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Old June 8th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Pierre Barberis View Post
Hi Steve,
Thanks for your opinions,very articulate.
My question to you is :
What is the Panasonic AG-150 you would kill for?
When i Google it, i find only batteries...
Could you post some URL ? Thanks in advance.
is called... AG-HMC150 they said will be out in Setember.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #17
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A few different things being discussed here

It seems to me that there are a few different things being discussed here.

When the first tapeless consumer camcorders were introduced a few years ago, they used different compression schemes, none of which were compatible with one another as I recall. Initially, I saw AVCHD as a standardised tapeless format, but strictly in the consumer space. Unfortunately, it took forever for NLEs to actually start supporting it. Now that we're on the third generation of consumer AVCHD gear, NLEs are finally getting there. On Windows, Sony Vegas Pro 8 (with its latest patches) does a good job. On the Mac, the latest version of FCP does a good job too. Of course, you need a capable machine to work with AVCHD but what else is new? Back when DV was introduced, you needed a fast machine (for the time) to capture DV without dropping frames. As Dave Blackhurst pointed out above, HDV was a pain when it first came out.

Concerning the gear itself, every AVCHD camera on the market is a consumer level camera. About three generations of consumer AVCHD gear have been released in probably less than a couple of years. The latest ones offer higher bitrates than the previous generation, which presumably equates to better image quality. Nonetheless, this is all going to be limited by the rest of the camera. So a comparison of a Canon HF10 to a Canon HV30 is certainly warranted, whereas comparing it to a Canon XH-A1 most certainly not warranted.

It seems to me that manufacturers are getting experience with the codec at the consumer end of the market before moving it up to prosumer. We're seeing the first evidence of this with the Panny AG-HMC70 (in that has "real" audio connections and is shoulder mount) and more evidence with the to be release Panny AG-HMC170 (24Mbps peak, manual controls, etc.)

Is it really a surprise to anyone that the prosumer gear costs >$2k? When the Sony HVR-FX1, the first 3-chip HDV camcorder, was introduced I think it cost about $3k. With inflation, the weak dollar, etc. $4k+ isn't unreasonable for a prosumer camera based on the newest technology. Like everything else in technology, either the price will go down for similar performance (as we see in the consumer space), or more likely the price will stay around the same for much better performance in time to come (at the prosumer level).

Finally, if the tapeless aspect of AVCHD appeals to you but the rest of it doesn't then don't use it! Look at one of the tapeless recorders available for HDV camcorders. The Sony HVR-Z7U comes with one, Edirol is launching their F-1 and there are existing solutions on the market. Their advantage is that they're just putting the now commonly understood HDV stream onto random access media (flash or hard drive), so your existing workflow will be the same with the exception of the ingest phase, which will be faster.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 12:27 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
My perspective is that I think the idea of carrying around a camcorder in case something happens is a bit crazy. I don't need it to fit in a pocket. Any camcorder that small light simply CANNOT be held steady and keep a perfect widescreen framing.
Crazy of you to think that we all have only the same needs and desires in our cameras that you think we should have. That and glittering generalizations like those regarding Cineform, full manual control for consumer cams, and folks switching to Macs (I dunno, maybe I'm the only one who's not..although I haven't heard the PC industry has collapsed) are just prickly opinions that don't apply to a lot of people, myself included.

When I'm "serious" I set up my 2 XL H1's, lights, etc and edit on CS3 with Cineform. When I'm traveling or just taking quick casual shots of our daughter or our crazy puppy dogs (now there's the proper use of the word "crazy"), the new little HF10 I carry around is indispensable, and I can edit my footage using the post tools above. It's already gotten me many nice shots I never would have because you can't always carry an H1 on your shoulder. That's the currently available toolset I have to meet MY needs. If I'd happened to choose a Sony "pocket cam," same would be true. Crazy to call it crazy; works well for me. You do what works for you, but disparaging others' needs and ways of doing things isn't appreciated.

Each camera has its unique features and no camera has it all, and perfectly done at that. It's worthwhile to discuss the features, differences, and wish lists. Going negative is for politics, not cameras and workflows.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 03:08 PM   #19
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Well said Pete -

One cannot "argue" with unsupported statements put forward as "fact".

The VF on the SR11/12 tilts up for instance... I'd rather it pull out, but it is actually quite handy and usable, unlike that of the HV20/30 IMO and actual experience. Canon only "lost" a few $ in production costs by eliminating the VF - when I owned an HV20, I wondered why they bothered with a VF at all...

"Switching to Mac" - I guess if you believe the ad campaigns, sure... I won't anytime soon buy overpriced hardware to run fewer compatible programs... then again, I haven't bought into Vista either. A quad core maybe in the near future, but it won't cost me much!

A little economics lesson. $2k 10 years ago is $4K or likely even more when one considers inflation - so comparing all these cameras that can be had at well under the 1K price point TODAY (which means sub $500 cameras if you reverse the equation) with what today would be a V1 or equivalent is actually "crazy".

"CANNOT be held steady" - hmm, these small cams weigh FAR less than larger ones, and actually can be held quite steady and or stabilized simply for a LOT longer just because they are not going to result in user fatigue... 3 pound weight on your arm = user fatigue, fairly quickly... I owned the PV1000 version of the Panny EZ1. Great cam, but my CX7 will smoke it, at a far lower price and weight! Handheld can actually be a bit better because you're not fighting the inertia of the camera weight, which can work both for you and against you! YMMV, but handheld is ALWAYS problematic with HD, you just have to learn to adapt to make it work. I've got a couple simple inexpensive rigs that are only slightly larger than the cam, and help with stability when needed.

If crazy is having a camera that I can have with me anytime "something might happen", and will give truly stunning HD quality, not "cell phone video", well, call me crazy!! Have you ever actually TRIED one of these pocket rockets?? FWIW, I was about 99% sure they were a little wacky at first too...


All that said, I think the camera I've proposed, an SR11 with slightly larger form factor so you can have manual controls and bigger lens for better light gathering would be a category killer (including that new Panny that DOES look interesting). No doubt Sony could pander to the marketing and add 24P and 30P (it's likely nothing other than a firmware feature), I probably wouldn't use it... but they could bring it in in the sub 2k-2.5K price point (street, meaning 3-3.5K retail).

I'd expect announcements sometime in the near future, as there's a huge gaping hole in the Sony product line and both the CX7 and FX7 are discontinued... I'd expect Sony to release SOMETHING in both those categories - will be interesting to see what comes out.

For now, the SR11 is simply the best overall video quality I've ever had at a pretty sweet price point. It has it's flaws, but so has every camera I've tried along the way. The CX7 is close, and I'm sure if I tried the Canon versions I'd like them - they reviewed well, and the users here seem to be enjoying them a LOT - so at least all the "small cam loonies" are in good company!
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Old June 8th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
The SR12 may be equal to HDV -- but where are the manual controls? Where's progressive? Where's the real viewfinder? Where's the colored peaking? Where's the Expanded Focus that works while you shoot?
Steve, the SR12 does have a real viewfinder and its LCD display is of a higher rez than many prosumer cams. It does have manual controls, perhaps not as many as prosumer cams, but I think you have a tendency to mix up prosumer cams with high end consumer cams. The consumer Canons don't have all of these goodies either. Frankly I want those for work, but have no need for them for play. Two different markets even with the same person!! The SR12 meets most of its target audience. For me the bottom line for this target is picture quality pure and simple. I didn't like the Canons partly because of the total lack of a viewfinder.

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Form factor IS important -- but a Canon camcorder with NO VF? What's the point of hiking with a camcorder on nice day and then not being able to see what you are shooting. How can you frame and focus when the sun wipes out the LCD?
Ah, we've got an area of agreement!!! I am amazed by the people that claim even in bright sun they have no issue with LCDs. They must have superman eyes.

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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
Getting rid of a tape transport sounds good, but I've never had transport problem, but I have had flash cards lose EVERYTHING. And, my tapes are on my shelf -- my stills exist on HD drives all over the place. I've got no time to burn to BD -- even if Apple sold one. And the cost is huge compared to MiniDV tapes I can buy anywhere.
I think you're missing the point here. It's not that people have frequent 'problems' with tape transports, but the convenience of watching your videos INSTANTLY with no rewinding, instant access to ANY scene and no wear on tape heads can't be denied. These are simply facts and beyond dispute. You may find they have little value to you, but I'll tell you Steve, I'm having more fun watching my videos this way then I ever had with tape!

Oh, and let's not forget tape transport noise...totally absent on HD and memory stick cams. Again, an undeniable advantage.

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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
Yes the thumnails are neat, but I have that on my JVC HD7 that shoots 30Mbps MPEG-2. So it edits EZ. And, I've got full manual controls!

I'm still not seeing anyone answer -- can you do this: Realtime color correction, dissolves, wipes, 3D FX -- all in realtime with perfectly smooth 30fps playback. No rendering for anything? Somehow I doubt Pinnacle or Vegas can do this this with NATIVE AVCHD.

Please understand I'm not opposed to AVCHD. I would kill for the coming Panasonic AG-150. An LCD with waveform monitor. Real VF and real manual controls. And, it uses 21Mbps AVCHD. In other words -- I would choose the camcorder first. Then I'd find a way to edit.

It seems people have been sold AVCHD first. And, once they choose it they get a very restricted set of really awful camcorders. In 1980 my first camcorder offered ALL manual controls. The new AVCHD Canon's don't even have a cruddy little focus wheel.

So maybe I should gave asked -- how are folks actually able to shoot with these camcorders.
Sometimes you sound a bit like you're trying to find reasons NOT to switch to AVCHD. Been there done that. I sounded just like you a year or two ago. But then picture quality was nowhere near where it is today and was surely not in the same league as HDV. Today things have changed. And again, nobody is arguing the point on editing. But Steve, I bet I'm not alone in not editing most of my material when it's just for fun, just for family, just for vacations. And trust me, there will be editing solutions that will be every bit as convenient as HDV and at that point AVCHD will surpass even HDV in the ease of edit. Not today, but surely in the not too distant future. It's coming guy and you need to start mentally preparing for it.

When Canopus' Edius offers AVCHD native import and export, I just might do SOME editing. But even then, if it's not for work I simply won't edit my personal stuff as I do for clients. For me it goes beyond 'convenience' in terms of editing, it goes to desire. I'm perfectly content shooting and simply playing back in a convenience that no HDV cam can offer. :)

I'll also disagree with you strongly about people switching to Macs. If anything I see more people sold on PCs! I see more networks editing in the PC environment than ever before. I really truly think you're wrong. Again, this is not the past Steve. Today PCs offer a far far broader, more viable spectrum of great editing solutions than any Mac can ever hope to. I laugh at the number of people using Macs in a PC Windows mode because it works better for what they're doing. Macs became more 'usable' once they got away from their own processors and began using Intels. Pretty ironic I think. The ease of editing that Canopus' Edius offers and what to me is the fastest, real-time, mixed format editing solution around, exists only in the Windows environment. Macs? No thanks. If you love Final Cut, that's fine, it's a great editing solution. But try to venture beyond that and you kind of run up against a brick wall.

As they say in French, we shall agree to disagree on most points. :)
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Old June 8th, 2008, 07:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
...When Canopus' Edius offers AVCHD native import and export...
Ken, edius 4.6 can! i'm testing it and it seems to work really fine!
ciao!
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Old June 8th, 2008, 08:03 PM   #22
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I found an SR11 at Costco with a 90-day return. So it will be interesting to see if it is really as great as claimed. The flip-up VF makes a big difference as does the cam control wheely.

I'm not opposed to auto--in my reviews and book on the Sony V1/FX7 I kept telling people they should try auto because it REALLY worked! But folks are screaming about AF in the Z7 and EX1. So obviously Sony's latest models are not as good as the V1/FX7.

My questions are going to be, if Auto doesn't work perfectly:

1) it is critical to not have AF hunting during a shot -- so after focus has been found, one must lock it.

2) it is critical to not have the AE rapidly change during a shot -- so after exposure has been found one must lock it.

3) it is critical to be lock shutter-speed to 1/60s to 1/120th avoid strobbng on fast moving objects.

4) it is critical to not keep iris between f/2.8 and f/5.6 to keep maximum sharpness. It should never go fully open or to f/8!

These are the tasks that must be able to be done by a photographer verses a point-and-shooter. At this point I just don't see how all these can be done with one dial.

I can do all this with my $1300 JVC and with any PROSUMER camcorder. The fact that JVC can offer it means its not a matter of cost or size.

=======

About editing. I've got PC and Macs. And, run Windows on my Mac. I've got no problem with anything from UNIX onward. (OK -- I'll never use Vista.) But, I can tell you that in the USA sales of PCs have slowed while sales of Macs have zoomed. I haven't talked to anyone buying a new computer that wasn't going to buy a Mac. And, I've never been in a production suite in ANY kind of creative field that didn't use Macs. Even in India they are switching to Macs. I think you are all missing the fact that almost all video production except in NYC and Hollywood is done with FCP. And, those that don't use FCP use Avid MC on Macs. And, in the USA -- Macs don't cost more more.

When folks talk about $99 NLE's you've got to accept the fact that no pros use them. I'll admit I picked-up a copy of Pinnacle because it claims it can do everything, but I just can't believe it really works given Pinnacle's horrible history of buggy products. And, I've reviewed many of their products.

I just downloaded EDIUS 4.6 which I have always thought was the best NLE. If it can edit native AVCHD in RT -- that makes a big difference. But, for Mac users, the situation isn't good because all their NLEs convert AVCHD to something else wasting time and disk space.

PS: has anyone confirmed if you use theSR11 with SD cards -- does the HD fully shut-off. Like for sky-diving?
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Old June 8th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Lorenzo Asso View Post
Ken, edius 4.6 can! i'm testing it and it seems to work really fine!
ciao!
Hey Lorenzo, good to hear on the import side. I know that 4.6 can import AVCHD natively, but it still can't export AVCHD natively. I know that capability is coming, but I don't believe it's here yet. I think you need to export it as HDV.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 09:19 PM   #24
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About editing. I've got PC and Macs. And, run Windows on my Mac. I've got no problem with anything from UNIX onward. (OK -- I'll never use Vista.) But, I can tell you that in the USA sales of PCs have slowed while sales of Macs have zoomed. I haven't talked to anyone buying a new computer that wasn't going to buy a Mac. And, I've never been in a production suite in ANY kind of creative field that didn't use Macs. Even in India they are switching to Macs. I think you are all missing the fact that almost all video production except in NYC and Hollywood is done with FCP. And, those that don't use FCP use Avid MC on Macs. And, in the USA -- Macs don't cost more more.
Steve, more and more U.S. broadcasters are using Edius for HD editing. There's nothing faster, easier with this kind of depth. With Grass Valley's takeover of Canopus, the support is much greater and broadcasters are finding an attractive combo in both the Edius program and GV support.

In terms of who's buying what platform, you and I must be in different circles. Almost everyone I know is buying a PC. I simply can't see a reason for going to an inherently slower platform with far far less software support. IMO it makes no sense. Yes, their advertising is great, but every single time I've played with a Mac I just leave the Apple store shaking my head at the slowness of programs relative to a good speed PC. I've played with Final Cut Pro and to do simple operations on even a high speed Mac takes too long and pales by comparison to how Edius responds with even a more modest PC.

I don't want a computer for which I can simply say "no problems", but rather I want one that is fast, has unparrelled support, and isn't tied to just one manufacturer. Apple's insane policy of 'non-user replaceable batteries' on so many of their products is just one more reason Apple turns me off. I will never buy a product that I have to bring in for servicing to simply replace a battery!

No Mac in my future, but that's just my opinion.

Back to the SR11/12, it seems nobody can say for sure if the HD shuts down while using memory cards. Some say the HD is parked, but that's not enough apparently to ensure no damage while skydiving. So I can't answer your question with any certainty.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 11:41 PM   #25
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Without a doubt, there are professionals who use these cameras when they are the best tool available for the task. However, these little gems are primarily mass market ("consumer") gadgets. So I really don't see the point of gnashing our teeth over their limitations in a professional environment. Conversely, if we want to share good ideas about how one CAN make use of them for pro purposes, we're not wasting bits and bytes.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:29 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Pete Bauer View Post
Without a doubt, there are professionals who use these cameras when they are the best tool available for the task. However, these little gems are primarily mass market ("consumer") gadgets. So I really don't see the point of gnashing our teeth over their limitations in a professional environment. Conversely, if we want to share good ideas about how one CAN make use of them for pro purposes, we're not wasting bits and bytes.
Well said Pete.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 01:47 AM   #27
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Steve, more and more U.S. broadcasters are using Edius for HD editing.
Yes, there has been several large sales to NBC. But, that's about it. Canopus was sold because it couldn't sell enough units to stay in business. It's my favorite NLE, but I would never claim it is a widely used NLE. (By the way, the reason EDIUS is fast ain't because of the PC. It follows Storm Edit which was very coded. It screams on my MBP.)

However, there are close to a million users of FCP. If you monitor the pro lists -- Red, XDCAM HD/EX, DVCPRO HD, JVC 200 series -- you are not going to find but a tiny minority using anything but FCP or Avid MC. Like it or not -- pros just do not use consumer NLEs on PCs. (Vegas is an exception because of its support for XDCAM HD.)

By the way, a PC magazine tested laptops and found the MBP to be the fastest XP laptop -- running Boot Camp. It was also no more expensive. And, Apple beats every other company in reliability and service. So why buy anything else when all the creative (video, 3D, graphics) software runs on the Mac.

Moreover, Apple is the #1 seller of laptops and laptops are the hottest segment in the computer market. I'm not saying PCs are bad -- I'm saying Apple is rapidly growing its market share because PC owners are switching.

PS: If you go to the Edius site it seems AVCHD editing isn't really working. (I'm still not clear if one can edit natively or not.) If anyone has EDIUS working with the SR11 -- you should post how you are doing it.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 06:27 AM   #28
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Yes, there has been several large sales to NBC. But, that's about it. Canopus was sold because it couldn't sell enough units to stay in business. It's my favorite NLE, but I would never claim it is a widely used NLE. (By the way, the reason EDIUS is fast ain't because of the PC. It follows Storm Edit which was very coded. It screams on my MBP.).
True to an extent Steve. Edius has always stated that one of its major advantages is how well it scales with processor speeds. The better the computer the better the output. Yes this may be true of many editing apps, but Edius is particularly sensitive to improvements in your system. Remember too that the old Storm system was proprietary hardware & software based, but yet the speed of Edius today does not rely on proprietary hardware.

I also recall large sales to other broadcasters other than NBC (I can't recall which). Canopus' main problem has always been poor promotion. They had what IMO was the best editing product on the market, bar none, yet most people never heard of them. I think GV is doing a better job in this respect.

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However, there are close to a million users of FCP. If you monitor the pro lists -- Red, XDCAM HD/EX, DVCPRO HD, JVC 200 series -- you are not going to find but a tiny minority using anything but FCP or Avid MC. Like it or not -- pros just do not use consumer NLEs on PCs. (Vegas is an exception because of its support for XDCAM HD.)
I don't think we can classify Edius as a 'consumer NLE'. Yes Ulead, Pinnacle and such, but not Edius. I don't disagree that FCP is more widely used, but much of this entrenchment occurred PRIOR to the PC 'catch-up' in NLEs. People learned FCP, were sold on the product and as with most people using NLEs, they developed a loyalty and didn't want the hassel of having to learn a new program. However I've been seeing a number of people switching now that faster and equally competent PC programs exist.

The other issue is that nobody promotes products, any product, like Apple. Watching their Mac-PC ads, you'd think PCs lock up all the time, can't do anything properly and are simply antiquated dinosaurs. This might work with the great unwashed, but people who know computers know how goofy these ads actually are. Since Windows XP, lockups are almost a thing of the past and good editing apps rarely lock up themselves. For the rare times they do, autosave does its job very nicely. So IMO there's much less of a need for a Mac today in the NLE world than there ever was.

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By the way, a PC magazine tested laptops and found the MBP to be the fastest XP laptop -- running Boot Camp. It was also no more expensive. And, Apple beats every other company in reliability and service. So why buy anything else when all the creative (video, 3D, graphics) software runs on the Mac..)
Perhaps because there are still MORE editing choices on the PC? Perhaps because some PC-only editing solutions run faster on a PC? As far as I'm concerned Edius runs circles around FCP when it comes to speed and there's very little that I can't do with Edius. Speed is money guy. As I mentioned before, it amazes me at how slow FCP is on even the most powerful Mac for many operations. The kind of rendering that FCP requires should have been a thing of the past. It's not for me.

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Moreover, Apple is the #1 seller of laptops and laptops are the hottest segment in the computer market. I'm not saying PCs are bad -- I'm saying Apple is rapidly growing its market share because PC owners are switching.
You'll never impress me with marketing stats Steve. Using this logic we'd conclude that Mercedes and Lexus owners should switch to Chevy or Toyota since they dramatically outsell them. Sales does not always equate to quality...it never did and it never will. I'm certainly not saying Macs are bad, I'm just saying the #s don't equate to quality. Apple's ads do very well with kids since they're perceived to be the 'in' products. The kids represent Apple's biggest area of growth. I don't need to be among the 'in' crowd, been there done that. I'm old enough to know what I need and what works best for my needs. I simply don't fall prey to ads like this. Additionally, these kids will still have to retain familarity with the PC since the world and big business still uses PCs and not Apples. There are still tons and tons of software that simply don't run on a Mac.

I just bought my son a Sony Vaio laptop with a 2.4 gig T8300 processor. For fun I loaded Edius (yes, it's got the 'dreaded' Vista OS with SP1). But let me tell you, I was shocked at how beautifully this thing ran in general and how amazingly fast Edius ran on it! Edius never hiccuped and ran faster than it does on my editing PC. I did find one or two Edius features that didn't seem to run quite right, but considering there is no support for Vista, I was shockied at how well it ran. Total Vista support will soon be here for Edius. In general it looks like SP1 took care of many/most of the issues that people were having. It's also amazing to see how quickly virtually any ap launches. I am supremely impressed with this machine and more than pleasantly surprised with Vista at this point.

I showed it to a buddy who was considering a Mac and he walked away feeling there was absolutely no need for a Mac after seeing this machine. Sony laptop displays are second to none and the machine has some very slick features.

Quote:
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PS: If you go to the Edius site it seems AVCHD editing isn't really working. (I'm still not clear if one can edit natively or not.) If anyone has EDIUS working with the SR11 -- you should post how you are doing it.
Steve, Edius never claimed to totally support AVCHD. The latest version can import AVCHD natively but it has no provision to export AVCHD natively. You can export to HDV if you like and people are doing fine that way. As I said before, I don't edit my 'fun' footage so I have no first-hand experience with it for this purpose.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #29
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yes, you're right Ken. i've Edius in front of me, i can only import avchd.
but not a problem, in fact i usually export in loseless format so I can load my loseless rendered file in avisynth and megui and so i can obtain an h264 exactly as i want with all tuning I need! :-)
ciao!
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Old June 9th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #30
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Hi Lorenzo. Many people are importing AVCHD natively in Edius and simply exporting to HDV. They say they see no loss, but I'm not sure what they're viewing their results on. I'm not sure that would be the case if I displayed it on my 60" 1080p plasma. I think there would be some loss, perhaps minor. But fear not Lorenzo, your solution is a good one and from what I've heard Edius will have total support of AVCHD in the not-too-distant future! :)
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