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Old December 29th, 2008, 11:44 PM   #1
Inner Circle
 
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Why Cineform? Why? Why do you break Vegas?

So, a year later, nothing has changed.

A year ago, while working on a large project for a gentleman in LA, I decided to upgrade my Cineform reader version. I was creating 720p Cineform .AVI's for delivery to save space and I thought it would be good to upgrade before outputting the finals. Unfortunately, it broke Vegas. I put in a trouble ticket, I posted here because there was a Cineform section, and eventually, I found the solution was to remove the newly installed CFHD.dll files and go back to the ones that shipped with Vegas. I was disappointed, but at least I could deliver.

Fast forward a year. I am now running Vegas 8.0c and 8.1. However, because of a new project I am going to be working on, I needed Avid compatibility. So I see that Avid Metafuze is able to convert Cineform .AVI files into Avid MXF. AWESOME. So I scan a folder with a Cineform .AVI file in it, and what happens? It recognizes it but gives me nothing but a green screen. So stupidly, I go to the Cineform page, and download the latest version of the Neo player. 4.3.x or whatever. It installs, and everything seems great. I am able to run Metafuze, it recognizes and converts my Cineform file.

I remember my pain from last year, and I head into Vegas 8.0c to try a 5 second test render. The new Cineform version is listed in available codecs, I select it for a 1280x720 render and of course it tells me that I am not licensed.

I simply cannot understand why a software company cannot manage to solve this issue in over a year's time. I keep a backup of my cfhd files on 3 machines just in case I forget to backup before installing new Cineform versions.

Cineform may be a nice product, but to be honest, the playing field has leveled. Jpeg2000 has similar data rates to the HDV level product and is free and multi-platform. Avid's DNxHD codec offeres better playback performance (from my testing and other's testing as well) as well as better data rate choices and less visual loss at similar frame rates. Not to mention that it's free for everything from HDV level through 1080p 10-bit 4:2:2. it doesn't break any of my software, it's available on PC and Mac, and any post house worth a hoot can read my Avid files.

I wish Cineform all the best in their future work. The collaboration with RED, and potentially with Avid and other major players is nice. But for whatever reason, it seems that Cineform can't get some of the most basic details right. The web page is an abomination. After asking about it a YEAR ago, you still cannot get to the DPX conversion utilities cleanly from the webpage and they still have no front end, even though any first year college programmer could sort one out in a day.

Either you guys are going to get this stuff sorted out, or you'll be bypassed in the market. Especially at the codec prices you are charging.

Good luck, and I'm sorry I won't be staying with you. Tonight was all for me.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #2
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I think you talking about the fact we didn't continue to offer free upgrades to non-customer Vegas users. Nearly four year ago Vegas 6.0 came with a CineForm 2.x codec license that Sony paid for, when Vegas 7.0 came out Sony shipped the old 2.x license, even though we had moved to 3.x and we offered that for no charge to Sony (the issue was we where SSE2 only and therefore broke Pentium 3 users -- HD editing on a P3, Wow!) During Vegas 7.0 days we offered ways for Vegas users to get the 3.x codec for free, even though the users weren't direct customers of ours -- this took work on our part to maintain for little return. When Vegas 8.0 came with with the old license again, it broke our new components by loading the wrong codec on startup, forcing the end user to jump through some hoops, more support load for us. We are now up to codec version 4.4. The free NEO Player does exactly what is supposed to do, adds a decoder so all CineForm media can be played, no matter when it was created, but it will no longer encode for free under Vegas -- you can still use the 2.x codec to encode if you wish, as your Vegas license pays for that. At any time if you became a customer you would be happily encoding with additional performance and quality, in and out of Vegas.

We don't break Vegas, a licensed codec it works very well with Vegas, and most PC and Mac tools; you just aren't using a licensed encoder.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #3
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David, thank you for the clarification. If it's not your issue (and it doesn't seem to be) then Cineform should issue a cease and desist to keep Sony from promoting the fact they include Cineform. Unless they are still paying you guys a ton of money, the ill will in the user community isn't worth it. Cineform 2.8.x had GREAT benefit to me in SD and when working with HDV. It had no use going forward.

Now that I understand your dilemna better, I am happy to use the new Cineform player for what it is.

Not that this is the correct arena, but I am VERY curious how Cineform sees itself going forward. The ties to Sony Vegas are waning (probably for the better). The new relationships you guys have forged on the RED end are terrific, but I'd imagine hardly sustaining. I see you have dipped into the Avid world, and that could have some benefit, especially as Avid tries to incorporate RED.

My other comments, though pointed, I still stand buy. You guys really need to get the web page sorted. You have a good product, but presentation...

I know you guys are revamping the product line, and I think that's terrific. Have you guys been able to sort out the problem of offering Cineform RAW yet? That would be hugely helpful in many ways.

I touted your product here, and among my friends who edit video. Especially HD. It pains me to have to move away from it, but I have to, at least for now. The move into Avid's DNxHD is a bit clumsy on the PC, but it's what I have to do for now. Maybe later I can get back to Cineform.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #4
 
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Perrone..

Gonna stick my nose into this biz with my .02. Sony has a history of this kind of behavior. Then, rather than own up to it, they point their finger at 3rd party vendors. They did the same thing with Blackmagic Design drivers. I have a very low opinion of Sony(as if you didn't already know) I would steer clear of them way before I'd talk trash about Cineform.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 03:59 PM   #5
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While it appears that the Vegas/Cineform issue may well rest at the feet of Sony, my other issues don't. Now that said, I am not in love with Sony. I like my EX1, but it is what it is. I bought it because it was the best camera for the money I had to spend. I had a Panasonic before that, and a different panasonic before that. I also have two canons.

If we ever get any budget in this place, I might make the jump to Avid Media Composer. Vegas has been ok, but as I move more into projects for broadcast and indie film, I think it may be time for some upgrades.
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