NVIDIA QUADRO Fueling Adobe’s New Mercury Playback Engine

by Mark Priscaro

UPDATED: 2/12/2010

This past December, Adobe provided a sneak peak of their new Mercury Playback Engine, the driving force behind future versions of Premiere Pro.

Essentially, Adobe has redesigned their entire video rendering and playback engine to harness the NVIDIA CUDA parallel processing architecture of Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs). The result is a fluid, real-time editing experience for adding additional effects, multiple layers, or ultra high resolution content. No more wasting time waiting for things like Encoding and Exporting progress bars to slowly fill the box.

Key things you’ll be able to do real-time with the Quadro GPU-powered Adobe Mercury Playback Engine include:

  • Refine effects-rich sequences
  • Smooth scrubbing and playback of complex projects without waiting for a render
  • Build, edit and experiment with complex video effects
  • Apply multiple color corrections
  • Experiment with effects like Gaussian blur and blend modes
  • Enhanced keying
  • Work with multiple HD video streams, even RED footage

The Mercury Playback Engine allows complex timelines and long-form projects with thousands of clips without having to wait, regardless of whether your projects are standard definition (SD), high definition (HD), 2K resolution, 4K, or beyond. You really can kiss the waiting goodbye.

Given the massive amount of processing required for real-time video editing, and the fact that Adobe wants to ensure the best user experience, they are only certifying high-end graphics solutions with a serious number of CUDA cores, and enough memory to handle complex video projects. And because the Mercury Playback Engine is based on CUDA, it is only accelerated by graphics solutions from NVIDIA. The current list of supported cards selected by Adobe includes the Quadro FX 3800, Quadro FX 4800, Quadro FX 5800 and Quadro CX, as well as the Quadro FX 4800 for Mac.  For the hobbyist videographer, Adobe has also certified the GeForce GTX 285, and we anticipate that Adobe will also be certifying upcoming GF100-based GeForce GTX products. Of course we’re not stopping there—video professionals need as much horsepower as they can get, so as we develop new high-end solutions, Adobe will be adding more NVIDIA hardware to the list.

If you’re currently using Adobe Creative Suite 4 on any of these Quadro solutions you’re definitely ready for the Mercury Playback Engine. If you aren’t, you can upgrade now to get an immediate boost in performance with your Adobe Creative Suite 4, and be ready for what’s coming next.