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BitJazz Updates SheerVideo Codec

Version 1.2 enhances Y'CbCr format support By Dave Nagel
BitJazz has released an update to SheerVideo Pro, a video codec designed for professional film and video production and archival work. According to the company, SheerVideo is a non-destructive codec that offers faster and more efficient encoding than other QuickTime formats. The new 1.2 version is available now for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, with a beta version also available for Windows.

SheerVideo is a set of QuickTime codecs for use with professional video applications, including Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Pinnacle Commotion and others. BitJazz says that SheerVideo is "designed to replace uncompressed studio-quality RGB[A] and Y'CbCr[A] formats, ... [and] simultaneously doubles both the speed and the capacity of storage and transmission devices while encoding and decoding on the fly with perfect fidelity." The company says that on a single 1 GHz G4 processor, SheerVideo can compress at 110 MB per second in RAM and can encode and decode standard-definition footage in real time, while 30 FPS high-definition footage (1,920 x 1,080) can be streamed over a single FireWire 800 connection. Compression averages 2.43 for 4:2:2 and 2.84 for 4:4:4 for native video (Y'CbCr[A]) footage and 2.20 for digitized RGBA footage. It currently supports 8-bit SD and HD, with 10- and 16-bit support expected for a future release. (10-bit support is now entering beta phase.)

The new 1.2 release offers enhancements to Y'CbCr native video formats. The company says that now Y'CbCr formats can be captured directly to Sheer encoders in addition to Sheer transcoders, providing broader application support for Y'CbCr. It also now offers component video capture in real time via a variety of capture applications, including 4:4:4, 4:2:2 and Sheer RGB formats. BityJazz also says that with QuickTime 6.4, applications can now display Sheer Y'CbCr[A] 4:4:4:4 video with or without hardware support, which allows users to view Sheer 4:4:4:4 frames without restoring uncompressed video.

SheerVideo is available now for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X with multiprocessor support and AltiVec optimization. A Windows version is in beta form right now, and a Linux version is also expected "soon." SheerVideo Pro runs $149 for a single license or $99 per license in volume. A free trial version is also available. For more information, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Apple DVD Studio Pro, Mac OS, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at [email protected].

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