Editor Tyler Nelson has worked on many blockbuster films, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Gone Girl. For Gone Girl, he helped develop a comprehensive post-production pipeline featuring Adobe Premiere Pro, so when Mark Palansky selected him to edit the film Rememory, working with Premiere again was an easy choice. Nelson also invited Billy Peake, another member of the Gone Girl team, to help him get things started.
When the post-production schedule ran a bit longer than expected, one of the film’s producers asked Editor Jane MacRae if she would be open to stepping in to help bring the film over the finish line. New to Premiere Pro, MacRae jumped in with both feet and grew to love the integrated workflow between Premiere and After Effects. Together the team helped Palansky realize his vision for the film, which marks his first feature accepted into the Sundance Film Festival.
Adobe: How did each of you get involved in this project?
Nelson: I was referred by Randy Bol, a post-coordinator who worked with us on Gone Girl. He knew Mark Palansky, so when Mark told him he was looking for an editor my name got passed along. The timing worked out and I got the script, read it, and then had an interview with Mark. Two weeks later, we hashed out a deal and created a pipeline.
Once everything was moving forward, I asked Billy if he’d be willing to help out on the project as well. He was available early on in the production and then became a stronghold in getting the whole thing finished right before the festival.
MacRae: When Tyler had to move on to another project in the summer one of the producers I had worked with before, Dan Bekerman, asked if I would be interested in having a look at Rememory. Tyler and Billy put the materials together and shipped a drive from Los Angeles to where I live in Toronto. I plugged it in and started working on the film in early September. I was working on it until the end of November when we had the big rush to get ready for Sundance.
Adobe: Tell us about the film.
MacRae: It’s a drama with sci-fi elements starring Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Martin Donovan, and Anton Yelchin. A scientist invents a machine that allows people to experience past or forgotten memories, and when the scientist ends up dead, Peter Dinklage’s character takes it upon himself to try to solve the mystery.
Adobe: What were the biggest advantages of working with Premiere Pro to edit the film?
Nelson: One thing that I love about Premiere Pro is the ability to create a lot of visual effects using Dynamic Link to send work back and forth between Premiere and After Effects. That’s an important part of my personal workflow. Mark just wanted to make sure that whatever we ended up using didn’t require a lot of learning on the fly. Billy and I created workflows that we used on Gone Girl so we knew it would be easier to continue and even advance our workflows on Rememory, than to switch to a different application.
Peake: Particularly for smaller films, I believe that Premiere has a huge edge over a lot of other tools. It’s much easier to work with and doesn’t require an enormous amount of infrastructure. The way that Premiere manages media is much better for smaller budget projects where you have to share media but can’t afford an expensive storage system. The Premiere user interface is also sleek and feels very modern.
MacRae: This was actually my first project working in Premiere Pro, so I was figuring everything out on the fly. Thankfully, Premiere is really user friendly. One of the first instincts I had was to map my keyboard shortcuts to the keyboard in Premiere, but I discovered very quickly that wasn’t the best approach. I followed Adobe’s suggested workflow in terms of how the default keyboard and keystrokes and shortcuts are set up and found it to be much more efficient. By the end, it felt very natural and intuitive.
Adobe: How much of your work involved visual effects?
Nelson: There are some sci-fi elements in the film. The scientist makes a machine that is capable of recording memories and those memories are displayed on the user interface of a machine. Nearly every single shot with this machine, which encapsulates 418 shots, required visual effects work. It was definitely better for us to use something with a lot of visual effects maneuverability such as the Dynamic Link connectivity between Premiere and After Affects.
MacRae: After finishing the project in Premiere, I can’t imagine doing it in another application because of the quantity of After Effects comps that were in the film. If we had to do it without Dynamic Link, we never would have hit the deadline because it would have taken three times longer.
Of course, I was just doing temp visual effects working in the offline, but everyone still expects to see a decent effect when they’re pre-view watching cuts of the film, even before the visual effects are complete. We also submitted a work in progress to Sundance, so none of the visual effects were formally completed. It was all stuff that was temped in by Tyler, Chad Peter, the Lead In-House VFX Compositor, or me. I’m certainly not a visual effects artist, so having Dynamic Link saved us in that sense.
Peake: To put it in real terms, at one point I ended up temping every screen in the movie and I was able to do it in a week because of the power of Dynamic Link. That would have taken a month with other tools.
Adobe: Where did all of the memory clips come from?
Peake: Mark actually put out a notice looking for people to send their “memories” that we could use in the film. The requirements were simply widescreen only, 720 HD or higher, two minutes or less, submit your memories.
Nelson: We got some really weird ones, but we also got some beautiful submissions that are in the film.
MacRae: What you see is a real blend of material that was shot by the production team and the content that was crowd-sourced.
Adobe: Were there any other standout features that you used in Premiere Pro?
MacRae: It was a multi-camera shoot so we used the multi-camera function in Premiere from the start.
Nelson: There was a dailies editor on set in Vancouver who would get the footage each day, sync it up to the broadcast wave files, and create multi-cams. After the footage synced between Vancouver and Los Angeles I would open up the projects and everything was nicely organized.
Adobe: Did you work with any other Creative Cloud apps?
Nelson: We use Photoshop to do all of our end credits.
Peake: I’ve used Media Encoder for a lot of the turnover outputs.
MacRae: I used Media Encoder constantly to upload clips. They had to be good quality and also the right size to send, so Media Encoder was a workhorse for me.
Adobe: How did you work with the director?
Nelson: We were fortunate to get a user agreement with PIX System so we would post stuff and Mark would give his notes and feedback when he wasn’t in editorial. After he got back from Vancouver he was in editorial nearly every day so we were able to work together in real-time.
MacRae: PIX came in handy for me because I was in Toronto so all of our dealings were over the phone and online. I would upload cuts for Mark, he would look at them, and then we’d talk about them. It was actually very interesting because I never actually sat with him in person.
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