Vision Research Phantom Workflow

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by paolo-, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Hey guys, hopefully some people have experience with this, I'm looking for a proper workflow for a phantom high-speed camera. I use a v1210 for work in research.

    Once a .cine file is saved what would be the best export format to have a lower quality compressed video file that could be quickly emailed or put on dropbox. There's a few options for compressed .avi files but those I tried yet don't play nice with macs and the quicktime save is uncompressed and I think even keeps the whole bitdepth of the raw file.

    Also, is there an easy way to speed up a video and keep a playback speed of 30fps again for this lightweight file scenario? ie. over estimated the experiment speed and I end up with a 7min video that I really only want to last for 15sec. Within the camera control software, it's possible to change the playback speed when exporting a video but it forces the player to try to play it back at that speed which usually means that it crashes the player and doesn't make for a smaller file size. Right now, I have a script for virtualdub but it creates a .h264 avi that macs can't read so I have to re-convert it which makes it a bit of a pain to have to go through so many files...

    Lastly, what would be the preferred format to export the clips to edit on with software like final cut or premier? I'm guessing the uncompressed quicktime files are ok but they take forever to make, I was wondering if there is something better.
  2. RickRobinson macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2012

    What is your preferred OS for working with the cine files? I ask because the workflow suggestions are different for a PC versus a Mac.

    On a Mac, I suggest you purchase the Phantom Cine Toolkit from Glue Tools at I know it is a bit expensive, but maybe your company can buy it for you. Once installed on a Mac, you can now view and play raw cine files within QuickTime version 7 (still available for download from Apple even though it was "replaced" with version 10). From there, if you have the Pro version, you can save the raw cine as a QuickTime movie using any encoding you want including h.264 which provides a good trade off between quality and file size. If you have FCPX, and have updated to version 10.0.6, you can now also use .cine files natively in FCP if you want to add titles, transitions, etc. And you can encode to h.264 or ProRes from there. You do need the Glue Tools plugin for this.

    If you don't want to buy the Glue Tools plugin, you can save the cine file using Vision Research's PCC software to an uncompressed QuickTime. That will be a huge file. But, again, you can load that into Quicktime on a Mac and then transcode it to h.264 or some other compressed format. Right now, PCC does not do h.264 encoding although it may be added soon.

    If you are on a PC and don't want to use AVI (and I don't blame you), the best bet is probably still to create an uncompressed QT using PCC and then use some tool on the PC to transcode that file and compress it. I'm not a big PC user, so don't know the best tools to use. But, you can get QT Pro for a PC and that would work fine.

    You might get more community support in answering your question by posting it at the PhantomZone -- a forum for Phantom users. It is at

    If I understand your second question, what you want to do is either get rid of or vastly speed up the playback of some "non interesting" parts of your cine. If you truly don't want that content, just use the sliders in the playback screen of PCC to set an in-point and out-point and save only the frames of interest. You can do this in QuickTime Pro too.

    Rick Robinson
    VP Marketing
    Vision Research
  3. paolo-, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    paolo- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Wow Rick, did you join macrumours just to answer my question? For those just reading this forum and aren't familiar with Vision Research/Phantom. They have pretty amazing customer support (on top of amazing products), we had one of your representatives over when we got the camera. Very nice and guy and very knowledgeable.

    To give you a better idea of the workflow we have right now, I'm in a university setting. We hook up the camera to a Windows machine so we'd prefer doing the conversion and storage on that computer. But every researcher has his own laptop from which he works (mostly linux and mac machines).

    Having H.264 quicktime directly from PCC would be great. It can be a bit time consuming to have to wait to save the .cine, then export the uncompressed quicktime and then export with Quicktime Pro to H.264. This is our current workflow, it works well but I was wondering if there was an easier way to get this done. Is there a highly compressed AVI format that would work on most platform (iOS devices were giving us trouble last time) ?

    As for the speeding up I was referring to, I'm talking about playback speed, not in and out points. To give you an idea, I film gaseous combustion. Sometimes, I don't know what the flame speed will be. To be on the safe side, I just shoot it at the maximum fps for the resolution I'm at for my optical setup. Sometimes, the process is much slower than I think it will be so I end up with a 10min video that only really needs to last 15 sec to show someone what was going on. So I end up making an uncompressed quicktime, not uncommonly a 10GB file to speed it up in an editing software. Is there a way within PCC to speed the frame rate of the output video and delete frames in the process? I've tried changing the frame rate at export to something like 500fps and I just crashed my computer when trying to play it back as from what I understand, the video file is telling the player to indeed play 500fps... :p

    Ultimately, I have workarounds but it would be great if both h.264 quicktime export and retiming would be possible inside PCC. I'm aware that PCC is a control software and has by no means an editing mission but I suppose that these two functions would save lots of time for people in research.
  4. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    I just want to say this is evidence that macrumors is awesome. I'm glad to see these incredible cameras are so well supported, and being used for so many different purposes.

    I have been loving R.A. Dickey's screwballs and their lack of spin, shot on the Phantom in his 20th win for the NY Mets, myself.

    AVI files are not ideal for something that plays well in all environments. Here is a link to a good transcoding utility (freeware) that might aid your workflow

    Also, getting Quicktime Pro for Windows might help

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