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Old May 4th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #1
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CS4 Glitchy With AVCHD

I'm having trouble with CS4 and native AVCHD files. When you drop them on the time line, playback is glitchy. Its like a stutter effect. The audio plays fine, but it seems the computer is having trouble processing all the video. This makes it difficult to edit.

The computer is a quad core Mac Pro 2.8 ghz with 10GB RAM. Mac OS X 10.5.6. I can transcode to ProRes and edit fine in FCP. However, I would like to try it on CS4 due to the native AVCHD files. (Not to mention Magic Bullet - that I just purchased - will not render the ProRes files).

Any suggestions on solutions? Maybe the CS4 update at the end of the month will satisfy the problem? Or do I still need to transcode to a different format for CS4?
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Old May 4th, 2009, 10:40 AM   #2
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AVCHD requires a lot of horsepower to edit native due to the complex nature of the codec. One thing you can do is adjust the quality of playback in the program monitor to draft or automatic and see if that helps playback.

What camera did the footage come from? I know that Panasonic has a program that will encode AVCHD footage from Panasonic cameras into DVCPRO HD footage - that should provide you something easier to edit.

As for the 4.1 update, I haven't heard if there will be any improvements in AVCHD handling...but I guess we'll see in a few weeks.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #3
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Thanks Eric.

The footage came from the HMC150. Beautiful footage. It is 1080 30p. I'm Mac based. I haven't heard if the DVCPro HD converter is for the Mac. I have seen talk about Toast doing a good job of converting. Does Adobe Media Encoder transcode files?
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #4
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Hi Brian,

I shot some test footage with the HMC-150 in the PH (highest bit-rate) mode, and even on my dual quad core workstation, it doesn't always play back smooth...the lesser bit rate modes on that camera seem to play back fine, so I would shoot with those modes and see how your performance changes in PPro. It is a great camera - some really great looking footage...to bad it's such a pain to edit with!

As AME doing the conversion, I would think that it would - never tried it though. And, yeah - the Panasonic conversion tool is Windows only...sorry!
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #5
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I've had problems running avchd files I converted to avis, but cs4 seems very happy with avchd cards direct, or from the files copied to the hard drive. I'm running a 3GHz dual processor and running AVCHD is pretty painfree. The only thing I do notice are odd little pixellated sections in the monitor window every now and then, but these appear to be display problems only.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:54 PM   #6
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The more I read the more I have found that most people are not leaving AVCHD in the native format. I have experienced this with Final Cut Pro. I have to trancode to ProRes. The footage is easy to edit in that codec. Long export times, but that is probably due to the length of the projects (usually 50 to 75 minutes) in 1920X1080 30p. I thought I would try CS4 due to workflow with After Effects and Encore.

I think it might be related to the 1080 30p in PH mode with the HMC. But the footage looks to good to change.

The other problem I have is I just purchased Magic Bullet Looks. It will not render 1920x1080 with the graphics card I have (but the native AVCHD files will render with Magic Bullet). If I change to an intermediate codec I'm guessing I will run into the same issue.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
The only thing I do notice are odd little pixellated sections in the monitor window every now and then, but these appear to be display problems only.
Right click in the Source panel and in the Program panel and choose Quality > Highest Quality to solve that issue.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:14 AM   #8
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Thanks Roger - these are the little gems that once you know, you kick yourself!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #9
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I tried lowering the quality in the source monitor. No help. Any other suggestions?
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #10
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Other than transcoding to some kind of EDITABLE format, no. AVCHD is unwieldy for any editinig app.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #11
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Jiri - What would you suggest with CS4 on a Mac for transcoding?

I've done ProRes with FCP and it works great, but I don't think it will work with CS4. Besides, I don't want to transcode with FCP and edit with CS4.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #12
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I'm confused - my experience is the opposite. Working with transcoded files is glitchy. Working with avchds is the same editing experience as working with SD. This is the oposite of the problems the OP is having, isn't it?
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:52 PM   #13
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Paul - Yes to answer your question. Are you Mac or PC based? What NLE are you using?

I cannot edit (without going crazy) native AVCHD files in CS4.

FCP won't edit native CS4 files. I have to transcode to ProRes. This process works fine.

The AVCHD files are from the HMC 150 at 1920x1080 30p recorded in the highest quality PH mode (about 21 mbps).
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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:03 AM   #14
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Brian, MPEGStreamclip should work just fine (and it can do batch encoding), I`ve tried it right now with some AVCHD clips. You can try tzranscoding to DVCPROHD, because Premiere CS4 has settings for that. I was able to do play this back realtime with my lowly dual core iMac. Files are huge - around a gig per minute, but hey - disk space is almost for free now.

I would suggest getting Cineform if you depend on AVCHD. Editing Cineform is a breeze.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 04:53 PM   #15
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I would agree. For complex editing Cineform will be much smother.

The transcoded avi files are 8x larger though. So you need a lot of fast disk storage.
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