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Old January 27th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #1
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Cineform HD codec questions (Virtualdub, Neo Scene, Canon 5D Mk II, Vegas)

I saw an earlier thread (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/cineform-...gb-issues.html) that touched on some of what I'm about to ask, but there were some statements by David Newman that left me with a few questions.

First off, I am a Canon 5d MKII owner and I edit with Vegas on a fairly stout PC (quad core, 6GB, 2.5+TB, XP/Vista 64-bit (dual boot). Not that it matters, but I also own a Mac. I also own a Canon XL2 and a pair of HV20s but the biggest reason I am looking at Cineform is the 5D Mk II.

The two key things I am looking for from my intermediate codec are:
1) very easy integration into the 5d MK II editing workflow. I don't want to add more than one step. Ideally I dump the files from the card straight into a transcoding app and get EXACTLY what I need in my intermediate files
2) Superb quality and fast timeline performance.
BONUS) points are awarded if the software somehow enhances my editing when mixing the 5D Mk II footage with HV20 or other HD footage.

Okay, so now for my questions.
I downloaded and installed the Neo Scene trial app and i'm racing against the clock (3days?!?) to see if I can make it do what I need it to do.

Obviously the included Neo Scene application doesn't help me with transcoding the 5D MK II footage (all 1080p), so I've been trying to make other things work. So far the only reliable way to get to where I need to be seems to be using Virtualdub. That kills #1 on my list because to use Virtualdub I have to create avisynth scripts for each of my files and then use virtualdub's batching tool, which is a little bit on the weak side.

In any case, it seems that if I want to enjoy the benefits of Cineform (it meets #2 on my list above), I'm stuck with the Virtualdub method for now. So this is where the questions come in.

Everybody is probably familiar with the 5D MK II's infamous YUV-RGB conversion woes (there is still a minor glitch with Quicktime 7.6) and I'm just trying to make sure I'm doing everything correctly and that the transcoded files contain every bit of detail that they possibly can.
So, here go the questions:
1) using CoreAVC as the decoder, what is the best format to present to cineform (CoreAVC settings)? I would assume it would be the native colorspace that cineform uses. Is that YUY2? YV12? RGB? Note that counter to what Mr. Newman stated in the referenced thread above, according to the Virtualdub documentation: "For an uncompressed source (or Avisynth script), the desired format is produced through image conversion if it is not the same as the source. YCbCr-to-YCbCr conversions do not round-trip through RGB.". To me this means that we can transcode YUV-native files to other YUV codecs without any RGB conversions, and I would assume that even if Cineform's native color space is RGB, that it should handle the YUV->RGB conversion possibly better than Virtualdub or CoreAVC.
2) I assume that to maintain maximum detail I should set the levels to 0-255 for both input and output on the coreavc configuration, correct? Otherwise, it seems I would be companding the data and I can always use color correction to set back to Studio RGB levels.
3) the default 709 matrix should be used on the cineform HD codec configuration, correct?

thanks.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #2
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CineForm users with Canon 5D's are using NEO HD not NEO Scene, as NEO HD more flexible supporting a wider range of cameras. It will get simpler than it is currently with our next major release, when 5D suport will become official.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by David Newman View Post
CineForm users with Canon 5D's are using NEO HD not NEO Scene, as NEO HD more flexible supporting a wider range of cameras. It will get simpler than it is currently with our next major release, when 5D suport will become official.
As a 5DMkII user, I have examined the features of both Neo Scene and Neo HD and nothing stood out to me that made me feel like I should spend an additional $370 for Neo HD. The max resolution I will need is 1080p, and Neo Scene has me covered there. Even if the neo scene app won't help my transcoding needs, for $370 I will find workarounds (I managed to get an older version of mediacoder working with it). Maybe I'm missing something obvious.

It would be nice if I knew the answers to the questions I posted above, however, because otherwise I may not even go with Neo Scene.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #4
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NEO HD is for professional users, higher quality, more batch conversion features, MOV support, live HMDI / HDSDI capture, and for more flexible for camera support. NEO Scene is targeted for consumer using sub-$1000 AVCHD or HDV cameras. In NEO HD v4 it will become even clearer why professional will want NEO HD vs NEO Scene. Why working out if NEO Scene can add Canon 5D support for the more casual user, but at the moment NEO Scene doesn't support the 5D at all, only NEO HD does.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #5
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I hate to say it, but NeoHD isn't working out for me at all. I've got tickets in with Tech Support, but haven't heard back from them in almost a week now (not quite 5 working days).

To be fair, I downloaded the trial version (upgrading from NeoHDV), and CAN get Sony Vegas to convert the 5D2 files via GearShift. But HDLink is a total bust for me and I can't get any progress to help solve that. It's highly frustrating.

Still, that all being said, I have HIGH hopes for NeoHD. I'd LOVE for it to simply take my raw 5D2 files and convert them to 10bit YUV 4:2:2 Cineform files (720P or 1080P). Once they get there, the workflow is silky smooth (especially 720-30p) and wonderful.

I can't say anything for Scene, as I've never used it, but NeoHD, if I can ever get it working will be awesome.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:31 PM   #6
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I do acknowlegde that on some systems NEO HD doesn't transcode 5D correctly, likely due to other components already on the system. We intend to address all these corner cases in v4.0. The issue is the Canon 5D came out after the last major release of NEO HD, so it can be made to work, it is not as easy as it for other cameras.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #7
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Is there a "workaround" of using Neo HDV to convert 5D2 files? I understand it'll probably involve more steps but that's fine with me.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:28 PM   #8
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Is there a "workaround" of using Neo HDV to convert 5D2 files? I understand it'll probably involve more steps but that's fine with me.
I don't have neo hdv so I don't know how the codec is registered in your system, but if it is a normal VFW codec you should be able to use the virtualdub/avisynth method I referenced.

simply create an avisynth script using DirectShowSource(clip.mov) and then open that script inside of virtualdub. Then, if the Neo HDV codec is a registered VFW codec, you can set it as the compressor within virtualdub.

to batch it, you'd need AviSynth Batch Scripter to create all the scripts, which you would then drop into VirtualDub's job control.

The other method you could use involves an old version of mediacoder (0.6.0). The downside to that is that you can't use CoreAVC as your decoder so getting the colorspace stuff correct could be a little tricky.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Yang Wen View Post
Is there a "workaround" of using Neo HDV to convert 5D2 files? I understand it'll probably involve more steps but that's fine with me.
Register MP4Splitter.ax located in C:\Program Files\CineForm\NEO-HDV

When convert in NEO HDV, due to its resolution limitations, set the "Resize Video" fields to 1440x1080 or smaller.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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Awesome Thanks David and Keith!

EDIT: David.. I followed your directions and get a format not supported error in the Capture Log. However, the video shows up in the Active monitor and it goes through all the frames in the video and then says "Convert Done". However no new video was created. In Preferences, I have these options "checked" Destination File format = .MOV, Medium Quality, Maintain Audio Pitch, Keep Source Aspect Ratio, and Resize to 1280x720

I've attached a screenshot showing the application error..
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Cineform HD codec questions (Virtualdub, Neo Scene, Canon 5D Mk II, Vegas)-cineform.jpg  

Last edited by Yang Wen; January 27th, 2009 at 11:17 PM.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Yang Wen View Post
Awesome Thanks David and Keith!

EDIT: David.. I followed your directions and get a format not supported error in the Capture Log. However, the video shows up in the Active monitor and it goes through all the frames in the video and then says "Convert Done". However no new video was created. In Preferences, I have these options "checked" Destination File format = .MOV, Medium Quality, Maintain Audio Pitch, Keep Source Aspect Ratio, and Resize to 1280x720

I've attached a screenshot showing the application error..
Make sure you have Core AVC installed and use the latest build of NEO HD (download from our website).

If it still doesn't convert, try renaming the .mov file to an .mp4 file and if that doesn't work open a ticket at cineform support.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #12
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Make sure you have Core AVC installed and use the latest build of NEO HD (download from our website).
Jake, just to confirm, you meant Neo HDV right? As David's instruction to me was for Neo HDV...
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