(FAQ) How can I bypass the MAGIX ProRes decoder (and why)?

Nick Hope wrote on 4/20/2017, 3:46 AM

WHY BYPASS THE PRORES DECODER?:

One of the new features of VEGAS Pro 14 is that it can natively play and render Apple ProRes files without the need for Quicktime for Windows. It does this using a file called mxhevcplug.dll, which is also used for decoding and encoding HEVC (H.265) files.

However there are still some issues with the MAGIX ProRes decoder:

  • Audio may be much too loud (example).
  • Projects with many ProRes files may open slowly (report).
  • Audio sync may drift in some circumstances (link coming soon).


HOW TO BYPASS THE MAGIX PRORES DECODER:

1. Rename the folder containing the MAGIX ProRes codec. For example, rename...

C:\Program Files\VEGAS\VEGAS Pro 15.0\FileIO Plug-Ins\mxhevcplug

...to...

C:\Program Files\VEGAS\VEGAS Pro 15.0\FileIO Plug-Ins\mxhevcplug-RENAMED

2. Make sure you have Quicktime for Windows installed. Version 7.7.9, the last one, usually works OK. If you have issues with that version then try 7.6.2, but ProRes support may be outdated.

3. Restart VEGAS Pro.

In VEGAS Pro 14 the native codec will now be bypassed and Quicktime will be used to decode ProRes files. You can verify this by looking at the "Plug-In" section at the bottom of the VEGAS file Properties window (accessed by right-clicking on a file in the VEGAS Explorer window then choosing "Properties", or right-clicking on a video stream on the VEGAS timeline then choosing "Properties" then "General" tab).

In VEGAS Pro 15, after you bypass the MAGIX ProRes decoder, your file might get decoded by the new so4compoundplug codec rather than Quicktime. That codec has its own issues, especially in early builds of VEGAS Pro 15 (e.g. 177 & 216), so you might also wish to disable that using this method.

DISADVANTAGES OF BYPASSING THE PRORES DECODER:

1. ProRes rendering (encoding) will be disabled while the plugin is bypassed.

2. HEVC reading and rendering will be disabled while the plugin is bypassed.

3. You need to have Quicktime for Windows installed. Many users have it installed anyway because some other Quicktime formats still require it. However some see it as a security risk since development was stopped and Apple withdrew support for it. I have not yet read of any reports of security breaches. The main risk seems to be in using the Quicktime Player, so don't. Use a native Windows media player or something like VLC or MPC-HC instead.

4. Quicktime decodes ProRes with incorrect levels. The contrast and gamma are excessive. This is not a new problem. It also did this in previous versions of Vegas.

5. The Quicktime codec will only decode 10-bit footage as 8-bit in VEGAS. This may result in lower quality and artifacts such as banding. The native codec will decode 10-bit footage as 10-bit (in a 32-bit floating point project).

And so...

FIXING THE LUMINANCE (16-235 FOOTAGE):

To make the Quicktime-decoded ProRes files decode correctly in Vegas with the same luminance as natively-decoded files, you can apply a Levels FX:

Or a Color Curves FX:

There is a Vegas Pro 12 project here that contains both of these FX on a single Color Gradient event. You can open this project in Vegas Pro 12-14 and save the FX as presets and then apply only one of them to Quicktime-decoded events (or media/tracks/video output). Thereafter you can of course apply further color corrections using the same or additional FX.

I have made these FX settings by eye, using the VEGAS Pro video scopes in an 8-bit project containing ProRes 422 video rendered from color gradients and test charts. They are very close but not exact. Note that these FX settings may be wrong for projects that have Pixel format set to 32-bit floating point in the Project Properties (read here).

FIXING THE LUMINANCE (0-255 FOOTAGE):

The above fix should work well for footage with levels between RGB 16 and 235, including "flat" footage shot with a log profile. However if you use Quicktime to decode ProRes footage with levels outside that range, shadows in the 0-16 range or highlights in the 235-255 range will be clipped and you can't recover that information with an FX. In such a case you can do one of the following:

  1. Reshoot, maintaining levels between 16 and 235 (change camera/recorder setting).
  2. Transcode to a different codec such as Cineform or XAVC-I using an external application.
  3. Use Quicktime-decoded ProRes audio with natively-decoded ProRes video as follows:
    1. Bypass the VEGAS Pro native codec to let Quicktime decode the file (as described above).
    2. Render the audio events to Microsoft WAV files.
    3. Reinstate the VEGAS Pro codec (rename it back).
    4. Ungroup audio from video on the timeline and delete the ProRes audio events, or just delete the audio track.
    5. Line up the WAV audio files on the timeline and group them with the video.


FIXING THE REPEAT FIRST FRAME:

If you allow the VEGAS Pro native codec to decode ProRes video and your footage has a non-whole-number frame rate (e.g. 23.976, 29.97 or 59.94fps), you can use this script to trim the 1 repeat frame from the beginning of all selected events.

Comments

Nick Hope wrote on 4/20/2017, 4:00 AM

Suggestions for corrections and additions via comments or personal messages are welcome but comments here may be deleted later as this is an "FAQ" post. Please start a new post or use an old thread to discuss subjects in depth or to raise individual cases.

Wolfgang S. wrote on 4/20/2017, 5:33 AM

There is another major disadvantage: ProRes is decoded as 10bit footage in Vegas Pro 14 for the first time (in the 32bit floating point modus). So one can edit ProRes in 8bit and switch to the 32bit modus for rendering.

But HEVC will not be decoded as 10bit in Vegas today - as far as I know.

But most people who use ProRes will go for 10bit - otherwise ProRes is not necessary at all.

Nick Hope wrote on 4/20/2017, 6:36 AM

There is another major disadvantage: ProRes is decoded as 10bit footage in Vegas Pro 14 for the first time (in the 32bit floating point modus). So one can edit ProRes in 8bit and switch to the 32bit modus for rendering.

Thanks. So you mean the native codec will decode 10-bit footage as 10-bit (in a 32bit floating point project) but the Quicktime codec will decode 10-bit footage as 8-bit? How do you know that and how can I verify it?

ddm wrote on 5/4/2017, 7:32 PM

Hey, Nick got a question for you. I just rendered a Prores 422 HQ file in Premiere on a Mac (hackintosh), Vegas 13 does not understand the video, can only decode audio. I downloaded the latest version of Quicktime (from your link, thanks), still no go. Premiere on my PC can read it fine, as can Resolve, but not Vegas. Any thoughts?

Nick Hope wrote on 5/4/2017, 9:06 PM

Hey, Nick got a question for you. I just rendered a Prores 422 HQ file in Premiere on a Mac (hackintosh), Vegas 13 does not understand the video, can only decode audio. I downloaded the latest version of Quicktime (from your link, thanks), still no go. Premiere on my PC can read it fine, as can Resolve, but not Vegas. Any thoughts?

Sounds unusual. Could you share a sample file with this issue (to a cloud service)? Also MediaInfo and VEGAS Pro File Properties would be useful.

ddm wrote on 5/5/2017, 12:31 AM

Here's the MediaInfo stuff


Complete name                            : E:\wonder from mxf up43 ticks premiere.mov
Format                                   : MPEG-4
Format profile                           : QuickTime
Codec ID                                 : qt   2005.03 (qt  )
File size                                : 123 GiB
Duration                                 : 1 h 22 min
Overall bit rate mode                    : Variable
Overall bit rate                         : 213 Mb/s
Encoded date                             : UTC 2017-05-02 20:01:07
Tagged date                              : UTC 2017-05-05 00:04:41
Writing library                          : Apple QuickTime
©TIM                                     : 00;00;00;00
©TSC                                     : 30000
©TSZ                                     : 1001

Video
ID                                       : 1
Format                                   : ProRes
Format version                           : Version 0
Format profile                           : 422 HQ
Codec ID                                 : apch
Duration                                 : 1 h 22 min
Bit rate mode                            : Variable
Bit rate                                 : 212 Mb/s
Width                                    : 1 920 pixels
Height                                   : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio                     : 16:9
Frame rate mode                          : Constant
Frame rate                               : 29.970 (30000/1001) FPS
Color space                              : YUV
Chroma subsampling                       : 4:2:2
Scan type                                : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)                       : 3.404
Stream size                              : 122 GiB (99%)
Writing library                          : Apple
Language                                 : English
Encoded date                             : UTC 2017-05-02 20:01:07
Tagged date                              : UTC 2017-05-02 20:01:07
Color primaries                          : BT.709
Transfer characteristics                 : BT.709
Matrix coefficients                      : BT.709

Audio
ID                                       : 2
Format                                   : PCM
Format settings, Endianness              : Little
Format settings, Sign                    : Signed
Codec ID                                 : sowt
Duration                                 : 1 h 22 min
Source duration                          : 1 h 22 min
Bit rate mode                            : Constant
Bit rate                                 : 1 536 kb/s
Channel(s)                               : 2 channels
Channel positions                        : Front: L R
Sampling rate                            : 48.0 kHz
Bit depth                                : 16 bits
Stream size                              : 906 MiB (1%)
Source stream size                       : 906 MiB (1%)
Language                                 : English
Encoded date                             : UTC 2017-05-02 20:01:07
Tagged date                              : UTC 2017-05-02 20:01:07

Other
ID                                       : 3
Type                                     : Time code
Format                                   : QuickTime TC
Duration                                 : 1 h 22 min
Time code of first frame                 : 00:00:00;00
Time code, striped                       : Yes
Language                                 : English
Encoded date                             : UTC 2017-05-02 20:01:07
Tagged date                              : UTC 2017-05-02 20:01:07

ddm wrote on 5/5/2017, 12:34 AM

Here's the Vegas 13 properties...

 

General
  Name: wonder from mxf up43 ticks premiere.mov
  Folder: E:
  Type: QuickTime
  Size: 128.72 GB (131,804,332,168 bytes)
  Created: Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 1:01:07 PM
  Modified: Thursday, May 04, 2017, 5:04:42 PM
  Accessed: Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 5:13:35 PM
  Attributes: Archive

Streams
  Audio: 01:22:27.743, 48,000 Hz, 32 Bit (IEEE Float), Stereo, 16-bit Little Endian

Summary
  [GUDE]: {7BB3FE15-954A-4E75-B5E1-45EE98F74990}
  [TCFM]: 25769803784

ACID information
  ACID chunk: no
  Stretch chunk: no
  Stretch list: no
  Stretch info2: no
  Beat markers: no
  Detected beats: no

Other metadata
  Regions/markers: no
  Command markers: no

Media manager
  Media tags: no

Plug-In
  Name: qt7plug.dll
  Folder: C:\Program Files\Sony\Vegas Pro 13.0\FileIO Plug-Ins\qt7plug
  Format: QuickTime 7
  Version: Version 13.0 (Build 453)
  Company: Sony Creative Software Inc.

 

I won't be able to rerender a short version to post until tomorrow, sometime. Thanks.

Nick Hope wrote on 5/5/2017, 1:32 AM

I won't be able to rerender a short version to post until tomorrow, sometime. Thanks.

Will give it a test in various versions of Vegas here when you do.

ddm wrote on 5/5/2017, 1:58 PM

Here's a link to a short Prores 422 HQ. Vegas reports video as "stream attributes could not be determined". Recognized by all other software on PC.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pxnumvo9agb4u16/short%20render%20test.mov?dl=0

Quitter wrote on 5/5/2017, 2:59 PM

Here's a link to a short Prores 422 HQ. Vegas reports video as "stream attributes could not be determined".


Confirm SVP13
Works in VP 14

The file rendered in VP14 as ProRes 422 HQ can be open in SVP13:

General
Complete name                      : ProRes_HQ_Test_VP14.mov
Format                                    : QuickTime
Format/Info                            : Original Apple specifications

File size                                : 364 MiB
Duration                                 : 22 s 956 ms
Overall bit rate mode              : Variable
Overall bit rate                        : 133 Mb/s
Encoded date                         : UTC 2017-05-05 19:54:21
Tagged date                            : UTC 2017-05-05 19:54:21
Writing library                          : Apple QuickTime

Video
ID                                        : 1
Format                                : ProRes
Format version                    : Version 1
Format profile                     : 422 HQ
Codec ID                             : apch
Duration                               : 22 s 956 ms
Bit rate mode                      : Variable
Bit rate                                 : 132 Mb/s
Width                                    : 1 920 pixels
Height                                   : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio              : 16:9
Frame rate mode                  : Constant
Frame rate                            : 29.970 (30000/1001) FPS
Color space                           : YUV
Chroma subsampling             : 4:2:2
Scan type                               : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)                  : 2.117
Stream size                            : 360 MiB (99%)
Writing library                        : dp4
Language                                : English
Encoded date                          : UTC 2017-05-05 19:54:21
Tagged date                            : UTC 2017-05-05 19:54:21
Color primaries                        : BT.709
Transfer characteristics           : BT.709
Matrix coefficients                    : BT.709

Audio
ID                                        : 2
Format                                   : PCM
Format settings, Endianness      : Big
Format settings, Sign                  : Signed
Codec ID                                 : twos
Duration                                 : 22 s 948 ms
Bit rate mode                            : Constant
Bit rate                                 : 1 536 kb/s
Channel(s)                                : 2 channels
Sampling rate                            : 48.0 kHz
Bit depth                                : 16 bits
Stream size                               : 4.20 MiB (1%)
Language                                  : English
Encoded date                             : UTC 2017-05-05 19:54:21
Tagged date                              : UTC 2017-05-05 19:54:21

 

Last changed by Quitter on 5/5/2017, 3:38 PM, changed a total of 4 times.

Camcorder: Sony CX 520 VE
Hardware:   Acer NG-A717-72G-71YD, Win 10 Home 1809, i7-8750 H, 16GB, GTX 1060, 250 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD
NLE:  Sony Vegas Pro 13.0 Build 453
           Vegas Pro 14.0 Build 270

ddm wrote on 5/5/2017, 3:23 PM

Thanks. So, are you using VP 14's Quicktime decoder? Or Apples?

Quitter wrote on 5/5/2017, 3:47 PM

The native codec

Don't have bypassed


 

Last changed by Quitter on 5/5/2017, 4:01 PM, changed a total of 1 times.

Camcorder: Sony CX 520 VE
Hardware:   Acer NG-A717-72G-71YD, Win 10 Home 1809, i7-8750 H, 16GB, GTX 1060, 250 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD
NLE:  Sony Vegas Pro 13.0 Build 453
           Vegas Pro 14.0 Build 270

Nick Hope wrote on 5/6/2017, 1:31 AM

These applications play the file with video:

  • VP14 build 252 (1st frame repeated and last frame not quantized, as usual)
  • Quicktime Player 7.7.9
  • VLC 2.2.4
  • MPC-HC 1.7.10
     

These applications show audio only:

  • VP14 build 252 with bypassed codec (so using Quicktime)
  • VP13 build 453
  • VP12 build 770
  • VP 10.0e
  • Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 14 build 122
  • Windows Media Player 12
  • Windows Films & TV


It doubt there'll ever be a fix from either Magix or Apple so you'd have to render with different settings, transcode, or upgrade to VP14.

Wolfgang S. wrote on 5/6/2017, 12:13 PM

There is another major disadvantage: ProRes is decoded as 10bit footage in Vegas Pro 14 for the first time (in the 32bit floating point modus). So one can edit ProRes in 8bit and switch to the 32bit modus for rendering.

Thanks. So you mean the native codec will decode 10-bit footage as 10-bit (in a 32bit floating point project) but the Quicktime codec will decode 10-bit footage as 8-bit? How do you know that and how can I verify it?


We have verified that long time ago for a lot of codecs that they are not decoded as 10bit in Vegas. The method was to use the filter Level to spread the histogramm to of the footage in the timeline. That looks significant different if a file is decoded as 8 or 10bit in the 32bit Floating Point Modus.

ProRes has never been decoded as 10bit before Vegas Pro 14 arived, and that is also true for a lot of other codecs (for example all the Canpus codecs are decoded as 8bit only).

To be decoded a 10bit requires a native implementation in Vegas. That has been done for some codecs, for example also for Cineform Long time ago - or also for XAVC I. And now in Vegas Pro 14 for ProRes too.

ddm wrote on 5/6/2017, 1:38 PM

Thanks, Nick. One more reason to upgrade to 14.