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What is Premiere Pro actually doing when it imports a file? Or, why does this take more than a second?

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Jimmy See
What is Premiere Pro actually doing when it imports a file? Or, why does this take more than a second?
on Dec 19, 2014 at 3:36:30 pm

I'm just curious because I understand premiere imports in a pretty similar manner to FCP 7, where it simply creates 'clips' that act essentially like aliases in that they simply link to the media where it resides on the storage medium. This as opposed to Avid which considers the transcode and import functions to be one and the same and also goes through a media management process on import that creates directories on the storage volume and puts newly created media in there. Because of that one can reasonably expect this stage to take a while in Avid. With FCP7 you might expect to have to wait as long before editing because you still need to transcode, but the import takes place after the transcoding and you can import from anywhere you like. Once the media is transcoded, importing is near instantaneous.

Premiere is the same except that it doesn't need you to transcode (mostly). I wondered then, why the process isn't near instantaneous also. With FCP 7 it basically is instant, except when importing very large batches of files where your dealing with media close the 100s of clips. Premiere imports pretty quick, certainly much faster than if it were importing avid style or waiting for transcodes first before doing the import in FCP, but still not as fast as I would have thought given my understanding of how it's supposed to work.

I'm just getting used to Premiere and I notice that importing a card's worth of AVCHD media takes longer than I would expect it to take than if I were importing that same media (in it's transcoded form) in FCP 7. Premiere doesn't appear to perform any media management or create database files like Avid or any of that stuff and it isn't transcoding so I wonder what it's doing during this stage.


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Jeff Pulera
Re: What is Premiere Pro actually doing when it imports a file? Or, why does this take more than a second?
on Dec 19, 2014 at 5:09:25 pm

Hi Jimmy,

You are correct that Premiere does not transcode video clips. However, with most formats, Premiere does "Audio Conforming" and that is the yellow progress bar you may see at the lower right of screen during/after import. This transcodes the audio into a 32-bit floating point format and that takes a little time.

http://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/importing-digital-audio.html

Also, some MPEG-based formats such as HDV need to be Indexed and that can take a few minutes.

Make sure that you copy entire contents of SD card to hard drive, unmolested, then in Premiere use MEDIA BROWSER for the import, rather than "File > Import".

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Jimmy See
Re: What is Premiere Pro actually doing when it imports a file? Or, why does this take more than a second?
on Dec 19, 2014 at 5:19:47 pm

Oh yeah, I read as much in a similar thread somewhere out there on the interwebs. So then is this essentially like creating proxy media for video but in an audio context and this process presumably makes things faster to deal with later?

Why does it need to do this with audio then and not Video? Just because video would take so long, it eliminates the convenience offered by the mercury engine but audio is fast enough that the potential benefits in processor load outweigh the inconvenience of a minor waiting time?


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Jeff Pulera
Re: What is Premiere Pro actually doing when it imports a file? Or, why does this take more than a second?
on Dec 19, 2014 at 6:03:57 pm

Audio is all over the place. Many formats, and among those formats, many variations of bits and sample rates.

12-bit 32k, 16-bit 44k, 16-bit 48k, mono versions, etc etc.

So my guess is that Adobe is converting ALL audio to one standardized high-quality format to ensure consistently good sound results.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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R Neil Haugen
Re: What is Premiere Pro actually doing when it imports a file? Or, why does this take more than a second?
on Dec 30, 2014 at 8:09:03 am

Premiere doesn't keep a "full" database like some programs, but it does have its own internal database/cache for every project of where everything in that projects file resides and some other data bits about each asset. That is part of what it's doing while importing. And as you are using AVCHD footage which is of course little bits & pieces connected by the data files within the folder structure there's more for PrPro to record than say for most MOV files.

And as Jeff notes, it does do some sort of audio conforming work also. Between the two is where the time goes, it seems.

Neil


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