Meeting Daily News Deadlines

by Meagan Keane

posted on 09-12-2017

Audiences rely on their favorite news programs to keep them informed and up-to-date on the latest happenings in the world around them. That’s why people working in news production have no leeway on deadlines. When the daily news rolls around, stories need to be prepped and ready to roll.

Nachtblau is a full-service media, IT, and broadcast company. One of the company’s biggest jobs involves editing daily segments for RTL North, a regional arm of RTL Television, the largest private broadcaster in Germany.

Editors at nachtblau often edit multiple stories a day, each two to eight minutes long for several different TV shows, among them local and national evening news, celebrity magazines, cooking shows, and talk shows. With generally only three or four hours available for each edit, the time crunch can be intense for editors. It’s essential that their post-production workflows enable them to work as quickly as possible.

Choosing a different path

Annika Kӧnig joined nachtblau when she was a film student at Hamburg’s University of Fine Arts, where she learned from internationally renowned film directors such as Wim Wenders and Angela Schanelec. While fellow students served coffee and waited tables, she cut teasers and reviewed news segments for mistakes before they went on air. To her own surprise she found that she was far more passionate about editing than being on set, and invested her spare time in learning the craft.

The editing application of choice at nachtblau is Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The team transitioned from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro in 2014, right around the time Kӧnig was learning to be an editor, which helped to level the playing field for her. She not only became an editor, her knowledge of Premiere Pro also gave her the opportunity to become a support editor to the chief editor, helping troubleshoot issues in the early days of the transition.

Recently, Kӧnig was tapped to redesign the weather broadcast for the RTL local news, a big, long-term project and a great opportunity for her. She also supported nachtblau’s software engineers in the developmental stage of the company’s media asset management system medialoopster, which has a panel integration for Premiere Pro. With Final Cut server no longer available and rising demand for a smart MAM with total control over metadata, nachtblau is now selling the system to broadcasters and companies juggling video content.

Resident expert

In addition to her own editing work it is Kӧnig’s job to redefine editing workflows, integrate new Adobe features, and make sure that all editors stay up to speed. She also functions as a Premiere Pro trainer for new editors or journalists.

“For our news editors, it’s not as important to make things look and sound completely polished,” says Kӧnig. “People need to work fast and dirty. There’s always information coming in last minute and we often have to play it out live. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s always exciting.”

Faster, better workflows

Kӧnig is always trying to think of new ways to help editors finish their work faster. In addition to straight editing, there is always a demand for graphics to integrate into segments. In the past this had been entirely covered by the graphics department, but just as journalists are now expected to be decent editors, editors are expected to be decent graphic artists.

The graphics department provided templates in the form of After Effects compositions to integrate into Premiere Pro, but with limited time and expertise in After Effects this wasn’t always effective. As a workaround, Kӧnig rebuilt the graphics with the Premiere Pro title tool, but she still wasn’t satisfied. They consisted of too many layers and made editors spend several precious minutes just trying to orient the graphics correctly.

With Adobe’s Motion Graphics templates König can now introduce a solution where no extra software or training is needed. Graphic artists create templates in After Effects, so design and animation stays in the hands of experts, then they hand them over to the editors, with all important parameters staying editable. Editors, can make changes, such as changing the color of a graphic, but only to a color that meets the rules of the show’s CI. A graphic that previously consisted of 14 or more layers is now combined to only one. Editors don’t have to launch After Effects, as all properties are adjusted in seconds right inside of Premiere Pro.

“With Motion Graphics templates in Adobe Premiere Pro, I expect that we can help editors spend less time working with graphics and more time creating a fantastic news segment to meet the deadline.”

Annika Kӧnig will be presenting in the Adobe stand at IBC 2017 on Friday, September 15th at 12:30 PM (3:30 AM PT). Her presentation on Saturday, September 16th at 1:00 PM (4:00 AM PT) will be live streamed on the Adobe Premiere Pro Facebook page (@premierepro).

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Topics: Video & Audio

Products: Premiere Pro, Creative Cloud