4K Choppy playback - unable to edit

New Here ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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Hi all, hoping someone could assist me with this issue. I recently upgraded my PC with the following specs;

  • Gigabyte AMD FM2+/FM2 A88X HDMI 1.4 Dual-Link DVI-D D-Sub Triple Monitor ATX Motherboard, GA-F2A88X-D3HP
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory F3-1600C9Q-32GXM
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti FTW Gaming Graphic Cards ACX 3.0, 4GB GDDR5, DX12 OSD Support (PXOC) Graphics Card 04G-P4-6258-KR
  • i7 4 core processor

I'm currently running Windows 8, and using Premier Pro 2017. I recently recorded 4k footage using my DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus, and when I import it in PP, and go to watch the playback it is extremely choppy and laggy, making it impossible to edit. I tried rolling back to an earlier version of premier pro (2015) but I experienced the same issues. I also tried working with proxies but it did not alleviate the issue 100%. I was under the impression that my PC would be able to handle PP. If anyone has any suggestions or fixes, I look forward to hearing them. Thank you!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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The problem is with the form of the media. DSLR and drone media are highly compressed using the long-GOP form. This is quick to do in camera, but the devil to de-encode in the computer while the CPU is simultaneously trying to do all the demands of the NLE.

Especially with 4k media.

On import into PrPro use an ingest preset to make Cineform proxies. You can switch from original to proxy and back at the click if an icon. And edit smoothly.

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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Another thing to try: switch the monitor window to 1/2 or even 1/4 resolution (drop down beneath the monitor window). It will reduce the resolution you see on-screen as you edit (remember it's probably a small window anyway), but won't affect the final outcome at all. It has come in very handy for me. Output will still be at full resolution, you just won't have all the choppiness as you play from the timeline and edit.

I hope this helps!

Buck

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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Good addition ... although something I'll add, as  many new to the "new" proxy setup in PrPro don't understand: PrPro will ONLY use the original media for any exporting.

Some folks here have requested the ability to have PrPro make and export from the proxy media, just to get something quick as a rush type output for the project director to view. But currently, only the original media is used for any output form.

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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Neil, a trick to get Premiere to render with the proxies is to make the original footage unavailable (remove drive, change folder/file name, etc...). When this is done Premiere will render from the proxies, preceded with the following warning:

Premiere_Proxy_Render.png

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Enthusiast ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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I've never looked at Phantom 4 Pro footage so I downloaded a 4K sample online from YouTube: Phantom 4 Pro footage (with link to source in video comments)

I see the same thing as you - laggy to start playback, very choppy thereafter. I compared it with 4K footage from my LX100, which doesn't show these symptoms. They're both around 100 Mbps but the Phantom footage has twice the GOP length - 30 frames vs 15 on the LX100. That likely explains the difference. With the LX100 footage my CPU utilization is around 68%, so not much processing room to spare for the Phantom video with twice the keyframe length. I'm running an i7 4770k with a GTX 970. You'll definitely want to use a proxy to edit.

For reference he's a visual comparison of the Phantom 4 Pro sample footage frames vs my LX100. The peaks are the I-frames. The vertical bitrate scale is much higher on the Phantom graph vs the LX100 (auto-scale from the bitrate viewer):

Phantom_4_Pro_vs_LX100_Bitrate_Comp.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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WOW .... 30 ... frames, between I-frames?

I'd never heard of that. No wonder the stuff edits so bad! That is going to suck a huge amount of CPU/RAM to compute all those in-between frames from an I frame that far away. I can see the use to the camera maker, however ... it's got to be heavily compressed from what it would be otherwise.

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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It's even worse than that - I evaluated the Phantom footage further and not only is the GOP length 30 frames but it's only inserting an IDR i-frame every 120 frames (every fourth i-frame), which means the decoder has to potentially deal with 120 reference frames. This produces very efficient/quality encoding but with obvious editing/seeking drawbacks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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Holey Moley Batman ... only a complete I-frame every 120 frames?

Wow ... well, that explains even further!

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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Each i-frame is complete, even if it's not an IDR i-frame. The difference is whether frames after the i-frame are allowed to use reference frames prior to the i-frame that starts the GOP; for IDR i-frames they are not, whereas they are for non-IDR i-frames.

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New Here ,
May 05, 2022 May 05, 2022

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LATEST

fantastic intel. 

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LEGEND ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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  • AMD Motherboard
  • i7 4 core processor

Huh?!

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Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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Thank you for all of your suggestions. It was a big help.

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Enthusiast ,
May 07, 2017 May 07, 2017

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What's crazy is that the Phantom 4 Pro footage uses 90% of the CPU in Premiere during playback (and is choppy with dropped frames) whereas it uses less than 2% of the CPU on MPC-HC when hardware acceleration is enabled.

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Guest
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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In fact, you may not see any real differences if you're not doing much to the footage. One of the huge benefits to 4K, that you can do a lot to the image and retain detail for a beautiful 1080p finish. For those who wanna play and edit 4K Phantom 4 Pro videos on old computer(editing a 4K video requires more computing power and it could be more time consuming), we suggest you to convert/render all DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4K clips to 1080p then edit the project in 1080p and smart-render.

Source: Convert/Render DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4K to 1080p - Video Editor's Studio

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Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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Do you guys think that the GoPro Karma drone would be easier on the PC to edit 4k? Would you also need to edit utilizing proxies for the Karma?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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Most any 4k media, especially from any DSLR or drone, I'd expect to use proxies for. It's a seamless and easy process, btw. Spiffy.

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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At the moment, I cannot watch the 4K footage from the Phantom 4 Pro using Windows Media Player, but I have 0 problems when viewing 4k footage from my GH4 camera. That's why I was wondering if the Karma was less demanding.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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More or less demanding is probably by a small margin here. It's going to be highly compressed long-GOP, and the differences will be how far between I-frames and level of compression ... any of it will be heck on a CPU.

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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Do you have any idea why I wouldn't be able to view my footage with Windows Media Player? It makes things incredibly difficult. We also noticed extremely long encoding times when utilizing the proxy method.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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No clue. Sorry ...

And do you mean long times to produce the proxies?

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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Use the MPC-HC player. It plays Phantom 4 Pro footage on my modest i7-4770k with only 2% CPU utilization.

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Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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Just downloaded MPC -HC player and it worked great. And yes, I did mean that we were experiencing long times to produce the proxies. We're just unsure if it would be worth switching over to a different drone, or just try to make the Phantom 4 Pro work for us.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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If you've got a lot of media to either transcode or proxy, scheduling for say lunch time or over-night processing can be of great help. That way, you come in to start the day, and your media is all waiting for you.

From my understanding of comments here, elsewhere, and from friends ... I don't expect switching drones will make a big difference in transcoding or proxy-creation times.

That's an informed guess ... however. If you could acquire some of the other drone's media & test, you'd know.

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
May 08, 2017 May 08, 2017

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To get CPU utilization really low in MPC-HC, go to View -> Options and set Playback->Output to "Enhanced Video Renderer" (the EVR-Custom Presenter uses too much CPU). Then go to Internal Filters and click "Video decoder" - set the Hardware Acceleration to DXVA2 or NVIDIA CUVID (if you have an NVidia card); make sure H.264 and UHD (4K) are checked/enabled for your selected decoder.

I would stick with the Phantom 4 Pro - from comparisons I've seen the footage is noticeably better. What kind of proxy render times are you seeing? I just tried some sample Phantom 4K 60fps footage and it rendered to Cineform 720 in .75x realtime (55 seconds for a 45 second clip)

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