[Solved]Laggy Playback with Editing 4K footage in Premiere Pro CC

Getting lag in playback while editing 4K footage in Adobe Premiere CC? Fortunately, there is an easy way to fix the issue. Let’s find it out here.


With the continually emerging of 4K products such as 4K camcorders(Sony PMW-F5/F55, Red Epic, Blackmagic 4K, Panasonic GH4, etc) and 4K YouTube channel, we can obtain as many 4K video as we wish. Although Adobe claimed that Premiere Pro CC can handle (usually) 4K files without much problem, many people have found it a painful experience to edit 4K footage in Premiere Pro CC. And you will encounter laggy playback problems like this:

“I am trying to edit 4k footage from my phantom 4 drone in premiere and it WILL NOT stop lagging. The first few seconds of playback are okay then it goes to absolute garbage. Tried turning down the playback quality, no difference. I’m running it on a 2015 macbook pro with these specs:
Processor: 2.9ghz intel core i5 Memory: 16gb 1867 MHz DDR3 Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1536 MB
I feel like it should be enough to handle it, but is my computer just not equipped enough to handle 4k? Any help would be greatly appreciated this is driving me insane.”

Well, according to our multiple testing, we found we found two main basic reasons behind there. Most of the 4K videos are from cameras are highly-compressed, which are not ideal for editing in NLE system. What’s more, Adobe PP CC can handle (usually) 4K files without much problem, but it is extremely hardware intensive. And below is Premiere Pro CC optimized 4K playback settings.

The list of 4k editing optimizations for Premiere Pro CC:


CPU: minimum Intel i7-5930K or equivalent. AMD lagging way behind.
RAM: minimum 16GB, better 32GB or more
GPU: dedicated graphics with minimum NVidia GTX 780Ti, or GTX 970 or the higher end Quadro M4000. AMD have currently unreliable drivers.
GPU: VRAM minimum 3GB with 256bit memory bus
HDD: at least 100MB/s read/write speed

Premiere Pro CC Settings

Disable High-Quality Playback, gets you apx. 5-10% performance (Player Window/Wrench Icon/High Qaulity Playback).
INFO: Mercury Engine Transmit to second monitor, takes away apx. 5-10% performance (Player Window/Wrench Icon/Enable Transmit).
RedCode/Cineform movie files: Set playback resolution to 1/2 or 1/4 size will increase performace apx. 10-20% (Player Window/Full-1/2-1/4,etc.)
Increase Playback Preroll and Postroll time to 3-8 seconds for smoother playback, especially with slower harddrives (Edit/Preferences/Playback/Preroll-Postroll).
Disable Lumetri Scopes if not needed. They have been optimized in PP 2015.3 but you loose 3-8% performance when enabled (Window/Lumetri Scopes).

What if you’re getting lag in playback while editing 4K footage in Premiere CC? Thankfully you probably don’t have to buy a new computer… In the professional world, 4K is a digital cinema standard that calls for a 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution. However, the majority of work is still being finished in 1080p. So before importing the 4K footage to Premiere for smooth editing without crashing your computer, you’d better downscale 4K footage to 1080p and transcode the 4K stuff (formatted/encoded in XAVC, XAVC S, MP4, MOV, MXF etc.) to a more-editing friendly format, such a Premiere’s MPEG-2. In the following article, we will show you how to downscale and convert 4K to 1080p MPEG-2 videos so that you can edit 4K footage in Adobe Premiere without bogging down your computer. The process is surprisingly easy and can be done using EaseFab Video Converter for Mac, which is available for Mac and Windows users.

Developed with the most advanced converting technology, this 4K video converter truly and fully supports input and output videos at upto 4K resolution. With it, you can effortlessly convert your 4K videos formatted in MP4, XAVC, XAVC S, MXF to advanced encoders like MPEG-2, Apple Intermediate Codec, ProRes and DNxHD, ensuring maximum editing quality and efficiency when working with Adobe Premiere, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, etc. If you’re facing problems when editing 4K footage, just download it to convert the 4K stuff for smoothly importing and editing in your editing systems. Below are steps on converting 4K footage for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Guide: Downsacle & Convert 4K Video For Editing in Premiere

Step 1. Load your 4K videos

Launch the 4K to Adobe Premiere converter, then drag & drop the 4K files onto the main interface, or you can click the “Add Video” button to locate the videos from your local disk. Batch conversion is available here, so you are allowed to import several files at one time.


Step 2. Choose the optimized preset for Premiere

The program has three already optimized the video settings for Adobe Premiere. You can select MOV, WMV or MPEG-2 from “Editing Software” as the output format. All output videos will seamlessly fit Adobe Premiere Pro CC, CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4 and more. Here we recommend you choose MPEG-2.


Tips: Click “Settings” button if you’d like to customize advanced audio and video parameters like Video Codec, aspect ratio, bit rate, frame rate, Audio codec, sample rate, audio channels.

Step 3: Start converting the 4K footage

When everything is ready, simply click the big “Convert” button and the program will start transcoding 4K videos to MPEG-2 files. Soon after the conversion, just click “Open” button to get the generated files for natively editing in your Adobe Premiere Pro CC, CS6, CS5.5, CS4 or CS4.

Read More:
How to import GoPro Hero4 4K video to Avid
Downscaling/Downconverting DJI Phantom 4 4K footage to 1080p on Mac
Best Way to Edit Canon XC10 XF-AVC 4K MXF in iMovie

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