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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 September 2nd, 2008, 12:53 AM   #31
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My comment about Nero 8 being cheap is based on the fact that it has 11 excellent programs for around $70, including burning software, an excellent audio editor which handles AC3 files, mp3, and virtually all other audio formats, some really decent disk drive test programs, backup software, and the 2 amazingly competent HD programs which both play and create outstanding AVCHD, BluRay, and pretty good HD DVD besides. I contrast that to my Final Cut Pro which costs $1300 and can hardly create AVCHDs.........
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:26 PM   #32
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My comment about Nero 8 being cheap is based on the fact that it has 11 excellent programs for around $70, including burning software, an excellent audio editor which handles AC3 files, mp3, and virtually all other audio formats, some really decent disk drive test programs, backup software, and the 2 amazingly competent HD programs which both play and create outstanding AVCHD, BluRay, and pretty good HD DVD besides. I contrast that to my Final Cut Pro which costs $1300 and can hardly create AVCHDs.........
I am really a complete novice when it comes to editing programs and the like, so please excuse this question, if it somehow seems way beyond the limits of stupidity.
I have Pinnacle 12, which to me, seems to work fairly well. How does Pinnacle compare to those programs you are using?

Thanks.
Mike
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 02:30 AM   #33
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Mike,

Pinnacle 12 Ultimate is a more refined and more feature-laden program in almost every respect Mike, when compared to Nero. It also has a lot of content available by download to expand the choices of menus, themes, etc, which Nero does not.

It lacks one key feature, hwoever, which makes it almost entirely unattractive to me personally, Specifically, it cannot "Smart Rednder" AVCHD content.

Unlike Nero, when making AVCHD or BluRay disks using Pinnacle, each and every frame is uncompressed and then recompressed. This produces 2 serious penalties:

1. The rendering time is very long, and can be many hours of waiting time, depending on your specific hardware.

2. The resulting image quality is degraded when compared side by side to the original captured AVCHD content. The effect is a smearing of fine detail and a small color change in both reduced intensity and altered color balance / hue.

Nero does not normally recompress, since it has "Smart Rendering" which directly outputs the original unmodified AVCHD frames / GOPs unless the user choses to make editing alterations. Even then the modified frames only occur in the changed areas, leaving the unchanged, non-modified areas precisely the same as the original camera video capture.

The only other difference is that Nero is considerably less expensive that Pinnacle.

In all fairness to Pinnacle, it is a very capable program with many more features than Nero, and makes very attractive disks.

Larry
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 05:42 AM   #34
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Mike,

Pinnacle 12 Ultimate is a more refined and more feature-laden program in almost every respect Mike, when compared to Nero. It also has a lot of content available by download to expand the choices of menus, themes, etc, which Nero does not.

It lacks one key feature, hwoever, which makes it almost entirely unattractive to me personally, Specifically, it cannot "Smart Rednder" AVCHD content.

Unlike Nero, when making AVCHD or BluRay disks using Pinnacle, each and every frame is uncompressed and then recompressed. This produces 2 serious penalties:

1. The rendering time is very long, and can be many hours of waiting time, depending on your specific hardware.

2. The resulting image quality is degraded when compared side by side to the original captured AVCHD content. The effect is a smearing of fine detail and a small color change in both reduced intensity and altered color balance / hue.

Nero does not normally recompress, since it has "Smart Rendering" which directly outputs the original unmodified AVCHD frames / GOPs unless the user choses to make editing alterations. Even then the modified frames only occur in the changed areas, leaving the unchanged, non-modified areas precisely the same as the original camera video capture.

The only other difference is that Nero is considerably less expensive that Pinnacle.

In all fairness to Pinnacle, it is a very capable program with many more features than Nero, and makes very attractive disks.

Larry
Thanks Larry for your response.

My workflow, such as it is, is as follows. I download footage off of my SR11 into my computer using the supplied Sony software Picture Motion Browser. It then asks me a question, which I can't remember right now, and I always say "yes". My next step is to capture the footage into Pinnacle and then do my thing. I produce both SD and HD discs, depending on who I intend to give them to. I also always burn my captured footage from the PMB directly onto a DVD as AVCHD files for archiving purposes. If need be I would be able to retrieve those files in the event that my hard drive ever fails.

You state that my final product will be less than what it original was, quality wise, when using Pinnicle. This concerns me. So here are some questions:
1. Can I download my footage directly from my SR11 into any NLE? And would this offer any benefits?
2. Which Nero program would be best for me to get? I want to produce an all around decent production with the usual tools available for editing and then burn discs using my current burner.
3. I have been burning onto Verbatim DVD+R discs, reading somewhere that they retain the information the best over longer periods of time. Should I be using DVD-R instead? And should I invest in a BR burner instead of burning onto regular DVDs?

My computer is a quad core Q6600 2.4 Ghz, with 2 GB of ram. I have an ATI Radeon 2600 HD video card with 512 MB.

As you can see, I have a lot to learn, and know just enough to get myself in trouble. What I want to do is to be able to produce the best product possible, with the least amount of expense, and with the easiest learning curve (who doesn't want this, right?). I only need to be able to trim, have some transistions, titles, chapters, maybe some music, and be able to add narration. Color correction, etc. would be an extra benefit, but not too necessary.

So any and all help you can give me would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 06:13 AM   #35
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Mike, I have similar configuration: SR11, Q6600, 2GB RAM, but 8600GTS. About PMB, I think it asks about analyze. No matter what I do, this program always failed to analyze (I suspect it doesn't work with PAL version of files). But the files are imported, only it hasn't thumbnails (that's what PMB do in analyse). However, from what I read if analyse works, it takes a lot of time...
I don't know if PMB renders file or not when you create AVCHD DVD. If it doesn't take longer than 30min, it's ok, the quality is identical.
It's hard to invest in another software if you have already Pinnacle. I worked a long time ago with Pinnacle and it's interface was very intuitive. It's the same with Nero, in no more than a couple of hours you will learn to use it at full potential for your needs, and if you already use Pinnacle the learning curve will be even smaller. For very advanced editing... it takes some time.
About DVD, I asked Larry the same question. I think we all have the money for BR discs, but it simply doesn't worth comparred to normal DVD...
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 08:52 AM   #36
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Mike (and Mircea),

To respond to Mike's 3 questions:

1. Pinnacle allows you to import the .mts files from your hard disk directly. Be sure you are in the "Show Videos" mode and then use the little folder icon in the upper left pane to "Select Video Files from a Different Folder" to select and open the .mts files. The Sony software is not required and just adds another delay.

2. Nero 8 Ultimate is a Swiss Army knife type of product with 11 different programs included, one of which is Nero Vision 5, which entirely avoids recompression by "Smart Rendering" clips which have not been altered other than trimmed.

I would recommend it to you only for that reason, since Pinnacle is a much more feature-laden program, but you may want to experiment with the trial version of Nero to see how its AVCHD disks look to you compared to Pinnacle's AVCHD disks, and also compare workflows and waiting times. The free trial should allow you to do this.

3. I have mostly used Verbatim DVD-Rs but also use the +R, particularly for dual layer, and they supposedly will last a long time. My experience with other brands has been dismal, but time will tell if these are better. BluRay media is still very expensive, over $10 per blank, so I seldom burn BD myself except to experiment. I have been using Verbatim BD-RE disks to allow erasing and re-use, and they work great, but cost me close to $20 apiece. You might want to wait on the BD burner, since you can fit about an hour of 1920 by 1080 HD content on a red laser AVCHD, and it looks great.


Hope this answers your questions.

Larry
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Old September 4th, 2008, 01:29 AM   #37
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I'm using Pinnacle Studio 12 to edit my Sony SR11 video and, yes, it does re-render the video. What I've learned is that there are many compression algorithms defined in the AVC specification and the Sony camera uses a different algorithm from what Studio uses. Therefore Studio decompresses the Sony format and recompresses using their format. This does introduce, IMHO, minor artifacts into the video. While I would prefer that Studio didn't recompress the video, I don't find the quality to be deminished enough to stop me from using it. YMMV. I've also read that Studio is improving their compression algorithms over time and expects the impact to be minimized, if not eliminated. I don't know the timeframe for these improvements.

As has been stated many times in this forum, AVC is a very young technology and will go through some signicant improvements over the next several years. We are at the early adopters cycle of this technology and there is always a price to pay in this cycle. You need to decide if the price is worth the other advantages.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 07:19 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Phil Seastrand View Post
I'm using Pinnacle Studio 12 to edit my Sony SR11 video and, yes, it does re-render the video. What I've learned is that there are many compression algorithms defined in the AVC specification and the Sony camera uses a different algorithm from what Studio uses. Therefore Studio decompresses the Sony format and recompresses using their format. This does introduce, IMHO, minor artifacts into the video. While I would prefer that Studio didn't recompress the video, I don't find the quality to be deminished enough to stop me from using it. YMMV. I've also read that Studio is improving their compression algorithms over time and expects the impact to be minimized, if not eliminated. I don't know the timeframe for these improvements.

As has been stated many times in this forum, AVC is a very young technology and will go through some signicant improvements over the next several years. We are at the early adopters cycle of this technology and there is always a price to pay in this cycle. You need to decide if the price is worth the other advantages.
I agree Phil. Pinnacle has a lot of nice features, and I especially like the recently added montages and video effects. The re-rendering time and image quality effects are not at all bad for the specific purpose I often use Pinnacle, which is to make motion menus and composites which I then bring into other programs. The latest version of Pinnacle has been a lot more stable than the earlier versions also (finally).

Larry
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Old September 17th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #39
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Vlc 0.9.2

VLC 0.9.2 was just released and offers AVCHD playback (it wasn't working properly on Windows with the previous release).

VLC media player - Overview
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Old September 18th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #40
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Great news Chris! It seems to run fine here.

Maybe the Mac version will begin to offer some relief for Mac owners also.

Larry
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Old September 18th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #41
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Wow!

Just downloaded that new version of VLC and it does an incredible job of playing MTS files from the Canon HF100. I've been using VLC for several months and that is one great file player.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 09:49 PM   #42
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Media Player Classic Home Cinema is an extremely light-weight free program for Windows.

MPC Home Cinema also has H.264 and VC-1 with DXVA support, you can playback AVCHD files smoothly.

http://camcordervideoshare.com/how-t...ic-homecinema/
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Old August 12th, 2010, 08:59 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Chris Prine View Post
VLC 0.9.2 was just released and offers AVCHD playback (it wasn't working properly on Windows with the previous release).

VLC media player - Overview
This may catch up someone’s interest: I have noticed that different PC players – such as Windows Media Player (ver.12), Windows Media Center, and VLC media player (ver. 1.1.2) show AVCHD footage a little bit differently.

I cannot say the difference is huge but never the less, it’s evident.

And the best I like how the VLC plays back AVCHD. Interesting enough, this software can play even AVCHD clips recoded with chroma subsampling 4:2:2 or/and in the xvYCC color space.
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