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Premiere pro and MXF video files

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Michael Aghy
Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:22:50 am
Last Edited By Michael Aghy on Nov 18, 2016 at 9:44:25 am


This is my first time posting. I see variations of my question and I tried several of the solutions but nothing has worked for me (software and hardware details below). I’ll try to give as many details as possible, hopefully someone has been through this and can help me out.

I’m a freelance editor and I was shipped a USB 3.0 drive with about 500GB of footage in MXF Format.
I believe the full file structures were fully copied over. ( ) Each video file also has an XML/XMP and some have BIM file. The videos are 3840 × 2160 pixels.

I’m not sure which camera it was shot on, but there is a folder called “Sony” so guessing it was some type of Sony camera.

I can import the files into Premiere just fine, either using media browser or just dragging and dropping. And I can scrub through them once placed in a timeline. However, the videos have a lot of lag, they skip and if I try playing them within the timeline, they aren’t smooth at all. They skip, get stuck, etc… Not possible to edit like this.

I read that MXF files should play alright in Premiere but that hasn’t been my experience.

I’ve tried setting quality to 1/4th or 1/8th quality. But still bad. I’ve dragged them into a timeline and let premiere automatically set the sequence settings ( ). I’ve also modified the setting to 1920 x 1080 since that’s will likely be my deliverable. Again, still bad.

I tried transcoding these files with BNxHR/DNxHD MXF OP1a and the results were still bad an not possible to work with. I also tried GoPro Cineform ( ). That was a bit better, but still very choppy and problematic. If anyone has a suggestion for transcoding please let me know. I would like to maintain the 3840 × 2160 pixels. Prefer lossless but open to anything that’s smooth and high quality at this point.

If anyone wants to try working with the a sample file, here is a link:

A couple more notes:

-Audio is not necessary for this project, 8 channels of audio get imported into timeline but I just delete them.
-The footage was shot at a higher FPS for a slow motion effect and is 23.976 FPS within Premiere.
-I’m guessing neither of these things should matter for playback quality.

Windows 10 Home
64 Bit

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017.0.1 (I had the previous CC Version this morning and same issue, just upgraded today and no change)

Dell Inspiron (7568) 15 inch Laptop
Intel Core i7-6500u CPU @ 2.50GHz 2.60GHz
8.00 GB RAM

Yes, I know, not the strongest computer but still think there should be a way to work with these files.

Thanks you for your time


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Alex Udell
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 12:32:24 pm

As MXF is a container file....

the real question be about how the media is compressed.


I'll guess some flavor of H264.

Not easy for the computer to decode that many pixels on the fly....which is what you are asking it to do.

and while I7 is a good CPU spec.... 8gb ram is a lil light these days...though not much you can do about that in a laptop I suspect

Trying looking into the Proxy functions of PPro and setting up something that is frame based compression (cineform go pro, Avid DNXHD) at your deliverable resolution....

I'll bet you get a better result.

You can just try a couple of clips and see if you can get something that works before committing the entire set.

Remember that Premiere as a software is capable of native format it will try to show your media....doesn't mean you hardware will cooperate.


Alex Udell
Editing, Motion Graphics, and Visual FX
Let's Connect on Linkedin
Examples: Retail Automotive Motion Graphics Spots
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Michael Aghy
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:20:27 pm

Thanks for this suggestion. Looking into Premiere's proxie settings now.

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Bob Pierce
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 2:02:41 pm

Kind of an obvious thing, but have you tried importing via the media browser? Digging in and taking mxf clips out of Sony's complex folder structure can really mess with things. Media browser is the way to go importing sony media.

Robert Pierce
Director of Photography • Editor

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Michael Aghy
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:10:10 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I tried media browser. The footage imports fine and exports fine, its just really difficult to work with in the timeline.

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Alan Lloyd
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 3:47:56 pm

Your machine is seriously underpowered. 8 GB of RAM is not nearly enough, and I suspect drive speed is an issue as well.

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Michael Aghy
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:11:48 pm

Ya, I anticipated that this might be one of the suggestions. I ordered a 16 GB ram chip last night, should arrive today. I only have one ram slot so its either a single 8gb or a single 16gb. Thanks.

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Duke Sweden
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 10:00:40 pm

Dude! I really enjoyed working with your file. What a difference from h264! Anyway, I had no problem with a proxy file, and the original was still fairly easy to work with. I made a DNxSD 720p proxy and it played smooth as silk even as I was grading it. The only advantage my PC has over yours is 12 gigs of RAM. So maybe when you get your 16 gig chip it should play a lot smoother for you.

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Chris Borjis
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 18, 2016 at 10:50:50 pm
Last Edited By Chris Borjis on Nov 18, 2016 at 10:55:05 pm

The footage you describe is exactly what our Sony FS7 shoots and in 4k.

I can tell you the 16gb will help, but it won't be much better. To edit
reasonably smooth and have a responsive edit experience you will need
at least 32gb of ram. (at least in my experience with our systems)

I have several 2009 octo core mac towers and they didn't play nice
with the FS7 4k footage (or RED for that matter) until we upgraded
to 32gb of ram. of course a solid high end gpu helps too and in
that regard it's recommended the Nvidia or ATI card have 4gb of ddr5 memory
if working regularly with 4k footage.

I have 2gb Quadro 4000's as well as a GTX 680.

FS7 4k footage plays smoothly at the lower resolution settings in the program monitor
but is never butter smooth at full.

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Michael Aghy
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 20, 2016 at 9:33:44 pm

Yes, I am realizing as I pile on the effects (like VHS effect by Red Giant) and multiple video layers, things get very choppy, even with compressed transcoded files or proxies.

Probably best for a separate post but the Windows machine I have (specs in original post) was a temporary solution between Mac Book Pro laptops. The new Mac Book Pros are out but the max ram is 16GB. I'm sure it will perform better than my current machine but not sure if it worth the money. Unfortunately, switching to a desktop / tower isn't really an option for me cause I need to travel and edit onsite with my machine.

And I know the other option is decked out windows laptop with 32GB ram but I really prefer the Mac OS environment. Especially since every client I have works with Mac so stuff like Keynote presentations or when they ship a drive to me is all easier with a Mac OS. Yes, there are work around for both those things but it gets annoying. Anyways, that's my current dilemma.

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Michael Aghy
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 20, 2016 at 9:21:30 pm

Cool, glad you enjoyed working with it. Ya, the 16G chip helped a bit. But still cant work with originals. After trying a lot of options, I ended up making 30mbs Mpeg4 Quicktime MOV files but maintained original pixel resolution. Probably went too small / compressed, but I think its okay for what I am delivering.

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Duke Sweden
Re: Premiere pro and MXF video files
on Nov 20, 2016 at 10:41:04 pm

Yeah, there are guys here with work stations that don't get smooth 4K playback. It's why I gave up trying to get a pro workstation. Even way outside my budget doesn't handle 4K, I'd have to go way way waaaaaay outside my budget, and I only do this for fun so it's not worth it for me.

The fact that the proxies play so smoothly you should count as a blessing. Like I said, I made SQ 720p proxies, it played beautifully, but I could see blocking on the dark area. But I did my color grading on the proxy and when I switched to the original file, it was smooth. I suppose you could do color correcting and grading on the original, then switch to the proxy when playing back and adding effects.

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