Posts Tagged ‘ Premiere Pro

The C100 is doing well, but it could be better

I haven’t posted many updates lately so sorry for that. I’ve been working on a project involving a lot of two camera interviews using my Canon C100 and C300. This has been a good test for the profiles I created to match the camera and so far it’s going really well, the images from each camera are really close and I’m finding that with careful setup of exposure the results cut together well with the same grade applied.

The one thing that seems to let the the C100 down slightly is of course it’s internal 4:2:0 codec writing at 24MB/s, this doesn’t hold up as well as the C300‘s 4:2:2 codec at 50 MB/s. Below are some frame grabs showing one of the interviews I’ve shot and you will notice that although the C100 close up looks very similar to the wider C300 shot, closer inspection reveals compression artefacts that become more apparent when the footage is graded.

Both cameras were shooting in log with a minimal grade applied as an adjustment layer in Premiere CS6. I used Premieres RGB curves effect to add a shallow S curve and added some saturation using the fast color corrector tool. I’ll need to spend more time on the grade later in production but for now this gives a rough idea of how it effects the compression artefacts. Both the ungraded and graded screen grabs are shown below.

The wider shot was recorded with the C300 fitted with a Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens with the closeup recorded on the C100 with the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L. Both lenses were at f/2.8.

c300log c100logc300g c100g

I’m going to be reviewing the Atomos Ninja-2 external recorder over the next few weeks to see how that improves the images from the C100. Because the camera outputs 4:2:2 over the HDMI port that should in theory produce results much closer to the C300. Watch this space for more on that very soon.



Ecosystem Justice Matters

This was a fun little talking head film I made for the International Development team at the University of East Anglia. The guys at the UEA had opted for a style they wanted to use so it was really just a case of lighting and framing accordingly to achieve the desired results.

One interesting challenge was that I didn’t want the backdrop framing to be changing between shots so we had to set the camera fairly high and then use a stack of magazines to raise the subjects to the desired height, which was fun! In the end I opted to crop into some of the shots anyway and the background changes were not overly noticeable but it’s better to air on the side of caution sometimes.

The subjects were lit with a single Rifa softbox on the left and a reflector to throw some of that same light back onto the right side of their faces just to bring up some detail. I also used my Litepanels 1×1 to throw some light against the white backdrop. I wanted to achieve a very shallow depth of field so I used the Canon 50mm f1.2 throughout at an aperture of f1.4.

One of the nice things about the modular design of the C300 is that you can remove the audio controls and LCD unit from the body of the camera. I set these up on a light stand so that I could adjust the audio levels etc without any risk of causing unwanted camera movement.


I actually shot with two cameras, the Canon C300 with the 50mm f/1.2 locked off and my 5D on the Kesller Stealth slider. I’d planned to show some shots with the camera tracking towards the subjects face as they talked but in comparison to the images from the C300 the 5D material looked mushy. The 5D produces great results but it does stand out as being soft when compared to the C300, I’ve decided to pre-order an EOS C100 to use as a B cam in the future.

You can just see in the image above that I monitored both cameras with SmallHD monitors, the DP6 on the C300 and the DP4 attached underneath the Stealth with a Noga arm.

The audio was all recorded from an overhead Rode NTG-3 and I haven’t messed around with the EQ at all on that. I’m really impressed with the results from that mic.

Comments welcomed.

Premiere Pro reliability – doing things by halves

I switched from FCP7 to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 in November 2010, mostly because of the big steps Adobe were making with GPU accelerated effects and the ability to use media without the need to transcode. At that time FCP7 was still the current and trusted solution for Mac users and with no mention of a new version I had become tired of FCP’s lack of advancement and having to transcode DSLR footage.

I’d been using Premiere Pro as my main NLE for six months when Apple dropped the bombshell that was the release Final Cut Pro X. I felt quite lucky at the time because I was by then comfortable with the Premiere workflow and enjoying the benefits it offered. I had a quick look at FCPX when it was released but like many others I thought it seemed little more than a fancy iMovie so didn’t really give it much thought.

Premiere CS5 initially had a few problems running on the mac, I spent a lot of time highlighting issues both on my blog and directly with Adobe who unlike Apple are very happy to interact with their customers about problems and work with them to solve them. It took a long time for CS5 to settle down, many of the problems were not solved until CS5.5. In the mean time Apple released OSX Lion which interestingly helped with some of the UI problems premiere mac users were suffering with.

For me CS5.5 on Lion got to the point of being fairly stable, it’s weakness continued to be handling projects with a lot of media, I found that scrubbing through a timeline with hundreds of short clips would always result in playback problems so learned to not demand too much from it and avoided scrubbing through clip heavy timelines.

Before long CS6 came along offering some great new features, warp stabiliser in the NLE, more GPU based effects, enhanced FCP like timeline control and a lot more. For what seemed like months before it’s release there were numerous beta testers / bloggers who were raving about CS6 so I decided to jump on board.

I ordered CS6 Production Premium on the day of release and upon installation was immediately  impressed with the improvements. Unfortunately though I soon noticed that CS6 came with a whole new slew of stability issues. Many mac users including myself have had problems with system sound becoming unstable effecting the whole system and when working on a large project I would often see the ‘A Serious Error has Occurred and Premiere needs to close’ message many times throughout each day.

The Adobe forums are packed with users complaining of the same issues, one thread has over 250 posts by people with similar issues with over 17,000 views.

I really like using the Adobe software, but having to go through this whole sequence of Mac instability with each release of the suite is a drag, I’m sure once again Adobe will eventually solve the issues and patch up the Mac version to be almost as good as the PC variant but once again that will likely come along as the .5 version.

Because the .5 releases are full paid releases I have to wonder if Mac users would be better of doing things by halves and upgrading on the CS*.5 releases rather than jumping on the Mac problem solving wagon at the release of the new full suite, certainly from the past couple of versions that would have made a lot of sense.

I’ve actually started looking at FCPX  again which seems to have come on a long way since it’s release. It still requires some transcoding but after two days of playing with it I’ve not seen a single crash which is refreshing after using CS6!

Like any software reliability problems there are many factors involved including hardware used, other software installed etc etc so if you’re experience has been different then feel free to post a comment.


Lion users report better performance from Adobe Premiere Pro

I’ve been writing quite a lot about the poor timeline performance issues when using Premiere Pro CS5 & CS5.5 on the Mac and with the thread about the subject on adobe’s forum now reaching over 4000 views it seems to be a very widespread issue.

Since upgrading to Lion though I’ve noticed a marked improvement in the ‘laggy timeline’ issue, to the point which I’d say that the problem no longer exists. So what’s changed?

Well it’s hard to say of course, only the apple boffins will know the details but it certainly seems as though the code has been optimised in Lion to better support the way that Premiere is rendering the timeline. Here’s a quote from Adobe Employee ‘Wil Renczes’ which is taken from the adobe forums…

 I profiled the code – the timeline drawing operation is performing the same set of steps on Win & Mac – we draw into an offscreen buffer & blit the contents to the timeline.  On mac, the bulk of the time was being spent in the OS blit routine…

Upgrading an OS shouldn’t be taken lightly though, there are still going to be plugins and certain bits of hardware that are not supported by Lion.

One interesting part of the upgrade is that Lion comes with a driver for the Nvidia Quadro 4000 that’s newer than the latest available from Nvidia’s own website. The driver installed with Lion is 270.05.05f01 whereas the latest available from Nvidia is 256.02.25f01.

In addition to Lion improving Premiere’s performance Adobe have also released an update for Premiere Pro this week in the form of CS5.5.1, this update claims to improve performance with h.264 footage as well as including many other fixes.


Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro – six months in

I switched from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro CS5 about six months ago and have been using it as my main NLE ever since. Due to Apples recent launch of the not so pro FCPX there’s a lot of FCP users considering the jump to Premiere Pro so I thought I’d give a quick run down of the things that I’ve missed the most from FCP and the benefits I’ve seen.

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