Tuesday 26 June 2012

Learning to use Premiere Pro CS5 - 5.5

Adobe provide a number of free learning resources that most users would find helpful and even get you started, if your're a beginner. The CS5 - 5.5 versions are available via Adobe TV They take you from understanding the interface right up to collaborative projects.

Granted they are also trying to sell a brand/product but if you look past the plug some of the hints and tips are very helpful. Adobe TV work along side lynda.com, who create a number of other training materials (at a cost) They do provide examples for their training materials, its worth a look as you may find one you you are looking for... happy learning :)

Monday 18 June 2012

Hydrographic Academy at HE STEM Workforce Development & Employability in the South West Conference


I attended a presentation for the Hydrographic Academy with HE STEM today. It was chaired by Prof Jim Griffiths (Head of the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth) and presented by Dr Richard Thain (soon to be Director, The Hydrographic Academy) His slides are available from the HE STEM site in PowerPoint format.

The rest of the team 'in attendance' were placed on a panel at the front for 20mins to an audience of some 80 persons to help answer any burning questions. It included: Tony Jenks, Luke Denner, Jon Scott and myself. We had a range of questions from student tutoring, support and choice of interface. I think we all did a very good job at answering everything successfully, after all, we know it inside out. We were warmly welcomed by Ruth Waring (HE STEM) thank you Ruth, and delighted at all the positive feedback from others. The Hydrographic Academy has indeed been a lot of hard work from a great team of people and it shows!  

IMG_0022Alison Austin (Placements Officer) and Carolyn Deeming (Schools Liaison Officer) set up the Plymouth University stand with all the Faculty of Science and Technology information and kindly looked after the Hydrographic Academy banner, thank you to them! They chose not to be in the picture... I did try!

The event was situated at Sandy Park grounds in Exeter, this is what it looked like outside the venue!  The team even had the opportunity to briefly sit in the padded executive chairs at the top shown in the right of the picture (below) during lunch, just a shame there was no game at the time ;-)


A big thank to all the other presenters and everyone involved in making this a very enjoyable event.  I think this was a superb and fitting finally to our work with HE STEM (South West) region and we were all very pleased to share our knowledge and experiences.  

P.S....not quite finished with HE STEM...the Academy will also be presenting in the final HE STEM conference in Birmingham later this year.

Friday 15 June 2012

Mercury playback engine and NVidia cards: any difference?

I did a little test a few months back and I finally had time to upload my findings. I was asked by some colleagues if the Mercury Playback Engine utilised in NVidia graphics cards for users of Adobe Premiere CS5 or greater was actually a feature worth its money? I performed a very basic test, placing around 2.5 hours of footage from a Canon 550D camera in full HD format and with a lot of editing to boot. I thought it would be useful to test how much time it saved rendering out the footage, either with or without the engine.


The screenshot above shows both GPU-Z and task manager running with the Mercury switched off. The results are typically what I would expect, in relation to this much footage, 8 hours for a render WITHOUT mercury. In contrast it's less than 2 hours with mercury enabled (screenshot below), giving the user headroom to do other things and also get some more time to do other video projects!

Without GPU the main CPU cores are maxed out and the computer is stuttering, it was actually difficult checking email let alone anything else (not great for workflow). With Mercury enabled (GPU), smooth and sweet and only ~75% on all cores – 42% on GPU. It also uses a bit more ram in the process – understandably (12Gb is recommended).

As an observation (not tested in this case) I generally find that with mercury enabled, editing is wonderful, it's only 'ok' without… Users should note that only certain video effects (that can be applied to clips) are optimised for the Mercury engine, if you want a speedy editing experience, try sticking to the basic ones first (see the video from Adobe below).

Ill also add that where video has been imported in from After Affects it reverts back to processor driven encoding, have not done any real tests, but if others have I would be interested to hear their experiences particularily involving After Effects and Premiere Pro.  Notably, this adobe article explains that After Effects is multi-threaded and only a few 3rd party plug-ins work with CUDA, so After Effects people will have to stick to long renders, and big CPUs rather than GPUs for the moment.

Mercury Playback engine performance on:  i7 Viglen (Windows 7 64bit pro) with 16Gb ram, an Nvida Quadro 4000 2Gb graphics card, with 2x2 Terrabyte 7200 rpm 6Gb/s drives. Premiere Pro CS5.5 Canon 550D full HD footage.