Jeff Patrick is passionate about his work. He owns Current Communications, an 11-year-old company that creates quality regional and local television commercials for everything from local construction companies to restaurants and schools. Since 2002, Current’s productions have aired on broadcast and cable TV networks throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Recently, Current began using Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC through its Adobe Creative Cloud membership. The comprehensive software solution gives Patrick everything he needs to stay productive, meet deadlines, and keep clients happy. He quickly realized that Creative Cloud gives him the tools to do more than just video production. He shared how he’s exploring new areas such as digital photography and web design using tools including Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Muse CC, and Business Catalyst.
Adobe:We’d love to hear more about your business.
Patrick: I was in video for 20 years, and then started Current with my wife and a team of super-talented freelancers. We write, shoot, edit, and post-produce television commercials and a few short promo pieces. Our niche is pretty small and our clients aren’t big spenders. We have no illusions about what we do. Our customers need things done at a reasonable rate with a quick turnaround.
Adobe:Why did you decide to join Adobe Creative Cloud?
Patrick: The model is so simple. We get instant updates and access to all of Adobe’s must-have creative software tools and services. The approach makes a lot of sense because it provides everything we need as a small business, all at a predictable, affordable price point. Plus, we get extra cool goodies like the downloadable font kit, and we can try new things. For instance, I recently redesigned my business site using Muse and switched to Adobe Business Catalyst to host it for free—it’s a deal and a half. Publishing my new site to Business Catalyst took all of 15 minutes.
Adobe:What do you use most in Adobe Creative Cloud?
Patrick: We spend most of our time in Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects—that’s our triumvirate. Everything is so well integrated that the applications blur together to provide a seamless workflow. With Adobe software, we can accomplish so much more without even really realizing which particular program we’re working in. There’s never a big learning curve because all the interfaces and commands are similar and familiar. Everything about us is speed and what you get with all of the tools in Creative Cloud is instant gratification.
Adobe:You’ve used Adobe Premiere Pro for years. Can you tell us more about your experiences with the software?
Patrick: I’ve used Premiere Pro forever, even when it had some frustrating limitations. But now it’s taking a leadership position in the market. Its tight integration with After Effects and Photoshop is a major bonus. I have forever ditched the hassle of rendering and exporting my work from one application before importing it into my editing software. That’s unheard of with other editing options out there.
The fact that you can throw stuff on the Premiere Pro timeline and it automatically synchronizes everything including sound is like magic. One of the super useful features in Premiere Pro CC is the ability to align clips in a multi-camera sequence according to their audio waveforms. This helps a lot because we’re often combining the work of multiple people.
Premiere Pro is also scalable, so we can create video for short-form movies, the web, and broadcast TV. We often start with a commercial, and then clients want us to produce segments for their websites, which is a snap in Premiere Pro.
Adobe:Tell us about your use of After Effects CC.
Patrick: After Effects is a constant workmate for me. It is so incredibly powerful. If I’m doing a car commercial, I can bring the assets into Premiere Pro, review them, create a rough cut, import it into After Effects and do all the graphics layers. Often, 90% of the spot is done in After Effects. We work with car dealers quite a bit, and they always like whiz-bang effects. There’s nothing better than After Effects. Dynamic Link makes it easy to incorporate effects into clients’ commercials, lightning fast. Our business is all about speed, so that’s crucial.
Add to this the CINEMA 4D integration with After Effects CC. It’s flipping fantastic. Upgrading to CINEMA 4D when it wasn’t part of Creative Cloud used to be tough on the wallet, but no longer. Now, if clients want some 3D graphics or words, then I can make that happen easily.
Adobe: Are there any of the newer software programs in Creative Cloud that you think will help you in your business?
Patrick: When I tried Adobe SpeedGrade for color correction and grading, it blew my mind. I picked up on it by watching a session or two on Adobe TV. It’s amazing to be able to find a frame from a movie I like and duplicate that look in SpeedGrade in a few clicks. Color grading and correction software of this caliber would typically set you back $20,000, just for the one package. So the fact that SpeedGrade is part of Creative Cloud is killer.
What else? We are using Muse to create and publish our own and clients’ websites, without writing code. It’s crazy simple and produces sites that look like they took months to create. I also want to learn more about Dreamweaver and Edge Animate so I can produce sites with eye-catching interactivity and animation. All these tools let us add value to our client work and boost our bottom line. With Creative Cloud, we can offer clients a bundle, including both video content and a website without a lot of extra effort, and without having to buy additional software.
Lightroom isn’t an entirely new thing for us, and it’s nice to have it available as part of Creative Cloud. We use Lightroom to shoot stills on location in raw format and batch-process them so they’re teed up for post-production.
Adobe:How would you sum up the value Creative Cloud brings to your business?
Patrick: We serve a specific market and we like what we do. As a small business, we have everything we need at our fingertips to delight our clients. From our standpoint, Creative Cloud is the playground that makes our work feel less like work and more like fun.
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