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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old April 4th, 2008, 11:22 AM   #1
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Any AVCHD Cam Shoot 24p Without Pulldown?

I've not seen one, and was wondering if anybody is aware of one in the better cameras category?
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Old April 4th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by David Saraceno View Post
I've not seen one, and was wondering if anybody is aware of one in the better cameras category?
David, whether you consider it in the better category will depend on how much shooting you do in low light, but after shooting some clips with the Panasonic SD9 in a store last week, when I brought them home, it does appear that the video data in the 24P files is true 24P, not pulldown in 60i.

Since the AVCHD spec allows for true 24P, I'm not sure why all the manufacturers don't do this.

OTOH, if one of your main uses for the camcorder will be following the kids or grandkids around a marginally lit house, the SD9 in probably not your camera since its low-light capability is the least of the current crop of HD camcorders.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #3
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Any idea on how to import that SD9 footage into Final Cut Pro 6.0.2?

I can't find a way.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 06:53 PM   #4
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A lot of people are trying to find a way to get SD9 footage into FCP. It's not easy to get at on a PC either. I shot a few short clips with an SD9 at Circuit City recently. It took me a lot of screwing around to get the H.264 video stream re-wrapped in an AVI container to examine in VirtualDub. It does record 24p without pulldown, but I'd have to agree that it's not an indoor, around the house type camera at all.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 08:44 PM   #5
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SD9 24P files + low light

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Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
A lot of people are trying to find a way to get SD9 footage into FCP. It's not easy to get at on a PC either. I shot a few short clips with an SD9 at Circuit City recently. It took me a lot of screwing around to get the H.264 video stream re-wrapped in an AVI container to examine in VirtualDub. It does record 24p without pulldown, but I'd have to agree that it's not an indoor, around the house type camera at all.
I also shot some footage at the local CC this weekend. I am using Linux, primarily, and the files are also a challenge to edit there as well. I have to transcode them first, although I can preview them directly in ffplay.

Of course, this should all change in 6 months or so, as the software on all platforms begins catching up with AVCHD.

In terms of the low light performance, I played around a lot with that and found a few things. One was that 24P, as expected, did work noticeably better than 60i. The second thing I noticed was that even though auto-slow-shutter was turned on, for some reason the camera seemed to resist going to 1/24 in 24P mode, even in rather dim light. So, I put it in manual, set the shutter to 1/24, then dropped the gain by 6dB or so, and got a much nicer image. I have to admit, one nice thing about the Pana is the good manual control. So by using a combination of manual exposure and gain plus 24P, the "good zone" can be extended down by approximately 1-2 EV before the camera's overly aggressive NR starts kicking in.

Overall, I think it would work for my application, since 95+% of my use for this will be outdoor backcountry use, and with manual exposure and 24P, it should do OK in reasonably well lit indoor settings as well. In good light, for the level of image quality, you can't beat the size and weight for backcountry use.

Unfortunately, the store I went to still did not have an HF10 to look at and do an A/B comparison, so I will wait a bit longer to make a decision.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 11:47 PM   #6
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I found it quite difficult to use that little tiny joystick on the SD9. Did you find that troublesome, or is it just me?
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Old April 7th, 2008, 01:05 AM   #7
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I found it quite difficult to use that little tiny joystick on the SD9. Did you find that troublesome, or is it just me?
Well, it isn't ideal, but it isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be. One problem is that the store had the camera mounted on a security mount that was tethered to the bench by a string, so it was hard to hold the camera in exactly the way one normally might hold it.

The method I found that seemed to work the best was to cradle the camera with my left hand palm-up under the camera and then work the joystick with my left thumb. It was a little awkward with the security mount attached, but it seemed to work reasonably well. I'm used to holding my current camera that way because it has a viewfinder that I use more often than the LCD, but folks who are used to holding the edge of the LCD with their left hand might have more trouble adjusting.

One thing I remember that I thought might help improve the joystick is if the top of it were rubberized with some high friction rubber coating. I wonder if it would be possible to do something like that ones self?

Rant: Unfortunately none of these joysticks are perfect. I wish they would spend the extra few bucks to put a multipurpose ring and then pass those few bucks extra cost on to me. But it looks like joysticks are here to stay on consumer cams.

The zoom control also seemed a little awkward at first, being a slider instead of a rocker. It took a few tries to get a good slow crawl, but I got used to it, so it's probably OK.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 02:22 AM   #8
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They wouldn't take the camera off the tether for me at Circuit City, so that made things difficult for me as well. I wanted to be able to get some shots that reflected more realistic handling of the camera, not me hunched over sideways trying to shoot. I like the way you can set the zoom to a constant real slow speed on the HV20. I don't know if you can do that with the SD9. I was in a hurry that afternoon when I tried it out, aside from it being awfully awkward with the camera being tethered on such a short leash.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #9
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The battery didn't work at CC, but Costco next door had one, and I shot some footage in the store, obviously using just store light.

However, it repeatedly crashed iMovie 08 and FCP 6.0.2.

There is as utility that will transcode, but it is 8x slower than real time and runs $30.00

I'd love to see the footage, but I don't want to spend $30 just to see it.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #10
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The battery didn't work at CC, but Costco next door had one, and I shot some footage in the store, obviously using just store light.

However, it repeatedly crashed iMovie 08 and FCP 6.0.2.

There is as utility that will transcode, but it is 8x slower than real time and runs $30.00

I'd love to see the footage, but I don't want to spend $30 just to see it.
Lots of folks are complaining about this, seems like Panasonic should be bugging Apple to issue some updates.

There is a free utility that might help you at least preview the files. I'll explain why I say "might" below. The utility is ffplay and it is part of the FFMPEG package. This is primarily a Linux program, but I believe there are both Windows and OS X ports available. There are a couple of caveats, hence the "might": One is that for me, only the very most recent version works, and I'm not sure if that version has been ported to Windows or Mac yet, but it's free so you could try, assuming you brought some footage home on a card. The second thing is that it only seems to play the 24P files properly - 60i files look very blocky and broken up whenever there is motion. The third thing is that it doesn't quite play back at full speed even on my 2GHz core duo laptop, but that's not really a big deal for getting an idea of how the camera performs.

Another free option (which I use to make the files editable on Linux) is to use the freely available decoder, ldecod, made avaliable by the Fraunhofer Institute, to transcode to raw YUV, and then use FFMPEG to recode to something else. This works with all files, including 60i, but is very slow (~2-3 fps), takes a lot of temporary disk space, and a lot more complicated. It should also work on Windows and OS X.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #11
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They wouldn't take the camera off the tether for me at Circuit City, so that made things difficult for me as well. I wanted to be able to get some shots that reflected more realistic handling of the camera, not me hunched over sideways trying to shoot. I like the way you can set the zoom to a constant real slow speed on the HV20. I don't know if you can do that with the SD9. I was in a hurry that afternoon when I tried it out, aside from it being awfully awkward with the camera being tethered on such a short leash.
I also asked, and they also refused. In my case the tether was long enough that I could get the camera up to eye level, but it was under a lot of tension, and was still awkward. I don't believe you can limit the zoom speed, but I didn't really look.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 01:46 AM   #12
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Another free option (which I use to make the files editable on Linux) is to use the freely available decoder, ldecod, made avaliable by the Fraunhofer Institute, to transcode to raw YUV, and then use FFMPEG to recode to something else. This works with all files, including 60i, but is very slow (~2-3 fps), takes a lot of temporary disk space, and a lot more complicated. It should also work on Windows and OS X.
Well, I'm a Linux user too, but I don't think I would do that, because some picture quality is lost at every transcoding.

I purchased the HF100, it will arrive soon. I'll try the video editing app provided with the camcorder, to see if it runs on Linux under WINE. If not, I'll just reboot and use Windows for editing. I don't like that, but I've no choice.

Keep an eye on Kdenlive, at some point not too far in the future, it will be able to edit AVCHD.

http://www.kdenlive.org/
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Old April 8th, 2008, 12:51 PM   #13
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Well, I'm a Linux user too, but I don't think I would do that, because some picture quality is lost at every transcoding.
Well, it depends. If you transcode to a lossless codec, like huffyuv or FFV1, you won't lose any quality. The video editor has to do this anyway when it renders, unless you're rendering back to the exact same format as the source and haven't attached any filters or effects. Kdenlive supports these codecs since it is based on FFMPEG.

Kdenlive is off to a good start, but it still crashes too much, and is missing some important (for me) filters and effects, but I'm looking forward to it becoming more usable soon.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #14
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I have to ask how Panasonic intended a user to edit this footage if no NLE on either platform can access it reliably.

Kinda of defeats the purpose.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 06:35 PM   #15
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I have to ask how Panasonic intended a user to edit this footage if no NLE on either platform can access it reliably.

Kinda of defeats the purpose.
Take this with a grain of salt, because I'm not a regular Windows user, but on Windows, I think I have read that the most recent versions of Vegas can load Panasonic AVCHD files. I'm not sure what choices there are on the Mac. If FCP and iMovie are the only choices, the only option might be first transcoding until the situation changes, as it is for Linux and Windows NLE's that don't yet have good AVCHD support.

Although annoying, this is a transitional time for AVCHD. Things should be a lot better on all platforms in the coming months.
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