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Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?

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Scott Brown
Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 4, 2005 at 5:47:34 pm

I'm not a huge AVID fan, however I have to say their DNxHD codec is extremely impressive.

As BMD has an enviable track record in codec design, how about developing a codec for the Decklink range that can match or beat AVID at their own game?

DVC Pro HD 100 is a decent codec, however It really cannot compete with AVID's DNxHD codec when it comes to compositing.

Scott



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Sean ONeil
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 5, 2005 at 7:59:25 am

I think you're a little mixed up. DV100 is a Panasonic codec. Blackmagic makes uncompressed codecs which are 100% flawless. There is nothing better as far as quality goes.

The sales point of DNxHD is that it's almost as good as uncompressed but uses up less disk space. However, if you think about what extra disk drives cost, and then think about what the costs of commiting yourself to the proprietery Avid world costs, you will realize that DNxHD is far more expensive.

I'd love to see a lossless codec for Final Cut that supports RT effects. But again, considering how inexpensive SATA drives are, it's not too important right now.

Sean


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Kurt Hennrich
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 5, 2005 at 3:29:41 pm

[Sean ONeil] "and then think about what the costs of commiting yourself to the proprietery Avid world costs, you will realize that DNxHD is far more expensive."

if DNxHD would work on Decklink, there would be nothing being proprietery in it - the oposite is true: every FCP system would be able to easily work with projects originated on an avid. would be very appreciated.

Kurt Hennrich
1z1screenworks
1z1 tools for FCP : http://www.1z1.at/plugins/


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Scott Brown
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 5, 2005 at 9:19:27 pm

Hi Guys

I'm not mixed up at all (I hope!). I'm fully aware that DVC PRO HD is a Panasonic codec; my point here is that while Apple & BMD's 10 bit UC codecs offer superb quality, they offer little or no realtime capability and are only suitable for a final online edit.

There are two ways to handle the realtime HD battle - the hardware route and the software route.

AVID have opted to focus initially on the software route with great success. The DNxHD codec offers the best of both worlds i.e. great quality along with the ability to edit several streams of 10 bit HD footage in realtime, without the requirement for a final online stage.

DVC PRO HD is fine for an offline edit, however experience has shown it seriously lacking when it comes to multi generation work.

In short, we need a codec that will knock DNxHD off its perch - perhaps if BMD could enable realtime effects on the SheerVideo codec from BitJazz then we would have something quite special indeed!!!

Best wishes

Scott



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Sean ONeil
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 6, 2005 at 2:22:06 am

I've had several email conversations with Andreas at BitJazz about this.

Blackmagic Design can create the greatest codec known to man but it wouldn't mean anything unless Apple supported it. In other words, BMD isn't allowed to RT enable it. Otherwise they would have done so with Photo-JPEG among others (which you can do on your own BTW - do a search for my instructions). RT Extreme is only allowed by Apple supported QT components. That's their decision. BMD has nothing to do with it.

I'm sure someday Apple will create a lossless codec and use it as a selling point for FCP 6. And it will only work on a new PowerMac G6 or something. That's how they do things.

Sean


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Jason J Rodriguez
How about Cineform?
on Nov 6, 2005 at 5:08:54 am

How about support for Cineform (Prospect HD)?

Their codec definitely beats DNxHD with their advanced wavelet compression vs. DCT-style compression like DNxHD. It's also 10-bit.

I hear on their website that the problem with the current decklink cards is that there is not enough on-board memory on the cards, but I'm wondering if the Multibrige might have enough on-board memory to support Cineform's requirements . . . it's definitely a far superior product to the Xena card that currently is certified for Cineform use.

Jason Rodriguez
Virginia Beach, VA


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Matt Dowling
Re: How about Cineform?
on Nov 7, 2005 at 4:32:29 am

Hey Jason,

Nice to hear from you - been a while man...

The main reason for the incompatibility between the two products is the fact Cineform


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Graeme Nattress
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 6, 2005 at 11:53:51 am

Good point Sean. PhotoJPEG is an amazingly good, simple and everywhere codec that should be fully RT in FCP, but it isn't, and it's obvious to me that Apple a re knobbling it for political reasons (or sheer ignorance).

PhotoJPEG is absolutely awesome, and it's free. When Apple's silly pixlet codec came out, I tested it agains PhotoJPEG and PhotoJPEG was better in every respect.

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects and Standards Conversion for FCP


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Scott Brown
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 6, 2005 at 3:34:39 pm

Hi Guys

Thanks for the input - Sean I wasn't aware of the Apple politics re. the enabling of RT effects in FCP.

I have taken the simplistic perhaps naive approach of seeking out the codec that offers the best quality, with the most realtime functionality and the lowest datarate.

In my quest for a better understanding of codecs, I stumbled across a really useful site: http://codecs.onerivermedia.com/

Nothing listed on AVID's DNxHD codec, however there is a very good review of the PhotoJPEG codec which as Graeme points out is quite superb.

Interestingly, I note that Ikegami and Grass Valley have integrated the AVID codec into two of their latest HD cameras.

I guess, it is now over to Apple to deliver the goods, however it would be a shame to have to wait until 2007 when this could be enabled now.

Best wishes

Scott




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Michael Brennan
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 6, 2005 at 5:39:03 pm


Avid DNx was launched as a open codec, with Ikegami Thomson signing up as did Apple.

I've just spent the weekend trying to find end any users of DNx on FCP.


No one.




Mike Brennan


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Scott Brown
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 6, 2005 at 8:25:19 pm

Hi Michael

That's really interesting, I had no idea that Apple had shown any interest in DNxHD. The thought of this codec possibly appearing in FCP is very appealing indeed.

Thanks for your input here.

Best wishes

Scott


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 7, 2005 at 6:39:53 pm

It's true - it's open and very clean. I can render out of AE to any flavor of DNxHD and then cut and trim it in near realtime in Vegas 6 off a single SATA drive. With a fast RAID I could cut an Avid HD show in realtime in Vegas - no Mojo or Arenaline box needed. I do believe the Cineform codec is even better than the Avid codec and have done a lot of testing with it. I agree, Cineform should perform equally well on BMD boards as they do the Xena (Kona) boards from AJA - people always want choices.

I would guess that Apple will do something soon with a compressed HD format - they are the only NLE out there that doesn't! (other than DVCPRO HD - which they used to off-line the movie Dreamer) Avid, Edius, Sony Vegas, Premiere Pro all support excellent compressed HD codecs.

Lance Bachelder
Southern California
Cow Forum Host- Magic Bullet

Apple Dual 2Ghz G5 ATIx800, 2.5GB RAM, OSX Tiger FCP Studio
Intel P4, 2GB RAM, PNY 6600GT XP Pro - Vegas 6 Studio


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Reaktor
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 10, 2005 at 1:29:40 pm

FYI: Discreet Smoke systems don't have a Compressed HD CODEC. matter of fact, they dont use codecs. Nor can u compress anything.

:-(




Frank Cueto


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Jason J Rodriguez
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 6, 2005 at 10:15:42 pm

[Scott Brown] Interestingly, I note that Ikegami and Grass Valley have integrated the AVID codec into two of their latest HD cameras.

Actually, It's only Ikegami who's using the DNxHD in a camera. Grass Valley is just using a JPEG2K codec in a MXF wrapper for their Infinity HD camera (which is what I'm assuming you're talking about). Two very different codecs.

Jason Rodriguez
Virginia Beach, VA


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Scott Brown
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 7, 2005 at 8:54:16 pm

Hi Jason

You're absolutely correct, my mistake, the Infinity camera uses JPEG2000 not DNxHD. I sat through the demo at IBC recently and the camera looks really interesting.

Lance, thanks for the feedback on both the AVID and Cineform codecs - I plan to fully test them both out shortly.

Best wishes

Scott


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Sean Lander
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 7, 2005 at 9:57:55 pm

Hi Sean.

I have searched for your instructions but can't seem to find them. This is of great interest to me as we use photo-jpeg
a lot. Please enlighten me.


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Sean Lander
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec? RT Photo-JPEG!?
on Nov 7, 2005 at 10:01:32 pm

Sorry didn't realise this would get put down the bottom of the list. I was replying to Sean O'Neil saying that it is possible to enable RT for Photo-Jpeg


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Sean ONeil
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 8, 2005 at 6:14:01 pm

[Sean Lander] "Hi Sean.

I have searched for your instructions but can't seem to find them. This is of great interest to me as we use photo-jpeg
a lot. Please enlighten me."



Oh boy. Ok, first of all, I take no responsibility. This is obviously not supported by Apple.

Go to your Final Cut Pro 5 app file (it has to be version 5 I think). Ctrl-click, show package contents. The navigate to "Resources -> English -> FXScripts -> Enablers.

In this folder, the only file should be "RT Software Enabler.txt". Before you do anything, copy this file to another folder for backup purposes. That way if you screw anything up, you can always revert to the original by restoring this file.

So now open the file with TextEdit. Scroll down about 2/3rds toward the bottom of the document.

Find a section that starts with this:

// *****************************************************************************
// jpeg settings. Settings specific to jpeg go below here.
// *****************************************************************************
// *****************************************************************************

You'll see that there is max sequence height and width which RT effects are allowed. They are set to half-SD-res for Offline-RT. Change them to 1920 and 1080 respectively. maxCompressQuality is set to 364 (36% quality). Change it to 800 or so anything below 80% P-JPEG quality will be RT (75% is the best quality for 4:2:2 and it's what the BMD Easy Setups use).

Scroll down further into the section and you'll find more places where you need to repeat the same changes. Once you get past the JPEG section (2YUV is next), then you're done.

You have the original file backed up somewhere safe. Now, also make a backup of the modified file and keep it somewhere else. This is because sometimes updating FCP will revert it back to the original (the update to 5.03 did this - maybe they read my trick).

So go ahead and test it out. You'll notice when you start FCP, you'll get a warning saying that green render bars will now be blue. Click OK. It's a bit annoying, but worth it. And the blue bars are purly cosmetic. Everything is still functionally the same.

You will now get RT Extreme orange bars for Photo-JPEG effects where as before they were red bars.

I use it all the time now for certain types of jobs. Before I was digitizing at DV and re-capturing at Uncompressed. So now w/ JPEG it's been a huge timesaver having RT dissolves.

I haven't tried it with HD yet, so I don't know what kind of performence you get. But I can say that SD on a dual G5 works great.

Also, this trick does not work with other codecs. The reason it works for JPEG is because JPEG is already enabled to work with RT Extreme (for the Offline-RT capability). The Enabler file just restricts it to low-res. This "hack" of mine lets you get rid of that restriction.


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Sean ONeil
Re: Can BMD take on Avid's DNxHDCodec?
on Nov 8, 2005 at 6:15:38 pm

Quick correction. When I said it has to be version 5, I meant not 4 or 4.5. I did not mean it must be version 5.0 w/o any updates. 5.02 or 5.03 is fine.


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