Adobe Prelude CS6: New Features

Posted on by Larry

[Updated June 4 with links to new presets.]

Shortly after it’s release, I took a “First Look at Adobe Prelude.” You can read that article here.

Recently, Adobe updated Prelude CS6 to version 1.0.1. Coming less than a month after the initial release of Prelude, you would expect the new version to only add bug fixes. But it actually added several new features, as well.


Due to the way many tapeless formats are compressed, when you want to ingest a portion of a clip using Prelude, you need to transcode, or convert, it from the format in which it was shot into something different. This transcoding process is handled for Prelude by Adobe Media Encoder (AME).

The problem is that almost all of the default transcoding settings in AME are optimized for final distribution – say, to the web – rather than for editing. This meant that transcoding ran the very real risk that your image and audio quality would decrease during transcoding, which is not what you want for your master clips.

With this release, Prelude now provides new transcoding options that are optimized for editing.

While the ideal option for Mac users is to transcode into ProRes, this isn’t a viable option for Windows users. Since Prelude is cross-platform, Adobe provides two other options: MXF OP1a and P2 Movie. Of the two, I prefer P2 Movie > AVC Intra 100. This Panasonic codec is 10-bit, uses I-frame compression, and creates file sizes somewhat smaller than ProRes 422. For most editors, it should provide excellent quality.

For Mac users wanting the best quality, I recommend creating a custom preset in Adobe Media Encoder using ProRes. For editors needing to support files in a cross-platform environment, I recommend AVC-Intra 100. (The 100 version has a higher bit rate, and generally higher quality than the 50 version.)

UPDATE – June 4, 2012

I just received two links from Adobe providing updates to the new transcode presets.

Windows users click here.

Mac users click here.

The presets are in the Add-Ons section at the middle of the screen. These also require the latest version of Adobe Media Encoder (6.0.1 or later).


The new version provides the ability to select multiple clips for ingest, then build them into a single file for editing. For example, say you took a lot of B-roll shots of the exterior of a location. You may not want all those shots as separate files. Instead, to make organization simpler, you want to build them all into a single file and give it a new name, say: “Exterior B-roll.” Now you can.

Now, you can. In the Ingest window, select all the clips you want to combine into a single file.

Then, in the Transfer Options panel on the right, turn on:

All three options need to be checked for this option to work. Then, as before, Prelude off-loads the heavy-lifting of transcoding to AME which runs in the background and creates the new clip.

NOTE: In order to use this option, you must have both Adobe Media Encoder CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6 installed on your system, as this process uses software that is included with both. If both programs are not installed, the Concatenate option will be grayed out.


The initial release of Prelude did not have the ability to relink missing, moved, or renamed media. Now, it does.

When you first open an existing project, Prelude checks to be sure it can find all the media in it. If it can’t, it pops up a dialog asking if you want to relink them. (You can also manually request to relink a clip by selecting the clip, or clips, to relink, then choosing: File > Relink clips.)

If you choose to relink, Prelude displays a dialog – showing the name of the missing clip at the top – asking you to find the files. There is no automatic search with this option, so you will need to locate the missing files manually.

Once you find the missing files – remember you are looking to find the file listed at the top of the window – click Open to relink to it. If other missing files are stored in the same location, Prelude will automatically link to them as well.

NOTE: By the way, there are times when you might not want to relink – for instance, you opened the project to check a marker or file name on a different computer. You know the links are broken, but since you are just reviewing a file, you don’t want to reset the links. Click “No” in the reset links dialog and your files and links remain untouched.

At this point, while we can relink master clips, we can not relink subclips or unlinked clips in a rough cut. That should be fixed in a future update.


In the initial release of Prelude, if a marker was not fully contained in a subclip, for example a Comment marker, it would not be displayed in the clip. Now, after the update, if a marker is partially contained in a subclip, the part of the marker that exists within the subclip will be displayed in the subclip. This is a great way to have comments show up in both the subclip and clips that are exported to Premiere Pro CS6.

NOTE: While Prelude only supports sending files to Premiere Pro CS6 or Final Cut Pro 7, transcoded clips can be opened by any editing software that supports the transcoded format that you chose.


Prelude is a great tool for enabling producers and editors review and ingest software without needing to use extremely powerful computers – Prelude is only 32-bit so it runs on older gear very nicely – or expensive editing system.

What Adobe needs to do is sell Prelude separately to enable producers to purchase multiple copies of Prelude without needing to purchase the entire Production Premium suite. The existing license for Prelude allows it to be installed on two different computers, though only one computer at a time can run the application.


If you haven’t tried using Prelude, download the trial version from Adobe and see what you think.

NOTE: I’ve created video training for Prelude CS6. You can learn more about my training here. Within the next couple of weeks, I’ll create an update based on the new features. That video update will be provided free to all existing Prelude training customers.

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28 Responses to Adobe Prelude CS6: New Features

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  1. Greg Popp says:

    Hello, Larry! As a filmmaker who loved using markers in Final Cut Pro 7 to define moments within a take (as with a lengthy interview) that were conveniently revealed in a list in the browser grouped under the clip, I was very excited about the possibilities to better mark and log material with Adobe Prelude. However, there seems to be a fatal flaw (for the time being at least) for some filmmakers in regards to Prelude that Adobe even acknowledges: there’s no workflow for dual system audio.

    If you try to create merged clips within Premiere with second system audio, you lose your markings. The only other approach would be to ingest, merge, export, and re-ingest – obviously not an ideal way of working.


    • Larry Jordan says:


      Hmmm… let me do some homework on this and get back to you.


      • Larry Jordan says:


        You are correct. As of now, Prelude doesn’t support double-system audio. I’ve sent that request off to Adobe to add to the next version.


        • Rick says:

          Since I run double system audio on multicam shoots with a mixed down track sent to the cameras wirelessly, this is a deal buster. I had my hopes up as this is exactly what I’ve been looking for for both dailys is h.264 on set and to send back to edit. Also, I edit in avid, ask the them to create a better interface usinf dnxhd. Thanks

  2. Cameron O'Rourke says:

    Prelude really needs to surface metadata and markers in the project window. While it provides great abilities to set metadata on clips and setup useful markers (that are saved to the metadata files), when looking at a long list of clips and subclips, its impossible to tell where your ‘good’ clips are, or really organize your clips/subclips by any useful criteria. When you click on an individual clip, you can see the metadata, but which of these 50 clips has Larry in them? At minimum, I think that when you set a marker, a little marker color dot should be placed next to the clip or subclip. I’ve made a feature request.

  3. Prelude is promising but won’t allow me to concatenate XDCAM-EX files. I check folders from a 1 hour roll and I get a dialog telling me that folders can’t be concatenated. Doesn’t seem possible to select the MP4 files to do so. Back to FCP to import.

  4. MK says:

    I dont really understand this program. I am looking for a workflow to go through my raw cards set in and out points “NAME THEM” and convert them.

    But the in and out seems pretty archaic and I dont see where you can name the files.

    Dont understand why they won’t make this like log and transfer.

    If I wanted to make a rough cut, I would do it in Premiere.

  5. Dorothy Bowers says:

    Thanks for this introduction to Prelude, it has been very helpful – but I don’t seem to get the same views that your tutorial does. I have ingested a file and marked several sub-clips in the timeline. They appear as sub-clips in the List view. They appear on the timeline and the marker list in the Logging view. But they do not appear under the main clip in the Project panel and then when I click on the “create a new rough-cut” button, I get a windows page where I suppose I could drag the sub-clips to the rough-cut folder, but the sub-slips are not there in the explorer view. That’s the first problem, but also, I don’t seem to be able to find the rough-cut panel that you show in your tutorial. I hope you can take a minute to help me get started. I think prelude will be very helpful for someone who doesn’t have assistants to do the rough-cutting.
    Again, thanks for your time and very helpful video,

  6. Eric Smith says:

    I am new to the Adobe video workflow, so if I am completely or partially out of whack, please correct me.

    I am working on an ongoing project for broadcast where I acquire 100 GB+ of footage every week. A lot of the footage includes interviews that last as long as a half an hour or more, without “stopping tape”. I work from home, as does my producer, with broadband internet speeds. (Until this fall when I’m scheduled to get Google Fiber!!!).

    I am currently editing in FCP7 where I ingest all the video and create a time code burn sequence in the DVCPro HD 1080 30 codec, and export them as low-res files to post to YouTube for client logging. My client then hands me a script with time code numbers to edit the clips in.

    I was wondering if I can ingest the footage in Prelude at it’s native format (DVCProHD 1080 30 in MXF) while simultaneously creating a low-res proxy to upload to Creative Cloud. Would my producer be able to log, comment, or even make a rough cut off of the low-res video file (since we’re working with long clips and broadband speeds); to then be brought back into Prelude (through the XML metadata?), and then relinked to the higher quality transcode?

    (If I could only create low-res video files for logging, and then re-ingest the selects at full resolution for the final edit, that would be ideal).

    This would save me tons on storage costs, and streamline my workflow. It would also save me time and headaches from Producer time code transcription errors.

    It seems plausible; but I can’t find any documentation on how to do it, let alone best practices.

    If this is not possible, is there at least a way to transcode a low-res time code burn at the same time I’m ingesting the high res footage in Prelude? (It would at least save me time).

    Any info or advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you, Larry. I’ve learned a lot from you since I first watched you on years ago.

    • Eric Smith says:

      I forgot to click the “Notify me…via email” box, which is why I’m writing this. Please respond from this comment.

      • Larry Jordan says:


        Prelude uses Adobe Media Encoder (AME) for all its compression. And AME does not support burning in timecode, it assumes all Timecode will be generated in Premiere.

        So, unless I’m mistaken about AME, you can’t create your burn-is using Prelude.


  7. Sure, Larry. At Adobe, our credo is, “Customer feedback is a gift.” I quite like that one!

  8. Kyu Lee says:

    Larry, you say to use avc intra 100 to transcode files that aren’t in a .mov format. I shoot mini dv in 24p which produces a m2t format along with my dslr that produces .mov.
    When I transcode the m2t using avc intra 100, i notice it changes its frame rate to 29 or 30 p. I thought that was weird and at the end of my edit i export to a master copy and noticed that all my original .mov clips came out great. But the m2t files that i converted to .mov came out super choppy. looked horrible. Is there anything else windows users can us aside from avc intra 100? or am i doing something wrong? I checked prelude to see if there were any options for avc intra 100 but there doesn’t seem to be.

    • Larry says:


      I would only use AVC-Intra if you are shooting HD video.

      Mini-DV should be converted into DV NTSC or DV PAL, which is a much better codec for this media. Adobe Media Encoder supports both flavors of DV with built-in presets.


      • Kyu Lee says:

        Hey Larry, thank you for the quick response. I’ve gotten really familiar with premiere pro ever since your creativelive class.
        I apologize I wasn’t too clear in my previous post. I said mini dv but mini dv tape is what my camcorder records to. It’s actually a HDV recording a M2T format. So the file itself is 1440X1080 and I record in 24 p. So I’ll transcode using prelude into the avc intra 100 format. Then when I import it to premiere and bring it down to the timeline, it looks choppy. When I rendered a master file it still looked choppy. I tried transcoding it to something else, I think I used some sort of mpeg format which i know probably isn’t the best quality, but the footage was not choppy and definitely usable . I thought it might be because the avc intra100 was a different frame rate, but not sure. If I can’t get this to work for me I thought I heard u mention some other formats that u recommended in the class. I think it was one that you had to buy?

        • Larry says:

          Ah. HDV, like DV, is its own format. Try capturing and editing in HDV natively and see if the choppiness goes away. (Generally, choppiness is due to matching the frame rates between the source and the format you are transcoding into.)


          • Kyu Lee says:

            Hey, Larry. You were absolutely right. Instead of transcoding my hdv m2t files in prelude, I just captured my files natively to premiere pro. Works flawlessly and editing both the m2t and .mov files on the same timeline has given me no problems at all. I rendered a master file and it looks perfect. Thanks again! I hope you do another class on creativelive.

  9. marc says:

    Hi Larry,

    I just recieved a gaggle of MXF video shot on a Panasonic AG-HVX200P. Not having worked with MXF in over a year, I forgot that I shouldn’t rename my files and guess what happened? I renamed my files. Using the XML files in “CLIP” as a reference, I was able to rename the audio and video files to what I assume to be their original filenames. Now when I ingest the video in Prelude, the audio is not linked. I’m able to view the video, but there’s no sound. I got desperate and tried importing the audio by itself, but all I got was a “generic error” from Prelude. Any help or advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.



    • Larry Jordan says:


      MXF files are actually THREE files, in three different folders: video, audio, and metadata. Sounds to me like the file names still don’t match.

      If Prelude won’t import them it probably means that the files are not linking properly, You’re best advice is to go to your backups and recopy the media. Then remember not to rename the files.


      • marc says:

        Thanks for the INCREDIBLY fast reply, Larry! The only problem is you assumed I wasn’t a complete doofus and actually had back-ups. These are the only files I have and I foolishly forgot how one is supposed to work with MXFs. Perhaps the team who shot it hasn’t cleared their cards yet (tho I assume they have) and I’ll be able to get lucky.

      • marc says:

        all three files have matching filenames tho… shouldn’t that work?

        • Harley Davis says:

          Unfortunately, some video formats don’t call the filename in editors or in their formatting the way you might think. The attached metadata isn’t always linked by filename. You do have the option in some programs to separate your own metadata file from the video, but it doesn’t always create a new file and separate them; it typically creates more of a “Fake” file that references the locations in the storage media where that file would be, and updates the same info in the original file to make it show itself as smaller when you view the properties. The video and audio are separate streams, but the metadata is usually just embedded in one of the actual files. If you change the name on the metadata file, you change the starting block slightly, and break the link between the files (the same goes for video and audio). One stream already has the metadata, so it is retained in that file, but you won’t be able to tie them together by setting the names back to normal. They are Streams, not basic files. A stream is a named pipe to a file that is recognized usually by a block name. Since the streams contain the info on one another in this fashion as well, you break them when you alter the name by separating the starting block (moving it slightly). However, you are not lost if you can pull them in natively to Premiere or another similar editor that allows separate import. You pull them in, set them to a timeline and render or export. This will relink them with a new metadata set, stream, and formatting that you render out with AME. If it still won’t allow you to bring them in, or it complains about combining them, reformat each individually (you can open each in an editor or formatting program and save as or export) and do the same process. You need to render out the entire file for them to link together again. Sorry kev, you may be SOL on using the files as they are.

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