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Old January 22nd, 2010, 06:56 AM   #1
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DNxHD coded stuttering in CS4

Hey guys,

I cannot for the life of me figure out a decent workflow for the 7D....

I've read tons and tons of posts and blogs regarding this issue and everyone has got a differing solution.

Proxies, Cineform, TMpeg, DNxHD...list goes on...

I wanted to originally do proxy files. Convert the original .mov's into .f4v files and edit, then re-link. But it seems that premiere does not like to link different file types. Meaning that if I create a A.f4v, B.f4v, and C.f4v, Premiere doesn't automatically link everything if I just point to A.mov...I have to manually do A.mov, B.mov, and C.mov. Not fun. Can someone confirm this or am I being an idiot?

Failing at that, I've moved on to the Mpeg Stream/DNxHD method of working. No proxies, just an intermediate which I can then do a final export from. Problem here is that every .mov that I make using DNxHD stutters like hell in Premiere CS4. Very similar to the original files. My computer is decent enough, Q9550 is plenty powerful. I've worked with more on less so I can't say it's my comp. Any ideas?

Sorry for the length, but I'm about to just give up here..hope someone can help me out!

PS: DNxHD files are HUGE...100mb file converts to a 600mb DNxHD!! Gig eaters...
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 08:22 AM   #2
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my 2cents - i'm big proponent of cineform. give their Neoscene a try/trial. its cheap, 99$ from videoguys, and you can get decent preview frame rates with your cpu, files are big but NOT huge!

And its made for 7d/5d footage so it transcodes fairly quick! And the files are quite robust when colour correcting!

damn, cineform should pay me!!!
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 10:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Derman View Post
I wanted to originally do proxy files. Convert the original .mov's into .f4v files and edit, then re-link. But it seems that premiere does not like to link different file types. Meaning that if I create a A.f4v, B.f4v, and C.f4v, Premiere doesn't automatically link everything if I just point to A.mov...I have to manually do A.mov, B.mov, and C.mov. Not fun. Can someone confirm this or am I being an idiot?
Idiot? No. But to link the files back they need the SAME NAME. And that includes the extension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Derman View Post
Failing at that, I've moved on to the Mpeg Stream/DNxHD method of working. No proxies, just an intermediate which I can then do a final export from. Problem here is that every .mov that I make using DNxHD stutters like hell in Premiere CS4. Very similar to the original files. My computer is decent enough, Q9550 is plenty powerful. I've worked with more on less so I can't say it's my comp. Any ideas?
Premiere is going to be slow with any footage that it needs to rely on Quicktime to decode for it. So any .MOV file isn't going to be helpful. You need something in a .AVI container. Cineform is best option. While this particular issue isn't related to the speed of your computer, your computer's speed is merely average for editing HD. So don't be surprised if it struggles with certain tasks. For SD editing, your computer is rather fast.


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PS: DNxHD files are HUGE...100mb file converts to a 600mb DNxHD!! Gig eaters...
A matter of perspective. They seem huge to you, because you seem to be used to working with the hyper compressed files coming from consumer camcorders. For pros used to dealing with pro formats, these files are as small as 1/5 the size they had been dealing with.

So download a trial version of NeoScene convert your files, and you should be good to go.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 02:19 PM   #4
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Cineform is a great product.

It's unfortunate pc's don't do a better job dealing with MOV files. All the good stuff is on MOV.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 10:41 PM   #5
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Yes, I should also get paid by Cineform :), It's been great editing footage transcoded with it.

By the way, don't forget to update your 7D's firmware!

Mauricio
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 01:07 AM   #6
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It's unfortunate pc's don't do a better job dealing with MOV files. All the good stuff is on MOV.
PC's do fine with .MOV. You'll find that if you play the file right off the hard drive and not through your NLE that you have no issues.

The problem lies in the NLE makers who don't write their own code to handle .MOV files. Instead they rely on an external call to quicktime from inside the NLE to handle it. It's that round trip that makes it such a dog on the timeline.
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 04:01 AM   #7
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I've worked with HD material before on a much less capable machine, not to mention editing in CS3. Then again, those were HV20 files changed from .m2t to .mov, perhaps not all HD is equal, though 1920x1080 is a big frame regardless. So I'm a bit suprised by the stuttering myself.

I haven't had much problems editing with 1920x1080 .mov files on Premiere in the past, they usually come along nicely and play smoothly, even HD material. For some reason, though, the DNxHD footage I am creating with Mpeg stream lags just as badly as the original.

I'd really like to edit using .avi files, though I cannot find an adequete codec to do so. Everyone here seems to advocate the Cineform intermediate, but there has to be a free .avi codec which is sufficient, no? (I know $99 is relatively cheap, but a budget is a budget. It is in the struggle where the art resides...)

Is there anyway to simply change the wrapper of the file without having it go through another compression round?

And I know the outragous file sizes that can come from HD or even SD material, but a 6x inflation of file size after a DNxHD run? That's a bit extreme. That means my 20 second, 100mb native 7d footage translates to a 20 second 600mb DNxHD clip. I don't see the logic there, isn't DNxHD a intermediate compressive codec? I'd imagine h.264 being the bloated files in this case...
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 05:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jack Derman View Post
I've worked with HD material before on a much less capable machine, not to mention editing in CS3. Then again, those were HV20 files changed from .m2t to .mov, perhaps not all HD is equal, though 1920x1080 is a big frame regardless. So I'm a bit suprised by the stuttering myself.
What kind of HD files? HDV? Same bitrate as DV. And most broadcasters qualify it as SD. What does that tell you. The 1920x1080 frame is 5 times the size of DV. That's five times the size these small home computers are being asked to deal with and most are not capable of it. No surprise there.


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Originally Posted by Jack Derman View Post
I haven't had much problems editing with 1920x1080 .mov files on Premiere in the past, they usually come along nicely and play smoothly, even HD material. For some reason, though, the DNxHD footage I am creating with Mpeg stream lags just as badly as the original.
What are you calling editing? And what kind of HD files? The DNxHD files are pro format and your computer isn't up to it. Very few home PCs are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Derman View Post
I'd really like to edit using .avi files, though I cannot find an adequete codec to do so. Everyone here seems to advocate the Cineform intermediate, but there has to be a free .avi codec which is sufficient, no? (I know $99 is relatively cheap, but a budget is a budget. It is in the struggle where the art resides...)
Buy Cineform. You want to play in the game, you need to buy the tools. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a PC that's really up to spec. Free AVI codecs are Lagarith and HuffYUV. Try those and see if your computer can handle them. Mine can, but most can't. They are also lossless, so that's a bonus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Derman View Post
Is there anyway to simply change the wrapper of the file without having it go through another compression round?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Derman View Post
And I know the outragous file sizes that can come from HD or even SD material, but a 6x inflation of file size after a DNxHD run? That's a bit extreme. That means my 20 second, 100mb native 7d footage translates to a 20 second 600mb DNxHD clip. I don't see the logic there, isn't DNxHD a intermediate compressive codec? I'd imagine h.264 being the bloated files in this case...
Ok, let's get this out...

See that HDMI port on your consumer camcorder? That port delivers uncompressed HD. It's 1500 Mbps. That is what professionals had to deal with. That is why pro machines have RAID arrays, fast processors, and hot video cards. That's about 190 Megabytes per second. 12 GB per minute, or 720GB per hour. So, the top bitrate in DNxHD is 220Mbps for 60i and 175Mbps for 24p. For professionals working on professional level hardware, going from 1500Mbps to 175 and keeping the video visually lossless was seen as a master stroke. And it still is. That is a compression of about 8:1 with no visible loss.

The problem came when home videographers with their insanely compressed, lossy video, started trying to play in the HD big leagues. Consumer camcorders compress that 1500Mbps signal down to 17Mbps (AVCHD lite), 24Mbps (AVCHD full spec) or 40/48 Mbps on the 5D/7D respectively. The Sony EX1 is recording at 35Mbps. When that is your "normal", then going to a professional intermediate file seems "extreme" I guess. DnxHD wasn't built for you. It was built for people trying to handle material that came from 35mm film.

The DNxHD proxy format, meaning the format they use for easy and fast cutting is at 35Mbps. Twice the bitrate of AVCHD lite. You know what? In Avid it cuts like butter. I can cut 5-10 streams of it with ease. Over in Final Cut, prior to the latest release, ProRes HQ (220Mbps) and ProRes (145) were the standards. And Pro level Macs cut them like butter.

So here's the simple fact. If you want to play in the pro HD game, open your wallet and buy the required tools. That means a real PC, good codecs, fast drives, a solid video card and whatever else is required. You can't go racing professionally with a grocery getter, you can't play pro golf with $50 clubs, and you can't edit pro level video with substandard gear either.

Here's a pro level example for you. Avatar was cut on Avid. They started that edit in 2007. That means they were likely using Core2Duo or at best Core2quad technology. 24 Tracks of HD video and Audio, in that very same DNxHD codec you're struggling with. Total movie size was ~48 Terabytes. Hit the spacebar, and it all just plays...over the network. Not even off local drives.

A bargain PC suitable for pro editing should cost about $3500 these days, on the top end about $9k. Before software. $100 for Cineform is paid for before the coffee gets cold...
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 05:21 PM   #9
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The DNxHD files are pro format and your computer isn't up to it. Very few home PCs are.

On $500 Dell i7, DNxHD 175 plays smoothly so far and holds up in the timeline. Cineform of course cuts like butter. Lagarith starts to stutter a bit though -- not enough horsepower I suppose.

I also tried SonyYUV 10 and 8 bit. That crashed my Sony Vegas software. The first codec that's ever done that, and it's Sony. It completely blew up Vegas.
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 08:24 PM   #10
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On $500 Dell i7, DNxHD 175 plays smoothly so far and holds up in the timeline. Cineform of course cuts like butter. Lagarith starts to stutter a bit though -- not enough horsepower I suppose.

I also tried SonyYUV 10 and 8 bit. That crashed my Sony Vegas software. The first codec that's ever done that, and it's Sony. It completely blew up Vegas.
The i7 (and dual quadcores) are enough. But that level of hardware is FAR from "most home PCs". Cineform has been problematic for some folks with Vegas, but seems well supported in Premiere. Edius has their own format and it works very well. Of course DNxHD works great in Avid. Lagarith is VERY demanding and has a very high bitrate. That's trouble for nearly any machine.

The SonyYUV is an odd bird. I tried it a couple of times successfully with VegasPro 9, but found better solutions.

Cineform is still the best game in town for quality and speed. I had hoped that the Mogran Multimedia MJ2K codec would be a solution since it uses the same underlying codec as Cineform, but it quite a bit cheaper. Vegas gave nothing but red frames, but Virtualdub liked it, as did Avid. So I was forced to just use it for archival purposes.
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 11:10 PM   #11
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Cineform is still the best game in town for quality and speed. .
I agree. I like DnX but virtual dub doesn't. Cineform is only $99, but, thing is, for some reason it hurts so bad to pay $99 for a codec! It's almost a tease, HQ is great and FREE, CF used to be free w/Vegas, but now? I know I'm not alone here, the sentiment is even expressed in this thread. We can spend $1200 for a lens we will hardly use, but $99 for a codec we'd use every single second we're in our NLE? Forget it!
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Old January 24th, 2010, 02:47 AM   #12
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Cineform is only $99, but, thing is, for some reason it hurts so bad to pay $99 for a codec!

CF used to be free w/Vegas, but now?

We can spend $1200 for a lens we will hardly use, but $99 for a codec we'd use every single second we're in our NLE? Forget it!
To me, this separates amateur from pro. A pro looks at the cost benefit, sees it's a no brainer, buys the tool they need to accomplish the task, and moves on.

There are a lot of things that used to be bundled with Vegas. Boris Graffiti, numerous other tools, Cineform was only included up to the HDV level, and for much the same reason as it's needed now for AVCHD. Computers of the time simply couldn't handle the format. And it was a LOT closer to DV with the same bit rate just a larger frame. AVCHD is a different beast entirely. Even the hottest machines struggle with more than one stream and a few effects. A single stream of AVCHD plays seamlessly for me. But I cannot get smooth playback on 5D footage.
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Old January 24th, 2010, 04:58 AM   #13
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To me, this separates amateur from pro. A pro looks at the cost benefit, sees it's a no brainer, buys the tool they need to accomplish the task, and moves on.
Not at all, these are extraordinary economic times, the question could easily be do I live with DnX and get my kids a swine flu vaccination or buy Cineform? It is indeed a cost benefit analysis, just not necessarily the binary you suggest.
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Old January 24th, 2010, 07:08 AM   #14
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Thanks for the information guys, very helpful. :)

Perrone:
I have worked with HDV material on an first generation AMD dual core from 2005 with only 2 gigs of RAM. No problems on that. The .mov files I created from the original .m2t were very smooth and nice. Granted, as you have explained, that material has about half the bitrate of the 7d files, but then again my current machine is about 4x as powerful as my previous. It is far from a "consumer" spec PC, so I very much doubt my computer is at fault here. I'm more compelled to blame Windows 7, which, in retrospect, should have never upgraded to...

Bruce:
I very much agree with you, budgets account for many different factors and for myself, the $99 cost for a codec just isn't justified right now. Perahps in the future, but as it stands not so much. The codec just makes my life easier while editing, it doesn't increase the quality of production or the piece of work.

I don't doubt the power of cineform, but I'm just looking for free alternatives. As Perrone has suggested, I will attempt Lagarith and some other .avi codecs.

Also one question for you guys, what version of windows are you running (32 or 64 bit)? and how much RAM do you guys have?
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Old January 24th, 2010, 10:20 AM   #15
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Also one question for you guys, what version of windows are you running (32 or 64 bit)? and how much RAM do you guys have?
My primary editing machine is running Win7 Ultimate 64bit with all unnecessary features unistalled or turned off. It has 8GB of RAM. My laptop editing machine has WinXP 64 bit, and 4GB of RAM. I will be moving it to Win7 next month. My rendering machine has XP 32 bit and 4GB of RAM. My home editing machine is WinXP 64 bit with 4GB of RAM.

Win7 is not your problem.
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