Faster promo graphics for network TV.

Oxygen television network successfully rebrands channel and uses the Essential Graphics panel in Adobe Premiere Pro to accelerate workflows tied to on-air promo graphics.

Zebra Technologies

Established

1998

Available: More than 77 million homes
New York, NY
www.oxygen.com

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Improves quality control by managing versions and revisions more easily

Objectives

Generate high volumes of branded promo content.

Standardize graphics and imagery across channels.

Boost efficiency of content generation.

Results

Cuts time to tag 26 versions of an on-air promo from 2 hours to 30 minutes.

Frees graphics department to focus on higher-end creative work.

Saves money by handling all promo graphic production in house.

Improves quality control by managing versions and revisions more easily.


“When we learned about the Essential Graphics panel in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, we quickly realized it was the ticket to the workflow we needed.”

 

Andrew Killoy
Supervising Producer , Oxygen.


The fast-paced world of on-air promos and graphics

Digital cable and broadcast television networks rely on their promotional departments to help attract and build audiences. Whether viewers are checking in on social media, streaming shows online, or watching programs on the network, on-air promos and social graphics let them know when their favorite shows will be on, introduce them to new series, and keep them from changing the channel by enticing them with what’s up next. Promo content also plays an important role in helping create and reinforce the identity of a network.

At Oxygen, the television network owned by NBCUniversal, the promotional team and on-air graphics team operate as an integrated creative department and are always looking for ways to streamline processes. The teams have access to Adobe Creative Cloud through the network’s enterprise license. Editors use Adobe Premiere Pro daily to edit promo spots, while the on-air graphics team works with a range of tools including Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, in addition to relying on Adobe After Effects for developing promo graphics.

When Oxygen rebranded into a true crime network in July 2017, it worked with the agency Trollbäck+Company to create a whole new look, including a new logo, design package, and production-heavy graphics toolkit. With many new programs focused on detective work, trials, and unsolved mysteries, the network needed a large volume of standard assets to use as part of its promotional efforts.

“Oxygen is a very graphics-heavy channel,” says Kaori Sohma, Creative Director of On-Air Graphics at Oxygen. “We wanted a design package that would match the rebranded subject matter while appealing to our target demographics and remaining consistent across all programs and channels. We needed to be frenetic and provocative at all times.”

Streamlining the promo graphics workflow

The network rebrand presented an opportunity to rethink the promo graphics workflow. While on-air promos are typically only a few seconds long, the graphics work that goes into creating multiple versions of motion graphics to be used on various spots is by no means simple. For each version, Oxygen’s editors must update the lower thirds, title cards, end pages, and more, which typically requires leaving their familiar non-linear editing (NLE) environment.

Earlier in 2017, Andrew Killoy, a Supervising Producer on the promo team, was introduced to the Essential Graphics panel in Adobe Premiere Pro. Although Premiere Pro allows creatives to develop motion graphics within the program, Killoy was more interested in exploring how the Essential Graphics panel together with the newly branded Motion Graphics templates created in Adobe After Effects could simplify the process of adding constantly changing motion graphics to promos.

“Having a creative department that can handle graphics creation and video editing within a non-linear editing workflow was always the Holy Grail for us,” says Killoy. “When we learned about the Essential Graphics panel in Adobe Premiere Pro, we quickly realized it was the ticket to the workflow we needed.”

High tech with high reward

The team wanted to be able to take its standard, everyday promo graphics and use Motion Graphics templates to edit them within Premiere Pro rather than going back to After Effects to make simple text changes. In addition to benefitting editors, this workflow would free up the graphics team to create more high-end graphics because their time wouldn’t be bogged down with repetitive editing work. Laura Lee, a Senior Motion Graphics Designer, and Matt Landin, an Editor on the promo team, took on the challenge of getting 100% of the network’s on-air graphics package to the point where the Creative Director couldn’t tell how it was created.

“We created Motion Graphics templates that editors could use directly in Premiere Pro using JavaScript and it completely transformed their workflow,” says Lee.

Controls within the Motion Graphics templates enable editors to change text, add a highlighting effect on title cards, and more with just a few clicks. Rather than creating new individual graphics leading up to a show’s airing—such as next Saturday, tomorrow, tonight, or next—editors can simply retype the different tags and update a single graphic.

“The first time I used Motion Graphics templates in Adobe Premiere Pro to tag an on-air promo, a process that would’ve normally taken two hours, I completed 26 versions in just under half an hour, which was awesome,” says Landin. “Now, our editors have access to everything they need in Adobe Premiere Pro to make necessary adjustments to titles and other content without losing the overall brand feel.”

Handling promo volume with ease

On any given day the on-air promo team has at least four or five edits in the works. They typically create a 20-second and a 10-second promo spot for an episodic program, each with six different versions. Every day, they’re completing at least three of these packages, in addition to producing other content such as campaign packages and network image spots. The team is also exploring expanding the workflow to include social videos, which will dramatically increase the volume of content.

“Moving graphics into an NLE has been a dream of a lot of editors and producers,” says Killoy. “Now, with the tools that Adobe has put into the Essential Graphics panel, we can partner with our graphics department to use the full capabilities of After Effects inside of Premiere Pro. We think Essential Graphics is a game changer for promo departments like ours.”

In addition to reducing the amount of time designers and editors need to work on revisions and versioning, the new workflow also helps the department from a quality control perspective. “Our work is more hands-on now, and we have a much easier time managing versions across the board within Adobe Premiere Pro,” says Landin. “This naturally makes it harder to forget important checks and greatly reduces the little errors that would otherwise result in a bad spot.”

Previously, when the network had off-air pickup of its content the team would need to create upwards of 60 versions of promos, which often required outside support. With their new workflow, the creatives at Oxygen can now handle everything in house, which enhances the consistency of the visual content and saves the department money that can be invested elsewhere on air.

The team’s promotional efforts are clearly working. Oxygen was the fastest growing cable entertainment network in primetime in 2018, with the second consecutive year of double-digit growth—15% year-over-year—following its rebrand.*

“Everything looks incredible on air because 100% of our graphics package in Adobe Premiere Pro is exactly as it was created in Adobe After Effects,” says Killoy. “The efficiency gains allow us to continue innovating, creating even more compelling content, and giving our viewers that immersive and consistent experience they’ve come to expect.”

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