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DNxHD vs CineForm codec

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Matt LeeDNxHD vs CineForm codec
by on Feb 23, 2015 at 6:14:26 pm

I have a live production coming up and have been researching different high quality codecs....with no definitive answer. We'll be shooting multiple different formats and editing in Premiere Pro CC on Windows 7 64bit systems. We'll have DLSR footage, GoPro, 5k RED and then the live production video files. The live production company can give us "any format we want" and I'm trying to find out what would be best. I'd like to transcode the RED footage for editing and have the 'live' footage be in the same codec. We'll need to be able to edit the footage each night for a 'daily recap' but ultimately have the footage for future projects (promotions for future events, event recap using 'never before seen footage', etc)

Previously the live feed footage came to me in a ridiculously large overkill version of 1080 60i DNxHD. The files were massive and unwieldy for editing. My solution was to convert everything after the fact to MP4 so the files were much easier to handle, however the quality was not good (as you could imagine). This year we are early enough in the process to be able to tell them what we want.

Wondered what your opinions were between CineForm and DNxHD (in a more reasonable compression ratio). The DSLR and GoPro footage we'll leave as-is, just looking for a common core for the RED and live feed.

I read somewhere that the DNxHD codec is limited in performance due to the 32bit architecture of the QuickTime helper plugin for Windows. I read that ONE place from an post 3 years ago and wondered if there was still any merit to it.

If this was your project, what would you do and why? Thanks everyone!


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Nils WelterRe: DNxHD vs CineForm codec
by on Feb 23, 2015 at 10:21:54 pm

Hey Matt,

Premiere Pro can also handle DnxHD Footage wrapped in MXF Container with better performance. In most cases Quicktime is a bad idea on Windows machines, except GoPro Cineform.
My new favourite codec is GoPro Cineform, because of it's performance in the actual version of Premiere Pro.
When looking at quality, there is no visible difference between dnxhd and cineform. Both are good mezzanine codecs.
But I read an article somewhere a few weeks ago, it was a comparison between Prores, DnxHd and Cineform. And DnxHd had the worst quality. Prores a little bit better than Cineform. But all this not visible for human eye.

Nils Welter
Adobe Certified Instructor - Premiere Pro

CBC Cologne Broadcasting Center
Cologne, Germany

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Matt LeeRe: DNxHD vs CineForm codec
by on Feb 23, 2015 at 10:41:40 pm

Thanks for your response. In doing my own comparison between DNxHD and CineForm, I couldn't see any visual difference, but I did see quite a bit of difference when looking at the waveform monitor.....DNxHD had a LOT of missing data in the waveform vs the CineForm codec.

One of my complaints about the CineForm codec in an MOV wrapper (to which I'm not sure if there is any other option for CineForm) is that it won't play back in my preferred media player on Windows which is VLC player. They do play back fine in QuickTime, but have a significant gamma shift compared to what I see in Premiere. Within Premiere, the gamma looks to be identical to the original RED files, as does the DNxHD, so I assume it's just a QuickTime player playback issue. Probably not a big deal as long as you know what you're looking at going into it....but quite jarring if you are unaware of the shift.

Can DNxHD in a MXF wrapper play back in the Windows Explorer environment well....specifically in VLC player? I want to make sure that we have quick and easy way of watching the files without having to go into Premiere each time.

Thanks again!


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Tim KolbRe: DNxHD vs CineForm codec
by on Feb 26, 2015 at 12:47:08 am

CineForm plays in Windows Media Player and QT Player...QT Players decade-old gamma issue continues to annoy.

CineForm probably has a leg-up on DNxHD for quality, but DNxHD is still widely used...

I use VLC myself and find the inability to play CineForm files pretty irritating, but unfortunately all I can offer is commiseration. I still prefer CineForm to anything else available...on either OS.

Director, Consultant
Video Producer at I-CAR

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Matt LeeRe: DNxHD vs CineForm codec
by on Feb 26, 2015 at 1:07:21 am

Thanks for the input Tim. Will continue moving forward towards CineForm.

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