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Editing h.264/x.264 in Premiere Pro

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Robert DodsonEditing h.264/x.264 in Premiere Pro
by on Apr 3, 2012 at 9:04:16 pm


I have some questions regarding editing h.264/x.264 files in Premiere Pro. I've tried figuring this out myself and looking it up online but I've had no luck.

I make anime music videos as a hobby. Up until recently I would manually rip the video files off of the DVD into DV-AVI or lossless codecs and edit them like that, which always worked fine. Now Blu-Ray is becoming the standard, but it's more trouble than it's worth to rip a Blu-Ray, so I tried downloading a few episodes and throwing them into Premiere.

These downloads are in MP4 or MKV containers but VLC player identifies the codec as h.264. Since it's anime, it's likely the files were encoded using the free x.264 codec. The files import into Premiere Pro 2.0 and PPCS4 just fine (after I change the extension to .AVI), and play on the timeline ok, but they tend to skip, usually by repeating a few frames at random intervals.

At first the skipping won't be too bad, but eventually it gets so bad the files are not editable. The skipping gets significantly worse if I make any changes to the clip, such as applying effects, turning on/off frame blending, etc. This skipping is not just a playback/performance problem, it occurs in preview renders and the final output.

While I normally use PP2.0, it tends to choke on HD footage, so I tried the CS4 trial, which renders moderately faster, but otherwise functions identically with said files.

I decided to try the PPCS5.5 trial, as I read it has better codec support. However, it won't even let me import these files, giving me different errors depending on what extension I use when importing.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? It'd be nice to be able to use CS5.5 but I don't want to buy a copy for a hobby if it won't even open the video files. Otherwise I'm fine with PP2.0 or CS4, if anyone has any solution to the skipping problem.

As a side note, I tried converting a piece of one file into lossless using Adobe Media Encoder but this also induced severe skipping. I also don't really have the hard drive space for lossless 1080p footage.

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel i7 860
12gb DDR3

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