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On my Intel 4770k (bought back in 2014) I can only decode GH5S's 4k 10-bit video at about 30fps with CPU maxing out. This is both when manually using ffmpeg and when using Handbrake. ffmpeg, Handbrake and Vegas 13 are all taking almost realtime to just decode

The system also has NVidia's GTX 1070Ti in it.

I was unable to use Intel's QuickSync (-hwaccel qsv -c:v h264_qsv before the -i argument in ffmpeg) or NVidia's NVDEC (-hwaccel nvdec) to decode the 10-bit h264.

Is there any software solution that can convert the video into something more efficiently usable? Whether 8-bit h264, or 10-bit HEVC, or some other intermediary format that can actually be hardware-decoded by Intel QuickSync or NVENC. Did I overlook any hardware solution? GPU upgrade? CPU upgrade?

I really would prefer not to go back to the good old days of files being decodable at merely realtime.

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    -hwaccel qsv -v:c h264_qsv --> this should be -c:v h264_qsv, similar for nvdec. In any case, here, on a i5-3470, ffmpeg decodes 10-bit 4K 30 fps H264 @ 3.7x, suggesting your bottleneck is not CPU or s/w decoder. (Handbrake uses ffmpeg for media processing). Maybe available RAM or its speed? – Gyan Dec 18 '19 at 6:32
  • @Gyan sure, typo fixed, thanks. I don't have the h264_nvdec on my build of ffmpeg, but if I remember correctly, -hwaccel nvdec was enough on my machine when feeding it 8-bit input (and that's how it was documented, too). – Ivan Vučica Dec 18 '19 at 19:18
  • @Gyan Also: I wasn't use if Handbrake used ffmpeg or libav, so I didn't specify anything. Either way, for software decoding with ffmpeg, 4770k is the bottleneck (90%+ use) based on what Windows Task Manager says. I'll admit that RAM could be the bottleneck when nvdec kicks in on 8-bit; Windows Task Manager claims that 'video decoding' on the GPU is at mere 40-50%. – Ivan Vučica Dec 18 '19 at 19:20
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Nvdec and qsv do not have support for 10 bit AVC. And if there was a more “efficient” software decoder available, it would already be in ffmpeg.

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What you're looking for is an intra frame intermediary codec like DNxHD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avid_DNxHD

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  • Yes, but GH5S cannot encode into DNxHD -- and besides, I already have a bunch of v-log'd h264 10-bit C4K footage. :-) – Ivan Vučica Dec 18 '19 at 20:19
  • That's why I said "intermediary" and not "acquisition". The format most optimized for editing is not optimized for long recording times in camera. – John Pooley Dec 21 '19 at 10:53
  • So, the same DNxHD that's intended for long recording in my Ninja Inferno, which I didn't use at the time and won't be using all the time? – Ivan Vučica Dec 21 '19 at 12:00
  • The Ninja Inferno is great because it records in a higher quality intra frame codec that is ready for editing. I suggest using that whenever possible. – John Pooley Dec 22 '19 at 13:13

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