building The Product Factory, his latest project, Funny Or Die’s High Science, and why Adobe Premiere Prohas become the go-to choice for the company’s work.

Tell me about working on Funny Or Die’s High Science.

Rizkallah: It’s a six-episode series that teaches viewers about cutting-edge science with psychedelic humor. We’re more well-known for our animation work, but High Science is right up our alley because everything was shot on green screen. So the whole series has tons of animations and comps and CG art that we pulled together.

It was one of the biggest and most complicated projects we’d worked on, so we were really pushing the boundaries of our environment. We shot all six episodes in three days on green screen. We didn’t have a solid formula for exactly what the series was going to look like or feel like, so we did a lot of experimentation as we were working. We used Photoshop to design, After Effects to key and animate, and we put it all together in Premiere Pro. We even checked and fixed captions right on the timeline, saving time and money. 

Using Productions in Premiere Pro, we could have more than a dozen people working on it simultaneously. We’d have people adding animations to the face of a main robot character, pulling stock footage to place behind the green screens, and comping sequences all at once. There was CG animation edited into a Premiere project file out of house, then comped together with green screen footage. We’d clean up the green screens and pull it into the Production with the rest of the episode. was also fantastic for this project because it’s such a great way of sharing really specific notes while working remotely. It’s so easy to check on what notes we’ve got and figure out what still needs to be addressed and see draw overs from clients. It’s the perfect, easy to use tool.

Hiisci103_timeline2_0'Funny Or Die’s High Science' timeline in Adobe Premiere ProCredit: Courtesy of George Rizkallah

How did you get into post production?

Rizkallah: I went to school in central Florida to learn film editing, like actually cutting together 35 mm film. Those were the days when editing stations took up a whole room and if you dropped a frame, you were literally dropping it somewhere. I remember getting home one day and finding a frame in my shoe.

I got an editing job at a little local post-production house, but everything changed when they got this new Avid machine. It was mind-blowing at the time. I loved editing: just being alone in a room, staring at those lights, working by myself. But I was also a huge computer nerd. So it was like the best of both worlds. From there, I taught myself and one thing led to another, and I ended up as an assistant editor in LA.

How did The Product Factory get started?

Rizkallah: Final Cut Pro came along and started to change the game. I didn’t have to invest in a huge machine. I could build my own computer and start editing at home. So I started doing my own thing out of my house. I had a friend who told me he was getting a big new job — it turned out he became the head of animation for Marvel. He asked if I could help out with some animatics. I hadn’t really worked in animation before, but I went for it. It became an ongoing relationship, and The Product Factory kept growing as Marvel grew. We’ve done a lot of high-profile work in live action, but we’re still well-known for animation.

George_rizkallahGeorge RizkallahCredit: Courtesy of

When did you start working with Adobe Premiere Pro?

Rizkallah: We decided to make the switch when a lot started changing in Final Cut. We did a massive test among our editing team to compare Premiere Pro to Avid and to the then recently released Final Cut X. At the end of the day, Premiere Pro made it so easy to switch. We were already using Adobe After Effects. We didn’t need to restructure servers, invest in new hardware, or spend a massive amount of time retraining everyone. Just a day teaching folks how Premiere worked, and they were good to go. For a small business like The Product Factory, the simplicity, integration, and power made all the difference.

What’s one of your favorite features in Adobe Premiere Pro?

Rizkallah: I love the transcription feature, Speech to Text. You can just search through the transcript and find what you’re looking for. Then you can use the transcript to create captions, and even change them up while you edit. It saves time and costs because we don’t need to work with an outside captions company.

I’ve heard about the new text-based editing feature in Premiere, which is like taking transcriptions to the next level. It’s so important for things like interviews and reality shows where you can just cut together a script based on the text, and a big chunk of the editing work will be done for you.

What are your biggest tips for others working in post-production?

Rizkallah: One of the best things about Premiere Pro is that it’s so flexible. You can drag things into your timeline and start cutting without really worrying about color space, frame size, or frame rate. But you still need to keep the final cut in mind before you start. Because if you try to change some of these things late in the edit, it’s a mess. So plan out everything before you get started.

And I always tell people at The Product Factory to organize themselves like someone is going to take over their project. Premiere makes it so easy to get started that you might just start cutting and skip steps like labeling takes or creating folders. But then three months later, you’ll get a request for a quick change, and it’ll take you forever to find what you need. As you start collaborating with more people, strong organization becomes a professional requirement. It’s a good habit to just organize yourself as you’re working.

What advice do you have for people entering the business?

Rizkallah: At the end of the day, this is an industry built on relationships. I still get jobs from people who I worked with at the beginning of my career. I may be more outgoing than your average editor, but you don’t need to be super extroverted. Just let your attitude and work ethic speak for you. People will keep coming back if you have a positive attitude and always do your best with what you’re given.

Hisci102_texted_masterstill002'Funny Or Die’s High Science'Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

What’s next for you and The Product Factory?

Rizkallah: We have several projects with Netflix, Apple, and Amazon right now. Those workflows are almost entirely Adobe. There’s just so much that you can do with Premiere Pro and other Adobe Creative Cloudtools that you can’t do with other options.

By Michelle Gallina, principal product marketing manager, Adobe Creative Cloud