Editing 4k, 8k, 16k, or other high-res footage can slow your computer down, especially on a laptop. We usually recommend editing this kind of high-resolution footage on a desktop. However, a desktop is sometimes not easily accessible, and you only have a laptop at your disposal. There are steps you can take to avoid the slowness, the most prominent being to convert your footage into proxies.
What are proxies?
A proxy is a duplicate file of your original footage, however, the duplicate is lower in resolution and smaller in file size. They are incredibly useful to use in editing timelines as it makes the editing process faster, makes for easier playback, and helps with faster rendering.
How to make proxies
Depending on the editing program, you can usually make proxies inside your software. For this tutorial, we will use Adobe Premiere Pro.
The first step is to upload all your high-resolution footage into your Project panel. Your video, audio, graphics, sequences, and bins live in this panel. Organize your high-resolution footage as you wish, whether using containers or without.
Next, right-click the video or bin of videos, scroll until you find “Proxy,” and click “Create Proxies.”
You will then be taken to this window. The format will be your desired codec, showing H.264 and Quicktime. We recommend using Quicktime, especially if you already have your high-resolution footage as an mov file. However, it depends on your project.
Next, you can choose your preset. They are divided based on resolution (low, medium, and high) and codec (If your format was H.264, then your preset codec is H.264. If your format was Quicktime, then your preset codecs to choose from include ProRes, Cineform, and DNxHR).
Lastly, you choose your destination. We recommend choosing Next to Original Media, in Proxy folder, as that makes your footage easier to locate in your project panel.
Once you choose your settings, Adobe Media Encoder should automatically open and be creating your proxies. We recommend having this application installed from your Creative Suite to assist in your exports and rendering.
Once the proxies finish, you will notice the creation of a new Proxies folder next to your original high-resolution footage in your Finder.
Not only that but your proxies should now be automatically relinked to your high-resolution footage on your timeline. You may even see this Toggle Proxies icon if you drag the shot into your timeline.
To turn your proxies on and off when editing, you will need this Toggle Proxies button in your editing menu. If you are unfamiliar with the appearance of this button, the button contains two rectangles with arrows around them.
If this button is not present, press the plus icon and drag the icon into your menu.
How to link proxies
Right click your video files (or bin of video files), click Proxy, and then Attach Proxies.
You will then see a list of all the clips you want to attach proxies to, depending if you clicked a bin of files or one file. Click Attach on the lower right hand corner.
You will see a menu similar to Finder, but in Premiere Pro format. This menu may look familiar if you have linked any media in Premiere Pro in the past.
You can either press Search and see if Premiere links it to the correct file, or find your proxies folder in this menu manually, click on the desired video file, and press okay.
NOTE: Search works best with a larger file path if you are not sure of the current location of the file. Say a file is currently in Folder A, but you are inside Folder B and press search. Because you are in a separate file path, Premiere will not find the file you are looking for. In other words, if you are in a smaller subfolder and you press Search, the file might not be located if it is not inside any part of the Sub folder.
If you ever want to remove your proxies, you can follow a similar path as linking proxies, but instead of pressing Attach Proxies, press Detach Proxies.
If you are an editor who receives only proxies and not high-resolution footage until a later date, you will find Reconnect Full Resolution Media to be useful for relinking to high resolution at a later time. Follow the menus prompted and click Attach, where here you will find your media either by pressing Search, or by finding the file path manually.
Each editing software should have its own way to make proxies, such as AVID Media Composer or Da Vinci Resolve. This is a simple process of how to do it in Adobe Premiere Pro, we hope this helps your editing journey!