Keeping P2 Audio and Video MXFs in Sync When Transcoding With Prelude, Premiere Pro & Adobe Media Encoder

If for some reason you find yourself with a bunch of raw P2 files and you need to turn them into something more manageable so that you can upload them to Vimeo or YouTube, or so that you can work in system that does not support native editing, you can use this workflow.

Unfortunately, as it is now, you do have to do a bit of a workaround using 3 different programs. You can’t (as far as I can figure out) batch encode raw P2 files through watch folders in Adobe Premiere without losing the Audio, Adobe Media Encoder alone does not read P2 files that have not been ingested by a program that understands them, and you can’t create custom presets in Prelude. You need to use all three to do the job.

It may seem complicated at first but once you have your preset created it’s actually quite an easy and quick way to do it.

Create a Custom Preset

To start, you will need to create a custom preset. This is where you chose the settings for your output. You can match all the source settings (aside from the codec) or you can alter them in whatever way you need.

*Note: if you are just looking to transcode your P2 files with one of the generic presets in Prelude you can skip creating your custom preset in Premiere and just transcode through Prelude and AME right from the start (see the next section of this post).

If you do need to use custom settings for transcoding, keep reading. Keep in mind, you will need to have whatever codec or intermediate codec it is you are trying to transcode to already on your machine. Many of them come with CS6 and if you have FCP, Quicktime 7 or Pro, or VLC, you should have most of the basics.

For my example here I will be transcoding to H.264 with some limits on bitrate so that I can create quality web ready files from my P2 source files.

First, open Adobe Prelude CS6.

Select ‘File’ from the menu bar and then select ‘Ingest’ from the dropdown menu (command I). Now chose ONE sample P2 file to use to set up your preset. Check the box next to it.

Prelude Ingest Menu

Make sure transfer options in the upper right corner is not checked, so that you are only ingesting to Prelude but not transferring or transcoding (yet). All of the options for transfer and transcoding should be greyed out.

Press ‘Ingest’ in the bottom right.

Once ingested, you will see the file in the project window, right click on the ingested file and choose ‘Send to Premiere Pro’.

Prelude Send to Premiere Pro

Now Adobe Premiere Pro will automatically open and the file will be listed in the bottom left corner.

Select the file so that it is highlighted, then select ‘File’ → ‘Export’ → ‘Media’ (or just use command M).

Premiere Pro Export Media

The export settings window will pop-up, this is where you create your custom preset.

Premiere Pro Custom Preset

First, select the format you would like your clip to be exported as, then be sure to select ‘Custom’ for the ‘Preset’ selection.

You can see what the specs of the source clip are in the ‘Summary’ section, under ‘Source’ if you would like to match the settings for the output.

Otherwise you can choose your desired settings accordingly.

*If you would like to limit your bitrate to help reduce size, you can chose to do so in the bottom right, where it says ‘Bitrate Settings,’ just check the box and then click on the number to change it. Without doing this, the program will use the highest bitrate possible with the clip and will create a very large file. This is good if size is not an issue but quality is. But if you need to maintain a manageable size you may want to look into the bitrate capabilities of whatever platform you will be playing your clips on. For upload to Vimeo for example, they recommend the following, 2,000 – 5,000 kbps (SD) / 5,000 – 10,000 kbps (720p HD) / 10,000 – 20,000 kbps (1080p HD).

Next you’ll want to choose the settings for the audio. You can do this by selecting the audio tab and going through the same process you did with video.

Premiere Pro Audio Settings

Now, before you hit ‘Export’ you will want to SAVE YOUR PRESET. Otherwise all of this work will be for nothing. To do this, you want to click the ‘Save Preset’ icon in the export settings section, next to where you selected ‘Custom’ in the beginning of the process (it is a little down arrow over a hard drive icon).

Premiere Pro Save Preset

After you have saved and named your preset you can go ahead an export your clip. This will not only save your preset, but is a good way to test that your settings are correct before you spend the time on a large batch update. It is always a good idea to watch the clip through to make sure that it transcoded properly and that you like the quality and size produced by your chosen settings.

Batch Ingesting In Prelude

After you have successfully exported your clip you can go back into Prelude to start your batch ingest. Once in Prelude you will ingest (again, ‘command I’ or go to ‘File’ → ‘Ingest’ from the dropdown menu).

Now you can select the folder in which your clips are in and select those you would like to include in the batch. If you want all of the files in a selected folder you can select ‘Check All’ on the bottom. *Note, you can only select files from one folder at a time. If you go into a different folder and select files from there it will deselect the files from the previous folder.

After selecting your clips, you should chose the option to ‘Transfer Clips to Destination’ on the upper right side. Here you will select your destination and your newly created custom transcoding preset preference. You can also add a subfolder for you batch to go in, as well as a second location for your files to be copied to if you would like.

Prelude Batch Ingest

Select ingest. This will then send your media to Adobe Media encoder to be processed in batch.

Adobe Media Encoder Queue

That is pretty much it. Once the files are done being transcoded, you can find them in the folder you selected in your ingest request. Rinse and repeat.

There you go, batch P2 files with whatever settings you would like, transcoded and ready to use! :)