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Smart Rendering GH4 4K on Windows?
  • Before I start archiving the best parts of my footage in MagicYUV lossless .avi format at a bitrate 18x bigger than the original, I am wondering if anyone has found a way to reliably smart render (no recompression) 4K UHD MP4 footage from the Panasonic GH4. My typical nature footage features a lot of unwanted head and tail. Really I just want to split the files on the PC, not in-camera. I don't care if it's forced to i-Frames or if the first and final GOPs don't render well.

    The "main" NLEs won't do it. I tried TMPGEnc Smart Renderer and that didn't work. I expect it's beyond VideoReDo and Womble.

    I have heard that Cyberlink PowerDirector tries it but there are glitches in the result from version 12 (reported at http://www.avsforum.com/forum/161-camcorders/1533217-cambridge-uk-4k.html ). Unfortunately the version 13 trial version doesn't support 4k so it would mean spending $80 on the program to test it.

    I also notice that Corel VideoStudio Pro X7 features "4k smart rendering" and there is a fully-functional trial version but it's 800MB.

  • 32 Replies sorted by
  • KineMix does it on Android (MP4 wrapper only). Haven't searched for a Windows product, but would definitely be interested as well. I used to use SmartCutter for GH2 - which worked great (after I submitted one issue that resulted in GH2 specific fix).

  • I also notice that Corel VideoStudio Pro X7 features "4k smart rendering" and there is a fully-functional trial version but it's 800MB.

    What is wrong with 800Mb?

  • I can rule out Cyberlink PowerDirector Ultra 13. Its "svrt engine" makes a brave attempt but has glitches such as throwing a duplicate frame in the middle of your render, putting everything out of sync by a frame for a while before righting itself. No EDL import or any other means of project conversion either, so you'd have to edit it in it.

    I'll look into SmartCutter and Corel. Nothing wrong with 800Mb. Just averse to installing more and more junk on the computer.

  • Smart Cutter crashes when I hit "start transcoding" (My computer is i7 5960X, 32GB RAM etc.).

  • May be worth sending Smart Cutter (Fame Ring) an email. I did for the GH2. They had me ftp them a sample file, and the within a couple days they had a fix. Great company.

  • I only own the GH2, which produces MTS. You can just look for any MTS file splitter on videohelp.com or google. You should find equivalent stuff on there. You can also try trimming and remuxing with ffmpeg. Should be no problem.

  • I have now tried and can rule out Corel VideoStudio Pro X7. It only smart renders "UltraUD" video that it itself has already rendered, and it's limited to 65Mbps.

    ScubaBob, I'll contact Framering and see what they say.

    Thanks fatpig. I am shooting 4k MP4 on the GH4. It seems to be more challenging to trim and split than 2k AVCHD. But I bet something out there can do it, even if it limits one to splitting on iFrames.

  • SolveigMM Video Splitter seems to do it, and the MP4 files play OK in WMP, PowerDirector etc., but they don't decode or play properly in Sony Vegas Pro 13. Much of the video track preview is dark green.

    Had a reply already from FrameRing so I will send them a sample or two.

  • @NickHope

    I went to Kenya back in June for 3 weeks and hoped that Adobe Prelude could help me organize things. But there wasn't enough power available to properly use the program. Also the file renaming messed up all my filenames because the creation/modification datetime each clip was different on my main drive and the backup. And the USB3.0 bit of my 2TB hd stopped working so I was forced to accept usb 2.0 speeds. But anyway prelude can render subclips into a near lossless format and might be a solution. The SolveigMM is terrible unstable and has a slow interface. I would like to have a very easy solution here to lossless cut away big chuncks and save loads of space. It doesn't have to be very accurate even 20 second before and after the juicy stuff would save loads of space.

  • There's always in-camera splitting. I might writing some clips back to SD card and try that if I have some particularly long clips that need a lot of rubbish chopping off.

  • Thanks Nick for following up with famering - I will add them back to my workflow if they support GH4 files!

  • I've given up with Smart Cutter. I've tried various versions and it crashes on both my desktop and laptop Win 8.1. Support didn't have anything to offer other than "It works for us". I did get a trial version running once on my laptop but the rendered files had glitches on them. It's possible that this was due to the overlaying of the word "DEMO" on the footage but I don't think so. (Yeah, I know, why would you produce a demo version of a smart renderer that doesn't smart render by definition because of an overlaid logo?). Also, the EDL upload is only for a single source file. Totally useless if you're uploading and EDL exported from a timeline containing multiple clips. A quick look at this thread on their forum doesn't inspire confidence: http://www.fame-ring.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7353

    I think the best hope of smart rendering at this stage may be that Cyberlink iron out the glitches in PowerDirector. I'm not holding my breath. I'll gather myself and submit a support ticket. Maybe some bright spark will come up with something, or TMPGEnc will update their smart renderer.

    So my conclusion is just to archive untrimmed files, warts and all, which sucks. If I have a clip where I want to get rid of more than 60-70% then I may render to Sony XAVC Intra in Vegas Pro for archiving, which is near-lossless, but 2.6x bigger files size than the orginal MP4 footage. It's easier to edit because it's intraframe, but of course you lose your metadata. I can't see the difference from the original MP4 on my monitor, but the scopes show differences.

  • Hmm - I'm surprised they didn't have the issue too. I've own the software and I've tried both MP4 and MOV clips and both cause SmartCutter to crash. I will give it another shot..

  • I use mpeg streamclip to trim my GH4 files without re-encoding them. Just set in and out then hit trim and save as. It is almost instantaneous. Here is a tutorial for a mac but there is also a pc version.

  • Thanks natureflixs. MPEG Streamclip on the PC will indeed smart render GH4 4k .MOV footage, but unfortunately it won't open 4K/100M/30p .MP4 clips. Also I couldn't find a way to get an EDL (edit decision list) into it. Trimming hundreds/thousands of clips in it is going to be much more laborious than in a proper NLE.

    So...

    1. Does anyone know of a way to losslessly convert GH4 4K/100M/30p clips between .MP4 container and .MOV container?
    2. Does anyone know of a way to get an EDL into MPEG Streamclip (or a similar program that will losslessly trim .MOV files)?
  • I just discovered that Panasonic's own PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.5 PE will smart render by using the command "Edit video" > "Delete Partially". I've just tested it on both .MOV and .MP4 UHD files and it works well. As expected, the ends of the file, up to about half a second long (presumably the parts outside of full GOPs) get re-rendered, but the main body of the file is losslessly rendered.

    Up to now this is the one and only way I have discovered to successfully smart render GH4 4K MP4 files on a computer. Certainly more convenient than doing it in-camera!

    Now if only someone would put that functionality into an NLE or an app that can accept an NLE...

  • Adobe premiere actually has smart rendering built in (and Adobe media encoder) but currently only for xdcam footage though it wraps the files slightly differently. Works blazing fast when I used this feature a few years back. Always been hoping they would add support for other codecs. Maybe just enough people need to request it.

  • I am told that ClipExporter for FCPX will smart render GH4 footage. http://www.clipexporter.com/ Having failed to find a Windows solution, I'm actually thinking of getting a Mac just for this. Anyone have any experience of it?

  • This seems to work well with 4K footage, it's free and fully functional for renders up to 5 minutes long http://www.avs4you.com/AVS-Video-ReMaker.aspx

  • Thanks targoszstock. I have a very powerful machine, but unfortunately it crashes or hangs before I am able to trim a clip. Also it looks like it can't import an EDL, so there doesn't seem to be any benefit over using Panasonic's PHOTOfunSTUDIO (which is reliable, and retains the metadata).

    The search continues...

  • Avidemux can also cut, join, and expert losslessly. I've used it to join and cut mp4 files from my G7. Also tsmuxer can join mts files, but not sure about cutting.

  • You're welcome NickHope. I have a very powerful machine as well and AVS Video ReMaker works well for me. Unfortunately Panasonic's PHOTOfunSTUDIO crashes upon install.

  • Thank you Ezzelin. Avidemux offers some hope, although I'm having a few issues with it. See my post at http://avidemux.org/smif/index.php/topic,16487.0.html I'll report back.

  • I have had a little success with ffmpeg using a command line like this:

    ffmpeg -ss 00:00:02.603 -i E:\input.MP4 -an -c copy -to 00:00:17.384 E:\output.mp4

    The -an is telling it to ignore audio. You can include audio but PCM doesn't seem possible.

    In Vegas Pro the output file decodes frame-accurately at the beginning but extended at the end with a reverse frame glitch. In Premiere Pro the decodes extended beyond the cut at both ends but without glitches. Presumably it's showing whole GOPs, starting and ending on I-Frames.

    Nevertheless it's usable for archiving, as long as you remember to trim the file end(s) when you bring it back.

    Now the key is to get a script written to enable ffmpeg to render a batch from an EDL/batch list output by an NLE. Beyond me I'm afraid. Someone who knew what they were doing could probably start with the script on this page and expand/modify it: http://grapsus.net/blog/post/A-script-for-splitting-videos-using-ffmpeg