How to Solve Stuttering and Slow Playback in Adobe Premiere Pro

On this video, media creation expert Colin Smith from VideoRevealed takes a look at a number of issues which might help users who get slow playback or Stuttering in Premiere Pro.

As we move to ever higher resolution videos and to increasingly larger files (more bit rate, HDR, RAW etc.) we put more and more tax on Premiere Pro. In this video Smith talks about a number of things that you can do in the software plus a number of things that you can do to improve your hardware in order to improve the playback performance inside Premiere Pro.

Let’s start with the software. One easy thing that you can do is check that high-quality playback is NOT turned on in Premiere (this will not affect your exported video just allow for smoother playback). The next thing that Smith recommends is to reduce the playback resolution (say to 1/4).

For us one thing that always helps is to render the timeline so that everything is always “green” – this takes time but we have found that without doing that we very often get stuttering playback (this is very much hardware dependent as well and we shall discuss that in a second).

One more thing worth adding is the option for “show dropped frame indicator” (around 1:46 in the video). This will appear in yellow each time that a frame or more were dropped – it doesn’t help you fix the problem – just lets you know that it exists (it would be nice of Adobe if they developed some tools that will help you identify the bottlenecks in your system when it comes to playback).

Moving on to hardware – there are a few pieces of hardware that can dramatically affect your playback performance – here are the 3 main ones:

  • CPU – a newer CPU, as well as a faster CPU, can significantly help in this department (Intel added some specific hardware decoding algorithms to its latest CPUs so this is another thing to keep in mind
  • GPU – besides the CPU a good graphics card will not only shorten your render times but also improve playback performance.
  • RAM – having enough system memory is critical. Anything below 8GB is not enough for Premiere today and if you are editing 4K having 16GB is probably the minimum realistically speaking and 32GB is closer to optimal (this also depends on your OS – Windows is typically much more memory hungry than Mac).
  • Storage – You don’t only need to have enough storage for your project but also want to have a fast one. SSDs and more recently NVME type storage devices (these latest ones are astonishingly speedy) are significantly faster than mechanical hard drives and will help significantly in playback especially for large complex projects. If you can, try and have 2 or even 3 drives – one for the OS/software, one for project files and one for cache files (ideally all 3 should be SSDs or NVMEs and you can leave the mechanical drives for long term storage and backups).

Bonus video: Ian Sansavera on optimizing your Premiere Pro settings for best performance

You can find more Premiere Pro related video on this link here on LensaVid. We will continue posting more interesting videos from Smith’s channel (see a few previous ones that we published – here).

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