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Old March 8th, 2006, 08:14 AM   #1
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Is there a good intermediate for the Mac?

Greetings.

I am using Final Cut Pro 5 and I know of the Apple Intermediate codec, but in my experience compression artifiacts are easy to be seen with this codec after adding effects & recompressing. Also, AIC seems to start off looking even more compressed (artifacty) than just the raw HDV video.

I have heard many good things about the Cineform product for PC users and would love to know if there is a similar product for Mac users. So far my workflow is:

- Import raw HDV 60i (I'm an FX1 owner)
- Use Compressor to turn it into DVCProHD 1080/60i
- Run through DVFilm Maker for 24p (if desired)
- Edit w/ FCP or Down-convert with Compressor and Edit w/ FCP

I realize this is a hot topic on this board, but I have not been able to find an answer to the question of the best Intermediate to transcode HDV files into for the Mac. What about capture cards? Any use for FX1/Z1U people? Thanks for your help.

- Chad
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Old March 9th, 2006, 09:22 PM   #2
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I hope this wasn't a stupid question. If so, would someone please indulge me and point me to where this is talked about?

Basically:

Cineform is to Windows what _____________ is to Mac.

Or am I just wishing at the moment?
Thanks.


-Chad
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Old September 21st, 2007, 06:53 PM   #3
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I was asking myself same questions. Now there's Cineform NEO. But after reading specs It looks a little bit less straightforward for Mac then Windows.
How do you (Chad) solved the HDV@Mac question?
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Old September 21st, 2007, 07:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Terpstra View Post
Cineform is to Windows what _____________ is to Mac.
Cineform has software for Mac. Check they're website. You might also consider instead of an intermediate, an upgrade to FCP 6 which offers the ProRes codec.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 08:05 PM   #5
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The "Animation" codec for QT is supposedly lossless and can save up to around 3% of the filesize.
Otherwise, use uncompressed.

I wouldn't recommend anything else when editing, or you'll lose quality.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 11:57 AM   #6
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What is so wrong with easy setup?

If you film with your say..Sony Z1U in 1080i, you are not getting any better than the Mpeg 2 that has been recorded onto the tape.
You are only creating more work than what you need.

If you recorded true full HD with a camera that cost you more than say, a mercedes C Class, then you need to import a lossless 100% true media.

HDV is a glorified Mpeg 2, higher quality than DV, less quality than real (keyword is real) HD.


If you are going to DVD, SD dvd for that matter, easy setup in FCP is the best way.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 01:39 PM   #7
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That's not accurate.

You can't get quality back by changing the settings, and if you were to import, output as uncompressed then burn to DVD, it would look identical.

But if you edit and do FX in a compressed format, the quality will continue to degrade. That's called generation loss.

The reason you save to uncompressed is so that you don't lose quality with all of the layers of work you do on the video. If it is only one layer, you can get away with this (ie just using FCP and chopping up an mpeg 2 clip then directly exporting), but if you have a lot of FX on a clip, even, it might start to degrade the quality.

It may not be noticeable at first, but if you go to color grading later and find it to be all chunky in one channel, that's probably why.

It's the same exact theory that applies to JPEG images. If you save as jpeg, reopen, edit, then save again, you'll see a noticeable quality loss in the image, from just changing it. Try it if you don't believe me. Quite easy.
Open an image, save as jpeg. Open the jpeg and change something about it (especially color correction), then save again. And repeat that two or three times and your image will look terrible. (Even at the highest quality with JPEG, which isn't lossless, you will start to see a difference.)

Always save uncompressed, work with that, and compress the output.

As I said, though, you can get away with just editing the original clips then exporting that, but only if you do it as a media link (ie don't choose self contained) when you export, and that will reference them. From then on though, you'll want to be sure it's full quality.

If editing (slicing, moving, etc.) is all you do, nothing to worry about. But if you do any FX, color grading, and especially any application shifting for that, then you'll be better off using lossless.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 11:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Terpstra View Post
Cineform is to Windows what _____________ is to Mac.
ProRes is the missing link, for most purposes.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 10:44 AM   #9
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When I started this post early last year Cineform had no Mac codecs and FCP 5 was still pretty new so ProRes wasn't even a rumor.

But indeed the reason for posting was that I was noticing generation loss after heavy CC or effects work, and mainly because the render times were so much larger than other formats like AIC (which I also didn't like very much).

Thankfully since then I've upgraded to the JVC HD100 which records in a progressive codec and therefore starts with much less artifacting than does the FX1. And I use ProRes (non-HQ) once it's imported. Thanks for the help though.
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