David Fincher’s latest film, Gone Girl, opened at number one last week, earning $38 million. It was Fincher’s biggest opening ever.
And for editors – it was a milestone achievement for Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Gone Girl is the first feature film to have been entirely produced using Adobe Premiere. Its quality and success pose a serious challenge to rival editing products, most notably Avid and Apple Final Cut.
Fincher’s production team worked with Adobe to develop a system that would maximize creative freedom and minimize frustration.
At the end of each day of shooting, terabytes of data have to be organized and assessed before any creative work can be done. Once the data is in the pipeline, the editor compares takes and creates a rough cut. Color and special effects are added to make rough composites that the director will see as dailies. The director annotates the dailies and sends them back for refinement. This process iterates over and over – with each day of shooting.
Fincher is known for pushing technology to the edge. To help realize his ambitious vision for Gone Girl, he shot the film with a RED Dragon camera in 6K. The film was later framed in 5K. This innovative approach provided editors with a unique advantage. For example, if the best take cut off the top of one of the actor’s heads, it’s no problem – there are 20% extra pixels on all sides. The editor can easily move the frame without any loss in quality.
Much of the visual effects work for Gone Girl was done in-house simultaneous to editing. Oscar-winning editor Kirk Baxter could edit in Premiere Pro while others worked on shots in After Effects. The saved compositions would automatically update in Baxter’s timeline thanks to Adobe Dynamic Link. This streamlined workflow was one of the main advantages for “Team Fincher.”
Technology aside, Baxter said he would have made the same edit decisions – it just would have taken longer.
Baxter went on to say that he estimated a 50% or better time saving advantage using the Adobe video workflow.
Fincher’s Gone Girl and Adobe Premiere Pro CC – a runnaway hit for Fincher, a monumental achievement for Adobe Premiere Pro CC editors.