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Premiere Pro CC 2018: Performance improvements for RED footage in version 12.1.2?

Written on August 1, 2018 by Matt Bach


Among the updates notes for Adobe Premiere Pro CC July 2018 (version 12.1.2) was a small note of "Performance improvements for decoding RED Camera Formats". With the limited information available in these release notes, it is hard to know if this is a dramatic improvement or simply a minor optimization that won't actually have an effect on most users. To find out, we decided to do some testing to compare the new version 12.1.2 again 12.1.1 to see just how much better performance we can get with RED footage.

If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark result/analysis sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion section.

Test Setup & Methodology

For this testing, we will be using the following hardware and software:

Test Hardware
Motherboard: Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
CPU: Intel Core i9 7940X 3.1GHz
(4.3/4.4GHz Turbo) 14 Core
RAM: 8x DDR4-2666 16GB
(128GB total)
Hard Drive: Samsung 960 Pro 1TB M.2 PCI-E x4 NVMe SSD
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Software: Premiere Pro CC 2018 (Ver. 12.1.1 & 12.1.2)

This configuration is among the best you can currently get for Premiere Pro which should give us the best chance to see just how much faster the latest version of Premiere Pro is with RED footage. To find out, we ran an abbreviated version of our full Premiere Pro CC testing and focused solely on 4K, 6K, and 8K RED footage:

Codec Resolution FPS Camera Clip Name Source
RED 4096x2304
29.97 FPS RED ONE MYSTERIUM A004_C186_011278_001 RED
Sample R3D Files
RED 6144x3077
23.976 FPS WEAPON 6K S005_L001_0220LI_001 RED
Sample R3D Files
RED 8192x4320
25 FPS WEAPON 8K S35 B001_C096_0902AP_001 RED
Sample R3D Files

Rather than just timing a simple export and calling it a day, we decided to create six different timelines for each codec that represent a variety of different type of workloads. For each of these timelines we tested both Live Playback performance in the program monitor as well as exporting via AME with the "H.264 - High Quality 2160p 4K" and "DNxHR HQ UHD" (matching media FPS) presets.

Lumetri Color

Heavy Transitions

Heavy Effects

4 Track Picture in Picture

4 Track MultiCam

4 Track Heavy Trimming

Live Playback - Raw Benchmark Results

AME Export - Raw Benchmark Results

Export with "H.264 - High Quality 2160P 4K" Preset

Export with "DNxHR HQ UHD" (matching media FPS) Preset


In most of our articles, we would examine all our results closely to pull out the different trends and interesting data points. However, for this we decided to forego our extensive analysis because the results are very straight forward:

Premiere Pro CC 2016 Ver 12.1.2 REF Footage Performance
Overall, we saw only a few percent different in all our tests with RED footage which is within our margin of error for this kind of testing. For Live Playback, we did see slightly better performance with 8K RED footage at half playback resolution, but for 4K, 6K, and 8K at full resolution it was actually slightly worse. Similarly, for our AME Export testing we saw the same or slightly worse performance with 4K and 6K RED footage, but a small performance gain with 8K RED footage.

From what we can tell, there certainly has been some very minor improvements made to Premiere Pro, but you likely won't notice a difference unless you use 8K RED footage. For those who use 4K or 6K RED footage, you likely won't notice a difference whatsoever with the 12.1.2 version of Premiere Pro CC 2018.

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Tags: Premiere Pro, 1080Ti, RED, R3D