25 Replies Latest reply on Apr 15, 2013 7:33 AM by Steven L. Gotz

    Gopro H.264


      Hello everybody,

      I know this has been asked before but I can't seem to find a definiteve answer: I just upgraded from CS5.5 to CS6 today and the issue with gopro h.264 videos playing fine for a few seconds then starting to get choppy got much worse. I did fresh install for my machine before installing CS6(windows7, dual 3Ghz Xeon, HP xw8600 with a GTX470, 512GB Curcial M4 SSD media and cache drive...GPU acceleration working fine). All other high bitrate videos(including AVC photage from my hacked GH2 at 160Mpbs) play extremely smoothly...neither cineform converted(through the free studio software) nor native mp4 files from the gopro play proplerly for more than a 3-4 seconds on CS6, on CS5.5 I used to get choppy sections everynow and then but not this bad. What is the actual problem here? I can't transcode to anything else intermediate(I don't want to buy the full cineform studio) and DNxHD does not support 2.7K videos, so I had to convert to uncompressed YUV today to finish a project I'm working on....3.5GB for a 200MB file!


      I appreciate the help.

        • 1. Re: Gopro H.264
          Jim_Simon Level 8

          The native files might suffer from the following (GH2 files do not).



          • 2. Re: Gopro H.264
            icon-ap Level 1

            Thanks for the reply Jim. I read through the article but the problem seems to be specific to spanned AVCHD files, however this does not apply to the gopro files(the camera can't even span as far as I know). The article wasn't very clear if spanned files were the root cause or if the general codec and container format has issues with CS6(or maybe I just missed something).

            • 3. Re: Gopro H.264
              Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I can understand the mp4 sometimes not running smooth but you should not have any playback issues with the CF.avi's.

              • 4. Re: Gopro H.264
                MFCdesigns Level 1

                I've noticed the same thing with the new Hero 3 MP4's.  I haven't found a workaround other then bringing them to my co-workers brand new MBP and trying to edit on there.  Still, it plays ok, but not 100% smooth.  I also noticed that they are using a new codec "Ambarella AVC encoder" opposed to the old Hero 2 codec of "GoPro AVC encoder".   It probably has to do with higher bit rates, but similiar to your findings, I can play other high bit rate files perfectly fine. I saw that even GoPro recommends converting it through their Cineform program.  I find it crazy that GoPro would put out a product that doesn't allow you to watch/edit native video smoothly.  I'll keep you updated if I find anything new.

                • 5. Re: Gopro H.264
                  lightprism Level 1

                  Yep. The Cineform conversion tool (free) seems to be the workaround. But that of course defeats one of the main +'s for Premiere - working native without the time loss of conversion.


                  The Cineform conversion looks very good though and the footage out of the Hero 3 is a great deal better all the way around.

                  • 6. Re: Gopro H.264
                    Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                    The GoPro3's video stream is still H.264, and the Ambarella codec has been around for years - GoPro use it because Ambarella make an HD encoder-on-a-chip that's extremely low in power, but as with all H.264 it's monumentally-complex for your CPU to decode (and for that part of the process in Premiere Pro, your GPU is not involved). The higher the 'quality' of the footage your camera is recording, the more complex the frame compression and interpolation will be, and Ambarella's selling point is to cram the most data down the smallest pipe. The results are inevitable.


                    Unless you have an equally-monumental workstation, this is the point where Prem's claim to be a 100% native editor hits the buffers. You have no choice but to transcode into something that takes the pressure off your CPU (though of course the question becomes one of disk transfer speed instead). Broadcasters who are working with GoPro3 footage tend to dump it all into ProRes anyway - and a couple of GBs per clip is nothing unusual these days. If space is an issue more than time, there's always the option to render low-res proxies for editing, and let Prem chew the original H.264 files when it's time to render. Doesn't matter how nasty the codec is at that point, it'll just run slowly.

                    • 7. Re: Gopro H.264
                      icon-ap Level 1

                      Thanks for all the responses, glad I'm not the only one having the problem.


                      I completely understand the point on H.264 deconding complexity, what I can't understand is how an even higher bitrate H.264 format(produced by my hacked GH2 @160Mbps CBR vs the 45Mbps VBR from the gopro) can play fine. On computer horse power, while I understand the point also, I have a workstation with 8 Xeon 3.0GHz cores(2 sockets, 4 cores each), inspection of the performance monitor on windows indicates that none of the cores exceed 15% utilization during playback...so that can't be it.


                      My question to you who have used cineform studio basic(which is the free one), I get a really strange color saturation shift(towards red) and, when I select mov, the frame rate gets written incorrectly in the container(23.98 instead of 23.976, which makes a couple of seconds difference in the converted clip depending on the original) Any body getting better results with the free version? I the pro version or neoscene version any better?

                      • 8. Re: Gopro H.264
                        Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Convert to avi and see how that goes.

                        • 9. Re: Gopro H.264
                          icon-ap Level 1

                          With AVI, framerate is fine, but the color shift is still there...really strange!

                          • 10. Re: Gopro H.264

                            I'm sorry, but this answer is just wrong. This is akin to saying "my 2010 Audio TT can't go more than 30mph with 3 passengers in it - well 3 passengers is a lot, it'll just run slowly."

                            Sure, GoPro MPEG4's are more computationally complex than DV or ProRes codecs, but they're on par if not simpler than all the other AVCHD variants out there. Premiere's Mercury Engine is an exceptional piece of software that's built precisely for the purpose of smooth, responsive, fast playback of complex codecs. Good native playback of GoPro files is completely within the reach of Premiere, my platform, and most modren CPUs. Even Adobe admits (in Jim's link) that AVCHD is a "tricky format" with a "complex file structure". Also, notice that the playback issues are mostly in scrubbing and play command responsiveness, not the playback itself. And any other program, including ye olde 32-bit Quicktime Player can play those files at least twice as smoothly as Premiere on the same machine (I'm measuring scrubbing fps and play responsiveness).


                            So why is it so choppy and bad? I surmise that Mercury and GoPro's MP4's are simply not optimized for each other. Modern video files have vast, complex structures including headers, atoms, and metadata schemes, and virtually no one gets them perfectly right and coded to spec (look up "Avid's version" of OP1a MXF's).  There is probably something in the frame headers of the GoPro MP4's that chokes up Mercury. It may be either side's "fault", I just hope that it improves in future versions of GoPro firmware or Premiere.

                            • 11. Re: Gopro H.264
                              Jeff Bellune Level 5

                              Premiere's Mercury Engine is an exceptional piece of software that's built precisely for the purpose of smooth, responsive, fast playback of complex codecs.

                              That is an incorrect statement.  Hardware MPE has nothing at all to do with decoding or encoding complex codecs.  All it does is offload the playback of decoded video and any gpu-accelerated effects added to that video to the GPU.  If you want fast decoding of H.264 and other complex codecs in Premiere Pro, you will need a beefy CPU.



                              • 12. Re: Gopro H.264
                                DLpres2 Level 1

                                I stand corrected. And Adobe states that H.264 decoding is CPU-based.  That said, I have an 8-core Nehalem Mac Pro and like other posters in this thread, I cannot get CPU utilization to go beyond 20% when playing or scrubbing GoPro files. Playback of other comparably or more complex H.264 files is far smoother, and playback of GoPro files in other programs is smoother too.


                                (A word of praise: Premiere does have its own MPEG4 decoding routines, which are often superior to anything else in the market. I just had a corrupt GoPro file that no software could play, including QT, Cineform Studio and VLC, and Premiere handled it with ease.)

                                • 13. Re: Gopro H.264
                                  icon-ap Level 1

                                  For everybody who is having issues with playback of H264 Files generated from gopro:


                                  I've had a cose open with technical support since December and I was asked to upload sample files from the Camera(2.7K 45Mbps VBR from Hero 3 blackedition). The case remained open for a while and was the status was mysteriously changed to "withdrawn"


                                  After a couple of attempts between phone and online chat support, I finally was told that the case was withdrawn because there are known issues for Premiere Pro CS6  to play Gopro files and there is no resolution for this at the moment. The recommendation as you'd expect was to transcode...

                                  • 14. Re: Gopro H.264
                                    DLpres2 Level 1

                                    Finally! Some validation, if not vindication...   PPro should be able to play back GoPro files in real time, and it currently doesn't. The problem is with the software, (usually) not users' hardware.


                                    I wonder what is it about the GoPro MPEG4's that makes it such a PITA for Adobe to resolve, but it's beyond my resources to find out. What's needed at this point is user pressure to escalate the issue and demonstrate to Adobe that it's an issue worth spending their time on. First, everyone is invited to file feature requests...

                                    • 15. Re: Gopro H.264
                                      Jim_Simon Level 8

                                      There is also the other side of that coin.  Pressuring GoPro to build cameras that record standardized media.

                                      • 16. Re: Gopro H.264
                                        Steven L. Gotz Level 5

                                        My guess is that while there were trying to do that, they realized buying Cineform would get them there faster and cheaper. So if the codec and related software is theirs, where is their motivation? It would probably take a considerable effort to get them to change now.


                                        But have at it. You can try. You never know. Your one request might be the straw that broke the camels back.

                                        • 17. Re: Gopro H.264

                                          For what it's worth, I'm not having the same issues. Both mp4 files direct from Hero3 (Protune mode) as well as conformed CF avi's play smoothly.The clips were shot in 1080p 60fps.  Hardware is running at max 25% power for both mp4 and avi during playback. I'm on Premiere 5.5. CPU is an i7-2700K running at 4.4Ghz, 16G ram, GTX470.  OS and programs are on a WD black 7200 drive while four other drives are arranged as a RAID0 for Media and Projects and a RAID0 for Previews/Cache/Exports/Scratch.


                                          What i have observed, however, is that the mp4 files are much flatter than the conformed CF avi's. CF seems to be adding sharpness and color correcting although all I did was import and convert at maximum quality and retaining frame size and frame rate of source file. I did not use the edit module of CF. Anyone else observe this? (This should probably be in another thread but I just thought I'd throw it in)

                                          • 18. Re: Gopro H.264

                                            There's the answer:  You're on Premiere 5.5. 

                                            Try running the same file on CS6.03 w/ a few effects and maybe 2 video layers and it will choke.

                                            CS6 should be called CS2.2 when it comes to editing multi layer, avchd or gopro w/ effects

                                            Just my opinion, and my personal experience.

                                            • 19. Re: Gopro H.264
                                              Kevin-Monahan Adobe Employee

                                              I brought this issue up with the Premiere Pro team and they said that if you upgrade the firmware in your camera to the most current version, it should fix most playback issues. Try it and report back.

                                              • 20. Re: Gopro H.264
                                                ESI-Bob4566 Level 1

                                                I have 2 GPHero 2's and a black 3.  All up to date w/ firmware.

                                                That was the first thing I tried.

                                                I shoot w/ Protune mode on b/c I'm trying to get the best quality possible.

                                                CF conversion to avi does help, but the cost is high.

                                                My system is 32gbram, P9X79 w, 3930K at 4Ghz, Q4000 GPU, raid 0 and ssd.

                                                • 21. Re: Gopro H.264
                                                  icon-ap Level 1

                                                  When you convert H.264 to CF using Gopro Cineform studio, the software automatically adds a "look" on your file. This is one of the features of the CF codec, the ability to non-destructively modify several color and appearance related aspectes of the file without actually modifying...what's better is that this is done on the fly using metadata. If you open the CF avi or mov file from Gorpro CF studio in editing mode and go to the bottom of the left pane, click "none" and while the file is open in PPro the moment you start playing it it will change apperance depending on the look you selected in CF studio.



                                                  • 22. Re: Gopro H.264
                                                    garth_rhymer Level 1

                                                    @icon-ap - thanks

                                                    • 23. Re: Gopro H.264
                                                      garth_rhymer Level 1

                                                      Kevin, I don't think you were directing the question at me but for reference, the firmware I'm running on my Hero3 Black is HD3.03.02.00.

                                                      • 24. Re: Gopro H.264
                                                        SMG720 Level 1

                                                        Anyone figure out the correct export settings for 2.7K to YouTube?  When I use my old standby H264, CS6 won't allow me to use anything over 1920x1080.

                                                        • 25. Re: Gopro H.264
                                                          Steven L. Gotz Level 5

                                                          Change your profile  to high and the level to 5.1, then go back and set your frames per second again (it jumps to 59.94 for some reason.


                                                          Now you should be able to up the frame size to 2.7K