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CineForm SDK becomes open source
  • The CineForm codec, initially developed in 2001, was designed to enable real-time consumer video editing. CineForm, Inc. was a team of engineers that knew image and video processing, but very little about codec design (which likely helped.) Back then, DV (remember mini-DV tape?) was popular but too slow on the consumer's Pentium III and Pentium 4 desktops for software based video editing. We had worked out that the Intel processors had plenty of speed for editing without dedicated hardware, but the camera's compression, DV or MPEG based, were too difficult to decode. So in 2001, the CineForm codec became the first "visually lossless" intermediate codec (not a proxy) that replaced the source with a new file with much more speed. We didn't know this was a somewhat new idea. While there were other performance optimized codecs, like HuffYUV, CineForm was the first to offer significant compression, balancing quality, speed and performance like no other before it. Since then, Avid DNxHD and Apple ProRES have followed similar strategies. As CineForm Inc (the start up), the codec became a core differenciator, open source was never felt to be a viable option (we were probably wrong.)

    In 2017, the production market changed again, with new opportunities for the CineForm codec to provide solutions… particularly for greater than 4K sources from premium 360° products, like GoPro's own Fusion and Omni cameras. The new Fusion Studio desktop software defaults to CineForm for all the greater than 4K exports. But unlike GoPro Studio, where CineForm was primarily an internal format, Fusion Studio is not an editor. The CineForm files are meant to be edited in external tools, like Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve and HitFilm. While many video tools do have native CineForm support, not all do… and some can’t. This gives GoPro more compelling reasons to make CineForm open source to help support our high resolution cameras.

    The CineForm SDK is now open sourced, dual licensed under Apache 2.0 or the MIT license (integrator's choice.) You are now welcome to build new applications around the CineForm SDK, build it into existing applications, and extend its abilities with new performance optimizations and explore new image formats. I would love to see it go into many new places and new markets, but in particular, into popular open source players and transcoders. While the CineForm wavelet engine might be simple, 16 years of coding and optimization have complicated the source. So, to help with new upcoming compression-ists, the open source includes a simplified wavelet compression modeling tool -- simplified CineForm -- for education purposes and some codec design and tuning.


  • 8 Replies sorted by
  • About time! Is a tragedy GoPro never maximized use of this. Hope this means lots of other companies now will take this up instead.

  • I remember having to use this for my Panasonic SD600 and GH1 cameras to make a 24p stream since it was common to put 24p into a 60i stream back then. That was a big waste of time and hard drive space. Those cameras should have had native 24p.

  • This is great news... Cineform user for many years and it is a fantastic product...Initially had a few problems within After Effects importing files but now it works fine...

    I have been using it for editing of GX85 4k files which allows me to use it within Premiere Pro CS5 ...I intend to continue using my perpetual Adobe license for as long as possible and simply refuse to become a CC digital slave.

  • Any chances of it being incorporated into cameras via hacks?

  • @roberGL I think the only camera that could possibly allow such a concept is the Axiom:

    I'm just happy that the code is on GitHub and at very least future developers can learn from the code base.

    Obviously best cast would be inclusion in software / cameras...

  • @alcomposer

    Apertus is really strange thing. They have some similarity to Star Citizen, but with leads of marketing department assembled from nearest homeless shelter.

  • Cameras with non encrypted firmware could benefit from this? Like @roberGL, i am thinking that cameras like the Yi M1, E1 and other cheap cameras would be way better with a good codec.

  • @samuelcabral it would also depend on how powerful the LSI is in camera. (Which is probably a question for @Vitaliy_Kiselev)

    As for homeless shelter marketing, OSS, OSH has only recently started upping their game, problem is that they target "expert" users.