Sunday, August 26, 2007

4:4:4:4 and New CineForm Builds

Normally, I don't post here about new software releases, as we do so many with pretty regular one month release cycles, but these new builds have been a while in the works. One issue with being a "middleware" company, as some VCs have called us, is we are a little at the whim of what the big players do. Adobe releases CS3 with lots of under-documented "features" that we now have to work around, new cameras with new formats (seemingly weekly), Sony Vegas revisions (released almost as often as CineForm), Apple FCS major revisions, and, of course, Microsoft Vista (big headache.)


Sometimes, it seems hard to find the time to add features to our products, rather than just patching features of others. Note: sometimes that is to the advantage of CineForm that we can patch features of the bigger guys; we are the glue that makes this stuff work. While there are plenty of patches for the above tools, we did have time to put in some cool new stuff that I didn't want to go unnoticed. In the NEO 2K and Prospect 2K lines there is now extensive support for 4:4:4 with Alpha channels (4:4:4:4), at 12-bits per channel -- this is a first for any visually lossless compression product. While adding 4:4:4 a few months back has a clear market with dual link recording and film-out mastering, 4:4:4:4 was created with pure speculation that there is a market for it (given that that is typically the domain of uncompressed.) I hope that it finds its way into some interesting applications, if so, please tell me how you use it.

The latest versions of the CineForm tools are available here : http://www.cineform.com/products/Downloads/Downloads.htm

Update : The new NEO HD/2K and Prospect HD/2K builds now include a license to the Mac codec. See the press release for details.

3 comments:

Jason Rodriguez said...

For one, I think the long-awaited replacement for Apple's 8-bit Animation or "None" codecs has finally come if you've been using them as an intermediate format in motion graphics . . . and there's also no longer a requirement for using 16-bit TIFF image sequences for compositing intermediates as well.

Finally for P2K/PHD, this is huge because it means for once you can pre-render animated elements that rely on alpha channels, such as supers, bugs, etc., and overlay them in real-time over "normal" footage . . . so this would be a big boon to those who have been relying on editing hardware such as Axio, etc. in order to get real-time track-mattes for the same type of elements (so you don't have to render a whole show that has an animated bug, etc.).

A very exciting feature release.

Mike Hedge said...

very exciting!

Carl Middleton said...

4:4:4:4 Sounds like a wonderful addition to the Cineform line. Would a Cineform file with alpha on top of another Cineform file render in realtime within Premiere?

The largest render time left for me is graphics and tags after you guys made most of them go away :)

A full 90% of renders in my last episode I put out was just adding tags from AE. The other 10% was just frame blending on fast/slow motion.

With the addition of realtime (or even somewhat stuttery realtime) playback of alpha channels on top of other cineform video, you will have effectively made all of my preview renders go away. I will never have another excuse to take a smoke/lunch/sleep break while editing ever again! :( =D