It’s safe to say that the bane of any video editor would have to be rendering out their project. Depending on the complexity of the edit, a render can range from a few minutes to several grueling hours of unproductivity. For editors using Premiere Pro CC in particular, rendering can be pretty tedious since the software is notorious for delivering slower rendering times, especially when compared to other NLEs like Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve.
In response to complaints of slow rendering times, Adobe engineers tried to address the issue with a few incremental improvements to Premiere Pro CC one of which being Smart Rendering – a method of speeding up rendering and encoding processes within the platform itself. Seasoned video editor Nathaniel Dodson takes on the task of explaining the advantages of using this functionality in the video below.
For those new to Smart Rendering, the feature essentially reduces the number of times a video has to be recompressed while editing, creating pre-renders, and producing an exported video. That being said, this method only works when your source codec, size, frame rate, and bit rate match your intended export settings. Moreover, only a handful of formats currently support the feature, the list for which can be found on Adobe’s official support page.
To enable the option, you’ll first need to go into your Sequence Settings and ensure that your video preview properties match your export settings. To do this, head over to the Sequence Settings pane found in the Sequence menu.
Now, set your Editing Mode to custom and then under Video Previews, adjust your settings to match your intended output format. In this particular case, Dodson changed the Preview File Format to QuickTime. Afterward, he selected Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) as his codec of choice.
Once the Sequence Settings are adjusted, pre-render your timeline by going to Sequence > Render In to Out. Again, depending on the complexity of your edits, this may take awhile. Optionally, you can use the default shortcut (Return key) to trigger pre-rendering or assign a different key by accessing the Keyboard Shortcuts.
After you’ve created your pre-render, go to File > Media > Export and tick on the Match Sequence Settings and Use Previews checkboxes. Selecting these options will enable Premiere Pro to automatically use the Smart Rendering feature upon export.
Also, ensure that your output parameters are correct, including your output file name, then export your video. You will notice that the encoding process will complete 3-4x faster than without the smart rendering feature.
If you find that you need to make further tweaks to your edit after your initial export, you can still do so as Smart Rendering won’t compromise your export speed as the render files for the unedited portion of your timeline will remain intact. All you have to do once you finish editing is repeat the pre-rendering and follow the steps listed above.