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3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export

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Samuel Frazier
3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export
on Sep 12, 2019 at 12:04:16 am

The final export of the short documentary I’ve been working on for most of the last year was an absolute nightmare. I’ll describe it below, but basically I had a deadline and had to stay awake for 3 days straight trying to outthink the errors. It's enough to drive me to switch to different software to avoid ever happening again. But, I know Premiere and would MUCH rather try to figure out what the problem(s) is. So, any help is greatly appreciated!

My computer is a 2017 iMac 5k, 4.2 Ghz i7, 32 GB ram, Radeon Pro 580, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6. I assembled part of the film on a 2013 rMBP (15”, 16GB ram, same macOS).

My formats were:
Sony FS700 – 4k 60p ProRes HQ422
Sony FS700 – 4k 24p ProRes HQ422
2 x Panasonic EVA1 – 108fps in vlog
1 x Panasonic EVA1 – 24p in vlog
2 x Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera 2.5k (in 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW)
2 x GoPro Hero 6 Black – 2.7k 60p in whatever its native H.264 is (not Cineform)
Panasonic GH2 – 1080p24p in H.264
Canon 7D – 1080p24 in H.264
Drone (currently unknown model) – 4k 24p in its H.264

All of the above had ProRes Proxy files made in the same resolution and frame rate as part of PPro’s Proxy Workflow. There were a few crashes here or there when I was on PPro 2018, but basically everything seemed to work well enough for a while. I was actually very excited about the Proxy Workflow. It worked great and only one button switch back and forth. Awesome! Then I updated to PPro 2019 (had to as it was what my colorist was using). At that point, the instability ran amuck. My colorist experienced dozens of crashes. Also, I could no longer export from the timeline. I could, however, export to AME and encode to H264 from there. However, when the final version was completed, using AME created its own issues:
- certain clips (around 10 of them) would be in b&w rather than color
- 1 clip played audio from earlier in the film
Neither of these problems would exist if I use AME to encode only the individual clips w/ problems, but they would happen each time and in the same places when the whole film was sent to AME. Each time took around 1.5 hours to encode my 18min film, so this was rough.

I tried cleaning and deleting my cache files any number of times. It didn’t help.

Eventually, I uninstalled and reinstalled PPro 2019 and selected the delete preferences option. I'm not sure if it did actually delete the preferences though as my old templates for encoding and ingest were still there. Still, this had these results:
- the b&w issue was gone
- but, the 1 clip w/ audio playing from earlier in the film became 8.
- Also, 5 clips showed offline that were not previously. I eventually figured out they were lower 3rds from Essential Graphics. They were stock templates that come standard w/ every installation of PPro. To get around this, I took those clips, exported them individually as ProRes 4444 files, then imported them back into the project.
No matter what I did, the audio glitches were there on every export. I even tried exporting the timeline to a aif file, replacing that for the rest of the audio tracks (and deleting those tracks), but the glitches were on every H264 output of the full film. They were never there when I exported just sections of the film.

I tried exporting to ProRes, but the export would either crash in the process or eternally hang with around 10min to go.

Again, all along the way I’m cleaning/ deleting the cache. It didn’t help.

Finally, desperately, I tried pre-rendering the timeline. Again, crashes. But, if I only pre-rendered 30secs or sometimes 1min, I usually got by w/o a crash. So, I saved each time it completed a pre-render. Finally, after doing that a couple dozen times, the whole timeline was pre-rendered. From there I was able to export to ProRes HQ if I made sure to select the “use previews” option. That ProRes file was fine, no errors. Also, it encoded w/o error to H264 in AME.

Again, this whole process literally kept me awake for over 3 days, and this is just not acceptable for software I’m paying to use every month. My only guess is that since my project was so complicated w/ different formats, resolutions, frame rates, effects, and stacked layers that Premiere just can’t handle it. My shorter projects and commercials have never had this many issues. But, I have no idea how you could edit a narrative feature, and especially not a documentary feature which would likely also have so much complexity as this.

So, any thoughts?

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Jon Doughtie
Re: 3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export
on Sep 12, 2019 at 10:34:28 am

This is just my preference, and it is too late for this project. It may help in the future, though.

With that many different sources/file types, step one for me would be to render out all raw footage to the same intermediate codec - a high-level ProRes, Cineform, or (in my Windows world) one of the Avid DNX flavors.

Then I would have put the original footage to the side and edited/finished with all the intermediate codec materials. It requires a lot more disc space, but could well have eliminated all the headaches you had. Sorry you had to go through that.


Dell Precision T7600 (x2)
Win 7 64-bit
Adobe CC 2017.1 (as of 8/2017)
256GB SSD system drive
4 internal media drives RAID 5
Typically cutting short form from UHD MP4, HD MP4, and HD P2 MXF.

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Samuel Frazier
Re: 3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export
on Sep 12, 2019 at 6:48:14 pm

Thank you for that. (Both the suggestion and the commiseration!) Transcoding to ProRes was an option I considered, but yes, the file sizes were absolutely huge and that created a slew of other issues including:

1- how to get a portable solution w/ enough speed to edit
2- how to store the project long term
3- how to do both w/o breaking the bank

Unfortunately, this was not possible and I was kind of sold on Premiere's claim that it could handle any number of formats in the same timeline.

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Chris Wright
Re: 3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export
on Sep 12, 2019 at 4:31:45 pm

longform projects should always be first rendered to an image format; that way you don't lose any extra time if it fails a render. you just fix that one clip and continue rendering.(it also shows you where it stopped) also, you check the crash logs and send them to adobe. or try software render, pre-rendering a h.264 to dhx/prores/image seq, mp3 to wave, disable plugins, check computer temp, as basic troubleshooting. there a few h.264 flavors that are incompatible with premiere, including wrong color gamuts and 8bit lines. I'm actually surprised when anyone tries to render a complicated timeline to a one-go streaming codec.

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Samuel Frazier
Re: 3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export
on Sep 12, 2019 at 7:10:38 pm

Thank you very much for all of that!! Greatly appreciated!! Some thoughts and questions:

[Chris Wright] "longform projects should always be first rendered to an image format"

- the films is only 18min, but more importantly, what do you mean by "image format"?

[Chris Wright] "(it also shows you where it stopped)"

- I'm not familiar with this. All I recall seeing is a percentage meter. Am I missing something, b/c I would be curious to know which clips are creating the problem. This said, the whole project was unstable. Pre-rendering 30sec to 1min sections of the timeline showed me that. It wasn't so much which clips it was pre-rendering, it was how large an area of the timeline. Anything over 1min was an almost guaranteed crash.

[Chris Wright] "check the crash logs and send them to adobe"
- I definitely sent them all to Adobe, but I did not attempt to read them as these things have always been either garble or just over my head.

[Chris Wright] "or try software render"
- I tried all the varieties of this and it made no difference.

[Chris Wright] "pre-rendering a h.264 to dhx/prores/image seq, mp3 to wave"
- I eventually copied my final timeline and pasted it into a new project. This speed up the waiting for each project to open tremendously. I then copied and pasted that timeline into a ProRes timeline, and that what was what finally worked, but again, only after a laborious pre-render of tiny bits of the timeline.
- there were no mp3 files by this point. I had exported the timeline to an aif file and was just working from that. It didn't help or change anything.

[Chris Wright] "disable plugins, check computer temp"
- I turned the computer off several times to let it "rest". No difference. There was only one plugin used, Neat Video's noise reduction, and the crashes happened on my colorist's iMac Pro long before this plugin was used.

[Chris Wright] " there a few h.264 flavors that are incompatible with premiere, including wrong color gamuts and 8bit lines."
- this is interesting. 1st I've heard. Can you tell me anything more about this?

[Chris Wright] " I'm actually surprised when anyone tries to render a complicated timeline to a one-go streaming codec."
- this is something you really should be able to do though. Adobe advertises that it can handle basically any format. My belief is that it just can't handle a complicated timeline. I have none of these problems on my shorter projects, which are also w/ far fewer formats, frame rates, color correction, etc. But, a complicated timeline is a necessity for my films for their style and to make them visually interesting. I need a stable solution that allow me to edit this way.

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Jeff Jones
Re: 3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export
on Sep 16, 2019 at 8:08:06 pm

Hi Samuel,

You may have already solved this problem. If not, do you have any still images in your sequence? I have found that if I have high-res still images in a sequence it causes strange export problems. The sequence will play fine in PPro, but just won't export without crashing. No matter the export settings.

I now reduce the resolution of all the stills in the sequence and the export goes well.

The original files are 8000 x 5300 or so. I typically reduce them to about 2500 wide for an HD sequence. This still leaves room for some pan and scan or re-framing.

Jeff Jones

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Samuel Frazier
Re: 3 day apocalypse of crashes & glitches on final export
on Oct 14, 2019 at 4:08:53 am

I'm very sorry for the delay. Somehow, I missed this. But, I don't have any still near that resolution, so that can't be the problem. Things have gotten so bad though that even playing the timeline back at 1/4 resolution will crash if I let it play too long. Obviously, it's almost impossible to get any work done under those circumstances. I'm almost ready to pack it in, transfer the project to Resolve, and go through the lengthy process of learning that software.

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