Grass Valley HQX Codec
High Quality Intermediate Codec

In any modern media production environment, you will almost certainly come across many different types of video formats. How these formats differ from one another is often based on the way the video signal is compressed in order to make it play back smoothly on a computer or other device. A codec is the key to deciphering each video format in order to achieve this.

Most codecs and their proprietary derivatives are created with only acquisition and delivery in mind, and achieve their efficiency by removing quite large chunks of temporal and color information. Also, for the most part, they are designed to run on a dedicated chip, not a computer, which means that they often take considerably more power to compress, than to decompress, making editing these codecs a heavy load for most computers.

This is why intermediate codecs exist—as a compromise between uncompressed (high data-rate) video and long-GOP acquisition and streaming codecs (low data-rate, high compression). Specifically designed for editing and post-production, an intermediate codec:

  • Can withstand re-encoding without significant quality loss
  • Is built for high speed and low-CPU usage
  • Allows accurate inter-frame cuts (not grouped around keyframes)
  • Has well-defined chroma characteristics


Grass Valley HQX is an intermediate codec that has been designed to fulfill all of the above criteria and more. It is available for both Windows and Macintosh platforms, handles many different video resolutions up to and including 8K (DCI), incorporates an alpha channel for graphics handling, and is available in 8-bit and 10-bit versions.

Grass Valley HQX is a key component to resolving the many workflow and production issues faced today by content creators the world over.

  • Supported formats
    • DCI 8K, DCI 4K, QFHD, 2K, full HD, SD and others from 24 x 24 to DCI 8K resolutions
    • 60p, 60i, 30p, 24p and other frame rates
  • 10-bit, 8-bit variants
  • Alpha channel
  • Windows and Macintosh platform support
    • QuickTime, AVI, MXF wrapper
    • Encode and decode in either Macintosh or Windows applications
  • High quality
    • 4:2:2 color space
    • VBR bit-rate setting (maximum 768 Mb/s)
    • Intra-frame compression
    • Superior generation tolerance with little deterioration
  • Free distribution codec
  • Resolution: 24 x 24 to 8192 x 4320 (DCI 8K)
  • Frame rate: unlimited
  • Color depth:
    • 8-bit
    • 10-bit
  • Color space: YUV 4:2:2
  • Alpha channel: Yes
  • Wrappers:
    • AVI
    • QuickTime
    • MXF
  • Compression:
    • VBR (45 to 768 Mbps)
    • Intra-frame
  • Supports user custom settings

The Benefits of HQX White Paper

This paper discusses the Intermediate Codec solutions available from several vendors which are then compared in terms of picture quality, flexibility and suitability for use with graphics as well as video. In like-for-like tests, the Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, HQX Intermediate Codec offers comparable picture quality and is shown to have superior multigenerational performance. When combined with frame rate and resolution flexibility, plus built-in alpha channel support, this paper supports the conclusion that HQX is the best choice for creative editing.

Posted Sep 26 2014 (GVB-1-0027A-EN-WP) File Size: 1.1 MB

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