Have a machine that can’t handle 4K footage? Maybe you want to edit faster on a laptop while on the go. Consider an offline editing workflow to help speed up the process — without killing your computer’s processing power.
What Is Offline Editing?
Offline editing is the process of taking high-resolution footage and making a duplicate “proxy” version to use while editing the video. There are professional cameras that now capture 8K footage, but for your own workflow, you may be editing with 4K footage. If you find that your computer cannot handle the massive 4K file sizes, and your machine runs too slowly, you should definitely consider creating a proxy workflow.
Let’s continue to use 4K footage for this example. You can take the 4K footage captured in the camera and then make duplicate footage that is lower resolution. You can easily use an intermediate codec to create a 1080p, 720p, or lower version of the same exact clip. You would then edit your project with the lower-resolution proxies, meaning your computer should run faster and be less likely to crash.
When your finish your edit, the proxies can reference the original footage — meaning that you can export your 720p project to 4K by referencing the original 4K footage.
There are certainly pros and cons of using offline editing. For example, doing so protects your original footage files being deleted or corrupted. However, setting up a project will take more time. Organization is key to a successful offline edits, so make sure you have a good way to manage your files.
For a more in-depth read, check out this PremiumBeat article on the history and use of offline editing.
How Do I Create a Proxy?
There are several ways to create proxy files, depending on your workflow and NLE. Before creating proxies, make sure to structure your files to keep track of the high-res and proxy files. As a majority of our readers edit in Premiere Pro and FCPX, we will look at those proxy workflows here.
For video editors creating proxies in Premiere Pro CC, Adobe has dedicated a whole page to proxy workflows that covers the ingest workflow. You can select Create Proxy to create and attach the proxies to the media. Proxies generated this way attach automatically to the clips in the project. Another option is to select Copy and Create Proxy, which will both copy the original source media and create proxy versions. You can read more about the Adobe proxy workflow here.
Final Cut Pro X
For video editors creating proxies in Final Cut Pro X, the Create Optimized Media will transcode to ProRes 422 — which is the optimized codec format for working on Macs. If those files are still too much to manage, you can Create Proxy Media to make video and still-image proxy files. Video transcodes to ProRes 422 Proxy codec format, which is a medium-quality one-half resolution proxy. You can read more about Apple’s FCPX proxy workflow here.
Once you have your proxies, you are ready to start cutting. Get through all your edits, and then remember to export your project by referencing the original 4K footage using the workflow tips from Adobe and Apple.
Want some more tips on video editing?
Check out these recommended articles.