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Wednesday, 11 December 2013 16:00

Cinemartin’s New 4K Compression Tool in Spain

Written by  Gordon Meyer
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Barcelona-based Cinemartin recently announced the availability of H.265 HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) conversion with its new CINEC 2.7, which supports up to 4K resolution. The H.265 standard supersedes today’s most common codecs for encoding and Internet delivery of video (H.264) and makes 4K recording to SD cards possible on DSLRs.


Cinemartin reports that, in its tests, a ProRes 4:4:4 video of 590MB was converted to H.265 HEVC with CINEC 2.7 to an output video of 4.9MB with little or no noticeable differences in image quality. The reduced data rate and file size offer tremendous advantages to filmmakers because, when used at the same data rate as the old codec, you’ll get a massive leap in image quality and resolution. According to a company statement, “you can load several videos and select one or several presets for export with simply one click. All videos will be converted to the new H.265 distribution model format. This codec is best suited for 4K and UHD productions.” Also, there’s a CINEC benefit from 720p and 1080p sources as well as standard SD PAL or NTSC sources. Like earlier codecs, H.265 makes more demands on the CPU than a standard low-efficiency codec, so for playback and editing you’ll need a quad-core CPU. While encoding itself does work on dual-core CPUs, like the Intel i5, it will be much slower.


H.265 is reportedly the codec that future 4K-enabled consumer DSLRs will use to record video and the codec that Netflix, YouTube and Vimeo will use to stream 4K movies. H.265 makes it possible for cinema-quality 4K streaming via the Internet on a normal DSL connection, or the streaming of 10-bit 4:4:4 at ProRes quality from current cameras. Since the H.265 codec is so efficient, one of its big advantages is that existing data rates, like the standard 24Mbit for AVCHD, will be enough to deliver 4K and ProRes 4444-quality video on future DSLRs recording to normal SD cards. Even smartphones will be able to record in the UHD format without the quality loss caused by the low bit rates on the current generation of smartphones.


Currently 4K/UHD video needs to be encoded at very high bit rates to avoid the image getting muddled to the point that the amount of detail in the footage is not much higher than HD’s 1080p. But high bit rates usually mean big file sizes, and if you don’t combine that with a very efficient compression algorithm, you risk banding and low (8-bit) color depth as a tradeoff for the increased detail. Cinemartin’s website shows an uncompressed 4K video clip alongside the same clip processed through its CINEC v2.7 H.265 encoder with virtually no loss in detail, yet a massive size reduction from 490MB to 5.82MB.


H.265 video can be run with a free player/decoder and embedded in HTML 5. The program is also capable of converting footage that’s in a compressed format to RAW, which enables editors to go from ProRes to Avid and from Avid to H.264 or H.265. In addition to 1080p, CINEC supports the RED 6K resolution and the new pending 8K resolution. To learn more, visit http://www.cinemartin.com/cinec/h265-hevc/

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