x264 Plug-in For Premiere Pro

Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 19, 2012 Jun 19, 2012

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A new plug-in for Premiere Pro has been released that uses the x264 encoder to export to H.264 and H.264 Blu-ray.  I've had a chance to use it a fair bit, and the quality is excellent compared to Premiere Pro's built-in MainConcept H.264 encoder.  It's also fast -- as fast as the Premiere Pro plug-in architecture will allow.

Details here:

x264 PRO | Adobe Creative Suite H.264 Encoder

Disclaimer: As a beta tester for this plug-in, I received a license for x264 PRO as a gift.  But I wouldn't announce the plug-in here if it didn't deliver it's promised quality.

Jeff

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Enthusiast ,
Jun 19, 2012 Jun 19, 2012

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Our company has also started using x264 PRO for all of our H.264 encoding. Extremely high quality (studio quality), MPEG-LA compliant, integrates with Adobe Media Encoder (no more exporting intermediate files to our previous studio quality encoder), perfect customization options... I highly recommend it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 20, 2012 Jun 20, 2012

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I downloaded it and will test it. I have not yet compared the quality, ie MainConcept vs x264 Pro.

One thing i did notice is that encore chapter markers are not exported so files i import into En has no chapter markers and imo that is a big drawback. Placing markers in Pr and then having to redo it in En is not good when one has many/long assets. Do you know why it don't work with x264, SDK limitation?

/Roger

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 23, 2012 Jun 23, 2012

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I bought the plug-in and asked if Encore Chapter Markers will be supported when exporting from the timeline, and today an update with this support was posted. Brilliant service!

It's great to give input when the developer listen to the input and then fix it directly.

/Roger

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New Here ,
Jul 17, 2012 Jul 17, 2012

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How I'm gonna pay 300 dollars for this? Can I get it for free?

Thanks guys...

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Enthusiast ,
Jul 17, 2012 Jul 17, 2012

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tuexnovia wrote:

How I'm gonna pay 300 dollars for this? Can I get it for free?

Thanks guys...

We all like something for free.  How am I going to afford the next PC or Mac?  Can I get those for free too?   Professional tools (usually) cost money.  If you want "free" there are of course other alternatives.   They may not be as good, but then you didn't pay as much for them.  

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Explorer ,
Jul 17, 2012 Jul 17, 2012

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Jeff,

Have you tried importing a fairly large ( 12-16gb)  x264 blu ray encoded file into Encore using this plug in?

I have tried x264 encoding using video mastering works and a short video in the region of 5-10 mins will import

into Encore without too much delay and I can work on it.

But bump that up to an hour or more of video and Encore goes away for hours on end trying to import the file.

It eventually manages to import the file but promptly crashes with video buffer errors when I try to do anything.

May well be that my PC is underpowered but I don't have any problems with H264 or MPEG2 Bluray encodes.

I am just curious to find out if you have had success with larger files using this plug in

because I know there has been some discussion in the Encore forum about problems with large files

and I have not been able to find a definitive answer.

Using CS5.5 Production Suite

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Enthusiast ,
Jul 17, 2012 Jul 17, 2012

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We are doing the authoring (among other things) for a major feature documentary (could potentially be in the running for an Academy Award this year) using x264 Pro and Encore. The documentary is 1h 34m, encoded to 17 GB with a 300MB 5.1 mix, and imports just fine into Encore. We have already built Blu-ray screening discs for film festivals. No issues whatsoever.

EDIT: I noticed you are using CS 5.5. Adobe has greatly improved the speed of importing in CS6. Videos now import instantly, then are processed in the background (conformed, waveform generation, etc.). In 5.5 and previous versions, all this processing of the video files was done before the file could even be imported, thus freezing your system until it was completed. Not anymore, and things go much faster now in CS6. I recommend upgrading if you simply cannot import large h.264 files into Encore 5.1.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 17, 2012 Jul 17, 2012

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I'm pretty sure I tested feature-length files with this plug-in, but I will have a look again.  Stay tuned...

Meanwhile, Jon is the guy to whom I would defer if conflicting information existed, so I heartily endorse his results.

Jeff

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New Here ,
Jul 17, 2012 Jul 17, 2012

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NVIDIA Releases the 301.10 WHQL Driver for the GeForce GTX 680, with support of new technology :

NVIDIA NVENC Support - adds support for the new hardware-based H.264 video encoder in GeForce GTX 680, providing up to 4x faster encoding performance while consuming less power

mmmm... I'm gonna buy the 670 but... That entails that it will work with that grafic card? just to know because maybe I have even good luck...

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Enthusiast ,
Jul 17, 2012 Jul 17, 2012

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Those hardware accelerated encoders cannot currently compete with x264 in quality, and are usually restricted to CBR and other fixed encoding options. NVENC is in no way a replacement of x264 Pro. The reason you are going with x264 Pro over the default encoder is QUALITY. x264 Pro can be configured to encode nearly as fast as the hardware encoder in draft mode, and with both of those encodes the quality will be about the same. What you get with x264 pro is the control and ability to deliver studio quality... something you cannot do with NVENC.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2012 Jul 18, 2012

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"Have you tried importing a fairly large ( 12-16gb)  x264 blu ray encoded file into Encore using this plug in?"

Paul, i have tried to import long/large files encoded with the x264 plug-in and can confirm that there is indeed an issue. The x264 encoded files are somewhat "offending" to Encore so the files must be indexed/validated before Encore can import them and use them. Two files are created during the import/opening files created by the x264 encoder; filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex. This takes very long time for each import. Those files are stored in the Media Cache, so if you for some reason clean the cache those files must be created again.

So, the very first import takes very long time. All subsequent opening of the projetc is fast. If deleting the media cache or re-encoding the files makes opening take very long time again. I have one project that takes 25 minutes to re-open if i delete the media cache. .m4v or .264 as a container does not matter. (Media length = approx 65 minutes.)

Files encoded by the built in MainConcept encoder imports lightning fast and no filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex are created.

I have been in contact with the creator of the plug-in and know that he is working on a solution for this issue.

I use Encore CS6.

/Roger

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Explorer ,
Jul 18, 2012 Jul 18, 2012

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Many thanks for all the replies guys.

Interesting that Jon doesn't seem to have any problems using CS6 yet Roger who is also using CS6

is still having difficulties with indexing and validation etc.

Having read Jon's comments I was almost tempted to upgrade to CS6 but now the doubts are creeping in again !

Jon, you also say that your video files import instantly with CS6 yet Roger says that his are indexing etc.

Could there be some slight difference in your x264 encoding parameters which is making a crucial difference or have you just got

an IBM mainframe that you haven't told us about?

Will follow with interest.

Apologies if this is becoming to technical for the lounge - you can always throw me out!

Cheers,

Paul

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New Here ,
Jul 18, 2012 Jul 18, 2012

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Well the problem that I have is using the x264 files from dxtory and when I try to edit it in premiere, is just a mess I never had any problem with other codecs but well I'm just working in find other codec.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2012 Jul 18, 2012

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"Jon, you also say that your video files import instantly with CS6 yet Roger says that his are indexing etc."

I should clarify one thing:

If i create a file with the x264 plug the first import of the file takes long time when i import it into Project A. If i then create Project B the same file imports fast since the filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex already has been created during the very first import. So if one test to import files that has already been imported one will not see this issue. Good to know for trouble shooting.

Two things happen during the first import:

1. Before the file is imported the files filename.mcaudioindex and filename.mcvideoindex are created.

2. When the file is imported Encore starts to index the file in the background. (the file name is italic in the project panel)

#2 happens on all imports while #1 "only" happens the very first time the file is imported into any Encore project, as Timeline or as Asset.

/Roger

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Explorer ,
Jul 18, 2012 Jul 18, 2012

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If i create a file with the x264 plug the first import of the file takes long time when i import it into Project A

Roger,

What would you say your average time was to import a 12 - 16 Gb file for example.

Thanks for the further clarification.

Paul

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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Paul,

I created two files, same content, 37 minutes long, different bitrates, and here are the results:

When media files are placed on a 7200 HDD:

7.57GB = 113 seconds

2.53GB = 33 seconds

When media files are placed on a SSD HDD:

7.57GB = 86 seconds

2.53GB = 29 seconds

Since the HDD led is constantly on during the whole import, caused by the indexing, i wanted to place the files on a SSD drive to see how much the time it takes to import decreases when the HDD is faster.

Importing the same file encoded with the built in MainConcept encoder takes 2 seconds to import, so there is a big difference that must be fixed. I have tested on two different computers and get the same result, iow that X264 files import very slow the very first time they are imported.

I must add that though i dislike the time it takes to do the first import i am not going back to the MainConcept encoder since the x264 plug-in outperforms the quality of the files compared to the quialty i get from the MainConcept encoder.

/Roger

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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I'm still testing, but I wanted to give some preliminary results:

  • 20-minute .m4v clip using MainConcept 2-pass VBR with a file size of 3.5 GB imports into En CS5.5 in about 30 seconds.
  • 20-minute .264 clip using x264Pro set to CQ 17 with a file size of 1.7 GB imports into En CS5.5 in about 30 seconds.

Neither clip generates the mcvideoindex or mcaudioindex cache files that Roger mentioned.  The only cache files generated are the .xmpses files.

  • 81-minute clip using x264Pro set to 1-pass VBR with a file size of 9.6 GB imports into En CS5.5 in about 25 minutes.  Same for a similar clip generated by x264 using the MeGUI interface.  For En CS6, after 10 hours, the same clips never finished importing.  I had to force quit En CS6.  Again, no mcvideoindex or mcaudioindex cache files were ever generated.

But there's hope: I'm investigating whether installed codecs might be conflicting with the creation and/or the import of the .264 files.  Specifically, the Matrox VFW codecs, the Edius/Grass Valley codecs and the x264 VFW codec.  I'm currently creating 40-minute and 81-minute .264 files on a system that has had all of those codecs removed.  I also want to see if CQ encoding vs. variable bit rate encoding makes a difference.

For reference, does anyone with long import times have any of those codecs installed?  How about x264Pro encoding method (VBR vs. CQ)?

Jeff

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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"Neither clip generates the mcvideoindex or mcaudioindex cache files that Roger mentioned.  The only cache files generated are the .xmpses files."

Look in the Media Cache Files folder.   (Edit > Preferences > Media to see where that folder are located on the HDD)

"For reference, does anyone with long import times have any of those codecs installed?  How about x264Pro encoding method (VBR vs. CQ)?"

No Matrox codecs installed. No x264 VFW codec installed. Yes, the free Grass Valley Codec Pack 6.5.1 installed. No, none of those codecs are installed on the other computer. I have only installed Windows 7 and Production Premium CS6 on that computer.

Yes, the same happens with VBR or QC.

indexfiles.PNG

/Roger

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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Look in the Media Cache Files folder

Trust me, I know where to look!   The files aren't there.  I notice that no mcvideoindex files are shown for your .264 files.  Maybe that's the difference?  My .264 files had no audio.  I didn't try .m4v using x264Pro.

Jeff

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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I just tried with .264 files and got the very same result and .mcvideoindex and mcaudioindex files as well. I tried to import without audio, as Timeline, as Asset and get the same result every time.

I gave you the name of the folder since there are three cache folders when using Encore.

What version of the plug are you using?

I am using 1.0.2.0 (beta of 1.0.1.19) Got the same result with earlier versions as well.

/Roger

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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I'm using 1.0.1.9 now, but my first tests were with an earlier version.

So -- new version, codecs removed, encoding method changed, file size

different, all done at the same time. I'm trying to modify as many

variables as I can all at once so that I'll never have any idea what

fixed the issue when it does get fixed.

Jeff

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Enthusiast ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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I just ran some tests of my own, and thought this might clear up some of the confusion that is going around.

I imported a 37m 34s .264 video (x264 Pro encoded) into Encore for the first time on this system, and it took 37 seconds. That is one second for every minute of video. The filesize of the video is approximately 7 GB. I believe for the documentary feature that I mentioned before, we had loaded it into an Encore project to test the visual quality of the encode before we actually authored the first official disc in a new project. This initial import is probably when we had to wait 90 seconds or so for it to import, and then on the second import after the video was indexed, it happened instantly.

Waiting 25 minutes or hours for an import is completely ridiculous. You might want to look into getting a faster system with multiple drives in RAID 0, and use several of the newer SSD's with 500 MB/s transfer rates or faster for the system drive and possibly a cache drive. You can even raid multiple SSD's together for over 1GB/s transfer rates. A very fast CPU is also needed.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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Waiting 25 minutes or hours for an import is completely ridiculous.

I agree.  Which is why I'm investigating what might be wrong.  The system I'm using has dual quad-core Xeons and a 4-disc RAID0 from which the video is being read.  Something besides basic system performance is causing the issue.

En CS5.5 (About says 5.1.0.342) is not creating the index files on import or any other time.

Jeff

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2012 Jul 19, 2012

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Something besides basic system performance is causing the issue.

Jeff is right.

I am using a HP Z800 with dual six core Intel Xeon X5670 @ 2.93GHz and had the media on a SSD, Intel 520 Series 240GB. Cache files on another Intel 310 series 160GB SSD. System drive on yet another Intel 310 series 300GB SSD.

If the system was to blame MainConcept files would behave more or less the same way as well. And since they don't...

The issue i had with 25 minutes was not the import itself, it was when i had deleted the media cache files and re-opened the project.

/Roger

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