September 5, 2014 at 7:09AM


Creating DNxHD master for later exports? Is this any good?

I usally need to encode in several different formats/codecs my Adobe Premiere projects: they usually have lots of effects (AE Dynamic linking and Color Grading), so having to export the same projects for DVD, Blu-Ray, H264 720p, H264 1080p, H264 1080p CBR and VBR, and so on can be a real pain.

Is it a pro / viable solution to export a DNxHD master for future conversions/encodings?
Whill the quality be far worse than if i'd export from the Premiere Project?


Yes. Exporting a Master DNxHD or PRORES version is always a perfect way to make future "Deliverables." The quality will only be worse if you export the Master in the wrong codec and settings. Usually my preferred Master export is as much an Uncompressed version as possible. Then from that I can make all the Compressed versions.

What especially works well is to have a single drive for Master Exports. This way you don't have to plug in each individual project drive every time. My suggestion is organize the drive by years so that you know that if you had a project from 2012 that you need to make a new Web H.264 for someone then you go to the Exports Drive, go to 2012, and then the Master should be there in either that directory or a director for that project. Your choice on how you organize, but make sure it's organized.

September 5, 2014 at 7:57AM, Edited September 5, 7:57AM

Tim Buttner
Multi-Media Expert (writer, director, producer, D.O.P., etc)

Good idea on the single drive for masters idea. Gonna adopt that one.

Shawn C

October 29, 2014 at 10:37AM

Creating a high quality master at the end of any project makes sense for future conversion of the file without needing to edit. Much, much easier than opening the project, relinking media, etc., which is further complicated when you add Dynamic Link to the mix.

Whether it's a ProRes or DNxHD, both are a great solution. Just output at the highest necessary bit-rate, color depth, etc. and it won't be any worse quality than going from the Premiere Project.

September 5, 2014 at 8:20AM

David S.

Absolutely, not only is it viable, but I would encourage you to do so. Dynamic Link is convenient, but if you have anything in the project that is render intensive, then you are wasting time re-rendering the same thing for every deliverable you have to create.

The bigger benefit is that this is a great way to have an "archival" version for the future. Today you may be using Premiere, next year you may be using FCP X. Or you may stop using a plugin that the current project uses. Or you may encounter re-linking errors down the road for any myriad of reasons. As long as you don't need to re-edit anything, the master will avoid all the above issues.

We prefer to use ProRes 4444 since it is visually lossless. I've found that higher compression options (422 HQ, 422, etc.) sometimes doesn't handle grain and shadow noise as well. We chose ProRes over DNxHD because it is far more ubiquitous, and it has less generational loss.

September 5, 2014 at 8:46PM

Oliver Peng

Hey Oliver, have you had a chance to compare Cineform as a master format? If so, what are your thoughts?

Shawn C

October 29, 2014 at 10:39AM

Just a small addendum: the technical quality required for a good master depends, of course, on the technical quality of your base material. If you start with RAW of any sort, or ProRes 4444 out of an Alexa or the like, you don't want to go below ProRes 4444 for the master. If however you're mainly shooting DSLRs or even something like a C300, ProRes 422(HQ) or even plain 422 will suffice, even if you decided to make a theatrical P3 DCP version down the line (since ProRes 422 doesn't take anything away from H.264 material to begin with; it's like pouring a cup of water into a bathtub, you can't really spill any).

However, If you have a lot of graphics or animation in the project, I'd go for a higher quality of master, regardless of the acquisition codec used.

September 6, 2014 at 8:25PM


Consider exporting Quicktime with split audio tracks, keeping music on a separate track from the voiceover or nat sound. Doing this ensures that you can replace music or pull out segments easily later without resorting to the original Premiere project.

In Premiere:

November 29, 2014 at 2:18AM

Sathya Vijayendran

This is so right!

Giacomo Fabbrocino

June 4, 2015 at 7:53AM, Edited June 4, 7:53AM

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