The Smoke Community Continues to Grow as New Users Adopt the Easy-to-Use Workflow of Editing and Effects Together
Since Autodesk, Inc. announced the radical redesign of Autodesk Smoke professional video editing software at the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters Convention (NAB), video editors have enthusiastically embraced uniting editorial and effects together to create compelling stories. And this year, everyone had a chance to see – and purchase – Smoke 2013.
Last year's extended trial period gave some users time to experiment with the software, provide feedback and actively take part in its evolution; in fact, between the first free trial and its December 2012 release, Smoke underwent five iterations. An Autodesk survey of North American Smoke trial downloaders found that 57 percent were new to Smoke: 39 percent were new to Autodesk software; 13 percent were Autodesk animation customers; and another 5 percent have used other Autodesk software.
"YouTube generates a reported 1.3 million video views per minute.* That's a staggering number of views, but also highlights the demand for creating great looking content whether for corporate, broadcast or institutional video," said Mark Strassman, vice president, Media & Entertainment Industry Strategy and Marketing at Autodesk. "Community engagement has been crucial to the ongoing development of Autodesk Smoke, and our goal is to continue to work with the editorial community to meet the growing need for quality content by creating an efficient and flexible all-in-one professional video editing toolset."
Access to a high-end effects toolset in an editorial workflow is making it possible for artists to tell stories in a new way. The following three filmmakers have created compelling short films with Smoke 2013 and all credit the software for helping to realize their visions by offering a unified desktop environment that includes both editing and effects:
On Dec. 10, 2012, Anthony Brownmoore, a UK-based freelance filmmaker tweeted: "Just finished the online of my short film using @autodesk #smoke2013 many aspects improved over 2012!" Within two weeks, Anthony purchased a license of Smoke 2013 to finish REP 5091, designing visual effects, creating titles and credits, laying back final sound and using Smoke for the entire online editing process. REP 5091 tells the story of an ambitious workaholic who is visited by a nefarious salesman selling the promise of a new life. Brownmoore said, "I was very keen to try out Smoke 2013 to see if it was up to the job of onlining and providing visual effects on our short film. Having shot on RED, I found that Smoke's workflow for conforming and finishing at 2K resolution was perfect for us. [Smoke] 2013 makes it very easy to tailor the individual shots the way we needed them."
On July 2, 2012, Jeremy Hunt, from Screaming Death Monkey in Los Angeles tweeted: "Loving @autodesk #smoke2013. Fast, elegant and versatile. Learned the basics by cutting a new reel. http://www.sdmfx.com." This tweet led Autodesk to commission Jeremy to create Fix It In Post, a short film now with 75,000 YouTube views, about one man's life being continually edited, enhanced and endangered by a hardworking editor/VFX artist. "This was a dream gig," said Hunt, a filmmaker best known for co-creating 405, in the year 2000, generally considered to be the first viral video on the Internet. "Autodesk Smoke is the first software that truly enables me to work the way I want to work...Smoke is fantastic because with the timeline effects, you can do color correction, a recomposition or whatever you need, and you can play them back the second you lay them in. To see your changes that interactively is extremely important when you’re trying to tell your story."
Filmmaker, post-production specialist and technical writer, Alexis Van Hurkman attended a "Montreal Creative Front" meeting last year that featured a Smoke presentation, and it was a fortuitous encounter. Alexis is now in the process of writing a book about getting started with Smoke for Wiley and is in post-production on The Place Where You Live, an effects-intensive sci-fi short film about a physics professor who's abducted by her doppleganger from another dimension. "I have modest visual effects experience, and while editing the entire 12-minute piece within Smoke, I could quickly assemble credible effects which made it easier to get meaningful feedback from test viewers. Later, the compositing artists could bring considerably more art to the details. That to me is a huge efficiency. The challenge in filmmaking is to find ways to tell a story visually and Smoke allowed me to do that – it's a fantastic storytelling tool."
* Sandvine, Global Internet Phenomenon Report: 2H 2012