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GH2 Cineform Question
  • Will this program ( work to convert GH2 AVHD files to have a higher dynamic range, allowing the footage to be more heavily color graded? From this tutorial ( It looks like it should work, but I wasn't if anyone else has tried it out.

  • 76 Replies sorted by
  • I don't usually convert my GH2 files to Cineform because the Premiere+cuda AVCHD decodeing is so good. But Cineform usually has a free trial so you can test it.

  • I don't think it'll do anything for DR, but the CF codec might nonetheless hold up a little better to grading, at least as compared to unhacked files. it's free too, it's a very good editing codec -- you can edit CF on a Pentium II if need be.

  • Cineform is not a free codec. I have used it for a couple of years now, and while I must say it is a very good codec, even when compared to ProRes or Avid's DxnD, it is quite a troublesome tool to use because of its proprietary license. If you ever reset your computer, it will lock up and you have to write to Cineform to ask for a new key to unlock the software. This protects the software from piracy, but it's a damn hassle for endusers.

    Try 5DtoRGB. Awesome software that leverages codecs like ProRes and Avid. And it's free!

  • nah, it's free now. Go to the GoPro site. Gopro bought them out. That's how I got my CF and Vegas sees it.

  • The free version does not import MTS

  • @Jspatz

    If you have the free GoPro and Adobe's AME/PP/AE you can import MTS files and export to Cineform AVI/MOV files. :-)

  • Wow, thats great news! Guess its limited to 1080p 422?

  • I've been trying to do it with hbr25 and 24p footage, through media encoder to gopro-cineform but, it fails every time it starts. anyone knows how to set the codec for hbr, for interlaced footage? progressive or upper first?

  • It also works with Vegas Pro.

  • The GoPro version is a very restricted version of the conform codec, not the same as the paid for NeoScene. I've used NeoScene since it was first released, never had lockup issues, works awesome for pushing grading and editing on a lower spec PC.

    I would not use the GoPro version for converting GH footage.

  • @Rambo Why not? It seems to work really well and seems to be the same codec.

  • GoPro Cineform Studio Bitrate quality is capped a low rate, this way it protects Neoscene product.

  • I lower the contrast in Cineform Studio in order to make the footage easier to color grade. Is that the best way to do it in Cineform? Also I noticed that when you do this noise becomes more apparent. Is there a free program that can remove gamma noise as well or close to other paid programs?

  • @tderuiter - if you would like to experiment with different high-quality codecs you should check out and grab a copy of the DSLR Post Prep Utility. It will do automatic conversions of your .mts files to ProRes and Avid DNxHD in both HQ and proxy formats as well as uncompressed 10bit 4:2:2 for final rendering (and can now wrap .mts files for Lightworks).

    Generally speaking, with the Post Prep Util you can render both HQ and proxy formats automatically, and with exactly the same names (but in separate directories). You edit the proxy footage (which has the benefit of 4:2:2 color space giving you as much latitude as possible during editing - and the footage holds up better to corrections) and when finished either link to the uncompressed footage for rendering - or replace the footage to achieve the same effect. This is exactly what intermediate formats like Cineform are all about. I think you will find that either ProRes or DNxHD codecs will serve you very well - and all for free ; )

  • The beauty of using Cineform (as I understand it) . . . comes from it keeping metadata concerning all of your modifications to the footage. No permanent changes are made until you render/export out to another filetype. The original footage always remains while you color, etc, so whatever you do, it is non-destructive.

    Also, it is quite handy for dealing with 3D footage.

  • @Rambo Bit rate is same as Neo as far as I can tell. I believe you are mistaken and are spreading wrong information. It's the same codec, everything I've read from David Neuman's posts indicates that. Neuman says Gopro studio is replacing Neoscene.

  • @B3Guy - understood, and not having used Cineform myself I don't know the facts. But I did investigate it when I was considering my workflow and decided against it. If it works as you describe (and I believe you are correct) then it is indeed a very proprietary format dependent on licensing (as per @kazuo). I just couldn't wrap my head around Cineform first converting to a 4:2:2 color space during editing and not changing the original - although I do understand the concept. I just felt that it was...risky.

    As far as maintaining the original footage, from a storage perspective that should be your only real concern. Import from flash card to storage disk (RAID5 array with backup) and rename with prefix and timestamp. If you work with 4:2:2 converted files from this point forward you will never have to touch your originals again. You will always be able to regenerate any subsequent file format if you maintain the original.

    Automatically convert to uncompressed 4:2:2 or a pro HQ codec like Avid or ProRes for final render - this will give you the best possible output for color grading, effects and chroma key, etc.

    If you are color grading you will probably want to convert your original 8bit 4:2:0 .mts files to 4:2:2 for the extra latitude. If you choose a good quality proxy format your editing sessions will move right along, and you will have the benefit of 4:2:2 color space for your corrections. When your edits are finished you can link in the uncompressed footage (or other HQ codec) for the final render. The Post Prep Utility will automatically do both conversions and will create HQ and proxy files of identical names making it much easier to link them in at render time.

    At the super-high gh2 bitrates, footage gets a bit hard to navigate - with transitions, effects and color grading it is like molasses on the timeline. If doing more than a simple edit it may pay to also convert the originals to a proxy format to make that timeline easier to manage plus you get the extra color space. Once your project is complete you can delete ALL of the intermediate files - you can always easily regenerate them if you need them! It is also best to keep your work footage on a RAID0 array of 3 or more drives. The faster the I/O the better.

    It may seem like a lot of handling but I have tools that automate the bulk of the grunt work - and the results are always high-quality and worth the extra effort!

    I am sure that Cineform is an excellent product and can bring a lot of convenience to workflow, but as fast as the GH2 scene is changing I wouldn't want to cling to any overly-proprietary format ; )

  • "Automatically convert to uncompressed 4:2:2 or a pro HQ codec like Avid or ProRes for final render"

    I got to know Cineform as standing in one row with Avid Dnxhd and Prores, just performing much better. Actually all 3 codecs are "visually" lossless. The whole metadata/non destructive grading thing came later in. I had it at work, and if the large versions that support 4:4:4 + alpha where not that expensive I would buy it for myself. Gonna test the GoPro Version of it if I find the time.

  • @brianluce you obviously don't own Cineform Neoscene or you would know the difference.

    David Newman (not Neuman as you called him) has said GoPro Cineform Studio Premium has replaced NeoHD and GoPro Cineform Studio Professional has replaced Neo4k and Neo3D. Neoscene is still a separate product to Studio.

  • @Rambo If you have some information that the the Gopro CF codec is different than the one in Neo -- that the bitrate is lower, please give us a citation, otherwise, as I said, you're spreading misinformation about a key element in the workflow of many people.

  • Brian, i'm not going thru the process again of reinstalling the free Gopro Cineform Studio as it cannot co-exist on the same machine that Neoscene is installed on without uninstalling Neoscene first.

    I suggest you purchase the program designed to process mts files like i have and you will find there are 6 quality settings (low, medium, high, filmscan1, Filmscan2 and uncompressed) The free version of GoPro Cineform Studio i originally installed did not have all these choices.

    The "non destructive" element of Cineform is an integrated procedure called FirstLight that only comes with Cineform Studio Premium and above.

  • The free version of Cineform GoPro, when used within Adobe Media Encoder, Premiere Pro, or After Effects, has the low, medium, high, Film Scan 1, Film Scan 2 settings available. I don't see any uncompressed settings however.

  • Why should I purchase it? It works perfectly in the free version from GoPro. A seamless workflow. I submit that Gopro CF is a viable solution for GH2 users.

  • @notrons

    A codec basically transcodes the raw material it gets applied to. Technically, it doesn't alter the original file, but "rewraps" the file using its own algorithms, including changing its structure et al. So codecs like ProRes turn 4:2:0 files into 4:2:2, which i have discovered is more stable for editing. Ppl have argued that you should work on files natively, that with some software being able to read and process color at 32bits, you shouldn't bother with transcodes.

    Well, yes and no.

    Thus far, I have directed and shot 10 commercials, as well as a dramatic short film on GH2 and Prime Lenses plus full production values, and I find myself coming back to the point that h.264 is an acquisition and not an editing format. Try doing things like varying the speed of a clip in post natively, and you'll see what I mean. A transcoded file at ProRes 444, or even just 422 on the other hand holds up very very well.

    Even for color grading, there is a difference when I work on transcoded material. I dun have the math to back up my claim, maybe someone else here can, but transcoded material is a lot more stable.

  • Ppl have argued that you should work on files natively, that with some software being able to read and process color at 32bits, you shouldn't bother with transcodes.

    Well, yes and no. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    Yeah I go 'round and 'round on this one. Perhaps if you're not pushing the color or vfx too hard, you can stay native, but if you're going to be aggressive, maybe one should transcode. I've yet to find anything definitive on it.