M1 Pro - ProRes playback lag in timeline

New Here ,
Mar 07, 2022 Mar 07, 2022

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Hi, I have an M1 Pro Macbook and I'm finding some odd playback results inside Premiere Pro.

 

I have a finished project where my base layer is all of my original source media (RED R3D, H.264, H.264) and my 2nd layer above is all ProRes 4444 files delivered from my colorist. These files have identical scaling effects and nothing else applied to them.

 

I am getting laggy playback with the ProRes 4444 layer enabled even in 1/8th quality. When I disable the ProRes layer and play the source media layer, I am able to get 1/2 res playback with no lag. (doesn't matter what I change my timeline settings to)


This seems to be the opposite of what I would expect given how well the M1's are supposed to handle ProRes.

 

My Intel based iMac can play either of these layers with no issues at all (playing from the same harddrive). However my Macbook exports this project faster in every scenario I have tested it through.  

 

For reference I'm editing off a RAID and getting around 311MB/s for both read and write, so the drive is not the issue. These same ProRes 4444 files playback with no issues in Quicktime Player. Also the Activity Monitor shows the same memory and CPU load regardless of which layer I have enabled in Premiere.

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Editing , Formats , Hardware or GPU , Performance

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 07, 2022 Mar 07, 2022

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Hello David,

Sorry for your issues. I'm rather curious, though. You are receiving this file back from your colorist for your 2nd layer. What are you meaning exactly? Are these clips forming a copy of your entire timeline or just some B-roll shots? 

 

Trying to visualize what you are experiencing. Screenshots help if you can provide any. Though I work at Adobe, I am an editor, so I hope I can provide some help for you. Note that I am not on the Premiere Pro team but can pass along messages directly to them. My quick take is that you need to render the timeline for playback of 4444.

 

  • I have an M1 Pro Macbook
  • my base layer is all of my original source media (RED R3D, H.264, H.264)
  • My 2nd layer above is all ProRes 4444 files delivered from my colorist.
  • These files have identical scaling effects and nothing else applied to them.

 

Thanks for the details. Is the footage 4K or HD?

 

 

  • I am getting laggy playback with the ProRes 4444 layer enabled even in 1/8th quality.
  • When I disable the ProRes layer and play the source media layer, I am able to get 1/2 res playback with no lag.

 

 

There's a bit to unpack here. I'll give you my opinion as an editor.

 

ProRes 4444 is a very processor-intensive format. Some flavors of 4444 even need more horsepower, like XQ and alpha channel variants. H.264 and other footage is optimized in many cases, while ProRes 4444 is still going to take a powerful computer to play without rendering. The new Macs are also still working out the kinks as far as pro workflow goes, I think. I don't know of any good white papers on best practices yet. 

 

As an aside, I was working inside Apple when this codec was introduced. Pretty exciting times back then! They announced that the format was meant for the exchange of high-end graphics, especially those with alpha channels. It was also intended for use in a 4:4:4 camera workflow that needed a 4:4:4 output (at the time to HDCAM SR via dual-link SDI).

Knowing this, simply render your ProRes 4444 files to an editing codec and be done with it (Sequence > Sequence Settings, set to Editing Mode > Custom). Set it to standard ProRes 422 or even LT. If you can play 4444 back on a beefier computer at any res, more power to ya, but I would not trip out on not being able to playback 4444 on a laptop.

 

This seems to be the opposite of what I would expect given how well the M1's are supposed to handle ProRes.


M1s are a brave new world, I've found. I've had a machine for quite some time and am still working out an optimal workflow, especially with these high-end formats mixing it up with H.264 and HEVC source files. Sorry about that.

 

 

My Intel based iMac can play either of these layers with no issues at all (playing from the same harddrive).

 

You have Intel Quick Sync on that computer which offloads a lot of processing power for your H.264 files. Good for you that you can play 4444 on that machine too. You also have scaling going on with this footage which can be offloaded by the AMD GPU's VRAM in the iMac using the Mercury Playback Engine. The MacBook Pro doesn't have an AMD or NVIDIA GPU which leads me to believe that the M1 handles scaling completely differently. To be honest, I am not totally sure if this is a real issue, but it rather seems to be (I'd need to check with eng).

 

Like I say, though, 4444 was not meant to be played back, 422 is what you should be using according to Apple. 4444 is meant for graphics file exchange, not as an editing codec. If it works, fine. If it doesn't, don't be surprised, just render. Your export will reference the original master not the render files (unless you set it up that way).

 

For reference I'm editing off a RAID and getting around 311MB/s for both read and write, so the drive is not the issue. These same ProRes 4444 files playback with no issues in Quicktime Player. Also the Activity Monitor shows the same memory and CPU load regardless of which layer I have enabled in Premiere.

 

Check the ProRes white paper floating around to see the actual data rate you'd need for playback at full res. I think might be higher than what you may have, but you'll need to check. Though tempting, it's not a great idea to compare Premiere Pro performance with "Player apps" like QT Pro or VLC. Different animals is what eng tells me: like pedal car vs. a Ferrari if you compare lines of code.

 

My advice is that I don't think you have a huge problem, it's more of a perceived one unless it's jacking up your workflow somehow. I'd just render out your Timeline if you want playback on the M1. If you are looking to get better performance, your iMac simply may be more optimized for ProRes 4444 playback, which to me, is pretty much a bonus. I am sorry your performance is disappointing for ProRes 4444 on the M1, though. For sure file a bug here: https://adobe-video.uservoice.com/forums/911233-premiere-pro.

You can certainly continue using 4444 with your colorist and you would be ensuring you are delivering the best product you can. For playback of your colorists delivery? You may have to render on your M1 for now.

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks,
Kevin

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New Here ,
Mar 08, 2022 Mar 08, 2022

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Hey Kevin,

 

Thanks for such a detailed reply! You make a good point, this isn't really a real issue for me since ProRes 4444 isn't a codec meant for cutting in Premiere. This 2nd layer of ProRes footage I was mentioning is just a colour graded copy of my entire timeline sent back from the colorist. This project is finished and I just keep the source media below in case I need to pull up a specific clip for some other deliverable.


I was just a little surprised because it was playing on my iMac with the same settings but my iMac has been losing out by a pretty large margin in terms of export times to the Macbook. They also play back fine in Quicktime Player and VLC so I was wondering if there's maybe some ineffiency happening somewhere in the M1 version of Premiere especially in regards to how it scales footage since this timeline is UHD and the source media is larger. To be fair, these 4444 files are pretty massive (6k and 5k) and not actually part of my editing workflow, they're just used for final deliveries. 

 

4K ProRes 422HQ seems to work totally fine as I have a few of those shots used as proxies for some some bigger 6k Cine DNG sequences from an Inspire 2 drone.

 

After all my export/render comparisons to the iMac I decided to get rid of the desktop machine and just use a laptop since I'm doing a lot less editing recently and more shooting. I think I just got a little worried I made the wrong move when I opened the timeline again to export a new deliverable and it started playing back laggy! All the source media plays at 1/2 res with no issues though so I think I'm in the clear for the next project I'll have to work on.

 

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