SheerVideo Pro, a “nondestructive” software video codec for the production and archival of professional video and film, is now available from BitJazz Inc.
Designed to replace uncompressed studio-quality RGB and YCbCr formats, SheerVideo simultaneously doubles both the speed and the capacity of storage and transmission devices while encoding and decoding on the fly with “perfect fidelity, according to the gang at BitJazz. SheerVideo makes it possible to, among other things, stream uncompressed-quality HD video at the highest definition (1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second) over a single FireWire 800 line, while running SheerVideo on the fly in real time.
The video codec purportedly encodes and decodes faster than real time. On a single-CPU 1GHz Power Mac G4, SheerVideo compresses 110MB in RAM 60 times faster than Apple’s PNG codec and four times as fast as Photo JPEG, BitJazz claims.
When it comes to preserving image data, an optional self-check mode decodes each frame immediately after encoding it and compares the restored image to the original to verify that it’s bit-for-bit identical. For native video (Y’CbCr) footage, SheerVideo’s compression power averages 2.43 for 4:2:2 and 2.84 for 4:4. For CGI and digitized film (RGB) content, SheerVideo offers compression power of 2.20.
The codec supports both RGB 8b, for film and computer-generated imagery, and professional YCbCr 8b formats, including both 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 for native video. Support for 10-bit and 16-bit channels is coming, according to BitJazz. SheerVideo supports any resolution, including SD and HD, NTSC and PAL, 4:3 and 16:9, progressive and interlaced. price and availability
SheerVideo is implemented as a set of QuickTime codecs, so it can be used with a variety of video applications, including Apple’s Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Pinnacle Commotion. It’s currently available for Mac OS X and Mac OS 8.x-9.x. SheerVideo for Mac includes versions of each codec optimized for both G3 and G4 (AltiVec) systems; the decoders are multiprocessor-enabled.
SheerVideo Pro costs US$149 for a single license and $99 in quantity. A demo is available at the BitJazz Web site.