How to fix choppy playback in Adobe premiere

how to fix choppy playback in premiere pro Apr 08, 2023


So, you're trying to edit your video in Adobe premiere and it's playing back choppy, and you tried everything you can think of and it's driving you crazy. All video editing systems are resource and

memory hungry, but today I'm going to give you six things you can try to get you’re preview playing back flawlessly.

Tip 1: Make sure you're using the best GPU setting.

If you have a good graphics card, then you can utilize the memory on the graphics card instead of software.

So, the first thing we're going to do is if we have GPU acceleration on or not.

Let's go to file> project settings> general. And then what you'll see here on the video recording and playback. If you are set to software only. This will slow you down.

If you have a good graphics card, you want to choose that.

From the drop-down menu you might have one of these hardware settings.

  • Mercury playback engine. CPU acceleration (OpenCL).
  • Mercury playback engine. CPU acceleration (CUDA).

If you do, we need to choose that and then say OK.


Tip 2: Clear you Cache memory

So, the next thing we want to do is clear out any unused memory or media cache, as it's called, in temporary files. If you're on a mac, you're going to go to the top and this is going to say Premiere Pro,

go to preferences and go down to the media cache.

On Windows, go to edit> preferences> > media cache.


This will take a second and then it pops up and here we see our media cache files. So, there is a database here and we can remove this by saying delete here.

Now when we do this, it's going to delete any unused media cache files.

 You can see this other one down here, which is all media has files is grayed out and we can select that.

This will clear out  all the cache and that's what we want.

Do do this we must close the project we are  have open. ( save the project now )

  • Select cancel here 
  •  Go to file> close project
  • go to edit> preferences> > media cache.
  • On the first screen press delete 

Now on the second screen we can now delete all media cache.

Premiere will automatically close down.

Restart premiere and  you are good the go.


Tip 3: Drop the resolution of your playback in preview

Step three is dropping the resolution of your playback in preview. So instead of having your preview playing back at full frame 4k, let's drop the preview resolution while we're editing. Now, this won't affect your final video output, and this simple step could be your issue.

Simply make sure you are playing back your preview at 1/4 resolution seem to work well.


Tip 4: Drop the resolution of your playback in preview

The next thing we can do is turn off the effects previews if we don't need them while we're editing. We may have lots of effects, such as LUT’s or color grading or special plug ins that are affected or applied to the top of our clips. If we don't need them while we're editing, we can remove them temporarily in the preview while we're editing, and then we can put them back on before we do the output simply with one click.

Under the preview panel  check to see if the "fx" symbol is displayed 

If it's NOT  select the plus button

This opens all your options. Find the "fx" symbol and "drag" it down into the lower panel

Then select ok.


Now you are able to switch the effects on/off just by pressing this button

Note: when the "fx" is white the effects are On

when the "fx" is blue the effects are off. 

Tip 5: Edit with all your files on your laptop or  computer 

As a general rule you want to put all your media onto your computer to edit.

This is the fastest way for your editing software to access the files.

Once your done  you can purge everything off your computer to a backup hard drive or cloud storage.

If you have to use an external drive 

Use an SSD drive.

They have no moving parts and the read/write speeds are fast.

 Don't use a normal USD drive. That have slower read write speeds and have slow mechanical moving parts.

They are However a good cheap method for backing up your projects and media for storage.

Tip 6: Use proxies.

LINK to YouTube video 


Finally, we have proxies. Proxies are intimidating to most people, but actually they're quite easy to use. Proxies simply create a separate lower resolution of your video clips. These lower resolution files allow you to edit with a smoother playback. Then when you're finished, you can simply export the same edited movie back out as your high resolution one.

Select the clips you want to create a proxy to

Right click>proxy>create proxy

This will open the options box

  • Select Quicktime
  • Select proRes Low Resolution proxy
  • Add watermark ( I'll explain later)
  • Select destination: Next to original Media, in Proxy folder
  • Click ok

This will open the media encoder and create the proxies

Close this panel once it's done

This will create a seperate folder containing the proxy files next to your original media location.

Now in your timeline you will see a small proxy icon on each of your clips ( that you chose )

It will be Gray  showing that the clip  has a proxy but it's "off " 


Now we have to enable the icon to be able to switch between the Hi res clip and the low res proxy clip.

Look below the preview panel and see if you have the proxy toggle icon.

If not do as we did before with the fx icon

  • Click the + icon
  • Locate the Proxy toggle icon
  • drag it into the lower panel
  • select ok 

1. Now when we click it , the icon will turn blue and that means the proxy files are in the timeline

2. The gray icon on the tip also turns blue.

3. You will also notice because we turn on the watermark. The proxy clips have the watermark on the lower left corner of the clip.

This is a great quick visual to remind you you are working in the proxy mode.

 Switch this toggle is as simple as 1 click.

Note when exporting your project at the end of your edit. it doesn't matter if this icon is on or off Premiere will export the High res version of your clips.




Check out our Mobile filmmaking masterclass. with over 20+ Hrs & 200 + video lessons it covers  everything from Camera essentials, shooting ,editing & color grading... & more ! 

We are always adding to this content  

Check it out

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.