Guide to Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is relatively easy to use for creating web pages, presentations, newsletters or graphics of any kind.  There are dozens of templates to chose from at the start of your project tailored to whatever purpose you might be looking for.  Personally however, I find it easiest and most customizable to start from scratch when it comes to making a newsletter that is focused on visual elements rather than text.  But if your newsletter is more text-heavy then I recommend choosing from one of the available newsletter templates to save yourself the trouble of formatting.  There's not a ton of ability to actually customize beyond what Spark provides, but I think it still works for the newsletter purpose.

Starting from Scratch: Once you have selected your template or "started from scratch," you can play around with the design elements.  Spark very clearly guides you through adding a title or header element - you can just drag and drop your image and create a title.  For the body, I think that the "glideshow" is a really easy and aesthetically pleasing way to create flow for your newsletter.  Simply piece together a few pictures - you can either pull from the Unsplash library (high quality stock photos) or upload your own.  You can then adjust the alignment of the elements over your glideshow (text, photos, or videos).

Adding Videos: Anytime you want to include a video for your newsletter, it must be uploaded to Youtube first - Spark only includes videos via the URL.

Adding Photos:  There are a few different ways to display pictures in Spark.  You can create a gallery of photos, fill the screen, or create a "window."  Depending on the context of what you're trying to display, there are different uses for each.  I would use the gallery for multiple similar images since Spark only allows you to create one caption for the gallery.  I typically use the window as somewhat of a divider between content.  It's a nice way to break up material, but it doesn't display the whole image at once (pans across as you scroll down the newsletter) so keep this in mind when you're deciding which method to use to display the image.  You can also add a caption to the "window" image that displays in large letters across the image.  Probably the most common way to add an image would just be to center it into the newsletter -  I prefer this to filling the screen.

Adding Text:  Keep it short and sweet.  I think the purpose of using Spark rather than MailChimp or other distribution platforms is to focus on the visual element of it.  Keep your captions as minimally wordy as you can and be deliberate about the language you choose.



How to Make a Great, Professional Sounding Interview in Audition


This tutorial will detail how to put together a final interview after you have already recorded the initial capture. When you do the original capture, typically you'll make sure the guest understands they can stop and restart whenever they want to. This makes sure you can always get the best, most eloquent version of whatever they're trying to say, and you can streamline the interview while making it sound better. However, to save the guest time, and to encourage a natural flow to the conversation, you generally won't be doing the same in your questioning. So this will show not only how to process the audio of the interview to make it sound good, but also how to re-record asking questions and add them back in post-production. 


  • Process Interview Audio
  • Put together a cohesive interview with re-recorded questions
  • Make an interview sound crisp and clear, and like everybody is super smart and well-spoken

Initial processing:

First, upload the raw file everywhere (shared drive, OneDrive, backup, etc.)

Next, comb through and delete all the parts where they said they wanted restart, long pauses, long ums, etc. (and upload/backup this version everywhere)

Next, capture a noise print from the file, and process the noise reduction for the entire file.  

The last step for the processing the interview audio is ENCN, which goes as follows:

  1. Equalizer - Parametric EQ - Loudness Maximizer
  2. Normalize - 98%
  3. Compress - Dynamics Processing (de-essing or maximizing clarity) 
  4. Normalize - 98%

The process is:

  1. Go into the effects rack, filter and EQ, select the parametric equalizer. Select "loudness maximizer" and apply.
  2. Go into the effects menu, amplitude and compression, select "Normalize(process)" and normalize to 98%.
  3. Go to the effects rack, amplitude and compression, select "dynamics processing". Set it such that segment one (compressor) has a ratio of 2.03:1, and threshold of above 20.27; and segment 2 (expander) has a ratio of 1.13:1 and a threshold of 20.27. Save this setting as a preset if you haven't already (this is the best for maximizing clarity), and apply.
  4. Go to effects to the effects menu one more time, amplitude and compression, select "normalize (process) and normalize to 98 again. (and upload/backup this version everywhere)

This process should take about an hour for a 20 minute interview. After you've done all that, we can begin making clips of each question & answer, recording questions, and putting everything together to sound like a cohesive interview. 

Putting together the interview:

After you have the audio processed, you'll want to re-record those questions you asked in all kinds ineloquent ways. The best way to do this is:

  1. Listen through the interview, and simply write down each question you ask. 
  2. Re-write those questions so they're worded perfectly 
  3. In a single recording, just record you asking each of those questions, one after another. It might be helpful to include some conversation touches, like adding "yeah that makes sense" right before you ask the question, or changing your intonation so that it sounds like you're responding immediately. Leave about 5 seconds in between each question so the next part is a bit easier. 
  4. Apply the same technique for vocal processing as you did with the interview. Noise reduction, the ENCN. 
  5. Make sure you record these in the same room that you recording the initial interview and with the same mic settings, and also use the same noise print for the noise reduction as you did for the interview. This will make it sound more like a single recording.

Once you've record all your questions, put the interview and the questions into a multitrack session on different tracks. From here, it's pretty simply. Just use the razor tool to replace the questions in the interview recording with the questions you just recorded. Listen through the recording and for each question and answer follow these steps:

  1. Using the razor tool, cut the original question out of the interview audio.
  2. Using the razor tool, cut the new question out of the new questions audio
  3. Put the new question where the old one was (in a different track)
  4. Place the tracks so that there's an appropriate amount of time in between each question being asked and answered. 
  5. Put a simple fade on the beginning and end of each track wherever you made a cut to make it sound more like a single recording.

As a quick tip, you can quickly change to the razor tool by pressing R, and back to the selector by pressing V. This will be useful for when you cutting stuff and moving thing around one after another. 

Once you've done all that, you should be able to export and save the multitrack mix-down as a .wav file, and it will sound like one crisp interview, recorded all at once. Upload/backup that .wav everywhere necessary, and it's ready to use in the final mix-down of your full podcast, or for whatever other purposes you need. 



Back It Up! How to Secure Your Video Data

As media content creators, the number one thing we all (should) fear is losing what we worked hours to capture and edit together. I'm sure those of you reading this recall at least one piece of data lost to the ether you'll never recover because it was not backed up. Going forwards for the rest of this year, you should make it your resolution to back up your data at each step in your video creation process. Why? So you don't log on one day unable to find any of your projects (as I recently have), with this look on your face:

An image of a shocked Pikachu

Initial Transfer: From Source to Designated Local Capture & Export Folders

At the Cooper Center's media office, we transfer our captured content into our local computers first. As seen below, we create a "Capture" folder for the original video sources taken from the SD cards used and an "Export" folder for the ingested mp4 versions of our initial sources. This ensures we can draw on them when editing in Premiere.

Capture and Export folder on local Mac computer

From Local to External Backup Drives

As many filmmakers know, backing your data up on an external drive saves you from the heartbreak of seeing data lost to a computer crash destroy your project. We avoid such disaster by saving our material on backup drives with identical naming structures to what we use in our local computer folders and local shared servers. Our Prelude projects, Premiere sequences, exports, and initial captures all get backed up on an external drive. This way, we can restore our work at any time.

Backup External Drive

The Ultimate Protection: Online Data Storage

 If all else fails, we have one final defense against losing data: online storage. While computers sometimes crash and external drives may be lost or stolen, online data can never simply be lost so easily. Hence, uploading each core component of your content creation process ensures you can recreate it at any moment later when needed. We upload our original source material, exports, Prelude projects, and Premiere sequences to do just that. By following this crucial step in addition to the ones above, you will have a robust system protecting your data.

Image of online data storage example



Adobe Prelude Ingest Tutorial

When to use Adobe Prelude

Adobe prelude is a video editing tool that serves one very specific purpose. You shouldn't use if for small projects that consist of one short video shoot. Prelude is not a post production editing tool. You can't do color correction or add effects. What prelude is really good at is filtering out junk footage. Say you recorded a 3 hour interview and you only really want a 3 minute final product. What prelude allows you to do is quickly make markers (called subclips) that represent only the best footage from that video shoot. Sorting through a 3 hour clip in premiere is time consuming and tedious. Prelude allows you to sort through and organize your footage into rough cuts before it touches premiere. This video tutorial details that process.

Ingesting Raw Footage

The first thing you'll want to do is copy all your raw footage to the Capture folder for your video event. All of our project folders are named in "YYYYMMDD Event Description" format. 


Using the same name as the video event folder, Open Adobe Prelude and create a new project. For this example the project is named "20190410 Sorensen Gala Event Footage".

Now we're ready to ingest the footage from a raw format into an mp4 format. Follow these steps and make sure all the settings are correct:

  • Select in and out points for the footage to trim off junk sections
  • Select transfer clips to destination
    • The destination should be an export folder right next to the capture folder that has the raw footage
  • Do not select add subfolder
  • Select Transcode to format H.264 and use the preset Youtube 1080p Full HD
  • Do not select stitch clips together unless you're working with b-roll footage under 1 hour in length total
  • Add file metadata for
    • location of the video shoot
    • type of video (b-roll, interview etc.)
    • keywords to describe the contents of the video
  • Select File Rename and rename the files in YYYYMMDD [path to source footage] [filename] format
    • YYYYMMDD must be the date that the footage was taken which is also the name of the video project folder and the prelude project. In this case it is 20190410
    • The path to the source footage is the minimum amount of information required to figure out which capture folder this footage came from. For this example we have 4 sets of camera footage and we are using the cam1 folder.
    • The last part of the file rename is the actual filename that we are transcoding from. This part of the file renaming is dynamically added. The other two sections are added as custom text.
  • Once all the settings match perfectly as shown below, you can hit Ingest
  • Ingesting footage
    Make sure ALL of the settings are correct before transcoding!!! Click to view Image