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Old July 30th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #1
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Export to CineForm AVI - Whats the catch?

For years i have read that the CineForm codec renders fast and is a good archive codec. For years i have downloaded trials to test this and have had the same issues every time, on different computers with very diferent specs. The issue i am referring to is that it takes very long time to render out a Timeline to CineForm AVI, even with *no* effect added to the clips.

If i place one (1) minute long AVCHD clip and render it out to CineForm AVI it takes three (3) minutes. This happens even if i place one (1) minute CFHD on the Timeline and render it out to CFHD, so AVCHD is not the issue here. I have *no* effects on the clips when i try this.

I am doing longer projects and it is unnaceptable to wait three hours to render out one hour long Timeline when other codecs does it way faster, Lagatith for an example. Today i use Lagarith as my archive codec.

So, what am i missing, how can it be possible that a Dual Core processor, a Quad core processor and a Dual Quad Core processor gives me *very* similar render times. There should be a huge difference in render times between a Dual Core and a Dual Quad Core computer.

Please, enlighten me how to export faster. I have tried to say abra cadabra prior to export, but that did not do the trick for me... ;)

If i export using Microsoft AVI and then manually choose CineForm as the codec exports lightning fast, but in some versions of the codec the audio is broken, in another version the video is broken and in another version both video and audio is broken. Yes, i know that by default that export is 8-bit, but i can manually select the bit depth as well or does that not affect the CineForm codec?

The results are great when i use the CineForm HD option when i export, but the loooooong render times does not justify the use of the codec today for longer projects. I hope that will change in the near future.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 10:01 AM   #2
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We haven't focus on export speed as CS4 has had so may other failures (which I think we now fixed 95+%.) It has been a total nightmare to make CS4 stable. We have focused on quality first, and currently do all the renders in 32-bit float, as will be adding 8-bit/16-bit modes shortly, as that is what most of the other exports are using. Use HDLink for live capture or conversion to get the feel for the speeds are a capable of.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 10:10 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by David Newman View Post
We haven't focus on export speed as CS4 has had so may other failures (which I think we now fixed 95+%.) It has been a total nightmare to make CS4 stable. We have focused on quality first, and currently do all the renders in 32-bit float, as will be adding 8-bit/16-bit modes shortly, as that is what most of the other exports are using. Use HDLink for live capture or conversion to get the feel for the speeds are a capable of.
David, i just tested HDLink and am more that super happy with the speed.

I prefer to import my AVCHD footage to Pr > Place needed clips on a Timeline > Export to CFHD > Edit the file/s created. This approach gives me a better overwiev of the project rather than having to deal with hundreds of separate clips. Plus, the loading times when opening a Project/exporting a Project de-creases quite rapidly as well. So its a win-win situation for me with that workflow. (Dont forget to put the AVCHD files Off Line when done though...)

I did however see those looong render times in PPro 2.0 and PPro CS3 as well. The day i see similar encoding speeds from Pr as the ones in HDLink i am a happy man. Since you are going to add usable 8-bit/16-bit modes shortly i am starting to feel really good now! :)
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Old July 30th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #4
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Premiere will always be 2-3 time slower than non-Premiere renders -- that is in Adobe nature. CS4 is little slower than that currently, so we should see 2X gain with 8-bit mode, but never HDLink speeds, to much Adobe stuff in the way.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by David Newman View Post
Premiere will always be 2-3 time slower than non-Premiere renders -- that is in Adobe nature.
In general or with the CineForm codec?

If i render one minute AVCHD out to Lagarith it takes 1.14 (74 seconds). I have always been chasing render times and am glad as long as it is real time or pretty close. (Yes, the downside with the Lagarith codec is that it does not playback on a HD Timeline, so its not an ideal editing codec.)

When there is CFHD on the Timeline in Premiere Pro x.x, it has always taken long time to render it out to MPEG2-DVD as well, so with all respect, i dont think it all comes down to the "Adobe nature". It can be done with other codecs despite the "Adobe nature", so i have a stong believing in that it can be done, or at least enhaced with the CineForm codec as well. Just curious, how much have CF tried, or have CF stopped to try because the "Adobe nature" was true four years ago? I am not saying that you or anybody else lies, but it is a pity to hear what i hear when other codecs perform better rendering wise, despite the "Adobe nature".

I am looking for a codec to edit AVCHD footage with and the fastest codec with the best quality and best performance in Premiere Pro wins. Today CineForm has close to best codec quality, but the render times and performance on the Timeline must be better. Regarding performance, read Trouble Ticket 611-8020390 to see what i mean. :)
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Old July 30th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #6
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I'm not in support so I don't see your ticket. But I do know the details and it not the codec. We do a lot in 32-bit float for quality, yet its memory footprint is such that Premiere chokes. In CS3 if we threaded the encode Premiere would crash due to its memory problems, that is an Adobe issue. In CS4 memory is a little better, but it still will not thread correctly, we have support tickets in at Adobe as the API slows when we thread it. If you their VfW interface in 8-bit is work fine for speed, but no where near what it could me (again Premiere is the bottleneck.) I expect will match their VFW export speed with 8-bit in the CineForm export, but that is still way off where Premiere should be. My i7 desktop can encode 1080p at 200fps, yet Premiere simply will not give as frames at those speed (maybe it will be 10fps,) we spend most of our time waiting for frames from Premeire. All reported to Adobe.

You choose your workflow on what is working best for you, that I understand. If you use VFW, required for Lagarith, you see even with the Adobe bottleneck we are significantly faster. So do your comparisons fairly.

To eliminate decoding times I used a still (PNG), but to make sure the codec had a changing image (for more work) I put a motion and opacity envelope on it.

Laragith exported a one minute timeline in 3m 10s
CineForm exported the same timeline in 1m 13s.

CineForm encoding is 2.6x faster -- even in Premiere.
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Last edited by David Newman; July 30th, 2009 at 01:49 PM.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 05:38 PM   #7
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If the video is captured or encoded as a Cineform file, why does it have to re-render again? (assuming no CC made and transitions applied)


Thanks!

Johnnie
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Old July 30th, 2009, 05:49 PM   #8
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That feature was removed from CS4, you will need to ask Adobe now. We never get to implement it in CS3, and once we source the CS4 API we realized there was no point.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:03 PM   #9
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Hi David, thanks for your quick response. I am not sure we are referring to the same thing...

I am editing on Premiere 2/3/ (and 4, but lets talk about 2/3).
In all of them when doing "export movie" to a previously captured/encoded Cineform file the timeline must be rendered again. Why is it?

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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #10
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If as a API we never had time to implement, and now that API is gone.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 07:42 PM   #11
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David,
If I may, I think you are saying that CS3 had at one point an API that would provide direct output, a la VirtualDub's Direct Stream Copy, that more pressing issues prevented you from using, and that in CS4, that API which was similar to VirtualDub's Direct Stream Copy was removed? I use VirtualDub as an example because, well, I've used the functionality a time or two. :)

It's not that Cineform doesn't *want* to do direct stream copy (which essentially is what we're talking about)--it's that Adobe no longer allows the functionality (at least, not in any published API...).

Let me know if I'm close, or way off mark.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old July 30th, 2009, 09:08 PM   #12
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Matt, that is it exactly.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 11:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Newman View Post
...So do your comparisons fairly.
Yes, i do and thats why i wrote "Yes, the downside with the Lagarith codec is that it does not playback on a HD Timeline, so its not an ideal editing codec." meaning that it is unusable to edit HD video with Lagarith. Lagarith SD video works as a charm on my computer though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Newman View Post
Laragith exported a one minute timeline in 3m 10s
CineForm exported the same timeline in 1m 13s.
My results with a still PNG with motion and is:
Lagarith, one minute 1920 x 1080, 25 fps, interlaced Timeline: 1 m 08s.
CineForm, one minute 1920 x 1080, 25 fps, interlaced Timeline: 4m 02s.

Why do we get so different results?

Processor: 2 x Intel E5450 (3.0 GHz)
RAM: 16GB FB-DIMM
OS: Win Vista 64-bit
CF Codec version: 5.1.4
Memory usage: See attached images

- When Encoding to CineForm HD all eight cores pegs at around 69%-87%.
- When Encoding to Lagarith all eight cores pegs at around 50%-57%.
Attached Thumbnails
Export to CineForm AVI - Whats the catch?-cineform_encoding.png   Export to CineForm AVI - Whats the catch?-lagarith_encoding.png  

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Old July 31st, 2009, 12:12 PM   #14
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You will have to continue this with support, as my test show the opposite, that is all I can do. There is no reason I can think of that your PC should be so slow, if both codecs are using the same VFW API and CineForm naturally 3X faster (as may data shows.) One idea: Repeat your tests in VirtualDub, as maybe you have a Adobe issue that requires their support. The VFW interface is same when using VirtualDub or Adobe Media Encoder.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:45 AM   #15
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I have no complaints whatsoever with export speed of CFHD.

However, if you're using Lagarith, try this out instead: AMV codec

It's a $10 shareware codec that should in theory out-perform Lagarith compression on many different types of material and not only that, it will playback in real time. The encoding element is hugely faster than Lagarith.

It also has lossy modes, although in this respect it is not in the same league as CineForm.
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