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VOB best practice for long project- transcode?

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Kell Smith
VOB best practice for long project- transcode?
on Mar 4, 2018 at 1:54:04 am
Last Edited By Kell Smith on Mar 4, 2018 at 1:56:24 am

I have about an hour and a half long project that is all from DVD VOB files. They say Premiere edits natively, and that's great for a shorter project, but isn't it better to transcode?
Given some of the instability I've seen in my copy of CS6, it seems that doing a 90 minute native edit of a compressed format would be suicidal.
Maybe I'm wrong. Has anyone out there done this? What works best?

Thank you


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Kell Smith
Re: VOB best practice for long project- transcode?
on Mar 4, 2018 at 1:43:04 pm

Hi folks... anyone out there?


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Chris Wright
Re: VOB best practice for long project- transcode?
on Mar 5, 2018 at 3:42:46 am

sometimes renaming to .mpg works. but the real problem will probably be the audio as some is ac3 and may not work directly inside premiere without transcoding with a 3rd party program. Since you're CS6 and don't have true proxy mode, I recommend a full offline proxy like cineform which allows smoother playback. test your workflow all the way through to make sure it works.


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Kell Smith
Re: VOB best practice for long project- transcode?
on Mar 5, 2018 at 12:51:54 pm

Thank you Chris, I'll look into that. I just know that editing natively in this case will be a nightmare. =)


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Jimmy See
Re: VOB best practice for long project- transcode?
on Mar 5, 2018 at 1:35:51 pm

DVDs are encoded in to MPEG 2 which is native to a lot edit software, even ones that in the past used to require a transcode for successful import like FCP7, therefore you can probably have some degree of confidence in that it's not unheard of to do this. However you're right to have suspicion because DVD is MPEG2 Long-GOP which makes it efficient for compression and space saving, but not so good for editing because the processor has to work harder on a given frame (if that frame isn't an I-frame) because it has to look at the frames on either side of the cut, to construct or predict the frame. It also has to do that anytime you scrub through a clip, which is where the extra strain is most evident. Long-GOP works okay for playback but makes life hard on the processor when editing.

However, on a modern machine, with fast storage, you'd actually probably be okay because while the above is true, DVDs are only standard definition and in addition to that are pretty low bitrate, so in terms of the actual amount of work the computer is being asked to perform to create the frames, the workload's fairly light even if it does have to work a little harder because of the long-GOP codec. Personally, despite the risks, I'd be inclined to go ahead and edit the VOBs if Premiere will let you import them, depending on how much time and storage you have.

The equation then looks like this:

  • 1. Do you have a few extra hours to transcode?

  • 2. Do you have a large amount of spare storage space you don't anticipate using?

  • 3. Do you have time to do any testing?


  • If the answer to 1 and 2 are yes, you've nothing to lose by transcoding anyway because at worst it'll be only marginally or not better, and at best it'll be a big difference in performance. On the other hand, if you have time to test it out, you'll probably find things are at least acceptable if not fine. I edited whole documentary projects with hours of footage shot on the Sony F3 in HD which records in MPEG2 Long-GOP and while there was a noticeable lagginess in scrub, I did not encounter an unusual amount of crashes or any increase in technical issues as the project grew in complexity. Therefore if you the answer to 3 is yes as well, then you might want to give it a try with some test timelines and some random cuts just to see how things behave. However, it you don't have much time and you're unsure about space, it's a pretty safe bet to cut the VOB natively.


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    Kell Smith
    Re: VOB best practice for long project- transcode?
    on Mar 9, 2018 at 1:26:25 pm

    Thank you Jimmy. I'm going to go ahead and get started then.
    Chris, in case it looks like it will be necessary, what was your proxy workflow?


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