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Old April 8th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #1
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Is Cineform worth the money

OK so I'm quite happy with my HDV footage at the moment (don't get me started on the audio synch issues though!!!) but having read about Cineform thought I'd give it a try. I've read good things about it's quality as a capture/editing codec

BTW I'm currently shooting and editing 1080i PAL

So I downloaded Cineform Neoscene trail and captured some footage - imported into CS5.5 and ..... well I can't really tell much difference - so what's the deal and why does it get good write-ups?

Am I missing something?

Pete
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Old April 8th, 2012, 02:17 PM   #2
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

First try the free HDVSplit capture utility. Great for capturing, no audio sync issues and no conversion, so you can continue editing native.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 10:19 PM   #3
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
OK so I'm quite happy with my HDV footage at the moment ... well I can't really tell much difference - so what's the deal and why does it get good write-ups?
You're not missing anything. In my tests I came to the same conclusion a long time ago - intermediate codecs aren't as useful as they claim they are.

If you have footage that needs heavy post processing, I suggest you use TIFF image sequences instead. If it's a 'straight' edit, then edit native HDV.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 10:52 PM   #4
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

Hey Peter....

Cineform was, and still is a great codec. It came out at a time when hardware was expensive, computers were slower, and HDV was slow to cut...3rd party codecs were a great option for those of us on a budget.
Unless you're doing 2K or better, cineform's engine isn't the direction you need to go.

Especially now that you're working with CS5.5, and using a decent computer, you should be able to cut through HDV, and still have no problems with color correction.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 12:48 AM   #5
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

For a HDV-only workflow, you don't need Cineform and probably won't see any benefits at all, unless you are doing really heavy grading. I always edited HDV natively when I shot with Sony HDV cameras, and never struggled too much with it at all.

However once I made the jump to AVCHD and Canon DSLR's, Cineform became invaluable to me. It speeds up my editing, and gives my footage uniformity (at the moment I deal with AVCHD from Panasonic and Sony, Canon MXF files, DSLR footage from Canon and Nikon, and GoPro footage as well. Cineform lets me transcode everything so it is all the same, and will mix effortlessly on the Premiere timeline.

I will be upgrading from CS3 to CS5.5 this month (and CS6 soon afterwards, thanks to the free upgrade!) but I think I will still keep my Cineform workflow. Sure, it takes a little time to transcode the footage but the files cut like butter and give me a much more enjoyable editing experience.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 01:47 AM   #6
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

What about Canon DSLR CS5.5 without mercury card. Is it better to convert or not?
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Old April 9th, 2012, 06:09 AM   #7
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

I love Cineform. Don't use it much these days for HDV but will use it for the GoPro.
There is now a free app to convert GoPro to CF.avi (Cineform Studio)
Also use it as an intermediaire codec from AE to Pro when rendering with DL is going to be a pain.

Last edited by Ann Bens; April 9th, 2012 at 07:00 AM.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #8
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

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Originally Posted by Donald McPherson View Post
What about Canon DSLR CS5.5 without mercury card. Is it better to convert or not?
I like it just for firstlight alone. Its like lightroom for video guys. Never could get into color finess, etc. We'll see what happens when cs6 comes out.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 02:57 AM   #9
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

I agree with Ann and Peter, Cineform codec is terrific and still useful.
In the early days of HDV it was Cineform that allowed me to even get the job done at all.
Now, with AVCHD, CS5.5, and fast, powerful hardware, I usually edit in native formats for short programs.
However, I just finished a 60 min doc that had more than 2,500 clips logged in, extensive color correction, motion stabilization, etc.- done with CF.
Maybe I could have edited it in native AVCHD, but I knew from experience that a big project like this would be problem free using Cineform DI.
Additionally, when completed I can render out a 12 bit, 4:2:2, 1920x1080 master CF.avi movie that will be the basis for high quality transcodes to any delivery format needed for now or in the future.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 03:21 AM   #10
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

We only use Cineform for exporting our masters, but we're seriously considering switching to Avid DNxHD in this regard. Export out of After Effects is usually uncompressed or animation codec.

As others said, there used to be time when Cineform was very valuable, but nowadays we found it using less and less. It's a pity it did not catch as a recording codec like ProRes or DNxHD.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 01:28 PM   #11
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

I find the Blackmagic mjpeg avi codec to work great and it is free. It is not the best quality but the files are a manageable size that they do perform much faster in Vegas 11 compared to AVCHD. The render speed is also much faster then the painfully slow DNXHD quicktime codec.

We use Blackmagic cards during live corporate events and sometimes we have to do quick trims in Vegas in the field for playback for another portion of the event. We use the mjpeg codec and Vegas slices through the files like butter and renders super fast with the "no render needed" direct frame copy. I trust playing out with that format back through the Blackmagic cards then any other native format.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 09:01 PM   #12
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

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Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post
I will be upgrading from CS3 to CS5.5 this month (and CS6 soon afterwards, thanks to the free upgrade!) but I think I will still keep my Cineform workflow. Sure, it takes a little time to transcode the footage but the files cut like butter and give me a much more enjoyable editing experience.
John I am also in Pal land and am sorting through different ways of going from HDV in CS3 to a SD DVD in Encore - what was your workflow & did you use Cineform? I have a 2hr 12 doc I think I will put onto a DL Disc to maximise quality.

I am also preparing for a CS3 to CS5.5 (+6.0) upgrade.

Thanks
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Old April 11th, 2012, 12:01 AM   #13
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Re: Is Cineform worth the money

Matthew, for HDV only projects I used to edit natively. If I am mixing footage (say, a wedding shot with a combination of DSLR & XHA1) then I will transcode everything to Cineform so it all matches on the timeline.

Other than that I don't have any particular workflow for going to DVD - just render a mpeg2 straight out of CS3's Media Encoder. I also turn deinterlacing on when going to SD, as it eliminates any discrepencies that might have existed when mixing different footage types, and because the resolution hit doesn't matter too much for SD delivery.

With the DVD presets in Adobe Media Encoder CS3 make sure you bump up the default settings for bitrate, as they are a bit low to start with. If you're putting just over 2 hours onto a dual layer disk, then you're then you're got plenty of room to move with bitrates so you can push the target and minimum bitrates up to almost match the maximum bitrate.
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