Collaborative Video Editing Gets Real

Image courtesy of Netflix.

by Jeff Pedersen

posted on 05-15-2018

As a seasoned Hollywood storyteller, Darius Stevens Wilhere has pretty much seen and done it all. From screenwriting, directing, and producing films to set design, make-up, and costuming, Dare has spent decades learning the tricks of the trade on both sides of the camera.

Earlier in his professional editing career, Dare started shooting weddings and corporate videos on the side. It was on these projects where he was introduced to Adobe, mastering his visual effects and editing skills using Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop.

Although he continued to use different editing platforms for his various projects, a decade ago the founder of Dare Cinema moved all of his work over to Adobe. “People weren’t expecting this,” he explains. “But I told them they should be more concerned with the edit than the software.”

Image courtesy of FOOF Productions and Dare Cinema.

This is precisely the message he conveyed to his latest convert and colleague, Rob Schneider—creator, writer, director, and protagonist of the real-life Netflix series Real Rob. Schneider had never used Adobe for any of his projects, but based on Dare’s recommendation, he was willing to give it a try. Dare got season one cut with Premiere Pro, and Adobe Team Projects came along at exactly the right time to help him convince the producers to stick with Premiere Pro for season two.

With Team Projects, Dare and his colleagues can edit simultaneously. “When I’m cutting and I have the director behind me and I desperately need to find a take, I can ask the assistant editor to find the take and drop it in so that I can keep cutting,” he says. There’s also this increasing trend of getting overloads of digital footage because multiple takes are done within the same roll and there were times when I had to have my AE doing pre-cuts for me so we could keep up with the shooting. Adobe Team Projects allowed her to quickly cut together a rough assembly and share it with me so I could finalize it and get it to the producers without us having to worry about having the same project open and cutting on it at the same time which was a complete life saver for us.”

Image courtesy of FOOF Productions and Dare Cinema.

Real Rob season 2 is comprised of eight episodes, each between 30 and 40 minutes long. Each episode has a Team Project, which is organized by scenes. Once they have all of the footage, it’s dropped into the appropriate scene and compiled into an episode. The episode sequence then goes on for further editing. Between sound, digital, and visual effects, a single episode can contain between 3,000 and 6,000 assets.

The post-production team is scattered across Los Angeles. Dare works alongside his assistant editor in an editing suite attached to his house, which also features an Adobe After Effects suite, an additional editing station, and a 300 terabyte server. For most of the production the team worked with Pro Res proxy files, but at the end when they started doing second unit work they switched over to the proxy workflow in Premiere Pro and were very satisfied with the results.

“Michelle Fenn was my AE and she was fantastic,” says Dare. “She was already very proficient with Premiere Pro and had some experience with the proxy workflow. At first, I was hesitant to change mid-season, but once she showed me how painless it would be to implement I was fully on board.”

Image courtesy of FOOF Productions and Dare Cinema.

Visual effects consisted primarily of green screens, paint-outs, and creature effects done in After Effects. When cutting a scene with visual effects, Dare replaced individual RED camera 6K shots using Dynamic Link, and then sent the After Effects comp, along with the master footage, to visual effects partner Deluxe.

“Dynamic Link in Team Projects was another massive time saver,” says Dare. “We rapidly handed off shots to Alex at Apparatus Effects, who was also using After Effects, and he gave back changes, which we instantly synced up and showed Rob, who then approved or gave further notes. We actually ended up having several hundred VFX shots in the show and Team Projects made it a very painless process and saved us a ton of time.

“Increasingly, artists like me are getting their work from independent productions like Real Rob, which are then sold to media companies like Netflix,” he continues. “Adobe has empowered me to have a very rewarding, lucrative career that would not have existed otherwise.”

Now that he has completed the second season of Real Rob, Dare has his eye on another project—a feature in Napa that he hopes to shoot and edit, all on Adobe, of course. And whenever he has the opportunity, he will continue to trumpet Adobe to his colleagues in the filmmaking industry.

“All it takes to switch an experienced editor from competing software to Adobe is an hour,” he says. “Adobe Team Projects is a great addition, and will help Adobe own this space.”

Topics: Creativity

Products: After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Creative Cloud