Switcher’s Guide to Premiere Pro- Sequence Settings – Part 2
In this two part video, the first in our “Switcher’s Guide to Premiere Pro” series, we discuss sequence settings in Premiere Pro. We’ll cover the basics of starting a new project, what all of those presets mean, and how they relate to the Final Cut Pro 7 sequences you are used to.
In this video, I discuss Final Cut 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro’s different approach toward render files.
The way Final Cut 7 works, is that your render files are always used in your final export. This is why it is always better to render your sequence before you do an export. In essence, by doing that in Final Cut 7, you are killing two birds with one stone. By that I mean, if you render before you export you will have a rendered sequence in the application, and your export will in turn be much quicker because it will be using those rendered files. The downside, of course, is that real time playback in Final Cut is mediocre at best. Being a 32-bit application, it can only use a small portion of your RAM and processing power. So therefore, you are stuck rendering more complicated effects or layering to get playback.
Premiere Pro is sort of a swiss army knife in that it will take almost any codec, frame rate, frame size, and let you edit all in one sequence. In most cases you will have real time playback, because the application is 64-bit and can take advantage of all of your RAM and processors. It will even use certain nVidia GPU’s to take more of a load off of your CPU. Translated to non-techno babel, it is faster and offers better playback. The downside here can be render time. In Final Cut, because you are forced to render to play certain things back, you are spreading out your render time across the course of the day. Add a color correction to clip 2, render it. Add a crop to clip 4, render it.
In Premiere, you probably did all of those things with real time playback. Now its 5:30 (or maybe 2 AM) and your client needs the edit posted ASAP. If you work in 30 and 60 second spots like I do, its not a big deal. Premiere Pro will export everything to your specified settings and handle the compression and in essence rendering on the export. Your sequence, if you had not rendered it before, will remain unrendered.
However, what happens when you are working on a 10 minute short or a 30 minute show? Now you are going to have some serious export times. Now of course this will depend on your system. If you have a certified nVidia GPU, that will help as it will be used in the exports as well. If you don’t….well you’ll probably wish you had been rendering in your down time during the day (if you had any). If your sequence was all rendered, you could in essence work the same way you were used to in Final Cut 7. Render throughout the day. Then check Use Previews on your final export and your export will now be faster. Just make sure that if this for your final delivery, that your Preview settings were set to something high quality as described in the video.
There is, however, one giant caveat to this. Final Cut 7, when using your render files, was merely taking the already rendered data and passing it through to the final export. This was good! It means really fast exports, and no generation loss because it wasn’t re-encoding your ProRes render file. It was just passing the data into the final render. Premiere Pro, no matter what codec you use for your render file. Even if that codec is the same as your final export, will not pass your renders through. If you “Use Previews” it will use them so it doesn’t have to process all of your effects, but it is still re-encoding them. So if you use Uncompressed for your render file, then you don’t really have to worry too much. Anything else, you will be adding another generation to video. If you think about it, it is only one generation, and you won’t see any visable quality loss in my tests (even using scopes, even zooming way the hell in there). But it’s something to be aware of in terms of quality AND in terms of speed. And even though your effects are rendered, because it is re-compressing everything it may not be AS fast in certain types of exports as Final Cut 7. Yet, others will be faster. It depends on the system and the codec you are rendering to. The other biggie, no batch rendering of sequences, meaning, if you have 5 sequences that you want to set to render to make your export quicker, you have to do it one at a time. That’s right, no select 5 sequences, hit render and walk out of the room for a bit. You have to babysit.
The moral of this epic essay…well…neither program has got it perfect.
- Premiere NEEDS to be able to pass render files into the final export if the codecs match each other. i.e. You set your render codec to ProRes and you export to ProRes, there should be no need to re-encode.
- On top of that, follow the lead of Final Cut X (only on 1 or 2 things…), and get some background rendering in the sequence. Meaning, you check your email for a few seconds, it is rendering. You check your twitter feed, it is rendering. You go to watch a tutorial, it is rendering. The second you start editing again, it stops. No canceling rendering, or setting up renders to go. It just does it.
- In order to make the above work, you need to be able to stop at any point in a render and maintain your render progress.
- Let’s not forget the need for being able to batch render sequences. Click on all 5 sequences in the project panel, start rendering, go to lunch. If you get client approval right after you get back, you can Use Previews and go on your merry way.
If you agree with these four ideas, you can voice your opinions to Adobe by filing a feature request.
Credits: Thanks to John Gumaer for doing the intro sound design.