Well, this seems to be my month for dealing with non-standard files.

This time I've been handed a video file with SMPTE 302m 7.1, 20 bits, PCM (Little) audio.

I wanted to work with it in VideoReDo but I got the message that SMPTE 302m is only handled by their pro version, which is $300.

I recontained the video file in XMedia Recode, stripping the audio, just to make sure there was no problem with the video as well, which is h.264 High 4:2:2@L4) (4 Ref Frames). Well, there was. When I tried pulling in the video only file into VideoReDo I got the message that there were "No PIDs specified when trying to open a transport stream," whatever that means.

So I recontained it as an MP4, which I gather does not use PID's, and got a different message: "H264 files with 4:2:2 chroma or high bit depth are only supported in VideoReDo Pro."

I've heard Solveig's Splitter is another smart render program that can handle a wide variety of exotic formats. I installed the free evaluation version of Splitter and attempted to pull in the file. The file seemed to pull in fine, so that makes Solveig a little stronger than VideoReDo perhaps. But I then bumped into a problem: No audio.

I made an audio-only file in XMedia Recode, again recontaining with no reprocessing. It appeared to pull in fine with Solveig. But when I dragged it onto the timeline, Solveig crashed.

Back a hundred years ago, when I was first in the market for a smart render editor, I narrowed it down to TMPGEnc Smart Renderer versus VideoReDo, and I finally chose VideoReDo, since it was able to deal with some files I had which Smart Renderer could not handle.

Was it time for me to take a second look at Smart Renderer?

I installed the free 30-day version of Smart Renderer and tried it again. The video came in and would play.

And again, no audio.

So then I made video only and audio only files, to see what would happen. Smart Renderer played the video only file back fine. It refused to bring in the audio only file at all.

So then I reprocessed the 302m 7.1 audio as AAC. I discovered that neither Smart Renderer nor Splitter would accept anything larger than six-channel audio, meaning either 6.0 or 5.1. The original 7.1 file had no audio at all in channel 6 for some reason, meaning there were seven active channels. Since my limit was six channels, I had to sacrifice one of them. That made no sense aesthetically, so I made the brute force decision to sacrifice both of the back channels and keep the dead channel (for some reason XMedia Recode would not cooperate in terms of my channel routing when I tried for a five-channel recode).

Well, yeah, that's a solution, kinda sorta. If I accept that solution, then I go with either Smart Renderer or Solveig. Which one? Well, Smart Renderer can mix and match files with different codecs, which is a common occurrence with me, and it can handle h.265 which Solveig cannot (though they've been claiming for a while that's on the way). So, if there's no way to keep the audio intact, I guess I'll put down the $70 and get Smart Renderer.

So there it is. I need a smart render editor that can handle a 4:2:2 20 bit 7.1 SMPTE 302m audio file. VideoReDo can do it for $300. Solveig and Smart Renderer can handle the video but not the audio. Is there a smart render editor that can handle both?