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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old October 11th, 2008, 10:33 AM   #1
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Please Help Me Choose Camera!

Hello Everyone,

I need to buy a HD camera to tape workshops. I work on a Mac and I will edit in Final Cut Pro. All of my software is at most current versions.

I know I want to have a HD camera that shoots without tape and I want to spend less than a thousand.

I was looking at the canon line of cameras, but will AVCHD work with Final Cut Pro and do these cameras have firewire to import the video? OR, if you shoot on a card, how do you then bring that video in?

THANKS for any advice!

Larry
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Old October 11th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #2
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Larry,

I suggest you visit some of the Mac forums to see what experiences others are having with AVCHD editing using Final Cut Pro on your specific Mac. If you are using an older Mac Intel laptop, for example, your experiences are going to be a lot different from someone using an 8 core MacPro. AVCHD is very demanding, and you want to have an adequate hardware box to do the editing and rendering.

You did not indicate what form of output you wish to create for your HD content. Are you looking to write back to the camcorder with your edited content, make a high definition disk, or merely play it on a monitor local to your Mac?

AVCHD from the memory-card based cameras is transferred either by ejecting the card and reading it in a small card reader, or by using the USB2 port on the AVCHD camcorder. HDV camcorders use Firewire, and transfer at a much slower rate, capturing the clip no faster that the real-time length of the clip and sometimes a lot slower. AVCHD format memory cards can transfer typically around 10 times real-time, so a one minute video clip transfers on my card reader in about 6 seconds.

Please provide more details as to your computer and your expected usage / workflow.

Larry
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Old October 11th, 2008, 03:59 PM   #3
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Hi Larry,

Thanks for the response. Right now I have the latest final cut pro on my 2008 MAc Book Pro but I will soon be buying a desktop Mac - probably the 24 inch iMac and will do my editing on that computer.

The main thing I will be doing with the camera is taping seminars I lead and then editing and putting clips on my website.

So are you saying, you are currently using one of these cameras with a card reader? I would love to hear more about which camera and how it is working in FCP.

Thanks,

Larry
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Old October 11th, 2008, 05:07 PM   #4
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Larry,

I have been doing HD video with HDV and AVCHD camcorders for over 5 years, and now mostly use a PC rather than a Mac to do editing and publishing.

My own experience using a MacPro 3.0 GHz 8 core was quite acceptable with AVCHD format, but I have reservations about recommending an AVCHD camcorder to be used without a quad core machine. The HDV format camcorders such as the Canon HV30 are much less demanding, and would make for smoother editing and rendering on a laptop or iMac, and I would thus recommend the HV30 unless you ultimately want to move into a really high end desktop platform. Others here may disagree, and I again urge you to look at the experiences others are reporting by doing a Google search with such terms as : "AVCHD editing Mac Power Book Pro" or "MPBP AVCHD FCP editing", etc.

You are at quite an advantage if your only rendering will be for web publishing, since the really big crunch with AVCHD comes when you attempt to handle full 1920 by 1080 high bitrate video in true HD, something which would not be neccessary in your case.

So my bottom line comment is that a tapelsss workflow with AVCHD should be seriously considered only with a strong CPU such as the MacPro, and otherwise HDV makes more sense. Final Cut Pro is also very resource intensive, and really needs a bigger platform to run well based on my own AVCHD experiences.

Larry
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