Licensing Question

Just out of curiosity,

While I know that Hitfilm has to pay licensing fees to use technologies such as Boris FX and Mocha, what other aspects of Hitfilm (behind the scenes) does FXhome need to pay to be able to implement? While I see that Open EXR and Alembic claim to be free, is that really true? Also I thought I remember hearing that Sony was forcing royalties just to be able to decode their AVCHD files. Hitfilm has a lot of amazing capabilities (especially for just $300 bucks), but what is FXhome having to deal with on the backend?

Thanks in advance to anyone that answers.

Comments

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,262 Ambassador

    No one at Hitfilm will give hard numbers or percentages. It's the nature of business. 

    Yes, Sony charges for AVCHD. That's why it's an add-on. Mocha and Boris cost money. Guess what? So do ProRes and DNxHD! 

    The closest thing I can give is this: Last year I made a public guess on licensing cost, percentage of users with Ultimate or Pro who upgraded with each version and gave a guess as to payroll, but leaving out rent and office operations cost (but also ignoring Photokey). My guess gave FxHome a pretty small profit margin, based on a mere million dollars (USD) budget. 

    Josh said my estimates were off--on the side of "making  money."

    I'm fairly certain FxHome is driven by Josh's passion. :-) 

  • JCL_FilmsJCL_Films Website User Posts: 156

    Thanks for the input Triem23,

    I can’t believe that Sony charges fees just to open AVCHD files. You would think that they would want as many software companies to support it as possible. I suppose I understand ProRes and DNxHD (as well as probably Cineform), you are paying to use those as exporting options. However, doesn’t even RED offer their R3d decoding software for free?  Now I really want that MOX file format to take off.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,262 Ambassador

    I should be precise. Sony and Panasonic jointly own AVCHD. This is common, and a tech developer is allowed to charge for code and product. H.264, mp3, JPEG, PNG, GIF, AIFF, MOV.... Each and every one of these is patented and licensed tech. In many cases it's transparent because Microsoft or Apple (depending on which computer you own) is paying royalties to have compatibility with the OS. Yes, Microsoft Gallery is "paid software."

    Cineform was a licensed codec until GoPro bought it, but, bear in mind this was done to boost GoPro camera sales. Oh, those have been stagnant for two years... 

    For a company to develop a new tech or codec takes time and money. Of course the company wants to profit off this! 

    Now, let's compare with a free software. Blender first announced upcoming Alembic support in 2011. It's 2016--still waiting. Blender is awesome, but there's not much dev money, so progress for Blender is often slow since the dev teams still need to make a living outside of Blender!

    Incidentally, often a standard becomes standard because it's cheap. Sony's ATRAC compression is superior to Mp3, but Sony charged a lot of money... ATRAC is dead. TrueType is a pretty terrible format, but it was cheaper than Postscript. Etc... 

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,945 Enthusiast

    I am not sure Sony can charge for someone using AVCHD. At least not the codecs or container.  It's all pre-existing stuff. They do not own the patents for the codecs AVCHD uses.

    They can charge you to use the trademarked AVCHD logo and thus say your device/app is compatible with AVCHD. This is the same for Sony XAVC. Off the shelf codecs and containers but listing technical specifics since the general AVC spec is massive.

    So even if someone like Sony did not charge for AVCHD, MPEG-LA will want fees for the AVC video and Dolby will want fees for the AC-3 audio codec.

  • JCL_FilmsJCL_Films Website User Posts: 156

    "Cineform was a licensed codec until GoPro bought it, but, bear in mind this was done to boost GoPro camera sales. Oh, those have been stagnant for two years... "

    Maybe if they actually put Cineform inside of their GoPro , they would not be so stagnant . Looking at you Hero 5 Black...

    I wonder if one could theoretically create an end to end pipeline with open formats/codecs for both audio and video?

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,945 Enthusiast

    Cineform inside a GoPro puts a strain on the write speed of the SD card. You need fast flash which costs more. It also puts a strain on flash card storage size. GoPro's are commonly recording for long periods of time. Still, an option would be nice. Lastly there is no hardware encoder for Cineform. GoPro has no technology. It is all off the shelf parts. It saves them money. 

    I guess an open format setup would have to use the Google webm codecs. VP8, VP9 for video. Vorbis for compressed audio. No worries for PCM audio.

  • JCL_FilmsJCL_Films Website User Posts: 156
    edited September 2016

    I was looking at the specs for MOX. There does seem to be quite a few open source components of each category (audio, video, etc.). With something like VP9 for delivery, one could theoretically built an open end to end solution. Hitfilm has come much closer with OpenEXR and Alembic adoption. 

    Edit: AV1 seems to be Google's main development goal, not VP9.

    I see you're point about GoPro. Although I think cinematographers are opting for cameras like the Blackmagic Micro in replacement of GoPros due to their better codecs. 

    At least the smaller media is catching up:

    http://www.4kshooters.net/2016/09/21/the-worlds-first-1tb-sdxc-card-unveiled-by-western-digital-under-sandisk-brand/

    Maybe it will happen with the GoPro 7 Gold

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast
    edited September 2016

    @NormanPCN Sony and Panasonic both absolutely charge for the use of the  AVCHD Format  not just the logo and at one time there was a Cineform hardware encoder, at least internally,  with battery operated cameras being the target market. 

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,945 Enthusiast

    @Aladdin4d So if I put AVC video and AC-3 or PCM audio into an MPEG transport stream am I in violation of AVCHD. If yes, then on what legal basis?

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    @NormanPCN That's above my pay grade as I haven't read through all the legal mumbo jumbo to be able to give an answer. I just know the AVCHD format is a licensed format over and above just the logo.

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