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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 April 25th, 2009, 10:12 PM   #1
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AVCHD experience...my poor cpu

I have been using the AVCHD format from my panasonic cameras now for nearly 3 months now. After first sh__ing a brick from how intense this compression format is on my cpu, then having troubles just working with the files in PP CS4, to dealing with GIGANTIC decompressed footage and the purchase of nearly 4TB just to store footage. I have now come to a new and complexing problem. After editing and working with a clip for a couple days, I viewed the edited and rendered sequence only to notice "jumps" in frames. I figured, well that's odd, tweak it a little and rerender. Same "jumps" appear. Even odder I thought. So I then revisit the original footage at FU$^ the "jumps" seem to have effected the original clips. What is causing this, and what can I do other then manually remove the "jumped" frame?

On a side note, after exporting a sequence longer then 5 minutes, additional jumps appear in the exported mpg. These jumps are not present in the original footage or the rendered footage on the timeline.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 01:40 AM   #2
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Clint,

The first culprit that comes to mind for me is the computer and processing power. I have Canon HF100s and ordered a new Dell quad core to edit that stuff. I didn't pay attention to Pinnacle's advice that for 1920x1080 17Mbps it would take (with their software) a quad core with a minimum clock speed of 2.66Ghz. My machine has a Q6600 which runs at 2.4Ghz, a tad slower.

I could edit 1440x1080 12Mbps but it was sluggish, a change of graphics card to Nvidia 8800GT 512MB helped and I can edit the 1920x1080 now but only with extreme patience.

I don't know what you have, the Adobe Premiere is supposed to be a bit less demanding of CPU resources but like you, I think I suspect the processor, especially if you are trying to edit on a dual core machine.

I'm watching Dell's offers on their XPS Studio line with the Intel Core i7 processor.

I wish I had a suggestion to offer on your situation. Not knowing what format you are trying to render to, you might try MP4 or HD WMV at 1280x720 which still can look great.

Good luck
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Old April 26th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #3
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My experience has been the same as yours and Bruce's. Not until I got this QX9650 3.0 quadcore did AVCHD from my HF100 edit properly and play properly.

I can't tell you how many times I have seen other people posting with issues that directly or indirectly arise from having an inadequate computer for AVCHD. Some of them stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the issue and others do the upgrade and discover that their problems magically disappear.

To be fair, I should state that some editing software creates proxy files which allow for smooth editing of AVCHD using lesser performance computers, but even these programs typically have a lot of background processing and transcoding going on in order to create and maintain the proxy files, followed by long rendering times when the final output files are created.

There is no free lunch with this stuff. Thankfully the latest software updates are beginning to use the video cards and other special purpose hardware to handle the workload. This boost is long overdue.

Larry
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Old April 26th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #4
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Avchd - the quest for editing/authoring Nirvana

Hello, Larry and Bruce . .

I've been in and out of the forums over a few months reading and reading. I am trying to get the right start on editing the several hours of AVCHD that resides on my Sony HDR SR8 since last December. I then want to author either avchd menued disks to -rDL and/or menued BluRay, if possible. I am also considering rendering files to thumb drives to take advantage of future technology purchases; e.g., WD player . . . Anyway, with European and New Zealand trips in the offing and a few weddings that my nieces have asked me to shoot, I really would appreciate advice and comment on how I'm doing with hardware acquisition, software selection and setting up my hard drive arrays for optimum efficiency and speed.

Let's start with the editing computer which arrives on next Wednesday:

>INTEL, Core™ i7-940 Quad-Core 2.93GHz (overclocked to 3.8 GHz) , LGA1366, 6400 MT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm, 130W, EM64T EIST VT XD
>ASUS, P6T Deluxe/OC Palm, LGA1366, Intel® X58, 6400 MT/s QPI, DDR3-1600MHz (O.C.) >12GB /6, PCIe x16 SLI CF /3, SATA 3 Gb/s RAID 5 /6, HDA, GbLAN /2, FW /2, ATX
>CORSAIR, 12GB (6 x 2GB) XMS3 PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 (9-9-9) 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
>BFG TECH, GeForce® GTX 295 576MHz, 1792MB GDDR3 1998MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, DVI /2, HDMI
>WESTERN DIGITAL, 300GB (WD3000HLFS) WD VelociRaptor™, SATA 3 Gb/s, 10000 RPM, 16MB cache(this will be my system drive)
>WESTERN DIGITAL, 1TB WD Caviar® Black™ (WD1001FALS), SATA 3 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache
>HIGHPOINT, RocketRAID 2310 SATA II RAID Controller, 4 ports, Levels 0/1/10/5, PCIe x4, + KINGWIN, ESAC-02 eSATA Bracket Cable, 15", Retail 2 $8.96 $17.92 (this is to attach Sata drives for reading, writing???? need advice here)
>SIIG, U-91RW12-S4 Black 1.44MB Floppy + 9-in-1 Card Reader/Writer, Internal USB 2.0
>LG ELECTRONICS, GGW-H20L Black 6x/8x/24x BD/DVD±RW/CD-RW Blu-ray Disc™ Burner w/ Lightscribe, SATA
>Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM

I plan to use Corel Video Studio Pro x2 for editing and authoring menued DVDs or BluRays.
I have added 4 eSata ports from a raid card to the back of the computer case so I can add drives to segregate the processes involved in editing and authoring.

I would appreciate advice and comment on my hardware and software choices and on how to set my hard drive array to best achieve efficiency and speed. For example, should the Pro x2 be resident on the system drive with plug in esatas used for differnet tasks/scratch, etc.

Thanks much

Jim
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Old April 26th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #5
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Jim,

Your hardware selection should not only handle AVCHD now, but should also be able to handle the 24Mbps cams coming to market now.

Hard drive speed and efficiency is not nearly as critical as when capturing from HDV tape. With AVCHD you are simply copying the files from your camera media over to your hard drive where your editing software can find them and work with them. The rendering process is unlikely to outrun hard drives, I can render straight to external USB drives with no problem so a RAID setup would be needed only for mirror'ing a pair of hard drives for data security.

I simply mirror two external USB drives.

As far as segregating drives by function, this sounds good in theory but I believe in keeping things simple. You can often run the NLE from one drive and use another to place original vid files and render to. I suggest keeping some simply for project storage.

On Corel Video studio, the last I heard was update and development was at a standstill. The word was that it still did not handle AVCHD well and Blu-ray authoring was not there. Sony Vegas Pro 9 is supposed to be AVCHD operational and working for many and Pinnacle Studio 12 edits AVCHD natively and has Blu-ray authoring with menus to Blu-ray media built in. It will also render to Blu-ray compliant file on standard DVD media in a form that plays back on Blu-ray players or PS3. You can download a trial at pinnaclesys.com. This is one of the simplest yet fully featured NLE packages I've seen, with pretty much everything available from one interface.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 05:07 PM   #6
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As an alternative to doing expensive hardware upgrades, you could convert AVCHD to avi with something like cineform neoscene for $99. Conversion is quick and can be batched. The avi files are much easier to work with and if you are doing heavy editing changes like color, contrast, etc., the end result will look better than native AVCHD editing.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Chau View Post
As an alternative to doing expensive hardware upgrades, you could convert AVCHD to avi with something like cineform neoscene for $99. Conversion is quick and can be batched. The avi files are much easier to work with and if you are doing heavy editing changes like color, contrast, etc., the end result will look better than native AVCHD editing.

Ron,

Is this how it works?

Transfer footage (in H.264) to the computer.
Run Cineform Neoscene and convert all that footage to an avi file (or is it multiple files?)
Do all editing in avi (I use Vegas Pro 8, will that work?)
Render out to any format I want?
How long will it take for Cineform Neoscene to convert, say 1 hour of H.264, to avi?
Is there any loss in quality going from H.264 to avi?
I took a look at their website: Do I want NeoScene or NeoHD?
Sorry for the many questions, I'm a little confused.

Thanks,
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Old April 27th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
Jim,

On Corel Video studio, the last I heard was update and development was at a standstill.
I am in error on this.

Got it confused with VideoMovieStudio, a competing product acquired by Corel probably so they could "kill it off" like Adobe acquired ?Aldus? PhotoStyler so it could no longer compete with PhotoShop.

Apparently Corel will continue developing Video Studio Pro as a more prosumer product.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 06:11 PM   #9
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Yes, copy the mp4 files from the SD card to your computer. Run neoscene. Each mp4 file will create a separate avi file. You can batch convert (select multiple mp4 files for conversion). Conversion is quick. Roughly real time on my 2yr old computer (1hr footage, 1hr to convert). Edit in Vegas, render out. Lossless to my eyes.

You want NeoScene for conversion. Download the trial version for free from the cineform site. It will stop working after 7 days.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 06:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Chau View Post
As an alternative to doing expensive hardware upgrades, you could convert AVCHD to avi with something like cineform neoscene for $99.

The end result will look better than native AVCHD editing.
If the AVCHD starts out at 1920x1080 17Mbps will the Neoscene converted AVI's then also be 1920x1080 at the same full HD as the original AVCHD?

While I edit AVCHD natively in Pinnacle Studio 12 I never render to AVCHD as I don't feel that is a practical end product. Until I get into Blu-ray (If I do) I render to HD WMV 1920x1080 or 1280x720 both of which display great on my 42" LCD when played through a media player.

I did look at some of your sample video's on vimeo and what I saw was absolutely stunning and "eye riveting".
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Old April 27th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #11
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Yes, the neoscene converted avi keep the resolution and frame rate of the original. I've rendered out to Blueray, mp4 and m2t. Blueray looks the best to me, mp4 and m2t look a notch below, but that could be my media player. Haven't tried wmv.

Thanks, for the compliment on my vimeo videos. The underwater stuff is all HDV from a Sony FX7. The only AVCHD/mp4 stuff is the test videos from a Sanyo FH1.
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Last edited by Ron Chau; April 27th, 2009 at 07:40 PM.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #12
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My own experience

I don't why I am not experiencing the same problem as the OP. I just got my HF-100 yesterday. Of course I tested it and saw if it will play back in my 1 month old Q8200 OC'd to 3.0ghz 2mb (still waiting for my 1066 ram so this was a temp). It was flawless. It even ran the clips (17mpbs) from the card reader!


FYI, here's the basic specs of the machine:

- Intel Q8200 2.4ghz but OC'd to 3.08ghz
- Asus P5Q SE-2
- 2mb of 667 DDR2 ram also OC'd to 860mhz (temp till my 4gb 1066 arrives)
- ATI Radeon 3850 512 DDR3
- 250gb Seagate SATA
- Asus DVD +-RW

The machine isn't that expensive and I was willing to take the transcoding route for AVCHD. However, to my surprise it did well on the playback using VLC. It was only floating at 35% or less cpu utilization from the task manager, sometimes in one core only and from the card reader.

But here's the kicker. I tried using Sony Vegas pro 8.0c and did some editing. It was as if it was just regular HDV! No stutter on preview panel even at best settings. I applied some color correction and some other filters and it was ok. My guess is if I use Sony glow it will bog down an bit and I must use GOOD or something else as preview.

Render times was better than 1:1, or very close to it. One clip was 1min 32sec I think, and it rendered in 1:19 with those color correction, and contrast correction. It was rendered to 16:9 DVD/mpeg2. I have already downloaded the 7 day trial version of Cineform but have not installed it yet. I was prepared to go the transcoding route but my machine seems to be ok right now without the need for it.

So, tell me guys what I am doing "wrong" because so far, I have not yet problems with my 17mp HF-100 files and my unit and Sony Vegas 8.0c.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 10:35 PM   #13
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Vegas edits native AVCHD better than most, plus you have a pretty new and powerful computer.

The Sanyo FH1 and HD2000 which record 1920x1080 60P to MP4. They are the 1st consumer cams recording 60p and the latest problem for computers and editing software. I went the cineform route after downloading the trial.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 10:37 PM   #14
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You appear to be in good shape. The overclocking to 3Ghz is likely what is helping you out there. If mine (2.4Ghz) could be overclocked I'd be in fine shape but apparently the motherboard in my Dell XPX420 won't allow overclocking.

You will enjoy that HF100. For outdoor use (where it can get hard to really see on the LCD screen) you might look at the hoodmanusa.com Hoodloupe 3.0 with camcorder strap. Turns the LCD into a bright easy to see EVF.

Or you can use it without the camcorder strap, just hold in place briefly as needed. Comes with a case and neckstrap, I use mine with my DSLR also.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 11:07 PM   #15
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You appear to be in good shape. The overclocking to 3Ghz is likely what is helping you out there. If mine (2.4Ghz) could be overclocked I'd be in fine shape but apparently the motherboard in my Dell XPX420 won't allow overclocking.

You will enjoy that HF100. For outdoor use (where it can get hard to really see on the LCD screen) you might look at the hoodmanusa.com Hoodloupe 3.0 with camcorder strap. Turns the LCD into a bright easy to see EVF.

Or you can use it without the camcorder strap, just hold in place briefly as needed. Comes with a case and neckstrap, I use mine with my DSLR also.

To Ron:

Yes, thanks for the input on Vegas. I love the product. Wish I could try out the v9.0 pro. Last time I checked the free trial version wasn't out yet.

New stuffs are coming out all around. That is why I only got the HF-100. Cheaper now that is seems to be closing out (u$550 at BHPhoto, free shipping). I am looking for a 60p in the future, or at least the Panasonic GH1 as my main. I really love the tapeless workflow. Easier workflow for me. It requires more power in cpu but then again my PC is 3+ years already (2ghz core 2 duo) and needs an update anyway. I'll get a i5 next year when it's cheaper and when the cheaper boards come out. This is why I chose (again, the cheaper PC quad setup).

But I am now reluctant to going to a tape solution again. Even if I get a 1:1 on transcoding, I'd rather have that than 1:1 transferring from tape to PC. At least I know that the files are already in the PC with SDHC cards. Worst, I can work on the files. Or transcode file by file. But I can't do much if the files are still in tape and that is a pain for me with tape. I just have to be good with backup strategies with AVCHD files because that is the weak point of file based shooting.
---------------

To Bruce:

I suspected the 3ghz might be the reason. And you may be spot on with that. I guess 3ghz is really the nice sweet spot for AVCHD files. My guess that even 25mbps files would not be far off in performance. Of course if we can go higher the better :-) These Intel cpus overclock well (and easily) with the Asus boards. The P5Q se-2 isn't even the top or upper tier models.

Once I get my 4gb 1066 memory sticks, I might be able to go above 3.08ghz. I will be happy at 3.2ghz stable. BTW, as it is, my system is pretty cool at just 3-5 degrees celsius above ambient for the cpu using the Intel stock fan. We live in a tropical region so 28-36 degrees C is typical ambient here. Right now my cpu is at 33 degrees C. Motherboard is 32 C. I figure, 3.2-3.4ghz OC'ng would probably bump it up 3-5 degrees more.

FYI, during renders with vegas at 99-100% cpu utilization of all cores, max temp is about 46 C. I'd say that is pretty cool for a tropical climate country. :-)

And yes, I love my hf-100. I wish I could afford the newer hf-s100, but I know it would just break my heart to find out it is only U$600 by next year. :( Besides, I might just be opting for something else instead. Such is the curse of technology - constant changes. Constant upgrades.

OTOH, you can't be paralyzed by that. You just have to bite the bullet and buy what you think is best now for you. They'll also trump what you bought even if it is the latest anyway. So buy what will work for you. For me, the hf-100 and my Q8200 are nice new additions. But my eyes are set on the i5 cpus end of this year (w/c I will buy next year) and a GH1 or a decent EVIL camera that will come out this year or next year. Regardless, the hf-100 and my Q8200 are still very good units and should serve me a long time. :-)

Thanks for the feedback!
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