H.265 Encoders Start To Appear

Andrew Reid, writing on his EOSHD blog discusses CineMartin’s release of CINEC v2.7 which allows H.265 encoding:

This low data rate and file size makes all kinds of magic possible, because at the same data rate as the old codec you get a massive leap in image quality and resolution…This is the codec that future 4K enabled consumer DSLRs will use to record video and the codec Netflix, YouTube and Vimeo will use to stream 4K movies. H.265 makes possible cinema quality 4K streaming via the internet on a normal DSL connection, or the streaming of 10bit 4:4:4 at ProRes quality, from current cameras. No longer will people need to download the original file on Vimeo to get a sense of the total image quality.” [Read More]

The article contains quite a lot of technical detail.  The upshot is that H.265 will significantly reduce video file sizes and increase quality.  This means that consumer services such as Netflix will be able to store and distribute more video content to viewers (and more quickly too) and it will start to be incorporated into digital asset capture devices – such as DSLR cameras.

Many innovations in Digital Asset Management systems only happen because the scale of the consumer market makes it economic to incorporate them into more niche enterprise software.  I expect to see DAM vendors beginning to start offering H.265 support soon as a result.  For SaaS providers, H.265 could save a substantial amount in disk storage expenditure and while the price of hard disks keeps falling, it does not move as quickly as is widely believed, also some Cloud storage providers such as Amazon charge a high margin for the storage services they offer.

We will continue to monitor the progress of H.265 as it does seem that it will soon become a key technology in DAM over the next few years.

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One comment

  • H.265 is indeed a very efficient codec. Allow me, if you will, to stand on a soapbox. I want to clarify, as the article points out indirectly, that it is a lossy codec. In other words it was designed to deliver very nice looking video via low (< DSL) bandwidth. That is done through spatial and temporal compression. H.265 is a great delivery codec (i.e., Netflix), but it should not be considered a master file. The master file is traditionally used as the source for all of your various file deliveries (WMV, .swf, etc.) and will likely be encoded using some uncompressed codec, such as 10-bit uncompressed. Even if you shot in h.265, most NLEs will force you to transcode this footage into an editable (frame-based) format, such as ProRes. Compressed versions should only be made from the high quality master output from the NLE. Unless you're storing all of the various compression flavors (flash, WMV, etc.), you'll probably only store that one master file in your DAM. Please make it a high quality uncompressed file!

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