How To Create And Use Proxy Files In Premiere Pro

Have you ever been editing high quality footage, on a terrible computer? Chances are it’s been frustrating.  You’ve waited for footage to buffer or rendered everything out just so you can see what you’ve done so far.  It sucks.  But there’s a way to get around it.  And that’s by using proxy files!

What Are Proxy Files?

What are proxy files? Basically they’re low quality versions of your original footage that are easier and faster to work with.  Think of it like drawing in pencil before going over everything in a permanent marker.  The only difference is that once you’ve done all the work, you just have to push a button and Premiere puts all the high quality versions back in for you.  It’s awesome! So let’s dive in and learn how to use proxy files together!

Setting Up Your Project

The first thing we need to do is to set up our project to be ready for proxy files to be created. Once you select new project, you'll have the new project window.  If you don’t know how to setup your project, check out the first video in our premiere pro basics course, totally free!  

Set up your project like you normally would, but you’re just going to change one main thing.  Go to ingest settings, and check ingest.  You have a few different options, but what you want is to select “create proxies”.  From here you can choose the size of your proxy files.  There’s two main things to choose between: file size and file format.

The bigger number will mean a higher quality of file, so 1280 x 720 will be a higher quality than 1024 x 540.   The other question is do you choose H.264 or Gopro Cineform?  The question is basically file size vs how smooth the footage will run.  When you make proxies, you actually create a low quality copy of the original footage.  H.264 will take up less space than cineform, but it will also take more CPU power to be able to display it and chug through it.  Cineform will take up more space on your hard drive when you make copies, but it will take less work for your computer to play.  This is your choice based on what your priority is and how much storage space you have available for this project.

Now let’s go down to proxy destination and select where we want to put our files.  For me personally, I like to keep them in their own folder in the same project location.  So instead of same as project, I’m going to choose their location, and I’m going to create a folder just for the proxy files.  The reason I’m going to do this is because once the project is complete and I’ve exported the final version and I’m done with all those files, I’ll be keeping the original footage I shot but I want to delete the proxies to save space, I usually don’t edit a project again after completing it, and those proxy files will just be wasting space.  So this will just save time and computer storage in the future.

Using Your Proxy Files

When all that is done,  click OK.  Now your project is ready to create proxy files.  Whenever you add footage into your project, either from the media browser or just by dragging and dropping, the Adobe Media encoder will automatically pop up and start creating the proxy files for your footage.  Keep in mind, I’m using Adobe Premiere CC 2017.  If you’re running an older version of premiere, it’s possible this process will only work if you import directly through the media browser.  

Once adobe media encoder is done with it’s job, you won’t notice any difference, there’s still one last thing you need to do.  Go to your program monitor, and go to the button editor,, which looks like a plus sign on the bottom right corner of the program monitor.  From there you’ll have a load of buttons you can add to the base of the monitor. You’re looking for one called “toggle proxies.”  Drag it into your buttons bar and now, whenever you press the button and highlight it blue, you’re project will start using the proxy files instead of the originals.  When we unselect it, bringing it back to grey, we are working with our original footage again. When using proxy files, you should be able to work much faster and easier with the lower quality footage.  

Working with high quality files, like R3D Red files for example, can be challenging and slow depending on your computer.  But when you use proxy files, they are much faster and easier to work with.  Even if we start adding some effects to it and duplicating our footage, we still are able to keep up with it.  This really starts to help once you have about a 5 minute timeline of footage, text, effects, audio, etc.  Proxies can absolutely save your bacon on a project if your computer is giving you trouble.  

We hope you enjoyed this video tutorial. If you have any questions, please ask them below in the comments section. Also, be sure to check out all of our other awesome tutorials. 

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