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CODECS and Transcoding

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Christopher Rotter
CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 12:26:58 am

Any suggestions on TransCoding Software ? I'm presently using Prism File Converter. I want to know if there any other options available ? I need to trancode video of any format to the formats below without loosing any quality. Are there any CoDecs in the list that are insignificant and useless ?

Quicktime DV / DVCAM
Quicktime DVCPRO
Quicktime DVCPRO 50
Quicktime DVCPRO HD
Quicktime H.264 (playback performance dependant on CPU – transcode recommended) (What is different about QT h.264 over other h.264, because the video editor won't load other variants of h.264 ?)
Quicktime AVCHD (playback performance dependant on CPU – transcode recommended)
Quicktime Photojpeg (playback performance dependant on CPU – transcode recommended)
MXF OpAtom DVCPRO (P2)
MXF OpAtom DVCPRO 50 (P2)
MXF OpAtom DVCPRO HD (P2)
MXF Op1a DV / DVCAM (XDCAM)
MXF Op1a MPEG-2 SD I-Frame (10Mb/s – 50Mb/s)
MXF Op1a MPEG-2 HD I-Frame (50Mb/s – 300Mb/s)
AVI DV / DVCAM
AVI DVCPRO
AVI DVCPRO 50
AVI DVCPRO HD
AVI Uncompressed SD
AVI Uncompressed HD
AVI MPEG-2 SD I-Frame
AVI MPEG-2 HD I-Frame
AVI MJPEG


These are the following Video and Audio CODECS on my PC. Do any of them work with the formats I need to convert to with the above list, none match but in-case the algorithms behind the scene are the same ? Are there any video and audio codecs listed below that are old I can uninstall rather then having them on my system ?


Video Codecs
ICM Microsoft RLE MRLE msrle32.dll 6.1.7601.17514
ICM Microsoft Video 1 MSVC msvidc32.dll 6.1.7601.17514
ICM Microsoft YUV UYVY msyuv.dll 6.1.7601.17514
ICM Intel IYUV codec IYUV iyuv_32.dll 6.1.7601.17514
ICM Helix I420 YUV Codec I420 i420vfw.dll 1.3.0.0
ICM Toshiba YUV Codec Y411 tsbyuv.dll 6.1.7601.17514
ICM Cinepak Codec by Radius cvid iccvid.dll 1.10.0.13
ICM TechSmith Screen Capture Codec tscc tsccvid.dll 2.0.6.0
ICM Helix YV12 YUV Codec YV12 yv12vfw.dll 1.3.0.0
ICM Lossless RGBA compression LWLR
DMO Mpeg4s Decoder DMO mp4s, MP4S, m4s2, M4S2, MP4V, mp4v, XVID, xvid, DIVX, DX50 mp4sdecd.dll 6.1.7600.16385
DMO WMV Screen decoder DMO MSS1, MSS2 wmvsdecd.dll 6.1.7601.17514
DMO WMVideo Decoder DMO WMV1, WMV2, WMV3, WMVA, WVC1, WMVP, WVP2 wmvdecod.dll 6.1.7601.17514
DMO Mpeg43 Decoder DMO mp43, MP43 mp43decd.dll 6.1.7600.16385
DMO Mpeg4 Decoder DMO MPG4, mpg4, mp42, MP42


Audio Codecs

ACM Microsoft IMA ADPCM CODEC 0011 imaadp32.acm 6.1.7600.16385
ACM Microsoft CCITT G.711 A-Law and u-Law CODEC 0007 msg711.acm 6.1.7600.16385
ACM Microsoft GSM 6.10 Audio CODEC 0031 msgsm32.acm 6.1.7600.16385
ACM Microsoft ADPCM CODEC 0002 msadp32.acm 6.1.7600.16385
ACM Fraunhofer IIS MPEG Layer-3 Codec (decode only) 0055 l3codeca.acm 1.9.0.401
ACM Microsoft PCM Converter 0001
DMO WMAudio Decoder DMO 0160, 0161, 0162, 0163 WMADMOD.DLL 6.1.7601.17514
DMO WMAPro over S/PDIF DMO 0162 WMADMOD.DLL 6.1.7601.17514
DMO WMSpeech Decoder DMO 000A, 000B WMSPDMOD.DLL 6.1.7601.17514
DMO MP3 Decoder DMO 0055 mp3dmod.dll 6.1.7600.16385

I've installed the Avid DNxHD codec but it's not listed ?



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ben g unguren
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 12:56:54 am

Make sure qt is installed on your pc, which will put a lot of your listed codecs on your pc if they aren't there already.. I suggest MPEG Streamclip as an excellent free app for transcoding. Adobe Media Encoder is terrific if you have it....

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing
http://www.mostlydocumentary.com


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Dave LaRonde
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 2:16:38 am

I heartily agree with Ben: Quicktime is a wonderful thing to have. Even better is QT Pro: the best 35 bucks you're likely to spend all month.

But beware: DO NOT go for QTX! Go for the latest version of QT 7. QTX can most charitably be called a work in progress.

QTX on an iPad? OK. QTX for AE? Death.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Christopher Rotter
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 3:49:01 pm

Any other options besides the original QT ? The codecs listed in the second part of my message, is there any in that list, I can delete that are old ?



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Walter Soyka
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 5:12:52 pm

I'm trying to understand the question behind the questions you're asking.

What is it that you're really trying to accomplish? What's your workflow like? Why do you want to delete codecs from your system?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Christopher Rotter
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 6:19:56 pm

What is it that you're really trying to accomplish? What's your workflow like? Why do you want to delete codecs from your system?

I want to TransCode/convert video to one of the CoDecs I listed in the first part of my message. I also want to know which of those CoDecs in the top part of my original message that I can eliminate from that list because of their life and reliability etc ?

In the second part of my message I listed all the Audio & Video CoDecs installed on my computer. Which of them can I delete ? I want to keep Audio and Video CoDecs that are beneficial, not collecting dust on my computer, up to this point I never use. Unless some of the CoDecs installed are tied in with other things on the system ?



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Dave LaRonde
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 6:25:02 pm

Don't go getting rid of codecs.

Even if they're old, they're like buttons in a button jar: sooner or later you're going to lose or break a button, and that old jar full of buttons may contain just what you need.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter Soyka
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 7:12:53 pm

[Christopher Rotter] "I want to TransCode/convert video to one of the CoDecs I listed in the first part of my message."

I know what you asked -- but I want to know why you're asking it, so we can try to give you a better answer in the context of the work you're actually trying to do. We may be able to offer suggestions on the workflow as a whole.

In other words, don't ask a plumber the best way to collect the water that's leaking from your sink -- ask him the best way to fix the leak!

Of course, it could be that transcoding is the best option, but in that case, knowing more about your workflow would help us help you with codec selection.


[Christopher Rotter] " I also want to know which of those CoDecs in the top part of my original message that I can eliminate from that list because of their life and reliability etc ?"

No need for the mixed case -- everyone just calls them codecs.

The codecs you use depend on what camera you acquire with, the editorial software you use, and what formats you're expected to deliver to. This question is next to impossible to answer in the general case, because any one of them may be suitable in some cases but not in others.


[Christopher Rotter] "In the second part of my message I listed all the Audio & Video CoDecs installed on my computer. Which of them can I delete ? I want to keep Audio and Video CoDecs that are beneficial, not collecting dust on my computer, up to this point I never use. Unless some of the CoDecs installed are tied in with other things on the system ?"

I agree with Dave -- don't delete a single one. Any disk savings would be negligible, so there's little benefit from removing the standard install codecs when compared with the risk of some application needing a specific codec later.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Christopher Rotter
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:08:28 pm

I need to take a few clips and convert them, so the software that I'm using can read them. In my original message the first part of the message I posted a list of codecs. Those codecs are the ones that the software can only read. I want to know if there are any alternatives rather then QT Pro I can use to transcode some clips for the software. I also want to write future clips to a codec that my software can read from the first list (lossless).



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Dave LaRonde
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:23:54 pm

You're making this really tough on yourself . Just drop 35 bucks on QT 7.x Pro and you'll have everything you need. The Lossless codecs in QT are PNG (10-bit) And Animation (8-bit). Both support alpha channels.

I have a Windows machine at home, and I also have QT pro there as well. I don't deal with Windows-centric movies.

Besides, in my 18 years of fooling with video codecs, I have not seen even 2/3 of the ones in that whole, great-big list you compiled. Where did they come from? How do you use them?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter Soyka
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:38:30 pm

[Christopher Rotter] "I need to take a few clips and convert them, so the software that I'm using can read them. In my original message the first part of the message I posted a list of codecs. Those codecs are the ones that the software can only read. I want to know if there are any alternatives rather then QT Pro I can use to transcode some clips for the software. I also want to write future clips to a codec that my software can read from the first list (lossless)."

I have been asking you to detail your workflow a bit so we could give you better information on codec selection, but you're still keeping us in the dark. You won't get good answers this way.

What software are you using, what are your system specs, and what is your current workflow like? (And does this have anything to do with After Effects?)

I Googled a couple phrases from your list of codecs, and I'm guessing you're using Lightworks. Have you reached out to any other Lightworks users about workflow?

Lossless and uncompressed codecs require some serious horsepower to play back in real time. Unless you have a fast computer and a very large and fast RAID, you have to consider compressed HD, like MPEG-2 I-frame HD or DNxHD.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Kevin Camin
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 5:21:11 pm

You're going to lose quality whenever you transcode, unless you are going to an uncompressed format. That's why you often transcode in the first place, to reduce the file size so it's more manageable during the edit or for final output.

You can think of codecs like file types. In Photoshop you can make jpegs, tiffs, pngs, gifs, psds, etc. A tiff, psd, or png is lossless, meaning it is uncompressed and unaltered. These files can be big. Whereas a jpeg will create a very small file by performing an algorithm to simplify the visual data; I believe it averages clusters of pixels and reduces the number of colors. In video, the 'animation' codec and 'png sequence' codec is a lossless codec. No compression is taking place and the files tend to be big. A QT h264 file on the other hand is very compressed and creates smaller files which tend to work well for computer playback and streaming.

I agree that Quicktime Pro 7 is the best $35 you'll spend. If you need to make a .wmv for PC, you can buy Flip4Mac that works seamlessly with Quicktime Pro 7. Flip4Mac is more expensive but is necessary (and thank god it exists) if you need to make PC compatible files.

I tend to favor Quicktime Pro 7 over Adobe Media Converter for transcoding. I find I get better results for unknown reasons to me.

Best regards,

Kevin Camin


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Christopher Rotter
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 6:22:41 pm

If I don't want to purchase QT Pro, I want to go another free / open source route is there any other options that can fulfill what everyone in this thread is saying QT Pro can do specifically, to what my goal is ?

@ Kevin - Thank you for that info :)



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ben g unguren
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:50:30 pm

Install the FREE version of QuickTime. This will install a bunch of codecs on your machine, but you won't be able to export anything from qt without paying. THAT is why you then get MPEG Streamclip, which is a free solution for exporting, and it will allow you yo use all those qt codecs you just installed.

I prefer qt pro over MPEG , but when I hop on a friend's machine and he needs a couple quick exports I go this other route. But you could use this for a full production workflow as well (it allows for batch exporting, etc).

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing
http://www.mostlydocumentary.com


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Jeff Meyer
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 23, 2012 at 11:54:55 pm

If you can tell us the basics we can help.


1) Why are you transcoding? You're in the Adobe CS area - Adobe CS5 work natively with most formats, so there's no reason to transcode in many cases.

2) What are you transcoding? (Video from a camera? What camera? Motion graphics? How were they exported? Downloaded video? What format is it?)

3) What are you creating? Is this a commercial? A short film? Documentary? It's also worth noting where it's headed. Things are different when things are going to the web than they are when they're destined for the big screen.


We aren't trying to steal your project or your ideas, we're trying to help you. Right now we have a list of SD and HD codecs that are lossy and lossless, different aspect ratios, delivery and editing formats, and there's no apparent rhyme or reason behind any of this. When you go to the mechanic you don't give him a list of parts your car uses, you say hey, I'm hearing a noise when I make a left-hand turn, can you look into that?


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Christopher Rotter
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 24, 2012 at 5:53:47 am

[Jeff Meyer] "If you can tell us the basics we can help.


1) Why are you transcoding? You're in the Adobe CS area - Adobe CS5 work natively with most formats, so there's no reason to transcode in many cases.

2) What are you transcoding? (Video from a camera? What camera? Motion graphics? How were they exported? Downloaded video? What format is it?)

3) What are you creating? Is this a commercial? A short film? Documentary? It's also worth noting where it's headed. Things are different when things are going to the web than they are when they're destined for the big screen.


We aren't trying to steal your project or your ideas, we're trying to help you. Right now we have a list of SD and HD codecs that are lossy and lossless, different aspect ratios, delivery and editing formats, and there's no apparent rhyme or reason behind any of this. When you go to the mechanic you don't give him a list of parts your car uses, you say hey, I'm hearing a noise when I make a left-hand turn, can you look into that?"


I'm Transcoding so another video editor can load a video files I've created. As it turns out because it's still in beta despite being commercial a few years ago all the codecs that the video editor should be able to read, it can't. I just want a method to transcode my video, if the video is not originally exported out to a specific codec . I want a reliable transcoding workflow. The amount of converting software out there insane but without even having much experience with most of them, I feel most of them are garbage. I don't know how the development cycle is for this video editor and when it will be released out of beta. I don't have any time to wait around, I'm going to find some info out from other users, how to get this to work, if I can.



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Jeff Meyer
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 24, 2012 at 8:27:00 am

Now we're starting to get somewhere. Starting. The fact that you're prepping footage for another editor is useful information. We're still missing critical details like HD, SD, camera make and model, the editing software this project is destined for, important details. I'll fire a shotgun here and maybe I'll hit a target.

Generally when handing assets off to another editor the best practice is to send the original media if possible. Some editing suites like Final Cut and Avid have their own proprietary codecs they like to use. If you shot to a card (P2, SxS, etc.) you send the entire card (even things that look insignificant like a "lastclip.txt" file) to the other editor. Make a folder for each card and treat the folder name like a reel name, Card 1, Card 2, or a descriptor of what is on that card. It is important to preserve the folder structure of the card. Keep a copy of the footage you're sending off. Data transfers aren't always perfect, and UPS isn't always gentle.

If it's a tape look for something native if it's DV or HDV, or an uncompressed format for something more robust like HDCAM. Same practices as above, label the tapes as though they're reels, and keep a copy.

If you're sending motion graphics send them in Amimation codec with Millions of colors, or Millions of colors+ if transparency information needs to be included. Talk with the editor and make sure you deliver at the correct frame rate and frame size. The animation codec is supported by AVI and MOV.

I think that's the most help I can be without you providing actual, useful information.


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Christopher Rotter
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 26, 2012 at 4:07:42 am

It's not actual video footage, rather animation. I'm trying one more codec for the video editor, if that doesn't work I'm switching to another video editor, but it won't be Premiere.



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Jeff Meyer
Re: CODECS and Transcoding
on Jan 26, 2012 at 4:55:38 am

Premiere is one of the most flexible editors out there for accepting codecs.

Try PhotoJPEG if you don't need transparency. It's pretty universal, and at quality 100 it looks good.
Use Animation codec inside of Quicktime or AVI and pick "Millions of Colors+" if you need to include transparency.

If you had said you were sending an animation from the beginning that would have made a world of difference.


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