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Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...

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Bryan Roberts
Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 11:15:29 am
Last Edited By Bryan Roberts on Jun 15, 2019 at 11:44:58 am

Hi all,

Cutting a feature doc in Premiere in a 4k timeline. It's TRT is only around one hour. It's a coming of age surfing doc with a ton of footage and it's mainly 4k RED, GoPro, DJI, and A7s with some archival MPG stuff (so all over the map). I've tried to keep my project size at a minimum by duping projects for new cut versions instead of sequences, and selects are all their own separate projects (we've been copying and pasting into our master project / sequence as we pull in footage) so my project size isn't too crazy at 19mb.

I had gotten through the first cut without too much issue, some lagging and crashing but it was still serviceable. All of a sudden when I was addressing notes, I needed to pull in 2 additional shots for a scene, when I pulled in those two A7s shots it feels like I hit an upper limit of what Premiere could handle in a single sequence and it started to either take 5-10 seconds to play when I hit the spacebar, stop showing picture, render issues when I try to render new footage I would pull in or beach ball with almost any edit I made. And not just on those two new shots, I eventually was able to render those, it was anything in my entire timeline. Granted, my timeline looks very messy with stair steps all over the place up to V5 or V6 but the crazy thing is that it's all been rendered (set to 4k Prores 422) and shows green bars. I tried everything in the book - most footage was already proxied to 1280 prores proxy, 1/4 playback, 1/8 playback, media cache files are on their own separate ssd, I reset prefs, I tried jumping between CUDA, OpenCL, METAL and software only, I trashed and rebuilt cache files, I reinstalled Premiere. Nothing ever worked, nothing helped. Mind you, with a more simple sequence of say an hour long with a stringout of selects even while my problematic master project was open, played like butter on a 4k timeline. I also had to pop into another project to address notes - it's a season of a show with 5 episodes each around 12 minutes long, 4k footage etc. with a project size around 30mb and it played everything fine.

It took me chunking the film into 4 parts, each around 15 minutes to allow me to even work on the film again. I tried halfs at 30 minutes but that didn't work. So is this just a limit of Premiere? I feel like it's not a hardware issue, that no amount of upgrading would even help much until Adobe makes Premiere better at handling long form 4k timelines and utilize hardware properly. It's frustrating that apparently FCPx, is so much better written to handle long form projects and utilize hardware available for speed and stability while Premiere seems like it's only built for short form work. I love working in Premiere, with short form work like commercials or 10 minute projects it's amazing, but man this project turned into a nightmare the past 2 days. My only other upgrade I could think of would be to get an AMD card like a Vega 64 with external PSU so I could go to Mojave (as most know, Apple brilliantly decided not to allow Nvidia to release GPU drivers for any of their cards in Mojave). MAYBE the latest Premiere was better written to work in Mojave? I'm thinking I've simply hit the limit of what Premiere is capable of in a single 4k sequence.

Here are my system specs:

Latest version of High Sierra
Premiere 13.1.2

2009 Mac Pro
3.46 GHz 12 Core
64gb ram
1080ti gpu
x2 1080p monitors
Sonnet Tech USB C 3.1 gen2 card
Lacie 60tb Big6 raid 5 tower USBc

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 3:04:07 pm

You have NOT hit the limit of Premiere, you’ve hit the limit of your 10-year old Mac Pro.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy forum.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 3:19:06 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Jun 15, 2019 at 3:25:55 pm

It may be too late now, but given that old of a machine, a couple of suggestions going forward.

1. Transcode all oddball media to ProRes or DNxHD. This would be RED, A7S, DJI, etc.
2. Use the Adobe proxy workflow.
3. Work in a 1080 timeline and then send to Resolve for relinking, color correction, 4K mastering.
4. Upgrade your hardware.

Premiere doesn't do particularly well above 1080 with mixed codecs and frame rates on these old machines. Newer Premiere versions are improving in that area, but some codecs, like the DJI and A7S are a disaster to work with.

What sort of storage? Your profile says LaCie RAID. Have you run any speed tests? How full? Are you using effects? If so, which ones? Have you tried rendering timeline sections as you go?

Edit: I reread you post and I see you've tried some of this. I would not upgrade this old machine to Mojave. I'm not even sure you can without a terminal hack. Sometimes Premiere projects get corrupt. Try copy and pasting your current timeline clips into a new sequence in a fresh, blank project and see if this improves anything. You mentioned proxies. Have you toggled proxies "on" so that you are actually linking to the proxy files and not the originals?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 6:06:28 pm
Last Edited By Bryan Roberts on Jun 15, 2019 at 6:10:22 pm

Hi Oliver,

Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I'm very well versed in the Proxy workflow and my proxies are turned on - however it doesn't really matter as my entire timeline has been rendered to ProRes 422 4k and all the bars are green so Premiere should be pointing to those render files. I also tried creating a new blank project and dragging and dropping my sequence into it to pare down the project as much as possible but it didn't help either (I actually already did this once when we finished the first cut and I had lots of footage in the project in bins that weren't going to be used).

I have 14.85TB free so I don't think drive performance will be an issue...

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Oliver Peters
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 6:59:53 pm

[Bryan Roberts] "Yes, I'm very well versed in the Proxy workflow and my proxies are turned on..."

It pretty much sounds like you are doing all the usual things, so I'm at a loss. If Premiere had been handling it fine up to the point of adding the additional files, then I'm not sure what is wrong. Possibly some sort of hardware issue. Is there any way to try this on a different machine?

I do know that Premiere (in my experience) has a tough time with 4K media in a 4K timeline, but there's not much predictability to it. I presume you are running macOS 10.13.6 and the latest Premiere Pro CC version.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 6:02:14 pm
Last Edited By Bryan Roberts on Jun 15, 2019 at 6:09:10 pm

Except... that with the upgrade to 3.46ghz 12 core chips, I have a machine that is the 3rd fastest Mac Pro configuration ever (compared to all other stock options apple has sold). The only thing the 2009/2010/2012 Mac Pros don't have is Thunderbolt and it seems drive speed is not my issue. When I was cutting on location for a few weeks, they had 2013 mac pros, middle of the road configurations. Those were really chugging. When I got home to my 3.46 with 1080ti, it was night and day faster.



https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 7:41:39 pm

You’re overlooking the fact that processor speeds and thunderbolt capabilities are not the only thing that’s changed in the last ten years inside Apple computers, bus speed, RAM speeds, etc have all become much faster. The issue you’re facing is that you’re stuck in an Apple-centric environment that has fallen way behind on the hardware front, plus you’ve stuck with ten year old technology too. I’d suspect a moderately beefy new laptop with a thunderbolt 3 raid would run circles around your old cheese grater.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy forum.


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 8:39:08 pm

The 2019 Mac Pro hasn't been released yet so what we're really talking about when comparing any mac computer that doesn't include a monitor permanently attached to it, is my 2009 mac pro vs. the trash can 2013 Mac Pro which was never updated since 2013. Considering the 2012 Mac Pro was only a processor bump from the 2009 mac pro (now that mine is also running memory at 1333mhz) then we're only discussing the change from 2012 Mac Pro to the 2013 Mac Pro trash can. Really not much advanced other than a smaller form factor. So in this vein, yeah, on paper my mac tower is 10 years old. In actuality, it's faster than all but two trash can Mac Pros in every way (save for Thunderbolt) that Apple still sells as new today (which is highway robbery). So while I can agree with you that apple has hardware starved the market for a while, a 2009/10/12 mac pro maxed out is surprisingly up to date and cutting edge with any of apple's current offerings.

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Oliver Peters
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 15, 2019 at 9:50:57 pm

[Bryan Roberts] "it's faster than all but two trash can Mac Pros in every way (save for Thunderbolt) that Apple still sells as new today (which is highway robbery"

Well, FYI, I work at a shop with 1 2013 Mac Pro, 3 Retina iMacs and 5 iMac Pros. We cut a lot of 4K source, various codecs, shared storage, all Premiere. Side-by-side the newer machines (top end iMacs and iMac Pros) do outperform with trash can Mac in direct comparison. And all outperform the 12-core MP towers that we used to have.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 16, 2019 at 5:17:19 pm

That's interesting, Barefeats seems to generally disagree (other than imac pros) which is why I held onto the hope that my 3.46 12 core could hold me off until figuring out what the hell to do with the 2019 mac pro / hopefully waiting a year to buy one after they're released to make sure those first run bugs are ironed out.

Lots of barefeats articles similar to this one:
https://barefeats.com/hic2_nv_vs_vega.html

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Oliver Peters
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 16, 2019 at 6:30:06 pm

[Bryan Roberts] "Barefeats seems to generally disagree (other than imac pros) which is why I held onto the hope that my 3.46 12 core could hold me off "

Everyone will get different results depending on workflow, media, etc. So I don't put a lot of stock in benchmark tests. I'm just going from my own experiences with similar types of material. One thing to factor in is that Adobe is dialing in performance improvements with each update. With macOS, that specifically means optimizing for newer hardware, OS versions, and things like Metal. Obviously some of that is a factor.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 16, 2019 at 6:35:51 pm

PS: One thing to remember is that Premiere likes fast single core speeds. With CPUs, the more cores, the slower the speed on each core. So depending on the app, fewer, but faster cores may give you better performance than having a lot of cores in the CPU.

Also, Apple has deprecated support for Nvidia cards, specifically CUDA acceleration. So while an Nvidia card is great in a PC, it's a detriment now in a Mac running a current OS version.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 16, 2019 at 6:44:03 pm

Agree 100%. This is why I'm thinking now maybe it WOULD be worth getting a Vega 64 or Radeon 7 so I can jump to Mojave rather than being stuck on High Sierra (ultimately, this is just to buy me another 1-1.5 years before eventually biting the bullet and getting a 2019 mac pro tower). I would imagine Adobe is putting more resources on optimizing for the latest OS as you've said. While the $100 or so price jump from Vega 64 to Radeon 7 is a non-factor and Radeon 7 looks to be a beast as well as a good deal more powerful than a Vega 64, I wonder if it's a smarter move to go Vega 64 since that card is stock in the iMac Pro and I'm guessing Apple will have spent more time optimizing its drivers vs Radeon 7 which they currently don't offer in any configuration sold by them.

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Oliver Peters
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 16, 2019 at 7:26:12 pm

[Bryan Roberts] "I wonder if it's a smarter move to go Vega 64 since that card is stock in the iMac Pro and I'm guessing Apple will have spent more time optimizing its drivers vs Radeon 7 which they currently don't offer in any configuration sold by them."

That's a good question, but I don't know. I personally own a mid-2009, which currently has a Radeon 7950 (replaced a Quadro 4000). That's been the home machine, but it's largely off these days. I don't edit at home as much, so my main machine is a mid-2014 MBP, including for editing. It performs as well with HD. Long, hard renders are easier on the Mac Pro, though. I don't feel like I'm torturing the machine ☺ Also I do some FCPX work and the MBP does way better with FCPX, especially 4K, than the tower.

But back to your tower. I think it's a bit of an unknown how your machine will do. You've modded it from its original 2009 version, so technically it's not meant to run Mojave, nor be optimized for Metal. I suspect you are moving into trial-and-error land. ☺

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 16, 2019 at 5:22:04 am

So you are using 1280x720 ProRes Proxies in a 4K timeline and when you added in a couple of A7s shots (which are also 1280x720 ProRes Proxies) things ground to a halt. So you rendered the entire timeline in 4K ProRes 422 and that did't help at all. It sounds like something is corrupt somewhere (the project, the timelines, a piece of media, etc.,) because I can't imagine another reason why the machine would be having trouble playing back 1280x720 ProRes Proxy files.

It my experience w/PPro it's not the the size of the project that slows things down, or even the length of the timeline, but the complexity/number of cuts ing the timeline. I've had broll selects timelines that are 12 or 13 hours long and playback fine (1080p, camera native media), but an edited timeline that's 2-3 hours long will start to lag. Maybe your performance would improve if you stripped out extraneous footage from V2, V3, V4, V5 and V6?

Currently I'm working on a historical doc that's about an hour long and all the interviews were shot 4K (I'm using 1080p ProRes Proxy proxies) and everything is hunky dory, but my timeline is pretty clean. I'm using a pretty stock 2009 Mac Pro (USB 3.0 card, GTX 660Ti and boot SSD are the only major upgrades).


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 16, 2019 at 5:11:29 pm

Ah, this is an interesting angle. So, full disclosure, I keep a very messy timeline. I always have since FCP days almost 2 decades ago. I cut almost 20 features, some that went theatrical, in my FCP days and never had any performance issues with messy timelines. I use clip enable / disable all over the place to give myself easy option choices so when I go back to a scene, I can see my alt shots I had in my head etc. It never hurt short form stuff like commercials but maybe on longer form work, it has a greater effect. I'll have to try flattening my timeline since we're getting closer and closer to locking picture. Thanks for this info.




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greg janza
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 17, 2019 at 5:13:19 am

Do you use audio plugins at all in your timeline? Audio effects can bring any system to a grinding halt due to the real time processing required to play back.

If the timeline is completely filled with pro res proxy files then like Andrew previously stated there's simply no logical reason to have dramatic performance issues.

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Andrew Kimery
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 17, 2019 at 5:21:53 pm

[Bryan Roberts] "Ah, this is an interesting angle. So, full disclosure, I keep a very messy timeline. I always have since FCP days almost 2 decades ago. I cut almost 20 features, some that went theatrical, in my FCP days and never had any performance issues with messy timelines. I use clip enable / disable all over the place to give myself easy option choices so when I go back to a scene, I can see my alt shots I had in my head etc."

Yeah, in FCP Legend the big thing to worry about was the overall project size, I haven't run into a similar issue w/PPro. PPro's hangup, at least in my experience, has been the number of edits in a sequence as well as the number highly-edited sequences in a project. I dupe my edit timelines a lot (a whole lot) and that didn't sit w/PPro well either (maybe it's been fixed now, I don't know). Every day I'll create a new project by duping my previous one and then clear out all but the most recent couple of timelines from my "old cuts" bin.

[greg janza] "Do you use audio plugins at all in your timeline? Audio effects can bring any system to a grinding halt due to the real time processing required to play back."

That's a good point too. One project I worked on got completely brought to it's knees by the iZotope filters I was using (just basic denoisers) and when I contacted iZotope they basically said, "Yeah... we really, really, *really* recommend you export those clips and bring them back in."


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Oliver Peters
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 17, 2019 at 5:56:52 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "One project I worked on got completely brought to it's knees by the iZotope filters I was using (just basic denoisers) and when I contacted iZotope they basically said, "Yeah... we really, really, *really* recommend you export those clips and bring them back in."
"


I've had good luck with audio plug-ins. A few caveats, though. I limit audio plug-ins to track effects and rarely use them on individual clips. Premiere has export problems with some plug-ins, especially when grouped with others. For example, noise reduction plug-ins seem to conflict on export. Typically this class of clean-up/processing plug-ins is best used when bounced out to Audition using render and replace. Any complex audio mixes that involve a lot of plug-ins should be done in Audition anyway. Or ProTools.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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greg janza
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 17, 2019 at 6:10:31 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "That's a good point too. One project I worked on got completely brought to it's knees by the iZotope filters I was using (just basic denoisers) and when I contacted iZotope they basically said, "Yeah... we really, really, *really* recommend you export those clips and bring them back in.""

I'm not sure if the Izotope folks are fully aware of how problematic their plugins can be with Premiere. I've been working at a client location where initially I was on a trash can mac and more recently it was upgraded to a new imac pro. Both of these systems were repeatedly plagued by seemingly random hard crashes that drove me completely batty.

IT support determined that the crashes were being triggered by Izotope plugins. Those plugins are really fantastic but I've been forced to eliminate them completely from my Premiere workflow due to the fact that they can cause massive system instability as well as the fact that they require a lot of CPU power.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
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Bryan Roberts
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 17, 2019 at 7:23:42 pm

Also interesting point. I use compressor quite a bit for dialogue and have it set to internet delivery (I only do online screeners and then a mixer will do a proper mix once we lock).

Guys, I've proxied most of the footage BUT I've also rendered the entire timeline which is rendering the raw media I'd assume. It's 4k ProRes 422... Which shouldn't be difficult to play but it's not prores proxy ☺ .

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greg janza
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 17, 2019 at 7:55:54 pm

and you 've done a speed test on the La Cie raid to make sure you're getting proper thruput?

Also, the spinning beachball issue with delayed playback is almost always a communication issue with the media source (i.e., raid).

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
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Tod Hopkins
Re: Have I hit the limit of what Premiere can handle? Cutting a 4k doc, I don't think a new $40k 2019 Mac Pro would even improve things...
on Jun 18, 2019 at 3:49:52 pm

I also edit on a CPU upgraded 2009 12-core with Radeon card. While it's a screamer as far as benchmarks are concerned, it was immediately clear to me that this power upgrade did not improve Premiere timeline performance as I expected. Very disappointing and cautionary if you are considering this upgrade. Changing from nVidia to Radeon RX580 helped, but not as much as I had hoped. On the upside, it is faster than my stock 2010 Mac Pro 12-core.

I've already seen a lot of good advice most of which I can second. Avoid MP4 formats because the old Xeon architecture is not optimized for MP4 the way Adobe expects. Cut on 1080p timeline. But also...

Audio can definitely be a major problem. I don't know why. Multi-track original slows work way down, even if you only have one track in your timeline. I've found that converting my eight-track originals to stereo proxies helped more than anything else. More than down-rezing even. In fact, I recently tried to work with some AVCHD home video that had been recorded with surround tracks (not me!) that choked Premiere on an older Xeon Quad. The quad could barely play it even though it was merely 1080p AVCHD! The 12-core could handle it, but it was clearly a drag. I converted to ProRes stereo and the problem was solved.

Tod Hopkins
Hillmann & Carr Inc.
Washington, DC


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