Tag Archives: Cinedeck

Review: Cinedeck’s CineXtools and CineX-Plugins

By Brady Betzel

Since we are now in the final throes of tape-based deliverables (hopefully), file-based deliverables are now king. However, one of the perks of running tape-based network deliverables was the ability to QC your work for a final time before going to the network for an official QC. With file-based deliverables it gets a little trickier. While you definitely should watch your final QuickTime before sending it to the network, time isn’t always on your side and sometimes you have to just send them after export.

This is where tools from Cinedeck can come in to play. Cinedeck offers hardware and software tools. The hardware consists of the ZX, RX2 and HX1. Each has its own unique offerings that can be read about here. Simply put, the Cinedeck hardware acts like a traditional tape deck (even in Avid Media Composer it will be recognized as a Sony tape deck). You can assemble-edit, insert-edit, re-stripe timecode and much more. What really makes these hardware-based products worth their weight is the ability to insert-edit directly into a variety of codecs quickly and without the need to re-wrap the QuickTime.

Whether it is audio and/or video, you can insert just as smoothly as you would with a tape deck. Best of all you can watch your output in realtime for that last round of QC before shipping off your file. The Cinedeck hardware can work with many codecs, color spaces and bit depths. From ProRes to DNxHR, you can insert-edit into almost anything in realtime.

Cinedeck works its magic with constant bit rate (CBR) QuickTimes. You cannot insert edit into variable bit rate (VBR) QuickTimes. So for those wondering, ProRes is inherently a VBR QuickTime. However, with Cinedeck’s software offerings and plugins you can work the same magic as with the Cinedeck hardware, but from your NLE of choice or CineXtools.

CineXtools is a software-based version of Cinedeck that allows you to insert-edit fixes, re-wrap a QuickTime with a new audio layout, or even create blank insert-edit-ready media. This means that after you export a file and receive QC notes back, you can just export the fixed segments and use cineXtools to insert those sections. There is no re-wrapping or re-exporting necessary, saving you tons and tons of time. You can even mix codecs when inserting, so if you have a ProRes HQ master but a DNxHD fix, you can do the insert easily. Going even further, Cinedeck will mix bit rates and color spaces, although mixing color spaces could get problematic.

Audio versioning

Cinedeck has also released plugins for Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere to allow insert editing into QuickTimes directly from your NLE. This is a huge time saver. I can’t overstate how valuable this plugin is if you deal with fixes, versioning or captioning changes. Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve has a function to output their ProRes QuickTimes as CBR, which helps if you also have CineXtools for your insert-edit fixes.

Keep in mind, if you use ProRes you will have to be running these plugins and apps on a MacOS-based system. Otherwise, you will only get PC-compatible codecs like XDCAM or DNxHD/HR. You can sign up for a free trial and download all of the latest versions of the CineXplugins as well watch tutorials here.

The Cinedeck hardware can get pricey (tens of thousands of dollars) depending on the options that you add. The CineXtools standalone app can range from $1,495 for the first year (and $480 each year for renewal) to $2,295 for the first year (and $804 each year for renewal). The highest price gets you the CineXtools app, as well as all of the supported codecs for insert-editing capabilities, including AVC-I, XAVC, IMX, XDCAM and the standard ProRes, DNxHD, DNxHR and DPX with the following wrappers: MOV, MXF Op1A and MXF OpAtom.

To insert-edit closed captions you will need to purchase that add-on for $2,995 plus $995 a year for renewal in addition to whichever CineXtools you purchase.

You can read about their pricing structures here. There are some additional offerings available like the $99 daily bundle that allows you to get the tools you need on a one-day basis, which can actually be a great way to work with CineXtools. If you don’t need to QC all the time, you can purchase the tools only when you need them, saving hundreds and thousands of dollars. There is also monthly pricing on the different versions, for instance you can purchase just the CineXtools that works with ProRes for just $39 dollars a month.

Trim extend

Summing Up
In the end, CineXtools and CineX-Plugins will save you tons of time, which equals money if you do a lot of fixing, revisions or versioning. The only problems I’ve had with CineXtools revolve around trying to insert audio files based on in-points. If you have audio stems that match your QuickTime lengths exactly, CineXtools will work. However, I couldn’t get an insert-edit with audio files to match if I had to mark my own in-time on the audio files and a custom in-time on my destination file. For some reason it would never work. Nonetheless, with simple replacement video shots CineXtools is a lifesaver and worth its weight in gold.

Brady Betzel is an Emmy-nominated online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff.

Cinedeck offers file-based insert editing of final deliverables

Cinedeck has developed a software solution for its platforms, which they call File-Based Insert Editing. It allows insert editing on digital deliverable files. This software eliminates the need to edit and re-render entire final program content, laying off to tape then re-encoding to a delivery file.

File-Based Insert Editing will be available with the upcoming May software upgrade — to Version 5 — for the Cinedeck RX, MX and ZX record, ingest and transcode platforms.

Once relevant material is accessible on the Cinedeck platform, editors can select the source content and destination file and perform a frame-accurate insert edit via the Cinedeck interface into the closed file. For example, if you’ve ever done an insert-edit to tape from Avid Media Composer, setting one up on Cinedeck is easy since these recorders emulate a Sony SRW-5500 deck. So set the Digital Cut Tool in the Avid to SRW-5500 as your tape deck, then insert the newly edited material as you normally would with tape in editing formats like ProRes, DNxHD and AVC-Intra.

This solves a big problem for many editors, because digital deliverable files are closed and inaccessible to editors, creating a barrier in editorial workflow and handicapping efficient program delivery when last-minute changes are required. Cinedeck File-Based Insert Editing solves this problem by allowing editors to quickly perform frame-accurate video/audio insert editing into a digital file.

This feature supports popular intermediate file formats used in NLE systems, such as the aforementioned Avid Media Composer, Apple Final Cut and Adobe Premiere, plus Avid’s Pro Tools audio workstation.

“The matter of file-based insert editing has been a major productivity problem,” reports Charles D’Autremont, founder and CEO of Cinedeck. “The process is familiar to editors, takes just a few minutes and, in many situations, delivers significant time and cost savings. Cinedeck File-Based Insert Editing also allows editors and producers to keep projects live for much longer in the delivery cycle, and to meet deadlines with more comfort than ever before.”

“Cinedeck File-Based Insert Editing is a major time saver when dealing with last-minute deliverables,” says Michael French of 16:9 Post in Los Angeles. “Not having to re-render an entire program when changing just a few frames of video or audio will save hours of re-rendering time and free up edit bays for other work.”

As French touches upon above, previously an editor would traditionally have to return to the original master material on the timeline within their NLE editorial system, perform the required edits, and then re-output the entire program in realtime to the deliverable format.

Howard Brock on Anger Management’s uncomplicated post

By Randi Altman

Post-production veteran Howard Brock is not sentimental about the past. He has seen the industry change from film to tape to digital to file-based, and he’s embraced each new step along the way.

Brock co-founded the Burbank-based post house Matchframe in 1984. He ran it day to day until his departure in 2002. He took on freelance editing jobs before becoming president of Avid rental house Runway. After four years he went back to freelance editing once more. That’s where an editor friend found him and asked him to come on board the Charlie Sheen sitcom Anger Management… as an assistant editor. “I was under employed and over qualified,” he explains, “So I said, ‘It’s a union gig, right? Sure. Yay, health insurance!'”

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Free 4K production workflow seminar in NYC this Thursday

New York — Cinedeck, Sony and Dulce Systems are hosting a 4K workflow seminar this Thursday, February 27 at All Mobile Video in New York City.

Cinedeck’s latest software for 4K capture, enables one MX deck to record a master and create all deliverables in realtime, with shared metadata for easy match back and fluid transition from production to post production.

At the event you can see the Cinedeck MX4K working with with a Sony F55 and Dulce Systems storage array. Details are below.

Date: Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Time: 12pm to 3pm
Place:  All Mobile Video, 515 W. 57th Street (between 10th & 11th Ave).


Cinedeck supporting 4K with hardware, software offerings, adds HD delivery standards

New York – Cinedeck, which makes capture systems for digital cinema, broadcast and post, is offering new product and software releases supporting 4K production and HD delivery standards that are being adopted by major broadcasters.

With the new Cinedeck MX4K recorder and V.5 software release for its RX3G and MX recorders, Cinedeck reinforces its capability to keep editorial processes efficient by simultaneously capturing and creating edit-ready deliverables.

The Cinedeck MX4K features two channels of 4K YUV10 30fps recording from 4K and Ultra HD sources, including the Sony F55 camera, while simultaneously creating edit-ready HD master and proxy deliverables, plus streamable H.264s. Cinedeck MX4K also down-converts the 4K camera feeds in realtime for on-set HD monitoring.

The 4K, HD master and proxies are all simultaneously recorded to the MX4K’s embedded SSD drives, with edit-ready deliverables written to SAN for immediate access, and can be encoded to the full gamut of ProRes or Cineform profiles. Users can apply a variety of industry-standard or custom Look-Up-Tables (LUTs) to the Proxy, H.264, on-board display and HD outputs. Cinedeck will release RX3G and MX support for additional digital cameras, framerates, codecs and color spaces in the coming months via a string of software updates.

“Key differentiators of the Cinedeck 4K workflow, versus other recording options, lie in Cinedeck’s ability to simultaneously create HD master and proxy and streamable deliverables, while maintaining global file naming and metadata,” said Charles D’Autremont, founder and CEO of Cinedeck (www.cinedeck.com). “These capabilities are of great advantage in efficient content creation, as editors can begin their work immediately with the peace-of-mind that edits will seamlessly relink between offline and online processes.”

A prime feature of Cinedeck’s V.5 software release for the Cinedeck RX3G and MX, is the addition of the AS10/AS11-compliant acquisition and delivery standards — XDCAM HD Op1A, AVC Intra-100 Op1A and D-10 (IMX) Op1A.

These new codec/wrapper specifications are championed by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) in the US, plus the UK’s Digital Production Partnership (DPP), and are being adopted by broadcasters worldwide.

Leveraged by Cinedeck RX3G and MX, these latest standards remove ambiguities during production and delivery processes, by including editorial and technical metadata, and ensure a consistent set of information for the processing, review and scheduling of programs. Cinedeck’s V.5 software release also includes enhanced Edit While Record, EDL and H.264 support features.

Cinedeck will show 4K on the Cinedeck MX, and showcase the new V.5 software, at the HPA Tech retreat in Palm Springs, 17-21 February.