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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 December 12th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #1
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What horsepower for editing AVCHD ?

Hi,
I plan on shooting a film during a one week trip on a paramotor next spring. I will be flying something like 15 hours in total and will have roughly 10 hours of video (including both airbone shots and ground shots) to edit into a 30 to 40 min. film.
I am considering taking a cam that records on SD cards, rather than a HDV model, as I need a compact and lightweight cam, that can be fitted to the side of my helmet for some flights. But I'm not sure about the editing part.
I use a white MacBook, with a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with 2 Gb of RAM (I can upgrade to 4 Gb if needed) and Premiere Pro CS 4, which is now supposed to be AVCHD compatible.
Will that be OK for de-rushing 10 hours of video and editing a 40 minutes film ? How about generating a DVD of the final film ?
I wouldn't want to end up in an editing nightmare...
Thanks for you ideas on this.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #2
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i'm using Vegas Studio 9 (trial right now) on a dual core 2.2ghz AMD 4200+, and will play 1440x1080 files off the camera just fine, but stutters a bit on 1920x1080 files from the camera.

editing is a bit choppy, but not enough to be painful (yet anyways). if i keep the bitrate below ~17mbps, the computer will play 1920x1080 files just fine, it just begins to labor at 17mbps, and even then it is still playing at around 20-25fps, so its just barely under powered.

our system is generally considered to be the bare minimum, although, mine has done well enough for editing the small projects i've worked on so far. i'll likely need to add another 2g of ram though.

i don't know if this applies to premiere or not, but Final Cut and iMovie both require transcoding to an intermediary format before working with AVCHD files, and these intermediary files are several times larger than the avchd file, and it apparently takes a long time for the conversion.

for this , you might want to consider a camera that records to mpg-2 instead of avchd. IIRC the Samsung SC-HMX10 is one such camera (but verify that). some down sides to this camera, kinda small cmos sensor (it supposedly does well in plenty of light, just suffers a bit in low light), which shouldn't affect skydiving too much. it also only EIS instead of OIS, but really, in those conditions, i doubt it would matter all that much.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #3
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I'm a mac user but honestly, NOTHING beats Vegas Pro yet! Simply for the ability to edit the source footage w/o having to transcode to an intermediate codec and eat up TONS of extra disk space. Unfortunately, Vegas only runs under windows. It's one of the only reasons why I have bootcamp installed. Calc out the disk space it'll take to transcode that 10 hours of footage to be able to edit it. The playback of the AVCHD footage is choppy but good enough for editing I would say.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 01:25 PM   #4
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i tried the trial versions of the Vegas Studio 9, Premiere Express, Ulead (don't remember), and one other, but don't remember the name. didn't try Pinnacle, because they don't have a demo. no demo, not even considered.

Vegas so far seems to actually have the best performance of the 4 that I tried, although, I'm used to FCP (school) and Premiere Pro (work), so the dumbed down interfaces of all of the consumer offerings is just painful, but don't have the budget to get the pro version of Vegas or Premiere, and I don't want to put off being able to do anything with the footage I shot until I can afford the better versions.

I'll likely give Premiere Express another try, but looks like I'm going with Vegas.

from Why I’m Avoiding AVCHD - PaulStamatiou.com
Quote:
How much more taxing? Importing 1.5 hours of full resolution AVCHD footage took over 3 hours (not bad) but exporting took about 36 hours on a dual-core 2.2GHz MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM.
so far, my experience with avchd on my little old X2 is ~10fps export rendering for 720p, and ~5fps export rendering for 1080p. of course, depending on what filters and effects you use, YMMV.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 12:30 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=Jeff DeLamater;977022]i'm using Vegas Studio 9 (trial right now) on a dual core 2.2ghz AMD 4200+, and will play 1440x1080 files off the camera just fine, but stutters a bit on 1920x1080 files from the camera.

editing is a bit choppy, but not enough to be painful (yet anyways).

What you are VERY likely to run into trying to edit much beyond short tests with what you have is 1920x1080 will be problematic on large projects.

My current editing machine has an Intel Core 2 quad core Q6600 running at 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM and now an Nvidia GeForce 8800GT 512MB graphics card. Before replacing the ATI card with only 256MB, I could not edit 1920x1080 in Pinnacle Studio 12 (Pinnacle stated a quad core at 2.66GHz MINIMUM was required for that.

The Nvidia card allows me to edit 1920x1080 17Mbps but rendering some post can really slow it to a crawl. Cyberlink PowerDirector 7 Ultra is a tad less demanding of computer resources and seems to be quicker on rendering.

OK, if it "stutters" a bit on playback of files from the camera, editing is likely to be very problematic. 1440x1080 12Mbps will probably edit OK (thats what I had to do for awhile before changing graphics cards) but as your timeline gets longer it may really slowdown a lot.

You might look into getting a machine with the fastest quad core you can make yourself afford, 3 or 4GB RAM, and a very high performing graphics card with no less than 512MB on it (I'd go for 1GB if I had to replace what I have).
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Old December 14th, 2008, 10:30 PM   #6
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what i find amazing is the difference between programs. Vegas 9 is by far the best on my machine, and premiere elements is basically unusable.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 10:33 PM   #7
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what i find amazing is the difference between programs. Vegas 9 is by far the best on my machine, and premiere elements is basically unusable.

and i've got a 6mo daughter. not likely to be building/buying a quad core system anytime in the foreseeable future. adding another 2gb of ram is definatley doable, and a video card upgrade to one of the nvidia cards that assists in rendering could happen eventually, but a new computer is a few years off.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 07:02 PM   #8
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It seems like some of the minimum requirements are a bit high, or at least higher than I have experienced.

The last time I edited 1920x1080 at 17mbs footage was with an Athlon X2 (dual core) 4400 2.1 ghz machine. Sure it was slow, but I had no problem using Windows Movie Maker on Vista with 4 gigs of Ram and a GeForce 8800 GT 512 meg card.

I was able to remove parts of the movie, add another soundtrack (mp3) and some titling effects and render it all to Windows Media 9. granted, its not mind blowing quality but it looked pretty damn good afterwards....

I have recently upgraded to an Intel Core2 Duo 2.6 ghz also with 4 gigs of ram...but I haven't yet tried editing anything. I think if my Athlon could do it, the Core2 should be fine.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 07:49 PM   #9
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If I was working on a Macbook, I'd render all the files out to small proxies. Basically SD size or even smaller. I'd do all my edits on that, do everything I wanted to do, and then conform back to the original files and render out the final. No way I'd want to load 10 hours of AVCHD video on a timeline to cut with a machine that slow.

In fact, the machine's screen is too small to make it viable anyway.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hussain View Post
It seems like some of the minimum requirements are a bit high, or at least higher than I have experienced.

The last time I edited 1920x1080 at 17mbs footage was with an Athlon X2 (dual core) 4400 2.1 ghz machine. Sure it was slow, but I had no problem using Windows Movie Maker on Vista with 4 gigs of Ram and a GeForce 8800 GT 512 meg card.

I think if my Athlon could do it, the Core2 should be fine.
2 Things. First he won't have a hot graphics card in that Macbook to offload the graphics work like you did. It will all be done on the CPUs. Trust me, it's painful.

Second, how much did you have on the timeline? It's one thing dropping a few clips on the timeline, but when you have to cut 10 hours down to 30-40 minutes, color, de-shake, grade, etc., things start getting dicey pretty fast. Even with easier stuff to cut on. I don't know about ProRes, but with the work I was doing on HDV, I found another solution FAST. First it was SD proxies, then the decision was made to go to CIneform.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 12:57 PM   #11
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I got a Sony TG1 just to have a little camera I can keep in my coat pocket. I shot some home movie footage over Christmas and started loading it today, into a 17" MacBook Pro. Open up a ProRes 422 project...go to File, open Log and Transfer, the clips appear, drag the ones you want to the Queue and say go. They start appearing in your browser...drop them into the timeline and edit just as with anything else. I'm not having any difficulty at all. Computer has 2.8 GHz processor, 4 gigs RAM, whatever the standard graphics card is.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 01:35 PM   #12
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Your MacBook Pro is twice as fast as his, AND you're transcoding to ProRes. He is not, since he is using Premiere. He's asking about cutting native avchd which has many people with quadcore's asking about upgrades and intermediate files.
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