My studio (all mac) is in the process of revamping our systems and developing a more consistent post workflow, which includes an Xserve-based NAS system that all workstations are tied into via 2GB connections. We want to settle on a codec that is used for most (if not all) operations, including graphics with alpha channels, video footage etc. and I'm torn. Right now I am considering ProRes422, Sheer codec and Blackmagic codec (our stations have Blackmagic cards) as our best options, but I'm not sure which is going to suit our needs best:
- ProRes422 is great with HD and higher end footage, but we mostly work with standard def footage (typically DVCPRO 50 or 8-bit uncompressed) so I don't know how much we'd benefit from it. It also has high processor overhead, may not stream well over 2GB, and lacks of cross-platform compatibility in case we need to share files with non-mac users.
- Sheer sounds incredible and its small footprint would work well with our 2GB network, but I'm not sure how reliable it would be as a full production codec that all assets are encoded with. The decompressor is free last I checked, so sharing files with outside users wouldn't be an issue.
- Blackmagic is a good codec as well, and I'm not really sure what, if any, downsides there are.
So my question is simple - are any of you standardizing on one codec, or even gravitating towards one over the others? Any suggestions on this issue would be much appreciated!
Tough call Brendan, as nothing is perfect. Personally, I don't think its possible to adopt one codec as the perfect solution in all situations. Like everything else in this crazy business, every job is different and these things are just tools, part of our expertise is knowing how to select the best tools for each particular job.
For the record, both the Blackmagic codecs and the Kona codecs are now really the Apple codecs. Nearly two years ago both companies were encouraged by Apple after much user confusion to adopt the Apple codecs in order to create harmony in the universe.
David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™
A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.