High resolution video footage is often too large to be edited smoothly in real time. A solution to this problem is to work with smaller temporary files during the editing process, replacing the temporary files with the high resolution original files only at the very end, just before exporting the project. This practise is often referred to as ‘offline editing’
When using source video files whose resolution is much larger than that of the project an additional problem arises. Let’s consider a hypothetical example: Imagine that your source footage has a resolution of 5184 by 3456 pixels but your Premiere project is in 720p. A setup like this would allow you to do virtual panning / zooming on the original footage, for example. Naturally, the original files with resolution of 5184 by 3456 pixels are far too large to be edited smoothly, so their file size and resolution has to be reduced. At this point, you may want to create a low resolution version of the original footage, at a resolution say four times smaller in both directions. This would result in a much smaller temporary video file with resolution 1296 by 864 pixels, which could be used to perform the edits in real time. The problem with this solution is that once the temporary video file with resolution 1296 by 864 pixels is replaced with the large original file of resolution 5184 by 3456 pixels many effects, such as panning / zooming effects, will be wrong, as they only apply to the smaller resolution footage.
Here is a workflow that will allow you to avoid the above problem. It will allow you to work with a lower resolution temporary video file and then to preserve all motion effects (such as panning and zooming) once the temporary file is replaced with its high resolution original.
Desired project resolution: Hp by Vp pixels (eg. 1280 by 720 pixels)
Original file resolution: H by V pixels (eg. 5184 by 3456 pixels)
Resolution of temporary file: H/n by V/n pixels (eg. 1296 by 864 pixels)
- Step 1: Save your original high resolution footage at the full resolution (H times V pixels) and completely uncompressed.
- Step 2: Using a program like QuickTime Pro, save a low resolution and highly compressed copy of your original footage. This copy should have the same framerate as the original footage, but the resolution should be set to H/n by V/n pixels. Makes sure H and V are both divisible by the integer n.
- Step 3: In Premiere, create a sequence called ‘Working sequence’. This sequence should have the desired resolution for your project: i.e. Hp times Vp pixels.
- Step 4: Drag your temporary file into your ‘Project panel’ and then into the sequence called ‘Working sequence’. Perform all edits, including motion effects such as rescaling and repositioning in that sequence.
- Step 5: Create a new sequence whose resolution is n times larger than your ‘Working sequence’. This new sequence should be called ‘n times larger’ and it’s resolution should be Hp*n by Vp*n pixels.
- Step 6: Open the ‘Working sequence’ again and select everything in the timeline. Copy it all over into the sequence called ‘n times larger’. At this point everything will appear n times too small, however the next step will fix that.
- Step 7: In the project panel, replace the temporary clip with the original high resolution clip. You do this by right clicking the temporary click in the project panel and selecting ‘Replace Footage…’ from the dropdown. Because you have now replaced your footage with a clip n times larger, everything will now look just right in the sequence called ‘n times larger’.
- Step 8: Create a sequence called ‘Export’. This sequence should have the desired resolution of your project (the same as the resolution of your ‘Working sequence’, i.e. Hp by Vp pixels.
- Step 9: From the ‘Project panel’ drag the sequence named ‘n times larger’ into the timeline of the ‘export’ sequence. Select the ‘Export’ sequence in the timeline and go into the ‘Effects control’ panel. Open the ‘Motion effect’ and set ‘Scale’ to 100/n (this is in units of percent).
- Step 10: Now you can export the ‘Export’ sequence with your desired settings and everything will look just right.
Good luck and happy editing!
Notes to self:
- Freeze fames on clip in and out points only work properly if the velocity is 100%, not more.
- Keyframes can be selected with the mouse and copied using Command + C.
- If a clip is behind another clip the contributions of the keyframes that are covered up are ignored.
- When setting motion to speech it is best to let the words come first and only then introduce the corresponding motion, after about 0.5s delay.