Christmas updates for Premiere, and 360 interactive video in Stornaway

The new release of Adobe Video apps has dropped in time for Christmas. I’ve been too busy working on my interactive video platform (check it out!) to update here for the last couple of years, but I thought I’d start updating here again because I saw the new features are things I’ve wanted while working on videos in the last month. Even though they’re not huge features, they make me happy.

Let me draw heavily on a post by Eric Philpott at Adobe on LinkedIn with some of my own comments.

The December release of the Creative Cloud video applications adds really useful and long awaited text and shape tools in Premiere Pro and innovations that fast-track puppet design and animation in Adobe Character Animator – also long awaited (for me, anyway). Plus performance improvements for Apple silicon & Windows machines with integrated GPUs.

First, the text & shapes in Premiere

Search and replace text across all graphics & titles & transcripts – spell check – shapes with rounded corners (hallelujah – crazy how long these have taken to come to Premiere!)

The new titling tools in Premiere & AE

Open the new Text panel to see a running list of all the graphics in your sequence. Use search to find graphics with specific words, use search and replace to update multiple graphics at once, and spell check to catch typos.

A new universal text engine makes it easy to work with different languages and scripts, even within the same graphic. Middle Eastern and South Asian creators using right-to-left scripts now have all the controls they need in the Essential Graphics panel.

This is all stuff that started to be hinted at almost 10 years ago with Story, but never emerged. Glad it’s all here now.

The shape tools have been improved, too, with a new polygon tool and controls for rounded corners. Rounded corners!

Next, Puppet Maker and Transcript Sync in Character Animator

New Puppet Maker is delivering more of the promise that Adobe Animal hinted at years ago – but remained too hard for most people to use. It now lets you create, customize, and animate your own characters in Adobe Character Animator. Previously, you had to first build and rig a layered puppet in Photoshop or Illustrator, or use one of the pre-built puppets in Character Animator. Puppet Maker gives you the immediacy of starting in Character Animator and the freedom to design your own character from a variety of styles, without leaving the application.

Once built, creators can use their web cam or a connected camera to animate their character using their own voice, facial expressions, and body movements. Performance capture provides a highly interactive and efficient workflow for recording and refining animations and Puppet Maker makes this innovative toolset accessible to any content creators who want to incorporate animations in their content, such as social media posts, or characters in explainer videos.

Creating animations with text transcripts 🎉

New Transcript-based Lip Sync allows creators to animate their character’s mouth movements using written scripts or transcriptions, including transcripts generated with Speech to Text in Premiere Pro. Available for English only at the moment – you may have seen that the Adobe Sensei powered Speech to Text has very good accuracy.

Performance improvements for Mac and PC

Adobe says, “Premiere Pro allows users to take advantage of the latest technologies. New hardware acceleration for Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max systems delivers up to 5x faster performance for 4k and 8K ProRes formats. High resolution HEVC formats are also faster on all Apple silicon Macs running macOS 12. Display technology optimizations on Windows systems with integrated GPUs will see playback performance improvements ranging from 5 percent to 40 percent across all formats. Color Match is now 30 percent faster, accelerating shot matching workflows, and two more effects are now GPU-accelerated.”

And not to forget AE

The latest release of After Effects includes the new universal text engine, described above, and the latest version of Cinema 4D Lite with support for the full version of the Maxon Cinema 4D R25.

Finally, Happy Christmas!!

I just made this interactive 360 video Christmas card for all our Stornaway users, using the immersive 360 tools in Premiere, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Hopefully I’ll find time to post the workflow and tips in the New Year. Hope you have a restful break.

Premiere “serious error” export crash caused by Morph Cuts

I hardly ever update here now – my posts have all been on LinkedIn and for a long time (Please follow my new company blog there). But I saw a post today on the LinkedIn Premiere group that I thought I should share. And maybe post here a bit more often. I get so many emails (and work projects) from the Canon XF post that clearly this site is well ranked on Google, and posts here can help more people.

Anyway, the post in question is from Chris Strider in the Premiere group, whose Premiere crashed repeatedly mid-export on a tight deadline (of course) with the helpfully informative error:

“Sorry, a serious error has occurred that requires Adobe Premiere Pro CC to shut down. We will attempt to save your current project.

A horror familiar to anybody who’s ever used any NLE (Non Locatable Errors).

The culprit was a Morph Cut transition, which is something that’s failed for me too. And Chris Hanselaar said in the comments that it happened to him so much he’s stopped using Morph Cut altogether.

Here’s the post – hopefully it’ll remain searchable & findable here for someone tearing their hair out on a deadline. If so, let me know. Meanwhile, join the Adobe Premiere group on LinkedIn.

I came across this issue with Premiere crashing in the middle of an export on a tight deadline with only the crash & error message of:

“Sorry, a serious error has occurred that requires Adobe Premiere Pro CC to shut down. We will attempt to save your current project.”

Answer: After hours of troubleshooting, finally found the culprit to be a Morph Cut between two clips in my sequence. Once removing that Morph Cut, the export was quick and successful.

Wanted to share this info to help those who have before or may run into this issue in the future. The culprit could be a Morph Cut or some other sort of transition. Hope this helps!

#premiere #adobe #troubleshooting #creativity #videoeditor #video

Canon XF C300 XF305 Folder Structure and File Naming Explained

This is a post explaining the Canon XF folder structure that’s used by Canon professional video cameras, principally the XF305 and C300 (there may be others).

Some of this relates to Premiere, and how it is vital to import Canon XF clips properly using Media Browser (never using File > Import or drag and drop).

But mostly it is about the way the Canon folder structure and file naming works, which is something I learnt a lot about years ago onsite at the BBC, and have been meaning to share ever since.  I’m planning to post about the Sony and Panasonic and Red structures, too.

To be honest, I was always hoping someone else would do it – but nobody ever has.  So either nobody else understands it, or the few of us who do have just been hoping someone else would shoot first.

So, here’s the thing:

Professional cameras record their data onto cards in complex folder structures and files.

From our phones and pocket cameras, we’re used to video clips being recorded as single .MOV or .MP4 files which you can copy off and view and edit just by themselves.

This is not the case with video clips recorded by professional Canon, Sony, Panasonic and Red cameras.

This is for various reasons to do with large data rates, card file systems and stupid design by engineers who don’t have to use what they make.

Worse still, there’s a different complex folder and file structure for every camera manufacturer.  Multiple different proprietary standards.


You don’t get this kind of bullshit with a consumer product.  Consumers wouldn’t put up with it.  They shoot a clip, they want a single file for that clip copied to their computer, end of story.

But in this niche, we have to use what we’re given, and there aren’t enough of us to complain about it; still fewer who understand it enough to point out authoritatively how ridiculous it is.

So it continues, and people like us have to suck it up and make it work, even though it costs the production industry millions of hours and dollars in postproduction wastage every year.

And as I start to write this, I’m realising that – because of this insanity – I now have to actually describe what the word “Clip” is going to mean in this post, to avoid confusion.

When I’m talking about a Clip here, I’m talking about the bit of video and audio that the cameraperson recorded between the moment they pressed Record and the moment they pressed stop.

You’d think that this was a perfectly obvious statement – but unfortunately, over in the professional camera dimension, “Clip” is not a single file.

Yes, I guess probably the most important thing to know about a professional camera card format is:
There can be many files and folders that make up a single Clip.  

In Canon XF cameras, a clip is not just made up of a video/audio file, it’s also made up of a stack of metadata files, in a complex nested folder structure that must be retained intact for editing & media applications to be able to read it properly.

And worse, if a single clip is recorded for longer than 5 minutes 15 seconds, even just the video/audio part of it will not be made up of one file – it will start to be made up of several separate consecutive video/audio files.

And the problem is that if you don’t have all the right elements in exactly the right place in relation to each other, the card isn’t readable/mountable by any media software, including Premiere.  Your cards will no longer work the way they’re supposed to.  You won’t be able to view or import your clips.
So a 64GB card can’t be broken up into its constituent elements.  It has to remain a 64GB card.

As I said, this madness is not just Canon’s.  All the others have their own version of it.
In Panasonic P2 cards, they separate video and audio into separate folders; and then for good measure, they create separate audio files for every channel!
In Red, they split up a single clip into several consecutive video files, with a metadata file alongside.
In Sony, there’s a single video/audio file for each clip (hurray!), but it’s hidden among a forest of metadata files on several levels (boo!).

I’ve been having to explain all this recently to a MAM (Media Asset Management) system manufacturer, whom one of our clients wanted to be able to ingest professional video camera card folder structures, and it reminded me that this information is still just NOT OUT THERE.

Even Canon’s own Canon Professional Network site doesn’t contain it in their special education section – just info about their other less complex formats.  I raised it with a few people on their side years ago and tried to get more details direct from engineers, but with no luck.  In the end, I could figure most of it out myself, guessing at the purpose of one or two obscurely coded metadata files.

I had to do this because I was supporting the ingest of thousands of hours worth of footage, and was trying to build a script that would let us separate out individual clips, rename them, archive them individually, and then recombine them back into a single card.  It was important to try and save money and time in the archiving and restoring of petabytes of data. (See bottom)

After figuring out how all the formats work, I made my script work.  But of course, we then couldn’t roll it out as a supported application at the large media companies we support, in case I got hit by a car and nobody else knew how to support it in future.  It was not fundable, and too complicated.  If you’re interested in it, let me know.

But anyway, for those of you who are in the same position as I was, trying to figure out how a Canon XF card works and how to reconstruct it in order to support post production or fix a problem, this is how it works:

(I’d go and get a cup of tea, if I were you – we’re going to be here a while, and it’s not going to be much fun.)

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NVIDIA CUDA Premiere plugins and effects broken by Windows 10 update

From Stan Arthur on the LinkedIn Premiere Pro group yesterday (28 Sept 2016):

If you find that your Windows 10 updated itself over-night, chances are that it broke your Nvidia driver in ways that could render certain effects and plug-ins useless. I used the GeForce Experience app, the custom install tab and did a clean install. It worked.

Download the GeForce Experience App here, and change your Microsoft auto-update settings.

Premiere slow, laggy, sluggish? Call the Doctor

Over the past few years, the most common complaint about Premiere in long form TV edits (all on Mac) has been that it would get slower as the day went on – or even grind to a halt.

Sometimes Premiere takes longer than it should to respond to commands; sometimes the video in the timeline is slow to playback or stutters; sometimes it just hangs, beachballing.

This has got a lot better in recent releases, and was worse back when we were supporting clients using CC 2014 and below on pre-dustbin Mac Pros with older OS’s.  And it was particularly apparent on multicamera sequences.

In an important exec viewing, doing nothing but playing back video, an editor would only be able to get 30 minutes through playing a sequence before the system started dropping frames and losing sync because it had run out of memory.
And that would be on a hefty 12 core Mac Pro 5,1 with K5000 card and 48GB RAM.

At Support Partners, we’ve seen a big drop-off in reports of this now that our clients have been able to invest in newer software and hardware, but it can still happen – so it’s worth knowing why it happens and what you can do.

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3 free Adobe Premiere support tools you should be using (if you have Macs)

At my work, we do a lot of Adobe Premiere support for broadcast, news and corporate in-house teams; running big shared storage networks, with a mix of Macs and PCs (mostly Macs) – configuring the networks for performance, defining workflows, and helping the creative teams use Premiere, After Effects, etc.

Collectively, there are hundreds of users and machines pushing the technology hard with Petabytes of raw footage, and they all need support for tight deadlines – their systems have to be set up in a consistent way, cleared down, and issues resolved as soon as humanly possible.

There are three tools that we use regularly to make this easier

1. Preference Manager – Mac OS X – free

The key to a long and happy life in editing support is to manage everyone’s preferences.

You need to keep them consistent, clear them up after someone’s messed with them, and trash them when the system goes insane.

I know that Creative Cloud lets you share and clean up preferences, but it does it in a really unhelpful way – it’s like the sponge that the ancient Romans used to share in their communal toilets.

To be totally sure that you’re getting a proper clean set every time, you need Preference Manager.

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Premiere Pro Support

I started this blog in 2011, when I first became an Adobe Certified Expert in Premiere. That was back when it was CS5.5, and we were the first people using it on shared storage at the Beeb, and thinking about doing the first broadcast edits on it. There was SO MUCH to figure out.

But despite everything we learnt about using Premiere in broadcast workflows, and defining best practice for shared storage in all kinds of in-house environments (from television and newspapers, to advertising and corporate clients), I rarely shared any of it here. All my energy went into making stuff work for our clients and talking to the Premiere team about bugs and improvements. I just forgot about putting it here.

Recently when I’ve been sharing hints and tips with people at work, I’ve started thinking about this site again. It seems a shame not to use it. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to the wider community, by sharing the amazing amount of knowledge we have both within SP and among our clients. We are the most experienced people in the world with using Premiere professionally; it seems such a terrible waste that other people are having to learn the same things separately.

Everything that I did put on here previously is now irrelevant, because of the amount of change between previous versions and now (CC2015.4), so I’ve nuked the entire site from orbit.


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