In this blog post, I’m going to share with you how to increase your Premiere Pro Speeds by 5x! I know it sounds crazy but it has to do with types of files that we are using. I know it all too well, you’re editing a video and all the sudden Premiere just starts to lag. You have a deadline and every time you hit play the video is stuck on one frame. You think it’s your hardware and you want to upgrade your PC so you spend $2,000 on a new setup. You get back to editing and come to find out you’re having the same issue.
This is exactly what happened to me in post-production for my short film Cassie. Since then I’ve learned a lot about editing and premiere pro in general. I’ve been able to edit a lot of label music videos. I noticed that after export, the file tends to get passed around a lot. If all you were doing was editing you might end up sending the video out for VFX, then it would need to get colored, then it might come back to you for some finishing touches. imagine if the label came up with a last-minute idea, now you have to do that entire process over again.
What’s the Problem?
With all of this transporting and exporting a question came into my mind… how do I export a file to retain its data so that when I color the image doesn’t fall apart?
Enter the codec: APPLE PRORES
I’ve learned that the reason why Premiere Pro lags is not just a hardware issue. It’s difficult for Premiere to read H.264 making it a software issue. H.264 or Mp4 is a codec that a lot of our cameras output. Let me explain:
In Learning about Apple ProRes I also found out that this is what a lot of professionals use when it comes to editing. I learned Premiere Pro generally favors Apple ProRes over H.264.
So how can I increase my Premiere Pro Speeds by 5x?
Imagine for a second that you’re from the United States and you decide to go to Japan for vacation. You have all of this United States money (us dollars). But Japan doesn’t use US dollars they use Yen. You might be able to buy in Japan but it’s going to be difficult, not many places will accept it. If you want the United States money to work you need to go get it converted into Japanese Yen. Think of H.264 as the US dollar and Premiere Pro is Japan, Apple Pro res is the Yen. It will be way faster and easier for you to make a transaction if you’re using the right currency.
When we’re editing a lot of us use the codec H.264 or MP4. It’s a compression that our cameras use so that we can record more stuff but have smaller file sizes. But Premiere thinks that this form of compression is super complicated and therefore it stutters when it’s time to edit. It packs all this information in such a small file but it takes a lot of time to process. This is why if you shoot on a Sony or have drone footage it’s such a pain to edit.
The Solution… ProRes
The best way to get the most out of Premiere is to convert your footage. Apple ProRes is a video codec created by APPLE that compresses your footage but helps it retain as much data as possible so that it will be easier for you to color, do VFX, etc. One of the biggest cons to ProRes is the massive file sizes. You can easily end up with several gigabytes worth of footage. But in return you get faster export times, great response times in the edit, and cleaner footage for color grading. There are many different flavors of Apple ProRes and ways that you can save space when using it. Here is a blog post that has helped me understand ProRes when it was a bit confusing.
In the past, this was only exclusively for Apple products but now you can use Apple ProRes on windows. A lot of high-end cameras like the Arri Alexa Mini gives you the footage in Apple ProRes. That’s how it comes out of the camera. You would think that since its bigger files with more data premiere would struggle but this is not the case. Cameras like RED have their system called REDCODE RAW, Premiere also handles that better than Sony Mp4 footage. This is the reason why a lot of people that use Mirrorless or DSLR cameras us a recorder. If you have an updated Adobe Cloud you can convert your footage to Apple ProRes without an expensive recorder.
Converting Your Footage
I found that the best way to convert your footage is by dragging your MP4 files into Adobe Media Encoder. Change the output settings to Apple ProRes then create a separate folder for where your new footage will go. Click start and go grab yourself a drink, watch a movie, or whatever you like to do on your downtime. When it’s done, you’ll have fresh high-quality footage that will speak well with Premiere and save you so much time.
And that’s it, That’s how you increase Premiere Pro Speeds by 5x. It took me a long time to get this information so hopefully, this benefits you guys! Once you drag that footage onto your timeline you will feel the difference. You will never be able to cut another Mp4 clip again. If what I’ve shared with you was useful please take a look around the site for more content. I’ve also written a post about how to decrease export errors. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks for reading!!
Owner, Founder, Director, Editor Producer of Kaylex Productions.
Full-Time freelance filmmaker from New Jersey.