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RT playback with non-BMD codecs in Premiere Pro?

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Andrei Mihailescu
RT playback with non-BMD codecs in Premiere Pro?
on Oct 15, 2009 at 8:44:52 am

Hi guys and gals,

I am looking to upgrade the rather pitiful suite I found here at my new job (Premiere Pro CS4, preview via Firewire to a DV-deck which then outputs S-video to a consumer LCD, grr!), and the Decklink Studio or the Decklink HD Extreme are part of the solutions I am looking at.

However, one question I haven't found an real answer to (perhaps I haven't searched enough) is how real-time is the playback when used with non-BMD codecs? I do not want to convert my material to MJPEG (at least not any HD stuff that is already compressed), uncompressed HD is for now out of the question budget/storage-wise, and DV is slowly being phased out even in our project range.

I understand that I need to select a BMD sequence preset to get any kind of RT playback from the Program monitor, but once I have done that, can I simply import my video and have it playback in RT? We work mainly with DVCPro HD, soon AVC-Intra, sometimes HDV and a mix of analog and DV SD, and I would like to get at least the same kind of RT performance with the BMD cards that I get when playing back to my computer screen, preferably delay free playhead starts/stops/trims/scrubbing, sync audio, etc.

Is this doable, or in order to get "real" RT must I convert everything to the three supported formats that Blackmagic Design lists in the cards specs?

For the record, hardware config is for now a Core 2 Quad 2.6 GHz with 8 GB RAM, Vista x64, however I am looking at upgrading everything down the line to a Mac Pro. Speaking of which, are there any gotchas with BMD and the Mac Premiere Pro? Can I expect my PC projects to import seamlessly?

Thanks for any help!


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Ian Lewis
Re: RT playback with non-BMD codecs in Premiere Pro?
on Oct 15, 2009 at 10:01:05 am

The quick answer in my experience is - it depends. I'm able to run DV and XDCAM in real time beautifully in a BM project. Cineform HD (unfortunately) won't usually play without dropouts, unless both the file and the previews are on the RAID that handles uncompressed HD (and even then it's not reliable). You're almost certainly fine with any of the MPEG based camera codecs, and with SD.



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Andrei Mihailescu
Re: RT playback with non-BMD codecs in Premiere Pro?
on Oct 16, 2009 at 7:41:01 am

Thanks Ian.

Obviously I expected that very CPU-intensive and/or disk-intensive codecs might not play back well, but I was worried that there might be some kind of software limitation that would make even simpler codecs not play well (or at all). Glad to hear that is not the case.

May I ask, is there any kind of performance penalty when previewing to a BMD card as opposed to simply playing back to the desktop in your experience? Given the same sequence/codecs, of course.

One thing I really hate about Firewire previews (besides the quality loss in my current setup) is the delay on start/stop/scrub, and those delays are significantly reduced or non-existent in desktop mode. I was hoping for a preview solution that behaved roughly as well as the desktop playback mode in CS4.


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Ian Lewis
Re: RT playback with non-BMD codecs in Premiere Pro?
on Oct 16, 2009 at 8:39:57 am

I've not had extensive need to compare, but certainly there's no performance difference with DV or XDCAM HD on my machine. (Core 2 Quad, Windows 7 64 - but no problems with Win XP 32 either.) I'm using CS3, which might be different in this respect from CS4, which I've decided to missout on and wait for CS5. There seem to be a great many problems with CS4 and plugins.



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Brian Louis
Re: RT playback with non-BMD codecs in Premiere Pro?
on Oct 18, 2009 at 12:31:13 am

[Ian Lewis] "There seem to be a great many problems with CS4 and plugins."

Are you refering to third party plug-ins??


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Ian Lewis
Re: RT playback with non-BMD codecs in Premiere Pro?
on Oct 18, 2009 at 9:12:21 am

Yes, I'm referring to Third Party plugins. Blackmagic took months to sort out CS4 drivers, Cineform are still only halfway there. I gather it's because Adobe totally rewrote the plugin architecture. But, as I say, I'm still on CS3, so I only know what I read in the forums.



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