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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:35 PM   #1
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AVCHD Transcoded File Size?

Looking into the HMC-150. I do mostly wedding videos. Will FCP 6.0.5 play well with AVCHD?

When transcoding, what do the typical file sizes end up being? A GB per minute ration would be helpful.

We use three cameras at the ceremony and two at the reception. I know the HMC-150 looks good and SDHC cards are cheaper. However, I don't want to build another garage just to hold the hard drives to save these things.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 06:59 AM   #2
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Should I move this to the Panasonic AVCHD discussion board?
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:50 AM   #3
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I have a Canon HF100 where I transcode the AVCHD to ProRes before editing. When using the highest quality settings on the camera, the ProRes footage usually turns out to be 1GB/minute on disk.

To my knowledge, FCP cannot handle AVCHD natively (which is why I transcode). The conversion is easy using "File -> Log and Transfer..." in FCP. Just preview and pick the clips you want to import, then go for coffee. Unfortunately, ingestion takes about twice the actual running time of the footage (YMMV: I'm editing on a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro).

Once in ProRes, the footage is super easy to work with (no surprise there). As far as storage goes, yes it takes up massive amounts of space. Generally, instead of saving all of the transcoded footage, I just archive disk image(s) of the source and the FCP project files. Then, if I ever need to go back and edit I can, but will need to re-transcode any other source material I want to use. File size on the source AVCHD is pretty manageable (around 150MB/min).

I don't do weddings (just hobby projects) and couldn't say whether this would work for you. I'd imagine you end up with lots of tape by the end of the day and it wouldn't be terribly convenient given the file size and transcoding time. I only seeing support for AVCHD getting better as time goes on, though.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply Nate.

As I now understand it, there is no ProRes HQ option. Do the files lose any quality?
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:45 PM   #5
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I'm sure they lose some quality in the conversion, but I sure can't tell. If the footage looks good as AVCHD, it looks just as good in ProRes to my untrained eye.
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