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H.265 (HEVC) encoding in Premiere, software vs. hardware

Explorer ,
Nov 04, 2018 Nov 04, 2018

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I have a solid desktop workstation at work, and a reasonably powerful laptop. Specs at the bottom of this post.

The desktop machine has been pretty awesome for the past 3 or so years. Generally taken everything I’ve thrown at it. The laptop is, well, a laptop. Its pretty good for a laptop.

Weirdly there is one thing my laptop can do that my desktop cannot, which is the HEVC H.265 encoding option.

If you didn’t know, when choosing H265 (HEVC) one has the option of using software or hardware encoding. This is separate from the Mercury playback engine. On my desktop, the hardware encoding option is grayed out, forcing one to choose software. The render starts, but, its really slow. Like, to encode a 3 minute 1080 DNxHR file seems to take something like 45 theoretical hours. Shortly after starting, it gets to be several seconds PER FRAME. like 10-12 seconds per frame. Its insane, and totally not usable. (I should mention I have the quality selection, which defaults at “good”, all the way up to “highest…because come on, who doesn’t want the highest possible quality)

On my laptop however, when choosing the hardware encoding option and highest quality setting, it hums along like any other encoding option. I’ve done UHD DNxHR files slightly slower than real time, no problem.

So I guess my question is- what does the HEVC hardware encoding option refer to, and why isn't it available on my desktop? It can’t be the GPU, as you can see both machines have an awesome 10-series Nvidia, with the desktop rocking the 1080 Ti. Does it refer to the CPU? Does my laptop CPU have some H265 feature that premiere can take advantage of? Has anyone else experienced this? My current workflow is to render a flattened DNxHR444 file out of my desktop, and encode that to H265 on my laptop. Its ghetto, but it works, and I swear H265 uploads look slightly better on youtube and facebook (I do understand FB/YT are re-rendering these, probably to H264. Still though)

Specs

Desktop workstation-

i7-5930K (6 core)

64GB RAM

Nvidia 1080 Ti

Laptop

Razor Blade

i7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.80GHz (4 core)

16GB RAM

Nvidia 1060 (6GB)

Both machines running windows 10, premiere 2018.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Nov 04, 2018 Nov 04, 2018
That hardware encoding option refers to whether or not the CPU on that machine has the nerve Intel HEVC hardware encoding circuits. If the CPU has it, you get that option. If not, you don't. I think it's called QuickSync or something like that.Neil

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 04, 2018 Nov 04, 2018

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That hardware encoding option refers to whether or not the CPU on that machine has the nerve Intel HEVC hardware encoding circuits.

If the CPU has it, you get that option. If not, you don't. I think it's called QuickSync or something like that.

Neil

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Explorer ,
Nov 04, 2018 Nov 04, 2018

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cool, thanks.  pretty awesome thing to have, considering H265 encoding effectively does not exist without it.

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New Here ,
Jul 16, 2021 Jul 16, 2021

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Adobe Premiere Elements 2021, for example, includes the ability to generate a video file identified as being a 4k Ultra HD formatted file. The CODEC they use is one provided by Sony, MP-4 XAVC-S. XAVC is a recording format that was introduced by Sony on October 30, 2012. XAVC is a format that will be licensed to companies that want to make XAVC products.

XAVC-S and XAVC are Sony recording formats for Sony cameras. XAVC is actually an H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec in a MXF format while XAVC-S is actually the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec in a MP4 format (the most commonly seen and used video format). XAVC and XAVC-S are good recording formats and should not be ignored. They have their place.

Adobe Premiere Elements 2021 includes the use of the XAVC-S CODEC to produce their “4k Ultra HD” selected file format. This CODEC results in the production of a video file having a resolution of 3840x2160 (meeting the 4K criteria), formatted using H.264 standards (NOT H.265 HEVC Ultra HD standard), implements a frame rate of 29.97 fps, audio CODEC AAC (160 kbps, 48kHz Stereo), at a bit rate of 100 Mbps.

There are a few things that are constant about the XAVC codec. XAVC is always going to involve some form of H.264 codec video, along with uncompressed LPCM audio. So, if you’ve got MPEG2 video or AC3 audio or any other permutation, it’s not XAVC codec generated.

XAVC generally uses the MXF wrapper, with the audio and video in a single file. (Other vendors use separate MXF files for audio and video.) However, there’s one flavor of XAVC, called XAVC-S, that uses the MP4 wrapper format. This format is found in the popular Sony A7s camera. Whether it’s MXF or MP4, the data inside the file is still H.264 and LPCM audio…NOT H.265 generated.

One common area for misunderstanding is the overlap between the XAVC and AVCHD codecs. AVCHD is a popular HD format, which normally uses the “MTS” wrapper. AVCHD formatted video is usually H.264 codec generated and includes AC3 codec generated audio, though some cameras have extended it to use LPCM audio as well. Some of Sony’s XAVC cameras are also capable of recording the AVCHD format, but at that point, they’re just recording AVCHD. It’s not “XAVC inside AVCHD” or anything like that.

The camera products implementing the XAVC codec ranges from very affordable pocket-friendly cameras to very expensive shoulder-mount cameras. It’s a very capable format, which means there are many variations in use. Most of these variations appear as different “profiles” of the H.264 codec, which have different capabilities. These are NOT implementations of the H.265 codec format.

While Sony is making use of well-known standards like H.264 and MXF, there have been some compatibility issues with XAVC in a variety of applications. In large part, this is because they’re using components of the H.264 specification that haven’t been widely adopted in the past. In particular, they’re using the “high” profile, levels 5.1 and 5.2. Many of the H.264 decoding tools on the market don’t properly handle these. In addition, several H.264 decoders, including the one built into Mac OS X, don’t deal well with the mix of inter-frame compression and higher bit depths.

BY THE WAY...WHILE PREMIERE ELEMENTS CAN EXPORT FILES IN SEVERAL FORMATS (INCLUDING XAVC-S) THE ONLY ADOBE PREMIERE ELEMENTS DISC BURNING CAPABILITY AS OF THIS WRITING INCLUDES DVD FORMATS SD (720X480 OR 720X576). FOR WHATEVER REASON ADOBE REMOVED BLU-RAY DISC BURNING CAPABILITIES AFTER VERSION 15. THEY DO INCLUDE THE ABILITY TO CREATE FILES IN THE MP4-H.264 FORMAT RESOLUTIONS FOR 1920X1080, 1440X1080, AND 1280X720 FILES…JUST NOT THE ABILITY TO BURN THEM TO DISC!

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