It’s always good to have multiple codec options so that you have the flexibility to choose the workflow that suits your production. You already have the ability to record in Apple ProRes, Apple ProRes RAW and Avid DNx, and with the addition of H.265 (HEVC), you can now also record using a high quality compressed codec with a relatively small file size.
What is H.265?
The H.265 codec, also known as high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) is a codec used for the delivery of final projects with high quality video and very small file sizes.
HEVC was specifically created to provide UHD HDR deliverables with wide color gamuts and enables you to easily share and play back HDR content with a wide range of users and devices. This codec was part of the evolution from MPEG codecs, and is used by many video professionals because of the ‘bang for buck’ in terms of file size and perceived image quality.
Traditionally these codecs offered increased resolutions or frame rates but often at the expense of bit depth, color fidelity and a file that was designed to be played back rather than be manipulated through the edit or grade.
Why Record in H.265?
H.265 is a powerful codec option, however whether it is the right tool for the job will depend on your needs and the chosen workflow. In general, H.265 is most suitable in situations where you need to deliver high quality files quickly, without any manipulation in post or color grading, and where it is important that you create easily sharable files that are compatible with a wide range of platforms.
When considering whether you should be shooting content in H.265, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
How valuable is the content?
- Is the content or subject of a high value to your client or for future prosperity?
- Will the subject or scene offer a dynamic range that will warrant the additional storage, workflow and backup associated with RAW or high bit rate video codec recordings?
- Is the content extremely valuable? You might want to record using RAW data, to ensure that the image is preserved as much as possible. This will also ensure that future advancements in RAW decoding make the most of the additional data captured.
Who is paying for the production?
- What is the budget for your production? If it is a very small budget project, you may not have the scope for a lengthy post production process that includes editing, grading or effects. In this case H.265 may be well suited to your project, as when recording in either Rec.709 or Log with a LUT ‘baked in’, the files are unlikely to require color grading.
- For low budget projects, the long term archival process also needs to be cost effective. The small file size of H.265 will require less hard drive space when creating backups and when archiving than would be the case for RAW recordings.
- Projects that have a very large budget, are typically color graded by a professional colorist and therefore may be better suited to RAW capture or a mezzanine codec between compressed and RAW such as ProRes or DNx.
What to consider when using H.265
Test your point of delivery
- How does it play and look on different devices?
- If uploading to a content delivery network how does the compressed file look after upload?
For a more cinematic look
- Select a 10bit 4:2:2 all ‘I’ frame HQ codec option
- Set camera profile to LOG
- Import a LUT for your LOG format and turn it on
- Set LUT to ‘Bake in’
- Set legalize to On to convert the Full range Film Standard of LOG to Legal range Broadcast TV standards
If you need smaller files, consider where they will be used
- Use 8 bit with a cine gamma or film stock picture profile on the output from your camera
- If you are not planning to add any graphics select a 4:2:0 profile
- If you do not plan to make any complex edits use Medium Quality (MQ)
- If you want to quickly share a file over the web or create a proxy for a high resolution recording use the Low Quality (LQ) setting
Start Recording H.265 now!
H.265 Activation for Atomos Ninja V:
To unlock the H.265 functions in this AtomOS you need to visit www.atomos.com/activation.
Register as a new user, or login if you are an existing user to your my.atomos.com account. With your account live and your Ninja V registration complete you can commence the process of adding H.265 recording to you Ninja V.
Ensure your Ninja V is updated to AtomOS 10.65 or above.
H.265 is currently only supported by Atomos Ninja V, using AtomOS 10.65 or higher. H.265 Recording for Ninja V requires a one-time payment of $99USD. More details at my.atomos.com. Ninja V+ Monitor-Recorder includes H.265 recording and will be available from time of product release.