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Title: DNxHD  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: FFmpeg, List of codecs, Media Composer, Comparison of video editing software, Avid Symphony
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Avid DNxHD, which stands for "Digital Nonlinear Extensible High Definition", is a lossy high-definition video post-production codec engineered for multi-generation compositing with reduced storage and bandwidth requirements. It is an implementation of SMPTE VC-3 standard.[1] DNxHD codec was developed by Avid Technology, Inc.


DNxHD is a video codec intended to be usable as both an intermediate format suitable for use while editing and as a presentation format. DNxHD offers a choice of three user-selectable bit rates: 220 Mbit/s with a bit depth of 10 or 8 bits, and 145 or 36 Mbit/s with a bit depth of 8 bits.

DNxHD data is typically stored in an MXF container, although it can also be stored in a QuickTime container.

On February 13, 2008 Avid reported that DNxHD was approved as compliant with the SMPTE VC-3 standard.[2]

DNxHD is intended to be an open standard, but as of March 2008, has remained effectively a proprietary Avid format. The source code for the Avid DNxHD codec is freely available from Avid for internal evaluation and review, although commercial use requires Avid licensing approval. It has been commercially licensed to a number of companies including Ikegami, FilmLight, Harris Corporation, JVC, Seachange, EVS Broadcast Equipment.[3]


DNxHD was first supported in

A standalone QuickTime codec for both Windows XP and Mac OS X is available to create and play QuickTime files containing DNxHD material.

Since September 2007 the open source FFmpeg project is providing 8-bit VC-3/DNxHD encoding and decoding features thanks to BBC Research who sponsored the project and Baptiste Coudurier who implemented it. In July 2011 FFmpeg added 10 bit encoding support.[5] DNxHD support is included in stable version 0.5 of FFmpeg, released on March 10, 2009.[6][7] (ffmpeg -i -c:video dnxhd -b:v -an This allows Linux non-linear video editors Cinelerra and Kdenlive to use DNxHD.

At the April 2012

Technical details

DNxHD is very similar to JPEG. Every frame is independent and consists of VLC-coded DCT coefficients.

Header consists of many parts and may include quantization tables and 2048 bits of user data. Also each frame has two GUIDs and timestamp. The frame header is packed into big-endian dwords. Actual frame data consists of packed macroblocks using a technique almost identical to JPEG: DC prediction and variable-length codes with run length encoding for other 63 coefficients. DC coefficient is not quantized.

The codec supports alpha channel information.


The DNxHD codec was submitted to the SMPTE organization as the framework for the VC-3 family of standards. It was approved as SMPTE VC-3 after a two year testing and validation process in 2008 and 2009:[1][2][9][10]

  • SMPTE 2019-1-2008 VC-3 Picture Compression and Data Stream Format
  • SMPTE 2019-3-2008 VC-3 Type Data Stream Mapping Over SDTI
  • SMPTE 2019-4-2009 Mapping VC-3 Coding Units into the MXF Generic Container
  • RP (Recommended Practices) 2019-2-2009 VC-3 Decoder and Bitstream Conformance


External links

  • Avid DNxHD Codec Features
  • Avid Codec Downloads
  • Ikegami Editcam press release
  • MainConcept VC-3 SDK
  • Nethra VC-3 codec chip
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