CineX Meta Quickstart Guide

First and foremost, an important disclaimer:

Correct Metadata is key to the proper interoperability of files in different playback, NLE and QC systems and a metadata validation tool cannot possibly police the application of incorrect data for a given context, only that no illegal value has been entered.

It’s always advisable to make a copy of the file before changing metadata. If in doubt DO NOT change the metadata, as it is possible to make files unusable if one does not know what one is doing.

Cinedeck make no warranty for the CineXmeta application about fitness for purpose or anything else whatsoever.

Proceed at your own risk.

Basic operation.

In general, Mac and PC operation is identical: For instance, “Finder” and “Explorer” may be used interchangeably and the menus have been harmonized. Although PC command keys will be referenced in the text, all commands have equivalents in the Mac OS, and all command/control keys are shown next to their analogs in the pull-down menus.

The UI follows standard practice for function placement and naming.

Licensing: While the CineXmeta metadata editor is free, a license is still required. See the License and iLok installation guide. All the same information is available on the Cinedeck website.

User interface overview

The UI consists of one large window that contains as many as four sub-windows, each of which may be resized and the the layout may be saved and recalled.

User interface: Playback window

The CineXmeta Player supports playback of all file types supported for edit. It also supports playback of US/Japan Closed Captions and allows the Captions service shown to be selected by the user.

(There are also plans to support MXF subtitles and teletext captions including Australian OP47)

The playback controls are available via buttons, the Playback menu as well as keyboard commands.

The keyboard commands follow common conventions and are shown adjacent to the relevant command in the Playback menu.

User interface: Audio Labels Editor

The Audio Labels Editor puts all of the commonly edited data for audio channels and tracks into one place: Track labels, Language tags, Channel labels, and also allows for the rearrangement of track order.

User interface: MOV/MXF Metadata Editor

The metadata editor window shows metadata fields available to edit depending on the type and content of the file. Some metadata is editable only in certain types of files. For instance the Law Rating fields are only available in the case that a file has a valid Closed Captions track as it is part of the XDS data which in turn is contained within the Closed Captions track.

User interface: Audio Meters

The audio meters allow spot checks of audio content in the files. Either channel of a channel pair may be muted to allow for evaluation of a single channel. The green border indicates the currently selected channel pair for monitoring.

Menu bar menus:

CineXmeta menu:

The CineXmeta menu contains About CineXmeta that shows the version and build, a link to software updates page on the Cinedeck website.

File Menu:

 

Files may be opened either via the File menu, “open” pulldown item. [or simply dragged and dropped into the player window feature tba shortly]. Depending on the file location and metadata contained, it may take a few seconds to parse and open. The file menu also contains saving and recalling user presets for common changes.

Open Recent:

 The “Open recent” rollout displays a list of the most recent 20 files for convenient reopening. [load and save presets release shortly]

In the player window, the filename display also contains the recent file list for more convenient reopening.

Save/Load Preset:

[Feature to be released]

Window menu:

The window menu controls which features are visible as well saving and loading workspace layout, and a reset to default layout for the workspace. The icons in the top right corner show which windows are active.

Edit menu:

The edit menu contains only the “commit” command for applying changes to the file once they have been entered in the UI.

Help menu:

The help menu contains links to the local application folder PDF help files, the FAQ section of the Cinedeck website, video tutorials section of the Cinedeck website and a link to the Support portal. It also allows the user to enable/disable tooltips in the UI.

The Metadata Editor for Quicktime (MOV) files

The metadata editor consists of one tab per file track, plus one tab per Closed Captions service if there are multiple services.

Info bar:

The info bar contains general clip info about the audio and video content including video codec, resolution, frame rate, color bit depth, and fourCC code, and audio bit depth, audio codec, endianness and channel count. It also shows the duration and disk size of the clip.

It also contains the “commit changes” button (same function as “commit” in the Edit menu) and load/save preset buttons.

Clip Details tab

Editable fields in the Clip Details tab are Start, End and Playhead TC and DF/NDF values (changing one will adjust the others automatically) Reel ID and Law Rating if the file includes a Closed Captions track.

Metadata duration trim is also supported. Setting an in and out point and selecting “commit” will trim the visible video to the in/out timecodes in other applications such as NLEs. CineXmeta allows this to be edited N times and even to reset back to the original start/end times.

Video tab

Editable fields are grouped by Atom. COLR and GAMA are mutually exclusive. Care should be taken with COLR and HDR values particularly as some applications (eg Quicktime X) will change playback color appearance.

Audio Tabs

Editable fields include Track Index (track order), Track Label, Language and Channel label. This information is more easily visualized in the Audio Labels Editor.

Changing metadata:

This Quickstart does not purport to be a guide to best practices for actual metadata values.

Please consult the appropriate codec and wrapper standards for correct values for each metadata field supported for edit. For instance, the Quicktime File Format reference from Apple is the definitive source for MOV structure and is free. Current SMPTE MXF standards and manufacturer recommendations are available by subscription from the SMPTE library maintained by the IEEE group.

Metadata that is supported for edit will have either an adjacent pulldown menu or a text field depending on whether the field requires a choice from a fixed set of options or a user-entered value. For instance, AFD and PASP have a pulldown with limited choices, but whereas AFD is limited by the standard, PASP is limited but only by what are common values. If there is a value you need that is not in the pulldown, please submit a Feature Request

“No Value” will typically indicate for that the relevant atom in MOV or the analog descriptor structure in MXF is not part of the file structure. Selecting “No Value” when there is an extant value will remove the atom/structure from the file. If there are more than one value associated with an atom such as in the COLR atom, the validation tool will outline the other values in red to indicate that they too must be set to “no value”.

HDR-specific metadata

For HDR metadata in Quicktime files, Apple has constrained definitions published here for HEVC and ProRes. CineX Meta’s validation is based on this document.

 

About MXF: The breadth, depth and rampant ambiguities of the “MXF standard” has lead to broad interoperability problems as vendors have implemented different subparts of the standard in incompatible ways and interpreted ambiguous parts of the standard differently. In certain cases, for instance Sony’s MXF interoperability recommendation (RDD9) and the DPP AS-11 delivery standard for the UK, the format is subject to additional constraints designed to reduce much (but not all, alas) of this ambiguity.