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Old August 21st, 2008, 09:38 AM   #1
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Hdcam

OK, I'm a true Cineform believer.
With XDCAM (any flavour) and with anything HD but initially going to SD I go straight to Cineform.

We've just conformed a feature shot in HDCAM (1080/25p) and conformed in HDCAM. So now I have 90 mins of Blackmagic uncompressed HD on my RAID ready for colour correction and Magic Bulleting and so on. Obviously Cineform is going to ask much less of the hardware and will generally be much more convenient. I'm just lacking that extra little bit of confidence to ditch the uncompressed footage and go all the way with Prospect HD - since we're planning on at least some theatrical exposure. In a tradeoff between that last bit of quality and the extra time, I'd go for the quality.

What does everyone think?

Ian
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Old August 21st, 2008, 10:19 AM   #2
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Mike, a couple comments about CineForm quality. First, we exceed the visual quality of HDCam SR which is the mainstay of the feature film industry. This is not questioned by anybody, including Hollywood. Here's one of the posted visual quality analyses: 12-bit CineForm 444 Quality Analysis

Second, color processing with your Blackmagic files will be at 8 bits. So if you do any stretching of the images you have a greater chance of banding. If you convert your footage first to CineForm files they become 10 bits so any stretching of the image in post has 4 level steps between each step at 8 bits which virtually eliminates the possibility of banding.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 10:23 AM   #3
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Based on my own tests, there is no discernible quality hit when you go from uncompressed to Cineform High HD, even with greenscreen work.

Check out the video I just finished for Moby. All done in CFHD, with tons of greenscreen visual effects:

http://primehd.com/phdvideo.htm

And, you are saving tons of storage space and processing time by going to ProspectHD.

So I'd say, do your tests on critical portions of your video, and make a decision for yourself.

Last edited by Alex Raskin; August 21st, 2008 at 12:47 PM.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 10:31 AM   #4
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Several ways to look at this problem.

1) Many features have and continue to be finished in increasing numbers using CineForm. So you are not on new ground.

2) Compression in general is often used in the finishing process, many using HDCAM-SR in the DI through color correction, and for delivery for filmout (as a cost saving over DPX.) CineForm in either Filmscan mode is test to have more quality than HDCAM-SR.

3) Your source was originally compressed as HDCAM, not as good a HDCAM-SR, so are you really trying to protect an uncompressed source. Only if you camera(s) where directly capturing via HDSDI to onset RAID would you have a try uncompressed source, in that case re-read items 1 & 2.

:)
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Old August 21st, 2008, 12:42 PM   #5
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Based on quality tests that we have done at our post, we found CF raw to CFHD in highest quality setting to exceed QT uncompressed of the same sequence, with files size extraordinarily smaller. Obviously, these were layman tests that we did within AE. But something to think about...
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Old August 21st, 2008, 01:40 PM   #6
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Thanks very much. Very helpful and encouraging.
Ian
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #7
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follow-up

I thought this might be an interesting follow-up: one of our (HDCAM) scenes was filmed in a cellar with only a tiny amount of light, and that's when we noticed a single pixel stuck on bright green on the camera. It's easy to get rid of it in the edit by making a single-pixel black matte in Photoshop. But the point of this is, that this single bright green pixel is still there after Cineform has compressed the footage - visually lossless indeed.
Ian
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Old August 29th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Lewis View Post
I thought this might be an interesting follow-up: one of our (HDCAM) scenes was filmed in a cellar with only a tiny amount of light, and that's when we noticed a single pixel stuck on bright green on the camera. It's easy to get rid of it in the edit by making a single-pixel black matte in Photoshop. But the point of this is, that this single bright green pixel is still there after Cineform has compressed the footage - visually lossless indeed.
Ian
Visually lossless for better or worse, huh?
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Old August 29th, 2008, 11:24 AM   #9
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My Cineform Prospect HD license came with a warning: "For use on beautiful people only."

Kidding, kidding... ;)
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