Posts tagged "Premiere Pro"

Enabling CUDA for Premiere Pro and After Effects in the MacBook Pro Retina


Premiere Pro Project Settings

Just the other day, I became the lucky recipient of a brand new MacBook Pro Retina as my new work laptop. Nice! I’m sure many of you know what I was thinking–Mercury Playback Engine support! The GPU is also supported for hardware acceleration when creating ray-traced 3D compositions in After Effects, as well. More on that a bit later.

Premiere Pro
Upon launching Premiere Pro CC (lightning fast, by the way!), I noticed that only OpenCL processing was available in Project Settings > Video Rendering and Playback > Renderer. With the NVIDIA 650M GPU, I expected to see CUDA processing available, as well, as this video card supports both OpenCL and CUDA processing. I did not.

Note: Having access to both CUDA and OpenCL processing in Premiere Pro is only available in Mac OS X. The NVIDIA 650M will only support CUDA in Windows.

This is not a Premiere Pro issue, it is because CUDA drivers are not natively installed in your shiny new MacBook Pro. You need to do that in order for CUDA processing to work with the Mercury Playback Engine. For these drivers, go to the NVIDIA site:

I found the most current driver, along with an archive of earlier drivers, here:


CUDA System Preferences – Mac OS X


Premiere Pro Project Settings

Download the driver and install it. After installation, check Apple > System Preferences for the CUDA control panel. Click on the control panel to access the controls. You can update the CUDA driver  here, if there is one available. All CUDA updates can be accessed from the control panel, so it’s a good habit to check it periodically.

To enable CUDA processing for the Mercury Playback Engine, first restart Premiere Pro. Then, head to File > Project Settings (note: for CS6 users, Project Settings are in the Project menu) to see if you have installed it.

You should now have access to CUDA processing for the Mercury Playback Engine, as shown (left).

If you are still having trouble enabling CUDA, the MacBook Pro is not seeing your NVIDIA card. You have two video cards in a MacBook Pro Retina, the NVIDIA 650M and the Intel HD Graphics 4000 built in card. I feel it is important to force the MacBook Pro Retina to use the NVIDIA 650M at all times so that it does not switch to the Intel card unnecessarily.

To do this, choose the Apple menu > System Preferences > Energy Saver and disable the Automatic Graphics Switching checkbox. That will ensure you are using the NVIDIA card at all times.

After Effects

The NVIDIA 650M in the MacBook Pro Retina is supported to accelerate ray-traced 3D compositions in After Effects, however, this is not recommended. Unfortunately, the NVIDIA 650M has barely enough VRAM to support acceleration for ray-traced 3D compositions. See this forum post by Todd Kopriva for details:

That said, users will probably try to enable acceleration in their MacBook Pro Retina anyway.

If you still want to enable CUDA processing despite potential problems you may run into, launch After Effects to make sure that the application is seeing your NVIDIA 650M. If you launch After Effects and get a Warning dialog box, the application is not seeing your GPU. The reason is that the video card may have too many other resources trying to use the VRAM (like other applications, web browsers, or connected hardware), therefore, After Effects will not enable the card because there is not enough VRAM available.


After Effects Warning dialog box

If this happens, click OK in the dialog box, and close After Effects. Close other applications, web browsers, and disconnect any hardware device reliant upon the GPU. Then, restart After Effects. Note if you get the Warning dialog box when inspecting Preferences.

If CUDA is still disabled, reboot the MacBook Pro Retina, and then relaunch the application. CUDA should now be enabled.

You can ensure that CUDA is enabled by checking the GPU Information dialog box.

To view the GPU information dialog box, choose Preferences > Preview, and then press the GPU Information button to launch the dialog box.


After Effects GPU Information

If CUDA information is available, then you will now have access to the benefits of CUDA.

For best performance, choose System Preferences > Energy Saver from the Apple menu. Click the Power Adapter button and disable Automatic Graphics Switching, and then close System Preferences.

If you continually are running out of VRAM when using hardware acceleration for ray-traced 3D rendering, it may be a better idea to do this on a computer with a NVIDIA card that has more VRAM.

Adobe Media Encoder
Adobe Media Encoder also utilizes GPU acceleration for encoding certain items. After launching the application, look in the Queue panel and inspect the menu at the bottom of the panel. There you should see some familiar choices for GPU acceleration. If CUDA processing is not available, try closing other applications and any web browsers which take up GPU resources. If that does not work, restart the MacBook Pro and CUDA processing should again be available.

I hope this article helps you troubleshoot problems you may be having enabling the NVIDIA 650M for CUDA processing in Adobe video applications.

Smart Rendering in Premiere Pro CS6 (6.0.1, and later), & Premiere Pro CC

Smart rendering in Premiere Pro has been available for DV and DVCPro formats for years, but since Premiere Pro CS6 (6.0.1), many more formats have been added.

In Premiere Pro CS6 (6.0.1, and later), smart rendering capability has been added for Long GOP MPEG2 OP1a exports, where the original material is a matching long GOP MPEG2 OP1a or XDCAM EX file. The intention is that smart rendering creates better quality output by avoiding recompression when possible.

For Premiere Pro CS6 users, update Premiere Pro CS6 to get the full benefit of this feature.

In Premiere Pro CC, additional codecs have been added for smart rendering (scroll down for details).

  • AVC-Intra in MXF (located in Format > MXF OP1a)
  • DNxHD in MXF (located in Format > DNxHD MXF OP1a)
  • DNxHD in QuickTime
  • ProRes in QuickTime
  • Animation in QuickTime

Premiere Pro engineer, Wil Renczes, explains how smart rendering works in Premiere Pro CS6 (6.0.1, and later):

What is it? (probably obvious, but I’ll start at the beginning):
The feature is specifically for accelerating render times for long GOP MPEG2 and essences and certain QuickTime codecs (in Premiere Pro CC), while avoiding recompression.

Which new formats are now accelerated?
Source media that is either XDCAM HD in an MXF wrapper (ie 4:2:0 XDCAM HD @ 18/25/35 mbits/second, or 4:2:2 XDCAM HD @ 50 mbits/sec.), or XDCAM EX (.mp4 wrapper within a BPAV folder structure, 18/35 mbits/second).

Scroll down for formats introduced in Premiere Pro CC.

What do I have to do for it to work?

Nothing for DV or DVCPro formats, smart rendering automatically engages. For XDCAM formats, check the checkbox for smart rendering in the XDCAM exporter plug-in.  If you have these types of clips in your timeline in a sequence with matching settings, are exporting out to MXF OP1a with a matching preset, and the checkbox is checked in the XDCAM exporter plug-in, it’ll engage. It’ll also figure out if there’s any effects applied and fall back to regular rendering if needed.

Can I turn it off?
Uncheck the checkbox in the XDCAM exporter plug-in.

How do I know it’s working?
Excellent question.  Since it’s supposed to work seamlessly, there are no hints in the UI as to what’s going on. As an engineer, we can check out conflicts in a debug console window. If there are any mismatches, then smart rendering won’t occur. Unfortunately for the user, there is no way to test if smart rendering is working other than noting an accelerated workflow, and less generational loss.

What kind of acceleration are we talking about exactly?
Well, the idea is that for untouched clips, recompressing frames is probably going to take longer than simply copying the data directly from the source clip.  Now, it’s not quite as simple as that, as if you have edit points that don’t land on I frame boundaries, then there’s some partial GOP ’healing’ that needs to happen, but we don’t need to get into the nitty gritty here.  Anyway, provided you have good disk i/o, the render numbers are a fair bit better.

Testing indicates that the render numbers are anywhere from 4x to 12x faster than realtime.  On my own benchmarks (off a single drive, SATA 3 mind you, but still), a regular render of XDCAM HD 4:2:2 at 50 mbits is usually 2x realtime.  With smart rendering enabled, the same clip now renders at 6x faster.  Not too shabby.  And, the lower the bitrate, the faster it renders (less data per frame to copy, so it can do more at the same transfer speed).

Okay, I’m trying to smart render an XDCAM EX clip out to OP1A, and why isn’t it smart rendering?
This is probably the trap that most people will fall into when trying it for the first time.  For example, if I pick an EX clip, 35 mbits/sec, shot at 24fps.  Then, I drop it into a matching sequence, pick the XDCAM HD 1080 35 NTSC 24p preset, and hit render.  However, if I check it on the console, I see errors.

Why the heck is that?
XDCAM EX footage is at a full 1920 x 1080 raster size.  XDCAM HD 4:2:0, on the other hand, is actually 1440 x 1080 with a PAR adjustment.  So we can’t smart render this, the frame sizes are different.

Wait a second, didn’t you say that EX is a supported smart render format!? Quit foolin’…
Why yes, it is. It’s just a problem with the preset. We don’t have prebuilt presets for EX material in the OP1a exporter’s list of available presets to choose from,  so if you want to smart render EX material, you’ll need to create a preset with the right settings.  So, going back to my example, if I go to the Video Settings and look under the Video Codec list, and pick XDCAM EX 35 NTSC 1080 (4:2:0), now it’ll smart render.

Well, that’s a little confusing.
Agreed. The feature really was initially meant for XDCAM HD workflows, which you have all the presets available for.  The EX was kind of a bonus request that we threw in based on a specific request from a broadcaster.

What other kinds of errors will potentially bork smart rendering?
Weird ones: mismatches between your source media & the settings you pick to render out to – things that aren’t immediately obvious (but the console window will tell you). For instance, your source file’s MPEG GOP structure doesn’t match the destination, or the source is VBR but you picked a CBR preset, or the bitrate is too different, or there’s a frame size mismatch.  All these conditions will make it fall back to regular rendering.

Will this smart render take advantage of my preview files so that my final render is that much faster?
Sadly, no.  We’d have to enable XDCAM HD as a preview format option, but then yes, this would suddenly work.  Great feature request, feel free to pass it along! (Make a feature request here:

Smart Rendering Formats updated in Premiere Pro CC

In Premiere Pro CC, the following formats are accelerated:

  • AVC-Intra in MXF (Format > MXF OP1a)
    • AVC-Intra Class50
    • AVC-Intra Class100
  • DNxHD in MXF (Format > DNxHD MXF OP1a)
  • DNxHD (QuickTime)
  • ProRes (QuickTime)
    • ProRes Proxy
    • ProRes LT
    • ProRes 422
    • ProRes 422 (HQ)
    • ProRes4444
  • Animation (QuickTime)

Details about smart rendering can be found in this video by

Premiere Pro New Features – Smart Render for ProRes and Preview Files from on Vimeo.

Thanks to Wil Renczes for the content of this post.

Smaller Premiere Pro CS6 trim tool icons

The interface upgrade for Premiere Pro CS6 included an updated look for certain trim tools, including the Selection tool, the Ripple tool, and the Roll tool. For some users, these icons are larger than they would like at certain zoom levels in the Timeline. Some have described that there is too much zooming in and out when performing simple trims because of the larger icons.

DSLR specialist, Philip Bloom feels the trim tools are too large, as well. His friend, “James,” (described as the English “MacGyver”) has created new icons that can be used in place of the existing ones. You can install these tool icons “at your own risk” by following instructions on Philip’s blog entitled, “Little fix to make using Premiere CS6 a little bit better!”

Take a look and see if the replacement icons might work better for your workflow.

Premiere Pro CS6 video tutorial series by Andrew Devis

Andrew Devis has been very busy, indeed. Already one of the community’s most prolific content creators, Andrew has released a comprehensive Premiere Pro CS6 video tutorial series on the Creative Cow website. Already featuring 75 in-depth video tutorials, the series helps people get started with Premiere Pro CS6, and those that are coming from other applications.

This series is a good introduction to Premiere Pro, and a boon to all those wishing to know more about the application. Thanks to Andrew!

Opening Premiere Pro CS6
Project Panel
Playback Controls
Keyboard Short-cuts
Matched Sequences & Bins
New Items
Importing Assets
Importing PSDs
Timecode & Playhead
Insert & Overwrite Edits
Targeting Tracks
Tools Part 1
Tools Part 2
Tools Part 3: Rate Stretch
Tools Part 4
Trim Monitor
Timeline Trimming
JKL Trimming
Dynamic Trimming
Un-Linking Tracks
Exporting Single Frames
Three & Four Point Editing
Replacing Footage
Track Headers Options
Naming Conventions
Transitions: What, Why, When
Applying Transitions
Audio Transitions
Titles 1: Basic Titles
Titles 2: Formatting Titles
Titles 3: Title Styles
Titles 4: Exporting Titles
Titles 5: Text on Paths
Titles 6: Rolling Titles
Titles 7: Crawling Titles
Titles 8: Creating an Arrow
Project Management
Fixed Effects
Animating Fixed Effects
Picture in Picture Presets
Corner Pin Effect
The Pen Tool
Color 1: Color Correction
Color 2: Color Waveform
Color 3 The Vectorscope
Color 4 RGB Parade
Color 5: Color Cast
Color 6: Output Levels
Color 7: Skin Tones
Color 8: Color Corrector
Color 9: Secondary Color Correction
Color 10: Vignettes 1
Color 11: Vignettes 2
Color 12: Luma Corrector
Color 13: Luma Curve
Color 14: RGB Curves 1
Color 15: RGB Curves 2
Color 16: Levels Effect
Color 17: Day for Night
Color 18: Leave Color Effect
Color 19: Change to Color
Color 20: Blend Modes 1
Color 21: Blend Modes 2: Lens Flare
Color 22: The Filmic Blend Technique
Color 23: Adjustment Layers
Audio 1: Track Types
Audio 2: 5.1 Audio Channel
Audio 3: Clips & Tracks
Audio 4: Clip & Track FX
Audio 5: Some Audio FX
Importing Image Sequences

Premiere Pro CS5 & CS5.5 Keyboard Shortcuts

For Premiere Pro, the keyboard shortcuts article is typically the most popular page in the Help system. However, when we launched CS6, there were some issues with search engines not finding specific pages that were previously easy to find. The page, Default keyboard shortcuts (CS5 & CS5.5), was unfortunately one of those pages. While we search for a fix, here is a link to the current set of keyboard shortcuts for Premiere Pro CS5 & Premiere Pro CS5.5:

Adobe Premiere Pro (CS5 & CS5.5) keyboard shortcuts

For Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 keyboard shortcuts, see this blog post.

Premiere Pro CS6 Keyboard Shortcuts

For Premiere Pro, the keyboard shortcuts article is typically the most popular page in the Help system. However, when we launched CS6, there were some issues with search engines not finding specific pages that were previously easy to find. The page, Default keyboard shortcuts in CS6, was unfortunately one of those pages. While we search for a fix, here is a link to the current set of keyboard shortcuts for Premiere Pro CS6:

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 keyboard shortcuts

For Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 & CS5.5 keyboard shortcuts, see this blog post.

Color Correction in Premiere Pro from Maxim Jago and video2brain

Color Correction in Premiere Pro by Maxim Jago

Color Correction in Premiere Pro by Maxim Jago

Recently, a new series on color correction for Premiere Pro was released by video2brain. Hosted by Maxim Jago, this series of video tutorials aims to get you up to speed on the color correction capabilities of Premiere Pro CS5 and CS5.5. Entitled, “Color Correction in Premiere Pro: Analyze and Optimize the Color in Your Video,” topics include color correction basics, color correction scopes (and how to use them), the Fast Color Corrector, the 3-way Color Corrector and color correction effects. Learn to fix color mistakes and the secrets of matching color on different camera angles. Color Correction with After Effects is also explored. Almost 3 hours of instruction is included.

Here are the free video excerpts you can check out:
What Is Color Correction and Why Do You Need It?
The Waveform
Example 3: Layering Clips
Using the Three Way Color Corrector

A blog post about more color correction tutorials may be found on the Premiere Pro Work Area.

Tutorials and more information about color correction in Help.

Exporting Sections of a Sequence

Recently on the Creative Cow forum, editor Frank Bokoski Jr. ran into a little trouble exporting from Premiere Pro. Specifically, Frank wanted to export segments of his sequence the way he did in other applications. When exporting, Frank set In and Out points on the timeline and then attempted to export only this section. Frank found that the In and Out points were being ignored. So the question remains: how does one export only a segment of a sequence?

Fortunately, Premiere Pro experts Ann Bens and Jeff Pulera stepped in to help. Jeff offered up the workflow, while Ann provided specific details (like keyboard shortcuts and step order) for that workflow. Here are the steps for exporting segments of your sequence:

  1. Place the playhead at the in point and type ALT+[
  2. Place the playhead at the out point and type ALT+]
  3. Choose File>Export>Media
  4. Set the Source Range menu to Work Area (bottom left)
  5. Adjust any the rest of the output settings, if desired
  6. Click the Queue button
  7. Adobe Media Encoder opens
  8. Click the Start Queue button
  9. The encoding process begins
  10. Repeat this process for all the segments you wish to export
You can also export your entire sequence from Premiere Pro by choosing File>Export>Media. Once in Media Encoder, you can drag the orange in and out points (just above the Source Range menu) to include a segment prior to exporting. However, most people find the previous method of exporting the Work Area to be more quick and precise.

Use the Source Range menu to choose Work Area

Use the Source Range menu (bottom) to choose Work Area

Adjusting the audio levels of multiple clips in Premiere Pro

In Creative Cow’s Premiere Pro forum, FCP switcher and award-winning editor (Good Eats, CNN, This American Land) Walter Biscardi wanted to know how to raise the audio level for one or more selected clips as he used to in Final Cut Pro in the Gain Adjust dialog. Walter finds this option useful when raising or lowering voice overs by the same amount, for example. This is so important to Walter that he recorded a “Gotchas” tutorial video explaining to others how to invoke audio gain. Though you might want to watch the entire video, go to 10:12 to see Walter’s tips for Audio gain. More info about the Audio Gain dialog is found in Premiere Pro Help.

A fully featured Audio Gain dialog box

A fully featured Audio Gain dialog box

Premiere Pro super user and now an Adobe Employee, Jon Barrie offered up the right piece of advice. Here are his steps:

  • Create a keyboard shortcut for the Audio Gain dialog (Jon assigned it to Shift+G, but you can also assign it to Option+CMD+L if you like).
  • Select the clips you wish to adjust the audio for.
  • Type the shortcut for Audio Gain (note that there are a lot of options here). You can also right-click on any clip and choose>Audio Gain, or select a clip or group of clips and then choose Clip>Audio Options>Audio Gain.
  • Choose one of the options: Set Gain to (Absolute in Final Cut Pro) or Adjust Gain by (Relative in Final Cut Pro).
  • Enter in a value for dB or click and drag to scrub to a new value.
  • As you change the value, you should see the audio waveform changing in the timeline. These levels can go further than Final Cut Pro’s limit of 12 dB.

Controls for the Dynamics effect are shown here

Controls for the Dynamics effect are shown here

Jon adds, “This function doesn’t affect the levels band, it still reads as 0 and you can manipulate it as though the gain added or removed is a level of 0 on the levels band.” He also notes that in the dialog, the loudest peak level of the selected clips is visible, so you can see the amount of gain you have before it distorts. Adding the Dynamics effect to limit the levels will further keep anything from distorting. Note that in this dialog you can normalize all peaks or max peaks, as well.

Audition processes clips so that the volume matches

Audition processes clips so that the volume matches

On the same thread, Editor David Cherniack added another tip for balancing audio clips: send the clips to Audition.

  • Create sequence with the clips that need to have the volume matched.
  • In the sequence, select the clip and choose Edit>Edit in Adobe Audition>Sequence.
  • Once in Audition, choose Effects>Match Volume.
  • Drag and drop the clips into the Match Volume dialog.
  • Click the Batch Process button.
  • The clips then will process for matching volume.
  • Choose File>Save.
  • Send the Audition sequence back to Premiere Pro by choosing Multitrack>Export to Adobe Premiere Pro.

The newly sweetened audio will now be imported back into Premiere Pro.

So there you have it! Some great and simple audio tips to help you adjust the levels of multiple clips using Premiere Pro. Audition too!

New Color Correction Tutorials in Premiere Pro from Jeff Sengstack and

Jeff Sengstack

Jeff Sengstack

Color correcting footage is somewhat of a mystery to many editors. Lots of techniques are involved. There are also the multitude of effects related to color correction, not to mention the confusing array of scopes needed to accurately measure color. Which effects do you use? Which scope displays what? How do you solve problems related to color? Fortunately, Educator, Author and Video Producer, Jeff Sengstack has just released a video tutorial series about these topics, and more, on the website.

All basic aspects of color correction in Premiere Pro are demystified, including primary  and secondary color correction, color limiting, color enhancement and much more. Jeff simplifies the workflow by working from a subset of the full set of color correction tools, focusing only on the most effective ones. The tools of Color Finesse are also covered.

Here are some video excerpts from the series:
Presenting the Premiere Pro color correction workflow
Analyzing clips for tonality issues 
Adjusting color channels using RGB Color Corrector and RGB Curves effects
Changing a single color: three approaches

Don’t forget to check out Jeff’s excellent color correction article on the Pro Video Coalition website, as well. 

Video Scopes in Premiere Pro

Video Scopes in Premiere Pro