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Terrible image flickering in exported video when using effects

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Xavier Bonet
Terrible image flickering in exported video when using effects
on Jul 4, 2016 at 1:06:01 am

Hello, everyone!

I'm pulling my hair out with this one! I've 3 or 4 recent videos completely ruined by this error I'm getting in Premiere Pro. I got a new MacBook Pro, installed PPro CC 2015 and noticed when I sped up footage and turned on Frame Blend, my footage got dark when I exported. This and other issues made me believe the MBPro was a lemon. So I exchanged it and now I notices that sped up footage with Frame Blend results in flickering video exports. (That is, there's 1 frame that is rendered correctly and 2 that are rendered dark, which results in perceptual flicker.)

I posted about the first problem with the first machine here but up to now no one seems to have the same issue, nor any idea of how to fix it. I thought it was only limited to the Frame Blend, so I decided not to use it until the bug was fixed by Adobe. But now I notice that 4 videos I exported and uploaded already (yes, without watching the end result... I know, terrible of me, but I had no time to do so!) have this flickering issue all over the place! Up to now, I've noticed the issue occurs when I put (a) an adjustment layer over the original footage in order to color correct it and such and (b) when using Frame Blend. But it wouldn't surprise me to be an issue that'll happen with most any effect, probably anything that really relies a lot on the GPU (this assumption is also strengthened by the fact that I encounter no such issue when exporting from AE, which, if I'm not mistaken, is more reliant on CPU than GPU... I may be wrong, though).

Needless to say, this issue is terribly aggravating... it means either (a) not using any effects from now on or (b) taking my chances with the possibility of horribly flickering final video.

This issue is, as well (as you can see from some of the sample footage I'm linking to in this post), absolutely random. That is, sometimes you have the problem and sometimes you don't. Which is why at first I assumed the problem was actually solved in the new machine. The only thing I seem to find in the way of a pattern is that it SOMETIMES starts occurring whenever you use PPro for more than a couple of minutes. If you can export right away just after you open up PPro (and if whatever you're exporting is not very complex and GPU-reliant) you MAY NOT have the flickering.... Then again, as you'll see in the examples I provide, you may have the problem regardless of whether you've just opened PPro or not.

I'm using a MacBook Pro 15" Retina, 2,5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 Gb, Intel Iris + AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2048 MB graphics. So in terms of hardware, I'm using the best Apple has to offer in terms of portable, powerful computers (the only upgrade from mine is to a 2,8 GHz CPU... still, at the specs of my MBPro, I should have no such issues).

I'm leaving links to some footage of the issue in question. The "original export" video shows the problem on a sped up footage using Frame Blend. The "second export" video shows the exact same footage, sped up, etc., but exported a second time, right after opening PPro. The "second export 2" shows another example, also re-exported, and also right after opening PPro, but here, as you can see, the issue still is repeated; this is just original footage with an adjustment layer that has some color correction and such.

Needless to say that I'm using the same camera, settings, export settings, effects, etc., I always use and have had no such issues in the past. All of these problems started happening when I switched from editing on my old PC to editing on my new MBPro. So the issue is solely linked to PPro on the 2 MBPros I've tested. The same footage, exported on my PC, has no problems.

Over at the Adobe forums there's no concrete answer from them, even when they actually take the time to answer. So I was hoping someone here might have had this issue and might now know how to solve it! I'm keeping my fingers crossed because this problem is really keeping me awake at night!

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Here's the link to the video samples in my Dropbox:

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Chris Wright
Re: Terrible image flickering in exported video when using effects
on Jul 4, 2016 at 4:33:50 am

well i know frame blend darkening is fixed with renderer software instead of cuda.
apply color directly to clips, not adjustment layer.
let us know if this fixes everything.

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Xavier Bonet
Re: Terrible image flickering in exported video when using effects
on Aug 8, 2016 at 11:24:45 am

Hi, Chris, sorry for the late update on this... I've been having a workload tsunami and these kinds of issues with Adobe CC on my MacBook Pro mean a lot of workarounds (like the one you mention here), which mean time wasted.

Anyway, to answer your question, yes, I had been applying effects right onto the clips and not on adjustment layers. As of right now, it's the only way I can avoid the flickering. But we must agree this is a workaround and not at all practical. The reason why adjustment layers exist is to facilitate the workflow. So if Adobe leaves in a clear glitch that impedes the use of AL's... well, that's just terrible work.

I have written in the Adobe forums about this but Adobe doesn't seem to be doing much about it, or at least they're not confirming if and when they'll be fixing this issue.

Needless to say, I still have it, and it's one of the most annoying and frustrating things ever.


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Chris Maguire
Re: Terrible image flickering in exported video when using effects
on Sep 20, 2016 at 3:22:32 pm


I have been having the same issue, specifically with one project where I am using the adjustment layer to do a transition. I looked around and couldn't find any solutions for this so decided to experiment with workarounds myself. One thing I did find after a lot of playing around that worked for me in this instance.

What ended up working was changing the rendering engine from OPEN CL, to use Adobe's new rendering engine METAL. When I did this, I deleted the render files in to out and re-rendered and voila no problems. All I can guess is that Adobe is putting most of their development time into their own engine METAL so in general if you're seeing weird stuff happening on renders or exports it might be a good idea to change over to METAL.

FYI to do this click FILE > PROJECT SETTINGS > GENERAL. Under "Video Rendering and Playback" change Software Only, OPEN CL or CUDA to be METAL.

Hope it works for you!

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