View Full Version : Cineform and Apple's Compressor's strange behavior
September 15th, 2008, 01:53 PM
I recently purchased Cineform to convert my mfx (Panasonic P2) to 1920x1080 Cineform 10 bit. After various 'Out of Memory' issues with FCP on export (I have a MacPro 3.2 Octo core w/ 18gigs ram and 2tb of storage) I was able to export my feature down into 10 min clips. I imported these clips into Compressor and converted using Cinema Craft MP encoder. In Compressor, the preview looks as it should. However after the compression, all of my encoded files turn into different shades of magenta. I also tried compressing using Compressors own 120 min encoder (in case Cinema Craft didn't like the Cineform encodes). Same result.
I then tried Sorenson Squeeze 5 and was able to compress to mpeg2 without a problem. Not sure what is going on, but I cannot seem to get Cineform and Compressor to play nice together. I do know that the Cinema Craft MP encoder works fine with Compressor and other files (DVCPRO HD, ProRes HQ etc).
I really wanted to use the Cineform files with Cinema Craft MP to get the best encodes (though Squeeze isn't that bad). I'm sending out my screening copy of my feature to Sundance on Thursday so if anyone has had a similar experience, please let me know how you resolved it. BTW, I did google this and came up flat.
September 15th, 2008, 08:07 PM
Todd, it wasn't clear to me whether your problem with CineForm files is when going into or out of the CineForm format? I'm assuming you edited CineForm files on the FCP timeline but you're having trouble with your final export - is that right?
If your problem is exporting from CineForm files, we'll want to look at a CineForm file or two and test them here. Do you have some relatively short files you can send to me? You can use YouSendIt - Send large files - transfer delivery - FTP Replacement (http://www.yousendit.com) and send up to 100MB for free. Send it to dtaylor at cineform dot com.
September 15th, 2008, 09:13 PM
Here was my workflow:
The FCP sequence was DVCPRO HD 720 24p (MFX quicktime files converted originally via Raylight). I EXPORTED via Quicktime movie into Cineform 1920x1080. I had a problem trying to export the entire film (2hrs) because I kept getting an 'Out Of Memory' Problem (though I have 18gb of Ram and Activity Monitor always said I had 15gb free) so I exported 10 min. at a time.
I had tried to do a Media Manager recompress into Cineform but FCP kept crashing. I then brought the clips into Compressor and tried Cinema Craft's MP encoder as well as Compressors 120 min Best Quality Encoder. Each encoder should the previews properly. However, once I ran Compressor the resulting clips became a 'duo-tone' of Magenta. I could see the image in the files, but everything was magenta.
I plan on trying to recompress my timeline with Media Manager (from DVCPRO HD 720 24p and upconvert to Cineform 10bit 1920x1080 High Quality). Ironically, I had compared the Cineform conversions (even straight from the timeline) to a clip I had exported frame by frame, used Photozoom Pro 2 to uprez to 1920x1080 with sharpening and I found the Cineform files to be superior. I'm only trying the Cineform files now because of a strict deadline I'm on.
I am having some (and I mean 'some') success using Sorenson Squeeze 5 to convert to mpeg2 and after a few crashes it seems to be converting (there were some issues with incorrect settings; a Squeeze issue I believe).
Once this crazy week is over I will send you a small sample of the material I'm working with.
Thank you so much and from what the previews show in Compressor I'm going to be very happy once I get this straightened out. Thanks again.
September 15th, 2008, 09:52 PM
Todd, good luck with the workflow. I don't have anything specific to suggest right now. Let us know how it goes - we're here to help. If you still have problems send us a file or two to look at when you're ready.
September 18th, 2008, 03:05 PM
Well, I narrowed down the issue I was having with Cineform. Apparently the DVD encoder from Cinema Craft (Cinema Craft MP) doesn't like the Cineform encoded files. When I run Compressor using the Cinema Craft MP encoder my encodes all turn magenta no matter what settings I have it set to (ProRes works fine with CCE MP as well as other formats). Compressor's native encoders have no problem with the Cineform files. So somewhere there is an incompatibility issue when using these two together. Problem one figured out.
The second problem (and probably bigger problem) I have is when trying to export my film (DVCPRO HD) into the Cineform codec to bring into Compressor (yes I know it's an extra conversion, but I've found my footage looks much better than with the native codec). Everytime I go to export I get an 'Out Of Memory' warning and it stops the encode. The only thing that works is to export 10 min. at a time (only got the 'Out Of Memory' error once). Of course then I have to compress each section and recompile it in DVDSP. I did also try running Media Manager in FCP but this also crashes my computer.
I really wish that Cinema Craft and Cineform played well together as I want the best I can get. A quick comparison between ProRes and Cineform. Both look great on the big screen but I do have to give a slight edge to Cineform as it smooths out vertical artifacts as well as the somewhat know 'red color blocking issue' seen on Mac computers.
I will still run tests and post if I uncover more.
September 18th, 2008, 04:10 PM
Likely Cinema Craft is requesting a odd pixel format, that either the CineForm decode or their encoder isn't handling correctly. We offer a lot of pixel formats, you may find turning some off with help Cinema Craft do the right thing. This control is within the CineForm Control Panel. It is likely in issue with a YUV format, let us know which it is. The memory issue sound like a bug in an older release, you should get the latest which is build 61.
September 18th, 2008, 04:41 PM
I will try changing the pixel formats in the control panel (this is found under System Preferences for the Mac, correct?). Yeah, I saw different options like the Gamma Control adjustments etc, but I couldn't really make sense of what they were supposed to do. For example, the gamma correction (lighten) the footage... this is turned on, does this actually apply the adjustment to the clips or is this just a display option for the computer you are working on. I tried to find a specific manual for the Mac encoder to find out exactly what each setting does and when it should be applied but I really couldn't find anything on the website. I know the Mac encoder is relatively new and the builds show what has been improved/added but the specifics would be great to have.
I will play around to see what I can find and of course I will post back my results.
I do believe I have the latest build since I just downloaded and purchased it but I will check again. I would love to recompress my film to the Cineform codec (Media Manager) prior to color correction. I will run some more test tonight and double check I have the latest version.
Also, just wondering if the correct procedure would be to recompress each frame via Media Manager or just exporting the entire film when finished to the Cineform codec. Is there an advantage to doing one over the other? It seems logical to do the conversion prior to any effects.
September 18th, 2008, 04:56 PM
Don't play with gamma, the doesn't change the pixel format. Switch off all YUV and RGB mode (other that the 8-bit defaults) and restart/try Cinema Craft.
September 18th, 2008, 06:04 PM
Todd, we just posted a new Mac build posted that fixes some memory problems. Please download and give it a try. Fingers crossed that it solves your export problem. Please give us some feedback.
September 18th, 2008, 06:27 PM
I will give it a shot. I did try switching on and off different settings but had the same result when using Cinema Craft (magenta output). Am I supposed to restart the computer after switching setting, or just the programs using the Cineform codecs?
So I should leave Gamma settings alone? Not sure what this will or will not do...
I will try to download the new mac codec tonight and give it a try with Media Manager. This seems to be the only option to recompress since batch export doesn't give the option to recompress (under 'Quicktime (custom)' setting; under the setting Quicktime Movie the cineform codec doesn't show up. Again this is only under the Batch Export options which, from what I understand, is the better option to recompress footage as opposed to using Media Manager).
Anyway, thanks again guys and I'll post back my results.
September 18th, 2008, 06:30 PM
Todd, this should address your Out of Memory problem.
Also, we have some comments in the Readme about Gamma. Give those a read. QT is pretty much a mess when it comes to Gamma problems - it is extremely inconsistent depending on what you are doing. We have tried to solve as many of those as possible, and the Readme tries to add some details.
My recommendation is to reboot after install. The reason is that MacOS sometimes holds onto the previous codec until a reboot, especially if you have any QT applications open at the time of reinstall.
September 19th, 2008, 05:16 AM
I will do that and will definitely give the Readme a thorough read. I will also reboot after the install. Yeah, the Gamma problems are a big pain in the **s. I have found out that (at least for DVD's) a Gamma Correction of .82 when encoding does make the encodes match the source. I'm not sure, however, if I export the entire film for an HDCAM transfer if I would need to apply a Gamma Correction to the entire film to make sure my film matches what I'm seeing with the calibrated Matrox MXO. What a mess (and I think what's worse is that many editors are unaware of the Gamma issues and scratch their heads when they export their projects).
FYI, the guys as Omni-Craft (Cinema Craft MP mac encoder) is going to take a look at my Cineform clips as well as my encoded clips to see if they can figure out why there is an issue when encoding Cineform with their encoder.
I will let you know what they find out.
I will also try the new version and will run Media Manager to see if I have success. I will also try exporting the film as a self-contained Quicktime movie (Cineform) to see if the 'Out Of Memory' issue is gone.