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Old December 8th, 2010, 05:13 AM   #1
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Cineform research - what does it mean for me?

Hi all,

I am trying to find out some more information about Cineform, having seen it mentioned so much in the forums. I have had a look at the Cineform website and I think I understand it. Am I right in saying:

1. Cineform is basically a piece of converter software that will convert my Premiere Pro CS5 captured HDV (from Sony Z5E and FX1E) into a file that is the same as full blown HD, albeit smaller in filesize.
2. The Cineform clip files then become my files to work on instead of the MPEGs.

If I've worked it out right, that's what it's for. It's basically a much better file type than the native files I get when I capture HDV in Premiere Pro CS5?

I have seen mentioned that HDV footage (4:4:0 or 4:2:0?) is not great for editing and especially not great for being pushed and pulled all over the place by effects and colour correction. I have also read that HD footage (4:4:2?) is good for being pushed and pulled all over the place?

The reason I ask is, I'm using Magic Bullet Looks and I don't think it has a great effect on the picture quality (though it does great things in itself) when I render my HDV timeline to MPEG2-DVD in Premiere Pro CS5. I'm thinking that if I use Cineform, I'll be able to shoot weddings in HDV, capture into Cineform and have all the benefits of 'full HD' including the ability to play around in Magic Bullet Looks?

If all of the above is correct (that's a big if!!!) then would I be correct in assuming that my workflow would change from this:

1. Shoot 1080i on Z5E and FX1E.
2. Capture natively to HDV in Premiere Pro CS5.
3. Edit in HDV.
4. Colour correct in HDV.
5. Add MBLs in HDV.
6. Render out to MPEG2-DVD using Adobe Media Encoder.

To this:

1. Shoot 1080i on Z5E and FX1E.
2. Capture natively to HDV in Premiere Pro CS5.
3. Convert HDV to Cineform.
4. Edit in Cineform.
5. Colour correct in Cineform.
6. Add MBLs in Cineform.
7. Render out to MPEG2-DVD using Adobe Media Encoder.

And if I got ALL that right:

- What's the likely benefit in using Cineform? Would it produce a noticable quality improvement?
- What's the catch?
- Do I need Cineform Neo?
- Do I need Cineform NeoHD?

Also, reading the above thread and the replies that are more technical, would buying Cineform add stuff to my effects bin (like MBLs does) within Premiere Pro? Would I then have to use the Cineform transitions and colour correctors to take advantage of Cineform or could I still use my normal Premiere Pro transitions and effects?

Alternatively, does anyone know where there is a really great source on information on Cineform, so I can really look into the pros and cons?

Thanks. :-)


Regards,

Andrew.
Professional Wedding Videographer and Wedding Video Production Services in Bolton, Manchester and all over the UK
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #2
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Your revised project flow should be:
1. Shoot 1080i on Z5E and FX1E.
2. Capture using Cineform HDLink directly to CFHD. HDLink can automatically split the source video into chapters on the detected video timeline breaks. (You can use HDLink to convert video you've already captured.)
3. Import the CFHD video into Premiere.
4. Edit in Premiere. If you're using NeoHD, you also get First Light, which allows you to edit the video metadata to match color from different cameras and do other color correction. The changes are realtime, as they only affect metadata tags in the video and don't change the source video at all. (You can also undo changes by just changing the metadata in First Light.) You can also do some resizing and rotation. You do this realtime with First Light open simultaneously with Premiere. When you apply the changes in First Light, they appear in the Premiere timeline.
5. I assume you'd perform any Magic Bullet Looks inside CS5 normally.
6. Open a project in Encore and import your timelines without transcoding. (In CS2, I'd export DV to DVD format video using my RT.X100. The workflow is different in CS5. You import timelines into Encore and don't do any transcoding for optical disc until you're ready to burn the disc.)
7. Author a BluRay format disc. Then you can burn either a BluRay or DVD or both from the same project in Encore. Just let Encore do the transcoding using Adobe Media Encoder from the project.

HDV video is a highly compressed format containing a jpeg compressed I-frame followed by multiple difference frames, which makes it very hard to edit. The HDV colorspace is natively 8-bit YUV 4.2.0, which is converted in Cineform NeoHD to 10 bit 4.2.2. DV is a continuous set of I-frames. DVD video is more like the HDV with an I-frame followed by a series of difference frames, which also makes DVD video difficult to edit. Cineform transcodes your HDV into continuous video frames using wavelet rather than jpeg compression. It takes more space than the native video m2t, but is continuous, so Premiere and After Effects can easily process multiple tracks in a high def timeline. Cineform cleaned up the transcoding quality problems that I was having with my DVD's authored from my HDV video, where I was experiencing pixel crawl field order problems.

The easiest way to check it out is to download a trial version.
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Old December 9th, 2010, 08:20 PM   #3
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Hi John,

Your post is really useful. Thanks for that. :-)

I have a couple of other questions....

1. Can I capture directly using HDLink in Neoscene? Or does HDLink only come with NeoHD?
2. If HDLink doesn't come with Neoscene, I can just continue to capture HDV into Premiere Pro and then convert?

Yes, Magic Bullet Looks is purely in Premiere Pro. And it has to render. For hours. And hours!

I find opening timelines in Encore using Dynamic Link to be awfully hard on my system (it's only Core i7-950 with 12 Gig RAM, 1Tb RAID and nVidia GTX470). I normally render out MPEG2-DVD from Premiere Pro and import it into Encore. Encore then doesn't have to transcode it. It works much faster for me that way. Presumably, I can render Cineform HD out to MPEG2-DVD in Premiere Pro just like that?

Just out of interest, what's 'pixel crawl field order' problems?


Regards,

Andrew.
Professional Wedding Videographer and Wedding Video Production Services in Bolton, Manchester and all over the UK
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Old December 9th, 2010, 08:26 PM   #4
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Just to be clear... I'm thinking $129.00 for Neoscene is easy money for a quality product, but $499.00 for NeoHD is probably not money well spent - after all, I can happily edit HDV natively on my system.


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Andrew.
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Old December 9th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #5
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HD Link comes with both NeoScene and NeoHD, although the versions are different. NeoHD gives you many more options.

NeoHD includes First Light, which helps dramatically in color correction and matching. No rendering required.

You can buy NeoScene from videoguys.com for $99.95 or NeoHD for $399.95. Since they are downloaded products, you're paying for the license, and nothing is shipped. NeoHD also supports 3D video. I'd still do a trial download from Cineform before deciding what to buy. They'll even let you try both, just not at the same time.

Since I'm using the same encoder, AME, to do the transcoding. It takes the same amount of time in Encore as in Premiere Pro. Dynamic Link takes minimal time to connect on my Core i7-920, 12 GB RAM. I have a Radeon 4850 card, so I don't get to take advantage of the Mercury engine in Premiere. If you're only generating a DVD, then using the nVidia CUDA capability may make a faster workflow. I just found my work flow faster importing from Encore and generating both a BluRay and a DVD inside Encore with the same project. Of course, the other thing I found by experimenting was that the less you change the video format, the faster the work flow. I leave my video as HDV resolution, 1440x1080, rather than transcoding it to H.264. H.264 1920x1080 took too long to generate with no real benefit. When you think about it, interpolating the extra pixels doesn't generate any real extra information, so the video is actually slightly degraded from the original. BluRay players are quite happy with my 1440x1080 MPEG video.

Pixel crawl is an annoying phenomenon where the field order is reversed. HDV is interlaced video, so you're really seeing 60 fields per second in NTSC or 50 fields per second in PAL with each field containing either the odd or even numbered lines. If your video is rendered with the wrong field order, your video is out of phase, showing the wrong field first. This makes pixels of objects in motion appear to jump back and forth. When I switched to Cineform NeoScene, my field order problems went away, producing high quality BluRay and DVD discs from the same HDV video. Later, when I upgraded to NeoHD, I found the advantages offered by First Light.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #6
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Hi John,

When I boot up Encore CS5, use Dynamic Link to open a Premiere Pro CS5 project and import a sequence, the edit box sits there for an age - maybe ten minutes - before it finally gives me control back. I don't think that's right somewhow.

I suspect that it may be something to do with the last upgrade I did. I was running an Intel Q6600 with 4Gb RAM and I bought the nVidia GTX470 to replace an nVidia 8800GT. I ran the GTX470 hack (this was a week before Adobe updated CS5) to use Mercury and then I went and bought the Core i7-950, 12 Gb RAM and a new Asus board. I put the whole thing together in a jiffy (PC building is my thing) and I was planning on reinstalling Vista 64 and CS5 but I found that it picked up my RAID array and my OS and after a couple of reboots, it sorted all the drivers.

Effectively, I am running Vista 64 and CS5 as installed on a Q6600 with 4 Gb RAM and a nVidia 8800GT but with a Core i7-950, 12 Gb RAM and the GTX470. I am hoping that I have a major software issue somewhere because of this. My plan is to finish this years edit projects and then do a proper reinstall of all the software. Maybe CS5 checks memory and processor while installing and tweaks the settings for lesser systems? Those settings won't have changed when I did the major hardware upgrade. Fingers crossed! :-)

Thanks for all the info. It's really cleared up my confusion on Cineform. I think when it's quiet, I'll try the demos and hopefully buy Neoscene.


Regards,

Andrew.
Professional Wedding Videographer and Wedding Video Production Services in Bolton, Manchester and all over the UK
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Old December 10th, 2010, 08:24 AM   #7
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Andrew, something has to be wrong with your system. With the upgrade path, driver or buried registry conflicts could well be the culprit and difficult to sleuth.

You can check the memory setting in the Preferences dialog of any of the main CS5 applications. By default, they allocate 75% to be shared dynamically amongst the 64 bit applications. If that dialog is showing your 12GB allocated as described, that's not the cause of the Encore delay.

My way of approaching this would be to consider the 950 system a new build and do a clean install of Win 7 x64 (it really is very much better and faster than Vista), and then the CS5 suite. YMMV.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 03:14 PM   #8
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There is a delay in Encore when you dynamic link a Premiere sequence. I assume it's similar to the delay in Premiere, where it's "conforming" the file. The program has to scan the file before it plays cleanly. I've just learned to link my source sequences, create timelines from them, and take a break while the program analyzes the video and audio.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 05:56 PM   #9
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Andrew, I don't know what Magic Bullet Looks you're using, but you may be able to simulate the same effects in First Light, which does not require rendering. That would be a major time saver.

I also recently read the following detailed review on the use of CUDA in CS5. The vast majority of my effects are dissolves, so it doesn't look like a CUDA graphics card is going to help me as much as Cineform already has.

Adobe Premiere CS5 Video Cards with CUDA Acceleration Mercury Playback Unlock Enable Hack Mod Tip
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Old December 12th, 2010, 04:01 AM   #10
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John,
Someone should write a manual for CineForm. With all the inquiries found here, I think it's long over-due. I'd pay at least $20 for your 10-page manual.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #11
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I'm sure it would be more than a hundred pages and made irrelevant as new camera and features come out, that is why the forum is so good. However there are manuals with the product, a basic one for HDLink operations, and a very nice manual recently added for FirstLight. If you did know of these manuals, they are installed in Start->Programs->CineForm->Neo??->Documentation
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Old December 12th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #12
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Thanks David. I have Neo Scene and have gone over the manual a couple times. My post wasn't a criticism of this documentation, but just that I found John's answers were easier for me to grasp, not being too familiar with lots of the technical terrain that Neo Scene covers. Actually, the decision to purchase the software was difficult, but I want the best final product I can get from an HDV camera, so I took the plunge.

My first attempts didn't turn out like I expected. When the converted files are played back on the computer, it's like it's zoomed in. No worries, easy enough to load up some tape and start testing.

I'd buy a 100 page manual too, just include lots of pictures.

Mark
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:41 AM   #13
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Hi folks,

I've spent an age reviewing and researching how to 'down convert' HDV to DVD in the best method possible. I've read post upon post about this very subject with the likes of Perone Ford et al. doing a ton of tests using various codecs and different workflows. (I read an old post of his only last night on how he wished Cineform were available for his workflow) ... However, now that it is, it would seem Cineform is definitely the way forward.

There is a ton of scattered info on various workflows mentioned in the past. But now that we are finally here in December 2010, with CS5 and a fully integrated Cineform that works beautifully with it - What IS the holy grail workflow of HDV -> DVD? (Yes, I did say DVD and not Blu-ray. I'd love my clients to beg me for Blu-ray, but most still insist on DVD)

I have two very different HD sources, that are intended for DVD.
At an event last night, we had a two camera setup. XH A1 and Canon 5D2. The XH A1 footage is our master and the 5D2 are shots of the same stage in close up at different angles. Obviously, I am mixing the two on my timeline.

I am testing Cineform now for my future workflow and interested in the NeoHD product. Here's what I want to do:

As John Quandt so eloquently and kindly put the workflow in answer to the OP, I won't repeat here, but after I import capture from my 1440x1080 XH A1 HDV footage using Cineform HDLink directly to CFHD, I assume I do the exact same to my AVCHD 1920x1080 .mov files from the 5D2? Or should I leave that alone?

Interestingly, I don't intend to resize my 5D2's 1920 to 1440, I want to leave it native as I shot the footage with this in mind. I intend to shift the picture vertically for the 5D2 footage within the composition, or rescale as desired.

With this in mind, is it still the best way forward to use NeoHD to convert the footage this way, play around with the colour correction in FirstLight to match the two camera's footage, edit the CFHD together from both sources on the timeline and then use Encore to import and transcode?

My system is Win 7 64-bit, Adobe CS5 and trial version of NeoHD.

Many thanks for any suggestions, this is a truly excellent forum.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #14
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Kris, maybe I'm not understanding exactly what you're shooting for as final DVD, but I'd surely uprez your HDV to 1920 when you capture and convert using HDLink. Then your captured and converted to CF 5D material stays it's native size for editing and final output, and all will be square pixel, progressive, widescreen, and easily downsized from the full-sized masters for DVD.

Seems an easy and natural choice for nice final output. We've gotten lovely DVDs from just that workflow, both downverting with TMPGEnc 4 and with CS5 encoder.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 05:31 AM   #15
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Hi Pete,

I reckon you're right. I installed Neoscene trial as John suggested. It happily converts my M2T files that I captured in Vegas 9.0 a long time ago. I used to capture in Vegas and edit in Premiere Pro but when CS5 came along, I stopped using Vegas. Now I capture in Premiere Pro with scene detect and it records the files as MPEG (Not M2T like Vegas does).

For some reason, HDLink that comes with Neoscene won't convert my MPEG files captured in Premiere Pro (SID error). Neither will it capture from my Sony FX1E (a different error). Yet it seems more than happy to convert my M2T files to Cineform AVI.

Not sure what's going on there but it's probably something to do with my box. It's scheduled a full reinstall of Windows Vista 64 and CS5 just as soon as I finish this years video projects off. I am also thinking Win7 64 but not decided yet.

Sorry, I haven't posted the full errors because I can't quite remember them. Neoscene is, right now, converting a shed load of M2T files as a test. When it's finished, I will recreate the issues and post the errors.

Thanks everyone - seems this thread suddenly came alive! :-)


Regards,

Andrew.
Professional Wedding Videographer and Wedding Video Production Services in Bolton, Manchester and all over the UK
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