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Old November 22nd, 2008, 03:14 PM   #1
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Is Cineform beneficial for standard DV?

I edit on a Matrox RT.X2 workstation with CS3 at the office, but the proprietary Matrox codec prevents me from taking a project home and continuing work on a non-Matrox-equipped PC. I understand that Cineform allows the software to be installed on multiple PCs and the license can be moved between them. My question is whether it would benefit my all-DV workflow. I do plan to move to HD production eventually, but not for at least another year.

I typically shoot with 2 Sony PD170s, primarily weddings and corporate videos, and most of the post involves color correction, filters, multicam mixing, and of course encoding to DVD. The Matrox definitely saves me a ton of time with its real-time playback, so I can tweak the color etc. and see the results right away instead of waiting hours for the timeline to render. It also speeds up encoding over the AME.

I'd like to switch from Matrox to Cineform, but I've searched the forums and I haven't been able to find out clearly if Cineform would really help my DV workflow the way the RT.X2 does. Can someone please clarify that for me?
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 04:43 PM   #2
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DV is simple enough that you should need Matrox or CineForm, the native support within CS3 should be fine. CineForm advantages mostly kick in at 720p or above. We do have some using CineForm for SD, by generally as they want 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 over DV's 4:1:1 (there sources typically aren't DV.) Make the just to HD acquisition (even for SD output,) then CineForm is the way to do.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 01:48 AM   #3
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The best advantage Cineform gives us is that my USA partner is on Mac and I am on PC.
I find that PC give me better audio tools... (that's what I specialize in) and Ive been using them for years so don't want to keep re-learning new software all the time.
To be able to use each others footage is a God send for us and allows us a very quick turn around.
We will be buying another duel licence soon for my UK partner.

We shoot everything in HD now and do export out mostly for SD and web use. All our cameras are Z1's (x3) and HDR-HC1 (x2) which we use for our underwater footage and for mounting externally on the Land Rover.
I feel like we are future proofing our footage this way with HD and use all our Cineform Stuff now archived as our masters.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 02:26 AM   #4
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What propretary codec are you using? All of Matrox's DV and SD file types can be imported and exported with their freely available VFW (Video for Windows) Codec package. Some of the HD ones are limited to the M.Key, but even MPEG I-Frame HD is free up to 100Mb/s and 1440x1080. Unless you are on a Mac, they should play fine, especially in Premiere. But you will lose access to the Matrox accelerated effects, which require the hardware.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 12:11 PM   #5
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As fars DV use is concerned, I took an SD DV .avi cliip of about 209 megs and rerendered in Cineform setting at best, and leaving size alone, and leaving everything at original clip settings, and the Cineform file was smaller than the original. by about 30 percent. Must have done something different, because I would have thought Cineform should have been about the same, since I would have expected near lossless level in the Cineform. Cineform guys, is this possible ?
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Old November 28th, 2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies.

Without Matrox, I was having to wait 4-5 hours for a 1-hour timeline to render for preview after only a few minor color corrections and effects. Forget about making changes with nested sequences and multi-cam feeds. And this was on a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM, RAID0 media drive, and QuadroFX GPU. As a workaround, I would cut a 10-second slice to practice on, and then when I got it where I wanted it I would apply the effects to the entire timeline, hit Enter and let it render overnight. If I later decided to tweak the effects, I had to repeat the lengthy process. Not a very efficient workflow.

The RT.X2 lets me do color correction to the entire timeline and play back immediately in real time. With it, I almost never have a red bar above my timeline. I can experiment with color correction and other effects ad infinitum, and never have to walk away for hours while it renders the timeline. I can crank out a 60-minute multi-camera shoot in a day instead of a week or two. Unfortunately, it has a few drawbacks; it is very picky about the hardware it will run on, so upgrading my workstation takes careful planning; also, once a project is begun using the Matrox codec, it can't be edited on a non-Matrox CS3 machine without losing all of the applied effects. Yes, you can use their free viewer to play back a file, but you can't edit it without losing your work.

Obviously, Cineform's software-only approach is appealing to me, but only if it will assist me by providing real-time playback without rendering. From David's response, it sounds like it won't do me any good until I move up to HD.
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