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Best intermediate video format for editing

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Rob Hammond
Best intermediate video format for editing
on Nov 12, 2015 at 7:07:05 pm


I am fairly new to video editing on modern hardware, but impressed with the level of knowledge available on the forum wondered if I could please ask what may seem a rather basic question to the more professionals amongst us.

I use Go Pro Hero 3 and Hero 4 cameras to capture video in anything from 1080p upto 2.7k at 50fps and then edit the video in Premiere Pro CC 2015 on a MAC computer I have made specifically for editing.

As I guess everyone would, I would like to spend more time editing and less time waiting for rendering. For example in my current project I have applied the Premiere Pro Go Pro Hero 3+ 2.7k effect to a forty second clip which is the only thing in my timeline/sequence. Even with my preview window set to 1/4 quality the movement on playback is intermittent and very jerky so I have no choice but to render, which for the 1330 frames take around 35 minutes.

The media the clip is taken from is a 54GB file which I have obtained by running the original camera created MP4 file through Go Pro Studio Professional and converting it to cineform format which I understand is less compressed and much more friendly for editing packages like Premiere.

My hardware consists of a single six core Intel XEON E5 Processor running at 3.90GHz, I have 64GB RAM, 2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 with 4GB RAM each connected with SLI, my operating system disk and the disk on which Premiere is installed consists of two 500GB SSD drives operating in a RAID stripe (giving read and write performance of around 900Mb/s). The disk on which I store my video clips has a throughput of around 1890MB/s as it consists of 6 SSD drives in a stripe on a dedicated PCIex RAID controller.
Premier Pro is set to use Nvidia CUDA.
I am running latest version of Premiere Pro CC 2015 and OS-X 10.10.3

As an experiment I recently removed one of the two graphics cards and that actually had no impact on rendering performance at all. I also replaced the two GTX970's with a single Quadro K5000, which again made no noticeable difference to performance when doing anything I tried including rendering, which would lead me to believe that the machine is not using the video GPUs for rendering my projects or that I have a bottle neck elsewhere.

Thus the reason for thinking its time to ask for help from someone who knows a little more than me!

If anyone could offer any advice on how I could change my workflow, or what I could consider doing to the computer so that I can spend more time enjoying my hobby and less time watching progress bars move slowly across the screen I would be most grateful!

Kind regards,


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Steve Brame
Re: Best intermediate video format for editing
on Nov 13, 2015 at 12:53:29 pm

Here's a great explanation of what the Nvidia cards process. Don't expect big changes from a better GPU unless you specifically have these items on your timeline.

Asus P6X58D Premium * Core i7 950 * 24GB RAM * nVidia GeForce GTX 770 * Windows 7 Premium 64bit * System Drive - WD Caviar Black 500GB * 2nd Drive(Pagefile, Previews) - WD Velociraptor 10K drive 600GB * Media Drive - 2TB RAID0 (4 - WD Caviar Black 500GB drive) * Matrox MX02 Mini * Adobe CC * QuickTime 7.7.5
"98% of all computer issues can be solved by simply pressing 'F1'."
Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions

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Rob Hammond
Re: Best intermediate video format for editing
on Nov 15, 2015 at 12:18:17 pm

Hi Steve,

Thanks very much for the reply - I have been taking a look at what is and isn't helped by the NVidia card and I think that confirms pretty much what I suspected, most of the stuff on my timeline is handled by the CPU so this explains why changing graphics cards has little effect on performance.

Since posting I have come to the conclusion that I perhaps need to try some different settings on the cineform codec when I convert from the files straight off the camera to cineform.

I have been using FS2 which is the top quality and i think this is too much for the machine to handle even with a 3.9GHz 6 core XEON CPU.

I am going to try transcoding some of the original footage to Cineform HIGH instead of FS2 to see if that makes any difference. In a way I hope it does as it will solve my editing problem. In another way I am not looking forward to transcoding all of my original media again as I have finished transcoding already and have about 3TB or media in FS2 format!

I will post the results in case it is of use to others as there seems to be very little information available about this topic.


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