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Old June 29th, 2009, 08:46 PM   #1
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NeoHD for PC->Mac-FCP: How?

NeoHD on PC and under trial on Mac. Trying to get PC-generated CFHD-AVI into FCP (in order to apply its great SmoothCam effect). In FCP did File>Import and got the CFHD-AVI and it plays in FCP's Viewer OK. However when dragged into a sequence (let it match settings) it does not play OK - just a black screen in the Canvas. Is that normal? Tried changing Sequence setting to ProRes but no difference, still just a black screen in the Canvas.

The CFHD-AVI file contains PAL anamorphic 720x576 LFF representing graded footage derived from PAL DV source (AVI). I have used this method (and same specific file) successfully in the PC environment e.g. between successive Sony Vegas projects.

Is what I am trying to do reasonable or is there a better or more conventional approach? Do I need to re-wrap the CFHD-AVI to QuickTime (CFHD-MOV)? If so, do I have to use HDLink hence do it on the PC not Mac? I know on the Mac it's possible to feed the same CFHD-AVI into Compressor to produce ProRes (I tried it and it worked) but that defeats the object of trying to stay within Cineform. Also tried using Compressor to produce CFHD-MOV but kept getting "Failed".

Any pointers to getting a sensible workflow from Windows into FCP would be most appreciated as this is midway through a production project, not much time to experiment.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 09:43 PM   #2
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This is PRECISELY why I moved from Cineform to DNxHD. The workflow from PC to Mac and back is absolutely seamless. Render DNxHD .mov file in Vegas, copy file to Mac, drag into FCP. Done. Going the other way is just the same.

I wish you luck with the Cineform AVI file, but I don't hold out much hope. Every time I've tried to ship off AVI files to Mac users it doesn't work. Cineform, PNG, Uncompressed, whatever. I've handed off uncompressed mov, PNG compressed mov, and DNxHD mov, and they all worked just fine.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 10:39 PM   #3
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Didn't either of you try MOV from the start? Mac's just handle AVIs poorly. Neo HD (Mac and PC) can re-wrap AVI in MOV at disk speeds, no transcoding, and both can natively produce CineForm MOVs.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:07 PM   #4
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NeoHD didn't exist when I started this. And when I started doing posting and color work the person I was trading with didn't have a good handle on what he needed (FCE) so we tried a lot of different things.

I learned more than I wanted to about quicktime containers and he learned more than he wanted to about how limiting FCE was! QTPro saved both of us on our first project. Since then, things have gotten better each time. Now he sends me DNxHD QT files, I drop them in, grade them, render back out, and ship them back. It's seamless.

NeoHD seems nice, but it's also $500 a copy. Our workflow is free. It's not quite as fast, but we're not in any hurry.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 06:23 AM   #5
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Thanks, experiences and suggestions

David,

Thanks for the quick and definitive answer. That's what I needed to know.

Below I give some detail on the experimental process I have so far been through in case it gives useful insight to user experience.

I didn't try MOV from the start because I was working on PC at the start (in Sony Vegas) and am new to Macs so still learning (the hard way) their foibles. I used the existing AVI because I always try "least effort" first (not that I am afraid of greater effort).

One Mac foible (I encountered last night) was Compressor's objection to taking source straight from an NTFS disk (this being my next "easiest-first" naivety). I initially told Compressor to take an AVI file (yes my CFHD one but that won't have mattered) from an NTFS disk (the same one I used for Sony Vegas). MacOS only provides read-only access to NTFS, which I naively assumed would be fine as this was only to be used as a source. However in practice Compressor complained of it as if it was a "Destination", complaining that it was read-only. And yes I had defined an explicit Destination on a (HFS+) drive to which there was read/write access. On a hunch, simply copying the source AVI file to the HFS+ drive solved that one, but at the cost of time and disk space. "But that's how this business goes..." (as I wander off under a street-light). Macs sure have given me a lot of "detective work" in the middle of projects. Late night...

I understood that on a PC, to re-wrap I should use HDLink and (I now know) erroneously assumed that its absence (so far) on Mac would prevent me from doing the re-wrapping there. I now understand (having googled [HDLink Cineform] giving me Cineform FAQs) that on the Mac one can use an application called ReMaster, which wraps AVI to MOV (but not vice versa). Thanks for that advice (in the FAQ), I'll give that a try.

Given my workflow, minimisation of disk space is also a reason I wish I could use the AVI file directly. Wonder: is there an add-on for MacOS to handle AVIs better? I wonder if a pseudo MOV file format might be one way to go, a bit like VFAPI (really a frameserver) on Windows. I would have linked to that on another forum but not sure if I'm allowed to here. I wonder if anything equivalent already exists on Mac (more googling I guess).

I'm enthusiastic for Cineform, just wish there was an "Idiot's Guide" for how best to use it, in practice, in this case for Windows<->MacOS-FCS. Yes, I'll soon have the fun of the return journey as well! Probably like lots of people, as for all products I encounter, I'm steadily writing my own 'Guide, including the non-Cineform foibles I encounter along the way. So many things to experiment with, so little time. This forum is really helpful though.
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