Fine Brothers Entertainment (FBE) is an award winning media company, studio, and new breed of TV network. The company’s vision is to create content that speaks to the audience and creates conversation. With 25 million subscribers and 7 billion lifetime views across platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, FBE has recently crossed 300 million views per month. It’s clear that the media company is accomplishing its goals; in addition to creating original series for distribution on all major social video platforms, the company also produces content for television and film.
When Nick Bergthold started in the business 15 years ago, he thought working in feature films and network television was the place to be. After discovering digital content and joining FBE, he learned how satisfying it is to produce content that gets people talking. Today, as Head of Post Production, Bergthold has a number of accomplishments under his belt, including transitioning the studio to an Adobe Creative Cloud workflow based on Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Adobe: What made you transition from film and television to online productions?
Bergthold: I worked long, grueling hours in film and television production, so it was disappointing when independent films I worked on didn’t get released or television shows were cancelled in their first season. About six years ago I had the opportunity to edit a short piece for Sarah Silverman, a little web spot she did during the 2012 election season. We shot and edited it in two days and I don’t think I slept for 36 hours! It went online and within 24 hours it had more than one million views. I was hooked.
It was an adrenaline rush to work so hard and get the instant satisfaction of seeing an audience thrive on the content. I also liked working with a smaller team in a more intimate setting where you’re more connected with the content and you get to see the results really quickly.
Adobe: When did you start working with FBE?
Bergthold: I worked as a freelance editor for two or three years before being hired at FBE as a Post Supervisor. I liked that the job allowed me to combine my production background—coordinating teams and managing projects, workflows, and schedules—with my post background. I’ve been here three years now, and during that time I’ve built the post department from 4 people to almost 30 today. We went from a couple of shows a week on YouTube and expanded to create 15 original weekly series that are now distributed on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Adobe: What do you like about the work you do?
Bergthold: I really like that everything on the Internet moves so quickly. We produce so much content, and if we have a less successful video we can recover very quickly because it is just a day or two until viewers see our next video. It also lets us experiment and try new things without concerns for ratings or if a network will cancel our show.
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Adobe: Tell us about your workflow.
Bergthold: We shoot the majority of content in our offices. Our post-production process used to take longer with no overlap between the different stages because of the inability to share project files. But Team Projects in Premiere Pro significantly increases the speed at which we can work on projects.
As soon as the first clip is ingested the assistant editor can start stringing out the footage. When that is done, the editor can jump in and start assembling the cut while the assistant starts working on the next clip. We converted a process with three stages, one after the other, to one where we can work simultaneously. It previously took us 2 to 4 days to complete something that now takes 24 to 48 hours.
Adobe: How do you produce content for different platforms?
Bergthold: We’re creating and distributing our content on lots of different platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Musical.ly, Twitter, YouTube Red, and Fullscreen, as well as for television and film. The content for different social channels is shortened versions of the original episodes. Each platform has its own branding, with different graphical end cards and title cards. They also have their own specs for the deliverables, so there are different tweaks we make to the compression or aspect ratio. In total we’re releasing over 400 videos per month.
We love being able to create a version for Facebook, send it to Media Encoder, and have that output in the background while we work on the Twitter version in Premiere. It makes creating six versions of an episode really easy. We wouldn’t be able to create multi-platform deliverables without Media Encoder and Dynamic Link.
Adobe: What features are important to your video production workflow?
Bergthold: The Lumetri color panel in Premiere was a total game changer for us and completely transformed how we do color correction. It allows us to have more granular control and make things look a lot better in a short amount of time because we’re able work directly within Premiere. We also utilize the audio tools in Premiere, and take clips into Adobe Audition if they need additional clean up.
We also like how Premiere can take any codec or format and work with it immediately. We have a couple of different gaming series where people play games on their iPad, PlayStation 4, or PC. We have different tools for capturing screens that deliver different codecs, frame rates, and screen sizes. Premiere is able to bring that all in and interpret the footage to fit the specs we need for the edit.
Adobe: What’s next for FBE?
Bergthold: We are currently expanding our digital network with more series and more content and are in development on several scripted and unscripted projects with major television networks. We’re looking to explore VR, mixed reality, and live video a lot more this year. We’ve done a couple of VR episodes recently and they’ve been a lot of fun. 360 and VR video is the hot thing right now, and editing 360 video in Premiere is really easy and streamlined, so we’re looking forward to doing more.
Overall, the Internet continues to speed up. Content used to be viral for a week, but now that’s down to a day or two, so we have to respond and get things out quickly. As we scale our output we need to find efficiencies in our processes to keep up. Working with partners like Adobe and new tools like Team Projects have been instrumental in helping us achieve our goal of creating broadcast quality content for the web as quick as possible, sometimes same day!
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