Any other option besides DnxHD before Handbrake?

MikeLV wrote on 5/20/2012, 1:55 PM
With the handbrake tutorial, is there another intermediate format besides the DNxHD that encodes faster and not such a gigantic file?

Just found this, mentions the slow encoding to DNxHD, any validity to what she's saying? Imagine you guys have probably already tried this?:

Alternately, Is there a way to encode directly to Handbrake from the Vegas timeline and eliminate the intermediate format?

Alternately, is there some card or piece of hardware I can purchase to speed up the encoding? I'll have a lot of long play content to be encoding in the near future =(


amendegw wrote on 5/20/2012, 3:09 PM
"With the handbrake tutorial, is there another intermediate format besides the DNxHD that encodes faster and not such a gigantic file? Granted the DNxHD file sizes are very large, but we've done some testing and the Vegas -> DNxHD -> HandBrake -> h.264 render times are comparable to Vegas MainConcept h.264 renders. (this was some time ago, could have changed with Vegas 11).

Also, Cineform rendering capability is now available for free: GoPro CineForm Studio Software

I have no idea about the Matrox codec referenced in the link you provided. An opportunity for a test? Post your results back here.

Finally, I know of no way to Frameserve to HandBrake.


PS: Rendering from Vegas to mxf is another option. Problem is you only get mono audio from HandBrake.
Laurence wrote on 5/20/2012, 4:17 PM
XDCam .mp4 is a great option. It is the same mpg2 as HDV or .XDCam .mxf except that it is in an .mp4 container, and unlike .mxf, Handbrake will use both stereo channels.
Rainer wrote on 5/20/2012, 7:06 PM
I use the Matrox I frame codec with the free Prism Convertor (, for batch intermediates, to me looks just as good but faster than DNxHD, a lot easier than Eugenia's method for using this codec as above and you don't need Quicktime or its clones. You can also now use prores with ffmpeg, which might be handy if you need to do a lot of Mac stuff.
SuperG wrote on 5/20/2012, 8:30 PM
I use Lagarith. Although the file output is a bit large, it's only temporary. I simply delete the file after whatever I'm using to transcode is finished. Best part - it's lossless.
MikeLV wrote on 5/22/2012, 3:18 PM
Thanks for the replies, looks like there are some more options to explore, I'm glad! I'll look these over. I remember reading a very positive review about CineForm recently actually..
MikeLV wrote on 5/22/2012, 4:30 PM
Rainer, are you referring to this?

If so, which one of the listed codecs on that page do you use?
MikeLV wrote on 5/22/2012, 4:39 PM
Hi Jerry,
I downloaded the CineForm that you linked me to, I'm assuming I should be using Quicktime format and select the CineForm HD as the codec. In the configure dialog for that codec, it has two settings:

Encoded Format
Encoding Quality

Under those drop downs, which items should I be choosing?
amendegw wrote on 5/22/2012, 6:54 PM
"I downloaded the CineForm that you linked me to, I'm assuming I should be using Quicktime format and select the CineForm HD as the codec."I've always used the Video for Windows encoder (avi).

MikeLV wrote on 5/22/2012, 10:28 PM
I rendered a 1 minute clip to DNxHD and to XDcam MP4.

The DNxHD came out to 1GB
The XDCam MP4 came out to 200MB

Is that right?

To my eye anyways, I cannot tell a difference, even after encoding the file with Handbrake and uploading to youtube..
John_Cline wrote on 5/22/2012, 10:39 PM
Since when does Handbrake accept Lagarith or Cineform .AVI files? Have I missed something?
john_dennis wrote on 5/22/2012, 11:56 PM
Neither worked with Handbrake 0.9.6 as recently as three minutes ago. I don't think you missed anything.

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Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

Rainer wrote on 5/23/2012, 3:18 AM
"If so, which one of the listed codecs on that page do you use?" The Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame in HD. Compresses to around 0.1 of uncompressed (so around 5X mpg4, much faster conversion and render than Cineform, DNxHD or Lagarith, slightly larger files than Cineform, smaller files than Lagarith (but not much), around half the size of DNxHD and I can't see any quality difference.
amendegw wrote on 5/23/2012, 3:37 AM
"Since when does Handbrake accept Lagarith or Cineform .AVI files? Have I missed something?Indeed Handbrake does not accept files in these formats.

I apologize for leading the OP down the wrong path. I was answering specific questions posed by the OP & in the referenced thread and lost the big picture.

...Jerry (who sometimes feels like a dummy)
MikeLV wrote on 5/23/2012, 10:28 AM
Hi Rainer,
I downloaded the Matrox codecs and attempted to render a 1 minute clip to AVI. It took 3:18 to render and the file size was nearly 2GB so I must have some wrong settings.

What should the frame rate be set to in the main Vegas render settings dialog? For HD 1080, it defaults to 59.94 (Double NTSC)

I select the Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame HD from the Video Format dropdown box (do I need the one that says + Alpha?)

Then I click the configure button and up pops more settings. Default bit rate is set to 125Mb/sec and the frame rate in that dialog is set to 29.97. Under the advanced settings, DC Precision is set to 8-bit, Force frame based DCT is checked, Zig Zag order is on Alternate, Rounding Type is on Matrox Custom.

How are your settings configured? There's also something in the PDF file on page 11 about setting color space conversion options so not sure if I need to do anything there.. So many settings!!! It's starting to drive me nuts.
Laurence wrote on 5/23/2012, 12:18 PM
XDCAM .mp4 is 25 or 35 Mbps mpeg2 video with uncompressed audio. If you want to go the mpeg2 route, that is your best option. Other mpeg2 options will data compress the audio. Plus, XDCAM .mp4 is really great looking mpeg2!
MikeLV wrote on 5/23/2012, 12:42 PM
Hi Laurence,
I'm starting to lean towards the XDCAM. It encodes the 1 minute clip in about 35 seconds and that's with the "prioritze quality over speed" option checked, the quality slider all the way on 31, and video rendering quality set to Best.

Now, if I understand right, I should still use the levels correction as stated in the video tutorial when using the XDCAM as the intermediate format before going to handbrake?

Should I set the field order to progressive? Or leave it as Upper Field First?
Laurence wrote on 5/23/2012, 1:29 PM
I always leave it as Upper Field First, even if the footage is progressive. The reason I do this is that if you set the flag to progressive, it won't smart-render in Vegas. Vegas won't smart-render anything that is flagged as progressive, not DV, not Cineform, not HDV, not anything. I don't know why this is. Probably a bug. No big deal since progressive footage flagged as interlaced looks the same as progressive footage flagged as progressive.

Don't worry about the levels correction. That is just a Avid codec thing.
MikeLV wrote on 5/23/2012, 3:37 PM
Ok, I think I've found my happy place with this mess. Youtube upload looks good now. And I did an encode in handbrake for local playback, resized down to 800px wide, video bitrate of 480kbps and the 1 minute file came out to 4.5MB and looks pretty darn good. At that rate, a 15 minute downloadable video product would only be around 70MB. I played the MP4 file on my Droid X and it looked just fine too.
Rainer wrote on 5/23/2012, 6:25 PM
The penny dropped - we should have asked for more info before assuming you were talking about intermediates, which are files not so processor intensive, typically as AVCHD. This is what all the above discussion - Handbrake, Lagarith, Matrox - is about. If you want to render for YouTube, just render out of Vegas using the Sony AVC mp4 1280X720 (25 or 30p, depending on your original framerate). If OTOH you were asking about intermediates with Matrox, no, you don't change the colorspace and you don't use the alpha version.
MikeLV wrote on 5/23/2012, 6:43 PM
haha, you shouldn't have said that Rainer, now I'm all confused again. To clarify, I shoot AVCHD footage on my Canon XA-10.

With that AVCHD footage, I'm going to be producing:
#1) Downloadable product video files for sale on a website.
#2) From time to time, other videos that need to go onto YT/Vimeo

So, for #1, I need to create the best quality and smallest file size for downloadables. I believe the file format debate is essentially settled on H.264 MP4 format so it's playable on all devices.

I don't think there's a need for these videos to be HD, 800px wide looks big enough, maybe even less. Going back to my original post, I followed the video tutorial for rendering to DNxHD from Vegas, and then to MP4 from Handbrake. While it worked, the DNxHD file was rather large and slow to encode, so I was "simply" wondering if there was alternative to that intermediate file format.

I guess the question I should be posing to those experienced in this regard is, if you were in my shoes, how would you encode these AVCHD video sources whose ultimate delivery will be downloadable products for sale on a website (not progressive download in a video player online, but actual files that are downloaded to the customer's computer)? I should mention that these are not high motion videos, mainly talking head type stuff..

By the way, as I understood the video tutorial, the purpose was for uploading to Youtube and Vimeo, under the "better" method. The good method was to render directly to MP4 from Vegas. I'm not even going to attempt the best method because it looks WAY out of my league.
fldave wrote on 5/23/2012, 7:16 PM
I'm thinking of using an SSD to store my Lagarith encodes. Do you think that will speed it up a bit?

edit: Sorry to hijack the thread. I try to keep as much of my source footage as close to untouched as possible. So I utilize nested veg files a lot, along with HuffYUV/Lagarith when necessary.
Laurence wrote on 5/23/2012, 7:24 PM
Lagarith is way bigger than DNxHD.
MikeLV wrote on 5/23/2012, 7:49 PM
Lagarith sounds like the name of some made up monster on the sci fi channel.
JHendrix2 wrote on 5/24/2012, 12:13 AM
I have been away for a while...last time i was rendering there was the super duper detailed long thread about using handbrkae (and mostly DnxHD)...

so is XDCAM better than DnxHD????