12 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2012 8:53 AM by Jim_Simon

    Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?

    Level 1
      Hi all, I'm looking to optimize my system where I can to speed up the editing process. I edit 1080p footage from the Canon 5D MKII (h.264 MOV files)using half-res h.264 proxies, but CS4 seems to hang a lot in the timeline view and clips just disappear and instead show green. I'm switching to half-res MPEG-2 (.m2v) proxies now and so far that problem seems to have gone away (still testing), but when timeline display quality is at "High Quality" (vs. automatic) there's still some chop during slow pans (not seen with "Automatic" or "Draft Quality").

      Anyway, I'm looking for the weakest point in my system and suspect the video card. My system is an 2.66 i7 processor, 6GB 1333 ram, 1x160GB sata II HD (OS/Apps), 3x1TB SATA II RAID 0 (paging file, data), and an $80 ATI 4650 512 MB video card running Vista 64.

      So all that said, what's the best general graphics card for editing HD video in Premiere CS4? I don't care about 3d or compositing at this stage, just basic editing of unrendered (timeline playback) HD video, maybe sometimes 1-3 HD layers, some basic color correction effects (b+w, contrast, etc), dissolves, text overlay, some clip speed manipulation.

      Many seem to recommend the Nvidia quadro cards, but I haven't found any information to suggest they help with anything other than 3D/compositing, which I don't need (and therefore don't need to pay the premium).

      There's also the Nvidia CX card, but it's main feature is touted as encoding h.264, whereas I could care less about that and ideally need decoding of h.264 in the timeline to be better. I haven't seen any great reviews on this card of heard of average user testimonials, probably because it's $2k and it mainly marketed as "zoom more fluidly in photoshop, export h.264 4x faster", which seem like minor issues vs. "better realtime playback of HD video".

      I sort of rambled, but if any informed CS4 users can help answer the question regarding the best video card for general CS4 editing use (not 3d/compositing stuff) I'd love to get more insight.
        • 1. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
          shooternz Level 6
          I dont know from experience but I would have thought the Quadro CX would have been ideal for H.264 editing.

          Nonetheless...I do wonder if .mov on a Windows system is the way to go for you.

          Have you tried doing anything on a MAC with this media?
          • 2. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
            Jim_Simon Level 8
            >Anyway, I'm looking for the weakest point in my system

            The camera. However good the footage looks, it's just not ideal for editing.
            • 3. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
              shooternz Level 6
              "ideal" ? (Ideal is just another way of saying simple and convenient)

              The camera (although it has a functional issue) makes awesome images and is designed to shoot motion as well as stills. Guys are shooting and editing features, music vids, commercials etc with this camera.

              I will be shooting two projects next week and the Canon 5D will be involved alongside HVX202/Letus Elite. The 5D clips will be edited to intermediates in FCP and worked on in AEFX. Final edit could be CS3 or FCP.

              There are ways around everything if you are up to the challenge.
              • 4. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                Jim_Simon Level 8
                >Ideal is just another way of saying simple and convenient

                In this case it means "1. Conforming to an ultimate form or standard of perfection or excellence. 2. Considered the best of its kind. 3. Completely or highly satisfactory."

                People do often work under less than ideal conditions. But that's not the point. From an editing standpoint, Luke's camera is the weakest link in the chain because of the format it uses.
                • 5. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                  joshtownsend Level 2
                  "I dont know from experience but I would have thought the Quadro CX would have been ideal for H.264 editing. "

                  Not editing.....rendering. That's all. Just rendering.
                  • 6. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                    Level 1
                    Yes the bulk of my time editing is taken up organizing and playing pre-rendered clips to get the flow/feel/organization/etc. right. Rendering and exporting for me come later and the associated speeds aren't as critical (especially final rendering, as I just kick it off at night and my final project is done the next morning). This is me though as someone trying to do a small project every month or so vs. a pro involved in super high volume work. If the CX card doesn't improve pre-rendered playback (or enable "real-time" features), for me it probably wouldn't be worth the investment. If I start applying more effects that make real-time playback impractial, however, I may start re-prioritizing the need for solutions that increase render speed.

                    RE: Mac: I'm Looking for advice for improving editing on my current platform at this point vs. completely switching OS platforms, which would also mean taking a look at FCP vs. Premiere anyway.

                    RE: 5D: Yes I like this camera so much I'm willing to try and make editing work. Using m2v (MPEG-2) proxies anyway should take the disadvantage of the 5D using h.264 out of equation anyway though right? I'm still not getting super smooth playback of 960x540 m2v files which I'd like, but so far they are usable (will know more after an editing session tonight). This seems strange that the m2v files aren't super smooth playing back in the timeline, however, as my system isn't the best, but it's pretty decent (see specs in original post).
                    • 7. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                      Jim_Simon Level 8
                      >Using m2v (MPEG-2) proxies anyway should take the disadvantage of the 5D using h.264 out of equation anyway though right?

                      Not really, as m2v has the same flaw that h.264 does - GOP compression. Ideally, every frame will be recorded as an independent unit, not reliant on any other frame to be displayed. For SD, this means DV. For HD, this means DVCPRO HD.
                      • 8. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                        Level 1
                        Jim so to clarify, are you suggesting I should try using DVCPRO HD as my proxy codec to get smoother editing playback results?
                        • 9. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                          Jim_Simon Level 8
                          Might be worth a shot, yeah. (If that's an option.)
                          • 10. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                            Level 1
                            So in Media Encoder CS4, I tried encoding one of the clips that plays back the least smooth in the Premiere timeline (a slow pan across intricate patterns on a sand dune in death valley) to the following:

                            Format: P2 Movie, Preset: DVCPRO HD 720P 30
                            (this was the only format in media encoder that mentions DVCPRO HD)

                            I noticed when trying to customize the setting, that there is no 30 fps option, just 23.976, 29.97, and 59.94. I just went with 29.97 as that was the closest to the 30 fps of the source MK II footage. The width and height were also unajustable at 960x720 for the DVCPRO HD format.

                            Playing the output in the timeline view of Premiere was comparable in smoothness to the m2v file. I looked at my resource monitor during playback looking for bottlenecks, and the CPU does seem to spike at 100% initially when playing this clip back. I reverted to the m2v version and also saw the same CPU spike. I also reverted back to the down-res'd mp4 version, same spike. Moving display quality down to draft does allow for smooth playback here.

                            So I guess there's something about this clip that is CPU intensive to play back in the timeline in any of these formats. The original 1080p version plays back perfectly in both quicktime and VLC player.

                            Anyway, for now I think I'm content with using the m2v proxies as a big chunk of the clips are fairly smooth, and using a reduced quality display mode for clips that don't play as smoothly is accpeptable for now. At least so far I'm not seeing the hanging/video not displaying (and instead showing a green screen) that I was with the mp4 proxies.

                            If anyone has any other suggestions as to how to get smoother timeline playback for these proxies (or the original h.264 .MOV files), however, whether it be a hardware upgrade (e.g. better video card) or a different proxy codec, I'd love to hear them and give it a shot.
                            • 11. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                              ivancooke99

                              Editing in H.264 is never a good idea.  The way this codec works is it replaces still pixels between frames (ie something that doesnt change in the video from one frame to the next) with a number value, resulting in a smaller file size.  Therefore whenever your editing software is trying to produce each frame of video it has to essentially build it using these values and index the image that has been assigned to it.   I would highly recomend editing in Prores 422.  This format will create much larger files, but if you have the available space to work with during the editing process then it will save you endless amounts of time.  Your render time will be a quarter, if that, compared to editing in H.264

                               

                               

                              You can convert your files using Apple Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder, or any NLE system with the apple pro apps update for your OS.  

                               

                              Once you are done editing - export your video into H.264 as this is an excellent and efficient display format.  It just isnt made for editing with, 

                               

                              Hopefully this helped

                              • 12. Re: Best Video Card for non 3d/compositing work in Premiere CS4?
                                Jim_Simon Level 8
                                You can convert your files using Apple Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder, or any NLE system with the apple pro apps update for your OS.  

                                 

                                Not if you're on Windows (as most PP users are).