8 Replies Latest reply on Apr 10, 2015 7:14 PM by Bill Gehrke

    Choppy Playback with Image Sequences


      I work for a forensic animation firm and we typically render our animations out to frames on our editing machine and edit them with Premier Pro CS.  I have been using Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 for sometime now and have never been able to get smooth playback.  I just learned to live with the choppy playback and was able to edit the animations even though it's super frustrating when you have to guess and gauge the tempo of the cuts since you can not play it in real time without the playing back being jumpy and choppy.  This problem happens when working with NTSC SD Widescreen frames as well as 720p and 1080p HD frames.  The latest one I worked on had no special effects or titles, just a regular 720p image sequence, dropped on the timeline and the indicator above the timeline has always been yellow.  Figured surely the system should be able to play this sequence in real time with no sweat.  Unfortunately, like always it did not.


      Recently we decided to try to fix the issue by upgrading the video card and upgrading to Adobe Premiere Pro CS 6....


      ...still having the same problem.  The details of our editing machine are as follows and since I have checked and tried everything that I have read in efforts to troubleshoot the problem and still it persists I figured I would reach out to the forum to see if anyone could offer any help.


      Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 (v.6.0.5)

      Windows 7, 64bit

      16GB RAM

      Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro FX5800

      3 Hard Drives:

      1- Seagate Barracuda 500GB drive (for the OS)

      2- Hitachi 2TB drives for the Raid System (using SATA 3 connections to the motherboard)

      Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R rev. 2.0

      Processor: Intel i7-960


      Here is a screen shot of a disk speed test using a 1GB load from the Raid drive...



      DiskSpeedTest 1GB Stress.png


      Here is a screen shot of the disk speed test using a 5GB load from the Raid drive...


      DiskSpeedTest 5GB Stress.png


      If I read this right, by all accounts this system should be able to play videos smoothly with no problem.


      Any advice or ideas would greatly be appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Choppy Playback with Image Sequences
          R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Best place for help with this is the Adobe DVA's Hardware Forum ...


          Hardware Forum ...



          As that's where the true gear geeks hang, and where gear-builds/parts and suchlike are discussed. You also should look at the


          Tweaker's Page ...



          In fact, I'd recommend registering there and downloading the PBM-whatever test for CS6 and running it on your machine. It's a zip file with a project file, media, and a short timeline (like 2:30 minutes) that is LOADED with every hardware-use type of effect so it WILL rag out your CPU, fsb on the mobo, RAM, GPU, and further ... there's a program called Speccy in there that will log the activity of your computer so that when you send the log file back to Bill & co at the Tweaker's Page for analysis, you will get a proper readout of where your machine did on each part of the chain of gear. That will give a quick "tell" of where your hardware is choking.




          ps ... THANK YOU for the detail in your initial help request post! Rare but so appreciated!

          • 2. Re: Choppy Playback with Image Sequences
            Kevin-Monahan Adobe Employee

            R. Neil Haugen wrote:


            Best place for help with this is the Adobe DVA's Hardware Forum ...


            Hardware Forum ...





            I moved it. thanks Neil.



            • 3. Re: Choppy Playback with Image Sequences
              Todd21st Level 1

              thank you very much for the feedback....appreciated!

              • 5. Re: Choppy Playback with Image Sequences
                JFPhoton Level 3

                Back in the CS 5 days users mentioned similar difficulties when working with still images. Many times the problem was due to NOT SCALING the original resolution of each image down before importing to the resolution that PPro was designed to work with, ( i.e. 1920x1080, or, 1280x720, for example).  Although PPro would accept the full resolution photos, the huge native resolution of each image would choke the user's machine. The answer was to reduce each still image to a 1920x1080, ( or less) version using Photoshop, ( or, similar) BEFORE importing into PPro. I am not sure what resolution and file format is of these "animation frames" are that you are working with BEFORE they are imported into PPro. I could be totally wrong,but, just wanted to point out  this past problem.


                With newer hardware today....especially with the powerful NVidia GeForce GPUs that are available now.....SCALING is handled MUCH easier because of the massive number of CUDA cores and the ability of PPro to work with higher resolution formats more efficiently. However, your chosen Quadro GPU, ( though very expensive and having 4GB video memory), has ONLY 240 CUDA cores and therefore is severely underpowered compared to cheaper GeForce cards. In fact, professionals here on this forum, like Eric Bowen at ADK, recommend NOT using Quadro cards at all unless there is a need to drive a 10 bit monitor......current cards like the 970 are recommended. THAT CARD HAS 1660 CUDA cores and a memory bandwidth of 224GB per second...more than DOUBLE the bandwidth of your current Quadro, ( 102GB/sec.). Scaling is one of the " GPU Mercury Engine accelerated functions" using a powerful NVidia GPU. As your Quadro is a "legacy product" ,its specs on the NVidia website do not indicate if it even has DDR5 memory in it,or, the older and slower DDR3.


                You can view the real time performance of your machine's current components under a load using task manager and free utilities like MSI Afterburner for watching the GPU "usage", ( this will show if the GPU is getting totally saturated during use ). Using the PPBM website test is a very good suggestion to identify "bottlenecks" in your system.


                Just from looking at your specs, it appears all the components are geared to an earlier time when 16GB of system memory and spinning hard drives were what was used with PPro. Currently, all has changed....even laptops are sporting 32GB of system memory and massive NVidia mobile GPUs....not to mention arrays of SSDs that fly at over 1GB per second transfer rate.

                The newer CCloud versions of PPro now make better use of system memory and have improved performance with handling 4k, AND have eliminated the old problem of handling .MOV files which used to trigger a 32 bit process that choked usr's machines.


                Because things have changed so radically in a short time, you may want to consider just going with a new Haswell E based system rather than to upgrade your aging rig....the performance difference is massive....your current desktop CPU runs at the level of the one in my laptop !


                However, everything for you is depending on the exact nature of the  footage you are working with......as long as your HDDs are not overfilled and are defragged....you may only need to make sure the frames are not too large for PPro to work with before importing. Or, you may try a more powerful GeForce GPU in the machine....keeping the Quadro as well alongside in a non- SLI configuration, ( if possible).

                • 6. Re: Choppy Playback with Image Sequences
                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                  I still don't think the drives in raid 0 are fast enough latency wise to handle the sequence of still playback with those resolutions. I assume if you convert those files into something else they playback fine? I would really consider an SSD for this workflow.





                  • 7. Re: Choppy Playback with Image Sequences
                    Todd21st Level 1

                    Thank you very much JFPhoton & Eric for the feedback.  Just got done running the PPBM6 for CS6.  My results of the test in the Output.csv file looked like this...


                    "522","398","77","1151", Premiere Version:,


                    I ran the benchmark and submitted the results but I'm a little lost as to what to do now?  How do I make meaning out of the result numbers in the output file and how does that help me to narrow down bottlenecks?


                    Also another interesting thing that's always puzzled me is that my current rig setup using Premiere Pro CS6 can play all of the video files included with the benchmark test in real time with no problems at all.  No choppy playback and everything is as smooth as can be.  Only when I give it an image sequence which is usually either 720p or NTSC SD Widescreen (720 x 480, 1.2121 pixel aspect) is when it chokes and can not play smoothly.  Doesn't add up to me??

                    • 8. Re: Choppy Playback with Image Sequences
                      Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                      Todd your machine is not setup o[ptimally.  Here are your CS6 scores:

                      "522","398","77","1151", Premiere Version:,

                      Here are my laptop scores:

                      "77","351","61","860", Premiere Version:,

                      And here are my old desktop scores:

                      "27","205","30","543", Premiere Version:, 770 SC

                      My desktop is an overclocked i7-980X with 24 GB of RAM, X58 motherboard and a very fast RAID 0 SSD array.  Our first numbers in the test are how long it takes to wriite a 37,092 MB file from Premiere.  Your 522 seconds means that the real application driven write rate of your disks 1s 71 MB/second which is pretty lousy for your two disk RAID 0 array.


                      The last numbers are a measure of your CPU performance.  The two center numbers are a combination CPU and GPU driven.  Have you tuned your system for video editing?


                      One or two SSD's as Eric suggests could make a major difference.