15 Replies Latest reply on Jun 23, 2010 11:49 PM by Jim_Simon

    The BEST codec for editing?

    Dario D.

      I work with video files of ALL kinds, and 9/10 of them run very slowly in Premiere (scrubbing is a PAIN, until I render out the timeline). Is there a PERFECT codec that I can always convert my files to, before editing? The codecs that Premiere uses for its preview renders run liquid-smooth (I can usually scrub through them at lightning speed, even if they're HD), and I'm trying to figure out if there's a way to make ALL my videos use a Premiere-friendly codec to begin with - something that scrubs at lightning speed, WITHOUT requiring a preview render first.


      I've been trying various codecs, using MediaCoder and other video-converters, but haven't found anything that Premiere actually likes yet.

        • 1. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
          shooternz Level 6

          This question is all "backwards" and totally the wrong approach to the finding a solution.


          Combined with lack of any information about your hardware , your version of PPRO, your camera, your files that dont work  and the source of them etc....its going to be very difficult for you to get an answer.


          "what is the best codec for editing"?    = "how long is a piece of string"?


          For you to ponder and as reassurance : I have no difficulty editing HD or SD in P2 mxf, avi, qt(.mov) in PPRO CS4... and I can output that at Broadcast quality and better, DVD or encode to any number of media file types.


          Come back with some info.

          • 2. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
            John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            For SD (I don't do HD) you want DV AVI type 2 with 48khz sound, just as if you had done a Firewire transfer from a DV tape camera

            • 3. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
              Dario D. Level 1

              Thanks, John. And is there some video converter app that can convert to this format? (I've tried tons, and don't exactly recall a "DV AVI type 2" codec, though it may have been there) However, I edit HD video most (I'm about to start a new project, which will be 720p, so far), and really need to figure out what some good codecs are for that. I'm messing with Total Video Converter (HD version), but I've gone down the list of formats/codecs, and PPro CS4 doesn't like a single one.


              shooternz, I have no idea what YOUR problem is. I forgot to mention my Premiere version (CS3 and 4 - either), but all I'm saying in my post is:

              1) I edit video files of ALL kinds.

              2) What's a good codec to convert them to, just for faster scrubbing? (and now, my setup: CS3 & 4, Vista 64)


              Your attitude is several times more critical than it needs to be. Did I go into your house, and smash your TV? Then speak like a nomal human being, and not your typical internet doomsayer.

              • 4. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                Matt Petersen Level 3

                Premiere actually has pretty good file format support so I'm actually a bit surprised that Premiere isn't playing nicely with file types that you've tried so far. In terms of those "preview renders", the preview file format that Premiere is creating will depend on what project preset you're working in.


                As you point out, you use lots of different types of footage, so making sure that your project preset matches your footage is not a realistic option.


                I'm just thinking out loud here, but I would probably first think about the format that I am most likely to OUTPUT. In other words, are you going to YouTube, to BluRay, to DVD? Once you've decided, then pick your project preset to suit, and lastly, batch convert your footage to that format.


                If you havn't quite figured out what your output format is going to be and you need to "hedge your bets", I'd be tempted to convert everything to that "highest common demoninator" setting.


                Again, this is all theory, and I'll be very curious to hear your results. If it were me, I think I'd be aiming for a "straight through" workflow, i.e. starting with the same type of footage that I expect to export at the end.


                Others may disagree.


                Having said all this, have you experimented with the "Display Output" quality setting in the Program Monitor?



                • 5. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                  jpleong Level 1

                  I use the Cineform intermediate codec for both HDV and AVCHD to great success. If those are the formats you're receiving your HD footage as, Cineform is the way to go!



                  • 6. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                    the_wine_snob Level 9

                    I also get handed all sorts of "stuff." Now, I am ONLY doing SD, so things are a lot easier for me. I convert everything to DV-AVI Type II w/ 48KHz 16-bit PCM/WAV Audio in DigitalMedia Converter. It has always done it for me, and does a great job at batch processing mixed Assets. I load it, check all settings, direct it to my Destination Folder, hit Convert and go get coffee. It's relatively fast and only uses CODEC's already installed - does not ship/install with any, and I like that. It's shareware, but I ended up buying a license for each computer to save having to move files around on the LAN.


                    I have no idea how well it works with HD footage, as I have not moved up from SD yet.


                    Good luck,



                    • 7. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                      jpleong Level 1

                      Hunt, did you compare this to any other suites out there? I've been pondering and shopping around for something like this and, of course, there are a hundred little start-ups with "Ultimate-Video-Encoder." None of them have the gravitas of backing from Microsoft or Adobe or Sorensen, etc... so I've been leery of laying down my bucks...



                      • 8. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                        the_wine_snob Level 9

                        Some years back, I did try several others (names are now lost to history), and this one impressed me most. I did their trail for about 30 days, and kept coming back to it. When the trial was up, the others got shelved, and I bought 3 licenses. I have not yet upgraded to their new one, though I do have my multi-license promo code - just lazy and doing other things. I do not know how the newer version works, but so long as they have not mucked things up, it should just have more "features," and probably a bit more speed. Since I bought this one, I have not tried any of the newer ones out there. Some could be better, or maybe not. I like to focus on what works for me, and then will stick to that.


                        The only issue that I have ever had is with the Duration on some files. I'll be given a group of 5 Clips, all with the same CODEC. On occasion, one will Import into PrPro with the wrong Duration, say 00;45;00, when it should be 30;30;00. I found that if I Import that one file into PrE, and then do an Export to the exact same CODEC and settings, that file will have the proper Duration in PrPro. I have checked and re-checked everything, and both files spec. out exactly the same. Same size, same exact reports in G-Spot, and even DupeFile Finder says that they are identical byte-for-byte, but something IS different, and PrPro gets hung up on the Duration. PrE sees it correctly 100% of the time, and the immediate Export to the same exact settings has been 100% perfect every time. Why? How? I have no clue. I'd guess that this happens with about 2% of the files. Most of those were in DivX, or Xvid, but when 4:5 are perfect, and one random one is not, I am at a loss to explain the differences. Hey, it gives me the opportunity to use my PrE, even if it's just in the role of a converter.


                        Good luck,



                        • 9. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                          shooternz Level 6
                          shooternz, I have no idea what YOUR problem is. I forgot to mention my Premiere version (CS3 and 4 - either), but all I'm saying in my post is:

                          1) I edit video files of ALL kinds.

                          2) What's a good codec to convert them to, just for faster scrubbing? (and now, my setup: CS3 & 4, Vista 64)



                          For your 720p Project you need to find a way to make all the random files 720P.  if you do not want to deal with random un matched clips in the timeline


                          Because we do not have any idea what yourr andom format files are this can only be asuggestion but  what I would do is make intermediates ...not conversions.  The conversions may or may not  manage frame dimension or PAR isues so could get  messy:  where as...


                          ...take them into AEFX or their own timelines in PPRO and export them as Uncompressed avi or movs (intermediates) to match your 720p Project.


                          I prefer AEFX for this work because of better scaling if it is required.


                          BTW : problem was ..lack of information for us to supply any informed suggestions  to provide a  "perfect" solution .

                          • 10. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                            Dario D. Level 1

                            Thanks a lot for the answers so far, all. Let me add to the above suggestions that Xilisoft HD Video Converter (an app I didn't know about until yesterday. I've used some of Xilisoft's other converters before) can output a couple HD codecs that Premiere plays decently well with. (one is "MPEG2-PS HD", and the other is "HD H264 MPEG-4 AVC") Those two don't scrub at lightning speed, like the Premiere preview renders do, but they certainly don't chug, either.


                            I'm going to dig into some of the other options mentioned above, as well.

                            • 11. Re: The BEST codec for editing?

                              It depends of course how fussy you are, but DV, mpeg2 and mpeg4 are all very

                              lossy codecs and not generally recommended for use as an intermediate file format.  Cineform is a great, 'near lossless' 10-bit codec ... at a price of course.


                              Edit: although promoted for HD, Cineform works fine for SD also.

                              • 12. Re: The BEST codec for editing?

                                Cineform certainly is good and virtually lossless in look and feel. It even adds the missing 2 (4:2:2) into the HDV 4:2:0 sampling that is lacking in the original.  However, Cineform is not an SD solution - it can not convert from DV or any other SD original. (The affordable Neoscene at $129 lets you ingest HDV and AVCHD straight from camera.  If you want to convert existing HD files you have to go to NeoHD at $499)


                                For any serious work using chroma keying in SD you should not be looking at anything other than uncompressed video.  It's HDD intensive but, with todays blisteringly hot PC CPUs actually not that difficult to manage in Premiere. Because it's uncompressed it's also quicker to render.


                                Even if I'm doing a DVCam project - 70% of my work - I also try to do effects work on an uncompressed timeline.  I then nest or export to DV codec for editing in to the project when I'm happy with it.


                                Sometimes there simply is no one simple solution. 

                                • 13. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                                  thenoisystuff Level 1

                                  Sorry, having just read my post, what I meant to say is that Neoscene does not support SD at all.  NeoHD does from cameras (not file conversion)

                                  • 14. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                                    Kobi_Sargeant Level 1

                                    Quote: Cineform is not an SD solution - it can not convert from DV or any other SD original


                                    That may be true for their HDLink  transcoding app, but you can certainly put DV or SD footage into any editor (e.g. freeware Virtualdub) and resave it as CFHD-codec.  The only limitation is that the frame dimensions are multiples of 16.  e.g. 480x720 or 480x768

                                    • 15. Re: The BEST codec for editing?
                                      Jim_Simon Level 9

                                      I suggest you look into the Lagarith and UT codecs.  They can be used for both SD and HD resolutions at any frame rate.  Both come in 64 bit versions, and can be accessed within VirtualDub for conversion.