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Old November 18th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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Nano files to DNxHD

With the help of Perrone Ford, I may have found a relatively inexpensive and relatively quick way to convert nano/xdr files into DNxHD, Avid's high quality intermediate codec (intraframe, 8 or 10-bit, 422, up to 220 mbps) that can be edited in multiple NLEs. I am still shopping for an NLE and haven't decided yet, so I am not able to test it all the way through, maybe someone here can offer some input.

The conversion requires the installation of mpeg streamclip (free), the Avid DNxHD codec (free), and calibrated software's XDCam decoder for quicktime ($80), and is as easy as opening a nano .mov file in mpeg streamclip, then converting the resulting file to DNxHD after choosing the appropriate quality settings. I tested this with a 100 mbps long-GOP nano file and it worked fine as far as I can tell (I was not able to open .mxf files in mpeg streamclip in my testing), conversion was fairly quick, you can also do batch conversions of multiple files in mpeg streamclip.

I was mostly looking at this as a way to work in Adobe Premiere and After Effects (which I understand the DNxHD files are fully compatible with once the codec is installed, I read some recent posts that indicated the mainconcept plugin is not compatible with AE at all bit-rates). Obviously the DNxHD files will work in Avid, and supposedly Final Cut and Vegas as well, so this may be an intermediate format to consider for sharing across platforms.

If this is old news I missed it, but it seemed like this could be useful info for some so I thought I'd post it here.

Here are the sources for the required software

Calibrated Software Store (XDCam Decode, $80)
Avid DNxHD Codec
Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac and Windows
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Old November 19th, 2009, 01:04 AM   #2
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Hi Mike,
I've been making some test and IMHO a good solution is Sheer 8b.
8b Uncompress vs 10b compress of the DNxHD or Prores.
Fully lossless and at 1080p24 is some 275 Mbps.
rafael
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Old November 19th, 2009, 01:32 AM   #3
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The SheerVideo codec is a very nice codec. But I avoid things like this for one major reason. It's proprietary. If the company went away tomorrow, what would become of it's product. How would you continue your workflow as OS systems advanced? Additionally, the encoding software is $150.

For this reason, I tend to stick with codecs that are open source and/or standards based. DNxHD is now SMPTE standard (VC-3). It's not going anywhere, and the source code is available so readers and writers can be done by anyone with a desire to do it. It's also absolutely free.

Jpeg2000 is open standards based and is pending ISO certification I believe. It's a wavelet codec so it's incredibly efficient and easy to encode and decode. It also creates it's own proxies so it scales well. REDCODE was built using the same wavelet technology. Encoders come free with Sony Vegas, and an advanced encoder is available from Morgan Multimedia for $30. It also has a lossless mode.

I'd caution anyone against anyone archiving to a proprietary format. I got caught with that once when doing Canopus based .AVI files. Then later had to re-encode every file I'd ever made so I could take it forward once the DVStorm product faded into oblivion.

Never again.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 04:42 AM   #4
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Mike, does TMPGEnc Xpress 4.0 work w/ nanoFlash files? I've found the program to be an EXCELLENT transcoder. I know it can do DNxHD but I don't know if it can do Sony's MPEG-2.

BTW, from what I've read, DNxHD works in Vegas but the performance lags AVI wrapped codecs. Of course it works well in Avid. Can't speak to its performance in Premiere or FCP.

Please realize that if you both transcode and import with the proper settings, the DNxHD file will fast import into Avid.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 07:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
The SheerVideo codec is a very nice codec. But I avoid things like this for one major reason. It's proprietary. If the company went away tomorrow, what would become of it's product. How would you continue your workflow as OS systems advanced? Additionally, the encoding software is $150.

For this reason, I tend to stick with codecs that are open source and/or standards based. DNxHD is now SMPTE standard (VC-3). It's not going anywhere, and the source code is available so readers and writers can be done by anyone with a desire to do it. It's also absolutely free.

Jpeg2000 is open standards based and is pending ISO certification I believe. It's a wavelet codec so it's incredibly efficient and easy to encode and decode. It also creates it's own proxies so it scales well. REDCODE was built using the same wavelet technology. Encoders come free with Sony Vegas, and an advanced encoder is available from Morgan Multimedia for $30. It also has a lossless mode.

I'd caution anyone against anyone archiving to a proprietary format. I got caught with that once when doing Canopus based .AVI files. Then later had to re-encode every file I'd ever made so I could take it forward once the DVStorm product faded into oblivion.

Never again.
Hi Perrone,
You are absolutely right that something like Sheer is not an option for archiving.
But as intermediate codec, an 8b uncompress is the best option: Doesn't adds nothing, doesn't degrades nothing. And in the case of Sheer, is able to pack 280 Mbps LG MPEG-2 in just 275 Mbps. Amazing.
150 bucks a may be expensive, but if you have a look to price list of MainConcept, you will find that for 150 US$ you can export DVCPro25.
3.000 US$ for JPEG2000 for me is not an option.
Best,
Rafael
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Old November 19th, 2009, 08:13 AM   #6
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Rafael,

I think you need to re-read my post. Jpeg2000 is not $3.000 its $30.00 ($30,00). To me $150 is a lot to spend on an intermediate.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 10:09 AM   #7
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Peter,

Mpeg streamclip will make a DNxHD avi, I have no idea if this would work in vegas. I have not experimented with TMPGEnc Xpress 4.0.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #8
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DNxHD is not supported in avi as far as I know.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #9
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Hi Perrone,
Sorry.
The 3K is the MainConcept JPEG2000 exporter.
Yes, is the one used for Digital Cinema.
The problem Perrone is that to go to a good JPEG2000 you may need to go to something like that.
Not sure, but I ask my self: Are the Morgan JPEG2000 compressor or the one that comes in Apple Compressor good enough?
Why one 30 bucks and the other 3K?
I always try to work with the NANO files native.
Whenever I had the need to transcode, I've been using Prores.
But the use of Prores was annoying me.
Why to go to 10b if you are not applying filters?
Why compress (Prores/AVID)?
I made a test with Sheer 8b (I have it since a few years) and for me is the perfect solution.
Cheers,
Rafael
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Old November 19th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #10
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Being expensive doesn't make it better. Lossless is lossless no matter who's name is on the product.

If the Sheer codec is working great for you, then stick with it. I just wanted readers to understand that there are options and alternatives.
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