Tag Archives: David Fincher

Deadpool’s Premiere Pro editing workflow

By Nicholas Restuccio

Director Tim Miller’s Deadpool is action-packed, vulgar (in a good way) and a ton of fun. It’s also one of the few Hollywood blockbusters to be edited entirely on Adobe’s Premiere Pro.

On the Saturday following the film’s release, Adobe hosted a panel on the Fox Studios lot that included Deadpool’s post supervisor Joan Bierman, first assistant editor Matt Carson and Adobe consultants Vashi Nedomansky and Mike Kanfer. Here are some takeaways…

Why Premiere Pro?
According to Bierman, much of the credit for choosing Premiere Pro for the edit goes to Tim Miller. “Even before we had a crew, Tim knew he wanted to do this,” she said. Miller, a first-time feature director is no stranger to technology — he is co-founder of Culver City’s Blur Studio, which specializes in visual effects and animation.

Miller’s friend, director David Fincher, is a big advocate of Adobe Premiere. It’s likely his using it to edit Gone Girl — the first feature cut with the product — inspired Miller. The rest of the credit goes to Ted Gagliano, president of post production at Fox, for giving the go ahead for the road less taken.


Training and Storage
The first step in this undertaking was getting all the editors and assistants — who were used to editing on Media Composer and Final Cut — trained on Premiere. So they brought in editor Vashi Nedomansky — a Premiere Pro workflow consultant — who spent an initial three weeks training all five editors and established the workflow. He then returned for at least 12 days during the next nine months to further refine the workflow and answer questions both technical and editorial.

Additionally, he showed them features that are unique to Premiere, such as Dynamic Linking to After Effects projects and tapping the tilde (~) key to “full screen” the workspace section. “In our shared editing environment, because the editors were all coming from an Avid workflow, we treated Premiere Pro sequences as Avid bins,” explained Nedomansky. “Because Premiere Pro only allows one open project at a time… we shared sequences like you would share bins in Avid to allow all the editors access to the latest cuts.”

The next step was to get the multi-user editorial environment set up. They wanted to have several users, assistant editors and editors, get in and start working on the film simultaneously, without crashing into each other and corrupting files.

Jeff Brue’s Open Drives provided storage for the film via its product Velocity, which delivered 180TB of solid-state storage. With 5GB/s of “normal” throughput, the team had projects that would open in less than two minutes.


The solution to the multi-user access problem was much simpler and lower tech. When someone was working on a project file, they would move it to their named directory so nobody opened it mid-edit. Then, once they were done, they moved it back. So a little discipline went a long way in making sure that sharing media in a multi-user environment was stress-free.

When they needed a sequence in a project, they were able to link to it from another Premiere project without harming the source project. All of this allowed them to keep everything, as Nedomansky put it, “contained, safe and sharable.”

Re-Framing and Multi-Format Shooting
With all this in place, the team was ready to start cutting the wide array of footage the crew was producing. The film was shot primarily on the Arri Alexa at 3.2K RAW, but footage was also captured on 5K and 6K Red cameras and at least one Phantom. All of the footage was downsized to the common container format of 2048×1152 for the offline in Premiere and encoded in ProRes LT. This allowed them to do a center extraction, which gave the director and editor the ability to re-frame when they wanted to.

For the online, they went back to the Arri RAW, or other RAW formats, depending on their needs. The center extraction gave them a lot of creative freedom, so much so that they reframed the entire movie in the online. “If I had it to do over again I would have done it [the reframing] in a cheaper room” said Bierman.

Throughout the edit, the post team was burning its way through Mac Pros — the Macs were having an issue with the ATI D700 cards in OS X. In all the team burned through 10 of the cards, which would occasionally melt down on renders.

“There were some incredibly complex reels on Deadpool,” says Kanfer.At one point midway through the production real five was taking over 10 minutes to load. Our engineers quickly regrouped and within a week were able to optimize the situation and the same reel took only 2 1/2 minutes to load once the fix was made. Other less complex reels in the film loaded in a minute or less.”

Vashi Nedomansky, Matt Carson and Joan Bierman.

The sound team had to create a slight workaround for audio turnovers. In a traditional Avid workflow, the hand off to Avid Pro Tools is relatively seamless — as you would expect since they are made by the same company — but going from Premiere required a little more effort. The package was the same as a normal sound turnover, including QuickTimes, guide tracks and EDLs, along with the AIFs. The trouble occurred when the conform wasn’t always in sync with what had been turned over.

Adobe looks at all of this as an opportunity to make their product even stronger. They said their engineers on the Adobe team “love to tackle problems and there is no better place to tackle those problem than live on an edit.”

Final Take Away
Even with training the editorial team to use a new program, working through audio conform hiccups and a pile of dead Mac towers, the team produced a polished film that had the best opening weekend for an R-rated film in history.

With improved sound turnover options hinted at for future versions of Premiere, we will very likely see more “Edited with Adobe Premiere Pro” logos in future film end credits.

FotoKem’s nextLab pushes envelope with Gone Girl’s 6K workflow

 The last piece in our Gone Girl workflow series.

By Daniel Restuccio

Back in the fall of 2013, FotoKem was prepping and packing up one of its nextLab data field systems and shipping it to a hotel in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. This particular hotel was the off-set digital asset processing hub for David Fincher’s Gone Girl, which is being released on Blu-ray/DVD on January 13 and has also garnered a considerable amount of Oscar buzz this season.

This movie represented a new chapter for the system — Gone Girl was about to become the first major feature film shot entirely on the Red Dragon at 6K and edited with Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud.

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Radical/Outpost’s Evan Schechtman talks latest FCP X updates, NLE trends

By Randi Altman

As you might have heard, Apple has updated its Final Cut Pro to version 10.1.4, with what they call “key stability improvements.”

That includes the Pro Video Formats 2.0 software update, which provides native support for importing, editing and exporting MXF files with Final Cut Pro X. While the system already supported import of MXF files from video cameras, this update extends the format support to a broader range of files and workflows.

In addition the native MXF support, there is also an option to export AVC-Intra MXF files.  There are fixes for past issues with automatic library backups. It also fixes a problem where clips Continue reading

‘Gone Girl’: Light Iron and David Fincher’s path to 6K

By Daniel Restuccio

Light Iron Post CEO Michael Cioni is an outspoken and passionate advocate of pushing the edge of post technology for the mission of getting the best images possible on screen. David Fincher’s Gone Girl represents the third movie, following The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, that Cioni and his team have collaborated on with the director.

“If you are really doing something profound, you can’t solve it in one project,” shares Cioni, whose company has offices in LA and New York. With David Fincher and his team, key ideas don’t get put to the wayside after the movie finishes. “They store it, develop it and improve it, and then it’s re-deployed with more advanced technology on the next project.”

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Pioneering 6K post workflows for ‘Gone Girl’

By Daniel Restuccio

David Fincher’s Gone Girl, shot on a Red Dragon in 6K, boasts an innovative editorial workflow that integrates top-end hardware and software into a seamless 6K editing, VFX and conforming system.

Pioneering a tightly integrated SSD shared-storage system, Gone Girl was edited on 13 custom-built workstations based on Apple Mac Pros and HP Z820s boasting Nvidia GPU cards, Fusion-io solutions, as well as customized versions of Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud and After Effects Creative Cloud, and editorial managed through Open Drives media storage system.

“Basically what happened,” explains assistant editor Tyler Nelson, “is we brought Jeff (Brue, co- Continue reading

Kirk Baxter on editing David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’

By Daniel Restuccio

When David Fincher took on the film Gone Girl, he immediately started to round up the “usual suspects,” his most trusted collaborators, including Kirk Baxter, who has two Editing Oscars on his mantle from previous work with Fincher (The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).

Gone Girl is based on Gillian Flynn’s book Gone Girl; Flynn also wrote the screenplay. The film follows Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), a husband who either knows or doesn’t know the whereabouts of his missing wife.

Baxter began cutting Gone Girl on September 16, 2013: day two of shooting. And for the first time in three movies with Fincher, Baxter cut this one alone and without his frequent co- Continue reading

Encore gives ‘House of Cards’ moody feel in 4K Ultra HD

The second season of Netflix’s House of Cards was made available to subscribers in 4K Ultra HD. LA’s Encore handled the show’s post production, with lead colorist Laura Jans-Fazio grading in uncompressed 4K.

The show was shot on Red cameras, some using the HDR functionality for extended contrast and color dynamic range. The floating-point processing in Baselight, Jans-Fazio’s tool of choice, offered her new creative options. Windows that appeared blown out, for example, could be graded to show detail then composited into the rest of the scene. She was able to achieve the color and composite in realtime so the clients could see the final results immediately.

Laura Jans-Fazio, lead colourist, Encore

Laura Jans-Fazio

Co-producer Peter Mavromates and post supervisor Hameed Shaukat worked directly with Jans-Fazio on the grade, with director David Fincher and DP Igor Martinovic providing feedback via using the PIX digital collaboration tool.

“As episodes were completed, they were uploaded to PIX, which allowed the producer, director and DP to view content on calibrated Sony OLED monitors,” explained Morgan Strauss, Encore SVP, operations. “They returned their feedback, which we could extract directly into Baselight, and Jans-Fazio finalized the look and delivered the files to Netflix. It was essential to maximize this asynchronous collaborative process and, along with Baselight’s sophisticated toolset, it meant we could fully realize the creative needs of the producers and DP.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.17.17

The overall look of the series has a slightly moody feel, reflecting the tense, internal political intrigues of the story. The grade avoids over-saturated colors, maintaining the palette throughout — which was Fincher’s vision for the show.

“Baselight has so many features, and the fact that it works in floating-point processing gives me image quality for a pristine picture every time,” said Jans-Fazio. “We often used multiple shapes in a single shot, and being able to do that in one layer in Baselight was a real time-saver. We could also composite through VFX mattes, and do monitor replacements, in realtime.”