Photo Caption: Shane Hurlbut, ASC Cinematographer on Need for Speed, mounts GoPro cameras on set

There’s big news from GoPro for filmmakers and cinematographers and anyone who creating content with the GoPro HERO3+ for professional productions and who need to make sure they’re adhering to industry standards with their pipelines. We’re proud to announce that the GoPro CineForm Codec has been standardized by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®) as the SMPTE ST 2073 VC-5 video compression standard - the new open codec standard for video acquisition and post production. 

So what does all this mean? To start, SMPTE is THE organization that determines the digital cinema standards across the entire production and post-production ecosystem. When the pros want to know which technologies are going to work flawlessly for their multi-million dollar productions, they turn to SMPTE to see which ones fit the bill. It’s kind of like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

And why is quality compression important? Well if you’re shooting GoPro, you know that those stunning images out of the camera are huge files. They need to be compressed - quickly, without comprising image quality, and in the right file formats so editors and VFX artists can bring those files into their workflow and start creating - right away.  For these guys, when they see that a technology is a SMPTE standard, they know it’s going to work.  And when your feature film is on the line, you need that peace of mind.

If you’re a filmmaker or cinematographer, you already know that the GoPro CineForm Codec is a high-performance video codec widely valued in video post-production as the industry’s highest quality compression format. It is well established in the professional filmmaking marketplace and has been extensively used in Hollywood feature films, including Slumdog Millionaire and Need for Speed.

Photo Caption: Shane Hurlbut, ASC Cinematographer on Need for Speed, oversees the mounting of GoPro cameras on set

SMPTE standardization of the GoPro CineForm codec as the VC-5 standard now means the professional production and post production community can access SMPTE-standardized codec technology for presenting high resolution imagery with a high speed, low-compute intensive workflow. The new VC-5 standard will provide a more efficient, cost effective and higher-performance workflow, delivering an 8x performance boost over the current JPEG 2000 format with higher resolution.

“SMPTE standardization of the GoPro CineForm codec as the new VC-5 standard is big news for the entire production and post production industry, as well as for GoPro and its customers,” said David Newman, senior director of software engineering for GoPro. “By further developing the VC-5 standard, we are building a new ecosystem for the industry in which we’re enabling cinema-level acquisition quality, while also providing cinematographers the workflow technology to finish their films. We are standardizing core codec technologies, and making them extensible to even support future camera formats and future post production workflows. This is a major milestone and a huge accomplishment for GoPro!”

The GoPro CineForm Codec supports RAW camera formats such as CFA Bayer pattern images as well as RGB and YCrCb with an optional alpha channel and sub-sampled color difference components.

Participation by the broader video community in the SMPTE ST 2073 VC-5 standard process will enhance the GoPro CineForm Codec to make it more suitable for a wider range of applications. Interested parties are also encouraged to join the SMPTE Standards Committee and participate in the ongoing development of the SMPTE ST 2073 VC-5 specification. The group is particularly interested in feedback from video-editing professionals regarding their experience with video compression technologies and their requirements for use of a VC-5 codec in their video workflows.