Distributed team relies on Adobe video tools for latest parody, Flight Club
Ambitiously aiming to lead the media revolution, Scruffy.TV creates custom content and is building a full, online network that is hosting all-original content. Kanen Flowers is the creative director behind the initiative, which includes That Post Show, Scruffy Thinking, Scruffy Shows, and HERO PUNK. Other team members include Kristin Martin, Ryan Jacobi, and Weston Woodbury.
We sat down with these multitalented creatives and talked about why they decided to move to an all Adobe workflow based on Adobe Creative Cloud with an emphasis on Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Photoshop. A recent endeavor, Flight Club (a spoof on the movie Fight Club), was their first collaborative experience working with an end-to-end Adobe pipeline using Adobe Creative Cloud.
Adobe: Why did you decide to create Scruffy.TV?
Flowers: A while ago there was a show called That Media Show, which was kind of an "Access Hollywood for geeks." I was interested in restarting the show, but soon realized that nobody wants to watch something online to get information, like they did in 2008 - they get everything from Twitter, Facebook and other sources now. I started to think about how to be more modern and interesting and thought an ensemble sketch show would be good. We have a team of utility infielders who can pretty much play any position, from video to audio editing and VFX.
Adobe: What makes the content on Scruffy.TV different?
Flowers: For one thing, literally everything is shot against a green screen, so we rely a ton on technology for digitally creating the sets, sound, effects, and so on. We produce matte paintings in Photoshop, 3D backgrounds in Cinema 4D, edit in Premiere Pro, adjust audio in Audition, and composite and grade in After Effects.
Adobe: Tell us about the workflow for Flight Club?
Flowers: It is 10 minutes of 100% green screen work shot in a tiny studio in San Francisco. It was also the first production we did with an all Adobe pipeline. We did use Red Giant VFX plug-ins, but otherwise, it was 100% Adobe. It's far and away the highest-quality piece we've done with the most sound design, the best script, and the most love put into it.
Woodbury: We shot it on three cameras, a 60D, a 7D and a Canon T3i, all on green screen. It's important to note that we're a totally distributed team with me in Utah, Ryan in Virginia, Paul [Del Vecchio] (one of our camera operators) in New York, and Kanen and Kristin in different parts of Northern California. I started by cutting three multicam angles in Premiere Pro. We'd review the cut remotely, lock it, and export it to QuickTime. Then we brought that into After Effects for compositing and color grading.
We all have the same masters on hard drives with copies of the footage that are mailed out to everyone. From there, we just pass around project files over Dropbox. Anything that changed literally opens and automatically links to the footage we already have on our local drives, thanks to the incredible integration of all the tools in Creative Cloud.
Flowers: We thought of Flight Club as the seed for the sapling of our future workflow. Believe me, we've used all the major video editing and audio programs over the courses of our careers, and we are violently in love with Creative Cloud. Before, we were all over the place with Smoke, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, Avid Pro Tools, you name it, and none of these were integrated. But now we can share files so easily and just link them to our local copies of the master file. The versioning is so easy and we're only sending tiny files around.
Adobe: What was it like for you working in Adobe Premiere Pro?
Woodbury: Bringing clips into Premiere Pro from whatever camera and format is so easy it's ridiculous. And the performance is tremendous. I also used After Effects, but I did a lot of pretty complex things right within Premiere Pro. For instance, in one part of the story in Flight Club, there's a white void that I created entirely from the green screen using the Ultra Key in Premiere Pro. The Adjustment Layers in Premiere Pro are great too. I did a final pass in Premiere Pro to match the grain levels in each shot. It's such a clean way to grade quickly.
Adobe: What is it like for you working in Adobe Audition as a traditional Pro Tools user?
Martin: Audition has been tremendous for sound design, considering we only have the dialogue from the boom microphone to start with. I think Audition is a full-featured product, but the best part for me, because I'm a "jack of all trades," is the round-trip workflow between Premiere Pro and Audition. For NAB this year, we did over 32 interviews for That Post Show. I could hardly believe how smoothly the process went due to the integration between the applications. For the shows I edited, working with native footage was simple. For episodes edited our remote team, we used a proxy editing workflow and I relinked the proxies to the raw files. We were able to turn around most of the interviews in a day--having been in the industry for a while, that's crazy!
Adobe: How do you like Creative Cloud?
Flowers: Creative Cloud makes the team more efficient. Everyone is on the same version of the software and it's hugely affordable. Before the entire team was on Creative Cloud, I was looking to upgrade our Avid licenses, buy a bunch more Smoke seats and invest in a lot of training. This was not only going to cost me a lot of money, it was going to delay our project by six months. Now that the team is on Creative Cloud, Flight Club was released sooner than we expected and we saved a ton of time and money in the process. When you look at it from all angles--creativity, efficiency, and cost savings--Creative Cloud is genuinely a huge step forward for us and for our industry.
Adobe: What do you see as the future for Scruffy.TV?
Flowers: There's no doubt we'll be getting even more creative and ambitious. As for now, we're working on our next project using the latest version of Creative Cloud. We're really excited about the new integration between After Effects CC and Maxon Cinema 4D. This is huge for us and completely eliminates some serious problems we used to have working in 3D. Everything we're doing is building toward a future in which we will be doing full-length feature films with Creative Cloud as the centerpiece of our workflow.
Watch Flight Club