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Make editing in Premiere Pro smoother

Editing video is a non-stop juggle. You constantly have to make decisions about the best ways to unfold the story, what cuts to use, what effects to add to the clips, how to better color grade the scene and so on. Unfortunately, this creative process can be hindered by technical issues such as waiting for Premiere Pro to update its preview or rendering a part of the timeline. ​​

​​It’s not very uncommon to have Premiere Pro working, let’s say, slower than desirable. This may affect not just the preview update and playback, but also the whole interface of this NLE software. ​​

​​The most common performance troubles of Premiere Pro’s while editing ​​

  1. ​ ​Slow preview updating in Premiere Pro can happen: ​
    • ​if you have just applied a heavy effect like Neat Video ​
    • ​when switching to another frame within the clip in the timeline
    • ​​when you add more effects to the same clip or modify their parameters ​​
  2. ​​You can see choppy playback with skipped frames:
    • ​if you start playback without prior rendering
  3. ​​ ​ ​General sluggishness of Premiere Pro interface: 
    • ​when preparing previews in clips with heavy effects
    • when starting or stopping playback
    • when doing any editing while Premiere Pro is doing some background rendering

Key reasons for those performance problems:

  1. Working with large-resolution video requires more time to process each frame on the side of Premiere Pro, on the side of Neat Video, and on the side of other effects applied. When the processing time of each frame is large, then smooth playback and quick update of preview becomes technically impossible.
  2. ​​Working with large-resolution video requires more system memory and more GPU memory. ​​A shortage of those resources can cause an additional slowdown in the processing of each frame.
  3. If available computing resources (CPU cores and GPUs) are not used effectively by the software (including Premiere Pro, Neat Video, other effects and video codecs), then the speed of processing suffers too. ​​
  4. If some components of the project are especially slow (for example some video codecs or effects), then this can cripple the responsiveness of Premiere Pro as well. Neat Video may be not fast on its own (because of the large amount of processing it has to do), but other components can exacerbate slowdowns. For example, a slow effect like Lumetri or Warp Stabilizer placed before/above Neat Video can introduce a large unnecessary delay in processing. ​​

​​As you can imagine there are ways of making video editing more efficient and fast. Let’s jump right into it. ​​

​​Render First, Then Play

​​It is perfectly understandable that you may want to start playback in Premiere Pro as soon as you add and configure Neat Video or other effects in your clip. However, this can often result in sluggish playback. To resolve this issue Premiere Pro offers several ways of rendering the clips or parts of the sequence so that you could render it first and then play it back at full speed without slowdown. ​​

​​Here are the main ways to render a part of your project offered by Premiere. ​​

​Render Effects In to Out

​​This type of render is looking specifically for effects and transitions, which are the most likely cause of lagging in projects. To do that you need first to set the In and Out points in the timeline and then start rendering using the menu command: Sequence > Render Effects In to Out. You can also just press Return or Enter on your keyboard once you have defined the work area. ​​

Render In to Out ​​

Render all elements within a selected area using this option, ideal for the general rendering of elements with a yellow or red bar atop. However, it may prove time-consuming for larger projects. Set the In and Out points in the timeline, then navigate to Sequence > Render In to Out to commence rendering.

Premiere Pro Sequende settings Render Effects In to Out and Render In to Out ​​

​Render and Replace

​​This feature of Premiere allows rendering a clip with effects applied to it and then replacing it with a flattened (rendered) version that no longer requires rendering during editing or playback. This allows to speed up further work with that clip in Premiere. ​​

​​Here is how you can use this feature on a clip with Neat Video’s Reduce Noise applied: ​

  1. ​Select the required clip/clips in the timeline. ​
  2. ​Use the menu Clip > Render And Replace.
  3. In the Render and Replace dialog, adjust the required settings as necessary (consult the documentation of Premiere for details). Make sure to enable the Include Video Effects option to let it render the Reduce Noise effect as well.

  4. Click OK to start the render process for that clip. Premiere will then replace the original clip and its effects with a new rendered version. ​​

​​Note: The original unrendered version of the clip can be reinstated at any point: select the rendered clip in the timeline and use the menu Clip > Restore Unrendered. ​​

​​Regardless of the way used to render a part of the video, once the render is done, you can play that selected part at full speed in Premiere preview. ​​ ​

​Correctly Resize Clips

​​It’s not uncommon to have high-resolution input clips and work in a project with lower resolution. This happens, for example, because large frame formats are not always used in online video platforms. Whatever the reason, if you anyway need to reduce the frame size then it is best to do that before other processing. If done correctly, the size reduction can help to speed up the render process because applying video effects (including Neat Video noise reduction) to smaller frames is always faster than to larger frames. ​​

​​For Premiere Pro the correct way of downsizing say a 4K clip to FullHD format looks like this: ​

  1. ​Put a 4K clip into a FullHD sequence. ​
  2. ​Right-click the clip on the timeline and select “Scale to Frame Size” in the popup menu. (When you do this, Premiere truly down-sizes the input frames to the size of the sequence (FullHD) before supplying those downsized FullHD frames to effects for further processing).
  3. Make sure Premiere's preview resolution is set to Full.
  4. ​ ​Apply Neat Video and other effects to the clip.

​​ ​​

​​Make sure you check our Clip Resizing and Render Speed article to learn more. ​​

​​Use Proxies

​​If you need to work with high-resolution video and keep that high resolution throughout the whole project, then you may want to consider using reduced preview resolution in Premiere Pro or using proxy-based editing. These measures however require some extra accuracy when setting up instances of Neat Video. In short, if you do offline editing (based on proxies), click the Toggle Proxies button (see below) to turn proxies off (turn it grey: grey means off), add Neat Video to the clip, build a noise profile (so build it using full-resolution frames), adjust any filter settings, apply and only then Toggle Proxies back on again (turn the button blue; blue means on). This will ensure the noise profile is built correctly (using full-resolution frames) and you will get accurate noise reduction using this noise profile when doing the final render/export.

​Optimize Use of CPU and GPU

​​When starting a new project, it is also a good idea to make sure Neat Video is set to use optimal hardware parameters allowing it to achieve the best performance. Use the Optimize Settings tool available in Neat Video Preferences (Neat Video’s menu Tools > Preferences > Performance > Optimize Settings…) to do that. Check out this video for more guidance:


If you are on MacOS 11.0 or newer, we recommend making sure Neat Video uses Metal instead of OpenCL, as Metal usually offers better performance. You can switch the mode in Preferences > Performance > Advanced Settings dialog. ​​

​​While you are in the Performance settings of Neat Video, check the GPU memory usage reported there. Remember to keep the slider controlling the amount of GPU memory available to Neat Video away from the red bar. Otherwise Neat Video and other GPU users (including Premiere) may hinder each other, which will lead to some extra slowdown. ​​ ​

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​Apply Effects in Correct Order

​​Another thing to check is the order of the effects you have applied to your clip. It is known that Lumetri and Warp Stabilizer effects dramatically reduce the speed of other temporal effects applied after them. It is not just Neat Video, other temporal effects are also affected. We have a video tutorial explaining and demonstrating that: ​​

​​That is one of the reasons why we recommend applying Neat Video first and adding other effects after/below it. ​​

​​If you apply effects using multiple layers, adjustment layers, nested clips, etc., then the order of processing done by Premiere may become a bit complicated to grasp, but it is still necessary to keep Neat Video processed before those Lumetri and Warp Stabilizer effects. To figure out the actual order of processing in Premiere, please see this article on this topic. Remember to keep Neat Video and other temporal effects processed before Lumetri and Warp Stabilizer. ​​

​ ​Disable Heavy Effects

  1. ​​The most radical way to avoid a slowdown in preview of Premiere Pro is to temporarily disable the instance of a heavy effect or filter (Neat Video's Reduce Noise v5 (SR) is one of them) after adding and setting it up in your clip. To disable an effect on the selected clip(s), click on the "fx" icon for each effect in the Effects panel to deactivate them. The "fx" icon gets crossed out indicating that the disabled effect will not affect the performance until it is switched back on again.

    ​​Remember to re-enable the effects before the final render/export.
  2. Newer versions of Premiere offer one more easy way of disabling all effects in your project: use the Global FX Mute button. It is displayed as the “fx” button located under the Program window (preview) of Premiere. If you don’t see one, click the “+” icon there and add the “fx” button to the list of the displayed buttons. When you enable the Global FX Mute mode, the “fx” button will turn blue and all the effects engaged within the project become disabled in preview of Premiere.

  3. ​​Neat Video also offers a way to partially disable or to be precise, to skip all noise reduction processing done by all instances of Neat Video within a project, while keeping other effects working. That will save you the trouble of looking for all the clips where you had Neat Video noise reduction applied to disable each instance of the effect one by one. Yet you can continue to preview other effects used in the project, as they remain active.

    ​To disable the filter in this way, open Neat Video’s window and go to Effect > Skip Neat Video Processing. If Neat Video is the only “heavy” effect in your project, that might be sufficient for comfortable editing.​

    ​​Before the final render, you’ll need to get back to the Effect menu in Neat Video and tick off the Skip Neat Video Processing option. You can disable that option any time you need to work with the noise filter during regular editing as well. It is always there for you to control. ​​

​ ​Experiment with Premiere’s Video Rendering and Playback

​​Check the Video Rendering and Playback settings in Premiere Pro: go to its menu File > Project Settings > General > Video Rendering and Playback. It allows you to choose what hardware Premiere should use for rendering. Allowing Premiere to use a GPU via CUDA, OpenCL or Metal can make Premiere’s work faster. However, if the same GPU is also used in Neat Video, then the overall render speed may be lower as Premiere and Neat Video may be competing for the shared GPU resources (computing cores and memory). So it is always worth trying and comparing different settings to see what works best in your particular case. ​​


​​Unfortunately, Premiere Pro doesn’t give you much control if you want to divide the GPU resources between the host application and effects (like Neat Video). However, if you have two GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, you can restrict Premiere to NVIDIA GPU by choosing the CUDA mode, which will leave the AMD GPU free for Neat Video. Or if you have an integrated GPU of the processor and a discrete GPU from NVIDIA or AMD, then it may be possible to tell Premiere to use the integrated GPU and instruct Neat Video to use the discrete GPU. This way you could separate two users of GPU and they would not have to compete for the same resources. ​​

​​In any case, you may want to try different settings and run render speed tests with different combinations of the above option in Premiere’s Project Settings and GPU(s) allowed for use by Neat Video in its own Preferences. The winner combination may depend on your hardware and project. ​​ ​

​Control Video Memory

​​If a GPU used by Premiere or by Neat Video is running low on video memory (you can check that for example in Neat Video‘s Preferences > Performance tab; you may also receive GPU-related errors suggesting memory shortage), try to manage the use of GPU memory by Premiere and/or by Neat Video. ​​

​​In Neat Video itself, you can further limit the amount of GPU memory allowed to Neat Video (to reserve more GPU memory for Premiere), or you can completely disable the use of GPU by Neat Video there. This will spare the GPU resources for other users such as Premiere itself and possibly other effects used in your project. However this may reduce the processing speed of Neat Video, so you may want to try switching Premiere itself to the CPU mode, while letting Neat Video use the GPU for processing. To do that go to Premiere’s menu File > Project Settings > General > Video Rendering and Playback and set the Renderer to Mercury Playback Engine Software Only. Then in Neat Video Preferences, enable the use of the GPU and possibly run the Optimize Settings test to find the best combination of CPU and GPU parameters.


Adobe recommends using a GPU with at least 4 GB of video memory for 4K video processing. If you add heavy effects like Neat Video, then you will need more video memory for fast and comfortable editing. If you have a choice, opt for a GPU with more memory, as this is one of the possible bottlenecks. ​​

Check System Memory

​​Running low on system memory may cause a slowdown too. If you see that the computer is running low on memory (you can check that using Windows Task Manager or MacOS Activity Monitor) when working on your project, then please consider upgrading/increasing the physical memory installed in it. The minimum amount of memory for 4K video processing recommended by Adobe is 32 GB or higher. We would recommend going somewhat higher to have some reserve for the future.

Stop Unnecessary Software

​​Every software currently running utilizes your computer’s resources. While some of this software is necessary for system operation or your current task, others may be a leftover from previous activities and may be not needed at the moment. To free up the limited resources, close all applications that are running but are not necessary for your current work. For example, many web browsers can use a lot of system memory even when not being actively used. ​​

​​To identify all the applications currently running and utilizing significant amounts of system memory, use Windows Task Manager or MacOS Activity Monitor. ​​

​​Split System Memory between Premiere and Plugins

​​By customizing the memory settings in Premiere Pro’s Preferences, you can improve performance by reserving some part of the system memory to other applications or in this case to the plug-ins used in your projects, including the Neat Video plugin. Reserving some memory for those plug-ins can improve their performance and as a result can improve the playback performance, rendering times, and overall stability of the whole Premiere Pro as well. ​​

​​You can control the memory settings of Premiere in its Preferences:

  1. ​​Go to the Edit menu (on Windows) or the Premiere Pro menu (on macOS) and select Preferences.
  2. ​In the Preferences dialog, select Memory.
  3. ​Here you can control the RAM reserved for other applications setting. Adjust this setting to leave some memory for other applications (which includes the plugins such as Neat Video) while keeping enough RAM for Premiere Pro itself. A good starting point would be to split the memory in half between Premiere and other applications.
  4. ​​After making your adjustments, click "OK" to save the changes.
  5. ​​Run some short renders to see if the overall render speed has improved.​ ​
  6. Try several different settings in step 3 to find one that delivers the best performance and stability.

Transcode with Faster Codec

​​Also important in many cases: check the codec of the input video clips. If the source video is encoded with a “slow” codec (for example, H.264 or H.265/HEVC) or if it's a RAW file, then it may be useful to transcode the video with a faster intermediate codec such as Apple ProRes, Cineform or something similar. Working with source video clips encoded with a faster codec can significantly improve the efficiency of the render process and editing/playback in Premiere. ​​

Background transcoding

​​Premiere Pro can automatically transcode the source media during import into your project. This transcoding process occurs in the background with the assistance of Media Encoder. You can start editing the original media, but once transcoding is complete, the media used in the project are automatically relinked to the new transcoded versions for faster further editing. ​​

​​To enable transcoding in Premiere Pro, simply adjust the Ingest Settings before importing any media into your project. Go to the menu File > Project Settings > Ingest Settings, then set Action to Transcode. From there, you can choose the intermediate codec (such as Apple ProRes 422) and designate the Primary Destination for the newly created files before clicking OK.

That's all you need to do. Premiere Pro and Media Encoder will handle the rest.

​​For more details on these settings please see the documentation of Premiere.

Note: Media imported into the project before enabling Transcode in Ingest Settings will not be affected by the change and will remain in its original format. ​​

​Use Neat Video’s High Quality Mode Sparingly

​​Neat Video has the Quality Mode: High settings in the Temporal and Spatial filters. Those High quality modes are not default (the default is Quality Mode: Normal) but you may be tempted to enable them in a chance for a bit better denoising results (preserving a bit more details while reducing the same amount of noise in some cases). The High quality modes require longer processing so if you are not sure there is a significant improvement in the visual quality of the results from using that option, then it is best to leave the Quality Mode setting at Normal and save processing time.

​Use a Faster Computer

​​If your current computer is struggling with previewing, rendering or exporting the project in Premiere Pro, you might want to consider using a different machine for the final render and export. ​​

​​Before going to a different machine for that, it's essential to determine if the alternative machine is actually faster. You can compare the specifications of both machines, focusing on the CPU, GPU, and memory size to gauge potential performance differences. ​​

​​Additionally, you can assess the actual performance of the alternative computer using the standalone tool called NeatBench, available on this page. By downloading and running NeatBench on both machines, you can measure their speeds and compare them. This will help you determine if using the alternative machine would improve rendering speed. ​​

​​If you find that your other device is indeed faster, you can easily transfer your project to it. Just make sure that the alternative computer has Premiere Pro and all other necessary software, including the Neat Video plugin, installed and correctly licensed. If you require assistance with transferring your Neat Video license or need an additional license for that machine, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team. We're here to help! ​​


​​As you can see there is more than one thing you can do to make your Premiere Pro editing smoother. Try these ideas, combine them and let us know what worked for you. If you have more ideas or tricks that you use in your work to help Premiere and Neat Video work better together, please share those with us. We want to learn from you too.

First published on October 2, 2020