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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 June 13th, 2008, 04:08 PM   #46
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a compression scheme is agnostic... it's merely a method of taking data and compacting it, for better or worse. HD video has a LOT of data, and compression is required, it's just a matter of how to do it. Compression schemes typically evolve to cram more data into smaller file sizes. Hardware horsepower compensates when decompressing takes more "oomph", but software optimization can also improve things enormously.

AVCHD will mature - the SR11 image quality in most situations is noticeably better than HDV from my comparisons, as annoying as that may be to hear. The big problem appears to be that people are having trouble with the workflow and frankly the software is still catching up.

Maybe it's from fiddling with HDV and having to figure out how to make the end results look good (it can be made to look like crap too), but I've had great results with AVCHD - both to SD-DVD and the tests I've run to Hi-Def (1080) files played back on my computer (darn, I wish bluray would come down!!!).

Am I correct that BluRay is using more or less the same compression scheme as AVCHD? Or is it just that it can recognize and play the AVCHD files? I thought when rendering output in Vegas, it was more or less ready to go to BR...
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Old June 13th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #47
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Ken -- I went to the Sony site and WOW. For about $2100 I can buy a 2.5GHz T9300 (6MB cache), with 4GB, 512MB graphics VRAM, 250GB at 7200RPM, and a BD burner!

Since the Sony has an HDCP HDMI connector you can play BD disks which -- if you only very occasionlly play DVDs -- eliminates the need to buy a BD player. That brings the price to about $1800.

Compared to a MBP it has 2 cons: the screen is only 1280x800 which is good for my eyes but bad to hold an NLE GUI. It weighs 6.1# vs 5.4# for my MBP.

However, I'm "running" EDIUS 4.6 under VMware in a 1280x800 window so I guess it can be done.

Don't think my version of Avid MC will run under Vista, but supposedly -- Vista has an install XP option.

Good thing we had our "debate" because you made me look at what Sony is doing. Unless Apple releases BD burners soon -- and at a $2500 price point -- they've lost a customer. As I said, I've got no problems using XP.

PS1: The Dells were far more expensive. Like $2700!

PS2: There is a big negative to Apple I never mentioned. They release a new QT every month. Companies like Avid refuse to requalify and so you can't upgrade QT. Apple does the opposite, they tend to force you to update to use some Apple software like iLife.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 06:40 PM   #48
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Interesting stuff Steve. Yeah, to be honest I've never seen the 'bargains' with Dells. Some of my friends love them, but whenver I've looked, they're more expensive! As I mentioned, my experience with Dells has not been great, so I'd never buy one myself. Right now Sony seems to be making the right moves with computers. I was surprised when they got out of the desktop business. That 9300 should be fast and that price seems really good!

I didn't know that about QT, interesting. As far as BR is concerned, I've got playback capability with my Panny BD30, but no burning capability. Right now that's not too important for AVCHD since you can burn these HD files on a regular DVD-R at the same quality. Very few people are bothering with burning BR disks since DVD-Rs are so much cheaper. You get less time, but for most people the capacity is fine.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 09:38 PM   #49
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That 9300 should be fast and that price seems really good!.
Looked at the Pinnacle site -- they say AVCHD requires a 2.66GHz. I assume Edius will be the same. So that increases the price to $2400 with 4GB. Still not bad. And, still cheaper than Dell. Thank you for the tip!

PS: Just read another QT -- 7.7 is coming in a few weeks. They just put-out 7.5! Why? Support for all the iTunes crap and iPhone. Under XP I run the QT alternative -- although I noticed Edius installed some version of QT. But, as long as I don't load iTunes -- I'm safe.

Everything else is MS (Office) or Adobe. Not hard to switch back.

PS: Pinnacle Studio 12 actually looks very very good, but the review does mention crashes.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #50
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AVCHD Editing System

I'll go out on a limb here and recommend that you build your own system! Look at the following and read both the DIY-5 and DIY-6 articles. http://www.videoguys.com/DIY.html

I built the DIY 5 system last year and it is a fantastic system. The comparable system at Dell was approx. 5K! I invested about $1500 for the entire system. And today, the processors, hard drives, memory, and motherboards are MUCH cheaper.

I picked up the processor for $400 (Q6700), $200 off the list price of $600. I saved about 20% form the rest of the components because MicroCenter was running a BYOC sale that weekend.

I use Liquid 7 (e?), Vegas 8 Pro, or Pinnacle Studio Ultimate (I am waiting for v12; it's back ordered) depending on what I am doing. I have no problems with editing by HD footage (I have the SR1. I think that I was the only one to buy one! That's the problem with being an early adopter!) or playing it on the computer. When I want to create an output disk, I start it and let it run over night.

I love Liquid but have been using Vegas more and more. Once you get used to it, it is really a great editor.

But, anyway, the intent of this post was to introduce the idea of DIY. Try it! You will never be satisified with an out-of-the-box system again. I am just about to build my second system upgraded to the DIY 6 version. I can't wait.

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Old June 15th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Larry Pollis View Post
I'll go out on a limb here and recommend that you build your own system! Look at the following and read both the DIY-5 and DIY-6 articles. http://www.videoguys.com/DIY.html

I built the DIY 5 system last year and it is a fantastic system. The comparable system at Dell was approx. 5K! I invested about $1500 for the entire system. And today, the processors, hard drives, memory, and motherboards are MUCH cheaper.

I picked up the processor for $400 (Q6700), $200 off the list price of $600. I saved about 20% form the rest of the components because MicroCenter was running a BYOC sale that weekend.

I use Liquid 7 (e?), Vegas 8 Pro, or Pinnacle Studio Ultimate (I am waiting for v12; it's back ordered) depending on what I am doing. I have no problems with editing by HD footage (I have the SR1. I think that I was the only one to buy one! That's the problem with being an early adopter!) or playing it on the computer. When I want to create an output disk, I start it and let it run over night.

I love Liquid but have been using Vegas more and more. Once you get used to it, it is really a great editor.

But, anyway, the intent of this post was to introduce the idea of DIY. Try it! You will never be satisified with an out-of-the-box system again. I am just about to build my second system upgraded to the DIY 6 version. I can't wait.

Lp
I used to be a huge proponent of building your own machines, but a year ago I bought a Q6600 quadcore system from dell for in the $600 range. I tried to piece together an equivalent system, but I couldn't come anywhere near their price doing so.

Companies like Dell and HP buy parts in such huge quantities that they can afford to sell systems at prices you could never build them for. The trick is to do your research and know which of their upgrades are overpriced so you can ignore them. Then you upgrade the system yourself. The only downside is Dell locks their motherboards from being overclockable, but for the money saved I think it's worth it.


Edit: After reading the context of the thread, I see where you're coming from. I can't imagine paying $2400 for a computer that's going to be outdated in two years. What I do is buy the barebones systems from dell when a deal comes along (watch http://slickdeals.net for a few weeks and one will pop up), then upgrade it myself. Dell charges way too much for RAM, hard drive, and graphics card upgrades. But be aware of the price/performance compromise. If you can get 90% of the performance for half the price, why bother with the upgrades?
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Old June 16th, 2008, 01:27 PM   #52
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If you look more closely, you'll see that Dells are miussing a lot of little things that don't get mentioned. I have some friends that swear by Dells, but they don't put demands on them either.

Things missing: No operating system disc - no easy recovery. Minimal expansion slots. Overclocking capability (My Q6600 runs 3.0 GHz). Slower bus or memory speeds. Video processing not optimal (I have Invidia 8800GTS). Minimal space for additional hard drives. Lacks multiple PCI-ex slots to run SLI or Crossfire. No floppy, parallel port, RS232, firewire, RAID capability, 8 channel audio, SPDIF in/out, 3GB/s SATA (up to 6 drives), only 2 memory slots, etc.

Not every homebuilt has all this, and not every Dell is lacking. I'm just saying there are many variables.

I have Q6600 @3 GHz, 4GB DDR2-6400, DVD-DL-etc, 2x750GB HDD, 8800GTS video, floppy, for less than $1100.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 06:55 AM   #53
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"Looked at the Pinnacle site -- they say AVCHD requires a 2.66GHz."

WHOOPS -- Pinnacle demands a 2.66GHz QUAD core for AVCHD!

That's not going to found on any laptop that uses a Mobil processor.

So a T9300 2.5GHz with 6MB of cache is the most effective solution. But, only if you give-up on REALTIME native AVCHD editing. So, EDIUS and Apple products, and Vegas with CineForm are the only practical choices.

RAM is interesting -- IF you can downgrade to XP (which Sony's BIOS seems to prevent) then 3GB is the max that can be used. With Vista, 3GB is still the maximum that can be used except the OS can fill the area between 3GB and the point where the VRAM and Devices use address space, with SMARTCACHE. So maybe a few hundred MB. This helps faster app loading but is claimed to cause constant disk activity. So most turn SMARTCACHE off. So 3GB is the maximum. System prices out at $2,000.

By the way -- while Sony shows the max VRAM as 512MB -- they never tell you it ships with only 256MB.

PS: Anybody looking at a Sony should Google a bit. Far too many horror stories. CS is considered the worst in the business. The whole Sony system is oriented to slick marketing and sales via Stores and SonyStyle. Systems die in 2 years. Matches my experience with Sony in pre-VAIO days. System started falling apart.

PS: The FZ is soon being replaced by the FW.
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Last edited by Steve Mullen; June 17th, 2008 at 08:32 AM.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 07:10 AM   #54
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Steve, I don't buy the issue of Sony reliability. My Vaios in the past have always lasted as has my son's Vaio laptop. In fact, I simply moved on to faster units as they still worked well when I ditched them. Most computers use essentially the same parts, so even from that standpoint it doesn't make sense.

My theory is validated by Consumer Reports 'frequency of repair' ratings. You can throw a blanket on all PC brands, they're all so close in reliability (see the June issue). Sony does better than average on laptops and falls midpack in desktops. The same is true of their ratings for 'customer service' based on reader's reports. There isn't a huge spread at all between the brands and HP is actually last.

As far as customer service is concerned, they all stink. I honestly can't recall ONE single occurrence with any brand of computer I've ever owned, where customer service solved the problem. I was always the one that wound up figuring it out using either my own persistance or some friend who was more computer saavy. I'd never buy a computer based on 'customer service'....there is none. The fact is these days, I never have cause to call the COMPUTER company for questions, it's invariably the SOFTWARE company. PCs are just too reliable today to use issues from years ago to condemn a company. Sony is very very solid just as most of the others.

As for VRAM, the Sony specs are very clear as to what each ships with. I don't know where you're seeing this or how you get this idea. I looked up a number of Sony Vaios and they all are quite explicit about what they ship with.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 07:21 AM   #55
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I second Ken's opinion.

I own a 16 inch Vaio laptop, now 4.5 years old - never seen anything better in that category, exceptional sharp screen, never had one problem with it although at times I abused it, had to reformat several times because I messed up the software. A friend of mine has two Vaio desktops, both oldish now, both working just fine.

Most manufacturers farm out their repair service, so it depends on who you come across. I also have a older Dell desktop, one of the famous ones with leaky caps. I found out there is a recall on those mother boards, called Dell, they gave me the local tech's phone number, I scheduled the repair for the next day, he came out at the promised time and replaced the mobo on the spot (maybe the power supply as well, I forgot). For free!

So again, it depends a lot on the local people you have to deal with.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 07:24 AM   #56
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Evin, that's why it drives me nuts how some people will generalize about a company like Sony. It's simply untrue. There are many things I wish Sony as a company would change, but reliability in video and computers is surely not one of them. ;)
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Old June 17th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #57
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PS: Anybody looking at a Sony should Google a bit. Far too many horror stories. CS is considered the worst in the business. The whole Sony system is oriented to slick marketing and sales via Stores and SonyStyle. Systems die in 2 years. Matches my experience with Sony in pre-VAIO days. System started falling apart.
Steve, please leave these sorts of smear comments out of your posts and no need to to argue the point. A reminder to all: let's post only constructive comments related to the topic of the thread.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 08:25 PM   #58
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These days, you really can't generalize on any of the major brands in Windows computers. They all pretty much have product lines that range from quite good to complete garbage.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 03:23 AM   #59
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AVCHD Editing: Hurdles and Nightmares

Just want to say that I've been using the Sony CX7 and TG1 and editing on my Mac - both iMac intel, and Mac Pro intel using iMovie 8 and FCP 6.

There were some issues when trying to transfer from the actual Mem Stick through a card reader - it was slow with iMovie and sometimes froze, especially with TG1. However connecting the TG1 through its USB dock to iMovie 8 was VERY smooth and the transfer was quick and seamless.

So my conclusion is: shoot mem sticks and if you need to, transfer them to a hard drive on the road but re-transfer them back to mem stick when you get home and then transfer to Mac via the Sony docking station. The best is just to shoot mem sticks and do the transfers direct when you get home. Sony is probably really happy that I now have 10 mem sticks ( a mix of 4GB and 8GB!).

I've had good results with CX7 and I was pleasantly surprised by TG1. The interesting aspect of TG1 is that with a simple adapter, you can actually monitor sound through the D connection.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 06:54 AM   #60
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SEE ATTACHMENT: Only Sony had a RED BOX (NEGATIVE) under CS. Only Sony failed to solve problems -- which is means they failed to do the very thing we contact CS for! Saying something is "bad" is not a smear if it's true.

And, I reported exactly what happened to my Sony.

Yes, this balances out the positive things I posted about the Sony VAIO. That's how the situation is. Both positive and negative.

PS: I'm still looking at the VAIO.
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