Broadcast is one of the most demanding production environments. Quality and consistency are critical. Delivery deadlines are absolute. Turnaround time needs to be calculated with precision. And everything has to work every day. Broadcast, therefore, provides a perfect laboratory for post-production efficiency.
The core principles of efficient broadcast production apply for all video content creators:
- Keep it simple
- Standardize workflows
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Concentrate on content, not codecs
In the simplest terms, integrations put extra features at your fingertips. They save you time and money by avoiding the disruption of navigating multiple applications and systems. Aside from simply working faster, deep integrations can transform how broadcasters (and all video professionals) create content.
Premiere Pro and the Adobe Creative Cloud applications are designed as open platforms with extensive APIs for third-party technologies. Hundreds of companies have created extensions and integrations that accelerate productivity and save costs. You can find Adobe technology partners here: Adobe Video & Audio Partner Finder.
Examining use-cases in broadcast, this Best Practices guide provides an overview of integration tools that allow users to accelerate, automate, and standardize their workflows. The principles that apply for high-performance broadcast production are valid for all types video production.
Support Partners is a system integrator for broadcasters and post-production facilities. Our daily work is about understanding our clients’ workflows and identifying areas where they can speed up their production, how much time they save, and how much it costs. Unless otherwise stated, the time savings mentioned in this document are based on our own experience.
Most broadcasters standardize on certain capture formats and mezzanine codecs for post-production, which provides predictability and allows them to optimize for specific formats. In the real world, though, anything is possible and media may be delivered in any format. We have seen landmark productions request 25 fps and receive 29.97 fps. We’ve seen 8 K rushes delivered for an HD production, and overshooting your ratio by up to 40% - resulting in a mountain of media that needs sorting, transcoding, and prepping for an edit. The Adobe applications and third-party integrations can automate and streamline the ingest process, allowing broadcasters to manage their media efficiently.
Premiere Pro's ability to edit any camera format natively is ideal for news and fast turnaround media. The open format timeline means that the technology gets out of the way of the editor, minimizing the time between filming and playout.
Other productions rely heavily on batch transcoding of rushes to help keep an edit running optimally for an editor. The transcodes help optimize storage and edit performance when working with formats that have larger frame sizes and color spaces.
Doing this transcode in your NLE can be time consuming and repetitive, especially when handling CPU intensive formats, such as RED RAW or ARRI RAW. By using Adobe Media Encoder’s integration with render farm managers, broadcasters can spin up render farms either on-premise or in the cloud, getting the media ‘Edit-Ready’ faster, with less work, and less disruption to your creative team.
Adobe Media Encoder integration with Premiere Pro allows the editor to see the transcode progress and be notified when the media is ready. With this workflow, media can then be dragged and dropped into bins or directly onto the timeline allowing the editor to start 50% faster than if they have to wait for the first transcodes before they can start working.
75% of the data that moves around the world each day is video. For broadcasters, this giant media lifecycle begins with an ingest operator who, names, tags, and organizes the material. Good organization adds tremendous value to media for content creators.
Enterprise and boutique post houses already save time, reduce risk, and streamline the edit pipeline by using standardized naming conventions and folder structures for media. AI and automation can dramatically accelerate this time.
Integrating cognitive services can expedite the sorting and tagging process using parameters such as brand recognition, facial recognition, onscreen text, speech-to-text analysis, shot size, shot type. In fact, cognitive services can be trained to recognize almost anything as long as the algorithm has enough data to learn from. In the foreseeable future, a well-trained AI system could sort every shot, based on clapper board info, or by presenter, or by recognizing the location.
The media and the metadata can be presented in a Premiere Pro panel, allowing users to sort, search, and retrieve clips and subclips directly from Premiere Pro. Integrating this metadata with Adobe Smart Bins gives editors access to media that might not have been deemed important by an ingest operator. Or it allows them to reorganise media.
Deploying tools to automate project set-up with cognitive services ensures that the only thing the creative needs to concentrate on is being creative.
Having to leave Premiere Pro in the middle of an edit can really disrupt the creative process. In fact, The New York Times has reported that it can take 25 minutes to get back on track after every interruption. Integrated panels and plug-ins bring the power of bespoke third-party applications directly into the editing process, allowing users to creatively enhance their edits from a single interface without interrupting their flow. One of the most common mid-edit distractions is searching for files, whether in your own system or on stock image websites.
Typically, users find media in two ways; manually browsing the file systems or opening up an asset management tool. If the media asset management system is separate, the editor has to download the media, move it to a local drive and, finally, import it into the NLE. This process takes time and often results in media duplication.
Embedding the Asset Management system within Premiere Pro streamlines this process significantly, enabling users to search, preview, and drag the media from the asset management system directly onto the Premiere Pro Timeline. According to Interact Source, 19.8% of business time is spent searching for files. Removing this obstacle frees up invaluable time in the edit.
Even with access to production rushes and an archive, editors might not have all the footage they need. This is where Adobe Stock comes in. Unlike other stock content sites, Adobe Stock is accessible within the Adobe applications. It allows users to search over 90 million stock images, videos, and graphics (including Mogrts) to help complete their vision. A study commissioned by Adobe shows that with traditional stock content sites, it can take more than 3 minutes, from finding a video to getting it onto the timeline. Comparatively, this process takes just 16 seconds in Adobe Stock. It is worth noting that you don’t have to license Adobe Stock footage to use it: save the watermarked preview footage to Creative Cloud and then import into your timeline. When the footage has been approved, click download and the licensed version of the clip replaces the preview, with all adjustments preserved.
Content is global. The increase in delivery platforms and the worldwide syndication of media means that the average video has to be delivered in multiple versions. Not only are numerous formats required, each piece of media might have to be tailored to a geographical area, a demographic… an individual. How do you keep up with the increased content velocity while ensuring brand consistency?
Adobe recognizes that ensuring consistency across deliverables is a challenge throughout the industry and has enabled broadcasters and post-production companies to automate large portions of the workflow through third-party integrations.
This problem is most acute when creating promo content, which may have to be versioned hundreds of times. For example, a promo might need graphics for each day of the week that is ‘This Friday’, ‘Tomorrow at 9pm’, ‘Tonight at 9pm’. Multiply this example across different regions, languages, and delivery platforms and one video quickly turns into hundreds of deliverables, all needing the same consistency, and feel.
Traditionally, broadcasters have handled this problem with branding toolkits, stored in multiple folders, requiring time-consuming manual workflows. It can easily spiral into consistency issues when toolkits are updated or replaced. Adobe Creative Cloud enable businesses to create toolkits and distribute them across promo teams globally, all accessible through an Adobe panel in whatever application they are using. If an asset has to be updated, the graphics department makes the changes once in the share library and the toolkits are updated, globally.
When creating short-form broadcast content, whether it’s for promos, news or digital marketing, the biggest challenge is meeting tight turnaround times without sacrificing quality. Adobe Motion Graphics templates (aka “Mogrts,” derived from the .mogrt file format) give users access to the power of After Effects inside Premiere Pro. Once a motion graphic is created in After Effects, it can be exported, added to Creative Cloud and be accessible to editors for use within Premiere Pro. Allowing the editor to keep working within the application enables them to work more efficiently, including editors who do not have a deep knowledge of After Effects and motion graphics.
Also, mogrts can be changed dynamically, without being touched by an operator. By simply integrating a master spreadsheet, alternative graphics can be generated automatically. We have seen this reduce time spent versioning graphics, by 84%. There are many third-party integrations that take this one step further, such as auto-filling projects from API calls, CMS systems, and MAMs and auto transcoding or uploading to specific delivery destinations.
To access the best talent around the world, low latency sharing of media, projects, and sessions, across continents, is vital and collaborative workflows have become a necessity. Teamviewer and GoToMeeting do not suffice. Uploading to Vimeo and asking for comments takes too long. Requesting stakeholders to travel across a country or continent to see that the latest version is a waste of time and money. There is a hunger for productions to collaborate not just during the review process but also while creating.
Adobe Team Projects, which is included with Creative Cloud Teams and Enterprise accounts, allows multiple users to work on the same Premiere Pro or After Effects project, wherever they are in the world. Each time a user makes a change, the project can be synchronized, giving collaborators the chance to accept or reject changes. This workflow is important as broadcasters look to virtualize their Adobe toolset. For example, a Team Project can be set up to allow users to edit either on-premise and on a cloud-based Virtual Machine. With the cloud instance, users anywhere in the globe can put together a rough-cut story that can then be shared with an on-premise facility to be finished locally. This workflow opens up opportunities for on location edits, which in-turn speeds up project completion and reduces editorial overheads. Combined with technologies such as NDI video streaming and smart cloud architecture, it provides users with a true collaborative, over-the-shoulder experience, regardless of their location.
Not that long ago, if users wanted to send media for review and approval they would have to export the media, upload it to a private Vimeo or YouTube channel and then spend hours/days/weeks going back and forth over email making minor alterations.
This inevitably led to miscommunication and project delays. Thankfully, those tedious days are gone. With various reviews and approve tools available on the Adobe Exchange, the time to review, and approve a project is reduced by up to 42%*. It is now possible for users to review at a granular level, not only improving the way we collaborate but fundamentally bringing a whole new set of functionalities to Adobe. Users can interact in Premiere Pro or third-party applications themselves, commenting and annotating shots, scenes, and general artistic decisions. Integrating an audit trail of comments turns Premiere Pro into a collaboration platform allowing all team members, editors, and others, to work together as their project take shape.
When turnaround times become tight, streamlining the delivery workflow can make the difference between making or missing a deadline. The more that can be done prior to export the more likely it is to hit deadlines.
Adobe Media Encoder includes more time-saving features such as Time Tuner, Loudness normalizer, and the ability to apply an overall image correction so media is broadcast compliant, without having to go back to the Timeline. Once exported, there are various tools that can automate the remaining steps of the delivery process, prompting users to fill in the correct metadata, generate more versions, QC the media and deliver to various destinations. Integrating a workflow orchestration tool into Premiere Pro not only ensures media compliance but reduces the time to deliver by 38%.
The time savings generated by third-party integrations are most keenly felt in compliance and QC workflows. Today, it is simple to import XML and JSON report files from a QC tool and populate a Premiere Pro timeline with markers showing any errors at the corresponding timecodes. This speeds up the QC process and reduces the risk of delivering an incorrect file.
Avoid having multiple applications open, avoid switching between windows and avoid leaving your NLE. Choose a core platform to build your business around and then ensure that all additional applications and tools can work within or compliment that platform.
See our Best Practices: Editing efficiently for more ideas.
Map your edit process, recognize bottlenecks, remove them and then aim for consistency. Not only does this help you recognize where tools and integrations might improve your workflow but also help you scale smoothly in busy periods.
So much time is spent on laborious, repetitive tasks which can easily be replaced with automation. Once you have mapped your workflow, look at each stage and ask whether it is a good use of time. This often helps identify the processes that could be automated. And if you think it’s perfect for automation then there is a good chance that an application exists that can be integrated into your workflow.
Technology should be configured and deployed to get out of your way, so you can focus on making content. All too often technology limitations, inflexibility, or poor workflows can mean that production teams spend their time focusing on the technology, rather than their content. Production and technical teams should always feel happy that the technology is working to their requirements and not the other way around.
Adobe helps you get to the finish line faster. Learn more in our new Best Practices guides for video editing and production.
- Joe Newcombe is head of sales and marketing at Support Partners, a system integrator for broadcasters and post-production facilities. He’s based in the UK.
- Jeff Greenberg is a consultant, master trainer, and author of Adobe Premiere Pro Studio Techniques.
- Maxim Jago is a Paris-based filmmaker, master trainer, and author of Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book.
- Alex Macleod is a production professional, broadcasting consultant, and owner of Media City Training in the UK.
- Jarle Leirpoll is a filmmaker, editor, and Master trainer based in Norway. He is also the author of The Cool Stuff in Premiere Pro.
- Ian Robinson is a broadcast motion designer, and regular Adobe MAX trainer. Ian is based in Silverthorne, Colorado.