Premiere Pro CS6 render & export times

2 Jul


Reduce export time in Premiere Pro CC
“Use Preview” now works pretty good
in Premiere Pro CC 7.2.1


A lot of numbers flying around in the interwebs regarding the power of CUDA in Premiere Pro. Mostly they are about how much layers of blur or how many “tracks” of HD video can be played in realtime without dropped frames without rendering and stuff like that. All that is very nice and indeed the combination CUDA & Premiere Pro  is very powerful. In Fact its the most impressive native codec / footage performance I have seen and experienced so far – if you have a powerful machine.

On a 2006 MacPro you will not have the same experience at all.

Anyway – i wanted to see how that “translates” to a real life / real work project. Especially with things like MagicBulletLooks.

After seeing a post from Juan Salvo about what Nvidia Card might be the best in terms of CUDA power I was curious how a GTX285 and GTX480 will perform in a real work test.

So for this test i used a rather typical 4min 20sec project. Mostly h264 files from a DSLR, some ProRes files, some HDV files, a few AfterEffects titles (via Dynamic Link) … just a Stereomix-Track from ProTools (wave file). A usual edit –  we do all the time – for a Corporate film clip. Color Grading was done via MagicBulletLooks on every clip (like we do all the time) The MagicBullet effects i created look like that:

So in the end a “Everyday-Project / Edit” for us.

I used the DSLR 1080p25 project preset in Premiere Pro. No other effects were used. Nothing fancy

All that on a 2009 MacPro 4,1,  8 Core 2.26 GHz, 32 GB Ram, 7200 rpm Hard drives, on MacOS X 10.7.3.  CUDA Driver 4.2.7, GPU Driver (270.00.00f01)

I used different combinations of Nvidia Graphics Cards. GT120 (standard card of the MacPro 4,1 ) + GTX285 (Mac Card) GT120+GTX480 (Window card that works with MacOS Lion with the Nvidia driver …. with out boot screen though) and GTX285 and GTX480 the GT120. The GT120 was used to connect the screens and GTX card for CUDA processing only ( at least that is what was recommended by many sites and ppl)

I also tested the single GTX cards – so I connected the screens to those for these tests. (I always used DELL 17” + DELL 22”)

Here is the edit I used for that test … just so you have a better idea what i’m talking about.

Since I did not get any realtime playback even with 1/4 resolution with all that MagicBulletLooks on the clips I had to render to see any “moving pictures” with the final grade … with all the cards and combinations)

here are the numbers:

So even though the combination of GT120 + GTX card might work good for CUDA processing only it actually it’s very bad for stuff like MagicBulletLooks or Colorista 2 that uses OpenGL for GPU processing and so the GT120 slows everything down quit a bit. Also the GTX285 that actually is a Mac Card is quite unstable in terms of crashes and freezing the app during render or export ( = PPro crashes )  … so in the end the GTX480 is the better salutation (here is how I did get the card to work.

One side-note though: Sadly Premiere Pro doesn’t seem to use the rendered preview data for exports. So even if you activated the option “use preview” that really doesn’t change that much export times. So for long projects with a lot of 3rd party effects on clips export times are getting quite long. That is a big issue.

– The Combination of GT120+GTX card did not work that good especially if things like MagicBullet Looks are used.

– GTX 480 works best

– Encoding via Adobe MediaEncoder is slower especially if you count the time it takes to “send” the project to the MediaEncoder

– The option “use previews” for export doesn’t  really work

I will test an edit with transcoded ProRes footage soon just so i can see if that changes anything. I still have not found the best Workflow for Premiere Pro – so hang in there and stay tuned.

UPDATE JULY/02/2011:

so i did the whole ProRes Sequence Preset settings for better “use previews” and therefore faster export times thing:

… but did not really change a thing:

Render time was 20:36 (so around 2 min longer than native) … export time was 17:04  so not really faster than the 16:46 export time i got with native or the 17:09 export time native to ProResLT)

UPDATE JULY/11/2012:

So I still testing stuff to find the “best” workflow and settings for Premiere Pro. I’m still on a “voyage” to figure out the “use Preview” issue … I tried all kind of stuff – deactivation of CUDA – transcoding footage to ProResLT and working with that in a ProResLT sequence – using Blackmagic uncompressed Sequence settings ….

… everything I could come up with … still no real change basically export time = render time even if I rendered everything before. My guess: Its a OpenGL/MagicBullerLooks thing, because some people actually seem to benefit from the “use preview”  … just not with MBL stuff . See: Biscardi Creative Blog – Continuing Tales of an FCP Switcher – CS6 workflow, for now

So anyway I also did compare Premiere Pro vs. FCPX vs. AVID MC6 vs. FCP7 with the same project (new – a bit different form the initial test). still around 4:16, same footage (Transcoded to ProResLT), same edit, same MagicBulletLooks settings/preset.

Here are the results of that Test:

So apparently even FCP7 smokes FCPX in terms of render time of MagicBulletLooks stuff. Also FCPX crashed like every 5-10 minutes while rendering. AVID MC6 did a good job but since it was linked AMA ProRes Footage “overall performance” did not feel as solid as PPro or even FCP7.  The old school FCP7 worked actually quite OK – not surprisingly so due to ProRes transcoded footage. So at the end of the day PremierePro is “solid average” – quite usable though I guess … for now … I still will have an eye on all that and let you know as soon as I find out new stuff or solutions.


16 Responses to “Premiere Pro CS6 render & export times”

  1. Tom Daigon 02/07/2012 at 16:11 #

    Nice work. Exporting times from Premiere in the past have been a real Achilles Heel that lots of folks are not aware of or prepared for. Kudos for do this kind of testing!

  2. bart w 02/07/2012 at 18:17 #

    Good info. For “use previews” to work you need to setup your sequence for the output codec as your render codec and then on export click “match sequence settings”.

    • Michael 02/07/2012 at 20:42 #

      thank you for the feedback … i did that (see the updated post) it did nor really workout

      • bart w 02/07/2012 at 20:56 #

        Indeed. Weird. I’m pretty sure it works with uncompressed renders and/or DV format. Perhaps a codec is to blame here. Another idea – you did not have have Maximum Render Quality checked on export. Or it’s a bug.

      • Michael 02/07/2012 at 21:49 #

        i see … will look into it

  3. Richard Harrington 02/07/2012 at 19:00 #

    If you want to use Previews… you need to make sure your sequence settings are set to use something other than the draft preview effects that are generated. Look at sequence settings when creating.

    As far as all effects… the acceleration varies by manufacturer greatly. Also, make sure you have 2-3 GB of RAM per core.

    • Michael 02/07/2012 at 20:42 #

      hey Richard,

      thank you for your feedback, i really appreciate it.
      so i did go ahead and did what u suggested but sadly in my case it did not really change a thing:

      Render time was 20:36 (so around 2 min longer than native) … export time was 17:04 so not really faster than the 16:46 export time i got with native or the 17:09 export time native to ProResLT)

      if u have the chance look at the new screenshots i posted under “update” i really would appreciate that cuz i’m not sure what i’m doing wrong here … i really try to find a good & solid (fast) workflow here


      • Richard Harrington 11/07/2012 at 22:54 #

        Generally speaking, there is no reason to render before export.

        Why are you making a ProRes master? That is a very slow codec.

        1. Match sequence to what you are primarily editing.
        2. Don’t bother with intermediate renders unless uisng things like XDCAM or DVCPRO
        3. Export to a HD master with XDCAM, DVCPRO, or JPEG2000.

        Pro Res is just slow and not very multithreaded.

      • Michael 11/07/2012 at 23:14 #

        well true that … but not so much with stuff like Magic Bullet Looks. If i wand to see the final color grade on “moving pictures” i kinda have.
        and ProRes still is a good, solid, good looking Master Codec for our workflow… like DNxHD.

        but i might look into testing the other options… thanks for the feedback

  4. Karl Lee Soule 12/07/2012 at 14:08 #

    Hi All,

    Good entry and good “real world” testing. 2 things I would comment on:

    1. The “Use Previews” function is tied in a lot of people’s minds to another feature – “Smart Rendering.” Basically, Smart Rendering is the idea that, provided your output format matches the sequence and preview render format, the output module will just collect all the frames of the previews (or the unaltered frames from source files,) and put them in a single file. That’s what FCP does with ProRes output. Transcode in the beginning, render ProRes Preview files during editing, Output using the rendered previews and untouched ProRes frames, effectively just copying the frames into a new file.

    2. Premiere Pro DOES have some Smart Rendering functions for certain native file formats. DVCPROHD, for example, will use Smart Rendering when exporting back to P2 Movie format. It’s super-fast. In Premiere Pro 6.01, Adobe did add Smart Rendering to some flavors of XDCAM as well. (It’s optional – there’s a check box in the Export panel to turn it on.) Again, it speeds up export for going out to MXF OP1a format.

    3. Premiere Pro cannot, at this time, do a “smart render” to a ProRes file. QuickTime is somewhat of a closed-system when it comes to Premiere rendering into it. So, even though “Use Previews” is checked, Premiere/Media Encoder are rendering new frames based on the preview frames (if Use Previews is checked) or based on the original source media (if Use Previews is unchecked.) This is why you’re not seeing any speed improvement using preview files.

    Hope that helps.

    • Michael 12/07/2012 at 15:30 #

      Hey Karl.

      Thanks a lot for the Feedback, really appreciate it. i think it did clear things up a bit.
      So if i did get that right, as soon as i use footage like h264 files or even ProRes … stuff like that it doesn’t matter what export format or seq. settings i choose it never will “use Previews” / smart render at all (at this time), right?!

  5. Martin Baker 13/07/2012 at 11:03 #

    I’d be interested to see what export times you get in FCPX if the timeline isn’t rendered first.

  6. Mark bremerkamp 15/08/2012 at 19:21 #

    Hi Michael,

    As far as I; , if you use the CUDA dslr presets, your predec codec must be MPEG2. You don’t want to use this for exports.

    Also, if you use magic bullet looks / colorista, cuda is basicly non effective, since every clip where these effects are used are rendered by the cpu only.

    Kind regards

  7. Sheikh Miraj 25/12/2012 at 01:24 #

    Hi. I am sheikh miraj.
    I use intel core i3 prosesor to my pc. i also use adove premiere pro.but when i export a video it take a lot of time. how can i make it fast.

    • Michael 24/01/2013 at 16:36 #

      well hard to say bcuz too much stuff can be the reason for the slow export

      i5 or even i7 processors are better for those kind of tasks
      more Ram
      better Graphics card (GPU)
      better Faster Harddive (keeping all Data on one Drive, exporting to another Drive, even set RenderData / AE Cache location to a 3rd drive…)


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