Thousands of video editors around the world had the chance to create a music video for chart-topping rock band Imagine Dragons, thanks to Adobe’s Premiere Pro “Make the Cut” competition. With nearly 9,000 submissions from fans and editors from 28 countries, Dallas-based editor Adam Henderson took home the winning title—and a $25,000 grand prize in the process. Awards were also given to winners in five subcategories: Fan Favorite, Most Unexpected, Best Young Creator, Best Short Form and Best Use of Adobe Stock. 

Here’s how it worked: Imagine Dragons released exclusive, uncut music video footage that professional and aspiring editors used to create their own video for the band’s single “Believer,” editing their final product in Adobe Premiere Pro. A luminary panel of judges, including the band and Matt Eastin, director and editor of Imagine Dragons’ official “Believer” music video, picked the winner.

“I can’t even express how rewarding it feels to win a competition at this scale,” Henderson says. “Getting that validation as an editor by a group of people who are so professional and know what they’re doing has been the most rewarding experience. Whether I’d won or not, this whole thing has been a great opportunity.”

The Adobe Premiere Pro team held a surprise celebration for Henderson, flying him to the Adobe headquarters in San Jose, California, where he was treated to a tour of the campus, cake and champagne, and a congratulatory video from the band themselves.

Every editor takes their own approach to their final project, and Henderson explains that with the video footage in hand, he listened to the track on repeat, mapping out the story he wanted to tell through the song itself and the video content he had to work with.

“I wrote down on paper a five-act structure of what the story could be,” Henderson explains. “Writing everything down really helped me pace the story, and then once I started putting footage on my timeline, everything just happened naturally.”

His design background has given him the opportunity to work on everything from commercials to corporate videos, but there’s something special about the way music videos are created. To Henderson, it’s one of the most rewarding and creative projects he can take on as an editor.

And though the competition was a creative dream project, he explains further that ultimately, the “Make the Cut” competition was an opportunity for editors around the world to perfect their editing skills and encourage new and professional producers alike to push the bounds of their creativity, which is exactly what it encouraged him to do, too.

“At its core, this is a great opportunity for anyone who’s interested in editing to have raw footage of a professional music video shoot of a very popular band, directed by a talented director, to create something of your own,” Henderson says. “I feel like I’m better at what I do having the opportunity to work with this kind of footage, and I hope other people feel that way as well.”

Watch Henderson’s winning video, judged on originality and creativity, use of Premiere Pro CC, and overall appeal, below:

Check out the full list of winners here:

Grand Prize: Adam Henderson, USA

The top video, judged on originality and creativity, use of Premiere Pro CC, and overall appeal.

https://youtu.be/Oi5FgBtT-6I

Fan Favorite: Chris Gravland, USA

The most liked video by fans on the Adobe Creative Cloud Channel on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/4qu0zUBiSy8

Most Unexpected: Timo Hensen, The Netherlands

We had no idea what you’d come up with, but this video knocked our socks off.

https://youtu.be/-CYDsU-YLzo

Best Young Creator: Nicolas Burnage, France

The best up-and-coming editor under 25 years old.

https://youtu.be/2LUZdrYZWWc

Best Short Form: Lucia Noriega, Spain

The most impressive video that’s 30-60 seconds long.

https://youtu.be/eO9wP7ahIH8

Best Use of Stock: Micah Stewart, USA

The video with the most creative use of supplied Adobe Stock footage.

https://youtu.be/xt4y9lG7Zuw

Head over to Adobe’s website to read more about the winner reveal.