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Thread: No money for Cineform? DNxHD too slow? Go Matrox

  1. #1
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    Default No money for Cineform? DNxHD too slow? Go Matrox

    Matrox just released their 1.0 version of their mpeg2 i-frame intermediate codecs, supporting up to 300 mbps. This version has fixed all of my issues with Vegas, including black preview window, encoding, and decoding speed. This version is good enough to be used as an alternative to Cineform/DNxHD for dSLR users (and AVCHD users on a slower PC).

    http://www.matrox.com/video/en/suppo...es/version1.0/

    To transcode your footage in this format in batch mode, you need installed: Avisynth with the latest DirectShowSource plugin (found on the same downloading Sourceforge page), the latest ffdshow-tryouts *or* CoreAVC, the Haali Media Splitter, the AC3 Filter, and VirtualDub.

    Avisynth with its DirectShowPlugin will now be able to read MP4, MOV, M2TS and .MTS files via the FFDshow video decoder (and the Haali/AC3 filters for the audio part). Using the MS-DOS .bat script below, it will create automatically all the necessary .avs files (this takes 2 seconds to complete). These .avs files can then be loaded on VirtualDub as such: create a new batch queue list, select the output folder, drag-n-drop your files in there, and then "filter" the names from .avs to .avi. Then go to the "compression" VirtualDub option, and select the Matrox i-Frame HD codec from the list, and select "configure" to change the slider to ~150 mbps bitrate, and also choose the right frame rate (as per your source footage files, unless you want to slow-mo during that step, in which case VirtualDub has ways to do that). Then click "File", "Job Control", and you will see all your .avs files in there. Click "start", to start encoding (the work inside VirtualDub must be done in the order I write here, or you might hit a bug where VirtualDub "forgets" the requested bitrate). The created AVI files, will be easily editable, in real time (preview/auto and draft/auto qualities) on Vegas, and I suspect on Premiere as well.

    The script that creates the .avs files. Copy the code on a text file and save it as "avs.bat" on your video folder, then run it via the MS-DOS command prompt. Just change the "root" below to your own video folder name (don't use spaces in the folder names, or non-english characters -- just to be on the safe side). Also, you can change the word MOV to m2ts, mts, or mp4 (appears twice in the script), if your camera is using a different kind of format.

    Code:
    @echo off
    cls
    set root=C:\Users\Eugenia\VideoFootageFolder
    set input=%root%
    for %%I in ("*.MOV") do @echo DirectShowSource("%input%\%%~nI.MOV") >> "%%~nI.avs"
    Yes, all this requires a bit of understanding of what's going on, and basic usage of a PC and command prompt, but it's the cheapest way to do the job.

    UPDATE: Wrote the tutorial in a more readable way, here: http://eugenia.gnomefiles.org/2010/0...rame-hd-codec/
    Last edited by Eugenia Loli-Queru; 2010 May 14th at 20:06.

  2. #2
    ...formerly known as 'drapeama' Marc-Alexandre Drapeau's Avatar
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    Wow...i'll give it a try soon for sure! Thanks for the input Eugenia!
    I DO IT BECAUSE I CAN. I CAN BECAUSE I WANT TO. I WANT TO BECAUSE YOU SAID I COULDN'T.

  3. #3
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    A quick note, you can't render out with Vegas Pro 8 using that codec (and possibly Platinum 8/9), but you can with Vegas Pro 9. Go figure. You can still decode it with any version of Vegas Pro/Platinum though, so it doesn't matter much, since this method uses VirtualDub to encode to that codec.

  4. #4
    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    I would prefer something I can point my converter program to, hit "go"... and have the files in a folder at the end. Working with DOS/coding... it's just too much work for me.

  5. #5
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    Oh, I prefer that too. But not everyone has the money for Cineform. And DNxHD is not as fast anyway.

    This method is not very long btw, most of the usage is only to be done once.

    I spent a lot of time trying to find a GUI that batch-encodes to AVI, but can recognize HD h.264 Quicktime files, to no avail. So all these steps are required.

  6. #6
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    Wow - you like complexity - lol. I'll have a peak at your tutorial,
    and hope non techie artists, like moi, can understand it.

    . Thank you.

    One thing I don't like about cineform or DNxHD is trying to quick review
    files, since NO players can play them.

    also - Windows explorer doesn't thumbnail them!!


    Or can they?
    Last edited by focus; 2010 May 15th at 07:57.

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    Legend racer-x's Avatar
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    I would prefer something I can point my converter program to, hit "go"... and have the files in a folder at the end. Working with DOS/coding... it's just too much work for me.
    If you want easy..............you can use TMPGEnc Express to remove pulldown and/or export to avi using Matrox VFW codecs.

    This latest version works well in 64-bit windows. The earlier versions did not. It works very well in Vegas Pro 9e 64-bit.

    Thanks for the heads-up.
    There is no such thing as "Idiot-Proof".........a good Idiot will get around that every time.

  8. #8
    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    If you want easy..............you can use TMPGEnc Express to remove pulldown and/or export to avi using Matrox VFW codecs
    I already do that, just not with Matrox codecs. I export back to m2t...

  9. #9

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    I got excited. I've got an HV30, and no money for Neoscene, but I think this one is a little bit over my head.

    I'm shooting 30p, haven't messed with the 24p yet because of the take down stuff.

    Wish I had waited for the HV40.

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    Legend Khaver's Avatar
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    I'm having problems with this new codec on XP 32bit. Virtualdub or my batch utilities won't remove themselves from memory when they close. I have to go to the task manager to kill them. The choose compression dialog takes a long time to come up. They may have fixed some bugs, but I think they introduced some more. I'm removing them now.

  11. #11
    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    Good call Khaver, just as well I didn't download this after all... I think I'll stick with my TmpGenC...

  12. #12
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    This tutorial is mostly for dSLR users, not for HDV users, so if you're using TmpGenC to remove pulldown, then stay with it. But for dSLR Vegas users who don't have money to pay Cineform, or they hate the slowness of DNxHD, this method DOES have value.

    However, even if you continue using TmpGenC, under no circumstances you should be exporting back to M2T after removing pulldown. As I showed on my intermediate format benchmark, the HDV format loses a LOT of quality in each generation. So even for you, these Matrox codecs can have value. Just use them through TmpGenC instead.

    As for VirtualDub hanging, its 32bit version worked fine on my Vista64. I didn't test it on 32bit XP though. Besides, they release new versions regularly, if there's an easy-to-find bug, they will eventually fix it.

  13. #13
    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    However, even if you continue using TmpGenC, under no circumstances you should be exporting back to M2T after removing pulldown. As I showed on my intermediate format benchmark, the HDV format loses a LOT of quality in each generation. So even for you, these Matrox codecs can have value. Just use them through TmpGenC instead.
    I'm seriously not seeing any loss in quality after going back to m2t. I don't currently have enough HDD space to work with AVI, and I personally don't like AVI anyway... I've had quality loss experiences with it... from WAY back.

  14. #14
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    >I've had quality loss experiences with it... from WAY back

    AVI is just a container, not a codec. So if you had quality loss in the past with an AVI format, is because you used a delivery codec, not an intermediate one. I'm not asking you to use XViD here. And I can assure you, HDV mpeg2 is TIMES more lossy than a real intermediate codec. Maybe your eyes are not that able to see it easily, but if you do some tests, you will see the loss: http://eugenia.gnomefiles.org/images/test5.png

    I mean, if you just shoot family stuff, sure, no reason to change your workflow if it works for you. But if you're doing professional stuff, then there's value investing in an intermediate codec.
    Last edited by Eugenia Loli-Queru; 2010 May 15th at 16:10.

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    Eugenia, have you tried the UT Codec suite? They're quite fast and supposedly lossless. I'd like to see how they stack up against the others. From your test, it looks like Lagarith RGB might be the way to go if you use proxies or you have a fast comp. Do you think there's much loss in the conversion from 4:2:0 to 4:4:4?

  16. #16
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    What are the UT codecs? URL?

    No, Lagarith is not a great idea. Even on a fast computer it's very slow. Cineform is the best of all intermediate codecs in my opinion. But it's not free.

  17. #17
    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    Eugenia... off topic question, but I'm in the middle of testing out this Matrox codec in TempegenC... and I cannot find the option that allows me to remove Pulldown.
    Help?

    Edit: Congratz on the 5K posts by the way.

  18. #18
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    UT Codec Suite

    I use Premiere 6.5 (Bad economy = no spare cash for upgrades) so I have to use proxies and intermediates.

  19. #19
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    >and I cannot find the option that allows me to remove Pulldown.

    I don't use TempegenC, but isn't TempegenC's job to remove pulldown? I thought you already used that app! I don't use that app, so I don't know how to help you remove pulldown. I only suggested you SAVE back your remove-pulldown'ed files to Matrox's codec -- as long as this app can access Video for Windows codecs.

    >UT Codec Suite

    I'll have to try it when I come back from vacations, thx. Although I don't see why not use the Matrox drivers, which are already in development by a large team for years now, so it's more mature.

  20. #20
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    I downloaded it, and the installer sucks. If the quality of this codec is as bad as its installer (and usually it's a good indication about the developer's attention to detail), then I rather not try it. Apparently, it won't LET you install the 32bit version of the codec on a 64bit OS, which makes the codec USELESS, since I use the 32bit version of Vegas (because this way I have access to more codecs and plugins). Vegas and any other 32bit app can not see the 64bit version of that codec. Apart from iTunes' installer, no other app I have encountered so far forces its 64bit version on you.

    EDIT: I emailed him.

  21. #21
    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    I don't use TempegenC, but isn't TempegenC's job to remove pulldown?
    No. It's job is to convert to other formats. The only way I can remove pulldown, is if I export using the .m2t format. That is the only format in the whole list that will allow me to remove pulldown...

  22. #22
    Legend racer-x's Avatar
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    Apparently, it won't LET you install the 32bit version of the codec on a 64bit OS
    If you install the 64-bit version, it will install both 32-bit and 64-bit VFW codecs on your Vista-64. I have the UT codecs installed on XP x64, Vista-64 and Win7 64. The work perfectly on both 32-bit and 64-bit apps. That includes Vegas and virtualdub in both 32-bit and 64-bit variations.

    UTcodec is multithreaded and you should set the "Frame Divide Count" to match the number of processors you have.
    There is no such thing as "Idiot-Proof".........a good Idiot will get around that every time.

  23. #23
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but it doesn't show up on my Vegas. I restarted Vegas after installing, it still doesn't show under AVI. Please note that Vegas doesn't run as administrator.

  24. #24
    Moderator Eugenia Loli-Queru's Avatar
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    >The only way I can remove pulldown, is if I export using the .m2t format.

    This makes no sense. TempegenC is a utility that removes pulldown, no? I mean, a lot of people are using it for this reason around here. You import in .m2t, you remove pulldown in it, and THEN you export in the Matrox codec, files that the utility removed pulldown at. If that utility can't do that (e.g. import one format, export another), then it's pretty limited. Sure, Cineform doesn't do that either, but Cineform is an intermediate codec, while exporting back in HDV after removing pulldown is not a good idea.

  25. #25
    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    This makes no sense.
    It makes perfect sense to me. MPG presets is the only one that will give me the option to remove pulldown.

    AVI, MOV and WMV all lack the option "Pulldown removal". AVI even reconverts in 4:3 only, never in 16x9. In all fairness, .m2t is the only one that seems to do what its told...

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