Proxy playback - please fix!

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 10:18 AM

Hi Magix (hopefully you are following this forum)

When Vegas plays back a PROXY file (.sfvp0) it also seems to turn off anti-aliasing or scaling, or downsamples the clip again!

I use Vegasaur to create 1920x1080 XDCAM EX MPEG-2 Proxies as Vegas Compatible .sfvp0 files.

When these proxies are played by Vegas they look very blocky, but when the same proxy file is duplicated and renamed without the .sfvp0 extension and bought back into Vegas as a normal MP4 file then it looks MUCH MUCH better and is the perfect proxy. The very same files, bit for bit identical.

I am assuming that Vegas is disabling anti-aliasing or scaling of the proxy file, or else is downsampling it again, whenever it knows it's using a proxy with extension .sfvp0

PLEASE PLEASE sort this, as it is otherwise the perfect workflow.

I had a look in the INTERNALS tab, and I can see two options shown:

Video Proxy Renderer GUID   and   Video Proxy Render Template GUID

both of these have HEX code values so can't just be simply changed.

Why is Vegas lowering the proxy quality again? These proxy files play back perfectly at beautiful quality in Real Time in Best Full, but they are useless when handled by Vegas as proxies because it just makes them blocky.

The only temporary solution is to Replace Media and switch the Originals for the Proxies, and then change them back before rendering.

Please can this be fixed, or even add a simple tick box to not turn off anti-aliasing (or whatever) when handling the proxies.

Richard.

Comments

altarvic wrote on 11/24/2016, 11:08 AM

Vegas displays .sfvp0 proxies (aka native proxies) only in Draft and Preview modes. You know it, right?

 

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 11:27 AM

Yes, but if I bring in the same proxy file created, but with the .sfvp0 extension removed, and play it back in Draft or Preview modes then the quality is much much better. When Vegas knows it is handling a proxy it seems to turn off the anti-aliasing or scaling, or prehaps perform an additional downsampling, so it look rubbish in the preview window for editing.

Try it. Take the .sfvp0 file created, copy it, remove the extension, bring it back into Vegas, a huge leap in quality.

p.s. We use a 1920x1080 proxy created by Vegasaur.

altarvic wrote on 11/24/2016, 1:00 PM

I believe this is by design and it does not matter who created the proxy - Vegasaur or Vegas.

I've rendered a proxy using Create Video Proxy command in Vegas Pro. Take a look at the screenshots.

BEST (no proxy):

PREVIEW (proxy):

Then I renamed .sfvp0 file created by Vegas and added it to the timeline in Preview mode:

PREVIEW (renamed proxy):

 

Kinvermark wrote on 11/24/2016, 1:04 PM

Ya, this is not a fault or bug and does not need fixing.  The idea is to give underpowered computers a chance to playback smoothly.   You can use whatever proxy works for you, just don't use .sfvp0 file extensions and you will avoid the draft/preview vs good/best switching to orginal media.

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 1:22 PM

Hi Altarvic, yes exactly what I'm seeing. The Proxy file created actually has decent quality, but Vegas doesn't actually use the Proxy file as created, and shows a much degraded preview of that file. This has got to be a bug, why not show it at the quality it created it? It's already at that much lower proxy bitrate, resolution and edit-friendly codec, so that it plays back perfectly with no frames dropped. So why then put it through a different Preview/Render path that shows it as a much poorer degraded representation of the proxy file?

Kinvermark, I think you've missed my point, the images that Altarvic has posted are the same file and both are being shown in the same PREVIEW quality (i.e. BOTH screengrabbed from Preview quality, not Best).

This bug completely defeats the object of creating a reasonable quality Proxy. Vegas shows a low-quality representation of the Proxy, almost a Proxy of a Proxy!

At the very least, Vegas should just give a tick box preferences/option to show it through the normal renderer. It's the single most useful tool in the workflow for 4K/UHD, and it's currently broken.

Kinvermark wrote on 11/24/2016, 3:29 PM

Hi Richard,

I do understand your point. And I agree it seems a bit odd - from your point of view - because you can play back the files fine at the full proxy res.  But keep in mind that this proxy system was created a few years back now, and was intended to allow playback on underpowered computers.  There may also be something else going on "under the hood" to allow for various  media conversions to the proxy.  So, in my opinion, it is not a bug, and the danger in "fixing" it is that may mess up someone else who depends on it.  A switch / checkbox, etc would be a good solution, but in the meanwhile wouldn't it just be best for you to create your own proxy with Vegasaur batch?

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 4:23 PM

Yes, I do already create my own proxies with Vegasaur Proxy Builder (which works brilliantly), simple 1920x1080 XDCAM EX 35Mbps MPEG-2. These look fine if copied/renamed and placed directly on the timeline, but if created with a .sfvp0 extension, then Vegas shows them terribly for the reasons stated above.

There is no reason for Vegas not to allow the Proxy files to display normally (as expected), and then the user just switch between Preview and Best modes to see the Proxy or High-Res Original respectively.

Why do they then bypass the normal renderer when it "knows" its a proxy, which just uglifies the proxy preview and defeats the whole object of using the proxies at an adequate but acceptible quality.

These proxies at a low bitrate and resolution using a simple codec to decode should play back just fine on all computers made ths decade.

If not a fix, then I simply ask Magix to allow a preference option to choose to view proxies using the standard renderer, and then Vegas would have a workable Proxy solution for those looking at 4K and UHD Workflows.

Please Magix?

Kinvermark wrote on 11/24/2016, 4:56 PM

Oh well.  Guess you just want what you want.    I doubt any "fix" would be anywhere near as simple as you suggest.  You've already bypassed vegas' proxy system by creating 1080p proxies via vegasaur, as opposed to 720 proxies in vegas and now vegas needs to find and decode "whatever" you've  created  named .sfvpo on the fly and substitue it.  Maybe.

For other readers - Vegas (with Vegasaur)  DOES have a workable proxy solution (several good options in fact) and can be made to playback quite briskly even with 4K media.   My workflow favours converting to cineform as a full size intermediate (not proxy) and editing in a 4k timeline. No media switching required.

 

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 5:49 PM

Yes, would love intermediate only, but unfortunately our systems only achieve 15-20 fps with intermediates currently. So proxy is an unfortunate requirement for us until we can make a subsequent investment in the latest computers and processing power... Just want the proxies to work as standard until then...

Former users wrote on 11/24/2016, 5:59 PM

You can create an intermediate file to any format, including the same one you are using as "proxies". A proxy file is just another codec format.

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 6:32 PM

Yes, but we'd have to chose a low/modest intermediate quality to achieve realtime playback preview, which would be unacceptible to then produce the deliverable at the end of the editing process, or to allow for colour grading, filters, extra processing, etc.   Kinvermark was referring to using an intermediate at industry quality for the project throughout without media switching required. If our PCs were more powerful we'd just use a high-quality intermediate for the whole process of course, as he does. Proxies are needed for realtime previewing when editing if the high-res files (in whatever codec) are unplayable at realtime framerates.

Former users wrote on 11/24/2016, 7:22 PM

I guess I am confused. You can create any file to use as a proxy. Your original concern was that Vegas was not showing the quality in the proxy that it should. ANY file can be used as a proxy. The intent of a proxy is to  make realtime viewing possible for the editing process. If you can play the XDCAM files at full res with full frame, then you can use them as proxies. If you feel there is no quality loss, you can use them as intermediates.  Or you can create your own proxy/intermediate and replace it at any point with originals or other formats in the process to do the final rendering. A proxy file is not a special file.

 

Apparently Vegas creates an extension on it's proxies (or Vegasaur) and this sets flags within Vegas allowing for full frame playback, but not necessarily full res. As you have found out, these files are normal video files playback at draft or preview quality. This then allows for scripting to easily replace the proxies with originals, but you can do this manually or have someone create a script that will replace them without using the proxy extension and thus avoid the Vegas flag. There used to be a nice Proxy script that I used, but stopped working on Vegas 12 that allows you to create any format proxy and it just toggled between the proxy and original with no change in the original quality.

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 7:42 PM

@david-tu  Did you look at the images posted by @altarvic ? Double-click to enlarge them. Images 2 & 3 are the SAME file.

If you re-read my first post, as confirmed by his images, my point is that Vegas doesn't just render the proxies as it normally would any other file, it seems to turn off anti-aliasing and scaling algorithms, and/or downsamples them further. The actual proxy files are much better quality than Vegas displays them.  Copy the proxy file, then remove the .sfvp0 extension, then bring that file back into Vegas, much better quality, but the very same file!  I just want Magix to show the proxy file correctly, and not alias, block and degrade it for display.

Former users wrote on 11/24/2016, 8:08 PM

Yeah, I understand.

"my point is that Vegas doesn't just render the proxies as it normally would any other file",

Well, actually it does, or changing the extension wouldn't make any difference. It is how Vegas interprets the Vegas Proxy extension file, not how it renders it, that makes the difference. It would make sense to show it at the best quality, at least as an option, if your computer can handle it. My point was, the Vegas proxy files themselves are nothing special, the difference is how Vegas handles the file based on its naming extension. Bypass that, and you get what you want. There are ways to do it without using Vegas proxy scripting.

richardbushell wrote on 11/24/2016, 8:36 PM

Yes, just want an option to display the proxy at the quality of the proxy. After all, we've already created the proxy in a format we consider suitable as a proxy to avoid any playback issues. No need to Vegas to create an even lower quality representation of the proxy. It looks awful during playback with aliasing and blockiness.

Don't want to do Media Replace to Original every time we just want to do a tweak to the FX, then Media Replace again back to to Proxy. What a pain that is.

Love the simplicity of what the proxy function in Vegas is supposed to acheive, just want it to display the proxy as it really is.

A preferences option would be fine, although I really see no reason why showing the Proxy normally isn't the default (when in draft or preview modes of course).

Anyway, I think everyone agrees: even if not the default, then a simple option to process it as normal would be absolutely fine. Hopefully Magix can add this urgently, as this is unworkable for our 4K workflow until resolved.

altarvic wrote on 11/25/2016, 3:59 AM

I agree with Richard. Vegas displays its own proxies (.sfvp0) in too poor quality, while the quality of the file itself is fine.

richardbushell wrote on 11/25/2016, 5:29 AM

As a 'temporary' solution, does anyone know the few lines of C# Script, to replace/toggle the selected clip on the timeline with another. e.g.

Replace:  file1.mxf       With:  file1.mxf.proxy

and

Replace:  file1.mxf.proxy       With:  file1.mxf

The script should just TOGGLE the files, within the same directory the existing clip resides in.

With a Shortcut Key then attached to the script, this would provide a temporary workaround on a clip by clip basis when requiring the full quality of the original non-proxy file (e.g. when adding filters or FX and needing to see frame accurate results).

GregFlowers wrote on 11/25/2016, 6:20 AM

VASST used to have a script called Gearshift which did this very thing. I suggested to them they update it for 4K but they haven't. It was originally for HDV video. The user Rosebud had two free scripts which worked in older version of Vegas which would create and switch proxies. Vegasaur will also do this. I agree the proxies in Vegas would be far more useful if they could be viewed in the "Good" of :Best" modes.

richardbushell wrote on 11/25/2016, 6:51 AM

@Kinvermark, Vegasaur doesn't quite do what we'd like, how about the below for a 'Feature Request' (I reckon it would generate you a few more sales).

In 'Proxy Media Builder', add a tick box to create EACH Proxy file in the same folder as it's original media file. And a second tick box to add '.proxy' as the file extension (instead of the extension created by the Render Template)

In Replace Media, add a tick box to Remove '.proxy' from each media clip name (where the resulting file already exists), plus a second tick box to Add '.proxy' to each media clip name (where the resulting file already exists)

Plus an option to just do this on the selected clip(s) in the timeline, or all clips, and of course a Shortcut Key to do this toggle on-the-fly.

There you go, a few more sales, and we'd gladly pay the upgrade price for this feature alone.

Kinvermark wrote on 11/25/2016, 10:59 AM

@richardbushell.   I am not the Vegasaur developer.  I THINK that might be altarvic, but I am just guessing.

Anyway, sounds good to me 😀

richardbushell wrote on 11/25/2016, 11:37 AM

Oops, sorry @Kinvermark, I scrolled up and copied the wrong handle, yes, I meant to send it to @altarvic !!!

Anyway, have got a separate external dialogue going on directly now, so will update if there's the prospect of a workable solution...

altarvic wrote on 11/28/2016, 11:57 AM

I wrote a few scripts for Richard and I decided to make them public and free:

1. Add Proxies as Takes - this script adds .sfvp0 proxies (.sfvp0 files must exist) to all video events on the timeline (as new active takes). So, you can switch between proxy and original media using T key.  If .sfvp0 file is already in the list of event's takes - it becomes the active take.

2. Turn off Proxies -  switches active takes to originals.

3. Remove Proxies -  completely removes all .sfvp0 proxies from the project (files are not deleted).

 

By default they work in VEGAS Pro 14+. For prior Vegas versions change this line:

using ScriptPortal.Vegas;

to this:

using Sony.Vegas;

 

richardbushell wrote on 11/28/2016, 12:18 PM

Thank you so much @altarvic, these scripts are truly genius, and to share them for free is so generous! I really appreciate your efforts over the last few days.

I highly recommend to everyone that you adopt these in your proxy workflow, our studio has been using these for the last 24 hours and it has completely changed our lives. Realtime playback preview using proxies displayed at the quality they were created. And instant toggle to full resolution UHD originals for grading or rendering. Brilliant!

And if anyone wants to truly benefit from a new experience in editing UHD+, don't settle for the pre-determined 720p proxies from Vegas, download and try out the Proxy Builder from Vegasaur too.

Kinvermark wrote on 11/28/2016, 12:22 PM

Thank you so much @altarvic, these scripts are truly genius, and to share them for free is so generous! I really appreciate your efforts over the last few days.

I highly recommend to everyone that you adopt these in your proxy workflow, our studio has been using these for the last 24 hours and it has completely changed our lives. Realtime playback preview using proxies displayed at the quality they were created. And instant toggle to full resolution UHD originals for grading or rendering. Brilliant!

And if anyone wants to truly benefit from a new experience in editing UHD+, don't settle for the pre-determined 720p proxies from Vegas, download and try out the Proxy Builder from Vegasaur too.


Ditto!  

I wouldn't use Vegas if it wasn't for Vegasaur.