July 2, 2017 at 8:28AM


What is the best process to export a master in Premiere Pro?


So I seem to be in an odd situation. I am shooting and editing a feature film (60+ minutes). I have shot some footage straight off of the Canon C100 Mark II (mp4). I have also used the Atomos Ninja Blade with ProRes HQ (mov).

Meaning, in my sequence for this film I have 2 different codecs. Note: I did not convert them to the same codec, which maybe I should be doing? Possibly using Cineform? Not sure if this is necessary. Would need some answers there.

Moving on. If I am not going to convert both to the same codec: What is the best way to export this film? Is it ProRes, Cineform, H264?

I have tried exporting with Cineform YUV 10 Bit at Quality 4. However the file size is over 50gb. I need to be able to release it online, burn to Blu-Rays and put on external hard drives (or USB sticks).

That kind of file size is ALOT to upload online, too big for Blu-Rays and when I plug my hard drive into a TV, Xbox or Blu-Ray player the codec is not recognisable and I am unable to watch the film back.

I am not sure what the best encoding format is either. YUV 4:2:2, RGB 4:4:4?

H.264 doesn't look so good. There are lots of artifacts (I believe that's what they're called) in the image. I am using a 35mm film grain overlay. So the kind of compression on H.264 makes it almost look smudgy (especially when uploading online).

I am not sure what to do. Should Cineform with the AVI wrapper (instead of MOV) be a smaller file size and be recognisable by whatever I am plugging the hard drive into?

What quality should I be using? Film Scan 1, 2? Should I remove the film grain overlay if I am using film scan? (As I hear whispers that film scan adds some film grain).

I have been struggling with this for a while now and I could really use some help.

I need as little compression as possible (so my grain can still look professional), a small enough file size to fit on Blu-Rays (under 50gb) and a wrapper that most devices can recognise.

I hope I have provided enough information. Thank you so much in advance!



Step one: you have to understand the difference between still images (which you can pixel-peep) and video (which activates the persistence of vision system in the brain). It's a nightmare trying to get to good video by looking too closely at the pixels of each frame.

Step two: you have to understand the limits of your video bandwidth budget. A 60 minute film with decent resolution and color is going to be large. But its not going to look great unless your source material looks even better than great. The videos we see on Netflix and Amazon Prime survive massive compression because the start out with super-clean video with data rates up to 300MB/sec. Note that is bytes ot bits. That's a much higher data rate than your C100. When you feed somewhat compressed video into yet more compression, you get artifacts. Film grain-if you are going to see it-takes another huge chunk of your bandwidth budget. You should experiment with your bandwidth budget to learn how much bandwitdth you need to get the video (not the stills) looking the way you want.

There is nothing wrong with having two, or twenty, codecs in your PPro timeline. But if one of those codecs clashes with the quality goals of your delivery plans, you need to reevaluate your source or destination parameters.

July 2, 2017 at 2:09PM

You voted '-1'.

"I have shot some footage straight off of the Canon C100 Mark II (mp4). I have also used the Atomos Ninja Blade with ProRes HQ (mov). Meaning, in my sequence for this film I have 2 different codecs."

With one of them being MP4, how? Premiere doesn't accept mp4 files on its timeline, you have to convert them to something different first. Or has this changed with the latest version of premiere?

July 4, 2017 at 9:17AM

Reggie Brown

Of course Premiere accepts mp4 files on its timeline. It has for many years.

Elliot Kramer

July 4, 2017 at 1:56PM

How? Because I've NEVER been able to do it. And avoiding to this article and many other articles the mp4's have to be converted to a different format first. If you have some other way of doing it please share.


Reggie Brown

July 15, 2017 at 4:53PM

First post here. I should mention I am a director with a VFX background, so whilst I know about codecs not an expert in finishing and archival.

However, a master is the best possible copy of your final film from which all others are made. For shorts, for me this usually means Prores 444 HQ - does the job for a 2k copy if shot on a compressed format.

Once you've done your first high quality render to a lossless format, multiple compressed renders can then be done much quicker.

For a feature film at Hollywood level, it might be a 10bit DPX sequence or 16 bit EXR (massive file sizes for an entire film).

Bearing in mind a DCP print for cinema is essentially just a JPEG 2000 sequence averaging about 1.3 mb/frame @ 2k (from memory).

For your purposes I would recommend considering rendering to H.264 with a data rate around 10mb/s - because Blu-rays tend to be rendered to this wrapper. I have had some success with Prores LT which is a very efficient but high quality format. I would recommend several renders; one for saving your work for future prints and one for the purpose of your Blu-ray master. A web render is going to need to be even more compressed.

Depending on your Blu-ray software, I believe its possible to give it a file and tell it to encode and fit it to the disc. This will be easier if you render your film out in scenes rather than one massive file.

Hope it helps,


July 5, 2017 at 7:15AM

Luke Armstrong

Just export as a ProRes422(HQ) or a DNxHD 175x.

I always master as PRHQ unless the source material's bit rate is greater than a PRHQ. For that, I usually default to using a PRXQ or a DPX sequence.

July 5, 2017 at 9:30AM, Edited July 5, 9:30AM

Alex Alva

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