Editing High Performance Sports Idents In A High Performance NLE
Working with 4K footage shot at 1000 frames per second demands a powerful and flexible editing system, which is why Jimmy Falinski edits in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Copenhagen — Jimmy Falinski is a Premiere Pro CC editor with 18 years of experience cutting commercials and other broadcast content. Jimmy was hired by Frame, the largest motion design studio in Denmark, to edit 8 idents for the relaunch of Abu Dhabi's sports channel, AD Sports TV. Collaborating with Dubai-based production company, VIP Films, Frame captured a time-defying HDR look using a motion-control Phantom Flex camera rig. With Jimmy's dynamic editing and time remapping in Premiere Pro CC, the visual results in these 8 hyper-real sports idents are jaw-dropping.
How much footage were you given to edit?
I got an Ikea bag with the hard disks and was like, "Ok, what the hell is going on here?" There were so many disks because they were shooting on the Phantom Flex in 4K at 1000 frames per second. So the gigabytes just go like this *snaps fingers. There were ten 2-TB thunderbolt disks in that bag. I copied all the Pro Res files, which they converted on set, to one 2-TB thunderbolt disk. I worked from that one.
What direction were you given? How did you approach each ident and sport genre?
I had between 15 to 20 seconds for each video. The director told me he wanted to use speed ramps.
It was shot in passes with a motion control camera—they shot the athlete and backgrounds separately. Shooting 1000 frames per second on the Phantom requires a lot of light. When they lit the shots for the athletes, the backgrounds were just black. So when I was editing, I was only seeing the performance of the athletes. I just tried to make them look cool.
Were you given any shot logs to help get you started?
I actually didn’t look at the log notes because, when you’re editing, it’s a whole new world. I’d rather see it from scratch. I watched all the footage from start to end.
The music and sound design is unique to each sports genre. Were you given the audio assets to edit to?
They gave me 3 different epic music tracks. But, instead, I searched YouTube for sports commercials and trailers for sounds to use as temporary references in the offline edit. I used those to cut the picture. For example, I searched for things like “Nike tennis commercial”. I ripped those [videos] down and used the audio as reference sound effects. So when he [the tennis player] smashed the tennis ball in the rough cut, it sounded like something was happening, not just music. When it’s just music it’s boring; when there’s sound effects, it’s more action packed. Clients like seeing rough cuts with sound effects. And sometimes it keeps you going because you’re able to see how an edit is going to work with sound effects.
That’s the cool stuff with Premiere Pro. You can rip down from YouTube and just import. In Final Cut Pro 7 I had to convert to ProRes and AIF.
How did you hand off the edits for compositing?
Gimmick Visual Effects did the online. They had my project on the hard disk. They did all the XML and had a VFX editor match up all the backgrounds with the plates.
Were you given any guidelines for delivering the XML?
The director wanted all these speed changes and when you use time remapping in Premiere Pro, it only goes up 1000. That’s not fast enough when you’re working with Phantom Flex footage shot at 1000 frames per second. I first had to speed up the clips with Clip Speed/Duration (CMD+R). I sped them up to 3 or 4 thousand and then used time remapping in the Effect Controls panel. So that’s two time effects on one clip. That didn’t translate in the XML. They had to conform what I had done manually by looking at my time edits.
How did Premiere Pro help your editing workflow?
Some of the close-ups were shot in 2K on the Arri Alexa. The ability to edit those different resolutions and frame rates together in the same sequence was extremely helpful. I didn’t need to wait for rendering. I think I was one day faster editing with Premiere Pro [compared to other NLE's] because I could be working all the time.
I used Premiere Pro's adjustment layers to match up the color of the cameras for the rough cuts. That way, when the client saw it, the colors didn’t jump between shots. For example, maybe the Phantom was a little bit green and when I cut to the Alexa it was a little blue. I matched that up with adjustment layers. The better a rough cut looks when the client sees it, the less changes they have. They won’t say “It’s too blue. Can we find another shot?” I matched up the color beforehand, so when they did see it they were like, “Wow, that’s great!”