I'm using CS5 Production Premium on my laptop and the H.264 MP4-Clips my camera records to don't run as smooth as I liked.
I've found many websites that recommend using another video format but I couldn't find any precise information. I even tried out some codecs to find out which one I should use, but most of them tool really long to render and didn't even play smoothly in the Windows Media Player or Quicktime Player.
That's why I'd like to hear about some good formats for Windows that don't render too long, have a decent quality and most importantly play smoothly in Premiere and After Effects.
- Commercially CineForm is great and adds full integration to Premiere.
- AVC-Intra* (MPEG4 aka H.264), MPEG2-Intra, DV & HDV are supported in Premiere CS5.x already.
*Note I would suggest you NOT use AVC in any form because it's the hardest to decode and your laptop probably isn't up to the task.
- Open Source (ie free)... Motion JPEG or HuffyYUV are great easily decoded & encoded intermediates. You can get Motion JPEG & HuffyYUV support via ffdshow-tryouts. (see below)
A friendly input format is important. It is A LOT easier for the PC if the compression of the source is (an easy format to decode and ) one that is frame-by-frame because Premiere can then jump around really easily. AVC-Intra (it is AVCHD aka H.264 aka MPEG-4 part 10) is a blend of both. It's a great size for the quality you get and only kinda hard to decompress - It is Frame-by-Frame only so it has no Before or After frame compression. It's just compression of a single frame (thus H.264 "I" frames - Wikipedia for it) This makes it easier to decode.
In CS4 & CS5 use Adobe Media Encoder to change your source material to a friendly video format (it's called a "Digital Intermediate). (or use a free command line tool like ffmpeg to batch convert your files (see below open source tools).
Note - you should use a format that Premiere NATIVELY supports. Why? Because if you render out a clip you want the cache of that to be the same as what you're working in. You don't have to but if you choose another intermediate (like AVC-Intra, MPEG, MPEG-Intra, MPEG2, MPEG2-Intra, DV, HDV) you will be no longer working in the easy format you turned your source into.
Bottom line - buy CineForm or use DV (std def) or HDV (hi def).
Open Source & Motion JPEG.
Note 1: Premiere DOESN'T HAVE NATIVE SUPPORT FOR MotionJPEG or HuffyYUV.
Here are some instructions I posted on the step-by-step of OPENING of Motion JPEG source
NOTE: ffdshow is obsolete. Use ffdshow-tryout instead http://ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net/
(the "tryout" doesn't mean that it's a trial etc so don't worry about that).
BTW, this is the Software Development Kit forum.
You should be posting to the Premiere Forum unless you're developing Adobe plugins.
For Current version (CS5.x)
For Previous versions
Thank you, Rallymax for your detailed reply!
I have to admit, I wondered why there was just a SDK forum and no one more general for Premiere, until I scrolled down just now...
Unfortunately I'm German and have a bit trouble understanding really everything in your post (even though I mostly understood it ) but I'd like to ask where I can find the HDV codecs in the media encoder. I'm generally not using SD, so DV doesn't work for me and I haven't found HDV...
Also thank you Jim Simon, but I won't have the money to buy better equipment in near future!
>>>but I'd like to ask where I can find the HDV codecs in the media encoder.
You're right! I can't find it either!
Use the Format= P2 Movie, Preset= DVCPRO HD. (btw it is also known as DVCPRO100)
This is 4 DV streams in parallel and is natively supported in Premiere.
Note - it is 100Mbps (ie 10mBytes/second) so you need a lot of hard disk space and good hard disk speed - any internal laptop harddisk in the last 5+ years should be able to do 10Mbytes/second.
External USB should work... I've had problems getting that sort of speed (100Mbps)
eSATA will work.
Firewire 400 & 800 will work.
SIZE (due to # bits/second) vs CPU power.
Small size + complicated to decode ...VS... Big size + easy to decode.
Eg AVC MJPEG, DVCPRO HD, etc
AVC was never designed to be an editing format. It's designed to be very small so that it can be broadcast over cable or satellite with less bandwidth.
It just happens with the HUGE processing power of CPUs and nVidia GPUs (CUDA Mercury Engine) that it's possible to work with it.
MJPEG doesn't scale to HD very well. It makes lots of artifact errors.
DVCPRO HD is a good alternative. But it IS LOSSY.
In the middle is MPEG2. Your laptop should be able to edit with it quickly.
Format=MPEG2, Preset = HDTV xxxxxx xx fps
To make it frame-by-frame only (a bit easier to decode)... click the Preset to bring up the settings. Then change the Video -> Advanced -> GOP Settings to N = 1 and then M = 1.
If I were you I would spend $130 and get Cineform neoscene or install the free UT Codec mentioned by Jim. I don't think HDV on a poor speed laptop or MPEG2 with its lossy compression are going to give you amazing results.
My all time favorite that I've been using for years for offline edits= Quicktime Mov's using the PhotoJpeg codec at %75 quality... it still looks good, is very light on the cpu and the files are small. I offline using PhotoJpeg mov's at 1920x1080 24fps they play back smooth on my laptop with no problem. You could use Premiere Pro, Quicktime Pro, or After effects to render your offline PhotoJpeg mov's....
Thanks alot for all your replies!
It seems to be very complicated to find a format suitable for me! I really appreciate your effort, but I think it might be better to continue using the H.264 even though it doesn't run that smooth.
But if I could render out proxies for editing and do the final render with the original files without having to change every clip individually, I would be satisfied! Unfortunately I haven't found a way to change the source of multiple clips in Premiere at once and did not search for a way in After Effects. Is that possible?