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Old November 17th, 2003, 07:23 PM   #1
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"SheerVideo" lossless codec

Those interested in lossless HD editing on the Mac might want to take a look at this codec.


If their claims are true of the speed and efficiency of this codec, this could be a major breakthrough for editing HDV in a lossless manner, as MPEG2 native editing is always going to be inherently lossy, no matter how you do it.
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Old November 17th, 2003, 08:01 PM   #2
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Would this work the same as the DC30+ -- useage wise? I'd spend the money if it were worth it.

I guess I'm wondering what the workflow would be...sounds like the same as DC30+?

Moogy, did you check out my Heuris post?
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Old November 17th, 2003, 08:40 PM   #3
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Yes I guess it would work the same way as the DC30 codec, though it says it is even faster than DV to encode and decode, which would also make it possible to dump DV and go to lossless compressed editing with this codec even in SD, with no additional hardware (expect for regular hard drives of course). It all sounds too good to be true, but I'll have to try it and see. It'll still take masses of hard drive space though, but that's cheap these days.

I did respond to your Heuris post Chris, I really don't understand what those guys are thinking, charging for something which is essentially free using Apple's utilities, or maybe I haven't understood what they do correctly, but that's my take on it right now.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 08:17 AM   #4
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Hey everyone, here is a press release SheerVideo sent out. Do you guys want to try and get the $99 "quantity" lisence? It's $199 for single users.

That is of course if its worth while - did you find anything out Moogy?

------------Press Release---------------

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2003) -- BitJazz Inc. announces the immediate availability of SheerVideo Pro v1.2, the latest version of its nondestructive software video codec for the production and archival of professional film and video. Designed to overcome the hitherto nearly insurmountable obstacles of space and time blocking the use of studio-quality uncompressed video and film, SheerVideo doubles both the capacity and speed of storage and transmission devices while encoding and decoding on the fly with perfect fidelity. In version 1.2 of SheerVideo, support for native video (Y'CbCr[A]) formats is greatly enhanced.

direct encoding to Sheer Y'CbCr In QuickTime 6, SheerVideo v1.2 can now export or capture Y'CbCr formats directly through the Sheer encoders --without using the Sheer transcoders. This gives programs that don't support transcoders full access to SheerVideo Y'CbCr, and simplifies the use of programs that do. And for applications that prefer transcoders, the Sheer Y'CbCr transcoders are still included.

real-time capture to Sheer Y'CbCr
With SheerVideo 1.2, video capture applications such as BTV Pro and Hack TV can now capture component video in real time directly to all Sheer Y'CbCr formats, including 4:4:4 and 4:2:2, as well as to Sheer RGB formats. By digitizing video to slim Sheer formats instead of to the corresponding obese uncompressed formats, users can take advantage of slower, cheaper disks, while capturing twice as much uncompressed-quality video in the same amount of disk space.

Sheer Y'CbCr[A] 4:4:4[:4] display
Using the latest release of SheerVideo with QuickTime 6.4, applications can now display Sheer Y'CbCr[A] 4:4:4[:4] video even without hardware support for Y'CbCr[A] 4:4:4[:4] formats. So users can now view Sheer Y'CbCr[A] 4:4:4[:4] frames without first restoring the uncompressed video.

speed+power+quality = win+win+win
SheerVideo's unprecedented combination of speed, power, and quality adds up to an indisputable winner that saves users time, space, and money, while preserving image quality with perfect fidelity. 50 times faster than any other lossless codec and 4 times faster than any high-quality lossy codec, SheerVideo is the fastest video codec in the world, fast enough to stay well ahead of any transmission channel or storage device. At the same time, SheerVideo is among the most powerful nondestructive codecs in existence for real-world data, and is the only perfect-fidelity codec that compresses native video (Y'CbCr[A]) formats. Yet unlike image-degrading codecs such as DV, JPEG, MPEG, and even DigiBeta, SheerVideo preserves every single bit of information, so that the restored image is always bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed image. This means that with SheerVideo, one can transmit uncompressed-quality video in half the time over half the bandwidth, and store it in half the time in half the space.

SheerVideo supports both RGB[A] 8b, for film and computer-generated imagery, and all popular professional Y'CbCr[A] 8b formats, including both 4:4:4[:4] and 4:2:2, for native video. Support for 10-bit channels is about to enter the beta-testing phase, and 16-bit channels are coming soon as well. SheerVideo supports all resolutions, including SD and HD, NTSC and PAL, 4:3 and 16:9, progressive and interlaced.

price and availability
SheerVideo is implemented as a set of QuickTime codecs, so it can be used with all popular professional video applications, including Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Pinnacle Commotion, and hundreds more. On Windows, SheerVideo will also soon be available as a Windows Media (AVI) codec. SheerVideo is currently available as a commercial product for Mac OS X and Mac OS 8|9, and as a beta product for PC+Windows. The PC+Linux edition is also expected soon. SheerVideo for Mac includes versions of each codec optimized for both G3 and G4 (AltiVec), and the decoders are multiprocessor-enabled, so it can make the most of whatever processors are available. SheerVideo Pro costs $149 for a single license, $99 in quantity. A fully functional free tryout is available for download from http://www.bitjazz.com/sheervideo /, as is a free Reader. Installer and automatic updater included.

About BitJazz Inc.
BitJazz Inc. is the market leader in lossless image compression technology and development. The company first made headlines in 1998 with PhotoJazz, a revolutionary nondestructive image codec whose compression power of 2.5 for real-world imagery leapfrogged PNG's previous record of 1.8. For additional company and product information, please visit http://www.bitjazz.com/.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 01:19 PM   #5
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Don't rush to it.
I tested Sheer Video last night with dissapointing results. Would not run smoothly on a G5 dual 2ghz, could be because I currently only have 512mb of Ram but will know soon.
Loaded ok into FCP but wouldn't playback in the timeline or Canvas.
If someone can contact the authors and find out what's up with this performance it would be great, as my findings differ considerably from what is claimed on their website.

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Old November 18th, 2003, 10:06 PM   #6
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Huh, that stinks. I downloaded the trial today and will try on my duel G4 1.25 machine...and also, a single G5 with 1 gig of ram.

I'll let you know what I find..

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Old November 19th, 2003, 06:54 AM   #7
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From what I can tell BitJazz is only claiming the encoding of files is very fast. From realtime to faster in som cases. They don't claim it's a codec you should edit anything with. It's what you would use to replace PNG (encodes really slow) or Animation (takes up a lot of space). And it seems to do a heck of a good job of what it claims.

What you guys are looking for is a wavelet based codec like Pixlet. Sheer Video is a codec for high quality 4:4:4 intermediates and master storage files. To edit uncompressed all the way you have to have hardware that supports it. Like the CineWave.
Martin Munthe
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Old November 19th, 2003, 09:52 AM   #8
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Bummer!!! I'm keeping my eyes peeled because we're approaching the new year...companies will be releasing their warez soon. Hopefully, Frederic Haubrich over at www.lumierehdv.com will get his complete package together soon.

Please, everyone go over and support his efforts with the HDV project. He wants to get something on the market cheaply and reliably...nice guy too!

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Old November 19th, 2003, 07:51 PM   #9
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Here's the reply I got from Sheer Video, when I enquired about their codec on a G5. It's quite interesting and implies it may work on G4's better than a G5.


Hello Paul,

Thanks for your feedback! I'm sorry I didn't respond earlier today; I
was down at Apple today dealing with some of the very questions
you're asking.

>Hi, I'm evaluating your product "SheerVideo" with a view to buying
>it and possibly recommending it to users in the San Francisco FCP
>users group and other online groups. I downloaded your demo product
>and installed it, but so far have failed to get adequate playback
>performance or usability in FCP. I am using a G5 dual 2GHz with 2
>1/2 GB of Ram and a fast 250gb SATA drive for playback, which is
>pretty much the fastest machine out there, but I still cannot get
>anything more than very jerky playback of 720p Sheer encoded video
>in the QuickTime player, and FCP will not play back the video in the
>Canvas or timeline. Can you please direct me as to what might be
>wrong here, as right now, uncompressed 720p footage plays back more
>smoothly on my system than footage encoded with Sheer.

We tested SheerVideo on an early dual 2 GHz G5 and were very
disappointed with the performance. Encoding and decoding are only 3
times as fast as on a 1 GHz G4, and playback was abysmal.

A little research revealed that the G5 borrowed a marketing tactic
from Intel: just as a Pentium IV is slower than a Pentium III at the
same clock speed, and a PIII is slower than a PII at the same clock
speed, it turns out that a G5 is slower than a G4 at the same
clockspeed. The factor of 3 speed-up from single 1 GHz G4 to dual 2
GHz G5 we're seeing is about what we should expect.

The G5, of course, has other characteristics we're not taking
advantage of yet that might boost the speed still further. We're
currently looking into G5 optimization, and have found that some
standard G4 speed-optimization tricks actually make for slower
execution on a G5.

Playback is another story. At the time we thought that this was just
a problem with the interaction between the G5, QuickTime, Quartz, and
the OS, and that the release of Panther would clear it up.
Unfortunately, it didn't. In fact, other developers are complaining
of a 15% slowdown in video processing loops in Panther on the G4!
Using 10.2 or 9.2 on my 667 MHz G4 Titanium laptop, I can play back
720p SheerVideo footage in RGB, Y'CbCr 4:4:4, or Y'CbCr 4:2:2 in real
time, spooling it off the internal hard disk, which runs at a pokey
4800 r/m.

We don't have answers from Apple yet, but I now have the contacts
that should let us get the answers we need. Until we do, I'm unhappy
to report that if you want to play back SheerVideo in real time,
forget about doing it on a G5. Sorry.

>Also the QuickTime Player reports that the codecs for Y'CbCr cannot
>be found when I try to encode to those formats.

The current release of SheerVideo tries to prevent people from using
the wrong encoder and thus inadvertently losing information. However,
since normal production workflows do involve conversion between
different pixel formats, we will be adding an override option to
allow conversion between RGB and Y'CbCr, 4:4:4 and 4:2:2, and 8b and
10b, even when such conversion will entail information loss. In fact,
we've achieved exciting breakthroughs in minimizing such information

Please feel free to ask other questions as they pop up.

All the best,

-Andreas Wittenstein
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