HDR Encoding Guide for Premiere Pro

  • Not sure if you were aware of this but there is a Beta Program for Premiere now that includes the ability to select your own input color space. Between rec709 and rec2100. I've downloaded it and begun to experiment but am having no luck. It seems to only work with prores and sony clips embedded with rec2100 HLG and nothing else. PQ workflow is stated as not being functional yet. You can even alter embedded color space information but only if its prores or sony in the modify interpret footage section. If only it worked for HEVC clips then I would be in business. But anyway the beta premiere is very intriguing as it has a lot more options.

    https://community.adobe.com/t5…flow/td-p/11122932?page=1

  • Not sure if you were aware of this but there is a Beta Program for Premiere now that includes the ability to select your own input color space. Between rec709 and rec2100. I've downloaded it and begun to experiment but am having no luck. It seems to only work with prores and sony clips embedded with rec2100 HLG and nothing else. PQ workflow is stated as not being functional yet. You can even alter embedded color space information but only if its prores or sony in the modify interpret footage section. If only it worked for HEVC clips then I would be in business. But anyway the beta premiere is very intriguing as it has a lot more options.

    https://community.adobe.com/t5…flow/td-p/11122932?page=1

    Sounds interesting, especially if you're working with HLG footage. Perhaps in the future they'll add a native PQ option, but I'm not sure whether this actually affects how the RGB data is sent to third party exporters though. That may still be automatically sent with the rec709 conversion. So I think you would still need to use Adobe's native HDR export options, but at least you'd be able to monitor it more correctly with an HDR monitor, and therefore perform color grading and stuff more precisely.


    For now, my guide seems to be the best way to prepare HDR footage for voukoder, but hopefully that will change in the future if Adobe allows for more customization in what type of output formats are sent to exporters.

  • First of all thank you, this is by far the best solution I've found yet for exporting HDR out of Premiere. Is this process still current as of now? The reason I ask is although my picture quality looks much much better it seems like the colors are almost TOO saturated.

    I believe I'm experiencing the exact same issue. Below are 2 videos for reference, the first being a raw video and the second being the Voukoder video. Both were recorded using the latest Nvenc update that allows HDR10 recording. Reds seem to be the biggest offenders.


    From what I've read on this post, this is a very weird issue that I won't be able to fix. Suggestions would be cool though.

  • Yeah, as I explained earlier, for Voukoder to work properly, basically Premiere can't know that your video is HDR. If Premiere knows it's HDR, it will convert it into SDR before sending it to Voukoder, which changes the transfer function and color primaries, and also clips highlights. So if you send a SDR video to Voukoder with HDR settings, then it causes extreme expansion of the brightness and color, so it will look quite wrong. If you use the preset I uploaded, you'll get pretty close, but there's a rec2020-to-rec79-to-rec2020 conversion happening in that case, and you're going to lose some color accuracy.


    If you want to retain perfect color reproduction in HDR through Voukoder, then as said on the previous page, if Premiere is recognizing the recorded video as HDR (which it will be if youtube did), then you need to first trick it into thinking it's SDR, by removing HDR metadata. The only successful way we were able to figure out how to do that is by re-encoding through ffmpeg. One of the faster ways to do this which retains good quality is by using the ProRes codec. Here is a command line for converting your video to a format that you can use in premiere with voukoder to encode in HDR:


    ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -c:v prores_ks -profile:v 2 -vf "setparams=color_primaries=bt709:color_trc=bt709:colorspace=bt709" -c:a copy output.mov


    The output file here will be very large, so make sure to have a lot of space. For a 4K60fps recording I have, recorded with the same codec on my Ninja Inferno, I get files that are about 435 GB per hour.

  • ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -c:v prores_ks -profile:v 2 -vf "setparams=color_primaries=bt709:color_trc=bt709:colorspace=bt709" -c:a copy output.mov

    I don't speak command line, how do I specify the file I want to convert? Tried it myself, but uh, had no idea what to change.

  • I don't speak command line, how do I specify the file I want to convert? Tried it myself, but uh, had no idea what to change.

    The easiest way is to make sure your video file is in the same folder as ffmpeg. Then just replace "input.mp4" with your video file name. If the file name has spaces, use quotes around it. Or just rename your video file as input.mp4 and you won't need to change anything on the command line.

  • It appears to have worked, uploading to Youtube to compare side by side as i'm posting this.


    Although this sort of defeats the purpose of why I personally use Voukoder (NVENC HDR). It takes my 3600 2 hours to render my videos with the normal Premiere HEVC encoder, 20 minutes for NVENC HEVC with Voukoder. This method took 1 hour to finish in FFmpeg and another 20 in Premiere, so while it IS faster I still have to choke slam my poor CPU to do it.


    Thanks for the help on this, thanks for the incredible post, but it looks like i'll be waiting for a CPU upgrade!

  • It appears to have worked, uploading to Youtube to compare side by side as i'm posting this.


    Although this sort of defeats the purpose of why I personally use Voukoder (NVENC HDR). It takes my 3600 2 hours to render my videos with the normal Premiere HEVC encoder, 20 minutes for NVENC HEVC with Voukoder. This method took 1 hour to finish in FFmpeg and another 20 in Premiere, so while it IS faster I still have to choke slam my poor CPU to do it.


    Thanks for the help on this, thanks for the incredible post, but it looks like i'll be waiting for a CPU upgrade!

    is ProRes encoding really using your CPU heavily? I'd think the HDD speed would mostly be the bottleneck there (I guess, unless you're using a super fast SSD), as it's a fairly low compression codec, which is why it works so well for editing, since the CPU doesn't need to do much to decode the frames, and also why the videos end up being so huge. Still though, I agree it's not ideal time wise.


    As another option, if you can afford it, the Ninja Inferno is what I use to capture HDR footage natively to ProRes via HDMI. In order to get a format Voukoder can work with properly, I just click the "rec709" button in the recorder to let it format the input signal as rec709 without modifying the input colors at all. It'll look all washed out on the monitor while recording, like it does in premiere when you import that format, but it'll work great with Voukoder!


    I think Premiere simply needs to add better HDR support for third party encoders in order to do this more natively, like the built in HEVC encoder. Although the way it works now does work well if you have an external monitor that you can force into HDR mode, interpreting the signal in a similar way to how Voukoder does while displaying it correctly. Premiere's native HDR monitoring options right now are pretty limited.

  • 95-100% utilization on the CPU for an hour. I am working from a hard drive, in the future when I have more SSD space, I may end up temporarily moving relevant videos to an SSD for the editing and exporting process.


    Not sure about how the Ninja Inferno works out for me. But regardless I'm getting a 4950x/5950x (depending on what AMD calls it) and a 3090 soon, so I won't have to resort to only using Voukoder NVENC for convenience.


    If there's one thing I've noticed in my time preparing to make 100% HDR gaming content on my channel, it's that 99% of resources available are complex and poorly built. Premiere suffers from a lack of GPU acceleration while editing and specifically exporting HDR, and issues with Rec709 and Bt2020. FFmpeg uses Command Prompt which can be confusing for people who don't speak command line. The other editing softwares have pros and cons as well, but are a little worse for editing. Point is, everyone falls a little short, and it's annoying.

  • As another option, if you can afford it, the Ninja Inferno is what I use to capture HDR footage natively to ProRes via HDMI. In order to get a format Voukoder can work with properly, I just click the "rec709" button in the recorder to let it format the input signal as rec709 without modifying the input colors at all. It'll look all washed out on the monitor while recording, like it does in premiere when you import that format, but it'll work great with Voukoder!

    Does the Ninja Inferno require a capture PC to use? Even if it does, it's gonna need HDMI 2.1 support, because I'll be running games at 4k 144hz 10 bit 4:4:4.

  • Does the Ninja Inferno require a capture PC to use? Even if it does, it's gonna need HDMI 2.1 support, because I'll be running games at 4k 144hz 10 bit 4:4:4.

    No, doesn't require a PC, it's a standalone capture device. It does 4K, but only at 60Hz. I think 4:2:2 in HDR but otherwise it can do 4:4:4 I believe (although there may be throughput issues with the SATA drive attached, not sure). Note that your recordings from NVIDIA are probably 4:2:0, as are youtube, and I don't think youtube goes over 60fps even if NVIDIA records higher than that. I'm not sure if you could set mirrored monitor outputs or not with HDR, but if you could, then you could record at 60Hz on the inferno and play at 144Hz on your main monitor (although 120Hz may be better to evenly match the refreshes). Audio might be tricky to set up though. I haven't done PC recordings with it yet so I don't know how to best set up audio for it so you can both hear and record it.

    95-100% utilization on the CPU for an hour. I am working from a hard drive, in the future when I have more SSD space, I may end up temporarily moving relevant videos to an SSD for the editing and exporting process.


    Not sure about how the Ninja Inferno works out for me. But regardless I'm getting a 4950x/5950x (depending on what AMD calls it) and a 3090 soon, so I won't have to resort to only using Voukoder NVENC for convenience.


    If there's one thing I've noticed in my time preparing to make 100% HDR gaming content on my channel, it's that 99% of resources available are complex and poorly built. Premiere suffers from a lack of GPU acceleration while editing and specifically exporting HDR, and issues with Rec709 and Bt2020. FFmpeg uses Command Prompt which can be confusing for people who don't speak command line. The other editing softwares have pros and cons as well, but are a little worse for editing. Point is, everyone falls a little short, and it's annoying.

    Yeah, the tools just aren't all there yet. If you only need to make simple cuts, you could always do something like AVIDemux, but if you're doing more complex editing, you're going to need to use one of the methods we previously discussed. So the options are

    • Import the HDR video natively, export with Premiere's HEVC codec
    • Import the HDR video natively, use my preset to prepare the video for Voukoder and deal with slightly inaccurate color
    • Use the command line approach instead of the preset to make the video Voukoder ready

    All time consuming options, unfortunately. It'll probably be a while before things are more accelerated and user friendly. Most people just don't bother with trying to capture and edit HDR yet, so it'll be a while before these tools catch up I think. Thankfully, there ARE options that work, they're just not optimal yet. Even just a couple years ago you probably wouldn't have even been able to do this much.

  • Note that your recordings from NVIDIA are probably 4:2:0, as are youtube, and I don't think youtube goes over 60fps

    Yeah they're 4:2:0. I don't intend to record 144hz, but the port on the Ninja Inferno would have to be capable of taking that signal.


    I honestly think waiting for my hardware upgrade and then either using Premiere's HEVC encoder or the FFmpeg method will be the best solution, at least until HDMI 2.1 comes to capture cards. I'll have to test render times both ways though.

  • Yeah they're 4:2:0. I don't intend to record 144hz, but the port on the Ninja Inferno would have to be capable of taking that signal.

    That's not necessarily true. If you use two outputs on your PC, you can set the GPU to mirrored mode. I believe you can set refresh rates of each monitor to be different. Basically, the first monitor acts as a main monitor, and then the secondary output would simply repeat that signal at a different refresh rate. While you could probably do it at 144hz for Monitor 1 and 60Hz for the inferno, 120/60 would probably produce a more pleasant looking recording.


    I could be wrong about the way this works though. Haven't tested it yet.


    I honestly think waiting for my hardware upgrade and then either using Premiere's HEVC encoder or the FFmpeg method will be the best solution, at least until HDMI 2.1 comes to capture cards. I'll have to test render times both ways though.

    Yeah I'd wait to see how that goes. I'm also looking forward to upgrading my GPU soon. I'm still on a GTX970 and I plan to go RTX3080 most likely (unless AMD really impresses me). I do most of my gaming on PS4 (and soon PS5, got my preorder yay) but plenty of things I do in Premiere can certainly be improved with a better GPU, and there are some games I do intend to play that can make use of it, like the new Flight Simulator, and other games I have that I'd like to be able to play at higher resolutions.

  • Yeah, I don't have 2 monitors yet. And that's a big upgrade from a 970.


    Anyways, thanks for keeping this thread alive, it's really helpful. Maybe when I actually start making content I'll make a video form of this guide.

  • Yeah, I don't have 2 monitors yet. And that's a big upgrade from a 970.


    Anyways, thanks for keeping this thread alive, it's really helpful. Maybe when I actually start making content I'll make a video form of this guide.

    I meant the Inferno would act as the second monitor. Yeah I can't wait. I was tempted with the last cards that came out, but I wanted to give RTX some time to mature before jumping in. Last gen didn't quite feel like it was there for me just yet.


    Video guide would be a great idea!

  • I meant the Inferno would act as the second monitor.

    Oh, that may work depending on audio.


    DLSS 2.0 and NVENC 2.0 made my 2070 Super a 1080 Ti on roids, and it was definitely worth it. I'm really excited to see more programs adopt DLSS and Tensor Core support. Because 1080p upscaled to 2160p is basically identical with a 70%ish boost to fps.

  • The files are recorded USING NVENC in the first place.

    Right, but they're recorded from raw RGB. You lose quality on the initial recording, as NVENC is highly lossy, and you lose quality again on the re-encode, and then you'll lose quality a third time on the final post-edit encode, and then again when youtube processes it. Ideally, you want to minimize the number of times you re-encode to highly lossy codecs like that wherever possible. You can do it, and it will work, but just know you do lose quality.


    While there's technically a theoretical loss of quality on ProRes, it's a production quality codec, meaning it's used for things like post production because you can actually encode it multiple times without any visible loss of quality, at least to the human eye. That's why it ends up making such large files of course, but still.