Quantcast Prores/DnxHD for U-Matic Capture - digitalFAQ Forum
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06-29-2020, 12:15 AM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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I was considering another analog-to-digital transfer company that appears to be the only one in the United States that will capture U-Matic with the Y/C output ("dub" connector) and not composite video. Their output files are either Prores, DnxHD, or uncompressed.

My computer will choke on uncompressed, and I do not think I could provide them with a big enough hard drive for that.

Is ProRes 422 (the regular flavor) adequate or is Prores 422 HQ necessary? The former has a bitrate of 147, the latter 220. I would think both are overkill, but I am willing to go with ProRes 422 HQ if Avisynth has no issues with it.

As I plan to edit these files in Avisynth, does the program behave equally well with either ProRes or DnxHD? I would think there is a leg up to DnxHD as the codec is still supported on Windows machines. With ProRes, I need to maintain a potentially vulnerable version of QT.

Thanks for any advice.
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06-29-2020, 01:32 PM
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Uncompressed is definitely a bottleneck on I/O, and will also be on CPU/RAM for non-SD.

For ProRes422 vs. DNxHD, there is a lot of disagreement online. But I find that most of it is newbies spouting BS. So if you read random sites, both are CPU friendly, neither are CPU friendly, DNxHD is better, and ProRes is better. So forget about researching this topic.

It's been some years since I did anything with DNxHD, my studio days, but I recall it was lousy to work with. It reminded me of trying to edit MPEG in Premiere. DNxHD in Avid, ProRes in FCP. I didn't like Avid, I didn't like DNxHD, and I didn't like my Mac fan going "WHIRRRRRR!" from loading a video.

A bigger issue is this: Does that company (or rather, then person doing the work) know how to properly use either DNxHD or ProRes? That's most important. You can screw both up by choosing wrong settings.

At least with ProRes, on Windows, you can easily open in VirtualDub2, re-save as Lagarith. With DNxHD, not so easy. It's no longer installed, but I don't believe DNxHD is available to anything but NLEs. Looking quickly at Google results, DNxHD on Windows is still octopus'd into Quicktime, and Quicktime on a Windows machine is always malware-like. So that might be your answer right there: ProRes is easier to work with on both OS.

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06-29-2020, 09:49 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Thanks. Of course, if you worked with U-Matic, I would send them your way! The company is Los Angeles Video Transfer. I was also considering GreenTree, because they seem to pride themselves as experts, but surprisingly they told me they convert using composite. The only other company I know that converts using the Dub connector is in Britain.

The guys I spoke with at Los Angeles Video Transfer appear to know what he is doing, though the place is a bit pricey. I am sending them a few tapes as a test. They recommended going with ProRes 422 HQ because it is only a few dozen GB per hour and not much more than the regular flavor of ProRes, because the format is standard definition.

They actually told me that DnxHD does not offer a SD format, so that is out of the picture, and I feel better that you recommended ProRes anyway. Worse comes to worse, I can always convert the ProRes with FFMPEG.

For what's it's worth, for a time I used to save DnxHD copies as an archival version of my HD videos, since I was worried ProRes would become obsolete given it is propriety and controlled by Apple. But now I save to FFV1 as an archival copy because it seems to have a growing community among museums, it's lossless, and open-sourced. For SD videos that do not need to be lossless (e.g. music videos), I follow your 15 Mb/s MPEG guidelines.
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07-03-2020, 10:16 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Is it worth converting in ProRes 4444 if I have the option? For a standard definition video, ProRes 422 HQ is 28 GB/HR versus 42 GB/HR for ProRes 4444. Given space is cheap, I would prefer the 4:4:4 color space, but I have read that it does not make much of a difference. It wouldn't be worth it for, let's say, a 5% percent improvement.
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dnxhd, prores, u-matic, vhs

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