Regardless of how much I like Premiere Pro, there are still a few glitches that catch me from time to time. This is one of those, that I keep forgetting about, and rediscover then and again. The following most likely applies to a specific configuration of Mac Pro, Snow Leopard, and Blackmagic video card (probably any of them, but I have Decklink SP at work so far), running Adobe CS5, and working on DV material. It only affects rolling credits. It might therefore be limited in application, but just in case you are the kind of person that works with it, here it goes.
DV material is encoded with Lower Field First. Blackmagic sequence uses Blackmagic codec to render, and is encoded with Upper Field First. Therefore all titles and effects are considered to be UFF and rendered accordingly. All previews are crisp and clean, everything seems to be all right… until you try to export back to DV or any other codec. Then your rolling credits will suddenly look like crap. There’s just no better way to put it. There will be no hard edges, the resolution will seem to be halved or worse, and generally everything will most probably freak you out, when you see it for the first time. Even enabling “use previews” in export window will not help.
Obviously, there is a bug somewhere, either on part of Blackmagic or Adobe. What happens is that Adobe for some reason thinks that it has to deinterlace the credits to get them to work with the lower-field-first DV footage that you have on the layer below (ah, I forgot to add that part at the beginning of the post), and really messes the thing up. The solution is to export first to the codec that will show up when you click “Match sequence settings” option in the export window. There is no other way. No other codec, regardless of field order, is going to work. You have to export it to Blackmagic Uncompressed to get the credits in proper resolution and quality. Then you can convert it to DV or whatever you want, but this intermediate step – which eats up valuable time – is necessary.
Of course, when you select standard DV sequence, there is no problem at all, but then you don’t have the monitoring from Decklink.
There’s another caveat, while we’re at it. For some reason, Premiere CS5 (and only this version) dislikes Photoshop pictures with gradients and alpha channel, and can really mess them up big time on export (again, previews are fine). If you use this kind of files for manipulating picture, I would advise turning on one of the blending modes in the gradient file on the timeline – for some unexplained reason this fixes this problem. Since I use these files for darkening part of an image, I go for multiply, but overlay and screen are good in other situations as well.
Bug report filed for Adobe, but so what…