If you’ve ever edited video, you probably know all about how “choppy” the playback can be while working in your favorite application. There are a few reasons for this choppiness and they all revolve around your computer’s resources. Not enough RAM, a video card that doesn’t have enough power, a processor that’s too slow – all reasons to cause skipping, freezing and an overall horrible experience.
In today’s post, I’m going to quickly outline two areas that will help you immensely while working inside of Adobe Photoshop. Whether you know this or not, I’m here to tell you that life doesn’t have to be excruciating in this respect. With the adjustments of just two settings, you can edit video inside Photoshop in a relatively smooth manner with only 8GB of RAM. I know, it doesn’t sound possible. Read on to see how it actually is.
What is Playback?
Before I begin, I thought I’d give you a bit of behind the scenes insight to my thinking. When I refer to “playback” in this post, I’m referring to the act of playing back a video or clips of different videos inside of the Photoshop interface for review. Playback is different than the final product. Inside of Photoshop, it doesn’t matter what you do to the settings I describe below. Even if you reduce them to their lowest quality, the video, after being rendered, will remain at its initial quality. Playback is merely a “review” of the original, so don’t concern yourself with how lousy things look inside the editor.
The Video Interface
For this demonstration, I’ll need to open a video file into Photoshop. I chose a nice clip of a flower with a few bees buzzing around it.
The two methods to increase playback efficiency are quite simple to find. I’ll list both of them, with descriptions, below.
Allow Frame Skipping
When playing back a video, Photoshop has the ability to skip frames that haven’t yet been cached by your system. This speeds up and smooths out what you’re watching. To enable the Allow Frame Skipping feature, head over to the small menu that sits at the top right of the Timeline panel.
As you play and replay your file, your system will eventually cache many more frames. This will result in an even smoother playback.
Even more important than skipping frames is the resolution of your working video file. Not the original or the final cut, but the working version. If you head over to the playhead controls on the left side of the Timeline panel, you’ll see a small icon that looks like a gear. If you roll over this icon, a small popup will appear that says Set Playback Options. Click the gear and you’ll see this:
Inside this options area is a drop-down and a check box. The check box controls whether or not your playback loops back to the beginning of the video once it hits the end. Changing this setting is up to you, but just realize that it has nothing to do with altering the efficiency of your editing experience.
The area that needs to be focused on is the Resolution. Setting this to 100% (which is the default) will cause all sorts of issues if your system isn’t up to snuff. Actually, if you’re dealing with problems, this is most likely the cause. By reducing the video’s virtual resolution to 50%, you’ll most likely alleviate many of those issues. Staying with 50% resolution is a very good idea. While you’ll lose a slight bit of clarity, you’ll make up for it in ease of use. Also, if your computer is really low on RAM, you may want to reduce the resolution even further to 25%, but please understand that the clarity of what you’ll be working with may be extraordinarily pixelated. 50% is a happy medium.
I recently added 8GB in addition RAM to my computer, so many of the issues I was dealing with cleared up. I still dealt with some stuttering though, until I altered the settings I described above. I couldn’t be happier with the result. Now, when I edit any type of video, it’s smooth sailing.
If you’re experiencing problems while editing video in Adobe Photoshop, please give what I wrote in this post a chance. Also, if you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!