Archive for the ‘Sony Vegas’ Category

CineformRAW as Intermediate, Interchange and Archive Format for RAW (CinemaDNG) from BMCC

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Following on from where basically I discovered that

  • you need not only GoPro Studio Premium (which gets you the CineformRAW codec) but also a little front-end utility (that you use instead of Studio Premium) called RAW4Pro.  That utility gets you the correct colours and proper audio (‘Studio’ does not otherwise).

Using that solution, I obtained a 5.5 times reduction in file size, for a few-seconds test-clip where the color-chart was handheld against the landscape at the top of the hill.  The file looked good in Resolve where I was able to grade it ok and of course could have used it to encode MOV-H264.

Equally the CineformRAW imported fine to Sony Vegas Pro 12, where I could grade it and export to MP4-H264 or whatever.  Vegas did not recognize the original RAW (CinemaDNG) – I tried various ways, including Vegas’s Device Explorer, so CineformRAW is a useful workaround for this.

The CineformRAW generated by RAW4Pro in its [Fine] setting, according to its [?] button, produces 10-bit Log, which QuickTime player reports as as “Millions+”.  I wonder, is there a way to get it to produce 12-bit?

I expect I will use CineformRAW to replace my existing RAW footage where I want to maintain full 2.5K resolution, gradeability but don’t have chromakey-level demands on resolution around edges etc.  Not that I’ve yet tried such chromakeying, RAW or CineformRAW -based.  As yet…

Video with 10-bit Channels: Update: Sony Vegas (12) Handles it OK

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

In my post I reported that when I imported 10-bit footage to Sony Vegas 10, even in 32-bit mode, it still appeared to act as if only using 8-bit footage.

Since then, I re-did the test for Sony Vegas 12.  I applied a 10-bit recording from a CineDeck, in QuickTime (.mov) containing Cineform 10-bit, taken from SDI output of a Sony EX3 camera.  In that case, Vegas 12, with 32-bit (Video Levels) mode, did correctly make use of the 10 bits, as verified by bands on the vectorscope on dark areas of high-alpha-increased underexposed footage.

One thing I noted was the tendency of 8-bit to round-down.  Consequently, when switching project to 32-bit mode (hence 10-bits used), the dark levels visibly (and on vectorscope) brightened.  I guess better compatibility would in that case be obtained (in that NLE or by pre-processing the footage) by first subtracting “4” from the 10-bit levels, since the “2^4” represented by those extra 2 bits would in 8-bit format not exist, hence effectively would be rounded-down.  Or maybe the offset should be 1 less than this, i.e. subtract 3 (depends how the rounding gets done).

Workarounds would be to either pre-process the 10-bit footage (to subtract the offset) or else, less conveniently, apply a levels effect to increase the input minimum level by that amount.  But would be awkward and may or may-not work, depending on Vegas 12 nuances.  Something to be tested!

Convert FLV Video Files

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

To convert from [.flv] to another format, use VLC Media Player’s [Media > Convert/Save] option.  Be sure to set the destination as well as the source.  VLC can only convert to formats in its own internal container and codec sets, but e.g. can convert to [.mp4] containing H264.

Thereafter can use e.g. Sony Vegas to generate e.g. [.avi] containing CFHD, e.g. for onward use in applications that don’t recognize mp4-h264.  Vegas is more accommodating and flexible than (straight use of) Adobe Media Encoder, as regards non (broadcast) standard frame sizes and proportions.  Conveniently, Vegas automatically matches the Project to the footage on footage-import.

Prior to that, I tried installing and using Riga, the two-way FLV convertor, but it didn’t work on  my Window 7 (64-bit) machine,  opening only a blank window where a GUI was expected, and both the downloader and installer were both full of bloatware (NB needed to install in Advanced mode in order to avoid some of that).  Pointless…

Extract DVD Contents to plain [.mpg] files via Sony Vegas (12)

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

How to extract DVD contents to plain mpg files

  • Open Sony Vegas 12
  • Menu:[File > Import > DVD Camcorder Disc…]
  • Dialog:
    • [Source > Browse…]
    • [Destination > Browse…]

Tools/Workflow Philosophy: Best-of-Breed rather than Already-Integrated Suite ?

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

I am becoming less enthusiastic about the “Integrated Suite” philosophy or perhaps actuality of Adobe CS6, in favour of a “Best of Breed” approach, where I cherry-pick the best tool for each kind of job and then design or discover my own workflow for integrating them.

I reached this conclusion from the following experiences:

  • As regards editing itself:
    • For general A & B Roll” editing, I find Premiere is ok, though for improved usability, I’d prefer a Tag-based system (as in FCPX) to the traditional Bin-based one (as in Adobe & Avid).
    • For MultiCam editing, even in Adobe CS6, I find Premiere does the job but I find it clunky, frustrating and limited at times, like it has not yet been fully “baked” (though “getting there”)…
      • e.g. In the two such projects I have so far worked on, there has been an annoying 2-second delay from pressing the spacebar to actual playing.  Maybe some kind of buffering?
        • I found a setting for “Pre-roll” in the Preferences but altering it made no difference.
        • The following suggested that the embedded audio (in video file) could be the issue, the solution to which was to relink to a WAV file.
      • e.g. It brings up a separate MultiCam Monitor instead of using the Source Monitor.  You have to remember to activate this each time before playing.  I find that a nuisance (and time-waster when I forget) especially because I tend to alternate multicam editing as such with tweaking the cut timings until they feel right, and sometimes that can only be done in retrospect.
      • e.g. When you stop playing in multicam mode, it places a cut (that you probably didn’t want) wherever the playhead happens to be at the time.
        • I see I am not the only one complaining about this: “ExactImage, Sep 15, 2012″at
          • A workaround given at that link: Before to stop the playback press the key 0 (zero) of the keyboard and then you can stop the play (with the Space bar) without the cut in the timeline.” Duh!
      • e.g Markers are really useful in multicam, but while Premiere’s are steadily improving with product version, they are way clunkier and more limited than those in Sony Vegas:
        • e.g. I put a marker at the start of an interesting section (of timeline), I select it and define its duration to be non-zero, so I can stretch it out to mark a region, then I drag the playhead to the find the end of that interest, I try to drag the marker’s right-hand end up to the playhead, but instead the playhead gets reset to the start of marker.  Duh!
        • e.g. Markers cannot be promoted from clip (media or nested Sequence) to current Sequence.
        • e.g. waveform displays (assuming you can get them to appear in the first place) go blank when sliding clips around.  Really annoying when trying to synchronise to music etc.
    • …so I will explore other options for multicam:
      • In the past (as will be apparent from the above) I have had more joy, as regards Multicam, with Sony Vegas.
      • I will check out what people think of other NLEs as potential “Best of Breed” for multicam editing.  Thus far I have heard (from web-search) good things about FCPX and LightWorks.
  • For audio enhancement, such as denoising, I find iZotope’s RX2 far superior to the one in Adobe Audition.
  • For making a DVD:
    • I find Encore to be handy in some ways but limited and clunky in others.
      • e.g. can’t replace an asset with one of a different type (e.g. [.avi] and [.mpg]).
    • The advantage of using an integrated DVD-Maker such as Encore might be limited:
      • e.g. many people are not using the direct link, but exporting from Premiere/AME, in which case any third-party DVD Builder could be used.
      • The only significant advantage I am aware of is the ability to define Scene/Chapter points in Premiere and have them recognised/used by Encore.
        • But maybe some third-party DVD Builder applications can also recognise these?  Or can be configured/helped to do so?  Worth finding out.
    • ?

Best Workflow for High-resolution Master (e.g. HD or HDV) to Multi-Format Including SD-DVD

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

What is the best workflow for going from a high-resolution footage, potentially either progressive or interlaced,  possibly through an intermediate Master (definitely in progressive format) to a variety of target/deliverable/product formats, from the maximum down to lower resolution and/or interlaced formats such as SD-DVD ?

Here’s one big fundamental: Naively one might have hoped that long-established professional NLEs such as Premiere might provide high-quality optical processing based downscaling from HD to SD, but my less optimistic intuition, about the un-likelihood of that, proved correct.  In my post I note the BBC Technical standards for SD Programmes state: <<Most non linear editing packages do not produce acceptable down conversion and should not be used without the broadcaster’s permission>>.

Having only ever used Adobe (CS5.5 & CS6) for web-based video production, early experiences in attempting to produce a number of target/deliverable (product) formats proved more difficult and uncertain than I had imagined…  For a current project, given historical footage shot in HDV (1440×1080, fat pixels), I wanted to generate various products from various flavors of HD (e.g. 1920x1080i50,  1280x720p50) down to SD-DVD (720×576).  So I embarked on a combination of web-research and experimentation.

Ultimately, this is the workflow that worked (and satisfied my demands):

  • Master: Produce a 50 fps (if PAL) progressive Master at the highest resolution consistent with original footage/material.
    • Resolution: The original footage/material could e.g. be HD or HDV resolution.  What resolution should the Master be?
      • One argument, possibly the best one if only making a single format deliverable or if time is no object, might be to retain the original resolution, to avoid any loss of information through scaling.
      • However I took the view that HDV’s non-standard pixel shape (aspect ratio) was “tempting fate” when it came to reliability and possibly even quality in subsequent (downstream in the workflow) stages of scaling (down) to the various required formats (mostly square-pixel, apart from SD-Wide so-called “16:9” pixels, of 1.4568 aspect ratio (or other, depending where you read it).
      • So the Master resolution would be [1920×1080].
    • Progressive: The original footage/material could e.g. be interlaced or progressive, but the Master (derived from this) must be progressive.
      • If original footage was interlaced then the master should be derived so as to have one full progressive frame for each interlaced field (hence double the original frame-rate).
        • The concept of “doubling” the framerate is a moot point, since interlaced footage doesn’t really have a frame rate, only a field rate, because the fields are each shot at different moments in time.  However among the various film/video industry/application conventions, some people refer to 50 fields/second interlaced as 50i (or i50) wile others refer to it as 25i (or i25).  Context is all-important!
    • Quality-Deinterlacing: The best way to convert from interlaced fields-to-frames is via motion/pixel/optical -based tools/techniques:
      • I have observed the quality advantage in practice on numerous projects in the distant past, e.g. when going from HDV or SD (both 50i) to a variety of (lower) corporate web-resolutions.
      • This kind of computation is extremely slow and heavy, hence (for my current machines at least) more an overnight job than a real-time effect… In fact for processing continuously recorded live events of one or two hours, I have found 8 cores (fully utilised) to take a couple of 24-hour days or so – for [AviSynth-MultiThread + TDeint plugin] running on a [Mac Pro > Boot Camp > Windows 7].
      • But (as stated) this general technique observably results in the best quality, through least loss of information.
      • There are a number of easily-available software tools with features for achieving this, Adobe and otherwise:
        • e.g. AviSynth+TDeint, (free) After-Effects, Boris.
        • e.g. FieldsKit is a nice convenient deinterlacing plugin for Adobe (Premiere & After Effects), and is very friendly and useful should you want to convert to a standard progressive video (e.g. 25fps), but (at this time) it can only convert from field-pairs to frames, not from fields to frames.
          • I submitted a Feature Request to FieldsKit’s developers.
    • Intermediate-File Format: A good format for an Intermediate file or a Master file is the “visually lossless” wavelet-based 10-bit 422 (or more) codec GoPro-Cineform (CFHD) Neo
      • Visually lossless (such as CFHD) codecs save considerable amounts of space as compared to uncompressed or mathematically lossless codecs like HuffYUV and Lagarith.
      • I like Cineform in particular because:
        • It is application-agnostic.
        • It is available in both VFW [.avi] and QuickTime [.mov] varieties (which is good because I have found that it can be “tempting fate” to give [.mov] files to certain Windows apps, and indeed not to give it to others).  The Windows version of CFHD comes with a [.avi] <-> [.mov] rewrapper (called HDLink).
        • Another advantage is that CFHD can encode/decode not only the standard broadcast formats (and not only HD) but also specialized “off-piste” formats.  I have found that great for corporate work. It’s as if it always had “GoPro spirit”!
        • CHFD Encoder Settings from within Sony Vegas 10:
          • These settings worked for me in the context of this “Sony-Vegas-10-Initially-then-Adobe-CS6-centric” workflow:
    • Technical Production History of a Master for an Actual Project:
      • This is merely for my own reference purposes, to document some “project forensics” (while I still remember them and/or where they’re documented):
      • This was a “Shake-Down” experience, not exactly straightforward, due to an unexpected “hiccup” between Sony Vegas 10 and AviSynth-WAVSource.  Hiccups are definitely worth documenting too…
      • The stages:
        • Sony Vegas Project: An initial HDV 50i (to match the footage) Intermediate file, containing the finished edit, was produced by Sony Vegas 10 Project:
          • [Master 021a (Proj HDV for Render HDV)  (veg10).veg] date:[Created:[2013-07-01 15:30], Modified:[2013-07-03 20:07]]
          • Movie duration was about 12 minutes.
        • Audio & Video Settings:
          • Project Settings:
            • HDV 1440×1080 50i UFF 44.1KHz
              • The audio was 44.1KHz, both for Project and Render, since most of the audio (music purchased from Vimeo shop) was of that nature.
          • Render Settings:
            • I believe I will have used the following Sony Vegas Render preset: [CFHD ProjectSize 50i 44KHz CFHD (by esp)] .
              • Though I think there may have been a bug in Vegas 10, whereby the Preset did not properly set the audio sampling frequency, so it had to be checked & done manually)
            • The CFHD Codec settings panel only offered two parameters, which I set as follows: Encoded format:[YUV 4:2:2], Encoding quality:[High]
          • The result of Rendering from this Project was the file:
            • [Master 021a (Proj HDV for Render HDV)  (veg10).avi] date:[Created:[2013-07-01 15:30], Modified:[2013-07-01 18:58]]
              • Modified date minus creation date is about 3.5 hours, which I guess accounts for the render-time (on a 2-core MacBook Pro of 2009 vintage winning Windows 7 under Boot Camp).
        • The next stage of processing was to be by AviSynth.
          • However AviSynth had problems reading the audio out of this file (it sounded like crazy buzzes).
          • To expedite the project, and guessing that Vegas 10 had produced a slightly malformed result (maybe related to the audio setting bug?), and hoping that it was just a container-level “audio framing” issue, I “Mended” it by passing it through VirtualDub, in [Direct Stream Copy] mode, so that it was merely rewrapping the data as opposed to decompressing and recompressing it.  The resulting file was:
            • [Master 021a HDV Mended (VDub).avi], date:[Created:[2013-07-08 18:22], Modified:[2013-07-08 18:30]]
          • Since that time, I have discovered the existence of the Cineform tool CFRepair, from forum post at DVInfo: which itself provided a download link as
            • Worth trying it out sometime, on this same “broken” file…
        • This was processed into full HD progressive (one frame per field, “double-framerate”) by an AViSynth script as follows, its results being drawn through VirtualDub into a further AVI-CFHD file, constituting the required Master.
          • AviSynth Script:[HDV to HD 1920×1080.avs] date:[Created:[2013-07-04 18:13], Modified:[2013-07-08 22:05]]
            • I used AvsP to develop the script.  It provides helpful help of various kinds and can immediately show the result in its preview-pane.
            • Multi-threaded:
              • To make best use of the multiple cores in my machine, I used the AviSynth-MT variant of AviSynth.  It’s a (much larger) version of the [avisynth.dll] file.  For a system where AviSynth (ordinaire) is already installed, you simply replace the [avisynth.dll] file in the system folder with this one.  Of course its sensible to keep the old one as a backup (e.g. rename it as [avisynth.dll.original]).
            • Audio Issue:
              • This particular script, using function [AVISource] to get the video and and [WavSource] to get the audio, only gave audio for about the first half of the movie, with silence thereafter.
              • Initially, as a workaround, I went back to VirtualDub and rendered-out the audio as a separate WAV file, then changed the script to read its [WAVSource] from this.
              • That worked fine, “good enough for the job” (that I wanted to expedite)
              • However afterwards I found a cleaner solution: Instead of functions [AVISource] and [WAVSource], use the single function [DirectShowSource].  No audio issues.  So use that in future.  And maybe avoid Vegas 10?
          • The script was processed by “pulling” its output video stream through VirtualDub which saved it as a video file, again AVI-CFHD.  Since no filters (video processing) was to be performed in VirtualDub, I used it in [Fast Recompress] mode.  In this mode, it leaves the video data in YUV (doesn’t convert it into RGB), making it both fast and information-preserving.  Possibly (not tested) I could have simply have rendered straight from AvsP:[Tools > Save to AVI].  When I first tried that, I got audio issues, as reported above, hence I switched to rendering via VirtualDub, but in retrospect (having identified a source, perhaps the only source,  of those audio issues) that (switch) might have been unnecessary.
      • The resulting Master file was [Master 021a HDV 50i to HD 50p 1920×1080 (Avs-VDub).avi] date:[Created:[2013-07-08 21:55], Modified:[2013-07-08 22:47]]
        • “Modified minus created” implies a render-time of just under an hour.  This was on a [MacBook Pro (2009) > Boot Camp > Windows 7] having two cores, fully uitilised.
  • Quality inspection of Master:
    • Check image quality, e.g. deinterlacing, via VirtualDub.
      • VirtualDub is great in a close-inspection role because its Preview can zoom well beyond 100% and, vitally, it displays the video as-is, with no deinterlacing etc. of its own.
        • e.g. zoom to 200% to make any interlacing comb-teeth easily visible.  There should not be any, since this Master is meant to be progressive.
  • Premiere Project: Make a Premiere project consistent with the Master, and add chapter markers here.
    • Make Premiere Project consistent with the Master, not the Target.
      • …especially when there is more than one target…
    • Don’t directly encode the master (by Adobe Media Encoder), but instead go via Premiere.
      • I have read expert postings on Adobe forums stating that as of Adobe CS6, this is the best route.
      • This appears to be the main kind of workflow the software designers had in mind, hence a CS6 user is well-advised to follow it.
        • It represents a “well-trodden path” (of attention in CS6’s overall development and testing).
        • Consequently, (it is only in this mode that) high-quality (and demanding, hence CUDA-based) algorithms get used for any required scaling.
        • Not knowing the application in detail, hence having to adopt the speculative approach to decision-making, it feels likely that this workflow would have a greater chance of reliability and quality than other, relatively off-piste ones.
    • Premiere is the best stage at which to add Chapter Markers etc.
      • Chapter markers etc. get stored as ??XMP?? and are thereby visible to Encore (Adobe’s DVD-Builder)
      • Better to place such markers in Premiere rather than in Encore, since:
        • In Encore, Chapter markers act as if they are properties of Assets, not Timelines.
          • If you delete an asset from a timeline, the chapter markers disappear also.
        • Encore (CS6) Replace Asset has some foibles.
          • In Encore, if you were to put an [.avi] file asset on a timeline, then add markers then try to replace that asset with a [.mpg] file, you would be in for a disappointment; if the file extension differs then the markers disappear. If required, then the markers would have to be re-created from scratch. Same again if you subsequently replaced back to a new [.avi] file.
          • The Foibles of Encore (CS6)’s Replace Asset function, in more detail:
            • Good news: If the new asset has the same file extension then any existing markers are retained.
              • This possibly suggests that they are transferred from the old asset to the new one.
            • Bad news: If the new asset file extension differs from the old one, then:
              • You get an error (popup): ???
                • e.g. it refused my attempt to replace an [.avi] file by a [.m2v] file).
              • Partial-workaround:
                • You can instead delete the existing asset from the timeline, prior to dragging another asset there..
                • ..BUT as a side-effect that deletes any of the old asset’s markers also…
                • …and furthermore Encore has no way to copy a set of markers from one asset to another
                  • …which would otherwise have been a nice work-around for the above side-effect.
  • Premiere Export: Export / Render to Target Format.
    • You may wish to render to a number of formats, e.g. SD-Wide DVD, Blu-Ray Disk (BD), YouTube upload format, mobile phone or tablet.
      • The most efficient strategy is to Queue a number of jobs from Premiere onto Adobe Media Encoder (AME.
        • AME can run some things in parallel (I think).
        • AME has a [Pause] button, very useful for overnight silence or prior to travel (Windows Sleep/Hibernate).
    • Menu:[File > Export > Media]
    • Export Settings:
      • For targets of differing aspect ratio (e.g. SD-Wide derived from HD master):
        • Source Scaling:
          • e.g. for HD -> SD, use [Scale to Fill] since this avoids “pillarboxing” i.e. black bars either side.
      • For DVD Target, use inbuilt preset MPEG2-DVD
        • Ensure [Pixel Aspect Ratio] and interlace sense etc. are as required.
        • The [MPEG2-DVD] preset generates two files:
          • [.m2v] for the video
          • [Dolby Digital] or [MPEG] or [PCM]
            • [PCM] option results in a [.wav] file of 16 bits, 48 KHz (there is no 44.1 KHz option).
      • Maximum Render Quality
        • Use this if scaling, e.g. down from HD Master to SD Target.
      • File Path & Name.
        • Where you want the export/encode result to go.
    • Click the [Queue] button, to send the job to the Adobe Media Encoder (AME)
  • Quality Inspection of Result (intermediate or target file):
    • Check the quality of the encodes via VirtualDub, e.g. for DVD-compatible video media, the correctness of interlacing and for progressive media the quality of deinterlacing.
      • For interlaced downscaled material derived from higher resolution interlaced, the combs should be fine-toothed (one pixel in height).  A poor quality result (as expected for straight downscaling by any typical NLE such as Premiere, from HD interlaced to SD interlaced) would instead exhibit combing with thick blurry teeth.
      • VirtualDub is great tool for a a close-inspection role because its Preview can zoom well beyond 100% and, vitally, it displays the video as-is, with no deinterlacing etc. of its own.
        • In the past I have searched for and experimented with a number of candidate tools to be effective and convenient in this role.  VirtualDub was the best I could find.
        • e.g. zoom to 200% to make the teeth easily visible.
      • Plain VirtualDub is unable to read MPEG2 video, but a plugin is available to add that ability:
        • The [mpeg2.vdplugin] plugin by FCCHandler, from
          • It reads straight MPEG2 files, including [.m2v], but not Transport Stream files such as [.m2t] from the Sony Z1.
          • For [.m2v] files, VirtualDub may throw up an audio-related error, since such files contain no audio.  Fix: In VirtualDub, disable audio.
        • Its ReadMe file contains installation instructions.  Don’t just put it in VirtualDub’s existing [plugins] folder.
  • DVD Construction via Adobe Encore.
    • Name the Project according to the disk-label (data) you would like to see for the final product.
      • If you use Encore to actually burn the disk, this is what gets used for that label.
      • Alternative options exist for just burning the disk, e.g. the popular ImgBurn, and this allows you to define your own disk-label (data).
    • Import the following as Assets:
      • Video file, e.g. [.m2v]
      • If Video File was an [.m2v] then also import its associated Audio file – it does not get automatically loaded along with the [.m2v] file.
    • Create required DVD structure
      • This is too big a topic to cover here.
    • Quality Inspection: [Play From Here]
      • Menu:[File > Check Project]
        • Click [Start] button
        • Typical errors are actions [Not Set] on [Remote] or [End Action]
          • I plan to write a separate blog entry on how to fix these.
        • When everything is ok (within the scope of this check), it says (in status bar, not as a message): “No items found”.
          • A worrying choice of phrase, but all it means is “no error-items found”.
    • Menu:[File > Build > Folder]
      • Don’t select [Disk], since:
        • May want to find and fix any remaining problems prior to burning to disk.
        • May want to use an alternative disk burning application, such as ImgBurn.
          • From forums, I see that many Adobe users opt for ImgBurn.
      • Set the destination (path and filename) for the folder in which the DVD structure will be created.
        • At that location it creates a project-named folder and within that the VIDEO_TS folder (but no dummy/empty AUDIO_TS folder).
          • I once came across an ancient DVD player that insisted on both AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folder being present and also they had to be named in upper-case, not lower.
      • Under [Disk Info] there is a colored bar, representing the disk capacity
        • Although the Output is to a folder, the Format is DVD, single-sided, which Encore realizes can hold up to 4.7 GB.
      • The [DVD ROM] option allows you to include non-DVD files, e.g. straight computer-playable files e.g. ([.mp4])
        • These go to the root of the drive, alongside the VIDEO_TS folder.
      • Finally, click the [Build] button.
        • On one occasion, it failed at this stage, with a “Encode Failed” or “Transcode Failed” (depending where I looked) error.  Solution: Shorten the file name.
          • Ok it was long-ish but I didn’t realize Encore would be so intolerant to that.  The suggestion of it only struck me later (the appearance of this guess was thanks to years of experience with computing etc.).
  • Quality Inspection of the DVD
    • I have found Corel WInDVD to show results representative of a standard TV with a DVD Player.
    • I have found popular media player such as VLC and Windows Media Player (WMP) to behave differently to this, hence not useful for quality-checking.   Problems I found included:
      • False Alarm: Playing went straight to the main video, didn’t stop at the Main Menu (as had been intended).  However it worked fine on a standard physical DVD player.
      • Hidden Problem: In one case I deinterlaced improperly, resulting in “judder” on movements when played on TV (via physical DVD player).  However it appeared fine on both VLC and WMP.
  • Metadata
    • In the case of WMV files, just use Windows Explorer:[aFile >RtClk> Properties > Details] and edit the main items of metadata directly.
    • For DVD generated by Adobe Encore, the Disk label (data) is the same as the Project name.
      • ImgBurn, a popular alternative to Encore as regards actually burning a disk, provides a way of changing this disk-label.

Video with 10-Bit Channels

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

If I had a 10-bit video recording such as from the PIX 240, would I know what to do with it, in order to make full use of the 10-bit information?  This question is important, because it cannot be assumed that this is simply a case of inputting it into any arbitrary nonlinear editing system (NLE) – not all NLEs preserve the extra information – and even for those that do, the workflow and configuration must be set up appropriately.  And even having got that right, how can we verify all is working as expected?  Can the NLE’s own effects and waveform monitors etc. be trusted to preserve the extra bits?

Having discovered some sample 10-bit footage at (as reported at, I was prompted to do some experiments in a few NLEs.   I based the experiments on the following two DNxHD files, as recorded by a PIX 240, both 1920x1080p29.97 and around half a minute in duration.

  • = 8-bit
  • = 10-bit

The comparison was based on an area of sky at the top-left of frame (in each case), with its (limited) levels-range mapped to full video range, so as to make 8-bit quantization-banding appear.

Conclusions (as far as I can tell from experiments):

  • Adobe Premiere:
    • Propagates the 10-bit footage’s information, achieving better image quality than for the 8-bit footage.
      • However this only happens when correctly configured and then only for certain effects.
    • The Fast Color Corrector levels-mapping appears to introduce some kind of dithering.
      • Hence while the expected banding is visible for 8-bit footage, it is slightly “blurred” on the Waveform Monitor and the resulting image looks more ragged than banded.
      • Nevertheless, the 10-bit footage through this same process has no such banding at all, and resulting the image looks obviously better.
      • None of the cases at apply here since no blur effect was used.
    • The result of Fast Color Corrector levels-mapping on 10-bit footage result also looks slightly brighter than that on 8-bit footage – presumably a mapping-inconsistency in Premiere?
    • Some other non-obvious pitfalls exist when making such comparisons:
  • Sony Vegas 10
    • Ignores the extra information in the 10-bit footage, evem for Project Settings of 32-bit.
  • Avid Symphony 6
    • AMA appears to truncate to 8-bit, at least it seems so based on what appears in Avid’s Waveform monitor.
    • Import of the given DNxHD-220 to Avid-Import-DNxHD-220 appears to give same result.
    • I assume I am missing something here, some knowledge and/or step and/or monitoring method…

The configurations I used within each application:

  • Sony Vegas 10:
    • Project Properties
      • 1920x1080p29.97. Not automatically readable by Vegas from the DNxHD format.
      • Pixel Format: 32-bit floating point (video levels)
    • Waveform Monitor via: Video Scopes > Waveform
    • Sky-range mapped to full range via: Sony Levels FX
  • Adobe Premiere CS 5.5:
    • Computer had a non Mercury Engine compatible GPU hence software-only graphics / effects processing.
    • Waveform Monitor via: Reference Monitor > YC Waveform
    • Sky-range mapped to full range via: Fast Color Corrector > Input Levels
      • (Prior to that tried various “Levels” effects but they did not work properly in this context)
    • Sequence Setting: Maximum Bit Depth (else levels-resolution was truncated to 8-bit)
  • Avid Symphony (hence presumably also Media Composer) 6

H264 Profiles: Baseline, Main, High : In Sony Vegas and Sorenson Squeeze

Thursday, June 21st, 2012


  • For H264-based encoders, their configuration dialog typically offers a choice of Profiles, being Baseline, Main or High.  The default varies over varieties of encoder.  What do these mean exactly, and what guidance is there for choosing between them?
  • How do they influence things (encoding speed, quality, file-size) in practice?
  • What are their specific effects in Sony Vegas (my traditional workhorse) and Sorenson Squeeze (that I am currently experimenting with)?
    • Both of these applications offer (among their choices) CUDA-acceleration for H264 encoding.

The answer(s):

  • Profile controls the degree of sophistication in encoding and decoding.
  • It’s best to choose “High”
    • Baseline is the “cheap & nasty” variety, e.g. making no use of B-Frames.
    • Main is intermediate between Baseline and High.
    • High offers best compression, and is the typical profile for broadcast (BluRay and TV).

Experimentally, I found:

  • Within each encoding tool, viewed on its own:
    • Insignificant differences in encoding time and (perhaps to be expected) only marginal differences in file size.
      • Note: In my experiment I used MainConcept to compress HD 1920×1080 25p footage of a mid-shot of a lecturer in a static scene (himself moving undramatically in the context of static lighting and seen against a static and fairly neutral background).  Settings were for bitrates of 12Mbps average, 24Mbps maximum
  • Comparing the different tools:
    • Squeeze 8.5 took about twice as long as Sony Vegas 11 to encode to the same-specified (as far as I can deterimine) target.
  • I was unable to discern any difference in quality.  A quality measuring method would be useful here!

I have remaining uncertainties about specifying the number of reference-frames, both in general and in terms of how to do this in the various encoding applications.


Mac Pro: Even-Better GPU (But is too “Bleeding-Edge”?)

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I just saw a post on talking about the new Nvidia GTX 680 graphic card.  Much-desirable as it is in terms of graphics computing power, overall it seems too bleeding-edge for me, in terms of compatibility with my current hardware and some of my applications.


Sony Vegas Timeline-Structure Export & Repair via EDL

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Here I look at the advantage/point of Sony Vegas’s options for exporting the project/timeline/sequence structure.

Rebuild Project:

  • Question: Can one export (in some form, possibly partial) a Project (sequence/timeline) from Sony Vegas 10 that can then be imported to other NLEs or versions of Sony Vegas ?
    •  A couple or so years ago (Vegas 9) I determined it was not practical to exchange between Vegas and FCP.  But time has passed, attention has shifted away from FCP to other NLEs (chiefly Adobe Production CS5.5) , and for various reasons, earlier versions of Vegas are more attractive to me than the latest batches.
  • Part-Answer:
    •  Yes for [File > SaveAs > EDL] / [File > Open (Same kind of EDL File) ]
    • Can open even in previous versions of Vegas.
    • But not everything gets reinstated – e.g. Project settings, Text, Pan/Crop.


  • Can repair a project by doing this.
    • In my case, a video pan was “snatching”, not smooth.
    • The process of Opening a Vegas-EDL [.txt] re-created “peaks” sidecar files [.sfk] for each media file.
    • Somehow, the pan played more smoothly after this (possibly due to this or some other effect of the “new project”


Sony Vegas 11: A Positive Review

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Laptop-Based Mobile Editing: GRaid Mini (Out-Shines “Passport” Drive)

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Video-editing on-the-move (e.g. on a train) using a MacBook Pro (laptop) with Sony Vegas 9 (64-bit) as NLE (under Boot Camp / Windows 7), my practical experience was that a GRaid Mini external drive was far, far better than a 5400 rpm Western Digital “Passport” drive.   Consistent with the dual use of the MacBook, I partitioned the drive for both NFTS (Windows) and HFS+ (Mac OS), 50-50%.  Due to Boot Camp limitations (explained below), up till now I only ever used it “tethered” to its own mains-based power supply.  But now I see it can also be used mobile, powered from the MacBook – something that up till now I could only achieve under Mac OS, not under Windows.

When using Boot Camp / Windows on the MacBook, I initially tried the shirtpocket-sized Passport drive because it was small, light and powered from the laptop’s USB port.  While its data throughput wasn’t too bad, at least for single-channel HD editing (especially when only 1280720), when it came to cuts from one video clip (hence, in my case, video file) to another, there was a frustrating delay every time.

I also have a GRaid Mini drive, but it wasn’t obvious at first how to use it mobile when using Windows (on a MacBook).  That drive consists of two 7200  drives in RAID-0 configuation (striped, giving speed but no redundancy), and appears just like any single drive to the computer (no RAID management etc. needed).  The drive has not only a USB (2) port but also FireWire 800 (FW800) and eSATA ports.  While the latter two options work fine with the MacBook under Mac OS, they don’t work under Boot Camp / Windows.  I have tried many times and trawled many forums, no solution is apparent.  Under Mac OS the eSATA drive would ordinarily plug into an ExpressCard adaptor plugged into the laptop’s ExpressCard slot, but under Boot Camp / Windows, the ExpressCard slot doesn’t work, while for the FW800 port under Boot Camp / Windows, it appears to work at first but eventually crashes as a device when it attempts to communicate data (e.g. when copying files).

When connected only by USB to the MacBook under BootCamp / Windows, the GRaid Mini is not powered from that port, hence up till now I have relied on a mains power supply to that drive.  However, I discovered if, after first connecting by USB, you subsequently connect also by the FW800 lead, then the drive takes power from the FW800 yet communicates data via the USB lead.   Hooray!  I can use it on-the-move then!

The order in which the leads are connected is vital.  If by mistake the FW lead was connected first, then the drive would sense that as the data communications route, and subsequently fail in use.  It is vital that the USB connection is made first.  Likewise, on disconnecting the drive (following “ejection” by the computer’s file-system), disconnect the FW drive first.  The rule is FW lead: connect last disconnect first.

My experience of editing with the GRaid Mini is far more fluid hence more pleasurable and efficient.  Totally worth it.  None of the per-cut delay effects of the 5400 rpm Passport drive.  And now it can be used on-the-move, even with Boot Camp / Windows on a MacBook.  I just wish Apple would fix that Boot Camp isue with FireWire and ExpressCard ports!

MXF Variants

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

MXF exists in variants.

    • Examples:
      • Sony XDCAM (OP1a)
      • Panasonic P2 (OP-Atom)
      • Avid (OP-Atom)
    • MXF Import QT (one of mxf4mac’s products) is a MXF reader, importer, interpreter and file access plug-in for the QuickTime system framework. It allows to natively open and access a broad range of MXF variations without converting or referencing to the QuickTime movie format. The unique integration enables Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server and other solutions to directly work with native MXF media.
      • £462 from one UK supplier I just checked.

VirtualDub Transcode/Retime to Offline & Online Cineform for Sony Vegas

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

  • Also shows:
    • Batch file for multiple files to be converted
    • Audio processing graph editor in VirtualDub
    • “Rename folder” kludge for Sony Vegas to relink Offline to Online.

Boris BCC Motion Tracking: Match-Move & Corner-Pinning

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

BorisFX’s BCC can be used as plug-in to various NLE’s, where it can be used for motion-tracking (among other things).

  • From Sony Vegas 10
  • From Avid Media Composer
      • Most Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) filters include a built-in motion tracker which can be used to control the position of the PixelChooser mask or matte or to position the light source of a Light effect. For example, you can attach a light to a moving object in one easy step. In addition, BCC includes powerful, specialized filters that allow you to recover motion data from a clip and then use the data to apply effects. For example, BCC Witness Protection allows you to track a person’s face and apply a mosaic effect to obscure it; BCC Match Move locks the movement of one image clip to another image clip; and BCC Corner Pin allows you to map media to a specific area on a moving object in a media file.

Sony Vegas: Motion Tracking: Vegas(10) + Boris BCC “Match Move”

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

  •  Using BorisFX’s BCC Match Move.  Plugin to Vegas

Cineform FirstLight: Interactive Grading for a Sony Vegas Project

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

The tutorial videos for FirstLight (linked in my previous post) made it look very simple.  And indeed it pretty-much is, but Sony Vegas introduces a “bijou problemette” (franglais) in teh form of its Video Preview cache, which lacks a corresponding “Clear Cache” button.  As a result, when I first tried using FirstLight with Vegas (10e), adjustments in FirstLight did not always show up in Vegas.  The possible solutions are:

  • In Vegas, set “Dynamic RAM preview (max) MB” to zero.  Then on each FirstLight change, just wiggle Vegas’s timeline cursor (playhead) at least couple of frames either way (moving it by just one frame is not sufficient).
  • Alternatively, if “Dynamic RAM preview (max) MB” is not set to zero,  then on the Preview window, try flipping between settings, like from Good/Half (my usual setting) to Good/Full.  It’s no good doing an open/close of that window or indeed changing its scale – these seem to have no effect on the cache.

Sony Vegas: Multiple Tutorials on Main Site

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

I just discovered multiple Sony Vegas written tutorials by Gary Rebholz.  These are really great, the website ought to draw more attention to them.  They are highly informative and would help new users get up to speed more quickly not only on realising what is possible in Sony Vegas but also a better grounding/understanding on the concepts and tools behind the “magic”, both fundamental ones and obscure (but handy) ones.

    • Examples:
      • 20 techniques for organizing your Vegas Pro workspace (part 1)
      • Utilizing the DVD Architect Properties window
      • Seven Steps to Getting the Most Out of Your Personal Video Camera
      • Incorporating RAW images Into Your Vegas Pro projects
      • Understanding Video Compositing
      • Displaying your closed captions in Windows Media Player
      • Improved multicamera tools in Vegas Pro 10 software
  • Also one can obtain different kinds of articles by altering the number after “type=”

Sony Vegas: “Movie Looks” via FX Presets or Cineform-FirstLight

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Sony Vegas allows chains of effects (“FX”) to be built up, which can optionally be exported or imported as FX Presets.  Some generous people on the web have offered their own FX Presets to achieve “Movie Looks” (dramatic looks) of various kinds.  These are more about emphasizing different kinds of mood than achieving clinically pure or film-grainy image quality.  Further details below…


Deinterlacing (De-Interlacing) Principles and Techniques

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I am not the only one wondering, of the various kinds of de-interlacing tools/algorithms available, what are their relative advantages and indeed which one provides the greatest quality (or maybe quality/computation ratio) ?  This subject has been raised repeatedly on the Sony Vegas forum.  Most recently, the following have been of note:

Sony Vegas: Compression Formats for Digital Intermediates

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Compression formats for Digital Intermediates when using Sony Vegas:

    • Cineform for highest quality (smart-renderable)
      • Cineform (is great for transfer) between After Effects and Vegas.
    • MXF for almost the same quality at a fraction of the size.
      • MXF previews beautifully off small bus-powered USB 2 drives.
    • Quicktime .mov with png compression for anything with a transparent alpha layer.
    • Quicktime .mov with Avid DNxHD codec for Handbrake encoding intermediary and for working with the FCP world.

Details (again from the above link) about use of MXF:

  • The big thing with MXF is to make sure that you use it interlaced even (if) you are using progressive footage.  …set it using one of the interlaced templates but set the deinterlace method to none.
    • The reason this is important is that Vegas will only smart-render .mxf footage flagged as interlaced. If you set the MXF render properties to progressive, it won’t smart-render. If you set the properties to interlaced and select either blend fields or interpolate, it will screw up resizes and renders to other formats.
  • MXF with a smart-render is very cool. The format looks wonderful and no damage is done as you smart-render sections into a final piece.
    • MXF without a smart-render isn’t really good enough. MXF will not hold up to successive rerenders like Cineform or a lossless codec.

Tips on Deinterlacing experiments in Preview pane

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

To see the effects of interlacing/combing and compare the results of different deinterlacing methods:

  1. Insert a clip (e.g. 1080p50) to the timelineLeave clip’s properties unchanged (eg UFF).
  2. Set Project Properties to same as the clip – except make the project Progressive.
  3. Set Project Deinterlace method to None.
  4. Set Preview to Good/Full.
  5. Find a moment on the timeline where there is a good degree of motion (fast but remaining in-frame and not too blurred).

If Preview Scaling is Off then combing should be revealed in principle but may be hard to make out in practice – too fine a detail (1 pixel wide).Easiest workaround:

  1. Set Preview Scaling to On then reduce the Preview pane size to not-quite half-size.
  2. The “not-quiteness” (difference from exactly half-size) then generates a “Moire pattern” magnification of the combing – much easier to spot.

Now you can experiment with different types of deinterlacing – bearing in mind you are looking at something derived from the combing as opposed to the combing itself.  To clarify the -actual- combing, one can deploy Windows’ Accessibility-Magnifier – more realistic than the above though less convenient – as follows:

  1. In Windows 7, do Control Panel > Ease of Access Center > Start Magnifier.
  2. Best magnifier view-mode is a (rectangular) “Lens” (only available if Aero is enabled).  Default zoom level is (1:1) i.e no zoom.
  3. The easiest way to change zoom level is Cmd+ and Cmd-, where Cmd is the Windows button on a PC or Command/Apple/CurlySquare button on a Mac (accessing Windows e.g. locally via Boot Camp or Virtual Machine).
  4. Can change lens size via Ctrl-Alt-R then (with -no- mouse-buttons held) drag it.
  5. Exit magnifier by Cmd-Esc.
  6. Sadly no way to simply toggle On/Off, but in W7 you can pin it to the task-bar.
  7. If magnifier control window gets buried by another window then it is still accessible as a permanently-on-top magnifying-glass icon.

XDCAM (incl. EX) Workflows in Various NLEs

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

yadif plugin for Sony Vegas 10

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

There is a free yadif (superior interpolation-based deinterlacer) plugin for Sony Vegas 10:  and As I understand it, yadif is an advanced deinterlacer like in Handbrake, superior to Interpolate and Blend. There’s a beautiful graphical description of how it works at

DNxHD vs Cineform for Non-Standard Format in Sony Vegas 9.0e (64-bit)

Sunday, May 1st, 2011


  • Cineform copes nicely with non-standard formats but DNxHD does not.


DNxHD vs Cineform for 1080-50i in Sony Vegas 9.0e (64-bit)

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Summary of my conclusions from my own limited experiments based around Sony Vegas (9.0e 64-bit):

  • For HD 1080-50i, in its corresponding mode, DNxHD works as well as or better than Cineform.
  • However for non-standard formats (like Vimeo SD-Wide 853×480), DNxHD does not work well while Cineform does.
    • Confirmed by separate experiment, reported separately.
  • For my experiments (Sony Vegas 9.0e-64) the following DNxHD settings made no difference:
    • LevelSpace: RGB/709
    • Quality: 50% (default) or 100%


Sony Vegas Interpolate Mode – Only used when frame size unchanged

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
    • Choosing interpolate or blend has nothing to do with this particular process, you shouldn’t see any difference, but you do need to select one method or the other. The only point at which is make a difference is when you’re deinterlacing AND not changing the frame size. Then the deinterlace method WILL make a big difference. 99.9% of the time, I will use interpolate as blend will cause “halos” on the edges of moving objects.
    • 99.9% of the time, I will use interpolate as blend will cause “halos” on the edges of moving objects.

Sony Vegas Preview Speed Optimization

Friday, April 15th, 2011


Sony Vegas: Guidelines for Fast Preview Speed (from Sony Vegas forum,


  • Match project properties exactly to your source footage. Use the “match” feature to do this. Failure to have these settings correct is the biggest reason for slow timeline playback.
  • Don’t use higher preview resolution than necessary. Use Auto instead of Full, and use “preview” or “good” instead of “best,” especially when smooth timeline performance is more important than being able to see every last detail.
  • Turn off “scale video to fit preview window.” This doesn’t make a huge difference, but it helps.
  • Make your preview window smaller.
  • Set “Deinterlace Method” in “Project Properties” to “Interpolate” instead of “Blend”.
  • Try setting “Thumbnails to show in video events” in “Video” preferences to “None”, especially for multicam projects.

Slow Motion in AviSynth (with or without Sony Vegas)

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Cramming a Multi-Hour Movie onto a DVD

Monday, December 27th, 2010

  • Very simple estimation method is to divide the length in minutes into 600.
  • Example: 5 hours is 300 minutes, so 600/300 = 2Mbps.
  • Assuming you use 192Kbps for the AC3 audio, 2Mbps – 192Kbps = approximagely 1.8Mbps for the video

My proposed workflow for Sony Vegas / DVD Architect (DVDA):

  1. In Sony Vegas:
    1. Render the audio on its own first, as AC3-Pro.
    2. Check the remaining space. Allow say 4% headroom (safety-margin). Maybe more, to create deliberate physical margin at edge of disk (where handling-marks are likely to occur). Adjust video rendering properties to achieve this.
    3. Render the video on its own. Check its size is as expected.
  2. In DVD ARchitect:
    1. Add both audio & video to a DVDA Project.
    2. In DVDA, do a Prepare, skipping past any warnings about disk space.  Presumably if source files (audio and video) are in same format as target and no “Fit to Disk” is selected then it should only do Wrapping, not Compressing (?)

Convert [.flv] to [.mp4]

Monday, December 27th, 2010

How convert a [.flv] file to a [.mp4] file?

64-bit version of Mike Crash’s Smart Deinterlacer plugin for Sony Vegas

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

There is more than one development of this, the Craig Longman one covers both the functionality and the 64-bit-ness of this filter:

Cineform Settings – which ones to use for what

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Which modes of Cineform are appropriate under which circumstances:

  • Paraphrased from [, as of 2010-12-23]
    • NeoScene and NeoHD uses can select 4:2:2 in any quality.
    • High quality is for finished material (e.g. to be output to DVD/BluRay) but if further grading is a possibility then use Filmscan 1
      • Filmscan 2 is overkill.
    • Neo4K and Neo3D users also get 4:4:4 and 4:4:4:4 support.
      • Requesting these modes with (other variants of the software?) will result in a watermark.
      • For extensive post, filmscan and 4:4:4 is probably a benefit.
      • 4:4:4:4 requires lots of power and raid arrays.
    • The uncompressed mode should generally be avoided – it is only intended for camera acquisition to save battery power.

Cineform is a codec for digital intermediates.  When used in appropriate ways, it offers visually lossless compression/decompression.  Some quality reduction does occur but only to a degree that is not important to (or even noticeable by) most people’s eyes, even after several rounds of compression/recompression.  In contrast, delivery formats such as DV, DVD, XDCAM-EX are suitable only for a single round of compression/decompression, and even then are lossy (lose quality) to a degree that many people can notice, especially when playback is paused at a single frame.

Moire pattern (shirt) fix in Sony Vegas

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Moire pattern on presenter’s shirt when footage’s image size shrunk from HD to much smaller.  Was a corporate shoot where lecturer wore a finely lined shirt (doh!).  Tried a few experiments but a googled solution worked best, as follows.  I applied a Gaussian blur as a MediaFX, so it (hopefully) got applied before the pan/crop downscaling.  Worked well in any case.

    • Your problem is moire. If you want to understand why you have this problem Google “Optical Low Pass Filter”. This is a vital part of any digital camera both still and video. When you downscale an image to a lower resolution the OLPF is no longer enough to filter out high frequency detail at the lower resolution and hence you hit problems with the Nyquist Limit.
    • You fix this by reducing the resolution BEFORE downscaling. This is easily done by using the Gaussian Blur FX in Vegas. You only usually need a tiny amount and can adjust the amount depending on what is in front of the camera. Values of 0.001 to 0.003 should be more than adequate. You may only need to apply it in the vertical direction. …you will need to experiment to get just enough image softening to stop the aliasing without making it too soft.
    • …you need to do this BEFORE downscaling. Render at Best quality mode. Do some quick tests

Capture from Sony HDR-SR12 (LenCam)

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Can simply dig-down, locate and drag the MTS files, but these are really just components of clips, limited in size to around 2GB, hence more numerous than the clips themselves.  To get clips as single files, use e.g. Sony Vegas Device Explorer.  The result is MTS files that are (typically) larger and fewer in number.

Reading Avid DNxHS into FCP

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I installed the (free) LE version of Avid’s DNxHD onto bothWindows and Mac, in order to round-trip between Sony Vegas and FCP.  Having received no responses to my threads on forums for Sony Vegas and for FCP, I tried Avid’s forums.

  • The “Avid on Windows” Forum:
    • PC MediaComposer to MAC FCP
      • Thread from August 2009.  Might well be out of date now.
      • If you export DVCProHD from your PC Avid you’ll want to check the “Use AvidDV Codec” box.  This will encode the file as AvidDV100 (which is Avid’s DVCProHD codec).  With the Avid codecs installed on your FCP system you’ll be able to read them.
      • Why don’t they mention DNxHD ?
  • The “Avid on Mac” Forum:
    • Search on [fcp dnxhd]
        • Error while loading DNxHD QT .mov into FCP
        • Someone with same issue as me: they rendered from Sony Vegas to DNxHD to import to FCP, and the media wasn’t recognized.
        • Thus far, that thread is inconclusive, with suspicions focussing on the precise format settings etc. and the fact that the media was rendered from Sony Vegas (as I guess the latter is relatively “unknown territory” to the Avid/DNxHD folks).
        • I copied this info (& thread link) to the Sony Vegas forum  Useful replies:
          • …a smalll but critical point; the codec DNxHD does all the encoding of the video stream, vegas does not touch the encoding process. At most, vegas may update the file headers and starting meta data as it closes the file. If Sony has an issue it will be there, but I would question FCP file handling when it opening the file.
        • ?

Deshaker for VirtualDub by Gunnar Thalin

Monday, July 26th, 2010

I have used this for years.  Here are some things I learnt and re-learnt today, about and around it:

  • Deshaker’s main forum is
  • Deshaker is used as a plugin to VirtualDub.
  • VirtualDub can’t directly read XDCAM-EX files.
    • One way round this is to transcode to an AVI format.
      • I traditionally use Cineform (CFHD).  In Sony Vegas, when rendering-out to this from a 720p50 Project single XDCAM-EX .mxf file of 720p50 footage, the result when viewed in the original project has a weird effect where the image only advances every two frames.
        • This does not occur for larger Projects, reason unknown (need to experiment, but maybe ? it’s because because larger projects tend also to contain media in other formats?).
      • So instead on this occasion I render to HuffYuv.  Larger but lossless and no (obvious) issues.
      • After every such render, check for the “doubled-up frames” issue, e.g. in case accidentally rendered to unintended format.  Mistakes happen, especially when under pressure of long hours…
  • The result, from VirtualDub, can be saved to AVI formats e.g. Cineform (CFHD).
    • If saving to CFHD then be sure to specify RGB mode (in the codec’s dialog), this preserves the levels in 0..255 (“Computer”) range, otherwise (default non-RGB) it scales to 16..235, giving a washed-out appearance when viewed back in Sony Vegas.

Sony Vegas Forum Markup Editor

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Boris Stabilization/Smoothing (for a Sony Vegas project)

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Using Boris RED on Windows, mostly as standalone (Red Engine).  Today, wanted to apply it as a stabilizer.  Have done this a long time in the past, for AVI files etc., but this is the first time I have seriously tried to apply it to to XDCAM-EX footage, of 720p50 (intended for a PAL DVD 576i50 deliverable).   Summary:

  • Warnings:
    • Boris can’t be used in Sony Vegas for other than static effects, hence not for stabilization (a dynamic effect).
      • At least, not without a workaround of debatable overall advantage (explained under “More”).
    • Boris doesn’t recognize Sony XDCAM ClipBrowser’s “MXF for NLEs” format, but does recognize Cineform AVI (no need to be QT).
    • When altering any settings, Boris defaults to keyframing them.  Right-click the funny symbol and change it to Constant.
    • Have to double-check the compression settings, including the codec’s own dialog (their defaults are not always good and they can change “automatically”).
    • Boris can export 720p50 as QT-CFHD but, as far as I can tell, Sony Vegas cannot (it can only export such CFHD as AVI, though thankfully Boris can read that).
    • Boris doesn’t use multiple CPUs it seems.  Unlike DeShaker – of great advantage for such lengthy (CPU-heavy) processes.
  • Instructions (in Boris):
    • Delete existing tracks, drag-in the source file, de-select its tracks (audio & video), Menu: [Filters > Time > BCC Optical Stabilizer], select the Stabilizer track.
    • In Controls change Mode from default [Setup region] to wanted [Smooth], twirl-open the Stabilizer track, drag video track onto its Input Layer.  Also increase Smoothing Range from default (30 frames) to 1 or 2 seconds-worth (in my case 100 since footage was 50 fps).
    • Click Preview’s [ >>| ] “Go To End” button.  This causes motion analysis to begin.  Takes ages…  Likewise, don’t bother playing it…
    • [Menu: File > Export > Movie File].
      • Initially generate a quick draft to check the stabilization is as required:
        • Temporarily set 25fps, choose [Fast]
        • Select a limited region (I/O) for export.
      • Regardless, in compression dialog, if Cineform is used then select Quality = Medium (not Best or High which are overkill).
  • Links:


PC Windows <--> Mac OS X RoundTrip (Round-Trip)

Monday, July 19th, 2010


  • In Windows I export from Sony Vegas to AVI (CineForm).  In OS X I read the file into FCP and apply the SmoothCam effect, then export to ProRes.  In Windows, Sony Vegas, I replace the original file with the smoothed one.  The levels/gamma are wrong.

Solution (Search):

  • Sony Vegas forum
    • Use DNxHD
      •  Couple of tips re DNxHD:  709 color level assumes 16-235, and RGB assumes 0-255.
    • Force it back again:
      • But this presumably implies getting re-quantized twice (the roundtrip issue and the forcing), which for 8-bit footage I imagine could reduce the quality (banding).
  • Uncertainties
    • Where and how does this gamma get applied?  In FCP I didn’t (knowingly) alter the levels (eg until it looked right), I just applied the SmoothCam filter.  So I guess it would look wrong on the (pre-SnowLeopard) Mac but I wouldn’t care.  Wouldn’t FCP then export back whatever it got but smoothed?  This one is really confusing.    Experiments needed (when I get time…) I guess.

Sony Vegas & High-Definition (HD) for YouTube

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Using Sony Vegas to produce High-Definition (HD) material for YouTube, from HD sources:

Capture to HFS+, Use from Windows 7: Experiences

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

On MacBook Pro, used Sony Clip Browser (ClipBrowser) to import footage from a Sony XDCAM-EX to Mac OS HFS+.  This machine had MacDrive installed, enabling Windows apps to directly access files on the HFS+ file system.  On same machine, under Boot Camp (BootCamp) and Windows 7, ran Sony Vegas NLE.   Successfully imported and used footage by both of the following methods:

  • Sony Vegas’s Device Explorer [View > Device Explorer].
    • This took several minutes to import.
    • Importing resulted in copying the [.mp4] file (and other files) to the NTFS partition.
  • Direct use of [.mp4] on the HFS+ partition.
    • No need to import as such, just constructed waveforms etc.
    • This completed in seconds.
    • Only downside is that it ewas unable to save the waveform files etc., due to my config of MacDrive (read-only), so it would have to do this every time I opened the project.
      • Have yet to try the same thing when MacDrive has config for full read/write access.

Pros & cons of Device Explorer in Sony Vegas

Saturday, May 1st, 2010


  • as of May 2009:
    • Technically, you “can” edit the .mp4 files right from the card. You’d need to drill down through the directories via the standard Vegas Explorer tool (not the new Device Explorer), find your .mp4 clip, and bring it into your project.
    • “We do not currently support shot markers from EX in the Vegas Pro 9 Device Explorer, but it is on our radar.”
    • Spanning clips does not work properly for everybody (could in principle be due to their circumstances as much as the app).  Recommended to join these together using ClipBrowser thenexport as MXF for NLEs.  … It is really the same concept as (FCP’s) XDCAM Transfer except instead of re-wrapping as [.mov] it re-wraps as [.mxf].
    • (In the case of FCP) … the metadata is part of the MOV after … re-wrapping the file for FCP.  (Possibly) Vegas had a problem with managing the metadata and their solution was just to (import the) native (essence/mp4) files.

My own experiences:

  • A long shoot gets listed as a sequence of smaller clips, corresponding to the separate [.mp4] files recorded by the camera.  This is known as a spanned clip.  Each of the smaller clips is of size no more than around 3.5 GB.
  • Device Explorer import results:
    • Clips with names like [929_1332_01_20100318_191600] i.e. having datetimes.
    • These clips consist of the following files, with main file name as per the clip:
      • XDCAM-EX:  [.mp4], [.xml]
      • AVCHD: [.mts] (but no clip info files).

Sony Vegas 9 – Device Explorer – Import-Folder

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

The Device Explorer in Sony Vegas , available (unintuitively to me) under the View menu (as opposed to the Tools menu), lists devices such as XDCAM-EX cards and disks, and when selected, presents thumbnails.  You can select these and Import.  But where do they get imported to, and can this be changed?  Not hard, but not that obvious either [].  I expected it to be in [Options > Preferences] but no.

By default, Imports from Device Explorer go to [Imported Media] folder in the user’s  [My Documents] folder.

  • e.g. [C:\Users\David\Documents\Imported Media]

To select an alternative, select the device listed in Device Explorer, then [RtClk > Properties].  Not aware of any way to change the default itself, so just have to remember to do this every time.  In comparison, FCP lets you change the default import/capature folder but in practice, as for Vegas, one tends to change it for each project.

Sony tutorials (WMV) on CineScore (and some other of their creative products)

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Sony Vegas’s Cheema

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Cheema (an expert user of Sony Vegas) is often to be seen at exhibitions presenting and demonstrating Sony Vegas, when he is very helpful in answering questions.  So it’s great to discover he has some web-haunts:

Avid Issues with usage of non-Avid formats e.g. ProRes

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Someone switching from Vegas to Avid, seeking advice:

Example advice from that thread:

  • (Implicitly, from the following) Try AMA as a first port of call.
  • “Import” is used for file types that can’t be accessed via AMA (Avid Media Access). There are two types of Importing: fast and I guess what I’d call slow.
    • Fast Import rewraps the file in an MXF container, but it does not transcode, so it takes very little time and there is absolutely no quality hit. 
    • Slow Import is necessary when the codec is not natively supported inside MC or one of the import settings dictates a transcode, e.g. going from 601 to RGB color levels (hard remapping all colors so 16 becomes 0 and 235 becomes 255).  Slow importing can take time
  • Avid will most certainly accept (content in) a MOV container, but will always generate new MXF mediafiles when you import these MOVs into the system.
    • Indeed that’s what happened when I imported a MOV file containing ProRes content.  The MXF was about the same size as the MOV.
    • I guess this would have been an example of Slow Import
  • Avid works mostly with its own codec, and with some other codecs. Not with ProRes.

The comment about ProRes conflicts with advice I have read elsewhere (and repeated elsewhere on this blog).  Possibly it is context-dependent (e.g. PC/Mac, Avid version, QT version, workflow) ???  I will reserve judgement until I have tried it.

Sony Vegas: FX Chain Saving

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

From []:

  • To save an FX chain
    • Click the “Plug-In Chain” icon (found in the upper right of the Video Event FX window).
    • Click “Save As” in the “Plug-In Chooser” window that comes up,
    • Give it a name
    • Save it.
  • When you want to use this chain again:
    • click the Video FX icon on the event
    • Click “Filter Packages” on the “Plug-In Chooser” window that comes up
    • Click the one you want.