Cutting‐Edge Post Production House Switches to Adobe Creative Cloud Video Workflow

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Josh Senior founded Senior Post in September of 2012 on the principle that at the heart of every project is great storytelling—that makes clients look good. That was nearly a year ago, and Josh still has the napkin he used to sketch out his initial ideas. He has lots of napkins, but that one is special. The company focuses 75% of its time on video editing and 25% on motion graphics work—100% storytelling all the time. We talked with Josh about how his studio is able to accomplish so much—from trailers and teasers to web series, corporate videos, music industry highlights, and branded content—and why he is using an all Adobe video workflow through Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe: Tell us about Senior Post.
Senior: Senior Post is an experiment. It is the name of our post house located in Brooklyn, New York. We founded the studio in September 2012 out of necessity. I was working as a freelance video editor and producer, and had multiple post‐production jobs to manage at once. I was in desperate need of organization and structure. When my clients all wanted to book me on the same days, it created logistical challenges outside of just post producing content. What came out of that challenge is Senior Post; comprised primarily of Joanna Naugle and myself. We share a studio space with New Flint, Inc., our production company partner. New Flint is the production company for Senior Post, and Senior Post is the post house for New Flint.

I’d been working on the aesthetic of a company that I hoped to create, and it has been great to finally see it come to life. We currently have two full time people who are always editing, and at any given time we can bring in six or seven editors for a day, week, or however long is needed for a project. That flexibility has allowed us to take on all types of projects at varying levels of budget and resources. We love that.

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Adobe:Do you only focus on web video production?
Senior: When we started Senior Post, we positioned it as a digital post house. Our experience comes from online video. We are as passionate about end delivery as we are about packaging, and there aren’t a lot of vendors that only work on web content, so we’re in a good place. We do some broadcast and commercial content, as well as more cinematic endeavors such as short film and documentary editing. That said, our expertise and future is as a web video post‐production house and we like that focus. By offering consultation services and working with New Flint, we can provide a broader agency offering if needed, which is convenient if that’s what a client requires.

Adobe: How do you work with VEVO?
Senior: Senior Post is a preferred vendor of VEVO. We partner with them often, but not exclusively, operating as an outsourced post house and production outfit in conjunction with New Flint. VEVO does some video production in house, but often partners with us to help with throughput and creative for more complicated shows, such as web series and special music industry events. One example of a project we worked on recently for VEVO is a VEVO News HOT97 Summer Jam interview series. HOT97 has been the most popular hip hop and rap station in New York for years. They make hip hop history. Every year, the station puts on an epic festival for rappers that includes hip hop and R&B artists, and VEVO turned to us for help with an interview series in association with the event. We were given a room, a list of people to interview, and simple instructions: “make it cool.” We worked with VEVO and HOT97 to tell the right story, while maintaining the highest possible production value.

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Adobe: Why did you decide to work with Adobe Premiere Pro?
Senior: Before we started Senior Post, I had only used Premiere Pro for personal projects. As we established our company and our clients became savvier, turnaround times became tighter and integration with motion graphics programs became more critical. These factors pointed us toward Premiere Pro.

The Hot97 Summer Jam video series was the first time we used Premiere Pro for something professional and it was also the first series that we produced soup to nuts, from pre‐production to end delivery. VEVO gave us full access to tell the story. The series was shot on 5D Mark III cameras, which are perfect for the web. They aren’t RED cameras but they can shoot in an ideal web format, and they aren’t news cameras, but they let us get creative and cinematic with the look of our content. With Premiere Pro, we were able to edit the footage straight from the camera. We wouldn’t have been able to do this project if we had to do a day and a half of transcoding. Using Premiere Pro, we were able to deliver an eight video web series within 36 hours of the shoot—it was really special!

Adobe:What are some key features you like in Premiere Pro?
Senior: As former Final Cut Pro users, we just mapped our shortcuts to match what we were accustomed to and within a short time frame we felt like we’d been using Premiere Pro forever. Premiere Pro is particularly great when you have a client sitting in on an edit. There’s a performance element in that situation, and editors are not really performers. It’s nice to find a happy medium where the program isn’t an obstacle to the workflow or storytelling capability.

It’s awesome to look at the clip thumbnails, Hover Scrub through them, and set in and out points all in the Media Browser. These functions allow our assistant editors to take more ownership of projects and integrate themselves more seamlessly into our teams. I also like the Adjustment Layers in Premiere Pro that let us come up with a look and apply it across all of the clips. Although we often color grade our content before delivery, having a conversation about looks while we are reviewing our edits is really helpful. I learned that I really like trying new programs to see what parallels and what doesn’t. It was a good first dance with Premiere Pro.

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Adobe: How do you output your video?
Senior: For the HOT97 Summer Jam job we had output specs, so we simply created a preset in Media Encoder, exported the footage, and then uploaded it to the client’s FTP. We also host content on Vimeo or transfer files using a file sharing service. We don’t deliver anything physical.

Adobe:What role does After Effects play in your projects?
Senior: The HOT97 Summer Jam project came with a specific set of criteria. We had to make and modify lower thirds on the fly, and After Effects made that not only possible but also really easy. Dynamic Link between After Effects and Premiere Pro is a game changer for us and dramatically speeds our workflow.

In addition to editing video content, we do a lot of After Effects projects that include motion graphics with recorded voiceovers. We use After Effects to illustrate experiences, apps, products, or procedures.

We’ve also worked with real estate companies that want to highlight their investment funds and companies preparing their marketing materials for IPOs. For all of these clients, After Effects helps us deliver high‐quality motion graphics work that enables us to tell our clients’ most effective stories.

Adobe:How do you use other apps and services in Adobe Creative Cloud as part of your production workflow?
Senior: Most of the campaigns we work on are sponsored or branded, so we receive brand guidelines with artwork that we need to incorporate in creative ways. Creative Cloud gives us all of the apps we need for various stages of a project. We use After Effects to create different types of content, including motion graphics bumpers, lower thirds, watermarks, spot animations, and animated text – basically any enhancement to the video that isn’t the actual footage. We often start with Illustrator, as that’s how companies send their brand lockups with logos and visual identities. We isolate the elements we need in Illustrator, take them into Photoshop to create TIFFs with transparency, and then transfer the visuals into Premiere Pro.

Adobe:Are you taking advantage of any other features in Creative Cloud?
Senior: Working with Creative Cloud helps us run a truly digital post house. We are able to seamlessly collaborate with editors and other members of our team using the sync and share capabilities. We’re also able to share a package of Illustrator files in an After Effects project or share a project that includes an InDesign storyboard and art created in Photoshop and broken up into folders. We’re really happy with the efficiencies that Creative Cloud offers, especially in empowering our team members to work from home.

Watch the Summer Jam videos

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