Problems with Premiere Pro CS6 and Super-whites not so super in FCPX

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Paul Joy “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.

http://www.pauljoy.com

HDW : Paul is finding out what I already new, that Premiere Pro CS6 was not without it’s problems, I was put off by my early adoption and tinkering with CS6 it was not as stable as 5.5 so I stuck with FCP-7 and started using FCPX.

I had a duff AJA io HD and AJA to my delight swapped out my io HD, this gives me two monitoring options, one for my old faithful FCP-7 and one for FCPX using the Matrox MX02 Max.”

FCPX seems to handle super whites with less tolerance than FCP-7, it’s the modern gamma curves, Matt Davis explains…

Super-whites are a quick way of getting extra latitude and preventing the video tell-tale of burned out highlights by allowing brighter shades to be recorded over the ‘legal’ 100% of traditional video. However, it’s come to my attention that some folk may not be reaping the advantages of superwhites – or even finding footage is ‘blown out’ in the highlights where the cameraman is adamant that zebras said it was fine.

So, we have a scale where 0% is black, and 100% is white. 8 bit video assigns numbers to brightness levels, but contains wriggle room, so if you have the Magic Numbers of Computing 0-255, you’d assume black starts at 0, and white ends up at 255. Alas not. Black starts at 16, and white ends at 235. Super whites use the extra room from 235 to 255 to squeeze in a little more latitude which is great.

But that’s on the camera media. Once you get into the edit software, you need to make sure you obey the 100% white law. And that’s where things go a bit pear shaped.

http://mattdavis.wordpress.com

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3 comments on this post

  1. Brendan Deere says:

    Is this a problem for mac users only or are MS window users suffering the same?

  2. Just a few notes. Depending on the gamma curve being used recording to 109% does not always add dynamic range or latitude. For example Sony’s Cinegamma 1 records to 109% (data bits 16 to 255) while Cinegamma 2 is broadcast safe at 100% (data bits 16 to 235). The cinegamma 2 curve is the same as the cinegamma 1 curve except the same dynamic range is mapped to a few less data bits. THe dynamic range and latitude are the same. So if your having issues with clipped whites you should consider simply using a broadcast safe gamma curve or setting the knee in the camera to reduce your peak white level.

  3. Alf says:

    I have not experienced these problems with Windows 7 & cs 6. I also have a Mac Pro with fcp studio and a Macbook pro i have used prior to Cs 5.5. I think many of the issues are mac OS related. I have moved my workflow to Windows and am very pleases for now.

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