Several months ago, I made the journey from San Marcos, Texas up to Dallas to convene with a long-time friend and colleague of mine, Stuart Reid. Stuart and I were making the rounds at different creative studios in Dallas, in order to demonstrate the virtues of the Live Haivision / Kulabyte HD streaming platform, as it now applies to large scale corporate shows and events.
In that show-and-tell process, we met with John Fornero of Glyph Studios, there in Dallas. While it was a successful demo, perhaps the greater success lay in my discovery leading to the following discussion with Mr. Fornero concerning his definite preference for Adobe creative tools, and the fact that he uses them every day and thus may be considered to be a true Adobe expert. I did have the pleasure to interview John, and to glean valuable insight from his perspective, document his thoughts on Adobe products in general, as well as Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 in particular, in contrast to the new Apple Final Cut X.
DVi: So John, tell me about you and your creative process. What is your take on creative applications, and what do you use in your daily/weekly workflow.
Fornero: I’m a big Adobe supporter, own a lot of Adobe software and have used their applications for years at my creative arts business, Glyph Studios, in Dallas, Texas.
DVi: Have you had a chance to use Adobe’s CS 5.5 Production Premium package?
Fornero: Yes, that’s what I run on, every day now. Mostly After Effects, but also Premiere Pro, which is the editor that is the most compatible with After Effects, and as an After Effects user, there’s no reason to be spending a lot of time in other editing programs. I’m not a big “new feature” person, but it’s very stable. Adobe added some new speed improvements, some new interface improvements, and even inter-operability between the products, and also brought Audition back into the mix. That’s a big deal. It’s a great audio program and offers ways of being integrated into Premiere Pro and After Effects and that type of feature and operability is what’s missing from Final Cut. It is not possible to mix your audio for instance with the new Final Cut, with the other Apple products. There are some arcane work-arounds that can be figured out to get it out and send it to somebody else, but Apple has essentially abandoned many of the useful integration features that they had in the older versions.
Whereas Adobe keeps making Creative Suite more compatible, not just Adobe applications, it’s more compatible with Pro Tools, more compatible with Avid, more compatible with the older version of Final Cut. They seem to really be focusing on their market which is the “creative artist”, and giving them tools that let them work in environments that they are used to working in.
DVi: So After Effects is you primary working tool in your day to day business?
Fornero: Yes. After Effects, and Premiere Pro is a big help. Things that you may not be able to do in After Effects, you can accomplish easily in Premiere Pro, like big audio syncs, real time playing of videos, that kind of thing. Premiere Pro does all of that. And thanks to Adobe Dynamic Link, it takes like twenty seconds to move a project from Premiere to After Effects, and then you are in After Effects, and everything is lined up, exactly how you want it, without the need to render. It’s a really simple process, and then when you want to go back to Premiere, that’s really easy too.
DVi: So it’s seamless integration between the various Adobe applications that’s one of the key benefits. Who is your usual type of client, who do you perform your services for in your day-to-day business ? Corporate shows and presentations?
Fornero: I create most of the time, videos for live events, and a lot of times, it’s multi-screen videos, so most of the time, it’s video sizes and formats that may not fit into normal “standards,” like I’m not working in HD video format which is standard 1920×1080. Instead I’m working in ultra-high resolutions that play on multiple projectors, and each projector gets its own piece of hardware to play its part of the media, and this makes for unusually big video files.
But that’s also another area that Adobe has done really well at. There are people that are starting to shoot videos and movies with cameras that utilize these high resolutions like the Red, and Adobe is constantly working to improve and accommodate these file formats, whereas that’s not what Apple’s focus is. My job is to create this content that goes across multiple screens and I have a great tool for doing that in After Effects, and with the other Adobe products, I have a really good workflow with the ways that I can move what I create, into After Effects and it’s at the same time, compatible with all of the other artists in the world. You know, people send me files in Photoshop, they send me Illustrator files, and all of that is easy to bring in. They work perfectly inside both Premiere Pro and After Effects, and it’s an industry standard.
DVi: And has Adobe Audition augmented that in the audio realm as well?
Fornero: I love Audition. Audition was originally called Cool Edit and I’ve used it since then. It’s a great product and Adobe is making great strides in making it compatible with After Effects and Premiere Pro.
DVi: Is there anything in a perfect world that you might suggest for Adobe to include in the next release of any of the CS 5.5 applications?
Fornero: I’ve seen demos of Adobe doing some major 3D integration into After Effects and I champion that. I think that’s a great next step, and I also like their partnership with Nvidia, and hopefully this will lead to future compatibility with many of the other video cards out there.
I’d like better real-time performance out of After Effects. The real-time engine in Premiere is awesome, you can put layer, upon layer, upon layer, of things together in Premiere, and hit play, and it plays. But they really haven’t brought much of that into After Effects yet. You have to do preview renders all the time. I’d love to see more real-time features in After Effects. I understand the challenges there. After Effects is a really good compositor. It would be good to put like a “draft mode” or something like that, so you could see it faster, and then choose to render it with their Mercury Playback Engine, which is an awesome render engine. The way it combines stuff is just beautiful. Maybe there’s a way to make it render faster for preview, but then render out beautifully, like it does.
DVi: What about support for different file formats?
Fornero: Adobe has more of an open system with not only Flash, but HTML 5, which is supported also, and Java, CSS, and most of the web standards and creative arts standards and file formats. There are hardly any file formats that you can’t open up in Adobe applications… .TIF, .AVI, .MOV, all the compression protocols, everything, and when you go to an Apple product, you are constantly having to convert stuff.
DVi: That’s great, John! Do you have any other thoughts to share?
Like I said, Adobe is a great company, and they give me the tools to create, and to do what I like to do, and to make my creative ideas come to life. I want all the best for Adobe, because they seem to be on the right path, and are a great partner for me.
DVi: I really appreciate your time and insight here, John. Thanks again!
Dave Newman is the Director of Media Design Multimedia and SMTX.TV in San Marcos, Texas. Dave holds a degree in Physics from University of Houston, lives in San Marcos, and is currently developing Internet television, as well as operating a full service production studio. He specializes however, in live and archived HD video streaming, and has streamed noteworthy events at SXSW (Austin), Americana Music Awards (Nashville) and Threadgill’s World Headquarters (Austin) weekly, and SMTX.TV/HD continuously for the past two years. Media Design Multimedia has been in continuous operation providing comprehensive video services, since 1995.
John Fornero is a professional compositor at Glyph Studios and Ideaman Studios in Dallas, Texas. John works on many collaborative projects with other creative artists worldwide, and uses CS5.5 Premiere Pro and After Effects on a daily basis. John specializes in large scale projected sequences that require extremely high resolutions, and many cross platform workflows. His commentary and insight were invaluable for this article.