Making Proxies for Adobe Premiere Pro
What are Proxies?
Proxies are low resolution copies of your media. Although they are lower quality files, they load much faster to allow for smooth playback. This is particularly helpful if you are working with large 4K+ files or if you are accessing media on Isilon through a VPN. Follow the steps in this guide to create proxies, but don’t forget to relink to your high resolution media before your final export!
Making Proxies for Premiere
There are a few different ways that we can make proxies in Premiere, both manually and automatically. We are going to take a look at the manual steps because the automatic ‘create proxy’ function in Premiere will limit your settings. Having control over these settings is important throughout the post production process.
Before we begin making our proxies, make sure that your footage is organized in Finder (Mac) or File Explorer (PC). We suggest keeping all of your original footage in a folder labeled as such. If you have several day’s worth of footage, make folders to keep each day separate.
Make a brand new folder for your proxy media. These files will need to be saved separately.
We will be making our proxies in Adobe Media Encoder. To make this process more user friendly, the post team has created some presets available here for download: Proxy Presets for Download
Download the preset which makes sense based on your footage. Smaller resolutions will play with less lag but appear with more pixelation.
If your footage was shot at a different resolution, you may need to make your own preset. We have instructions to do so here: Making Custom Presets
Open Adobe Media Encoder. This program is automatically installed with Premiere.
On the bottom left of your window, you will see the Preset Browser. Click the “import presets” button, which looks like a folder with an incoming arrow.
Locate the preset you downloaded from the link above and hit Open.
Now you should see your preset in the Preset Browser under “User Presets & Groups”
Now that your preset is ready, we can locate your footage. Use the Media Browser panel in the top left to navigate to your video files.
Drag ONE clip from the Media Browser to the Queue panel on the right.
You may notice that it will default to either “Quicktime” or “H.264” but we will change this with our preset. Click and drag your preset from the Preset Browser to your clip in the Queue. Drop it down on top of the default setting (it should be highlighted blue when you release the mouse button).
Your preset should replace the previous text, as seen in the screenshot below.
If you see two presets stacked on top of one another, you can highlight the incorrect one and hit backspace/delete to remove it.
Now that you have one clip in your Queue with the intended preset, we can add the rest of your clips and they will automatically receive the same settings. Highlight the rest of your clips and drag them over into the queue.
Check that these clips actually received the intended preset. (If they did not, remove your clips from the queue and start fresh by applying the preset to one clip then adding the rest again. This sounds tedious but it is typically much faster than the alternative of dragging and dropping the preset onto each individual clip)
Now we need to tell Media Encoder where we want our new proxy media to be saved. Highlight all the clips in your Queue (Command A on Mac or Control A on PC). Click on the blue text under “output file” for one of your clips.
Navigate to the Proxy folder you created. Do not save your proxy media in the same folder as your original media. If your original footage is organized into folders, it is best to copy this organization for your proxies as well. Click Choose.
Since you had all of your clips highlighted, this output setting will be applied to every clip in the queue. Now press the green play button in the top right corner to begin encoding your proxies!
You can monitor your progress in the Encoding panel underneath your Queue. One-by-one, each clip will encode and appear in your target proxy folder. Be patient, as this can take some time. Do not close Media Encoder until it finishes the queue.
Attaching your Proxies in Premiere
This guide was designed so that it could be implemented at any point in the editing process. This means that you can attach proxies to clips that you’ve already started editing in your sequence, or you can attach proxies before you begin editing. If you are just starting a new project, the first thing you’ll want to do is import all of your ORIGINAL media (not the proxies, yet).
In your project window, highlight all of your clips.
Right click on one of the highlighted clips and select Proxy/Attach Proxy.
A new window will open. Think of this as your proxy checklist. Your first clip will be highlighted by default, so we will start with this one. Make note of the file name and click attach.
Another new window will open. Navigate to your Proxy folder on the left.
Find your corresponding clip on the right. The name of your clip should match the file name at the top of the page. Hit OK.
If your proxy files are organized, Premiere will be able to automatically attach the rest of your proxies and bring you back to the project window. If Premiere is not able to automatically locate your proxies, you will be brought back to your proxy checklist. If this happens, repeat the above steps until each clip has a check mark and the checklist closes automatically.
So now we have all of our proxies attached to the original media files! We’re almost there!
Swapping between Proxies and Original Media
Premiere has made it so that you can switch between your proxies and your original media with the click of the button! First, we just have to add that button to our interface.
Underneath the Program monitor, click the + button.
A list of buttons will appear - one of which is the “toggle proxies” button. It appears as two rectangles with arrows circling them.
Click and Drag the ‘toggle proxies’ button and place it in your interface below.
Click OK to close the button editor.
To swap between your proxy media and your original media, all you have to do is click the button you just added. If the button appears blue, you are viewing proxy media. If the button appears white, you are viewing your original high resolution media.
High Resolution Media
Now you’re ready to edit with your proxies! From here on out, the editing workflow will be exactly the same as you would expect! Just be sure that your proxy button is white before your final export in order to output at the highest resolution.