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Time to enhance editing rig? Or am I doing something wrong?

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#1 John W. King

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 11:06 PM

Hello all, 

 

About three years ago, I built a computer to do lower-end editing with Premiere and AfterFX. Most of the projects were geared towards my high school AV class, so nothing more than 5 or so minute works with 1080p project files and H.264 codecs. 

 

Today, I'm still using the same project files, but I am editing much larger-scale works (15+ minute works, plus incorporating DaVinci Resolve into my workflow). With my most recent project, I have just color graded via Resolve, and I am finding a lot of difficulty in just opening the Premiere file now. Premiere itself crashes quite frequently, there are times when I open the project file and some of the color graded media is "offline" (when it typically isn't), and I have a hard time rendering this footage for preview (due to Premiere constantly crashing). 

 

My workflow is this: Import footage into Premiere, match audio & cut it together -> export XML file -> import XML file of Premiere sequence into DaVinci, color grade the shots -> export H.264 file out of DaVinci, import each shot and replace it's counterpart in Premiere in order to begin sound design

 

Here are the specs for my computer:

OS: WIndows 7, 64-bit

RAM: 8gb

CPU: Intel Core i5 4670K

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660

 

So my question is, is this a hardware issue, or something in my workflow? 


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 12:58 AM

Hey John

So yea... h264 is a consumer playback codec, not designed for cutting what so ever. So the fact you're struggling with that codec is all to familiar. I do a lot of .h264 cutting from GoPro footage and I have yet to find a stable platform. Premiere works around 70% of the time, but it's very, very, very flakey. Work with a native codec like Pro Res or DNX, the software flies and has zero issues. Remember, .h264 is not a frame-based codec, most cameras that shoot it, also don't have timecode. So the software has to work very hard to extrapolate what a frame is and then put a logical location finder on that bit of data. It's far more tricky then using native codec's, especially one's with real timecode.

The solution is to transcode everything from .h264 to DNX, which DaVinci can do as a batch. Edit your show and when you go back to DaVinci, simply conform to the original media. It's a check box when you import the sequence back into the same project you exported from. It will automatically re-link the original camera files (if they're in the same place), then you can do your color. I highly suggest doing your "finish" in DaVinci. So export your finished sound and import it into DaVinci. Do the same with graphics (text elements) and any effects. Throw it all into DaVinci and export it as a finished sequence.

DaVinci really needs 8GB of ram by itself, so you probably need more memory to start with.

Your i5 processor is acceptable, which is a good sign.

The GTX660 is a pretty outdated card. I bought a 4GB GTX690 Classified last year for $300 bux brand new, thinking it would solve my issues, but it really hasn't. DaVinci really needs a 12GB video memory board to function at it's best potential. It's not so much the processor speed, as it is video memory. It buffers quite a bit into video memory and it doesn't do a good job at purging it. Because I'm getting more and more 4k projects, I'm personally going to invest in a Titan X 12gb board, because it's the best thing on the market for DaVinci and Premiere, which I'm using more and more.

DaVinci and Premiere are both cache hogs. They both have huge cash directories located in secret spots within the boot drive. This means you need a super fast boot drive. I'm personally not a fan of SSD's for serious work, great for laptops, not so great for boot volumes. Long story... but needless to say I still use spinning disks as boot drives. The best drive on the market today is the Western Digital Velociraptor. I recommend the Gen 2 version, which is I believe 1TB today. They're expensive, but they are unbelievably fast. A new install of windows + that drive, will give you a marketable improvement in performance.

I hope that answers some questions... I run Mac's, so my bay is Xenon based rather then the consumer Intel i series processors, so it's hard to compare. But I know my bay is slow for today's work and I just get by thanks to well-designed codec's like Pro Res and DNX.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 05:20 AM

Depending on how it was encoded, H.264 is potentially a lot harder work to decode than ProRes or DnX, but I'm not sure the presence or absence of timecode should really make a performance difference.

 

In my experience an SSD makes an ideal cache drive, given the amount of random access that's required.

 

I got some pretty spectacular results out of Resolve on a 4GB GTX 980; six or eight serial nodes with blur and denoise and a custom curve on each one. Given the results out of something like Open Hardware Monitor, I suspect that more GPU power really isn't required unless you're going to insist on performing dozens of layers of temporal noise reduction on 4K material, or something. I could only slow it down by deliberately creating difficult scenarios.

 

P


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 12:44 PM

I'm not sure the presence or absence of timecode should really make a performance difference.


Without timecode, how does the software determine where in the file it's pulling data from, when the codec itself has no logical frames? It has to extrapolate based on taking snap shots of previous frames used. Timecode helps, but doesn't SOLVE the problems with .h264.
 

In my experience an SSD makes an ideal cache drive, given the amount of random access that's required.


SSD's are quite amazing little kits, but they do have major issues with lots of small files. I've done some pretty interesting long-term tests between SSD's and the Velociraptors. The results have proven to me that SSDs, where faster in some cases, have major lag issues in others.

I got some pretty spectacular results out of Resolve on a 4GB GTX 980; six or eight serial nodes with blur and denoise and a custom curve on each one.


With realtime playback?
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 02:32 PM

Without timecode, how does the software determine where in the file it's pulling data from, when the codec itself has no logical frames? It has to extrapolate based on taking snap shots of previous frames used. Timecode helps, but doesn't SOLVE the problems with .h264.

 

I think we might be using different language to describe basically the same thing, but to be clear: what we're talking about here is the fact that if you want to decode frame X, you will (if it isn't an I-frame) need to go back to the previous I-frame and decode forward to achieve frame X. That's where the performance hit comes from, but the data required to construct frame X from frame X-1 is packaged as a single area of data which is notionally a frame and is marked as such. It's not like there's any question over which frame is which.

 

 

In terms of where in the file that frame is, there's actually a handy little construct in QuickTime (and similar) files which expresses the exact location in the file of each frame in a table, which is in fact designed for the express purpose of skipping through it and finding the frames you want. You would at that point have to detect if you're being asked for a B or P frame, then search backward for the previous I-frame.

 

Most NLE software I've seen behaves as if it's just working off a file location and a frame count, which if you think about it is is functionally equivalent to assuming every file has timecode that starts at zero. I actually wish more things would work like this, because it's actually more reliable than trying to read specific timecode information which may or may not be available from various formats under various circumstances. All files have a completely unequivocal frame zero!

 

 

 

but they do have major issues with lots of small files

 

Some of 'em do. Some of them are designed to go in web servers, and they specialise in small file workloads. I would have thought that the era of SSDs having serious problems with random I/O were probably a bit historical, but I haven't done any testing recently.

 

With realtime playback?

 

Well, yes, that's sort of the litmus test, right?

 

P


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#6 Richard_Swearinger

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 01:34 PM

I have had some weird issues roundtripping between Premiere and Davinci Resolve, so I do everything in Resolve now. One thing that has helped my performance is keeping all the project files on one drive and never, ever, moving them. Another thing to check and make sure is that your hard drives are not starting to flake out on you; I had a drive that seemed fine and worked with most other programs, but couldn't take the high demands of video editing. It even tested fine with the Seagate diagnostic software, but after a couple of days it finally gave me an error code. 

 

There are a lot of moving parts, start with the cheapest, easiest solution which is making sure you are storing your footage in a logical folder arrangement and transcoding it before you start editing; then work from there. 


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