What is CineForm?

CineForm designs compression-based Digital Intermediate workflows to 4K (and beyond) spatial resolution for both Windows and Mac. “DI” means that you convert source (or camera) footage – which invariably doesn’t have the headroom to withstand a multi-generation post workflow – into a format that is designed for post. Our 10-bit CineForm Intermediate (4:2:2) , 12-bit CineForm 444, and 12-bit CineForm RAW formats are compressed files that are indistinguishable from source files, yet hold up through a multi-gen post workflow. If you’re doing a lot of color correction, effects work, etc, in post, then you need a format that will hold up to the demands you’re placing on your images.  Think of CineForm as an alternative to an uncompressed workflow. 
But CineForm doesn’t sell compression technology by itself – we sell post-production workflow solutions – for consumers, independent filmmakers, and increasingly to enterprise (studios/facilities) customers.  CineForm products include our codec, but also include:

Pre- and post-processing software: for telecine removal, deinterlacing, spatial resampling, speed change (i.e. 25p to 24p conversion), image flip (for 35mm adapters), etc. We also allow you to convert virtually all source formats into CineForm files. This allows using many different cameras in your shoot but using a single format for post. In general the product I’ve described in this paragraph is our “Neo” family.

Real-time processing engines for Premiere Pro on Windows:  Our software engines outperform specialized hardware, delivering real-time processing including color correction, transitions, titles, etc, that support typically 3-6 HD streams simultaneously on modern PCs. Products with our RT engine for PPro are in our “Prospect” family.

Image development software: that allows you to apply numerous non-destructive effects to your images as “active” metadata parameters attached to your files.  In fact we call this Active Metadata.  Active Metadata is adjusted using “First Light” – think “Lightroom”, except for CineForm Master files.  But (different than LR) in CineForm’s case Active Metadata remains with CineForm files (without rendering) and is compatible with all editing/compositing apps on both Windows and Mac.

 3D editorial workflows: for Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, etc, that allow monitoring in 3D while editing.  OUr Active Metadata engine allows for real-time adjustment of convergence (horizontal, vertical, rotational), image flip (for beam splitter rigs), and individual/stereo color control.  3D processing is performed in real time through our software engine and uses Active Metadata.

 Cross-platform compatibility: on Windows and Mac, and with most QuickTime and DirectShow applications on those platform.  CineForm leverages standard wrappers to ensure compatibility.  CineForm files can be played on either platform.

The industry’s best compression quality.  Cineform visual quality exceeds that of the respected HDCAM SR tape format, and (of course) is immediately available after acquisition to begin editorial and effects processing.  Please see our Visual Quality Analysis section for more information on Cineform quality.

Compression?  Yes, our respected compression codec is our underlying technology, but it’s all about workflow…

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  • 0

    Hi Jake.

    I tried to use CineForm a few years back but could never get it working properly on my machines. I recently done a number of test shots with a GoPro ahead of using it for some shots on a pop promo. These tests included Protune, so I had to install the GoPro software to create the CineForm intermediate. Because this process worked really well with my various NLE setups, primarily Edius 6.5,  I decided to revisit CineForm proper and downloaded Studio Professional trial.

    WOW!!!!!!! Amazing software.

    Firstly, I should say that I am fairly clued up and work in post, so it is really slackness on my part as to why I have only just found out what I have been missing. Two things, the codec is excellent and the whole none destructive nature of the metadata in the CF codec between First Light and an NLE is just insane. I have tried it out on three NLE's, and it works great, although I do favor Edius which it works superbly with (aside from not being able to go back out to the CF codec or recognize the CF codec bit depth on import).

    The ability to do an initial grade with First Light and then have the media files just change through metadata back in the NLE, is going to be a revelation for my post workflow. I seriously can't over state the power, usefulness and speed to this workflow. This means that I can grade my clips and then when I switch back to the NLE, all the clips are graded in place. What is seriously amazing about this, is that any complicated edits that include frame re-sizing, comps, or any internal FX specific to the NLE, are all still present after any change to the CF clips as they are being actively coloured by First Light and not rendered. In any other other workflow that I use to get a look/grade, it requires either exporting to another codec for compatibility and/or an EDL route. In any event, these workflows do not allow for easy communication between the NLE and the colour processing, and make it near on impossible to work with the complicated comps, clip re-sizing and native FX of the NLE, due to hard renders. You can of course do a certain amount of unrestricted workflow between Adobe products. But the ability for the CF files to sit anywhere in the workflow chain, with the ability to go back to the edit after the grade and lock, or for any other last minute correction, problem solving  or creative changes, is again just simply amazing.

    In the past I have found the GV/Canopus HQ and HQX codecs to be perfect for picture quality as an intermediate, although their codecs don't travel very well through the post workflow due to lack of recognition outside of Edius. Now I have the option to use CF in Edius and only commit to HQ or HQX in the final locked render. The one thing that Edius is really good at, is the ability to use mixed formats in real time. This is not only practical, but gets you into post very quickly from the camera. But this workflow does have the disadvantage that some of the codecs wont travel through the post workflow in their native format very easily, and some require a transcode. The option to now transcode everything up front in to the CF codec, will mean none destructive changes and the other post workflow benefits that I mentioned earlier, until final locked render. While I have always had the ability to do this in Edius with either HQ or HQX, it was never really practical. This is because I never like to waste time transcoding, no matter how fast, and again the HQ and HQX codecs don't travel well in post due to lack of codec support in other applications. Because the CF codec is going to give way more benefits. This is the first time that I will sacrifice time/speed at the start of the workflow for a single intermediate codec and all the transcoding, as the flexibility of this codec and the active metadata are just too irresistible.

    To anyone reading this. Seriously, download the trial and give it a go, you wont be disappointing. This codec is suitable for amateurs professional alike, for editing and as a very flexible intermediate. I recently had to work with DSL files that did not work well in the NLE, but a transcode to CF sorted it out. It's also a perfect solution for working with Blackmagic's Raw DNG, and I would assume Red's r3d and other cameras that shoot log and raw.

    Where is best to post technical questions, or do I use email to support?




  • 0
    Jake Segraves

    Thanks for the feedback Dave. Glad you are finding out what we've been saying for years!  To answer your question about where to post questions, open a support request here on the website or email support (at) cineform.com.

  • 0
    Jack Higgins

    Hi Jake, A few questions...

    I am a freelance editor, and have been looking for good Digital intermediate format to use with my 4k+ workflows.

    Will the purchase and installation of this software will make the codec available for import/export directly within Adobe Premiere CC, or must all encoding be done in the external program Cineform Studio?

    Also, is there a cineform decoder available for free? For example, I want to be able to give clients/other departments a digital master of the edit, will they be able to get a free decoder and read the file, or must they purchase the cineform software as well?


    Cheers, and thanks for this awesome codec!

  • 0
    John Benson

    I was hoping someone could point me to a comparison between the different products? Is there an easy to dicipher key that can tell me what I get for free vs premium vs professional products? They all seem to do great things and I'm really surprised and amazed with the basic studio, so I'm curious what the next levels up will buy me. Unfortunately, the specifications on their web pages aren't laid out in a way that makes comparing them straightforward. Spent a lot of time googling for some sort of comparison chart but no luck.



  • 0
    Jake Segraves

    Check out the Product Grid:


    That shows the differences between the products.

  • 0
    John Benson

    ok! Thats what I was looking for!  

    many thanks


  • 0

    thanks good info!

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