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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old June 6th, 2008, 11:23 AM   #1
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Bext Way To Import AVCHD from Panasonic SD5

I'm very new to video editing. I've looked at the software that was bundled with the Camcorder I just purchased a Panasonic HDC-SD5 and I see that it only converts to MPEG2.

I want to be able to edit in Premier Pro (I'm used to abobe software, being a long time Photoshop user). What is the best format to import the video to?

More importantly, what is the best way to actually import from the Camcorder? I have a dedicated card reader built into my PC but when I import using the bundled software it adds loads of folders and I have to go down several levels to find the files I wish to add. Is there a way to import only the video files to a root folder and not a 6 or 7 layer down folder?

I'm a little confused at all the software options, formats etc and any assistance people could give (in laymans terms) will be very much appreciated.

Rich
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Old June 7th, 2008, 03:14 AM   #2
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I use an SDHC card reader that plugs into a USB port and open that up with Windows Explorer, go down the folder structure until I wind up in the STREAM folder where the .MTS files are.

Copy those over to where my NLE can find them and go to work.
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Old June 7th, 2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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I have the SD5, and here's a couple of things I've found working with the footage:

1) As Bruce says, you can get directly to the .MTS files (the actual video files!) if you open in Windows Explorer.
However, if you don't use the Panasonic HD Writer 2.0 software to transfer the complete folder structure, then you won't be able to transfer the AVCHD footage back to the SDHC card, so that you can replay your footage, via the camera, to an HDTV via the HDMI port.
Not a problem if you don't need to!

2) The 'save as MPEG2' option in HD Writer transcodes your files to standard definition Mpeg2, fo easy editing in Premiere, and burning to standard def DVD. But be warned that there is a bug in that part of the software, which produces a very weird audio track as part of the MPEG2 file. Very few players can play it.You can fix it using AoA Audio Extractor, and re-encoding it, but it's a pain!

Panasonic do not have a fix at the moment, and refuse to let you upgrade to the HD Writer 2.5 (as supplied with the SD9), even though that has the problem fixed!

3) If you want to edit your footage as Hi Def, then it gets a bit more complicated.
Premiere Pro doesn't currently support AVCHD, so you will have to transcode to something else, to be able to edit in Premiere. The latest version of CS3 supports DVCPROHD, and there is a free AVCHD to DVCPROHD converter program available form Panasonic.
You could transcode to Canopus HQ. The AVCHD2HQ converter software is a freebie, but you will have to purchase one of the Canopus products to get a legit version of the encoding Canopus HQ codec. And that's not going to be a cheap option! But you can edit the footage, as HD, in earlier versions of Premiere.

Still not easy to edit AVCHD at the moment. Most NLE programs that can import it turn it into something else to allow you to edit (although apparently Pinnacle Studio 11 handles it without transcoding?).

Studio 12 is imminent --now whether that provides the holy grail of easy editing for AVCHD.....?
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Old June 7th, 2008, 05:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post


Panasonic do not have a fix at the moment, and refuse to let you upgrade to the HD Writer 2.5 (as supplied with the SD9), even though that has the problem fixed!
That kind of attitude on their part would tend to keep me from considering Panasonic products in the future although I've liked their camcorders in the past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
Most NLE programs that can import it turn it into something else to allow you to edit (although apparently Pinnacle Studio 11 handles it without transcoding?).
Not just "apparently". I'm working on a project shot with Canon's HF100 and have been editing the AVCHD files in Studio 11.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post

Studio 12 is imminent --now whether that provides the holy grail of easy editing for AVCHD.....?
The big change over Studio 11 is that 12 will fully support BluRay authoring to BD media. Right now the best 11 can do in that arena is to burn edited AVCHD to a BD compliant format on standard DVD with a couple of limitations.
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