17 Replies Latest reply on Jun 17, 2009 1:06 PM by Jose7822

    Best Format for Editing


      Hey guys!


      Newbie here wanting to know how to best approach this video editing mess :-P  Anyways, I'm capturing gameplay from my PS3 using a Blackmagic Intensity Pro card.  The files end up recorded in the Uncompressed AVI format at 720p (60fps) which creates huge files that don't seem to work well for editing (or maybe I just don't have the hardware to handle them).  Talking about hardware, I use a Pentium D 3.0 GHz dual core, 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD3450 (512 MB) card, Windows XP SP3 (32 bit) with 2 x 1TB Barracuda in RAID 0 (for capturing only) and 1 HDD for OS and Programs.  I use this machine for capturing my gameplay.  It handles the capture of Uncompressed files just fine, but it's no good when it comes to editing them.


      As a last resort, I'm currently experimenting editing these files on my other machine which is a Core2Quad 2.66 GHz, 8GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 3600 (512MB) card, Vista Home Premium x64, 3 x 320GB Barracudas (no RAID here).  This is actually my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) which is why I'm using it as a last resort since, like I said, my Pentium D computer is not handling video editing of these files too well.


      So I tried editing on my Quad Core to no avail.  The files play as if in slow motion which makes editing a nightmare.  This has led me to believe that I need both a RAID 0 array and a fast computer in order to get the job done.  Except, there's no money for a new system of course and I don't want to covert my DAW into a Video Editing Machine.  So I was wondering if there was a file format that didn't require a fast CPU so that I can edit them in my capture rig.  I tried using H.264 to no avail.  Even the Quad Core iddled at around 60-70% using H.264 (and that's with 0 editing done).  I did encode the file at 20 Mbps, but I though the Quad Core could handle that.  Am I doing something wrong here?  What do you guys recommend given the tools I have to work with?  My wish is to produce HD720p material for personal use.  Thanks in advanced!

        • 1. Re: Best Format for Editing
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          With these hardware specs I would try converting the uncompressed material to MS DV AVI type2. Puts a lot less strain on your PC.

          • 2. Re: Best Format for Editing
            Colin Brougham Level 6

            To take Harm's suggestion a step further: definitely convert the BM files to DV AVIs, which you can likely do using AME, and use those for editing, but then make them offline and relink to the original clips for export. It's about as close to proxy editing as Premiere gets as this stage of the game, and I think that it should work just fine. Just keep your high-res clips in one folder, and your proxy clips in another so you can easily relink. As long as the file names are the same, they should all relink after pointing to the first one.


            Note that you'll have to create a new sequence at the higher resolution settings--probably a Blackmagic 720p/60p sequence. Copy everything from the DV sequence into the higher resolution sequence, make the clips offline, and then relink.

            • 3. Re: Best Format for Editing
              Jose7822 Level 1

              Thanks for the response guys!


              I'm kinda liking what Colin is suggesting because it sounds like I'll be able to work in HD even though I'm using NTSC files in my project (unless I'm not getting this right).  Remember I'm a noob so now I have more questions :-P


              1- So I convert the files to M$ DV AVI, but what's AME?  How do I find Type 2?  When I do this in Premier I select M$ AVI as the Format with the DV NTSC preset.  Is this what you guys mean?


              2- I know how to create Sequences, that's easy.  But how do I make files offline and relink them?  Could you possibly point me to a tutorial on how to do this?


              Just to make sure I'm getting what you're saying Colin.  After converting all files to the smaller resolution format (M$ DV AVI), and making sure I keep the file names the same, I start editing and working on my project normally.  Then, when I'm done editing, I create a new sequence with the actual resolution I want (HD720, 60p).  Now I copy everything in the first Sequence into the new higher resolution one.  This is where I get lost since I have no clue when to make the clips offline and which clips to link.  So how close am I to the actual procedure?


              Thanks so much!

              • 4. Re: Best Format for Editing
                Moxtelling Level 1



                I have a very similar issue.

                Having recorded a lot of scenes in AVCHD from my Panasonic 151E in 720P 50 - just to find out my PC was not fast enough to playback and edit in real-time.

                (Q6700, 8GB RAM lots of diskspace and Nvidia 8800GT). After updating to 4.1 I got a bit better playback (CPUload: 70%) - but if I did put on fx. fast colourcorrection - CPUload went to 100% on all four kernels and PPro CS4 did die. So I just got my new almost high-end system: i920, 12 GB 1033 DDR3 RAM, 2 X 1,5 TB harddisks, Nvidida GTX 260. Installed Vista 64 Business SP1 (danish - haven´t gotthe SP2 yet), Adobe Design Premium CS4 and PProCS4. Guess what....playback is fine in hugh quality - but if I put on fast colourcorrection, adjust brightness etc. just one or to things - it starts to go nuts. The CPUs is not near 25-30%


                So my conclusion - after spending 2000$ on a brand new PC (my other PC is only 1½ year old) - I have to convert to something else....but what????

                I have tried a lot of formats and codecs and converters - but no one seems to do it right. I have tried AME, iSkysoft and AVS4You converters. They convert but all the time it seems not to do things better in PPro CS4. If it is not almost as slow as AVCHD it is to bad quality. I need something smooth and still nice 1280x720 and 50 fps. Is that possible? And which format should I be using? I havetried MPEG2, MP4, AVI....please help?



                • 5. Re: Best Format for Editing
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  Basic rule in editing: Avoid conversions as much as possible.


                  AVCHD need not be converted, screen captures from game play are a different matter.


                  PR is a VIDEO editing application, best suited for editing material from a video camera. If you expect the program to make you a fresh cup of coffee, your expectations are wrong. In your case, starting out with AVCHD, I suggest to edit as such and not convert. If anything, improve your disk setup, two disks is suboptimal.

                  • 6. Re: Best Format for Editing
                    Harm Millaard Level 7



                    AME= Adobe Media Encoder.


                    1. Conversion to Microsoft DV AVI type2 must be done before import into PR. Yes

                    • 7. Re: Best Format for Editing
                      Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Have a look at NeoScene from Cineform.


                      • 8. Re: Best Format for Editing
                        Jose7822 Level 1



                        I don't think we're expecting Premier CS4 to do anything different than editing our video files.  It just seems it takes a super (or an array of) computers to get a simple editing job done.  You'd think that a Quad Core computer could handle it no sweat.  So I guess it's something we have to get used to (mainly me since I come from an Audio Editing world which is not as demanding).  So I ask, what is the optimal system (Windoze based) for editing video without breaking your wallet?


                        By the way, thanks for explaining what AME is :-)  I'll give that a shot.  I just wished someone could explain (or point me to a thread that explains) how to perform Colin's method of editing.

                        • 9. Re: Best Format for Editing
                          Jose7822 Level 1

                          Hey Ann,


                          I checked out the link you gave Moxtelling.  To me it seems that the NeoScene codec is basically what I'm starting out with in the first place.  The Blackmagic codec I used for capturing my videos is Uncompressed 8 bit YUV 4:2:2 which is basically what the NeoScene codec converts to, or is it different?  Just wanna know how the NeoScene codec is better for editing.

                          • 10. Re: Best Format for Editing
                            Colin Brougham Level 6
                            1. Capture your footage to Blackmagic AVIs.
                            2. Add the footage you've captured to the AME batch list, and select Microsoft DV AVI as your output format. Select a destination, and check that the files are named the same as the originals.  Start rendering. Come back later.
                            3. Import the DV AVIs into Premiere. Edit in an NTSC DV sequence.
                            4. Create a new sequence at your original clips' settings. Copy the clips from your original sequence and paste into the new one.
                            5. Select the clips (or folder of clips) in your project window, right-click, and select Make Offline. Leave the "Media Files Remain on Disk" option selected, and hit OK.
                            6. Select the clips (or folder of clips) in your project window, right-click, and select Link Media. In the file dialog that appears, navigate to the original files, and select the first file that PPro requests. You can check the "Display Only Exact Name Matches" to help make the search earlier; this is why you want the files named the same as the originals, as in #2 above. All files should be automatically relinked.
                            7. The new sequence you created will now be populated with the original, high resolution clips.


                            At least, that's how it should work.

                            • 11. Re: Best Format for Editing
                              Jose7822 Level 1

                              Thanks so much Colin!  I'm gonna give this a try and report back with my results.  I think this will solve my problem, thanks!

                              • 12. Re: Best Format for Editing
                                Jose7822 Level 1

                                Guess what?


                                Now the project plays fine on my Pentium D computer.  The only thing I did was update Premier Pro CS4 since the little update window came up.  Other than that, the project is exactly the same as before.  Go figure :-P  I didn't even get to use the converted AVI files nor Colins procedure (though I might still need it in the future).  I thought I had all the updates, I swear :-P


                                I have another issue though...of course!  I'm trying to export the project using the H.264 codec and the result comes out very stuttery (as if in slow motion).  It's kinda like the video is trying to catch up to where it's supposed to be playing at.  I tried different settings to no avail.  Then I tried the Blackmagic MJPEG codec and now the rendered file plays smooth as butter, except it comes out darker and not as crisp as the H.264 file.  It looks as if the file is interlaced even though I selected the progressive setting.  Kinda hard to explain, but it's not as jagged I guess.  You can tell in some of the fast parts of the video that it's not all smooth like the original nor the H.264 file.  I just don't get it.  Now the file plays fine in the project but the final result doesn't.  I hope this is a common problem that's easily fixed :-(.

                                • 13. Re: Best Format for Editing
                                  the_wine_snob Level 9



                                  This could well be a CPU issue. When working with many CODEC's, the CPU must do a great deal of work. It is very possible, that because of the BM card, its MJPEG CODEC requires less CPU work, than the H.264 does. As for the difference in density, that could also be directly CODEC related.


                                  Do you have a faster computer to test the H.264 files on? It could just be a playback issue, and the file may be better than it looks on your system.


                                  I know that there are a lot of "coulds," "shoulds," etc. above, but I'm just guessing here.


                                  Good luck, and glad that an update got you closer to your goal,



                                  • 14. Re: Best Format for Editing
                                    Jose7822 Level 1



                                    I played the file on my Quad Core system and, even though it does play better there than on my Pentium D, it is still not smooth during a few parts.  What's funny is that the CPU is not being maxed out on the Pentium D (it hovers in the high 50's during playback) so I'm thinking this is either a codec problem or maybe it's the exporting process that my CPU can't handle.  This makes me wonder how Premier Pro handles file exporting.  Does it push buffers as fast as possible or does it wait for each buffer to be processed before proceeding to the next?  If the latter than my computer should be able to handle it even if it doesn't play the file perfectly.  I don't know, I'm not a programer or anything, but I just wonder how this is being handled.


                                    As a test, I downloaded an .mp4 file of a game trailer from the internet and it plays smoothly on my Pentium D system.  So I re-exported the project immitating the settings of the mp4 file I had downloaded, but I still don't get perfect playback (even on the Quad).  The project plays perfectly on my Pentium D ever since I updated CS4, which is why I think there's gotta be something else going on.  So, I proceeded by taking a look inside both files using G-Spot and found that both files would give me a "Codec Status Undetermined".  The Blackmagic file, which plays perfectly except it doesn't have the same quality as the mp4 files, shows a "Codec(s) are Installed" message.  This is what's leading me to believe that it must be a codec issue.  Here's a screen shot of the trailer I downloaded:


                                    GOWIII video.JPG


                                    And here's my exported file:


                                    MGS4 video.JPG


                                    Hope this give's you an idea of what's going on.


                                    In the mean time I will try exporting the project from the Quad Core just to make sure it is not CPU I'm running out of.  It will take some time though since I'll have to transfer about 200 GB worth of files to my Quad Core (How joyful!!! :-S).  I'll report back after I'm done doing that, unless someone comes out with another suggestion.



                                    Later guys!

                                    • 15. Re: Best Format for Editing
                                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                                      Is there a specific reason you encoded the audio with 44.1 KHz @ 126 kbps? This seems strange.

                                      • 16. Re: Best Format for Editing
                                        Jose7822 Level 1

                                        I noticed that too, but didn't say anything about it (though I should've).  Thankfully, I did take a screenshots of my export audio and video settings which shows I actually selected 128kbps for the audio bitrate:


                                        AME Export screenshot (audio).JPG


                                        AME Export screenshot (video).JPG


                                        I've also noticed that sometimes the Media Encoder will say that the Estimated File Size is smaller (like much smaller) than the actually size of the file.  Like it'll say the file size will be 500MB when it actually ends up being 1.5GB.  Anyone else experience this before?

                                        • 17. Re: Best Format for Editing
                                          Jose7822 Level 1

                                          Hey guys!


                                          After various tests I have concluded that my Pentium D is just not capable of playing high def H.264 files (at least not the ones I render cause it can play the ones I download online just fine).  It also plays high def WMV files fine, just not H.264.  I do have to admit that I use high settings when I encode in H.264 (i.e. 10Mbps CBR video and 320Kbps audio @ 48KHz/16 bit).  I tried lower settings but I just don't like what it looks like.  Maybe I need to experiment more with the export settings, and I will no doubt, until I find a middle ground.  The other codecs, even though they play smoothly on my system, are just not as good as the H.264 in crispness.  Some of them modify the contrast of the content which is always undesirable (i.e. BM MJPEG and WMV makes the video look darker than the original capture.  The latter not as much though).


                                          As a final test, I've uploaded the video to Youtube and it plays fine there.  Anyways, just wanted to let you guys know about this in case it comes up again in the future.  Bottom line is, you need a fast computer to play H.264 files even though the project plays fine in your outdated computer.  Go figure :-P


                                          Thanks so much guys!



                                          P.S.  Harm, I'm still curious about the 126Kbps audio even though I selected the correct settings.  I'll figure it out one day though and hopefully won't forget to let you know what happened :-)



                                          EDIT: The .WMV file actually came out the same as the original except it wasn't as crisp as the H.264 one.  The Blackmagic MJPE remains the same being darker than the original capture.  The H.264 still looks the best though.  I apologize for any confusion.