When choosing a suitable video codec, you always have to consider file size, speed and quality. As a rule, only two of the three parameters can be optimized. Cineform&s Intermediate Codec was always about highest quality at high (de)compression speed. Compared to comparable codecs such as Apple&s ProRES or Avid&s DNxHD/HR, Cineform is not DCT-, but wavelet-based, which is why details never get lost in block artifacts, at most in blurriness.
Cineform could not spread as well as ProRES or Avid&s DNxHD/HR because of its partially closed implementation. That was not only a pity for us, because the codec did very well compared to its direct PC rivals Cineform has always been at the forefront of decoding performance.
On Github you will find the complete source code for the CineForm Encoder and Decoder SDK. (C and C++ with hand optimized SSE2 Intrinsics for x86/x64 platforms, incl. cross platform threading). It runs directly on OS-X, Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04. As a license you can use the Apache or MIT license.
Here are the supported pixel formats of the open source implementation of CineForm:
8/10/16-Bit YUV 4:2:2:2 compressed as 10-Bit, progressive or interlace
8/10/16-Bit RGB 4:4:4:4:4 compression at 12-Bit progressive
8/16-bit RGBA 4:4:4:4:4:4 compressed at 12-bit progressive
12/16-bit CFA Bayer RAW, Log encoded and compressed at 12-bit progressive
In addition, two-channel stereoscopic/3D in each of the above formats.
There are a number of points to be noted in this respect:
1. The github.com/gopro/cineform-sdk implementation (published on GutHub) is the original implementation with all optimizations (including remarkable multiprocessor scaling) that have been used in the closed source version of GoPro.
2. Also the RAW implementation is now open source. This allows compression rates between 4:1 and 10:1 and should be of particular interest to camera manufacturers. However, almost every manufacturer has meanwhile positioned itself with its own formats, which is why CineForm RAW now appears here a little late at the party.
3. CineForm uses a constant quality design for encoding, i. e. the bit rates vary depending on the scene requirements. While most other video codecs have a constant bitrate, the quality varies depending on the scene, which seems more desirable for us when it comes to encoding.
It remains to be seen to what extent the CineForm codec will find many implementations. It is a remarkable codec, which we would like to see spread more widely.