Archive for the ‘Adobe Media Encoder’ Category

Windows 7 & Mac: Move/Redirect “Documents” (eg to a non-system volume)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Windows 7’s “My Documents” library folder is by default mapped to the system drive, e.g. as [C:\Users\<username>\Documents].  However it is also possible to map it elsewhere, e.g. to another volume.  A broadly equivalent situation exists in Mac OS.  One might for example use this option to move the Documents library/folder to a thumb/flash drive when using several computers (one at a time) or to put it on a non-system drive, e.g. to free up space on the system drive, exclude it from system backups (thus freeing up both space and time) or to put it on something like a server, possibly on “The Cloud”.

I found the following explanation by accident, while attempting to find a way to prevent Adobe Media Encoder (AME) from storing its own “preview files” (sic), which are huge, in a sub-folder of “My Documents”, which itself on typical Windows systems is to be found on the System Drive.  It seems that AME has no Preferences setting to store these preview files elsewhere, so a workaround is needed, e.g. to move the “My Documents” library folder itself to another volume.

    • Windows 7:
    • To redirect a folder to a new location
      • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click your user name.
      • Right-click the folder that you want to redirect, and then click Properties.
      • Click the Location tab, and then click Move.
      • Browse to the location where you want to redirect this folder. You can select another location on this computer, another drive attached to this computer, or another computer on the network. To find a network location, type two backslashes (\\) into the address bar followed by the name of the location where you want to redirect the folder (for example, \\mylaptop), and then press Enter.
      • Click the folder where you want to store the files, click Select Folder, and then click OK.
      • In the dialog that appears, click Yes to move all the files to the new location.
    • Mac OS (Mavericks & previous):
    • To restore a folder to its original location
      • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click your user name.
      • Right-click the folder that you previously redirected and want to restore to its original location, and then click Properties.
      • Click the Location tab, click Restore Default, and then click OK.
      • Click Yes to recreate the original folder, and then click Yes again to move all the files back to the original folder.
    • (Ignore the initial links, which are merely about changing names, e.g. when migrating a laptop from one person to another)
    • John Galt, 25-Oct-2013
      • The procedure was unchanged in Mavericks from previous OS X versions.
      • What I did was create a new User in System Preferences, after which I logged out and logged in to that new User.
      • I performed basic configuration, created some documents, etc.
      • After that I logged out, logged in under my usual account, and dragged that User’s folder to another volume.
      • Then, I used Users & Groups “Advanced Options” to point to the new Home folder’s location.
      • After that, I restarted the Mac using OS X Recovery to reset that user’s Home Folder Permissions and ACLs since permissions problems with the copied Home folder would otherwise result.
      • After quitting OS X Recovery I was able to log in to the User account established on the USB flash drive, and was able to use it more or less the same way without any surprises. Safari, iTunes, iPhoto all worked, no problems.
      • The original User account (home folder) remained on the boot volume, so I dragged it to the Trash. I verified that I could still log in to the account on the flash drive, confirming the one created on the boot volume was no longer required.
      • Attempting to log in to the account with the flash drive disconnected resulted in an expected error (below) and obviously you wouldn’t want to do that while using the account.
      • Reconnecting the flash drive restored the ability to log in as expected.

Adobe Premiere: Unable to Export: “Reading XMP”

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

An existing project, just a 3-minute multi-angle (single camera) dramatic scene, used to export without problems, but following just the addition of some audio clips (as “patches” on additional tracks), export stalled on “Reading XMP”.

Previously in this project, when it still exported ok, there was an audio glitch which only happened when a crossfade transition was applied to the beginning of an isolated audio clip (to make it fade-in).  In this case the clip was for a short sound effect.  The glitch sounded like a woodpecker.  Removing the transition removed the “woodpecker”.  The reason I attempted that was that I had encountered transition-triggered audio issues in the past (on other projects, Adobe versions and machines).  It seems that Premiere gets confused/over-complicated over audio especially in the context of nested sequences.  That is a real pain, because nested sequences are really useful and I structure most of my projects that way.

Adobe Premiere seems to have some vulnerabilities with respect to audio and/or nested sequences, and these vulnerabilities seem to have been around for years.   Others have encountered similar or related issues, as listed below:

  • Google:[“reading xmp”]
      • Unable to Export a very important project.. “Reading XMP”
      • This has also happened to me but for a :60 spot. My workaround is just exporting right out of Premiere Pro and not going to AME. It worked fine for me.

Adobe CC: Speech-to-Text: Language Modules

Sunday, February 9th, 2014


Adobe Premiere has a speech-to-text translator, as part of its content-analysis capability.  At best it is 80% or so correct in its interpretations, though in my experience only 20-30% reliable.  But to optimize its chances, one must select the (spoken) language appropriate to the media (content) being analyzed.  But by default, only one language, US-English is available.  So how do you get further options?


  • By default, the only language model (sic) installed is that for US-English.
  • Optionally, one can download (free) Installers for other language modules.
  • One can download the installer for International English language models (sic), from
    • These English-language models include: Australian, British, Canadian.
  • Run the Installer
    • Although intended for both CCand CS6,  it only installs to [C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\SpeechAnalysisModels\CS6]
  • Manually copy content from [C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\SpeechAnalysisModels\CS6]
    to [C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\SpeechAnalysisModels\4.0]

    • (sic)
  • Likewise, for Mac OS:
    • Copy all content of [/Library/Application Support/Adobe/SpeechAnalysisModels/CS6
    • to [/Library/Application Support/Adobe/SpeechAnalysisModels/4.0]
  • Incidentally, it is possible to inject (eg via C++ code) a text script directly into XMP metadata
    • See Details for a link and example code.


YouTube Upload Formats: “That Old Chestnut”

Friday, September 6th, 2013


When uploading to  YouTube (or Vimeo or indeed most online video services), the uploaded video need not be in the format that will ultimately be served to the audience. Instead, it is essentially in an an archive role, and based on this archive, the services will (now and/or in the future) encode their own copies at various resolutions.   The uploaded “archive” should therefore be of the best quality, and is not constrained to be in a format that plays well on most target devices.

YouTube defines two upload-formats: Standard (for typical enthusiast videos) and Enterprise (for serious matter such as movies or corporate productions).  A 5-minute video in Standard format may be about 350 MB while in Enterprise format it may be around 2GB.  So for practical purposes, Enterprise format requires an Enterprise internet-connection.

  • Standard-Level Encoding:
    • YouTube gave good results when the video was uploaded in H264 at 8 mean 16 max Mbps.
      • I (currently) believe this is a good practical upload-format to use in most cases.
        • It has given good results for general scenes (in the experience of others as well as myself).
      • My maximum bitrate (16Mbps) exceeds Adobe’s YouTube 1080 preset, which defines 8Mbps mean=max.
      • However it is way below YouTube’s official (and YouTube-expert-confirmed) advice of 50Mbps (mean=max) for Enterprise-class (productions and internet connections).
        • I wonder whether such high bandwidth is only really of advantage to fast-changing scenes e.g. foamy sea-spray or to future derivation of 4K from it etc.
        • It could presumably be regarded as a useful format for archiving in general, at least where no subsequent significant levels/color manipulation was intended.
    • Poor results were obtained when uploaded (mistakenly) at 720p25 at 5 Mbps (mean=max), especially when played (from YouTube) at lower resolutions, when blocking was apparent.
    • I am not too sure about Adobe Media Encoder’s YouTube 1080 preset, maybe it is slightly under-specified, the audio bitrate as well as the video bitrate.
  • Enterprise-Level Encoding via custom settings in Adobe Media Encoder (version CC of August 2013)
    • These are essentially “BluRay-like” / “Gold Standard” formats, from which YouTube’s servers can derive multiple present-day play-formats.  Their use should also result in good-quality archive material from which, in future, to derive further (as yet uninvented or not-yet-popular) formats.  To “stand the test of time”…
    • Audio 320Kbps
    • Video:
      • Bitrate:
        • 50 Mbps for 1080p (25 fps)
        • 30 Mbps for 720p (25 and 50 fps?)
      • Level:
        • 4.2
          • General H264 advice is use lowest Level that permits (includes as an option) your required bitrate.
          • Level 4.2 additionally has a reasonable number (hence density) of macro-blocks.
      • Mode
        • Mode should be [High] (as opposed to [Baseline] or [Main] ).
          • [High] implies CABAC encoding (which is computationally-intensive but gives superior-quality results) and two B-frames.
            • These are both requirements for Enterprise-class YouTube uploads.
        • We are essentially uploading an archive format as opposed to playable, so we don’t care how computationally intensive it is.
  • Key Frames Distance
    • Same thing as GOP size or length (I assume).
    • YouTube’s official spec says it should be half the frame-rate…
      • e.g. 12 in the case of 25 fps ?
      • As opposed to a general rule of thumb (elsewhere) of three times the fps.
        • e.g. 75 frames in the case of 25 fps or 150 frames for 50 fps.
          • Scary numbers…
          • Various people report less smooth motion when shorter keyframe distances are used.  But maybe that only applies to lower bitrates?
  • B-Frames:
    • This is the number of bi-directional (B) frames between I and P frames, e.g. a value of 3 would give: [IBBBPBBBPBBBPBBBP]
    • The recommended number is 2 for YouTube-Enterprise context (as opposed to 3 in some other contexts).


I had shot two videos on my trusty Sony EX3 camera, one at 1080p25 the other at 720p50.

Reason?  The first one was a standard live entertainment event, demanding some run&gun, hence I shot it at highest definition.  However the other event was a sporting one, and 50 fps provides more potential for handling fast action in various ways (smoother action or slow motion).  On this camera, 50fps was only possible in 720p, not 1080p (the camera can also record 1080i50 (fields/second), from which one can generate motion-estimated full-frame 1080p50, but that is extra work, not conducive to productivity, hence best avoided).

On my Adobe CC editing system, I completed the 720p50 video first, then encoded that to 720p25 (Adobe Premiere CC’s YouTube preset, of 5Mbps, mean=max) for checking and eventual upload to YouTube.  A day or two later I completed the (longer) 1080p50 video, then similarly encoded that to 720p25 for smaller file and faster upload for the draft/check process.

Then came time to upload the 1080p25 video to YouTube, initially with distribution set to Private.  It was late and I forgot to change the encoder setting to 1080.   Mistakes can happen, that’s why it was initially made Private and why a test-play or two at various resolutions was in order.   When played (from YouTube), not only did this reveal the reduced resolution, unexpectedly there was also some very obvious blocking on fast action, especially when the YouTube video was played at lower resolutions.

…Which of course illustrates the exact purpose of Quality-Checking is for, in the workflow…

Naturally the first thing to so was re-encode at 1080 (duh!).  Adobe’s YouTube-preset for this used a VBR bitrate 8 Mbps (mean=max).    Then also I also increased the maximum bitrate to 16.  I hadn’t time for experimenting, so I just made a best-guess.  Result: Success!  Following upload of the result to YouTube, test-plays of this looked far better in all respects at the various play-resolutions.

So I did some further web-research … which led me down a (finite) “rabbit-hole” wherein I discovered the existence of two kinds of upload-format standards: Standard (a few Mbps) and Enterprise (BluRay-ish, tens of Mbps).  Aghast at the latter, I did further web-searching, which confirmed it.


LightWorks: Will it Coexist with Adobe & Avid?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

I expect so…


Convert FLV Video Files

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

To convert from [.flv] to another format, use VLC Media Player’s [Media > Convert/Save] option.  Be sure to set the destination as well as the source.  VLC can only convert to formats in its own internal container and codec sets, but e.g. can convert to [.mp4] containing H264.

Thereafter can use e.g. Sony Vegas to generate e.g. [.avi] containing CFHD, e.g. for onward use in applications that don’t recognize mp4-h264.  Vegas is more accommodating and flexible than (straight use of) Adobe Media Encoder, as regards non (broadcast) standard frame sizes and proportions.  Conveniently, Vegas automatically matches the Project to the footage on footage-import.

Prior to that, I tried installing and using Riga, the two-way FLV convertor, but it didn’t work on  my Window 7 (64-bit) machine,  opening only a blank window where a GUI was expected, and both the downloader and installer were both full of bloatware (NB needed to install in Advanced mode in order to avoid some of that).  Pointless…

Adobe Encore (DVD Constructor): Error: “Encore failed to encode” & Limitations & Recommended Settings

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

In one Adobe CS6 Encore (a DVD constructor) project, the [Check Project…] feature found no problems, but on attempting to [Build] the project, the following error was reported: “Encore failed to encode”.

A web-search (further below) revealed that this error message could have reflected any of a number of potential problems.

In my specific project’s case, I found that shortening the filename name fixed the problem.  Possibly the filename length was the issue, but it could have been any of the following (experimentation is needed to confirm what it was). Possibly Encore doesn’t like one or more of the following, as regards either filenames or, possibly, the total text representing the volume, folder-chain and file-name.

  • Long filenames
    • Possibly the limit is 80 characters.
  • Specific kinds of character in the filename, such as:
    • Spaces (it’s safer to use underscores instead).
    • Unusual (legal but not popularly used) characters, such as “&” (ampersand).

It is possible to configure Encore to use Adobe Media Encoder (AME) instead of its own internal one.  Doesn’t work for Encore’s [Build] operation but does work for its [asset >RtClk> Transcode Now] operation.  The advantages I expect of of using AME in this way:

  • It has been said (as of CS5) that AME is faster, being 64-bit as opposed to 32-bit for the encoder in Encore of CS5.
  • I suspect/hope that AME might also be more robust than Encore’s internal encoder.
  • …and also higher quality; indeed one post implied this may be true for CS6.
  • Consistency is a great thing; having used AME from Premiere etc. I expect any lessons gained will apply here.
  • AME has some nicer usability-features than Encore, such as a Pause button and the ability to queue a number of jobs.
  • These features could be handy for encoding multiple assets for a DVD or Blu-Ray Disk (BD).

For me, the learning-points about Adobe are:

  • Potentially (to be tested) the best workflow for Encore is:
    • Encode via AME:
      • Preferably from Premiere.
      • Or via AME directly
      • Or, if Encore is so configured (away from its default) then via its [asset >RtClk> Transcode Now] option
        • (doesn’t happen if you instead use the [Build] option, which always employs Encore’s internal encoder).
        • At one poster recommends: << it is a good idea to use “transcode now” before building to separate the (usually longer) transcode of assets step from building the disk.>>
    • I’m guessing that the only “cost” of not using Encore’s internal encoder might be the “fit to disk” aspect, and that might be helpful for quick turn-around jobs.
      • (Though on the other hand, if that encoder is less robust (I don’t know, only suspect), then that factor would constitute a risk to that quick turn-around…)
  • Encore’s error-reporting (error message) system should be more informative, the current “Encore failed to encode” message is too general.
    • According to Adobe Community forum posts identified in the Web-Search (further below):
      • Others make this same point.
      • One post explains that <<Encore uses Sonic parts for some (most?) of the work… and since Sonic does not communicate well with Encore when there are errors… bad or no error messages are simply a way of life when using Encore>>>
      • Another refers to an underpinning software component by Roxio, namely pxengine, which required to be updated for Windows 7 (from the previous XP).
        • The post states (correctly or otherwise – I don’t know) that the file is [PxHlpa64.sys], located in [C:\windows\System32\drivers] and (as of CS5) the version should be [].
      • A further post alleges that the specific subsystem is called Sonic AuthorCore, which is also used by Sonic Scenarist.
      • It would be simple for Adobe to trap filename-type errors in the front-end part of Encore, prior to sending that data to its (alleged) sub-system that is maintained by Sonic.
      • In the long term, the preferred fix would of course be for the sub-system developer to update that system to remove the limitations.
  • Encore currently has some kind of (hidden) limitation on the kind or length of text representing the filename or file-path-and-name, ideally this limitation should be removed or at least the maximum allowed length should be increased.

Not directly relevant, but noticed in passing (while configuring Encore:[Edit > Preferences]):

  • Encore’s “Library” location is: [C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Encore CS6\Library]
  • It is possible to define which display (e.g. external display) gets used for Preview.  Useful for quality-checking.