Tip #1301: Enable High Quality Playback

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1301: Enable High Quality Playback

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

High-quality compensates for the visual difference when playing or pausing a clip.

Topic $TipTopic

Premiere allows control over playback quality and resolution. By default High Quality Playback is turned off. When should you turn it on?

Here’s the answer, from Adobe Help.

NOTE: Click the Wrench icon in either the Source or Program Monitors to see these menu options.

Playback vs. Paused Resolution

Some formats are difficult to display in full-motion playback, due to their high compression or high data rate. A lower resolution permits faster motion playback, but at the expense of display image quality. This tradeoff is most visible when viewing AVCHD and other H.264 -codec based media. Below full resolution, these formats have error correction turned off, and artifacts are common during playback. These artifacts, however, do not show up in exported media.

Providing separate playback and pause resolutions gives you more control over your monitoring experience. With high-resolution footage, you can set playback resolution to a lower value (for example, 1/4) for smooth playback, and set the pause resolution to Full. These settings allow you to check the quality of focus or edge details when playback is paused. Scrubbing puts the monitor in playback resolution, not pause resolution.

Not all resolutions are available for all sequence types. For Standard Definition sequences, such as DV, only Full and 1/2 are available. For many HD sequences up to 1080 frame size, Full, 1/2, and 1/4 are available. For sequences with frame sizes larger than 1080, such as RED, more fractional resolutions are available.

High Quality Playback

To optimize playback performance, playback quality at any of the monitor’s playback resolutions (Full, ½, and ¼) is lower than it is when pausing the video. Due to the difference in quality, users may notice a slight “bump” in image quality between playback and pause. Frames can have a slightly softer look during playback versus pause at the default settings, even when both are set to full resolution. With High-Quality Playback toggled on, the quality of playback frames will match paused frames when they’re set to the same resolution and eliminate the quality “bump” when starting and stopping playback. However, turning High-Quality Playback on can decrease playback performance, including causing dropped frames.


For my projects, I set:

  • Playback resolution to 1/2
  • Paused Resolution to Full
  • And turn High Quality Playback off

When I get a newer/faster system, I’ll turn High Quality on.

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *