A new plug-in for Premiere Pro has been released that uses the x264 encoder to export to H.264 and H.264 Blu-ray. I've had a chance to use it a fair bit, and the quality is excellent compared to Premiere Pro's built-in MainConcept H.264 encoder. It's also fast -- as fast as the Premiere Pro plug-in architecture will allow.
Disclaimer: As a beta tester for this plug-in, I received a license for x264 PRO as a gift. But I wouldn't announce the plug-in here if it didn't deliver it's promised quality.
Our company has also started using x264 PRO for all of our H.264 encoding. Extremely high quality (studio quality), MPEG-LA compliant, integrates with Adobe Media Encoder (no more exporting intermediate files to our previous studio quality encoder), perfect customization options... I highly recommend it.
I downloaded it and will test it. I have not yet compared the quality, ie MainConcept vs x264 Pro.
One thing i did notice is that encore chapter markers are not exported so files i import into En has no chapter markers and imo that is a big drawback. Placing markers in Pr and then having to redo it in En is not good when one has many/long assets. Do you know why it don't work with x264, SDK limitation?
I bought the plug-in and asked if Encore Chapter Markers will be supported when exporting from the timeline, and today an update with this support was posted. Brilliant service!
It's great to give input when the developer listen to the input and then fix it directly.
How I'm gonna pay 300 dollars for this? Can I get it for free?
We all like something for free. How am I going to afford the next PC or Mac? Can I get those for free too? Professional tools (usually) cost money. If you want "free" there are of course other alternatives. They may not be as good, but then you didn't pay as much for them.
Have you tried importing a fairly large ( 12-16gb) x264 blu ray encoded file into Encore using this plug in?
I have tried x264 encoding using video mastering works and a short video in the region of 5-10 mins will import
into Encore without too much delay and I can work on it.
But bump that up to an hour or more of video and Encore goes away for hours on end trying to import the file.
It eventually manages to import the file but promptly crashes with video buffer errors when I try to do anything.
May well be that my PC is underpowered but I don't have any problems with H264 or MPEG2 Bluray encodes.
I am just curious to find out if you have had success with larger files using this plug in
because I know there has been some discussion in the Encore forum about problems with large files
and I have not been able to find a definitive answer.
Using CS5.5 Production Suite
We are doing the authoring (among other things) for a major feature documentary (could potentially be in the running for an Academy Award this year) using x264 Pro and Encore. The documentary is 1h 34m, encoded to 17 GB with a 300MB 5.1 mix, and imports just fine into Encore. We have already built Blu-ray screening discs for film festivals. No issues whatsoever.
EDIT: I noticed you are using CS 5.5. Adobe has greatly improved the speed of importing in CS6. Videos now import instantly, then are processed in the background (conformed, waveform generation, etc.). In 5.5 and previous versions, all this processing of the video files was done before the file could even be imported, thus freezing your system until it was completed. Not anymore, and things go much faster now in CS6. I recommend upgrading if you simply cannot import large h.264 files into Encore 5.1.
I'm pretty sure I tested feature-length files with this plug-in, but I will have a look again. Stay tuned...
Meanwhile, Jon is the guy to whom I would defer if conflicting information existed, so I heartily endorse his results.
NVIDIA Releases the 301.10 WHQL Driver for the GeForce GTX 680, with support of new technology :
NVIDIA NVENC Support - adds support for the new hardware-based H.264 video encoder in GeForce GTX 680, providing up to 4x faster encoding performance while consuming less power
mmmm... I'm gonna buy the 670 but... That entails that it will work with that grafic card? just to know because maybe I have even good luck...
Those hardware accelerated encoders cannot currently compete with x264 in quality, and are usually restricted to CBR and other fixed encoding options. NVENC is in no way a replacement of x264 Pro. The reason you are going with x264 Pro over the default encoder is QUALITY. x264 Pro can be configured to encode nearly as fast as the hardware encoder in draft mode, and with both of those encodes the quality will be about the same. What you get with x264 pro is the control and ability to deliver studio quality... something you cannot do with NVENC.
"Have you tried importing a fairly large ( 12-16gb) x264 blu ray encoded file into Encore using this plug in?"
Paul, i have tried to import long/large files encoded with the x264 plug-in and can confirm that there is indeed an issue. The x264 encoded files are somewhat "offending" to Encore so the files must be indexed/validated before Encore can import them and use them. Two files are created during the import/opening files created by the x264 encoder; filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex. This takes very long time for each import. Those files are stored in the Media Cache, so if you for some reason clean the cache those files must be created again.
So, the very first import takes very long time. All subsequent opening of the projetc is fast. If deleting the media cache or re-encoding the files makes opening take very long time again. I have one project that takes 25 minutes to re-open if i delete the media cache. .m4v or .264 as a container does not matter. (Media length = approx 65 minutes.)
Files encoded by the built in MainConcept encoder imports lightning fast and no filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex are created.
I have been in contact with the creator of the plug-in and know that he is working on a solution for this issue.
I use Encore CS6.
Many thanks for all the replies guys.
Interesting that Jon doesn't seem to have any problems using CS6 yet Roger who is also using CS6
is still having difficulties with indexing and validation etc.
Having read Jon's comments I was almost tempted to upgrade to CS6 but now the doubts are creeping in again !
Jon, you also say that your video files import instantly with CS6 yet Roger says that his are indexing etc.
Could there be some slight difference in your x264 encoding parameters which is making a crucial difference or have you just got
an IBM mainframe that you haven't told us about?
Will follow with interest.
Apologies if this is becoming to technical for the lounge - you can always throw me out!
Well the problem that I have is using the x264 files from dxtory and when I try to edit it in premiere, is just a mess I never had any problem with other codecs but well I'm just working in find other codec.
"Jon, you also say that your video files import instantly with CS6 yet Roger says that his are indexing etc."
I should clarify one thing:
If i create a file with the x264 plug the first import of the file takes long time when i import it into Project A. If i then create Project B the same file imports fast since the filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex already has been created during the very first import. So if one test to import files that has already been imported one will not see this issue. Good to know for trouble shooting.
Two things happen during the first import:
1. Before the file is imported the files filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex are created.
2. When the file is imported Encore starts to index the file in the background. (the file name is italic in the project panel)
#2 happens on all imports while #1 "only" happens the very first time the file is imported into any Encore project, as Timeline or as Asset.
If i create a file with the x264 plug the first import of the file takes long time when i import it into Project A
What would you say your average time was to import a 12 - 16 Gb file for example.
Thanks for the further clarification.
I created two files, same content, 37 minutes long, different bitrates, and here are the results:
When media files are placed on a 7200 HDD:
7.57GB = 113 seconds
2.53GB = 33 seconds
When media files are placed on a SSD HDD:
7.57GB = 86 seconds
2.53GB = 29 seconds
Since the HDD led is constantly on during the whole import, caused by the indexing, i wanted to place the files on a SSD drive to see how much the time it takes to import decreases when the HDD is faster.
Importing the same file encoded with the built in MainConcept encoder takes 2 seconds to import, so there is a big difference that must be fixed. I have tested on two different computers and get the same result, iow that X264 files import very slow the very first time they are imported.
I must add that though i dislike the time it takes to do the first import i am not going back to the MainConcept encoder since the x264 plug-in outperforms the quality of the files compared to the quialty i get from the MainConcept encoder.
I'm still testing, but I wanted to give some preliminary results:
Neither clip generates the mcvideoindex or mcaudioindex cache files that Roger mentioned. The only cache files generated are the .xmpses files.
But there's hope: I'm investigating whether installed codecs might be conflicting with the creation and/or the import of the .264 files. Specifically, the Matrox VFW codecs, the Edius/Grass Valley codecs and the x264 VFW codec. I'm currently creating 40-minute and 81-minute .264 files on a system that has had all of those codecs removed. I also want to see if CQ encoding vs. variable bit rate encoding makes a difference.
For reference, does anyone with long import times have any of those codecs installed? How about x264Pro encoding method (VBR vs. CQ)?
"Neither clip generates the mcvideoindex or mcaudioindex cache files that Roger mentioned. The only cache files generated are the .xmpses files."
Look in the Media Cache Files folder. (Edit > Preferences > Media to see where that folder are located on the HDD)
"For reference, does anyone with long import times have any of those codecs installed? How about x264Pro encoding method (VBR vs. CQ)?"
No Matrox codecs installed. No x264 VFW codec installed. Yes, the free Grass Valley Codec Pack 6.5.1 installed. No, none of those codecs are installed on the other computer. I have only installed Windows 7 and Production Premium CS6 on that computer.
Yes, the same happens with VBR or QC.
Look in the Media Cache Files folder
Trust me, I know where to look! The files aren't there. I notice that no mcvideoindex files are shown for your .264 files. Maybe that's the difference? My .264 files had no audio. I didn't try .m4v using x264Pro.
I just tried with .264 files and got the very same result and .mcvideoindex and mcaudioindex files as well. I tried to import without audio, as Timeline, as Asset and get the same result every time.
I gave you the name of the folder since there are three cache folders when using Encore.
What version of the plug are you using?
I am using 126.96.36.199 (beta of 188.8.131.52) Got the same result with earlier versions as well.
I'm using 184.108.40.206 now, but my first tests were with an earlier version.
So -- new version, codecs removed, encoding method changed, file size
different, all done at the same time. I'm trying to modify as many
variables as I can all at once so that I'll never have any idea what
fixed the issue when it does get fixed.
I just ran some tests of my own, and thought this might clear up some of the confusion that is going around.
I imported a 37m 34s .264 video (x264 Pro encoded) into Encore for the first time on this system, and it took 37 seconds. That is one second for every minute of video. The filesize of the video is approximately 7 GB. I believe for the documentary feature that I mentioned before, we had loaded it into an Encore project to test the visual quality of the encode before we actually authored the first official disc in a new project. This initial import is probably when we had to wait 90 seconds or so for it to import, and then on the second import after the video was indexed, it happened instantly.
Waiting 25 minutes or hours for an import is completely ridiculous. You might want to look into getting a faster system with multiple drives in RAID 0, and use several of the newer SSD's with 500 MB/s transfer rates or faster for the system drive and possibly a cache drive. You can even raid multiple SSD's together for over 1GB/s transfer rates. A very fast CPU is also needed.
Waiting 25 minutes or hours for an import is completely ridiculous.
I agree. Which is why I'm investigating what might be wrong. The system I'm using has dual quad-core Xeons and a 4-disc RAID0 from which the video is being read. Something besides basic system performance is causing the issue.
En CS5.5 (About says 220.127.116.112) is not creating the index files on import or any other time.
Great work guys and thanks for all your ongoing tests and results.
Jeff Bellune wrote:
For En CS6, after 10 hours, the same clips never finished importing.
That is fairly typical of the results I was having with CS 5.5 hence the reason for my original post although I must re-iterate that I am using Video Mastering Works to do the x264 encodes.
and all my encodes have been done CBR so interesting if that may be having some influence.
I don't have any of the codecs installed which you mention.
I haven't had any any problems with m4v files although they do still take about 20 mins ( 16Gb ) on initial import into Encore - thereafter ok.
Unfortunately, I have other priorities at the moment and can't assist very much in the way of testing etc so I am really grateful to yourself and Roger
for all your efforts in trying to find the solution.
Something besides basic system performance is causing the issue.
Jeff is right.
I am using a HP Z800 with dual six core Intel Xeon X5670 @ 2.93GHz and had the media on a SSD, Intel 520 Series 240GB. Cache files on another Intel 310 series 160GB SSD. System drive on yet another Intel 310 series 300GB SSD.
If the system was to blame MainConcept files would behave more or less the same way as well. And since they don't...
The issue i had with 25 minutes was not the import itself, it was when i had deleted the media cache files and re-opened the project.
I have just tried a short 5min segment x264 encode using VBR instead of CBR and it imported to Encore in about 30secs which is pretty fast for the system I have.( Sorry not in front of my Pc at the moment but approx I5 Quad Core 16GB memory ) Not in the same league as may be required but I still think it should be reasonably functional for this scenario.
I will try a much longer segment using VBR and see what kind of results I obtain.
Hopefully Jeff may be on to something here re: CBR v VBR but early days!!
It's not appropriate for x264pro to make any comments on interactions with Adobe engineering on this forum.
They are aware of the import problem and are addressing it with our help.
there is something you can all do though.
What is the import time of the same clip back into Premiere? Does it index? (note make sure you have the xmpses file next to it)
This will narrow down the problem to the importer vs PPro/Encore.
Email me or support@3amDigitalStudios.com if you want to discuss offline.
You sent me a private email saying 'what is your Trial registered email?' to which I am unable to send a reply.
Not quite sure what you mean by trial registered email?
Just to clarifiy matters and avoid muddying things further.
( As I have already stated )I am NOT using x264Pro to encode, I am using Video Mastering Works 5, Adobe Production Suite 5.5 and Encore 5.1.
I queried this problem with Jeff and seem to have opened a can of worms.( No harm in that ! )
I do experience similar problems on import to Encore as SOME others do with x264 Pro yet some do not appear to have the same difficulties.
Bottom line is I can import a 10 minute x264 encoded file into Encore without any problems at all but as soon as I go up to hour with a file size in the region of 13Gb, problems arise.
Import as timeline takes approximately 30 mins and thereafter Encore will not display anything in the monitor window and predominately displays 'not responding'
So far I haven't managed to find the file size where things go 'belly up' in m my case.
My system is possibly way underpowered and if that is the problem then I will take the necessary steps to remedy that.
The only possible link I can come up with at the moment is that VBR encoding appears to perform slightly better than CBR in my case.
My personal opinion is that I think that Encore 5.1 has problems with large x264 files on certain minimal hardware configurations but hope I am wrong and a solution is found.
I know there are guys out there a lot cleverer than me working on this but hope this clarifies matters to some extent from my point of view.
I look forward to further developments.
3am Digital Studios/ x264 PRO just released 18.104.22.168 that works around the Adobe H.264 Import issue...
"We are pleased to announce that x264 PRO version 22.214.171.124 is available for Trial and Purchased users.
New Features of 126.96.36.199:
i am very interested in getting this plug in
but i need to upgrade to cs6
(currently i am at a very stable version of cs5.03)
reading a lot of the forums regarding cs6 PPRO
(and other programs (AE, AME, Encore))
have many issues/problems thus far
even after the 6.02 update...
my question to other forum users:
if anyone is successfully running cs6 PPRO, AE, Encore, AME
can you please respond to this post
stating your specs...
( i don't know if this should be a new thread or not)
the x264 plugin now has a specific BD component, too...
but i don't want to upgrade to cs6 if it's crashing frequently...
thanks for your help,
There are many people using CS6 with little to no problems.
Here is one of our system's specs that we would consider average:
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
CS6 Master Collection
Intel i7-2600K @3.4Ghz
Noctua NH-D14 Heatsink/Fan
Asus P8Z68 Deluxe Motherboard
EVGA GTX 570 Video Card
16 GB Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 1600 RAM
120 GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS Edition SSD System Drive
32 GB Intel SLC SSD Cache Drive
3x1TB Samsung F3 Hard Drives in Hardware RAID 0
2x Pioneer BDR-207 Blu-ray Burners
Antec 1200 V3 Full Tower Case
Corsair HX750 Power Supply
Hopefully that list was detailed enough for you. It was built approximately 9 months ago, and there have been new components released since then that are better (such as solid state drives and the new Western Digital RED drives for the RAID).
to Jon: what version of PPRO are you running?
6.00, 6.01, 6.02?
actually, it is the phrase "little to no problems"
that i'm trying to clarify...
is your pc system stable, or do you "sometimes"
have errors...if so, can you explain them briefly...
(also, i started a thread in the PPRO cs6 forum
under the title "what systems are successfully running PPRO 6.02")
thanks a lot for your help,
Our system is stable and does not have problems, though most of our work is done in After Effects, AME, Photoshop, and Encore. We only do minor work in Premiere (small projects).
My "little to no problems" statement was referring to the majority of Premiere users. Usually when people have a problem, they go to the forums (not just Adobe, this is true for many product forums). When they don't have a problem, they tend to not visit the forums as much. This causes the forums to fill up with lots of people who are having issues, and very few people who are running stable. This gives forum visitors the impression that a great number of people are having issues, when in fact most people are running just fine and not reporting their success.
We always use the latest version. Currently 6.02
thank you jon for your enlightening and soothing answer
i feel much better
i am running a very stable 5.03 pc editing rig
but like to keep up with what's going on in the forums
and i understand the 'dynamic' of postings now
from your stated answer...
fyi: the thread "what systems are successfully running PPRO 6.02"
has since been moved to the hardware forum...
if you can to answer one more question regarding x264pro
have you been able to successfully encode 2 pass vbr BD discs
through encore cs6 without encore wanting to re transcode?
any insight/advice/suggestions on this would be great...
i want to start using x264pro because of quality reasons
but i need to get cs6 first...
talk to you soon,
We use the x264 Pro plugin to encode all our Blu-ray video. All of our 2-pass vbr h.264 encodes are loaded by Encore without the need to re-transcode. We encode to raw .264 files with the plugin, and use the Adobe Blu-ray encoder to create the ac3 Dolby Digital audio files.
One observation as a long time journaist/reviewer who has copies of Episode Engine 6.3.x with the x264 codec plug-in, of Squeeze 8.5 Pro which has the x264 codec built-in and of Media Encoder and Compressor (both without x264 support): the plug-in offered by 3am Digital Studios costs 599 USD normal price and 299 USD promo price.
That's quite a steep price, especially if you consider Telestream selling an x264 plug-in for any Episode version at 80.65 USD.
If you have to buy this plug-in at its normal price, it's actually more expensive than the normal version of Episode with the x264 plug-in added to it (575 USD)!