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Old March 18th, 2012, 04:00 PM   #1
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Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

I am looking for an NLE to edit animated 1080p footage in straight cuts - no dissolves, effects, grading or even sound mixing at this stage - and would like the result to be 'lossless', i.e. 100% reproduction, exactly the same data, just truncated and juxtaposed as I choose without any processing or even slight degradation.

With only this simple and pure objective in mind, what is the best NLE?
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Old March 18th, 2012, 06:10 PM   #2
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

I will have to recommend Adobe software. It does a great job of maintaining whatever level of information depth you require.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 08:24 PM   #3
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

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Originally Posted by Barry McGovern View Post
I am looking for an NLE to edit animated 1080p footage in straight cuts - no dissolves, effects, grading or even sound mixing at this stage - and would like the result to be 'lossless', i.e. 100% reproduction, exactly the same data, just truncated and juxtaposed as I choose without any processing or even slight degradation.

With only this simple and pure objective in mind, what is the best NLE?
What you are asking for is only possible if you start with intraframe compressed source material (DNxHD, AVCIntra).

If you use any interframe compression (MPEG, H.264) you can only make loss-less cuts on certain frames.

What is the codec of the source video?
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Old March 18th, 2012, 08:38 PM   #4
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

mov container, but 24 completely separate JPEGs per second, no frame to frame compression
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Old March 18th, 2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

If its formatted as MJPEG then you should have no problem getting loss free edits with any modern editing program.

Make sure your timeline codec is set the same as the source file codec and you should be in good shape.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #6
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

Thanks Chris. I've been getting quite into Vegas. I'm looking through properties and can't see a setting for the codec. Do you know where timeline codec setting is on that GUI? It's good to know that if the codecs match, it won't degrade!
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Old March 19th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #7
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

In Vegas you need make sure you have the "Match Media Setting" in your project properties set and that should do it.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 09:00 AM   #8
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

That's neat, thanks
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Old March 19th, 2012, 10:54 PM   #9
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

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Originally Posted by Barry McGovern View Post
... and would like the result to be 'lossless', i.e. 100% reproduction, exactly the same data, just truncated and juxtaposed as I choose without any processing or even slight degradation.
There isn't a single NLE on the planet that can do what you're asking for unless:

1. Your footage is an uncompressed 32-bit float image sequence, and
2. You are editing and finishing in a 32-bit float environment into the same format as your source, matching in every aspect.

Intraframe codecs are also manipulated by the software, just that it is cleverly 're-engineered' (a very generic term), and is almost 99% of your source - if you are finishing in 32-bit float. None of this actually matters in practical terms, of course, but your question stressed on it being 'exactly the same data', which it isn't. Just remember that every NLE/finishing package at some stage has to render its images - that means it re-draws everything from scratch, and modern NLEs make many assumptions based on the project settings you have chosen, its own interpretation of the source footage, and the design of its render engine. The algorithm used by the camera/recorder manufacturer to compress footage need not be the same as the one used by the NLE - they are both 'created' under the same specification, but the umbrella is pretty big and lenient here. There's as much creativity in compression algorithms as there is in filmmaking. My suggestion? Don't worry about it too much, and trust your eyes.

Adobe Premiere Pro comes very close to what you are asking for - perfection in maintaining data integrity.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 04:29 AM   #10
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

I think to get exactly the same data you only need to export to uncompressed or lossless codec. Input is not important.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 10:14 PM   #11
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

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I think to get exactly the same data you only need to export to uncompressed or lossless codec. Input is not important.
I'm afraid that is not the case. The NLE always creates new data when exporting to uncompressed from a source that is compressed. One wonders where this data comes from, and what algorithms (guestimates) are used to invent this data that wasn't there before. Every algorithm does this differently, depending on the assumptions made and the artistry (it is that) of the programmers involved.

It seems like a case of: compressed footage (A) when exported to uncompressed takes the form A+B, where B is the additional magic data. But that is not true. It is actually C, a twisted version of A+B, which like the characters in Pet Semetary look and sound the same back from the dead, but are not.

But under the hood these things are handled brilliantly by any modern professional NLE, and a professional editor and filmmaker need not be concerned with things like: 100% data reproduction, exactly the same data, etc.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 01:29 AM   #12
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

Of course, in case of (mostly) inter-frame codecs there is an extensive interpolation process going on, which depends on the algorithms used by NLE and/or hardware - witness difference in demosaicing done by RED Rocket card, and via software (the former is a tiny little bit more blurry but is 20 times faster) or difference between hardware H.264 decoding by some GPUs and software decoding.

However, to be strict - the original data is always going to be unchanged by the decompressor. It is only the interpretation of this interpolated data that might vary between platforms or NLEs. The more interpolation you have to do, the more wiggle room for differences.

That said, unless you are very demanding, you will be hard pressed to notice the difference between NLEs. And if you are very demanding, I suggest you start by choosing a camera that shoots raw, uncompressed or lossless. Or even high bitrate codecs like Avid DNxHD or ProRes. This will have much more meaningful effect on your footage than any choice of NLE that you make.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 01:12 AM   #13
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

Some editors do have a smart re-compression feature. Vegas is pretty smart about MPG-2 sources. If you make cuts only, it will simply copy the frames (assuming the cut started on a I-frame). I'm not sure about other types. JPG images will have to be decoded though - the best you could do is then output to a lossless codec to avoid round-trip compression.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 04:06 AM   #14
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

Thanks folks...

There are cases when you feed footage into an NLE and then get it back out and it has a processed look which is neither justifiable nor desirable. Because my footage is uncompressed, I want the same data back, just re-arranged as instructed by me and think it's fair to say that's what I am getting. Technically, you're absolutely right Sareesh, but I think you all appreciate the spirit of what I am saying!
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Old April 10th, 2012, 03:25 AM   #15
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Re: Lossless, Straight Cuts, NLE?

Barry, if your footage is uncompressed, then any NLE will do, just make sure that you export as uncompressed, that's all, and in case of Avid you need to remember to link to the files, not to import them (otherwise they will get encoded as DNxHD).
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