[RESOLVED] Transcoding making things worse?

CleverTaglineCleverTagline ModeratorLas Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,029 Ambassador

After seeing a lot of the helpful tips shared by @Triem23 regarding the benefits of transcoding footage before editing, I decided to give it a go with my next HitFilm Quick Tip project.  Let's just say that things aren't going nearly as smoothly as I expected.

After recording the screen capture video (just shy of 20 minutes long) using Quicktime , I ended up with a 488MB MOV file with H.264 encoding. I decided to use HitFilm to transcode that to ProRes 422, which gave me a 17GB file.  I've only got 8GB of RAM in this Mac Mini, but HitFilm Express 2017 didn't appear (initially) to choke after importing the video file -- it was playing and scrubbing the video without a single hiccup -- so I thought it wouldn't be a problem.  And then the freezing began.

Not five minutes into editing, HitFilm froze.  I thought it might've been a fluke, so I forced it to shut down, restarted it, opened my project again, and kept going.  Again, it froze after about five minutes, and all I'm doing is scrubbing, trimming, and dragging clips on the editor timeline.  Nothing fancy.

I thought that a reboot might help, so I did that.  Same thing.

Should I ditch the transcoded file and just edit with my original footage, even though it's not in an editing-optimized format?


  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    If the performance is acceptable to you and there aren't any other potential issues, go ahead and work with the original footage. 

    One potential issue is screen capture footage generally has a variable frame rate. HitFilm 2017 now supports VFR clips but it's a new feature and there may still be some issues. 

    Beyond that I have had problems converting VFR clips to ProRes in the past that caused weird lockups but this happened on Windows so I'm not sure you would see the same thing on a Mac. 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,227 Ambassador

    What software are you transcoding with, and does it let you set in/out points on the file you're transcoding? 

    If yes, I'd add a step in transcode to split this video into three or four segments. 

    Film/TV work generates lots of small shots (usually), so each individual file stays reasonably small. 

    Screencaps (especially gaming videos) can generate ridiculously huge files. Now a 17 GB file is probably alright for playback--the player streams frames and drops them--but editing... Takes up more overhead. Any NLE will deal better with multiple smaller files than one huge one. I still try to break long videos into roughly 4GB segments at most. Smoother performance. 

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,029 Ambassador

    As I indicated above, I just used HitFilm itself to transcode.

    While testing the edit using the original captured footage, it's doing pretty much the same thing.  I might get an extra minute or two of editing compared to using the ProRes file, but it's still only letting me work so long before it freezes, so maybe ProRes isn't the problem after all.

    Going off your final comment, maybe this is an issue stemming from using a single long file vs several shorter ones.  I didn't have this problem at all with my first Quick Tip project. My captured footage was shorter for that one -- 4 minutes unedited vs today's 20 minute session -- so maybe short lengths are the key.

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,029 Ambassador

    Using shorter files did indeed solve the problem.  Once I replaced the single long file with five short ones (ProRes), I only had one freeze during the rest of the editing process.  Thanks, Mike!

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