Thread: Cineform VS AVCHD

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  1. #1 Cineform VS AVCHD 
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    Hello,
    I just got a windows 10 PC. It has a Xeon Processor, 16GB of Ram, Quardom4000 Graphics Card with 8GB of Video Memory.
    Is there any point to transcoding AVCHD footage with this type of PC? This thing is wicked fast but I read that it's still recommended to transcode because Cineform is easier on faster machines.
    Is there really any difference between AVCHD and Cineform? I'm also a little stumped because I read there is a 129 dollar version of Cineform and wondering if that's any better than the free codec that comes with Premiere? Is Cineform lossless like ProRes?
    Thanks,

    Bryce
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Frank Glencairn's Avatar
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    Cineform is pretty similar to RedRaw, but way easier on the CPU.
    Compared to Cineform, AVCHD (or any based H264 codec) is like driving (editing) with a boat anchor.

    ProRes comes in all flavors of compression, but also can be uncompressed.
    Cineform has no uncompressed mode, but the "Film2" mode is pretty close @ much lower bitrate.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member k Stark's Avatar
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    Long story short, I had bought the studio version a few years ago ($250-ish from what I remember). Then it got absorbed into adobe, so they opened up the free version of gopro studio for encoding also.
    When I built a new machine I had to use this as support is no longer avail. It installed everything needed for exporting cineform from Resolve (on a PC) and the codec.

    Hopefully it still works the same way:

    http://cineform.com/

    See the first link at the bottom.
    "Senior Member"???... Really???...
    Not to be taken seriously...by anyone.....
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  4. #4  
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    Here is a little test sample I did comparing native 1080p AVCHD from my iPad with a CQ3 cineform transcode in a Lightworks timeline. CQ3 is roughly equivalent to Prores HQ for quality. I used Footage Studio 4k for the transcode as it can read and convert QT timecode to SMPTE in the process.
    i can comfortably edit two AVC streams on my I7 platforms, either laptop or desktop. But the decoding overhead for AVC is substantially greater than Cineform, which is a variation of JPEG2000 wavelet encoding. I can fast shuttle Cineform frame for frame at 10x or higher speeds compared with about 4x for AVC.



    For editing I now pretty much transcode everything from CDNG raw to AVC to Cineform. Editing in a single DI grade master codec eliminates the need for any form of proxy editing. Cineform DI's from AVC originals produce higher quality exports than recompressing AVC. The free GoPro studio app will import and transcode most H.264 AVC/.mov or .MP4 format codecs that are similar to GoPro camera footage, but not other codecs. I use Raw4Pro and Resolve for transcoding CDNG to Cineform, but those only support the CQ1 proxy format and the CQ5 filmscan 2 highest quality. Nothing in between. FS4k is worth the bucks for all the extras it brings as a nearly universal transcoding app. It reads and writes Prores and DNXHD codecs as well as Cineform.
    Last edited by razz16mm; 02-17-2017 at 08:18 PM.
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz16mm View Post
    Here is a little test sample I did comparing native 1080p AVCHD from my iPad with a CQ3 cineform transcode in a Lightworks timeline. CQ3 is roughly equivalent to Prores HQ for quality. I used Footage Studio 4k for the transcode as it can read and convert QT timecode to SMPTE in the process.
    i can comfortably edit two AVC streams on my I7 platforms, either laptop or desktop. But the decoding overhead for AVC is substantially greater than Cineform, which is a variation of JPEG2000 wavelet encoding. I can fast shuttle Cineform frame for frame at 10x or higher speeds compared with about 4x for AVC.



    Ω

    For editing I now pretty much transcode everything from CDNG raw to AVC to Cineform. Editing in a single DI grade master codec eliminates the need for any form of proxy editing. Cineform DI's from AVC originals produce higher quality exports than recompressing AVC. The free GoPro studio app will import and transcode most H.264 AVC/.mov or .MP4 format codecs that are similar to GoPro camera footage, but not other codecs. I use Raw4Pro and Resolve for transcoding CDNG to Cineform, but those only support the CQ1 proxy format and the CQ5 filmscan 2 highest quality. Nothing in between. FS4k is worth the bucks for all the extras it brings as a nearly universal transcoding app. It reads and writes Prores and DNXHD codecs as well as Cineform.
    I don't think I explained myself clearly before. I am shooting in AVCHD 8bit. This isn't even 4K footage. My camera is a Canon Xa25.
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  6. #6  
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    The iPad video above is 1080p AVCHD 8 bit 4:2:0 Quicktime .mov at 30(29.97)fps. About 17Mbps. You can certainly edit it directly. Whether your timeline performance in your NLE is good enough is something you will have find out for yourself.
    AVC codecs require a lot of computer resources to decode in an NLE. Like Frank says, it is like dragging around a boat anchor.
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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz16mm View Post
    The iPad video above is 1080p AVCHD 8 bit 4:2:0 Quicktime .mov at 30(29.97)fps. About 17Mbps. You can certainly edit it directly. Whether your timeline performance in your NLE is good enough is something you will have find out for yourself.
    AVC codecs require a lot of computer resources to decode in an NLE. Like Frank says, it is like dragging around a boat anchor.
    What defines performance? My graphics card has 8GB of video ram and I have a 4 core Xeon processor with 16GB of ram and my video files are on a SSD
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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by offbeatbryce View Post
    What defines performance?
    It's not an easy question to answer because there are so many factors that intertwine. For example, you have a descent sounding set of hardware, but if it lacks a GPU feature your NLE relies on, then it won't help.

    Where the video codecs play a role is often whether they use inter-frame or intra-frame compression. Inter-frame compression is more difficult for an NLE to edit because, depending on which frame you're dealing with, the final image may be calculated from several of the frames before it. Intra-frame compression means that every frame is compressed on its own, which means the NLE only has to pay attention to a single frame at any point in your timeline.

    That's why an intermediate codec like Cineform is useful for editing. It's an intra-frame based compression, and on top of that, the wavelet based compression provides a sort of dynamic, progressive image quality -- it will display a softer or smoother image during playback depending on how fast your NLE/GPU can catch up. The moment you pause, everything shows the best quality possible. I used Cineform in 2006 to edit 720p HD footage on a computer that could barely edit SD quality footage. The codec simply does the best it can with the processing power available.
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl R. Thurston View Post
    It's not an easy question to answer because there are so many factors that intertwine. For example, you have a descent sounding set of hardware, but if it lacks a GPU feature your NLE relies on, then it won't help.

    Where the video codecs play a role is often whether they use inter-frame or intra-frame compression. Inter-frame compression is more difficult for an NLE to edit because, depending on which frame you're dealing with, the final image may be calculated from several of the frames before it. Intra-frame compression means that every frame is compressed on its own, which means the NLE only has to pay attention to a single frame at any point in your timeline.

    That's why an intermediate codec like Cineform is useful for editing. It's an intra-frame based compression, and on top of that, the wavelet based compression provides a sort of dynamic, progressive image quality -- it will display a softer or smoother image during playback depending on how fast your NLE/GPU can catch up. The moment you pause, everything shows the best quality possible. I used Cineform in 2006 to edit 720p HD footage on a computer that could barely edit SD quality footage. The codec simply does the best it can with the processing power available.
    Thanks,

    Just out of curiosity, is there such a thing as cineform 422 and 422HQ? Like there is with Apple pro res?

    I heard DNXHd has that but I don't see it in the adobe encoder program.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by offbeatbryce View Post
    Thanks,

    Just out of curiosity, is there such a thing as cineform 422 and 422HQ? Like there is with Apple pro res?

    I heard DNXHd has that but I don't see it in the adobe encoder program.
    Cineform low, medium, and high are all 10 bit YUV 4:2:2 i-frame codecs. Bit rates range from around 107Mbps for low to 235 Mbps for high. The two highest quality modes Filmscan 1 and 2, are 16 bit RGB 4:4:4.
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