Jon Carr is a director and post-production specialist based in Los Angeles. He has worked on a wide variety of projects for clients including Coldplay, NBC, Moment Factory, as well as various projects for Canon.
Jon will be at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival demonstrating the 4K post-production workflow for EOS C300 Mark II footage with Adobe Premiere Pro CC at the Canon Creative Studio.
He will be running Premiere Pro on a state-of-the-art HP Z840 workstation with Dual Xeon 8-core CPU, 128GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA Quadro M5000 graphics card driving dual HP Z27 4K displays and two Canon DPV-3010 4K reference monitors.
We spoke with Jon Carr recently about his work, his tools, and his journey as a filmmaker.
Are you looking forward to going to Sundance 2016?
I am pumped! I look forward to meeting and talking with fellow filmmakers about Adobe and the Canon EOS C300 Mark II during the day and spending my nights taking in films and enjoying the experience.
I recently purchased a Canon C300 Mark II and am really excited to get down to work and start shooting with this amazing camera.
How did you get into filmmaking?
I graduated with a marketing degree and started in the corporate world. I started to play around with editing and began picking editing jobs on the side. I loved it and read and studied all I could to fill in the gaps from not attending film school. Eventually I made the leap to go full-time. I was fortunate to have some great experiences along the way, such as working as an editor with Vincent Laforet.
Last year I took a step back to start focusing more on creating my own narrative content. I spent the majority of my filmmaking career working in post production but wanted to develop my skill set as a director. It wasn’t easy as I had to turn down traditional gigs and pay for many of the expenses from my own pocket, but I learned a lot by doing this. I also built a team that I can count on moving forward which is critical.
Why do you use Adobe Premiere Pro and the Adobe video tools?
I am a long time Photoshop and After Effects user so it was a natural transition for me moving from Final Cut 7 to Premiere Pro several years ago. I love the integration between the Adobe apps and their continued innovation. I am really excited about the support for H.265 and HDR content which is becoming more relevant with new 4K televisions and 10-bit panels. It seems like no matter what you throw at Premiere, it can handle it. I have worked on many extreme resolution projects that push the cutting edge of technology and the Adobe CC tools allowed me to get the job done.
How is Premiere for working with Canon footage?
The C300 Mark II has a brand new XF-AVC codec and from day one, it worked within Premiere Pro. I was fortunate to have a chance to shoot on a pre-production C300 Mark II in early 2015 and pulled together a cut with no problems.
Premiere Pro does an amazing job handling whatever I throw at it. Each year post production becomes more challenging with an unrelenting expansion of new cameras and codecs but I have been able to count on Premiere Pro to help me get my edits finished and out successfully no matter what camera was used for the shoot. The 12-bit 2K and 10-bit 4K coming out of the C300 Mark II requires a lot in terms of post processing but I have been able to jump right in and start cutting. Even if you have a system that isn’t top of the line, you can still drop down your timeline resolution and usually get solid results when cutting on these massive 4K and beyond camera formats.
Do you ever use the in-camera proxy file option in the C300 Mark II?
Yes! There have been numerous times when I am out in the field and need to pull together a quick edit in Premiere on a laptop and I can use the proxy files to do an assemble and then relink to the larger 10-bit files when I am back at my workstation and doing the final color grade.
What’s the coolest project you’re working on right now?
Late last year we finished a short documentary on a custom-built car for the SEMA auto show in Las Vegas. The video is titled RyWire and we shot the film on a Canon C300 Mark II, Canon XC10, and DJI Inspire 1. We had a limited budget and had to get creative, so we did things like mounting a small jib out of the back of a pickup truck and attached a DJI Ronin with the C300 Mark II. The jib and Ronin combination created a poor man’s Russian Arm. We had a lot of fun on this project. The response to the film has been amazing.
You had an interesting approach on your short film Late Shift. Can you tell us about that?
Yes. This week we are launching Late Shift. This film is very much a passion project that we sort of “reverse engineered” off an incredible location called the Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth California. Together with my two producing partners, Benjamin Ariff and Anthony Gelinas, as well as my DP, David C Weldon Jr., we built our story around the location. I edited natively in 6K in Premiere Pro CC 2015 and did numerous visual effects in After Effects. The whole project was a wonderful creative challenge and a great way to make a film.
I am currently in preproduction for a project with an 11.5K final deliverable. It will be the most technologically challenging project I have tackled to date. I cannot talk specifics but I will be very excited to share results later this year. We will be doing all the post in Adobe After Effects.
Why is Premiere Pro a great choice for indie filmmakers?
The Adobe Creative Cloud is a one-stop shop for filmmaking. I have written scripts in Adobe Story so the scope is beyond just post production. I am consistently using Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Media Encoder. These tools allow me to finish and deliver everything from a short documentary to a full-length feature film. Creative Cloud is a no-brainer for filmmakers.
Any tips for people who are new to Premiere Pro?
Just dig in. You will be up to speed and editing within a few hours. It is an incredibly easy and intuitive product to figure out. The Premiere community has grown so much over the last several years. It’s easy to find loads of tutorials online. The beauty of Premiere is that is easy to use but it has a feature set that’s deep enough for major motion picture A-list Hollywood editors. I love the integration between Premiere Pro and After Effects and I am a big fan of what Adobe is doing with enhanced color correction capabilities in the 2015 version.
What advice do you have for people who want to get into filmmaking?
It really comes down to storytelling. I spent years striving to master the technical side of filmmaking to make my films look good, but the reality is a good story is what engages your audience and keeps them watching. There are incredible tools available for new filmmakers today that I could have only dreamed about when first starting out: an iPhone, a decent microphone, and Creative Cloud and you are well on your way. Just get out there and start making something. That’s how you will find your voice.
My second piece of advice: surround yourself with good people. I spent years trying to do it all myself. The truth is getting other talented people involved in my projects has only improved my craft.
Finally, don’t be afraid of feedback! Ask as many people as possible to watch your films and listen to their feedback. This is really hard and your first reaction is to justify your work, but listening to feedback will help you get to your ultimate goal of telling amazing stories.
Meet Jon Carr at the Canon Creative Studio, January 23 through 26 during the Sundance Film Festival 2016 – and see Premiere Pro in action with the latest Canon 4K footage running on an HP Z840.
Learn more about Adobe Premiere Pro CC and the Creative Cloud video tools.