Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CineForm vs HDCAM-SR

On Tuesday, March 13 we had an interesting shoot-out: CineForm compression vs the highest-end tape-based acquisition and mastering format, Sony's HDCAM-SR. CineForm is always striving to improve our image quality, adding 4:4:4 encoding to existing wavelet codec design, but frankly I didn't know where we stood compared with Sony SQ 440Mb/s format (and the new HQ at the crazy 880Mb/s too.) Did we even have the right to be in the same room with this gear? Fortunately, others seemed to think we might be worthy. So a few weeks back Mark Chiolis of Thompson Grass Valley arranged for some time with a Viper FilmStream camera at Plus 8 Digital with the skills of George Palmer (digital imaging technician or DIT) to operate this fancy gear with the SRW1. Jeff Youel at Wafian and myself worked against the clock to get the new CineForm 4:4:4 codec running on a tweaked out Wafain HR-1 (guess this will become the HR-2.) With very little time for thorough testing, the pressure was on.

Jump ahead two weeks, and I find myself eating pizza while having great discussions on the color science of digital cinema cameras, really geeking out with Scott Billups, Mike Kanfer of Adobe, Mark Chiolis, Jeff Youel, David Taylor (CineForm) and George Palmer. Mark, thank you again for arranging the shoot (and the pizza.) The relaxed atmosphere was helped by the shoot going so well; we only had some minor setup glitches getting dual link HDSDI to pass through a Decklink card. I will be documenting more on this shoot--how the tests were performed, and of course the results -- but before that happens there is a lot of data to collate and analyze (which should be very interesting.)


Neil Smith said...


It's now June 2nd .... any news on the data analysis and results?

As a 2k DPX and HDCAM-SR facility (and an early adopter of CineForm - used V.1 about three years) really interested in what you found out.

Would like to replicate your testing methodolgy here at Hollywood-DI if poss.

Neil Smith

David said...

Yes, there have been several posts on the subject. Please read

All showing that CineForm 444 readily exceeds the quality of HDCAM-SR. You are welcome to perform the tests yourself. Let me know how I can help. Email me at username "dnewman".