Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video How do I choose the right sequence settings?, part of Premiere Pro: Frequently Asked Questions (2011).
Frequently asked question about Premier Pro. How do I choose the right Sequence Settings? I'm going to start by creating a new project. File > New > Project. And here in the New Project Dialog Box I'm going to go ahead and just click OK, and here. We see the new sequence style of box. This is a very intimidating dialog box, there's a lot going on a lot of text to read. Especially to a beginner, this can be quite overwhelming.
Especially when you see all of various settings here. So here's the first tip, ignore this dialog box, just cancel right past it. There, wasn't that easy? Normally when your doing your editing, you're going to want to make your sequence match the settings of your primary footage type. Now the reason that I specify primary footage type, is that you'll often be mixing and matching assets of various types in the same sequence. And you can do that just fine in Premiere Pro.
But things get a little bit more processor intensive. And put a little bit more burden on the GPU when you have to convert between various media types within a sequence, and so you get the best results if you, at least, start out with a sequence that matches your footage. Let's see how that's done. First, I'll import a footage item. I'll just bring in a Quicktime movie here and here we see some characteristics of our movie. And it's 1920 by1080 with a 1.0, meaning square, pixel aspect ratio it's at 23.976 frames per second.
And we can see even more information about here, in Properties. What you might be tempted to do is to go into File > New > Sequence, and then, try to create a sequence that matches the settings in this item. And if you know exactly what you're doing, if you already know the Sequence settings and how they work and what the characteristics of your footage item are, you can do that, no problem. In fact, that's what many professionals choose to do just to make sure that they get everything exactly right.
But you can take a shortcut. You can either drag the footage item down to the new item icon and just drop it in, or you can right-click on a footage item, and Choose New sequence from clip, or you can Choose File > New > Sequence from clip. So, we drive that down to the new item icon.
And here we have a sequence that matches the characteristics a footage item. Let's look at the Sequence settings. First, select the sequence. Look at the Sequence settings, and we can see that the frame size is 1920 by 1080. By the way, these items are grayed out, because once you've set up a sequence, you can't change these. Pixel aspect ratio 1.0, matching there 48000 hertz for sample rate, so basically we have the sequence that's all set up and ready to go for us. So why is it important to set up a sequence, so that the sequence headings match the settings of the footage item? Well, one clue is this yellow bar here. The yellow bar basically says that Premiere Pro thinks that it will be able to play this back in real time without you needing to create a Rendered Preview file first.
Now let's create a sequence that has settings that don't match the footage item. So File > New > Sequence, and I'll pick a, a nearly random sequence preset, just one that I know doesn't match. And then I will drag the clip down into that. In project settings, I'm going to make sure that I have Mercury Playback Engine Software Only set. Reason for that will be clear in a moment.
So, we have our first sequence that matches. And it has a yellow bar. There are second sequence that doesn't match and it has a red bar. Let's see the ways in which this doesn't match. First of all, sequence, Sequence settings. We can see that its frame rate is 25 frames per second instead of 23.976. That's the big difference here. That's the one that's causing that red bar.
Premiere Pro, in order to create 25 frames per second within the sequence, is having to take the 23.976 frames per second that it has from the footage item, and interpolate between them. It can do that, but it takes some processing power. It's telling us with the red bar. It's probably not going to be able to play the sequence back in real time, unless it renders a preview file first. It may, but it probably won't. Now, the reason that I had to turn Mercury Playback Engine GPU acceleration off which I will turn back on now. Is that Kudda excelerates that frame rate change, and so now with the GPO acceleration on, Premiere Pro thinks that it's going to be able to play this back in real time without rendering a preview file first and the same for the one that matches.
So, though it is still important to match your Sequence settings. Two, the settings would be footage items. It's a little less important, and Premiere Pro CS5.5, then it wasn't previous versions. You should still do it, but you won't quite as often you get the same sort of stuttery playback, that you've gotten in the past when you didn't manage to match your sequence settings to your footage item settings. So, in addition to somewhat stuttery playback, sometimes, other problems you can get when you don't match your Sequence settings to your footage item settings, have to do with scaling. If you have a footage item that doesn't match your sequence, because the footage item is smaller it's frame dimensions are smaller.
Then when you fill the sequence frame with the footage item, a little bit of scaling is involved. And with scaling tends to come softening of the image. The same thing applies to pixel aspect ratio conversions, which are essentially a type of scaling. So, if you have a somewhat soft image or if your image is stuttering on playback, it might be because you're working in a sequence that doesn't match your footage item settings.
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