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Old July 11th, 2007, 07:04 PM   #1
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Need for cineform with Vegas?

Does cineform help editing and rendering in Vegas 7? I am using an XHA1 and staying highest resolution throughout so maximizing speed is always going to be a good thing. But is Cineform going to help and if so is it a lot or just slightly? what exactly does it do and do you have to capture with it or can you convert from mt2 files to it? how long or fast is that process generally? And does Vegas have some connecton with it already, there are render settings using a coneform codec in avi formats, is that the same or different? I am assuming that since its HDV its also compressed avi format not a full uncompressed version?

Stephen Eastwood
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Old July 11th, 2007, 08:27 PM   #2
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Hi Stephen - I've been playing with the cineform a bit, also xha1 and vegas 7, so I'll tell you what I've learned. May not be all the answers, but at least 1 reply...

Overall, I found the cineform to really help with the speed. Most noticable on my older 2ghz PC (pentium), which since died and has been replaced by an intel dual core, 2.4ghz. On the old 2ghz pentium, I could barely (barely) cut & join with m2t, but could do a little light editing on the cineform version of my HD source. in my first trial since replacing my pc, I can preview, scrub, etc. quite nicely on a cineform file, so performance is definately better on editing. Would that help in rendering? Not completely sure, but I would think so, more so if you have mult. layers or fx / corrections (would seem to be easier to apply those to full frames such as with cineform rather than the m2t. so, my vote so far on editing & performance is that yes, it would help. (I am using the trial neo dvx, so is the 1440x1080 8 bit cineform version, but since the a1 and I am pretty sure the hdv spec is 1440x1080 with 8 bits on tape, if you are capturing from minidv tape, you're not losing anything. if you were converting from some other format from the camera such as the composite out terminals, it might be a different story where the next version up to 10 bits 1920x1080 might be better).

capturing, however, I've found to be a different story. The cineform capture utility, while seeming to be complex in what it's doing (e.g. adjusting it's engines and workflow depending on processor speed), I have found to be quite finiky and have not been able to get it to do what I want easily. What I'd like to do is capture and encode to the cineform codec all in 1 shot. However, I've found the capture utility to be a little picky, either finding problems, or in having problems that the vegas capture utility didn't,for the same tape. and, for some reason, despite my new cpu which can handle the load, the capture engine/workflow seems to do some funky things which in the end, do not let me do the 1 step process - it always seems to hang, have an error, not finish encoding, etc. The most stable workflow I've found is to capture with the vegas utility, then convert with the cineform utility - a 2 step process, with 2 packages, but repeatable. (which gets to your question that yes, you can convert captured m2t's in batch). on my 1 hour tape, I converted in 40 mins using the medium quality (recommended by cineform) encoding setting on the dual core pentium (which further supports my theory that I have enough CPU to do this in 1 shot with my external firewire 400 drive for catpure). a 1 hour tape on my 2ghz pentium took 3 hours to convert.

in terms of vegas, I believe that vegas 7 does ship with a version of the codec, however, I think there's a different between the video for windows version and perhaps a more native version when you buy the cineform package (cineform web site explains).

in terms of compression, my 1 trial showed a 3 to 1 ratio between the m2t file and the converted cineform file, e.g. a 10 gig m2t file was 30 gig converted. I don't think this is fully uncompressed, but seems to be the recommended trade off (you can go to higher quality settings but may not need to).

to render, I have rendered out to SD avi only so far, so can't comment on other renders. I also did 1 encode from the cineform version in vagas to mpeg2 using the main concept encoder in vegas. I have to say that I was fairly impressed with those results, as I usually don't like the mainconcept encodes. But, then viewing the SD mpeg on a HD set, which would magnify any and all problems, was actually really viewable.

there's a 15 day demo that you can download on the cineform site, and I'd recommend you do it and try for yourself and also read up on what cineform says about the differences between the codec shipping w/ vegas and the addt'l software. The only thing I'm not happy with yet is the capture process - I've posted on the cineform site, but no replies (which bothers me). I actually had the same exact issues with a trial on my old pentium, but attrbuted the problems to the old CPU and the engine doing the best it could to deal with that. but, seeing the same things happen on the new PC (XP SP2 fwiw) is really odd. Anyway, I'll probably try to post in the cineform topic here and see what their CTO says - he was really responsive on this board, but maybe their techs on their own board aren't as responsive.

anyway, sorry for the long post, but I'm right in the middle of this exact thing you asked about so thought I would share what I have learned so far.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 10:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the answer and never be sorry for a long informed post, I am so dying for as much information from any and every source that it is great to read real experience and actual knowledge. Again thanks for your input it helps.

Stephen Eastwood
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Old July 12th, 2007, 01:40 AM   #4
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There are a bunch of threads over on Sony's own Vegas board about this.

I haven't thouroughly tested it myself, but the general consensus I read is, if you keep your editing to one generation on the Vegas timeline and render once to your finished product, Cineform is not needed
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Old July 12th, 2007, 05:51 AM   #5
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Dave - Great explanation and very helpful for me too. Thanks.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 08:50 AM   #6
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I am not having any of the capture issues you mentioned with Cineform.

I'm using NEO HDV and have captured entire tapes in one shot from my HD100 without any issues.

Cineform is an excellent well respected intermediate.
If you have not read through Cineform's literature, you might want to take a look:

It works great with Vegas.
I have Vegas 6 and 7. Vegas 7 has some bugs (I believe 7.0e), you may want to stay with 7.0d. I'm using 6 untill 7 becomes more stable.

I believe Vegas only captures in "medium qulaity" Cineform setting.
You need to purchase NEO or Connect HD (replace by NEO) to capture in the highest quality settings. Once you finish your edit in Vegas, you will be able to render out Cineform's higher settings. (ex: high, filmscan etc..)

I'm sure David will step in if I'm incorrect with this information.

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Old July 13th, 2007, 02:10 PM   #7
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FWIW, I've been using Cineform Intermediate with Vegas 7 since I bought my HD110. I really can't say enough good things about the intermediate file's quality and HDLink is so much easier to use than the bundled Vegas capture utility. I love the ability to convert film speed or frame size during the conversion process. Shooting in 60p and converting to 24p during the conversion results in a very fluid slomo. While Cineform's licensing venue is a little archane, their product is well worth the cost. And their customer support is a model for anyone else in this biz.
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Old July 14th, 2007, 02:02 AM   #8
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For me, CineForm made a huge difference in editing usability. Cutting with m2t clips is very laggy in Vegas compared to Cineform clips. I don't think there's any significant difference in rendering performance, but for the improved usability alone it's worth the price.

But before buying it, I'd like to also examine other options. Is anyone using HuffYUV or other intermediates? Huff seems to be fast, but the files are huge.
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Old July 17th, 2007, 04:55 PM   #9
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What settings are you using for CineForm? I get 40GB files for 63 minutes of tape with quality set to medium. I wonder if I can get away with low quality. 40GB is pretty big when your projects has over 10 tapes.
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