I'm trying to use the info at: https://community.adobe.com/t5/premiere-pro-discussions/faq-what-is-smart-rendering/td-p/10648488. A few questions about how to adapt this for my needs and the new version of Pr...
I have a Puget Systems build from 2019:
I make videos for Vimeo... although I use 4K media sometimes, the final export is never larger than 1080p. Also, I'm not a pro... just a music teacher who makes educational video. So much of my footage is shot with a phone or prosumer camera. I realize that it's VFR; however, Pr has never given me trouble with it.
I'm working on a timeline that's about 30 minutes long, and it requires some heavy green screen keying in AE. Exporting the final product is threatening to take perhaps 36 hours on my machine. If possible, I'd like to use the "smart rendering" workflow to speed this up. I realize this means using (for instance) ProRes review files, and then exporting as ProRes. I also realize that my computer will still take umpteen hours to render all that... but the advantage (I think?) is that it's spread out. Instead of starting my export from scratch, the rendering is all or mostly done bit by bit during each night, or when I walk away from the computer for breaks. Then the final export uses those renders and is fairly fast... that's the idea, right? Then, as suggested in the FAQ above, my first export will have to be a ProRes also. But then, AME should be able to turn that into the Vimeo 1080 preset fairly quickly. This is my wishful thinking plan.
I'm confused on two points right now: in the FAQ above, it mentions that sequence settings should match the footage precisely... what does that mean for me using the phone footage that I am? How exactly would I set that up?
Also: how do I set the export up in the new export window? Choosing "match sequence settings" doesn't seem to work...?
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You are right about the bulk of what you said, and yes, one of the advantages of smart rendering is that you can get some of that time consuming rendering out of the way before it's time to encode the final video.
Your setup seems fine although I'd be a little concerned about the amount of space you have available for using the optimized post production codecs. Hopefully that's not a concern but 500GB on your scratch drive doesn't seem like that much.
I think if you're able to get by with phone media in a typical edit that's fine. Up to you if you want to address it. But when you start getting VFX involved it's not a bad idea to get that media into a form that's going to make the whole VFX process faster and more stable. VFR is bad for editing but it's also going to be bad in AE for effects work. Also, if your 4k media is HEVC (or even H264) that's really not great for effects work either. In this case you might consider transcoding all of your source footage that's bound for VFX to an intermediate codec. Correct the VFR and get an optimized video codec all in one go. This will also speed up the encoding of your effects shots whether you're using Smart Rendering or any other method (some options described below).
Regarding your one question about Smart Rendering. Ideally your Sequence Settings match your Source Media. But that's not necessarily a requirement, and it's not a requirement for Smart Rendering. You need your Video Previews and Export Settings to match. So the Sequence and Export.
The setting you were looking for is now in the Preset Menu and called "Match sequence preview settings"
And of course you would also need the 'Use Previews' checkbox checked, which can be found in the General Tab:
I'm not entirely sure which part of the process is giving you the long render times, but I'm assuming it's in Premiere. Are you using Dynamically Linked compositions? If so, here are two other considerations aside from Smart Rendering:
- Export your VFX shots directly out of AE to an intermediate codec like ProRes 422. When you import those into Premiere they'll be optimized and export quickly. (You can still further benefit by the source transcoding I described earlier for your work in AE)
- If using Dynamic Link, when the shot is locked you can right click and choose Render and Replace, which is a slightly more permanent version than a timeline render where any change will undo your video previews. You can still revert to the original, dynamic comp by right clicking and choosing Restore Unrendered.
Both of the above would help get your edit into a more stable place and faster to export when it gets time to do that, since in both instances the effects are all baked in. All three methods involve encoding the VFX clips to ProRes, so you're sort of in it for that no matter what.
Let me know if you need any clarification on any of that.
Thanks, @Phillip Harvey, that was very helpful! I can see the pros and cons of each option.
At the start of this project, I was going to take my original shots, key them in AE, export ProRes, and then edit with them. I was advised against it because the file sizes would have been astronomical and the render time was something like 36 hours. Someone else on the forum pointed out that there's no point in doing all that heavy VFX (like keying) on shots that will just get cut up and you'll end up only using about half in the final timeline after editing. So I decided to just edit with the originals and then only key the parts that I'm using. But I think what you're describing is a happy medium.
My new questions are now:
1. Somewhere I heard that AME can't take VFR and turn it into CFR (not sure I understand that?) so just use Handbrake or something similar. So after reading your reply, I used Handbrake on my original shots to convert them to CFR. (What's weird is... even using the highest quality recommended in Handbrake, the new CFR files came out half the size of the original VFR ones??? One went from 20 GB to 10 GB. Does that sound right? Whatever.)
But my real concern here is, although my talking head shots are now CFR, they are still H.264. Handbrake did not give me an option to export ProRes at all. It said that the mp4s it was producing were meant for editing... but... that doesn't sound right to me. Everything I've heard is that H.264 is not optimal for editing, as you also mentioned.
2. I could use AME to turn my originals into ProRes files easily... but would they still be VFR??? That also doesn't sound right to me... but I've read over and over that AME can't be used to convert VFR to CFR so just use Handbrake.
So... are my choices for creating intermediate editing files: use Handbrake and get H.264 mp4s that are CFR.... OR, use AME and get ProRes files that are still VFR? I have a feeling I'm missing something here... Thanks again!
I am loving what the Pr team just did with smart rendering in 22.4 so far... it is MUCH faster. Much. More background on my experiment here... https://community.adobe.com/t5/premiere-pro-discussions/should-i-update/m-p/12939937#M411430
I just have one more question now about smart rendering in general: Say I have a completely rendered timeline (I do), and then I make a change somewhere. Obviously the preview at that spot in the timeline is obsolete now... I can hit render again before I walk away from the computer. But does Pr do its own housecleaning? Is it going to delete the old preview file automatically? Or will my folder holding the preview files on disk just get larger and larger as it holds all preview files old and new? Is there a preference somewhere to manage/automate the deletion of the old ones? I can see in "media cache" that I can delete old media cache files. I'm a bit fuzzy on these terms. Are the media cache files the same as preview files or is that something else?