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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:03 PM   #1
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Consumer Editing Software for AVCHD filmmakers in El Salvador

Hey y'all.

I normally edit with FCP, but I am bringing a new HG10 and laptop to a community center in El Salvador where they have no video experience (I will be training them). The computer is:

PC
AMD Athlon Dual-Core 1.9 GHz processor
3 GB of RAM
32-bit
Windows Vista

Any ideas for what consumer editing software (hopefully under $100, but willing to spend a little more if it makes a huge difference) would be best? I am looking for something that is rather intuitive (like FCP) that can handle the .M2TS files, and export MP4s for the Web.

All help is MUCH APPRECIATED!!!!

Cheers. Jesse.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 09:26 AM   #2
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Not likely for less than $100 on Windows

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Originally Posted by Jesse Freeston View Post
Any ideas for what consumer editing software (hopefully under $100,
$100 Cdn won't buy much IMHO, especially if you are looking at editing AVCHD.

If you know Linux, and if they are willing to run Linux, you could install something like openSUSE Linux on their PC and then install kdenlive which can handle AVCHD. With modern linux distributions (such as openSUSE) the PC in question pretty much must have an Internet connection (preferably high speed) in order to easily (semi-automatically) install the many dependency software packages, and that may be a show stopper in El Salvador and prevent this idea from being practical. While openSUSE Linux and kdenlive (plus its software dependencies) are free opensource, your expenses will be in the time you need to spend (and the hair you pull out if you are not familiar with Linux). :) Serious though, Linux is not for everyone, and many very experienced MS-Windows and MacIntosh users storm away from Linux with disgust, probably because they know too much about their comfortable OS, and adapting to something different is never very easy.

I posted here with some tests I conducted with openSUSE-11.1 Linux, kdenlive, and various PCs of varying vintage:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/1021991-post9.html

I personally do not believe you can do this for less than $100 Cdn, with a commercial product such as MS-Windows or MacIntosh, but I would be very happy to learn otherwise.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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Some MS-Windows apps

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Originally Posted by Lee Matheson View Post
I personally do not believe you can do this for less than $100 Cdn, with a commercial product such as MS-Windows or MacIntosh, but I would be very happy to learn otherwise.
I may have been a bit hasty .... You could look at this URL: AVCHD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and then compare it to what is on this URL: Comparison of video editing software - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and see if it suggests an application that can be purchased within your budget. Since I don't run MS-Windows, and most those applications are for MS-Windows, one of the MS-Windows users will hopefully chime in and confirm that the products for less than $100 (such as those listed below, actually work with AVCHD (the wiki's are not always accurate):
  • Avid Free DV (purportedly Avid Xpress Pro and Avid Media Composer can handle some
  • AVCHD formats)
  • CyberLink PowerDirector
... still, reading these forums has suggested to me that one typically needs applications more capable than the one's I listed here.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 11:03 AM   #4
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Some names under $100

Hey Lee, thank you for your suggestions, unfortunately the Linux option is out of the question for a few reasons (not the least of which the inconsistency of internet access that you mentioned).

There are a few consumer editing software packages hovering around $100, names like:

Adobe Premiere Elements
Sony Vegas
Corel ULead
Pinnacle Studio Plus
Cyberlink

Anyone have any insight on these or other Windows programs that will serve my needs?
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Old March 5th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #5
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Sony have 35% off Vegas Movie Studio at the moment.
Sony Creative Software - Online Store - Special Offer

Don't quote me but I think that brings the Platinum edition down to $65 US

Last edited by Rob Croll; March 6th, 2009 at 03:41 AM.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #6
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Sony Vegas?

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Originally Posted by Rob Croll View Post
Sony have 35% off Vegas Movie Studio at the moment.
Sony Creative Software - Online Store - Special Offer

Don't quote me but I think that brings the Platinum edition down to $65 US
And do you think this is good software for my needs?

Oh, and sorry, but I went ahead and quoted you, haha.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:24 AM   #7
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Looks like Vegas won't fly

If I am reading this correctly, Vegas only offers AVCHD editing for Sony cameras. Doesn't appear to accept .m2ts files.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #8
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Not true - I used to edit material from my Canon HF10 with Platinum.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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Would you recommend it?

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Originally Posted by Robin Davies-Rollinson View Post
Not true - I used to edit material from my Canon HF10 with Platinum.
Hey Robin,

Thanks for clearing that up. Would you recommend Vegas Platinum? Is it relatively intuitive for a first-time user???
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:11 PM   #10
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It does lots of things, but I didn't like the interface. I changed to Premiere Elements 7 instead. Far less 'clunky' but contains a wealth of controls if or when you need them. Excellent interface as well.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #11
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How much power would I need?

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Originally Posted by Robin Davies-Rollinson View Post
It does lots of things, but I didn't like the interface. I changed to Premiere Elements 7 instead. Far less 'clunky' but contains a wealth of controls if or when you need them. Excellent interface as well.
You reckon I could edit AVCHD on Elements with this machine:

AMD Athlon Dual-Core 1.9 GHz processor
3 GB of RAM
32-bit
Windows Vista


Much appreciated.

Jesse.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 02:58 PM   #12
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Premiere elements is a good basic program, ver. 7 reportedly handles avchd, but I believe your cpu is a little underpowered for the task; check adobe.com for the system requirements for PE7...iirc it's a 2.8ghz dual or quad with 7200 rpm drive recommended....fwiw we are teaching PE4 to reporters who may have to shoot sd video interviews from time to time, they have no video experience and are taking to it well /// Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team
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Old March 6th, 2009, 03:03 PM   #13
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Jesse, I agree with Battle.
I'm using PE7 with Q6600 2.4 Quad Core - and that's just over the minimum spec I would think...
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Old March 6th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #14
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Elements looks good

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Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
Premiere elements is a good basic program, ver. 7 reportedly handles avchd, but I believe your cpu is a little underpowered for the task; check adobe.com for the system requirements for PE7...iirc it's a 2.8ghz dual or quad with 7200 rpm drive recommended....fwiw we are teaching PE4 to reporters who may have to shoot sd video interviews from time to time, they have no video experience and are taking to it well /// Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team
Hey Battle,

Looks like my little engine that could just makes it across the finish line for Elements 7, according to the website. So I'll probably go ahead and give it a try. Thanks so much for your help on this one.

In a 'small world' moment of the day, I'm writing you from McClatchy DC bureau where I work for The Real News Network, and we're collaborating with DC right now.

Cheers. Jesse.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jesse Freeston View Post
Hey Robin,

Thanks for clearing that up. Would you recommend Vegas Platinum? Is it relatively intuitive for a first-time user???
I would recommend Vegas. Vegas is the editor I cut my teeth on. To me, it was very intuitive. I've never used Premiere Elements so I can't give you a first hand opinion but I know many people who've started with Premeire and have gone to Vegas.

Most say Vegas is more intuitive, and easier to use.

Just download the free trial of each and try them both.
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