BitJazz Offers ‘Nondestructive’ Video Codec for Mac OS, Windows and Linux Versions Available Shortly

Reprinted from a BitJazz press release:

BitJazz Inc. announces the immediate availability of SheerVideo Pro, its revolutionary ultrafast and powerful nondestructive software video codec for the production and archival of professional video and film. Designed to replace uncompressed studio-quality RGB[A] and Y’CbCr[A] 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. This win+win+win combination of speed+power+quality leaps over trade-offs previously considered insurmountable.

“Imagine a lossless video codec that not only crunches the uncompressed file size by half, but works in real time or faster! And in 4:4:4[:4] with alpha channel support! SheerVideo is the fastest encoder I’ve ever used, including real-time uncompressed codecs. This codec is dead accurate. Use this excellent codec for pre-rendering, archiving, or mastering to smaller file sizes in real time.” –Marco Solorio, OneRiver Media

enabling technology
This innovative technology opens up many new possibilities. For example, with SheerVideo, it’s possible to stream uncompressed-quality standard-definition video to or from an ordinary cheap hard disk (without RAID or bleeding-edge spindle speeds) while encoding or decoding on the fly in real time. To take another example, SheerVideo makes it possible to 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.

instantaneous speed
SheerVideo’s greatest breakthrough is in its speed. SheerVideo encodes and decodes nearly instantaneously, faster than real time. On a single-CPU 1 GHz G4, SheerVideo compresses 110 MB/s in RAM, 60 times faster than Apple’s excellent PNG codec, and 4 times as fast as Photo JPEG. Not only is SheerVideo the fastest codec in the world, it’s also faster than any storage device or transmission channel. Running in software on a personal computer, SheerVideo is faster than the fastest hard drive or tape drive, faster than Gigabit Ethernet, faster than HD-SDI, faster than FireWire 800. As a result, SheerVideo is actually twice as fast as uncompressed video. This speed advantage is decisive especially in movie production, where the most precious commodity is time.

perfect quality
Like Zip and StuffIt, SheerVideo preserves every bit of image data with perfect fidelity. An optional self-check mode decodes each frame immediately after encoding it and compares the restored image to the original to verify that it is bit-for-bit identical. In both encoding and decoding, SheerVideo is 100% exact, without any information loss, noise, approximation, artifacts, or other errors whatsoever. Thanks to this nondestructive characteristic, SheerVideo is ideally suited for production and archival, where quality cannot be compromised. In contrast, destructive codecs such as JPEG, MPEG, DV, and DigiBeta, which degrade the video on every compression and every decompression, are better suited for distribution, where compactness is more important than coding speed and quality.

high power
For real-world footage, SheerVideo ranks among the most powerful lossless codecs in existence. For native video (Y’CbCr[A]) footage, where SheerVideo’s compression power averages 2.43 for 4:2:2 and 2.84 for 4:4:4, SheerVideo is the only perfectly-fidelity QuickTime codec that does any compression at all. For CGI and digitized film (RGB[A]) content, SheerVideo’s mean compression power of 2.20 makes it 20% more powerful than PNG (1.80) and 100% more powerful than Apple’s Animation codec (1.05), yet only 11% less powerful than the reigning champion, BitJazz’s PhotoJazz. SheerVideo’s power saves an average of 60% of storage space and transmission bandwidth, so twice as much uncompressed-quality video fits on disk or tape.

SheerVideo supports both RGB[A] 8b, for film and computer-generated imagery, and all popular professional Y’CbCr[A] 8b formats, including both 4:4:4[:4] and 4:2:2, for native video. Support for 10-bit and 16-bit channels is on the way too, to satisfy the needs of the most demanding expert. 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 all popular professional video applications, including Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Pinnacle Commotion, and hundreds more. On Windows, SheerVideo will also be available as a Windows Media (AVI) codec. SheerVideo is currently available for Mac OS X and Mac OS 8/9. PC/Windows and Linux editions are due out later this year. SheerVideo for Mac includes versions of each codec optimized for both G3 and G4 (AltiVec), and the decoders are multiprocessor-enabled, so it can make the most of whatever processors are available. SheerVideo Pro costs $149 for a single license, $99 in quantity. A fully functional free tryout is available for download from, as is a free Reader. Installer and automatic updater included.

About BitJazz Inc.
BitJazz Inc. is the market leader in lossless image compression technology and development. The company first made headlines in 1998 with PhotoJazz, a revolutionary nondestructive image codec whose compression power of 2.5 for real-world imagery leapfrogged PNG’s previous record of 1.8. For additional company and product information, please visit

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