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Export movie and re-import without recompressing

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Michael Kellam
Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 16, 2015 at 3:28:02 pm

Hi,

I need to export a single h.264 movie that is 8 hours long, but consists of the same 30 minute footage over and over for 8 hours. I have tried one long export but after exporting 16 hours, my computer estimates 284 more hours, which is just not workable. I am usingPremiere Pro CS 5.5

I would like to try exporting a movie of just the 30 minutes so that the computer only has to process the effects once for that 30 minutes and then re-importing that movie so the final export timeline only has the one clean video clip with an added open and close.

What video format would be best to use for the initial export in order to hopefully eliminate any double compressing? I assume an uncompressed format or lightly compressed intermediate? I don't have a lot of experience with this as I have successfully been able to stay with the original format in the past.

The original footage is h.264 from a gopro, 1080p 30fps.

I have been editing it in Premiere Pro CS 5.5, using "create sequence from clip", and exporting in Adobe Media Encoder.

Computer - 2014 MacBook Pro, 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB

And I need to export h.264 at 8Mbps.

Thanks very much for your thoughts!

Michael

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Ivan Myles
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 16, 2015 at 6:59:51 pm

Do you have the GoPro Cineform codec? It can be downloaded for free.

ProRes would be another good choice on a Mac, but if you don't already have it you would need to buy Compressor ($50).

AVC-Intra is another option, which I think is available in CS5.5. If so, export a short test file to check whether it can be re-imported.

Uncompressed YUV 422 should work without issue provided enough disk space is available. If my math is correct a 30 minute 1080p, 30fps, 8-bit file would be about 1.7TB.

Avid DNxHD (mov) is another alternative, but I have experienced problems with luma shift and clipping.

If no other option were available, you could export a maximum bit rate H.264 HP@L5.0 file with key frame distance set to 1 frame (i.e. all-intra). This is a sub-optimal solution, though.


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Michael Kellam
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 16, 2015 at 9:49:48 pm

Thanks for your reply, Ivan. Not sure if I have Cineform, but I do have the GoPro software that came with the camera. Since it is free, I'm sure I can get it if I don't have it already. I do have Prores. I assume I would export with 422?

I haven't really used Intermediate codecs - If I export a Cineform or Prores movie and them re-import it into the project, will it not degrade the video at all?

Also, I don't know why I didn't think to try, but if I created a nested sequence, with the 30 minutes of identical footage and the effects in the nest, would it recognize that these clips are the same and reduce export time on the 8 hour version? I'm going to try to test that in a shorter bit - i.e. using a 10 minute sample instead of 8 hours.

Seriously, I would expect that there is a way that the software would recognize that the 30 minutes is the same and only crunch the first 30 minutes and then add the other 15 instances of it using the processing it already did!

Thanks again for your input!

Michael

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Ivan Myles
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 16, 2015 at 10:27:45 pm

Yes, ProRes 422 is appropriate. Intermediate codecs were designed for multiple generations; there will be a slight degradation compared to the source, but it is relatively minor compared to the final H.264 encoding.

Rendering is performed on a frame by frame basis, and that in itself can require a fair bit of resources. The way to tell the software that a section repeats is to make copies of it; either as the source sequence or as an intermediate file.

Good luck completing the project!


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Michael Kellam
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 18, 2015 at 4:25:11 pm

Thanks, Ivan.

So I tried exporting the 30 minutes as Prores 422, which took around 10 hours. Then I imported the Prores movie and put it on my timeline 16 times (to get the 8 hours) and then tried exporting that as h.264 1080p 8Mbps. So far, it's been exporting 10 hours and is estimating 212 hours remaining. This is with no effects or anything; just the Prores movie.

Does this seem right?

I'm running the highest end MacBook Pro available, and when I export just the 30 minutes to the h.264, it only takes 2-3 hours to export, and that's actually rendering color grading, too, so I would expect it to take a lot less time for the 8 hours with no effects. Or is a Macbook Pro simply too wimpy to handle this?

2014 MacBook Pro, 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB (Running Premiere Pro CS 5.5)

I'm really surprised that it would take so long since it's exactly the same footage 16 times. Premiere definitely recognizes the 30 minutes as the same footage-- If I render one instance, the rest go green, too, so on export I would expect it to process the first 30 minutes and then say, "Oh, the rest is the same" and just add what it did to the first movie 16 more times.


If I can't find a better option, I'll try exporting SD, but quite a few other people seem to have the same product available 8 hours at 1080p 8Mbps and the potential income doesn't seem to support buying a render farm so I can't imagine it should be this difficult.


Any thoughts? Am I expecting too much from the gear or am I doing it wrong?

Thanks again!

Michael


P.S. I also tried exporting the movies without the Prores intermediate - 1) Natively editing and exporting h.264 with effects and 2) I tried nesting the identical elements and replacing them on the timeline in addition to 3) trying the Prores intermediate and all 3 options seem to predict pretty much the same insane amount of export time.

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Ivan Myles
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 18, 2015 at 8:19:52 pm
Last Edited By Ivan Myles on Aug 18, 2015 at 8:28:56 pm

In general, transcoding from ProRes to H.264 should be fairly quick. Two-three hours seems reasonable all things considered. (Other posters are welcome to respond.) Therefore, I suspect the 212 hour estimate is incorrect.

If you don't want to wait for the full cycle to complete try rendering a two hour section without colorization (straight transcode from ProRes to H.264). Based on your info it should take no more than 8-12 hours unless there are background tasks or hardware issues inhibiting the process (high CPU temp, or full/slow disk, perhaps). You might also consider single-pass compression if time is of the essence, but picture quality will likely suffer. Try encoding a short test clip that includes high motion or quick edits to compare 1-pass versus 2-pass.

Also, it would be better to render a second intermediate file rather than reprocessing the colorization 16 times during the final compression. Alternatively, if you are pre-rendering preview files on the timeline be sure to 1) use a high quality codec, and 2) check "Use Previews" in the Export Panel.


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Michael Kellam
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 18, 2015 at 8:58:09 pm

Hi Ivan,

Thanks again for your answer!

When I created the 30 minute prores movie, I rendered it on export with the colorization so it would not need to be re-rendered for the multiple items. Thus my ProRes to H.264 did not include any effects since they were already rendered into the movie I reimported as the source, correct?

I paused the 8 hour version at 14 hours, and it looks like it is less than 10% into the first pass, so I do see why the software is predicting such a long export.

I will need to try the 2 hour export like you suggested and see if it works any differently... Maybe the longer version needs a greater amount of disk space for the swap.

Thanks!

Michael

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 18, 2015 at 9:11:26 pm

[Michael Kellam] "2014 MacBook Pro, 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB (Running Premiere Pro CS 5.5)"

I'm going take a stab that the problem is CS 5.5.
I have a late 2013 15" MBPr with only IrisPro and my exports are many fold faster using FCPX. I suspect if you use the current CC Premiere Pro or FCPX you'll get much faster exports.



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Ivan Myles
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:03:46 pm
Last Edited By Ivan Myles on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:21:47 pm

That's possible, Craig. One way to test if CS5.5 is the bottleneck is to transcode the 30min ProRes file (or a short clip) to H.264/MP4 using QuickTime Pro or Compressor. If the processing time is much shorter, use these tools instead. If the processing time is the same or longer, then keep troubleshooting.

Michael, what is your storage configuration (HDD/SDD, available capacity, I/O to each)?

Also, please confirm that it took 2-3 hours to transcode (without additional processing) a 1080p@30fps ProRes 422 file to H.264 using Premiere Pro CS5.5. And, you are correct, there should not be any additional rendering if the colorization was included in the initial ProRes file. Does your output sequence just contain 16 copies of the ProRes file end-to-end? If this is the set-up, then make sure "Use Previews" is unchecked in the Export Panel.

And finally: Are you exporting with the Adobe/MainConcept H.264 codec or the Quicktime H.264 codec?


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Michael Kellam
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 4:41:22 pm

Hi Ivan,

I don't currently have QuickTimePro or Compressor, but would be willing to get one or both. Would I be able to use QuickTimePro or Compressor with my current Premiere project or would I need to change to FCP? If it seems likely that Premiere Pro is the problem, I would buy FCPX.

For storage, I'm currently using an on board SSD, 1TB, but when I took a close look, only 50GB was available because of a buildup of sneaky preview files! ;-) I considered writing the movie to an external, but I only have USB3 and I thought it would be slower than the on board SSD, even with the OS on the same SSD. The 8 hour file should have been about 30GB but I assumed not having more free space might have contributed to a bottleneck.

I removed some files to free up 150GB and tried transcoding the clean 30 minute 1080p@30fps ProRes 422 file to H.264 using Premiere Pro CS5.5 and it took 1 hr., 36 minutes.

When I looked back in my log, the same 30 minute footage edited natively and exported 1080p *with coloring* directly to h.264 without the intermediate took 3 hrs, 23 minutes to encode.

And I'm encoding the h.264 with the Adobe/MainConcept H.264 codec. Would the QuickTime be better?

The 8 hour file was 16 copies of the prores file end to end, with no coloring but with dissolves and crossfades between each of them and a 5 second key overlay at the beginning.

Thanks again!

Michael

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 6:30:07 pm

Given QuickTime Pro is deprecated (and $30), you could get the current version of Compressor for not much more ($50). Apple finally worked on major speed and codec improvements with the current version. The H.264 exports can be almost as good as x264. It's certainly competitive (finally) with Adobe's MainConcept quality.

I suspect one of the big hurdles is that PPCS5.5 doesn't take advantage of Apple's newer OSs and underlying architecture.

Compressor, for example, now can use Intel QuickSync technology in current i7 CPUs.

FCPX does have a 30 day free trial. Unfortunately Compressor does not though.



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Michael Kellam
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 4:46:07 pm

Thanks, Craig. I was considering FCPX and may change if it ends up looking like that's the problem. I did see that the FCPX might be likely to create h.264 files with fewer artifacts, too, but I'm just a bit hesitant since I have a bunch of projects already in progress on Premiere and wasn't sure what kind of learning curve came with the redesign of FCP. Thanks for your suggestion! Michael

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 6:22:49 pm

For simple projects FCPX is very easy to learn.
If you have a complex Premiere workflow, FCPX can have a steep learning curve.
Learning how to organize without tracks can be a big hurdle for people since FCPX uses Roles to organize.


To put it another way, if you do ENG style work FCPX is intuitive. If you do lots of track based organizing it can be hard to get the hang of but once you do, it's extremely fast.

Important though in your case is FCPX's exporting and encoding. Both of which are very fast and probably miles faster than PPCS5.5, PPCC2015 would be much closer in speed.

Perhaps you can use the 30 day free CC trial and import your projects and export from there. Back up your projects first though because you may decide not to go the subscription route. The 30 day free trial could be enough to get you through the export/encode hurdle for free.



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Michael Kellam
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:10:40 pm

Yeah, that was my concern about the FCP learning curve. I'm sure I could adapt but it might slow me down for a little bit, which would be worth it if it increased my efficiency in the long run. My experience is largely with FCP7 and earlier, Premiere Pro and Avid, so I expect I would need to re-tune my brain, but it might help keep me young! lol

I didn't think about 5.5 not playing nicely with the OS or the newer hardware, so definitely a potential advantage. And $50 for Compressor would be an easy choice.

Not so excited about monthly payments for Adobe, which is why I haven't upgraded the Premiere...

Do you happen to know - Is it possible to transfer existing projects from Premiere to FCPX? Given the tracks vs roles thing you mentioned, I assume it may not be advisable to transfer existing projects. Would there be something like EDL export and rebuild that could map an existing project to an FCP format?

Thanks again for your help!

Michael

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Ivan Myles
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:46:12 pm

Michael, in response to your earlier question, it is better to use Adobe H.264 unless you specifically need the QuickTime version.

Be sure to clear your cache files, too. You might also consider temporarily transferring another 75-100GB to an external drive just for a little extra SSD headroom during the encoding process. After that, I would try the full encode and periodically check how it is progressing. If it looks good after 10-12 hours, and then gets more than halfway done within 16-20 hours, just ride it out. If it doesn't progress well then seek another option as per your messages with Craig.


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Michael Kellam
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 8:17:12 pm

OK Thanks, Ivan! I appreciate it. I will do that.

Thanks again!

Michael

Michael Kellam
http://www.kellammedia.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Export movie and re-import without recompressing
on Aug 19, 2015 at 9:43:53 pm

[Michael Kellam] "Do you happen to know - Is it possible to transfer existing projects from Premiere to FCPX? Given the tracks vs roles thing you mentioned, I assume it may not be advisable to transfer existing projects. Would there be something like EDL export and rebuild that could map an existing project to an FCP format?"

Intellegent Assistant 7 to X also works with Premiere Pro to X
http://assistedediting.intelligentassistance.com/7toX/

An application that exports Final Cut Pro XML (such as Final Cut Pro 7 or 6, Premiere Pro CC, etc.)

Also see
http://assistedediting.intelligentassistance.com/7toX/help/7toX%20for%20Fin...

Open the project into Premiere Pro. Choose the File menu and from the Export submenu, select Final Cut Pro XML..., then name and save the XML file. (Premiere Pro exports XML Interchange Format version 4.)



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