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Best practice for visual lossless / uncompressed playback (ProRes?)


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a client asks for quality reasons to NOT run H.264 or MPEG2.

(mainly banding in comparison when using uncompressed tif with DVS machines in the past..).


So I'm looking for an 8bit (visual) lossless codec for stable and synchronous Watchout Playback (4+ hard edge outputs, 1920x1080p/50 each).


I have read here that .mp4 actually is played back by an internal Watchout-Decoder, while most of the others are played back through Quicktime-Decoder.


I would like to use a codec that is similar stable / decoder provided by Watchout. Is that possible?

If not: are there any best known practices for ProRes (in .mov-Container) playback?


Thanks for all input


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There is nothing that prohibits you from trying this, as long as your hardware are capable of 

handling the load, it can work. How well has to be tested & verified, as always.


From: Codecs for stable WATCHOUT playback 2012




"Other QuickTime formats - ProRes, PhotoJPEG etc
QuickTime is NOT a format, but a container, that support different codecs.
.mov as a file ending does not tell you which one is used.
WATCHOUT support some of these itself, i.e. h264 (.mp4) and Animation.
Others are played back via QuickTime, as ProRes, PhotoJPEG/M-JPEG etc,
with various success rate. This is a bit out of our control, since it's Apples code.
QuickTime are single-threaded on Windows, and do not support all formats/profiles
in Windows, as in MacOSX.
WATCHOUT:s supplied codecs is multi-threaded, as is WATCHOUT.
- ProRes/PhotoJPEG/M-JPEG is NOT recommended for WATCHOUT playback.
If it works for you, great. Some swear by it, some carefully avoid it.
These codecs usually also mean higher, sometimes VERY much higher bit-rates,
and increases the load on your hardware, more so than MPEG-2, h264 or WMV,
at the same resolution, so make sure your hardware support this!"
Other users on the forum can probably fill you in here.
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  • Dataton Partner

Have used animation for a long clip once. Two streams, 1920x1080, 14mins, approx 30GB per file (can't remember bitrate exactly but do the math). Client insisted on using this original file. Worked (on one machine) but was struggling. Converted it to 20Mbps h264 and used it. He never noticed the difference. In fact, he looked critically at the result and complimented Watchout.

In practice most (high end 3dlp) projectors turn out to be much more forgiving on banding as one would expect. (What might look not so good on your TFT works great on a 12 meter wide hdf w26.).

In the case mentioned it was displayed on 2 x 103" panasonic plasma's in a museum but even there, worked out great.


That said, as Jonas states : I'd just give it a go. You can always experiment with different bandwidths. What's stopping you? ;-)

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