Hello video editor. You’ve been working with QuickTime files for years, more than likely. You have either like it (Mac aficionado) or you hate it (PC stalwart), but either way, not much has changed and you’ve had a working relationship with it for some time now.
Times have changed. As of January 2018, Mac-based applications can no longer support 32-bit QuickTime files. This includes a good number of non-linear editing systems, including Premiere Pro. macOS High Sierra is the last OS that will support 32-bit QuickTime files. Read the announcement Apple made on the topic here.
Fortunately, companies like Adobe have been preparing for this moment by writing their own 64-bit QuickTime Libraries so that certain formats (like ProRes) can live on. That said, not every legacy QuickTime wrapped codec has been restored. I’m already seeing those with archives of QuickTime files that are no longer recognized by Premiere Pro CC (12.1) which has zero support for 32-bit QuickTime files.
For Adobe applications, here is the list of supported codecs:
Native Video Import:
Animation (without delta frames)
Native Audio Import:
Native Video Export:
ProRes (Mac only)
Native Audio Export:
Take a look at this list and see if any of the codecs you use might not be on the list. For example, if you work with .avi files, you might be out of luck. My advice is to transcode this footage to a 64-bit supported version of the file using an appropriate intermediate codec of your choice: ProRes, DNxHD/HR, or Cineform so that you can edit with these files moving forward.
More info and advice on this topic is coming soon.
Prior to coming to Adobe, I was a freelance editor. I also did my fair share of training. One piece of advice I’d always give to students was to make sure that you always “protect” your project files. By protect, I am talking about the subject of updating and backing up current project files.
Updating project files
With new versions of Premiere Pro CC becoming available (or with any NLE, really), you will be facing the decision of whether to update your project files to the new version or not. So what should you do?
In general, the rule of thumb is to avoid updating current project files to major new versions of Premiere Pro (and Premiere Pro CC will soon be updated to a major new version). Complete these large projects before beginning new projects.
Stay in current versions of Premiere Pro CC until your projects are complete. Begin only new projects in new versions of Premiere Pro CC.
In fact, a good number of careful post pros probably will hold off beginning new projects until a “bug fix” update is released subsequent to the new version.
Why avoid an update? By merely updating a project file, you might experience unexpected behavior, have bad performance problems, or even corrupt your project after updating project file versions mid-project.
I paid for the update through my Creative Cloud subscription, why shouldn’t I update like all CC users of Adobe apps?
Video editors are in a bit of a jam in this regard. On one hand, we’re the biggest users of Creative Cloud since we rely on so many applications: Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and Audition at a minimum. On the other hand, we have to be careful with updating practices since we have so many interdependent pieces to our workflows, related to both software and hardware. One small thing not working right can bring the entire workflow down. As editors, we have to face facts that we must tread carefully, even though shiny new versions of our software are frequently offered up.
My general advice is to avoid updating project files that are large, complicated, contain multi-camera sequences, or a lot of media objects (clips, graphics, audio, other media). Feature films, and documentaries are prime examples of project files that you should probably avoid updating. In general, the more complicated a project is, the more likely things might go wrong after updating it.
When should I deploy a new version of Premiere Pro?
If you are curious about the new features, (or you absolutely need to open an existing project in the new version), by all means, install the new version of the application as soon as it is available. My advice is to first try it out with a fresh project file other than your legacy project first.
Since you now have both the new and the legacy versions of your NLE installed side by side, you can preview new features in this test project without disturbing your current project.
Forced to update? One way to update your project safely
What if you do absolutely need to update your project then?
These days, I don’t update the project file by opening into the new version. Instead, I create a new project and import the legacy project into that project.
Some users have reported that importing a CC project (via File > Import or the Media Browser) into a new CC project works fine, but try this with a duplicate of your project and see if it works for you.
If you must update a complex project because of a bug fix or a feature that you absolutely must have, proceed with caution (and several backup projects in hand). If things do go wrong on the updated version of the project, you can always return to a fairly recent backup project.
The Default Method of Updating a Project
If you have the new version of Premiere Pro installed, and you attempt to open a legacy project in this new version, the Convert Project dialog box will convert your project to a new copy of the project with the benefit of leaving your existing project in place by default. One word of caution, however. Do not replicate the name of the project, click OK, and then click through the “Project Name already exists. Do you want to replace it?” dialog box. If so, you’d essentially be updating your project file with no backup file.
You can update simple projects in this fashion without issues, usually. It’s up to you if you want to try it, as I’d still recommend creating a new project and importing any legacy project into it.
What happens if a complicated project file is updated in this fashion? Hopefully, nothing. However, the potential of things that might go wrong with an updated project file that is complex are numerous. Corruption and unexpected behavior are at the top of that list. Sometimes these behaviors don’t crop up after working on the updated file days, or even weeks later. Why risk it? Bottom line: don’t update a project file to a major new version unless absolutely necessary. If you must, you already know the method of import I prefer and recommend.
Backing up project files
Some tips can help you manage and back up these project files.
Keep the project updated by choosing File > Save frequently, especially after major edits have been made.
After saving a project, store different versions of project files in representative folders.
Clearly name project files and appended them with time and date stamps
Label (color code) your project files at the OS level
Enable Auto Save in Auto Save preferences, ensure that it is working according to your expectations by testing the operation.
Enable the “Save backup project to Creative Cloud” function in Auto Save preferences.
Duplicate your existing project file at the OS level or by using “Save As” at least three times a day
This ensures that you have backup project files in addition to your Auto Save files.
Copy these project files to a few different locations, including online, for safekeeping.
Managing versions of project files is a somewhat painful, but necessary part of the job as a video editor. I look at the task as protecting the project file at all costs. After all, it represents the sum total of all the hours, days, and weeks spent on the project.
Please leave any questions or ideas in the comments section.
I am so glad I employ the smart rendering workflow as often as possible when working in Premiere Pro, especially for the exporting process.
I think that many editors get themselves into a jam too often at deadline when changes are afoot and mistakes are uncovered when exporting. Found a mistake while watching down your show? Then you’ll be forced to “redo” that export. This. Takes. Time. Time that you probably don’t have. Then the stress level starts going up, does it not?
Let’s say you’re cutting H.264 that you acquired from your mobile phone or camcorder (as you are probably used to doing) instead of native or transcoded ProRes, DNxHD/HR or Cineform footage which you can make happen on ingest. Since you are not employing a smart rendering workflow, you are subject to wasting a lot of time. You are time-penalized by making the fix, then, on export, you need to process any effects and re encode the entire piece, usually to H.264. Talk about a drain on your time.
What if you caught another mistake on a second watch down? That’s right, you have to sit through the entire exporting process once more. Painful. There is a better way.
If you are cutting like I do, with ProRes, or any of the other smart rendering aware codecs, just make the fix—re render the preview—then export once more. The ProRes codec export is much, much faster than waiting for another H.264 export since you are merely copying preview files into a new container rather than re processing and re encoding the entire contents of your timeline: you’re using smart rendering in this scenario. This may only take a few minutes compared to the better part of an hour or more.
With this “master” file, you can create H.264 copies at high quality. If you are uploading to YouTube, Vimeo or other service, you can usually upload the original master. This takes longer, but results in higher quality video for your audience.
Smart Rendering: Is it worth your time?
Though it took you some time to prep your material, and filled up your drive space with preview files and transcoded video files, I believe you are saving yourself time in the long run, especially during the exporting process, and particularly if there are changes that are required after you have already exported for the first time.
Furthermore, you get fewer errors on export (error compiling movie, etc.) since much of the computer processing required for processing effects, especially GPU accelerated effects, have already been back loaded to your preview files.
Of course, the time it takes in rendering previews comes into play when you consider overall exporting time, but hopefully you off loaded that during breaks you took while editing, not while you are awaiting an export on “bated breath.”
I don’t know about you, and maybe I’m just getting older, but I find a ton of mistakes on watch down, and never catch all of them at once (blasted typos on lower thirds!). For me, this sometimes requires several attempts at exporting a program. With smart rendering, this iterative process goes much faster and that satisfies my perfectionist tendencies.
Smart Rendering Basics
Don’t yet know the basics of smart rendering? Basically, to employ smart rendering you need to do the following:
Transcode any Long GOP footage to ProRes, DNxHD/HR, or Cineform during ingest or prior to importing the footage (see this article which shows you how to ingest media automatically in the background while you begin editing).
You can also capture this footage natively to these codecs while shooting with certain cameras or recording systems (Atomos devices, etc.). It turns out that a lot of recent camera formats are available for smart rendering, including certain flavors of XDCAM. More info here.
Change your Sequence Settings to create Preview Files using the same codec you transcoded to or captured your original footage to.
Choose Sequence > Settings, then set Editing Mode to Custom. This “unlocks” the ability to change settings for Preview files.
For Preview Files, change settings to match to the footage’s codec settings precisely.
While you are editing:
Render any clips you have added an effect to whenever you get a free moment, ideally when you are taking a break.
Render the entire timeline before attempting to export.
Change settings to export to the same codec you ingested and set previews to in the Export Settings dialog box.
Check the “Use Previews” checkbox in the Export Settings dialog box, as well. This ensures you are merely copying files rather than processing and encoding the files.
I should also point out that it is a much nicer editing experience when cutting with ProRes or the like, over Long GOP footage like H.264 or AVCHD. You drop fewer frames, and can view in a higher resolution with these intraframe codecs. You can even create proxies for them if you have an underpowered computer system and need better fluidity when editing.
A Hybrid Workflow for Smart Rendering
If you are under certain constraints, you can cut a few corners regarding employing the smart rendering workflow. Consider the following:
You do not have the time (or drive space) to transcode.
You didn’t have the right device to acquire smart rendering footage on location.
You created proxies from the Long GOP footage and plan to cut with those.
You can edit Long GOP footage acceptably with your computer and don’t want to go through the hassles of setting up a pure smart rendering workflow.
A combination of all these things.
If you find yourself in one of the above situations, you can still use a portion of the smart rendering workflow, however, you may spend more time and drive space overall for previews.
Essentially, the hybrid workflow consists of:
Cutting with Long GOP footage.
Setting up Sequence Settings to render previews in a smart rendering codec (see Smart Rendering Basics for the technique)
Render the entire sequence prior to exporting.
Export to the same codec you set for rendering previews. Don’t forget to check the “Use Previews” checkbox for the fastest possible exports.
YouTuber “EposVox” uses this workflow. See this video for his explanation how smart rendering has improved his editing outlook.
Epilogue for Smart Rendering
I hope that you can try the smart rendering process for your own projects. Let me know in the comments below if you have further questions. Good luck on all your projects.
Tired clicking on a promising tutorial video for Premiere Pro and then finding a 20 minute dissertation on trimming from a stuttering 13 year old gamer who has no clue what they are talking about?
Yeah, we’ve all been there. How about some solid tutorials with no chaff? Then be sure to check out this awesome freebie.
For years, a noteworthy training institution called simply, “Moviola,” has been providing both live and recorded video training for their customers. Now, they are offering their online training for free.
Why is something so valuable now free of charge? Here’s a quote from Moviola CEO, Randy Paskal, who explains:
“We at Moviola are so excited to be celebrating our 99th year in business. We thought that with age comes experience, and we wanted to share some of the things we have learned during almost a century of filmmaking in Hollywood! So our gift to the vast community of filmmakers is to provide moviola.com for free as a way to pay forward our good fortune during the past 99 years! Years ago apprenticeship was the de facto form of learning, so think of this as our way of continuing that age old tradition. We are all in this together and hope moviola.com can play a part in your lifelong journey as a filmmaker!”
There are also curated videos and webinars from notable post-production trainers available, so, be sure to head over to moviola now and check out all they have to offer.
A lot of people don’t realize that Adobe Stock has a good number of freebie motion graphics templates—and who doesn’t like free stuff? In upcoming articles, I’ll share more of these free downloads to enhance your motion graphics workflow as time marches on.
To get a sample of some of these free motion graphics templates, here’s some quality motion graphics templates from John Dickinson of Motionworks.
Creating a Video Slideshow? I created the following workflow for others to use for creating video slideshows using Adobe Creative Cloud tools. Through trial and error, I found the best methods to do these types of videos.
Please check it out by clicking the graphic below!
Adobe Media Encoder CC 2018 Releases | October 2017 and January 2018
A brief overview of the new features of Adobe Media Encoder CC 2018 (12.0.1) is presented by Kevin Monahan (that’s me!).
A review of the 12.0 features released in October 2017 is included, as well. Social media publishing options, with features for uploading videos with descriptions directly to YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook channels and playlists via Adobe Media Encoder are discussed.
I think that the social media publishing options are the features that most people do not know about, but are critical time savers in today’s social media landscape.
There are even more features that came out in last year’s spring release, as well.
Adobe Media Encoder CC 2017.1 Release | April 2017
Collaborating using Team Projects
Embedding color profiles in JPEG files from After Effects compositions
Relink assets in sequence
Publish to Adobe Stock
Prevent Premiere Pro from sending pause command to Adobe Media Encoder queue
Display Per-Channel Depth and Alpha in Color depth labels
Adobe Media Encoder CC 2017 Release | November 2016
I was just reading a forum post by user asergi who had an excellent question about the layer order in the Essential Graphics panel vs. the layer order of content and effects in the Effect Controls panel. The layer order appears “backward” from each other, and that can be confusing.
“Is there a way to get the layer order in the Effects Control panel to match the logical ordering of the Essential Graphics panel?”
Asergi explains, “In the Essential Graphics panel (EGP), the top-most layer in the panel corresponds to the top-most layer in the Program window. However, when I’m animating those layers in the Effect Controls panel (ECP), the layer order is reversed! The top most layer corresponds to the bottom-most layer in the comp. Not only is this counterintuitive, but it is also very confusing when moving between the EGP and the ECP. Is there some way to re-order the layers in the ECP so that the top-most layer corresponds to the top-most layer in the composition?”
No. As far as I know, there is not. It’s something that we should all be aware of when dealing with Essential Graphics panel workflows.
The quick answer as to why is that Premiere Pro has always had effects flowing from the bottom of the stack of effects before processing higher ordered effects processing operations.
Asergi, if you’re reading this, then your request should be mentioned to developers in the form of a feature request. If this bothers you, as well, please file that here.