7 Replies Latest reply on Feb 15, 2010 2:00 PM by Harm Millaard

    Poor Timeline Playback Performance


      I am using Premiere Pro CS4 (version 4.2.1) to edit some footage from my Canon Vixia HG20 (AVCHD). While previewing the clips in the source monitor, they play flawlessly, but as soon as I drop the same clip on the timeline, the playback is very slow. I have maybe 10 clips from the camera on the timeline. The first second or two plays fine, then it starts dropping frames. After about 8 seconds, its playing at one frame a second, and before long the playback just freezes. This makes the program nearly unusable in that I can't edit with performance like this. All of these clips play fine in the source monitor.


      I am using Premiere Pro CS4 on a MacBook Pro running 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard). 2.4 gHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB of RAM. Premiere is installed on a 7200RPM hard drive and all the footage is on another 7200RPM drive (both with plenty of space; the second drive is the scratch disk).


      I've look for solutions in the forums and online, but haven't found many suggestions directed at Mac users. I've looked at optimizing my system for Premiere, but it didn't seem to have much noticeable difference. Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Poor Timeline Playback Performance
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Your Macbook is underpowered for AVCHD material. You need at least an i7 for any comfortable editing, as well as at least 3 SATA disks.


          It is a pity that salesmen who sell you the camera, never mention outright that likely you need a new computer as well. They just hope you return for a new computer as well.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Poor Timeline Playback Performance
            aiosarem Level 1

            Do you have any suggestions how to go about using proxy footage so I can at least edit smoothly and then get back full HD quality during final render?

            • 3. Re: Poor Timeline Playback Performance
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              I do not know how the tips in this ARTICLE will translate to the Mac, but maybe something will be useful to you.


              Good luck, and hope that something helps,



              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Poor Timeline Playback Performance

                Hi - I can add to Harm's comments. I just built an i7 system - and the difference is phenomenal.  I had a dual core 3.0 Gh system and during Playback it pegged the CPU at 100%.  The video was choppy or stopped but the audio kept playing.  This was an untenable situation.  With Harm's suggestiop, I built a behemoth system with Intel i7 - 920 processor, and a NVIDIA 285 video card.  The difference is incredible.  The playback is real time, and the the CPU bounces between 9% and 12%.


                Thanks again Harm,


                • 5. Re: Poor Timeline Playback Performance
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  You are welcome and congrats on your new system. Have you run the http://ppbm4.com benchmark yet? Please send the results to Bill (and possibly to me by private mail) to see if your system is properly tuned.

                  • 6. Re: Poor Timeline Playback Performance
                    aiosarem Level 1

                    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Sadly, being a college student, I don't have a budget to start building a new machine just quite yet, so I need to work with what I got.


                    I'm posting my solution to the problem just in case someone else is having the same issue.


                    Because using the original footage was just too slow on my machine, I decided to give proxy footage a try. I downloaded Wondershare Converter (for Mac computers) to convert AVCHD to a standard def quicktime file. The trial version of the program places a giant watermark on the video, but because I'm just using this for cuts and general edits, I don't really care about the watermark.


                    Once I got all the footage converted, I used a Terminal command to batch rename all the files with the .MTS extension. I placed this footage into its own folder separated from the original. Then I flip-flopped the names of the folders to Premiere was now pointing to the proxy footage. I made all my edits, saved and quit, flip-flopped the folder names back to their original and reopened Premiere. Viola! HD footage cut to perfection! :-)

                    • 7. Re: Poor Timeline Playback Performance
                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                      Great to hear you found a workable and budget-wise solution.