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    Does Premiere Pro hate DJI 4K footage?
    #1
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    Hi All,

    I'm having some troubles editing footage shot with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro at 4K in h.264. It is barely able to play back in Premiere Pro (CC2018 on Windows 7, but I've also had the problem with a fully spec'd 2017 Model iMac Pro), even when dropping the preview resolution down to 1/16th. It freezes and stutters, and even when paused it takes up to a minute just to load the preview image.

    My workstation has no trouble with any other types of files. 4K H.264 from other cameras (Nikon D850, GoPro) all works perfectly smooth with no issues at all. And of course Prores/DNxHR are absolutely buttery, as you'd expect, as are .r3d files. I don't think it is a case of my system being underpowered, it just doesn't seem to play nicely with the DJI footage - which makes no sense, as it should have the exact same performance as the other h.264 cameras, shouldn't it? Strangely, the 50p files actually seem to play back a bit more reliably than the 25p ones.

    I know the obvious answer is probably to transcode, but I've got ~45min of drone footage for each day of a 30 day shoot and that would give me probably give me 10TB+ of Prores of which I only need a few seconds worth from each day. But at the moment I can barely even preview the files to find those bits I need!

    Has anybody else dealt with these problems before and found a solution or a logical reason as to why the DJI footage is so much more difficult to edit than any other form of h.264?
    VIDEO PRODUCER ON THE NSW NORTH COAST, AUSTRALIA
    Sony FS700 || Shogun Inferno
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    #2
    Senior Member TSDavis's Avatar
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    Personally I've just had nothing but negative experiences with all 4k h.264 files. Instead of transcoding to ProRes for online editing, why not do proxies for the drone footage? It'll keep your storage minimal and will make editing a lot smoother. The hardest part is remembering to turn on your original media before export. I'm used to FCP giving me a warning where Premeire is perfectly fine letting me waste my time.


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    #3
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    Thanks TSDavis.

    Perhaps I'll look into proxy workflows. I've never bothered to try it out before because every other file from every other camera I've edited has played back perfectly fine. Do you have much experience using proxies?
    VIDEO PRODUCER ON THE NSW NORTH COAST, AUSTRALIA
    Sony FS700 || Shogun Inferno
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    #4
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    The problems lies on how bad premiere is handling playback for certain codecs. DJI 4k footage and Sony XAVC H264 on reversed speed always have troubles playback in premiere on my systems.
    Lucky I just switched to Resolve and everything just playback fine without any transcoding.


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    #5
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    +1 to the Resolve answer. No issues at all with Phantom 4 Pro UHD footage. Plays back at full res at 50p no problems. If Premiere has real issues with the native Phantom 4 Pro footage and if you have Resolve just chuck it all on a Resolve timeline where you will have smooth playback for viewing. Just trim the in/out bits you want and just export them under Resolve's 'Deliver' tab using the 'Individual Clips' selection. Choose the export codec of your choice and away you go. I'm on Windoz but if you are on Mac I'm pretty sure you can knock out ProRes files that should work happily in Premiere.

    Chris Young
    Sydney


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    #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ph2003 View Post
    The problems lies on how bad premiere is handling playback for certain codecs.
    Is there something about the DJI footage that makes it different to any other flavour of h.264?
    VIDEO PRODUCER ON THE NSW NORTH COAST, AUSTRALIA
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    #7
    Senior Member TSDavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyvideo View Post
    I'm on Windoz but if you are on Mac I'm pretty sure you can knock out ProRes files that should work happily in Premiere.

    Chris Young
    Sydney
    With the CC2019 you can actually export out prores on windows now. I love resolve and cut in it about 50% of the time but there are definitely some projects that I need premiere for. The proxy workflow in premiere is actually extremely easy. Select the group of files you want to convert, right-click, create proxies, input your settings (I set mine to 720p and tell it to put the proxies next to the original footage). In your program viewer there is a button that will switch between available proxies and original media. Just toggle that on/off as necessary and away you go.


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