BlackMagic Presets crippling Premiere
I'm trying to setup an edit bay for our news team with Premiere Pro CS5 and a BlackMagic DeckLink Studio 2 card, on Windows 7. Unfortunately, when I use the sequence presets that allows the BM card to be used, performance screetches to a halt, and the program ceases to "degrade gracefully" when the CPU usage gets too hot. The result is that the video stops after about 15 frames of playback, unless I render out. As an editor, this is just not acceptable. I need to be able to make edits, tweaks, add color-correcting effects, and preview my footage without the card constipating the whole process.
BM tech support was no help, actually being quite rude to me on the phone, and I'm at the end of my rope. What have others found in using BM cards with Premiere?
KTVF-11 Fairbanks, Alaska
I apologize if you feel you were treated rudely. We take the quality of our support very seriously. Sometimes we have to give people answers they don't like but we always make sure that when we give those answers we give them with consideration and a little bit of humility. Rude, is not acceptable regardless of the outcome of a support call. If you remember, I wouldn't mind knowing who you talked to so I can make sure that it doesn't happen again.
That aside. It is worth mentioning that you will not get the same performance from a system with a Decklink board in it (regardless of which board it is) that you will with Premiere in software mode. This is to be expected as Premiere can gracefully scale back the resolution and quality of the output which will make it seem that you are getting much more "real time" performance. But when our cards are brought into the loop the output has to be full quality and full framerate and resolution. This will make it seem that the performance is reduced some.
Now, with CS5 you can get alot of this back by using a supported CUDA based nVidia graphics card which will allow you to use the hardware rendering available through the Mercury playback engine native to Premiere Pro.
To be honest if you are getting frame drops after 15 frames with no real effects or transitions then there may be some problem with hard drive speed (for uncompressed video). But if the clip has a bit of work done on it, then the performance is going to vary greatly depending on what was done to it, if you are using the Mercury hardware rendering or not. But your post doesn't really say.
Can I ask what preset you are using? What is the format (frame size and rate) of video you are using and what codec are you using? Sometimes having the wrong preset can affect performance adversely as well.
If you could give some system details that would help too. Maybe I can see if anything stands out.
Director of Support
Blackmagic Design Inc.
Hey, I've had this experience too, don't sweat it. BMD has some bad internal communication issues from what I've seen, sorry Josh, but it's true. It isn't you, it's just that their default answer is always "you built your system wrong" even if every test you perform says otherwise.
I get this problem on DVCPROHD on an array that performs in the 240Mbps range, while the format only requires 50Mbps. If I asked support they would always accuse me of having too slow of drives, however. It's a common theme.
Ok, now to some actual advice: Assuming that you don't experience any "degraded" playback in Premiere and that your system specs are not deficient in any way (i'm in this boat too), you should know that there were a few bugs in the Premiere 5.1 builds related to the way it communicates with third party drivers/presets, etc. There's some fault on the side of the driver as well, though if you are using up to date BMD drivers, much of this should be working better but...
I have no idea when it will drop, but the expected 5.2 patch for CS5 will help out a great deal on the premiere side. Until then, you'll have to deal with stutters, like a great many of us, regardless of how awesome your computer might be.
Tracy writes -
"I get this problem on DVCPROHD on an array that performs in the 240Mbps range, while the format only requires 50Mbps. If I asked support they would always accuse me of having too slow of drives, however. It's a common theme."
COPIED FROM THE AJA WEBSITE -
Not all CPUs provide sufficient processing for native DVCProHD playback. If dropped frames occur when attempting playback of DVCProHD material when using a particular CPU, users can place the DVCProHD material on a timeline with the Apple ProRes 422 sequence settings. Additionally, if Dynamic RT reports dropped frames during playback of DVCProHD material from the Apple ProRes 422 timeline, rendering the sequence may also be required for realtime playback.
Everyone is a baby. Let's blame Blackmagic (or AJA) because it's too difficult to get Apple or Panasonic on the telephone. But Blackmagic and AJA are relatively small companies that will respond (unlike Apple or Panasonic) so we can yell at them.
If you are getting dropped frames after 15 frames, you bet your ass I would blame your drive array. Of course, this is troubleshooting tip # 1 for editing systems, which NO ONE will ever do, until a moron like me shows up. ABANDON YOUR PROJECT. After you have tested your drive speeds (with Blackmagic Speed Test or AJA System Test), you open up a BRAND NEW PROJECT, having nothing to do with your existing project, and digitize in or import in NEW MEDIA into a NEW PROJECT. Now, see if your system is working. (but I don't have time - I have a client, and I have to deliver THIS project). 99% of the time, you have corruption in your sequence. (or your drives are too slow).
I'm going to assume you are not calling anyone here a baby.
While your note is fascinating, it doesn't apply to me or to this thread.
The problem happens to every timeline.
The problem exists on every CPU.
Extensive troubleshooting has been performed.
BMD personnel above and beyond support have already been on it.
Your advice is noted, but does not help in this case.
Might be the heat or something. Or maybe the latest drivers are to blame. I have drop frames on all my systems with Intensity Pro. Even the best hard drives are dropping frames too