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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.


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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:23 AM   #16
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I downloaded a couple of those clips, and the images look SD soft to me.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
AVCHD is not going to be EZ to edit until we all have 3GHz QUAD core computers -- and it will still be SLOW to edit until one gets a pair of QUAD core chips
Hi Steven,
Thanks for your reply... and I know you're right about all of this, but boy, does it ever have me scratching my head... why can I so easily import 35Mbps clips from my Sony EX-1, and then have trouble importing clips from something nowhere near as good. I realize it's simplistic of me to think that just because a little Sony SR12 is small doesn't mean the clip-size is... anyway, it's still kind of counter-intuitive to me...

Now in fact I was able to import one of the Samsung's mpeg clips directly into Avid Media Composer, and I liked being able to do that.
But you're saying, I think, that I could use iMovie to convert a Sony SR12's clips (or the Canon HF10's clips) to something I could then import? Would the quality be better than the Samsung's? Would it take a lot more time to do it this way?
Thanks for your advice,
Malcolm
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 09:10 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Hi Steven,
Thanks for your reply... and I know you're right about all of this, but boy, does it ever have me scratching my head... why can I so easily import 35Mbps clips from my Sony EX-1, and then have trouble importing clips from something nowhere near as good. I realize it's simplistic of me to think that just because a little Sony SR12 is small doesn't mean the clip-size is... anyway, it's still kind of counter-intuitive to me...

Now in fact I was able to import one of the Samsung's mpeg clips directly into Avid Media Composer, and I liked being able to do that.
But you're saying, I think, that I could use iMovie to convert a Sony SR12's clips (or the Canon HF10's clips) to something I could then import? Would the quality be better than the Samsung's? Would it take a lot more time to do it this way?
Thanks for your advice,
Malcolm
My story on H.264 just arrived in the August issue of Broadcast Engineering and it details HOW h.264 is an amazingly powerful codec. But, it is VERY complex and requires very hi-performance chips in camcorders and BD disc players. It just is NOT a codec that can be used with today's computers.

In fact, it is a crazy development. Assume you buy an AVCHD camcorder that can average 21Mbps. It still will provide LESS visual quality than your EX-1 running "old fashioned" MPEG-2 at 35Mbps. So we are have a codec that offers us no greater image quality even at it's maximum!

The only thing it offers is a slightly lower data rate. But, with $1,000 camcorders offering 120GB -- who cares about the difference between 21Mbps and 32Mbps?

And, the price we pay for the UNNEEDED storage efficiency is a codec that won't be able to be edited like MPEG-2 for several more years -- perhaps half a decade! CLEARLY, the Japanese did NOT consider editing to be part of their goals for this new format.

What I don't understand is why, given "HDV" can be written to disk AND that it can scale-up to 30Mbps (JVC HD7), Sony developed AVCHD? The codec in my "old" HD7 beats any shipping AVCHD camcorder. Sony could have done what JVC did -- stick with MPEG-2.

The only advantage of 24Mbps is with SD cards. If that was the goal -- then Sony made the same error as Panasonic did with P2 -- introduced a format 5 years before the storage media was cheap as tape so it can be used once.

PS: to top it off -- Panasonic's AVCHD camcorders get terrible reviews. And, all the manual controls have ben stripped away from Sony. Frankly, the Japanese are repeating every error the US car companies made in staring in the late 60's. AVCHD makes as much sense as "fins" on a car. Do anything possible via MARKETING to get customers to buy the next model even though it offers no real benefit. And, just like GM today -- Sony os losing money.
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 12:06 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
But, it is VERY complex and requires very hi-performance chips in camcorders and BD disc players. It just is NOT a codec that can be used with today's computers.
How about this - the Toshiba Qosmio G55 with "Quad Core-HD processor", which basically is a Cell processor used in PS3. They promise a reduction in rendering time by a factor of 6 (though did not specify compared with what... ). The price is not too scary either.

http://explore.toshiba.com/laptops/qosmio/G50

Wonder why Sony has not come up with something similar sooner.

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What I don't understand is why, given "HDV" can be written to disk AND that it can scale-up to 30Mbps (JVC HD7), Sony developed AVCHD?
One reason could be the fact that HDV is limited to 1440x1080i, while AVCHD can go all the way to 1920x1080p and with 5.1 audio. We all know the resolution figure does not represent the picture quality the camcorder can produce, but it does mean A LOT in the consumer market. The way they can boost "True HD", and can convince people to "upgrade".

Last edited by Vince Koo; August 2nd, 2008 at 01:10 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 03:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
AVCHD is Sony/Panasonic marketing name for MAIN or HIGH PROFILE H.264 multiplexed into a Transport Stream that has 4 extra bytes. The Samsung is not going to be any easier to edit. In fact, depending on the NLE it might not be possible to edit: Vegas still doesn't edit Panasonic AVCHD.

When writing my SR12 book I found iMovie 08 and Media Composer worked very well together.

But, AVCHD is not going to be EZ to edit until we all have 3GHz QUAD core computers -- and it will still be SLOW to edit until one gets a pair of QUAD core chips.

That's a lot of compute power for editing a "consumer" format. Of course, Japan doesn't make any money on NLEs. I predict they will introduce BD recorders with a harddisk that includes editing software.

In fact, the camcorders already have editing software built-in. They know the vast majority of consumers only need to delete clips, trim clips, and place them into the correct order. Then burn your playlist to BD.
In a way, I'm surprised no one makes a consumer editing package that only allows cuts between each GOP. Thus, when the final result is produced, there's no re-rendering required, the only thing the software would need to do is copy each GOP into the final sequence.

I assume there's a bit more than that, but I'm sure that such a simple package would take far less processing power (and time) than the current editing packages.


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Old August 2nd, 2008, 04:23 PM   #21
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...One reason could be the fact that HDV is limited to 1440x1080i, while AVCHD can go all the way to 1920x1080p and with 5.1 audio. We all know the resolution figure does not represent the picture quality the camcorder can produce, but it does mean A LOT in the consumer market. The way they can boost "True HD", and can convince people to "upgrade".
HDV specifications are limited to 1440x1080, but there's no reason it can't be "upscaled" to 1920x1080, like "upscaling" to 30Mbps or more (either does not strictly conform to HDV specs). MPEG-2 compression is not limited to 1440x1080 resolution or 24Mbps. There's nothing to prevent recording 5.1 sound either (again, of course, that would not conform to the HDV spec either).

What Steve is pointing out is that Sony could have developed a format using MPEG-2 video compression (similar to, but exceeding the limits of the HDV specifications), rather than develop a new (and very different) format using MPEG4 AVC.

A format using MPEG-2 video compression (and whatever audio), that has a total maximum bitrate around 30-35Mbps (or even a little more perhaps) could be quite workable with Class-6 SDHC too. There really wasn't a compelling need to use a video codec, that requires more horsepower to edit gracefully than what we have available with today's mainstream desktop computers.
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