Taking place next week is the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual trade show, NAB 2013. Though most of the announcements coming out of NAB are for highly specialized products – rackmount video encoders, broadcast-quality software, etc – there are usually a few announcements applicable to the wider world. And Adobe and AMD are getting the jump on one of them with an early announcement of OpenCL support for Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro is Adobe’s popular non-linear video editor (NLE), which in version CS5 (2010) added support for a collection of GPU-accelerated effects with Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine. However at the time support was limited to NVIDIA cards due to the use of CUDA, leaving AMD out in the cold, due in part to the fact that Adobe was not satisfied with the state of OpenCL at the time. On the Mac this changed somewhat in CS6 when Adobe added OpenCL support for some (but not quite all) effects, while the PC version of CS6 continued to be CUDA powered.

Jumping forward, with the yet-to-be named upcoming version of Premiere Pro – currently dubbed Premiere Pro CS Next – Adobe is bringing broader OpenCL support to the Windows market, and in effect finally enabling hardware processing on AMD GPUs. As is often the case, AMD has been working directly with Adobe to get OpenCL integrated into Premiere Pro, and in fact today’s announcement comes by the way of AMD rather than Adobe. Adobe for their part isn’t saying much about Premiere Pro Next at this time – traditionally Adobe saves that for their own events – but at a minimum it looks like OpenCL is coming to parity with CUDA (or close enough). Though with Adobe consistently working to expand their usage of GPU processing and having more than a year to work with AMD’s GCN architecture, it will be interesting to see if Premiere Pro CS Next will add support for new effects, on top of OpenCL support for their existing GPU accelerated effects.

Anyhow, for AMD this is of course a big deal. While some other NLEs like Sony Vegas have supported hardware accelerated effects with their cards for some time, Premiere Pro represents a sizable part of the NLE market that they were previously locked out of. Especially since this lets AMD leverage their APU advantage, including both the consumer A-series and the rarely mentioned FirePro APUs. That the A-series is being supported is actually a big deal in and of itself since Premiere Pro CS6’s CUDA path only officially supports a small number of high-end NVIDIA consumer cards, so this marks a major broadening of support on Adobe’s part.

Finally, AMD has a blog up offering a sneak peek at performance, though as with any vendor-published benchmarks it should be taken with a grain of salt. Performance aside, it’s interesting to note that it looks like Adobe will be keeping their CUDA code path, as AMD’s test configurations indicate that the NVIDIA cards are using the CUDA code path even on Premiere Pro Next. Having separate code paths is not all that unusual in the professional world, as in cases like these it means each GPU family gets an optimized code path for maximum performance, but it does mean Adobe is putting in extra work to make it happen.

Source: AMD

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  • StealthX32 - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    I haven't tested OpenCL for CS6, but for non-HTML5 videos, Flash still continues to peg my CPU usage and pushes the CPU over 100 deg C. Thanks a lot, Adobe. Reply
  • thesavvymage - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    yeah if your cpu is going over 100 deg C, thats not flash. thats your cpu. it should never, under any circumstance, pass 100 deg C. you need an upgrade, or to clean the dust off your fan. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    Yes, if you're CPU is heating up to 100C that's a hardware issue. There is no reason why a CPU shouldn't be able to run at 100% constantly (if it's actually processing something). Reply
  • StealthX32 - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    It's a C2D 2.26GHz in a Macbook Pro 13 (2009 era). I thought this was standard operating procedure for Flash on OS X. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    Be mad at Apple then. A program should use as much CPU time as possible to finish its task as fast a possible. If the PC/laptop cannot handle the stress, it's the fault of the manufacturer. Seems that the cooling solution doesn't hold up to long use. Get someone to replace the thermal paste and clean the heatsink for you. Reply
  • Tegeril - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    It's not, unless you're viewing video on a player written over 4 years ago, the entire video rendering pipeline in Flash is hardware accelerated. Reply
  • AndreElijah - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    Dude - don't blame Adobe - that's ALL Apple... Furthermore it has NOTHING to do with Adobe's Pro Video offerings like Premiere which is referenced in this article. I work in film professionally as an editor and have owned 7 MacBook Pros in the last 7 years. Apple has replaced them all due to severe overheating. I have a 17'' 2011 MacBook Pro that regularly overheats to over 100 degrees Celsius with graphical artifacting whenever rendering something with the dedicated GPU. When you have a hot processor in a chassis less than an inch thick - that's what happens. My next machine will be the HP 8770w or Dell Precision 6700 (Haswell equivalents) because they are both powerful and properly cooled. Something that Apple does not provide. Reply
  • Oberoth - Sunday, April 07, 2013 - link

    Are we over the days of QuickSync not working in you have another GPU on your PC? Back in the Sandy Bridge days QuickSync only worked when you had a monitor attached to one of its outputs, is this still the case?

    I will be buying a Haswell set up when it's out but will also be using a dedicated GPU, will the GPU on the CPU still function? Will software like Handbrake and Prem Pro still have access to QuickSync?

    Also there are often concerns over quality from GPU assisted encoding, is this still the case with Open CL? What would be a better option (mainly quality but also speed) new high-ish end AMD or nVidia card or sticking with QuickSync or disabling all GPU acceleration and purely using x86?
    Reply
  • shnurov - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    I don't understand the part where they say that 'lower GPU usage is better.'
    I mean, if there's 100% GPU available; I'd love to see Premiere use 100% and complete the rendering ASAP, not have 35% usage. I hope it'll be extended to the non-FireGL cards as well, like the 7970/6970/etc.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    The way I read that is that they are talking about efficiency. So, the 2 cards are doing the same thing, AMD cards are being faster and at the same time use less resources. Reply

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