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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 November 14th, 2008, 11:24 PM   #31
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The Vegas 8 preview window is low rez, low frame rate / bandwidth and not actual HD playback. Most late model PC and Mac laptops can handle this without issues.

Full frame HD 1920 by 1080 at normal frame rates is much more demanding.

Last edited by Larry Horwitz; November 15th, 2008 at 05:14 AM.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #32
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Jurij

On my Dell laptop with Intel Core 2 duo T7250 processor at 2.0Ghz and 3 GB Ram I can play AVCHD files using the Pixela viewer that came with my Canon HF100. If I set the camera resolution to XP+ (1440x1080 12Mbps) rather than the highest quality (1920x1080 at 17Mbps) I can do some editing on it. Not very fast and I would not want to have to do a large project but if one is patient you can do some work on it.

And the finished product does not look bad at all. I am now able to view HD rendered to HD WMV formats on my TV using a new media player from Western Digital so I can get a direct comparison between the XP+ and FXP modes on the camera.

The latter looks just as good as highest quality played back from the camera connected to the TV with HDMI cable.

My advice: Get the fastest laptop you can and the fastest quad core desktop you can make yourself afford.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 09:16 AM   #33
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Steve Mullen:

I have a Q6600 machine which struggles to play back 21/24 MBPS AVCHD material (PH mode) off a Panasonic HMC-150 when using the latest VLC media player, the only player I have that will reckognize the raw files.

Playback is fine until pans or fast motion is encountered, then it falls apart.

Looking at the CPU utilization during playback shows utilization vary according to the scene but it never exceeds 25%. So Im guessing that the latest VLC is not yet optimized for this raw AVCHD file.

A Q9650 machine will play these files glitch free with the VLC software. My older P4 3.4GHz HP laptop won't provide any effective playback of AVCHD, but it plays HDV extremely well.

My point is that there are variations to what plays back AVCHD files well. It's safe to say you will need a lot of power, especially for the render, which a Q6600 does very well.

Jeff
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Old November 19th, 2008, 08:45 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kellam View Post
My point is that there are variations to what plays back AVCHD files well. It's safe to say you will need a lot of power, especially for the render, which a Q6600 does very well.

Jeff
Since I only play AVCHD clips within an NLE -- I've never worried about "players." From reports there does seem a huge difference between players. In any case, on the Mac and with EDIUS, I'm playing the intermediate codec not AVCHD.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 07:21 PM   #35
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For AVCHD playback, CoreAVC is probably the most affordable option.
but if you already buy PowerDVD to play back dvd's, and you have a recent GeForce video card like the 8800GT etc, then you can use that to play them back much smoother than anything else. The hardware acceleration I get is astounding. If I disable ffdshow and use PowerDVD, it will play back my h264 video with about 5% cpu usage. If I use CoreAVC, it plays it back at about 25% cpu usage...and ffdshow uses around 65-70% cpu usage.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:15 PM   #36
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On Windows, I suggest seeing if VLC (free) will play AVCHD.

The 5DII video files are H264 in a quicktime rapper. Mac users report no problem playing 1080 30p. PC users report VLC is the best, as it is a multi processor app.

Apparently the video card supporting H264 is important. I don't know exactly what protocol is used. Macs from the last few years seem to include whatever is needed.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 10:08 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Paul Hussain View Post
For AVCHD playback, CoreAVC is probably the most affordable option.
but if you already buy PowerDVD to play back dvd's, and you have a recent GeForce video card like the 8800GT etc, then you can use that to play them back much smoother than anything else. The hardware acceleration I get is astounding. If I disable ffdshow and use PowerDVD, it will play back my h264 video with about 5% cpu usage. If I use CoreAVC, it plays it back at about 25% cpu usage...and ffdshow uses around 65-70% cpu usage.
Thanks for the info Paul! I have PowerDVD but never installed it, but will ASAP. I have the latest mega video cards but VLC does not use them on the PC platform.

I like to preview the video files right off the card and discard the trash and test shots right away so they never make it to the hard drive. A smooth playback will help a lot.

Im interested in the 5DII and have been meaning to download some footage. I bet there are going to be issues handling the raw footage. It's an even higher bitrate (30 MBPS?) than the 24 MBPS off the HMC-150 which chokes some machines.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 12:34 PM   #38
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5DII is 38mbs in a simple quicktime wrapper. On my dual core 2.4 Macbook pro with an 8600GT it plays off the CF card without a dropped frame.
So it doesn't take a real high end machine to play, but the software needs to use multicore and the graphics card. The PC answer is "it depends".
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