• Jay

Adobe, Mac, Cineform, Project Presets, MXO, etc.

The following is entirely on Mac using Adobe CS4 and latest updates.

Premiere Project Preset with Cineform

After much testing becuase I couldn’t find anything on the web (save for complaining) and I asked David at Cineform and he didn’t have anything; I found that you don’t get perfect playback of Cineform .MOV files through Adobe on Mac, but it’s good enough for me. Especially in regards to post: coloring and GFX. My native files are HDV and those don’t hold up AT ALL. Yes, everyone wants real-time performance with no rendering but since I started editing video many, many years ago, it was all render, all the time. That’s been significantly decreased. Anyway, here’s what I found is the best project preset in Adobe:


For a little variation (something I do when I’m editing on my MBP, use the Red Project preset (download free plug-in from Red’s website)- almost the exact same thing but adds a playback resolution selection in your viewer on the desktop. It may be mental, but when I kill the resolution, it helps the playback (on un-rendered timelines; playback is fine on rendered timelines).

NOTE: When using First Light, your changes WILL STICK if you render the timeline (if I recall correctly). That blows. I haven’t tested copying the rendered timeline to a new unrendered timeline or using an EDL in a new project to see if there’s a workaround yet.

You should see yellow bars above your timeline. You’ll have to render the entire thing to get real-time playback out of it, but it works. Any time you later another view track over the existing yellow or green timeline, you’ll get red. It’ll still play back like a yellow timeline. Again, it renders super quick on my 8-core and okay on my dual core MBP.

The MXO with Cineform

On my Octomac, I have a Matrox MXO- as you probably recently heard, Matrox released a bunch of new drivers for the MXO2 line that fully support Cineform. Well, guess who just got hosed? Yup, me. At the time I bought the MXO, there was no talk of the MXO2. The MXO2 Mini would have met my needs and cost me far less. At this point, if I sell the MXO, I’ll be taking a huge hit only to turn around and get the MXO2 Mini. I would contact Matrox about it, but I’ve limited success getting larger companies to listen.

That said, you’ll get good playback by leaving your display settings set to Secondary Display at your monitor’s native resolution. Mine is a Dell at 1600 x 1200 (or something close to that)- I can set the MXO to play it 1:1 and if your monitor’s properly calibrated, it shouldn’t be an issue.

In Conclusion

I don’t think there is a perfect solution out there. Just options with trade-offs. Keep using what works for you. Currently, Cineform on Adobe on Mac certainly has it’s faults, but it’s what’s working for me now. Will it cause me to switch back to Windows? Maybe…at this point Apple has more to do with that than Adobe.

For what it’s worth, I think Cineform has better performance on FCP on Mac…not sure since I don’t have FCP at this point. And certainly Windows. Most of the FCP guys are using ProRes anyway, but I like Cineform as it is multi-NLE compatible unlike ProRes which is more Apple monopoly. #AppleFail

So I hope this helps. I couldn’t find anything when I was looking.

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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