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24 Frames Per Second of Annoyance

Okay so you’re an editor, right?

EDITORS NOTE: I realize you yourself may not be an editor, but for the sake of the following article pretend that you are in fact one. It’ll just make things run smoother. Thank you. – Jeff

You’re working on a project that utilizes both 4k handheld footage and aerial GoPro beauty shots. And we’re talking beauty here. Like if you were able to make the entire video out of this footage, you would but there’s a story there that needs to be told and it’s sort of hard to do so with a buzzing, floating drone two feet from the subject’s face.

That and you’d probably be crossing the 180 constantly, but I digress.

So you start editing the GoPro footage into the handheld stuff like you normally do. Cutting from a grand aerial view of the lake and trees, to a shot on the street of a building. The edit itself is not the problem here, that goes great. It’s not until you render off the video that you see something is wrong. Something is off every time the GoPro footage shows up on screen.

The footage that when watched by itself is smooth and graceful, now stutters every second and resembles that of an old timey film.

“What happened to the footage?! Why is it only doing that during the GoPro stuff?!”, you shout at your monitor loud enough the graphic designer questions who you were talking to. You obviously ignore him and proceed to go back and forth between the raw GoPro footage and your timeline in Premiere.

Scrubbing through your edit everything looks fine. The footage doesn’t stutter like it does in your render, so you export it again, this time double checking your settings to make sure everything’s alright. Yep 24fps…1920×108…mp4…

Export. Wait 45 minutes. Done!

You watch it again and-oh what the crap, it’s doing it again! You check the files again. You offline and online the footage. You run proxies of the GoPro footage converting them to another format before off-lining and on-lining the clips into Premiere. You try sending the project to Media Encoder. You try a different machine. You create a new project file.

Nothing. Works.

Then you notice that the GoPro footage was shot in 29.97 fps. Your regular handheld footage was all shot at the normal 24 fps. And you’re project sequence is in…

::drum roll for dramatic effect::

… 24 fps.

::face palm::

Yep, that’s your issue. The reason for your stuttering GoPro footage is because the conflicting frame rates. By putting 29.97 footage into a 24 fps sequence, Premiere is forced to crunch the footage into place, effectively removing six (6!) random frames every second. Now while it may seem small, it’s enough to create jumps that ruin the beautifully smooth footage your DP was going for.

And there’s nothing worse then your DP seeing their footage not displayed properly. They get mad and yell at you for a while. It’s very unpleasant.

 

The Example

You see what’s happening in that video there? You see how the left side is stuttering, unsmooth (this is a word, I don’t care what you think spellchecker!), and all around horrible? And then over there on the right side things are exactly as they should be? Yeah, everything should be more like the right and less like the left FYI.

 

So how do you fix this issue?

It’s actually very simple. You change your project sequence settings from 24 fps to 29.97 fps. That’s it. No really, it’s that easy. It’s easier for Premier to “fake” and create the missing six frames per second for the footage shot at 24 fps, as opposed to lopping off the six frames every second on the 29.97 fps footage.

By changing the project fps, your once beautiful GoPro drone shots are now back to their smooth and DP approved appearance, meanwhile your 4k handheld footage is looking equally as great. And now you can hit that render button, wait the 45 minutes, and be done with the project.

Well, at least until there’s a list of changes that need to be done with it.

 

TLDR; For you skimmers, here’s a lesson recap

  • 29.97 fps GoPro footage will stutter when rendered within a 24 fps Adobe Premiere Project
  • By changing the Sequence/Comp Settings to 29.97 fps, your GoPro footage will display correctly with no stuttering, and any footage shot below that will easily create the missing six frames per second and still look great
  • Because you skipped to the bottom, you missed the winning lotto numbers buried within the article. Silly, silly people you.

Editor Note: Special thanks to David Bensman of Benz Creative Media for helping us troubleshoot this and other editing issues.