Bringing video in house: The Jigsaw24 Guide

Adding video content to your offering is a great way to win new business, up end user engagement and create a stronger brand identity for your clients – and thanks to Adobe, helping your existing design team get to grips with a new medium is far easier than you’d think. If you’re currently packing Master Collection (or have just picked a copy of Production Premium CS6), you already have all the tools you need to produce cracking content, all in a single, integrated workflow.

Here’s how we did it…

“When we decided to start producing videos in-house, we looked at all the major NLEs,'” explains Tom Cottle, our resident Multimedia Designer. “I’d used Final Cut before, but when I joined Jigsaw24, the rest of the design team already had Master Collection. When I started exploring the video tools that it included, it became obvious that when we were trying to hit tight deadlines, I’d really appreciate the dynamic link between Photoshop, Premiere Pro and After Effects in Creative Suite, and the fact that it was cross-platform meant it would be easier to move projects between machines.”

As well as editing in Premiere Pro, Tom and the rest of the design team can ingest their footage in Prelude, add titles and graphics in Photoshop or After Effects, grade using SpeedGrade and output footage via Media Encoder or Encore, all without leaving Creative Suite. “It means we can divide up jobs if we’re in a hurry – someone can tweak a frame in Photoshop while I’m cutting another part of the project, and because Adobe software’s so common it’s easy to pick up the basic controls fast, especially now that you can do some video editing in Photoshop,” he says.

And CS6 looks to be the most user-friendly iteration yet. “The new UI has me excited,” says Tom. “I often find myself rearranging my panels in Premiere, and I can see CS6 will help avoid this – it’s been more thoroughly thought out, which’ll really help anyone new to video. I like the new larger thumbnail view mode for clips in the project panel, which makes it easier to find the specific clip you need by hovering the mouse over the thumbnail to scrub
through it quickly. Plus with the new Global Performance Cache, everything’s so much faster, which we always need.”

Handheld footage looking blurry?

Not to worry. Premiere Pro and After Effects CS6 include Warp Stabiliser, a neat little tool that lets you stabilise your shots during editing. If you’re shooting video on an older DSLR, you might find that some shots have a strange ‘jello-like’ blur to them because the rolling shutter can’t handle video. This used to be a big problem, but thankfully Adobe have added Rolling Shutter Repair to Premiere Pro CS6. This lets you lose the blur without auto-stabilising the shot, so you can get that naturalistic, handheld look without looking like your footage has been slimed.

Want to add 3D graphics to your promos?

Easy-peasy. After Effects isn’t a full-on 3D modeller like CINEMA 4D or 3ds Max (though it does have built-in integration with them), but the latest version still makes it simple to add 3D text and graphics to your footage. There’s a new, more powerful 3D tracker that lets you identify spaces in your footage where 3D elements will work, then drop in extruded text or objects you’ve created in After Effects or Photoshop CS6 Extended.

Want to work more naturally with 3D images?

We’re big fans of Wacom’s Cintiq 24HD, a giant monitor-cum-tablet that lets you get close to your work comfortably (you can reposition it like an old school drafting table) and, with customisable controls, can be made to suit any programme or workflow. A lot of design and 3D software is optimised for pen tablets, and the Cintiq combines those pen controls with a huge, hi-res workspace that’s exactly what you need if you’re doing detailed 3D or illustration work. You can even set up different configurations of controls for different apps, and the Cintiq will automatically switch them when you move between programs, so you’ve always got your most-used tools right at your fingertips.

For those who don’t have a spare grand and a half, try the slightly more modest Intuos5, which combines a pen tablet and touchpad so you can work more fluidly than you’d be able to using a keyboard and mouse.

Don’t want to wait for renders?

To make the most of After Effects CS6’s ridiculous speeds, you’ll need a workstation with a powerful GPU. NVIDIA’s CUDA-enabled and widely- qualified Quadro range are a safe bet, with the Quadro 4000 being a staple of our M&E solutions.

For maximum efficiency, you can combine a Quadro with a Tesla card to make what NVIDIA call a ‘Maximus’ configuration – one card handles all the mundane graphics tasks, like refreshing your screen, while the other powers through renders or focuses on playing back video so you never experience
any lag. We can build you a custom setup like this mammoth, Maximus-ready workstation (it’s got a 500GB hard drive, an AJA Kona LHe Plus video card for handling your footage and two terabytes of memory), and will even pre-install and configure all the necessary software and drivers. We like to feel useful.

Want to go further than three-way colour correction?

SpeedGrade CS6 is a great place to start, with a vast library of presets and histogram and waveform displays that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s colour-corrected stills before. Powering the whole shebang is the IRIDAS Lumetri Deep Colour Engine, which allows you to apply all changes with 32-bit floating point accuracy, even if you’re working with mammoth RAW or HDR files (translation: it’s super-accurate, even when faced with multiple layers of effects, and it’s not going to freeze on you every five minutes.

Want your audio to be as polished as your footage?

Adobe’s Audition audio editing software is now packing a host of tools that anyone working on sound would previously have had to purchase a separate, dedicated digital audio workstation for, making it a great contender for producing podcasts and adding quality audio to your videos. You can align and replace your shonky location dialogue with your polished studio recordings, and the Rubbadub feature lets you fix any lip syncing issues in a fraction of the time it’d take to do by eye. You can also stretch your clips nondestructively in realtime, preview changes and settings, and a new varispeed mode adjusts speed and pitch together automatically.

Need to offer clients footage quickly?

Once you’ve got your footage, you’re going to need to distribute it. Encore lets you deliver to Blu-ray so you can hand clients a hard copy, while Media Encoder handles digital delivery. However, you’ll need a bit of help from Matrox, whose MXO2 Max and CompressHD cards let you accelerate transcoding to H.264 (the format you’ll need your footage in if you want to send it straight to the web) by up to five times.

To find out more about adding video to your design and publishing offering with Adobe Creative Suite 6 get in touch. Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up with all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page.

Liz
Liz
Call us: 03332 409 306