Video editing is one of the disciplines making striking use of CUDA technology, as presenters from Adobe Systems Inc. made clear during a session at the GPU Technology Conference. Al Mooney, product manager for Adobe’s Premier Pro video editing application, and computer scientist Steve Hoeg showed a room full of video professionals how the parallel processing capabilities of NVIDIA's GPUs are making it possible to enjoy peak performance while tapping the full capabilities of Premier Pro.
Video editors face numerous processing challenges, including huge data streams, hundreds of formats, and increasing pressure to deliver bigger results in shorter timeframes. Despite these challenges, editors across the board want to be able to play back any format or frame rate without conversion, mix multiple formats and frame rates within the same project, apply visual effects without slowing down the project, and deliver to multiple output formats quickly.
This combination of factors is pushing the processing needs of video editors to new levels, and CUDA is helping Premier Pro, which represents the largest commercial CUDA deployment to date, deliver the goods.
As an example of the profound impact CUDA is having, Hoeg noted that GPUs are able to process color correction 75 times faster than the latest Intel Nehalem processors. “CPUs just cannot cope with this,” Hoeg said.
Additionally, whereas CPUs have struggled to simultaneously apply video effects while decoding source files, Hoeg said that offloading the effects functions to GPUs enables CPUs to handle the decoding easily. What’s more, CUDA makes it possible for users of Premier Pro to work straight from those source files rather than having to convert them to a pre-determined format.
“CUDA has allowed us to do a lot of things previously not possible,” said Hoeg.
To nail that point home, Mooney demonstrated how Premier Pro handles playback of five simultaneous video streams. First, he shut off the GPU acceleration and showed how the software would freeze and blip during the playback of a superimposed figure standing before four videos running in separate quadrants in the background. Then, once he turned the GPU acceleration back on, playback proceeded seamlessly.
The implications were clear: CUDA is taking the world of video editing to places it’s never been by allowing Adobe to build ever-more powerful editing tools into its software while also speeding up complex computing processes.
If that’s not innovation, then I don’t know what is.