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  • Apple dropping codec support…repercussions

  • Shane Ross

    June 12, 2019 at 1:33 am

    So, Apple in it’s infinite and ever-forward thinking wisdom, dropped support for many many legacy codecs. The excuse was that they weren’t 64 bit compatible and they are moving to all 64-bit processing, and don’t want to include 32-bit emulation in current and future updates…or something highly technical like that. (feel free to correct me on my details of this).

    BECAUSE OF THIS…all this archival footage that people have won’t be compatible with newer OS versions, on any platform. For example…the Animation codec…a staple for many many years of lossless archival or graphics delivery…is no longer supported. And now we have people on current OS versions, Mac and Windows, that can no longer access this footage. NOW they have to maintain an older system, and use that to access and convert as needed. Or, maintain that older system and then convert ALL of the footage (in many cases, hundreds if now thousands of hours of footage) to a new codec, taking tons of man hours and drive space.

    Why can’t Apple just keep supporting older codecs? Why the push for “always look forward, never look back?” As a historical documentary editor and online guy this is stupid. I’m sure the many many video archivists across the globe feel the same way. Why can’t accommodations be made for older video…preserving history? Instead of making us spend multiple hundreds of hours converting the footage. And then converting again 10 or so years later when Apple decides to kill off more codecs. Soon, the constant recompression of video will degrade the image too much, and the original quality will be gone.

    This came up recently on another forum, a Windows user, after an update, suddenly not able to access video files they had been before, and faced with what to do with the hundreds of hours of footage they have in this codec. Avid didn’t link to it, QT didn’t see it. VLC did…Resolve did. So did they then need to convert this footage before bringing it into Avid (that was the eventual solution)?

    Sorry…this mentality bothers me. As a documentary maker.

    Shane
    Little Frog Post
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Erik Lindahl

    June 12, 2019 at 6:22 am

    These changes are or can be painful. Affected codecs include:

    3ivx MPEG-4
    AV1 / VP9
    AVC0 Media AVA0 Media
    Avid DNxHD / DNxHR
    Avid DV / DV100 / JFIF / Motion JPEG
    Avid Meridien / 1:1x / Packed / RGBPacked
    BitJazz SheerVideo
    CineForm
    Cinepak
    DivX
    Flash Video
    FlashPix
    FLC
    GlueTools codecs for Cineon/DPX, Phantom Cine, ARRIRAW, Uncompressed RGB
    H.261
    Implode
    Indeo video 5.1
    Intel Video 4:3
    JPEG 2000
    Microsoft Video 1
    Motion JPEG A
    Motion JPEG B
    On2 VP3, VP5, VP6, VP6-E, VP6-S, VP7, VP8, VP9
    Perian collection of codecs (such as Microsoft MPEG-4, DivX, 3ivx, VP6, and VP3)
    Pixlet
    Planar RGB
    RealVideo
    REDCODE QuickTime Decoder (.mov)
    SGI
    Sony HDCAM-SR (SStP)
    Sorenson 3
    Sorenson Spark
    Sorenson Video / Video 3 / YUV9
    Streambox ACT-L2
    Windows Media Video 7, 8, 9
    Xiph.org’s Theora Video
    ZyGoVideo

    Oddly Animation is not in the list. But neither in the list of supported codecs going forward. From a production point of view I’d say that’s one of the major blows.

    It sort of surprises me Apple doesn’t keep a fully uncompressed RGBA codec. I’d rather see them keep an extended array of these (I.e scale all the way to 32-bpp RGBA). But this isn’t Apples gem. I sort of get “we have to move forward” but uncompressed RGB seems fairly basic to keep around.

    On the delivery side the killed support of Sorrenson could kill some legacy archives. That being said, those should have moved to h264 long, long ago.

  • Michael Gissing

    June 12, 2019 at 6:48 am

    JPEG2000 is the basis of DCP. It is absolutely a current codec. I can see some codes on that list that might be fair enough to depreciate but some that are still required for video professionals.

  • Bill Davis

    June 12, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    But, Shane, this is NOT an Apple thing and it’s not even an actual codec issue, per se.

    It’s a OS issue.

    If you need to access EVERYTHING you’ve ever shot, you have two utterly simple options.

    First, stick with your current working OS and your existing software, just like generations of editors working in AVID (and other NLEs!) have.

    Or (my preferred solution) keep an old laptop or desktop computer around that has a 32-bit compliant OS installed, That way if anyone EVER asks you to pull up old 32-bit content, just open it on that machine and transcode it into a 64-bit file – which will then work with ALL the modern NLEs.

    This is simply NO different than when VHS tape, Betacam, DC-2000 backup cartridges, Syquist data disks or ANY other legacy technology fell out of favor. You move your stuff along, or you keep a machine capable of loading the old media around so you can keep moving forward.

    This is NOT difficult. It’s simply the next in a LONG LINE of tech moves that enable progress.

    Creator of XinTwo – https://www.xintwo.com
    The shortest path to FCP X mastery.

  • Shane Ross

    June 12, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    [Bill Davis] “If you need to access EVERYTHING you’ve ever shot, you have two utterly simple options.

    First, stick with your current working OS and your existing software, just like generations of editors working in AVID (and other NLEs!) have.”

    I mentioned that in my original post. The need to keep an older computer that can read these files. But then, if I want to work with these older files in a NEW project with the NEW OS and NEW editing software, as us archival documentary filmmakers often do, I’ll need to convert those to a codec the NEW system likes. But…can I? Can the older computer have access and actually encode to this new codec? Hmmm…maybe not, but then the new computer can’t read the old file in order to convert.

    Now…this is a relatively NEW problem. Not a “generations of editors” problem. Because before, oh, say, 12-15 years ago, TAPE was the dominate recording medium, as was FILM. Then P2 came along as did other formats and revolutionized filming. SO, we didn’t have a codec issue. What we had was a DECK issue, needing to keep older decks around to play this footage. And then make sure you had a capture card with the proper connections to connect to that deck, or have a converter.

    SO, I guess that’s the situation here. Have an older computer, with an older capture card, and then play out from that to the new computer, with new capture card, and transfer that way. Making sure to get adapters along the way so that you can connect to the new capture cards.

    [Bill Davis] “Or (my preferred solution) keep an old laptop or desktop computer around that has a 32-bit compliant OS installed, That way if anyone EVER asks you to pull up old 32-bit content, just open it on that machine and transcode it into a 64-bit file – which will then work with ALL the modern NLEs.”

    Ah, but CAN you? What if the codec you need to encode to can’t be encoded on the computer you have…I recall that the MacPro G5 couldn’t encode ProRes…it didn’t have the powerful enough processor. So what if this nice desktop you keep can’t do that to this new fangled codec? Then see above…signal from computer to computer via capture card.

    [Bill Davis] “This is simply NO different than when VHS tape, Betacam, DC-2000 backup cartridges, Syquist data disks or ANY other legacy technology fell out of favor. You move your stuff along, or you keep a machine capable of loading the old media around so you can keep moving forward.”

    Yeah, but then dubbing to another media and then another media and then another media…moving forward…gets you very very muddy media. Speaking from experience as people transferred film to BetaSP, then captured that as “high quality AVI files” at 640×480, interlaced…then tossing the betacam masters, and the film is gone too… Archivists nightmare.

    [Bill Davis] “This is NOT difficult. It’s simply the next in a LONG LINE of tech moves that enable progress.”

    Yeah, I guess it’s nothing new. This is why the Smithsonian keeps not only the film/tapes/media stored, but multiple decks and projectors and devices that can play that media. Looks like I have to do the same. Glad I have a Umatic Deck, a MacPro 2008 with older OS, and capture card, and VHS and DVD decks.

    Shane
    Little Frog Post
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Eric Santiago

    June 12, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Sadly a practise we have here as well.
    Hanging on to old decks and computers due to expired software/tech.
    Heck, I remember PowerPC and what didn’t transfer at the time.
    On the corporate side here they are moving to Windows 10 and a ton of software is not being supported as well.
    Just how it is.
    I do get the blame on Apple, they could have helped us with a path or fix.
    We have so many QT errors in After Effects due to all this and yep I have to find the out of date files and reformat.

  • Andrew Kimery

    June 12, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    [Bill Davis] “This is simply NO different than when VHS tape, Betacam, DC-2000 backup cartridges, Syquist data disks or ANY other legacy technology fell out of favor. “

    It’s kinda different in that we are talking about data, not physical media. A VHS tape is physically incompatible with a DVD player or a DigiBeta deck. There is no physical incompatibility with codecs. It’s just whether or not the software maker wants to support it. For example, there is an entire cottage industry ‘saving’ old video games via emulation even though the physical consoles and/or old computers that the games were originally designed for have largely gone the way of the Dodo.

    With that being said though, archiving for data doesn’t really exist like it does for physical media. Archiving for data is really a perpetual migration of data to contemporary codecs/formats and storage mediums so that it remains accessible. This is why when one does their initial ingest one shouldn’t use a heavily compressed codec like low bit rate H.264 because eventually that crap H.264 file will have to be transcoded into another codec for compatibility. And then another, and then another, and then another for decades or even centuries (assuming humanity makes it that long).

  • Shane Ross

    June 12, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    [Andrew Kimery] “This is why when one does their initial ingest one shouldn’t use a heavily compressed codec like low bit rate H.264”

    YES! Nail on head.

    This is also why one must always RETAIN THE FULL CARD STRUCTURE of tapeless cameras. I know of many people who shot P2 , captured that into FCP Legacy…threw out the card backups, thinking their captured footage was all they needed. Issue…that codec was extremely proprietary, it ONLY was viewable on computers with FCP installed. Hand that off to someone without FCP…white screen. Found that out when giving dailies to a producer.

    Shane
    Little Frog Post
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Oliver Peters

    June 12, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    [Bill Davis] “But, Shane, this is NOT an Apple thing and it’s not even an actual codec issue, per se.
    It’s a OS issue. “

    Incorrect. This is a choice issue. Apple could have added the ability to interpret these codecs into AV Foundations, as the did for the DV codecs. They chose not to.

    – Oliver

    Oliver Peters – oliverpeters.com

  • Oliver Peters

    June 12, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Shane, the issue is that Apple opted not to support these codecs in AVF and by extension the QT Player app. They did for DV, but not the others. So it really has nothing to do with the fact that these are 32-bit. Merely that Apple opted to limit the amount of work required on their part. While inconvenient, and in some cases hard to justify, you have to draw the line somewhere, I suppose.

    This mainly affects these codecs if they are wrapped in an .mov wrapper. Apple left it up to others to write the necessary modules. This is what Avid, BMD, and Adobe have done for DNx wrapped as .mxf. Depending on the codec in macOS, QT will ignore some and convert (transcode) others. Get a professional player tool if needed, like Switch. Don’t rely on QT.

    – Oliver

    Oliver Peters – oliverpeters.com

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