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PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage

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Dan DeStefanoPRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 17, 2016 at 4:03:22 pm

I've been wondering why Premiere runs so slowly on my top-of-the-line iMac. Last week, I used Final Cut Pro 7 again and was blown away with how quickly I could scrub through footage. Fast forward to yesterday when I got a bunch of footage to work with and dropped it into the Mercury Playback Engine timeline and I wanted to pull my hair out. Searching for BROLL was like using a slide projector filled with melted candy.

Then I remembered that FCP probably wouldn't even RECOGNIZE the footage that I'm editing currently on Premiere, it must have been ProRes. I converted the footage to ProRes 422 and now it works like butter.

Long story short, convert your footage, folks! Don't believe Adobe, their timeline is not magical. The footage I was working with that I converted was AVC-Intra 444 1080p. Anyone out there on a Mac Pro have trouble with this codec, too? (Also MXF gives me problems)

Looking forward to the next version with auto-conversion!


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John MayerRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 17, 2016 at 5:24:55 pm

I recently learned to convert my DSLR footage into Cineform FS2 codecs 12bits for post preparation. It also help to reduce banding and allow you to work more with Lumetri filters without revealing too much artifacts.


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Andrew KimeryRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 17, 2016 at 6:25:59 pm

[Dan DeStefano] "The footage I was working with that I converted was AVC-Intra 444 1080p."

How fast is your storage? By going from AVC-Intra 444 to ProRes 422 you cut the data rate dramatically so it could be that your storage isn't fast enough for it.

Of course nothing is magical, and there has always been a penalty for editing with a camera native codec, but Adobe has made it more viable than many other NLEs. I've been using PPro for the last 3yrs or so and I've always gotten good enough performance from my '09 MP that I never felt the need to transcode for editing (granted I haven't worked with that AVC coded yet so I don't know how it would perform).


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Tero AhlforsRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 17, 2016 at 6:40:20 pm

I've managed to run everything but the AVCHD codecs natively. It's a shitty codec.


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Andrew KimeryRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 17, 2016 at 6:56:53 pm

[Tero Ahlfors] "I've managed to run everything but the AVCHD codecs natively. It's a shitty codec."

AVC-Intra isn't AVCHD though. Intra is, as the name implies, an intra-frame codec, as opposed to AVCHD is is inter-frame, and it's largely dealing with inter-frame/GOP codecs that results in the increased processing overhead for playback. And AVC-Intra 4:4:4 is, I believe, a 12-bit codec designed as a mastering/finishing codec so it could be too much for the iMac in question to handle, but not because it's inherently a bad codec. I mean, ProRes 4444 is more likely to cause a machine to choke and ProRes 422, but that doesn't mean 4444 is a bad codec.


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Dan DeStefanoRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 17, 2016 at 8:42:24 pm

Any h.264 based codec makes my system choke, and any system I work with, really. I've learned to treat Premiere like I used to treat Final Cut and convert my footage. It's so frustrating to scrub through footage to try and find good clips and for the viewer to just show me like five frames as I scrub through. That's why I convert. Using less intense codecs like AVC from the Sony A7S is bearable, but not ideal. It wasn't till I used this AVC-Intra footage that I reeeally wanted to pull my hair out.


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Chris BorjisRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 17, 2016 at 11:04:27 pm
Last Edited By Chris Borjis on May 17, 2016 at 11:06:37 pm

one thing to consider (and possibly related), the last few iterations of CUDA have been
under performing. (at least for me and my setup)

I did a multicam 2hr 14 min edit recently, with CUDA enabled it
was completely useless...switching to OpenCL it performed very smooth.

This was 3 camera angles all MTS (canon) footage, 1080i.

I have not need to transcode any footage since making the switch to CS 5.5 years ago (now on CC 2015.2)
and I'm thankful for that.



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Kannan RaghavanRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 18, 2016 at 6:23:45 am

I'm with Dan on this. I convert MXFs to to ProRes 422. It is smooth sailing then. My client tells me not to convert but he's probably not used to fast response from the machine. It is pretty slow when editing native MXFs. I run the files through EditReady and Bob's your uncle:)
I work off amax specced 15" rMBP. It would be better if you're on a trash can Mac though.
Kannan

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Alex UdellRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 18, 2016 at 2:20:38 pm

Hi...

Shouldn't the newer workflow of dynamically replacing native with Proxy assist with this?


there's nothing to say that Proxies have to be of lesser quality....

what if it's simply a transcode to a better performing codec?

So now you can start editing sluggishly and see performance improve progressively as material is replaced with the proxy set over time in the bkg?

Alex Udell
Editing, Motion Graphics, and Visual FX
Let's Connect on Linkedin
Examples: Retail Automotive Motion Graphics Spots
Example: Customer Facing Explainer Video
Example: Infotainment & Package editorial


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Chris BorjisRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 19, 2016 at 11:52:34 pm
Last Edited By Chris Borjis on May 19, 2016 at 11:56:06 pm

I will say with mxf footage from Sony FS7, though I do not transcode,
it sometimes stutters at first when starting playback at the very beginning
of a sequence but then is butter smooth right after and it doesn't always do that.

Also, if I render the sequence it never ever stutters...with all native .mxf


8 core mac pro tower, 32gb of ram, Nvidia GTX 680, Raid 5 pci-e direct connect. (caldigit HDOne)


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Bill LattanziRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 24, 2016 at 4:29:45 pm

I'm a quandary about this. I'm doing a project in Arri C 4444, at 2048 x 1152. PrP CC current. Once the sequence gets a few layers and a few minutes long, it lags like crazy, especially with the 2 camera interviews. I have to render constantly, and then it's fine. I feel I'm back in the days of Avid 4.5. So I'm wondering what's the best among these options:

a) spend a bunch of money preparing for 4K, get the latest biggest baddest iMac with an SSD drive, a newer video card (AMD 395) and hope that all problems magically disappear?

b) transcode and edit in 'proxy' or low-res, then go to high rez on output? This was the method that drove me to leave Avid for Premiere among other things.

c) just keep suffering.

System specs: iMac, 27", mid-2011,3.4 ghz, 2TB HDD, AMD6970 (currently getting replaced by Apple for free as it died), media is on Raid 0 OWC Thunderbolt 4 TB drive.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Bill Lattanzi
Zi Creative, Boston


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Bill LattanziRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 24, 2016 at 4:33:43 pm

oh, ps: 24 mbs of RAM, so that's not the issue (is it?)


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Alex UdellRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 24, 2016 at 4:46:40 pm

Hi Bill....


What's the Data Rate of a single stream of your Arri C?


If it bogs when you layer or multi cam interview....I'd suspect your drive(set) isn't fast enough to keep up.

Also....you indicate that rendering resolves it...but I'd ask...where do you renders get stored? and what codec are they being rendered in? It's likely a pretty lightweight format compared to the raw material, which likely explain the difference in performance.

How much Ram do you have....if it can be boosted, that might help as well.

Alex Udell
Editing, Motion Graphics, and Visual FX
Let's Connect on Linkedin
Examples: Retail Automotive Motion Graphics Spots
Example: Customer Facing Explainer Video
Example: Infotainment & Package editorial


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Bill LattanziRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 24, 2016 at 7:59:00 pm

Hi -Thanks, Alex for the quick response. It's an Intel Core i7 machine, running 24 gb of RAM at 3.4 ghz. And the OWC thunderbolt holding the Arri C 4444 media claims 442 mb/s read speed, spinning at 7200 rpm. So I think it's pretty fast... but maybe not for the SSD 2K / 4K era?

Project is on the internal hard drive
Media is on the Raid 0 drive set.
Previews (so renders) are on a second external hard drive.

How would I measure the data rate?

thanks,
Bill


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Alex UdellRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 24, 2016 at 8:30:24 pm

Well...

it may be fast enough for one stream.....


but maybe not multiple....

see what I mean?

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blackmagic-disk-speed-test/id425264550?mt=1...

that might help ya....

Alex Udell
Editing, Motion Graphics, and Visual FX
Let's Connect on Linkedin
Examples: Retail Automotive Motion Graphics Spots
Example: Customer Facing Explainer Video
Example: Infotainment & Package editorial


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Bill LattanziRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 24, 2016 at 9:07:42 pm

Excellent, thanks, a new tool! My machine is in the shop, but on very-nearly-the-same loaner that has the same lag problem on non-rendered footage, I tested out at between 300-340 mbs write speed, and 300-380 mbs read speed from the Raid 0 thunderbolt drive with the media on it. So if the thunderbolt drive isn't fast enough, and SSDs are prohibitive, then it seems like low-res proxy 'off-line' versions might be the way to go... so I guess I'm saying goodbye to that instant gratification of working with the native files, and back to the misery, delay and extra steps of transcoding. (though it does seem simpler with the new premiere conversion process at the end).

To be clear, your guess is that the limiting factor is the data rate between media drive and program?

And that if I did get SSD external drives (with Raid 0?) then everything would run real time? What kind of speed do we need to make that happen?

Would it matter at all if I added an internal SSD drive for the program? (I'm thinking of swapping out the DVD/CD drive)?

Bill


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Alex UdellRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 25, 2016 at 2:06:59 pm

Hi Bill...

well...I haven't used the new Proxy workflow yet...but it's promising because you can start work with the native files and they will be "hot swapped" as the proxies are calculated.

So while it might be rough going at first....performance should gradually improve while you work.... at least that's my understanding.

an internal SSD should give you some nice throughput, I'm assuming the internal connectivity is SATA?

Maybe Arri has a guide that should give you an indication of data rate per stream. That would help validate that my guess of your bottleneck is correct prior to spending any additional money on your part.

If anyone else wants to chime in on this....I'd welcome a second opinion.

Alex Udell
Editing, Motion Graphics, and Visual FX
Let's Connect on Linkedin
Examples: Retail Automotive Motion Graphics Spots
Example: Customer Facing Explainer Video
Example: Infotainment & Package editorial


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Dan DeStefanoRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 27, 2016 at 4:39:02 pm

Convert! It's like using a brand new Program. Suddenly, I can scrub through footage, locate my b-roll and stop pulling my hair out. Convert, convert, convert! :)


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Bill LattanziRe: PRO TIP: Convert Your Footage
by on May 27, 2016 at 6:10:36 pm

Ha! Thanks, Dan, I like a clear opinion. I think you're right. Following Alex's advice I found an Amira data rate chart (couldn't find Alexa) and the data rate for 2K is 313 mbs. so with 3 layers.... sheesh... I don't think I can ask that of even a thunderbolt drive. So... proxies it is.. now to figure that workflow! Thanks, Editors!
Bill


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