Feedback, please: Making magic with video

If my career is doing society any good at all, it’s probably in democratizing access to magic—that is, helping more people get tools to express themselves beautifully & effectively.

Now that I work in Adobe’s video group, I’m thinking hard about what kinds of awesomeness we could bring to the world. Think “high-end effects for the rest of us.”

What do you want to do with video? What would get you excited, make you want to create & share more, help you blow your friends’ minds?

For example, I wish I could…

  • instantly render any combination of effects
  • motion-track any object with a couple of clicks, then do X
  • create incredible animated titles
  • shoot tons of clips, then find the interesting parts fast
  • apply gorgeous color looks
  • automatically match color across a range of shots
  • go JJ Abrams-crazy with lens flares (well, maybe not that much)
  • insert myself into a music video

…and on & on. Yes, things like this can all be done in high-end tools, but I want to make it drop-dead easy for anyone to do, on any device.

What sounds good to you? Dream big & we’ll dream with you.


15 thoughts on “Feedback, please: Making magic with video

  1. * Today’s editors share files and media across thousands of miles using tools like Dropbox. It doesn’t sound like sexy, but improved automatic tools for re-linking, media managing, and cleanly packaging up a project+files to share with other editors would be magic. PPro has gotten better about this, but it’s not magical yet, still requires way too much babysitting. Give the post guys some practical magic, willya?
    * Along the same lines as the above request, there currently exists no clean way to merge two versions of a project file. Importing a sequence from one project to another creates duplicate media. Or better yet, versioning in a shared project file that automatically merged changes across sequences & media, and gave users a way to control which revisions were masters. Another example of some practical “magic” that is sorely needed.
    * Tagging. Tagging would be magic, particularly when combined with “type to search” that would instantly narrow down the pool of clips ala Spotlight search. The current tools for labeling/describing clips in PPro are rudimentary at best.
    * A tool like Lightroom’s “Match Exposure” feature would be useful. Take it a step further, and match color as well, and get us 75% started so we can spend less time fixing and more time on creative.
    * A tool that fixes banding in 8-bit media by automagically interpolating gradients.

  2. I attended one of the current series of Create Now events last week – and would recommend that ( to anyone who has the opportunity). It seemed that there is some convergence already going ahead within the CC apps – for example, I could see more Filters and masking showing up in several of the new video features and updates which were on show. One thing that occurred to me after the event was: how about writing an Action (or Extension …) to produce a specific still image effect in Photoshop and having it be directly available to auto batch process a clip in (say) After Effects ..? This might work for three (maybe even four) of the points in your list.
    It seems that there are labor-intensive ways to accomplish this already. Simplification would be the key new attribute. Some techniques are available outside of the Adobe “sphere” – for example, I’ve seen it done using Photo-Reactor (, in a batch processing mode, where the terminology used there is a Flow (being the equivalent of an Action).

  3. The most depressing thing for me is to check out how certain cool effects were done in After Effects and seeing that I need Trapcode Particulate or some 3D program that adobe doesn’t sell. I want the all-in-one software solution. After Effects has a steep learning curve, too. Hard to understand the work flow needed to pull off bigger effects.

  4. instantly render any combination of effects
    motion-track any object with a couple of clicks, then do X
    create incredible animated titles
    apply gorgeous color looks
    automatically match color across a range of shots
    I like all of these ideas above. But I find it very fast to be able to use my actions in photoshop to color correct my video. But photoshop lacks video editing capabilities that premiere does.
    This just helps people not from a video production background. There is already a huge amount of photoshop actions out there.
    Create incredible animated titles – these guys have a great idea IMO. If adobe could create some cool presets or “live animated type” animation packages, that would be very cool.
    I would love to get a better interface for animating text. Maybe a preview mode panel that just focuses on fine tuning the animation and seeing what everything does. I find it very time consuming to edit type animation.

  5. – A node-based compositor to compete against nuke. Would be a sister app to AE.
    – Need a 3D paint tool. Either enhance the paint tools in AE to work with 3D objects via Cineware. Or make a Cineware plugin for Photoshop so you can use Photoshop tools to paint entire Cinema 4D 3D scenes.
    – Particle and fluid dynamics either through AE or through a standalone 3D app.
    – And my biggest dream… how about Adobe create their own OS? For better or for worse, I don’t completely trust MS or Apple to support the workstation going forward. Imagine what Adobe could do by building an OS from the ground up for creative pros. And Adobe development wouldn’t be hindered by Apple and MS development cycles.

  6. Since I have been at this since the days of BarneyScan and then CoSA, it almost seems ungrateful to ask for more — this is a dreamworld compared to then! But anyway, I would love for Adobe to develop a replacement to ToonBoom’s Harmony — a vector-based animation platform with pressure-sensitive textured strokes, etc. Something like Fractal Design’s Expression, if you remember that one, but with Harmony’s animation capabilities. I know the market probably isn’t going to support the effort, but a fellow can dream, can’t he?
    [Heh—you’re not alone: I spent the weekend with USC’s Animation department recently, and they were asking for something very similar. They do cel animation in Flash but wish it offered Photoshop-style brushes. I wonder why Expression didn’t go farther… (Microsoft owns the tech now but has never done anything with it, AFAIK.) –J.]

  7. Every time I start a video project, within an hour or two I start thinking of those “passage of time” scenes in old movies. You know, where clock hands spin forward like mad and calendar pages blow away in the wind. Every video project I’ve undertaken (not many I admit; probably less than a dozen) seems to Take Forever.
    Fix that.
    More specifically, just sit and watch somebody using your new tools on a moderate sized project. Are they waiting for the machine to finish something? Are they creating something that could’ve been pulled off the shelf? Is there a repetitive task you can automatically automate? Stopwatch the process and find where the time goes. If the same sub-tasks are taking 30%+ of the time, figure out how to cut them in half, or make them just go away.

  8. Dealing with large amounts of assets is still the sore spot in all Adobe video tools, so if at all “automatically finding the good parts” (shots/ takes/ images) would be most relevant from your list.
    Object tracking/ reverse tracking/ matchmoving sounds interesting, but as long as After Effects doesn’t have a proper 3D environment and the ability to create and manipulate 3D objects live to align them with the shot, there’s probably a million other things long before that.
    “Creating gorgeous color looks” is somewhat vague and considering that there’s already tons of grading/ color correction tools and plug-ins, I don’t see the relevance beyond eventually integrating Speedgrade tec natively in AE and PPro. It would probably be more relevant that before applying those looks adobe came up with a way to salvage poorly shot footage. Anyone can make a well-exposed shot good with any grading, but it is that much harder to fix shots that have huge differences in exposure over time or strong spatial color/ contrast differences…

  9. I have the CC cloud subscription for $50 a month. I do make a lot of “small Videos”, however, Premiere Pro is a overkill for me, doing very small video projects. Like to see Adobe add elements video into the mix for my subscription. Apple just did did a major update to IMovie. so perhaps that would be my best bet….. ??
    For example, when I want to export a movie from IPhone5s slow motion, Premiere does not not accept the “slow motion” effect….Not saying it should, but would like that kind of integration.
    I would like to see some practical video (in depth)tutorials (with having to go to Lyda, etc sites, and pay more money) from Adobe on how to set up and deliver a good quality video. I like what After Effects, But not able to “get it” to use….Any practical help in this area would like.
    Finally, perhaps I would be better off, going to the $10 a month just for photoshopCC and buy elements, etc or another video vendor
    Thank you
    Ken in KY

  10. I’d like more/better ability to control time—the ability to slow down footage and have the software make the adjustments to retain image quality… slow motion control like those that can be done with a product like Twixtor, but as part of Premiere and easy to use.
    Also, I’d like to be able to use Warp Stabilizer and simultaneously increase (or reduce) speed on clips without exporting and re-importing.

  11. I would love a simpler way to create videos like the ones on JibJab where I have a background video/image, and the body of an actor (either part of the background or green-screened actor) and then adding a face of someone else. The face used would be at least two-part, with a movable jaw… preferably moving automatically along with spoken dialogue.
    A lot of moving parts, perhaps, and may be somewhat limited in number of folks wanting that. But you did ask what we wished for!

  12. Yes, that would be nice. Please do.
    Seriously, the biggest problem I have with video is speed. You just can’t work fast and good. The tools are pretty much there but too hard and too slow.
    Take a high quality vid. Edit it fast on a tablet. Refine for high quality output. And you’re done.
    We need the geek out tools too, of course, but put that on the Refine end. Give us fast and easy that can be the template for the refine, and, yes, good enough for government work (actually better than that based on government work lately) to be going on with for now.
    If you could make an editing environment that resembled the photo apps available today that could see and edit high end video and then pass back the edits for a starting place in the high end tools, you’d pretty much achieve god status I’m thinking.
    Oh, nondestructive.
    No pressure.

  13. Google has announced some new things for “the video everyman” in Google+ – see here: ( … but actually, it’s more of an upgrade – the user reaction to the original Auto Awesome feature released this last spring was that it would be better if the awesomeness had manual controls, some of which are now included – hint, hint …)
    [Funny, I was just working up a post on that subject (now live) when your comment arrived. –J.]

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