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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 May 5th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #1
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Questions about AVCHD

I'm looking at buying the Panasonic HMC 150 for creating wedding videos. I am using Vegas 8 and have heard that AVCHD does not work well with Vegas. I am also working on a low powered computer that is only used for Vegas and has just been factory restored making it way faster, but still it's just a Pentium 4, 350W PS, 200GB internal Hard Drive, 3 externals (1TB, 500MB, 256MB hard drives)...Can't think of anything else you would need to know to accurately answer my questions. Just ask if you have more questions. This computer has worked on High Def projects, but with the use of Gearshift.

Ok, my questions (please answer in Layman's terms, there are some technical things I am not too familiar with...THANKS!):

1) Does AVCHD have a hard time working in Vegas 8? What are the specific problems? I've heard it does better with Vegas 9, but just upgraded to Vegas 8 and didn't really want to have to upgrade again so soon.

2) Is my computer too low powered to work with AVCHD? Any suggestions about what I need to upgrade in order to make it high powered enough?

Thanks in Advance!
Leslie
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Old May 5th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #2
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1) Don't know where you heard that, but as long as you use lower res previews (which are fine for editing IMO), Vegas 8 works just fine with AVCHD (using 8c with Sony AVCHD cameras). I downloaded some early footage from the HMC150, and it worked fine on the Vegas timeline, maybe even smoother than the footage from my Sony cams.

2) Single core P4? Yep, you're WAAAAAYY underpowered. I fiddled a bit with AVCHD on my older laptop (3G pentium single core), pretty painful. There's a lot of decompression with AVCHD - you need quite a bit more computing horsepower to make it workable. Budget for a new core i7 machine - new MB, CPU and memory, probably a newer video card (nothing fancy required there). I'm running a q6600 and it's workable, but definitely looking for the i7 upgrade.

If you're budgeting for a $3500 camera, you need to make sure your post workflow is up to speed as well.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Davis View Post
Is my computer too low powered to work with AVCHD? Any suggestions about what I need to upgrade in order to make it high powered enough
Any decent dual-core processor should be a noticeable improvement over your P4, and the latest "i7" processors from Intel are getting good reviews. As always the lowest-end processors aren't the best choice for demanding tasks like HD video, so spend at least a few bucks more for something in the middle of the performance pack.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:46 PM   #4
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vegas 8 and avchd files

Leslie,

I think you were grossly misinformed. Vegas 8.0c handles avchd files natively and quite well too. However, you old P4 cpu may need an upgrade. AVCHD files require a quad core to render at more sane speeds. If you can afford it, go for the i7 processors. Your old P4 will look like a 8088 cpu with the i7! You can wait for the cheaper i5 3rd Q, but I think you may not have the patience to wait that long if you have the camera now. That's what happened to me.

If you can't afford that, go for the older Q8200. That is a quad core too. I have that and a Asus P5q -se2, one of the cheaper boards and I have overclocked it to a 3.0ghz machine easy with all settings at Auto except the FSB set at 430. It was easy to OC it. And it runs without any stutter and I can preview even on Best settings, though I try to run it at Good settings.

Your external HD will do, though if you still use ATA drives, you might just use that 200gb for temp and get yourself a SATA drive for your OS. Don't bother to get expensive video cards (I only got the older AMD 3850 512mb ddr3 as it was on sale) as Vegas does not use it. If you use 3rd party plugins, maybe yes (like MB). Get at least 4gb of fast ram. If you use Vista 64-bit, you can go higher, but I think the returns are less compared to getting a good board that you can OC easy and is solid. Oh, you may have to go to a 500-550 watt power supply. I got a HEC, though there are other good brands out there too. Just don't get the generic PS. You also don't have to go overboard in PS like going 700-1,200 watts especially if you don't do dual GPU or you have so many devices plugged in. 500-550 watts is sane enough, even with an i7.

Regardless of your choice, don't go for to a dual core or core2duo setup anymore. Sure, it will be faster than your old P4, but for a few U$ more, you'd get 2x-3x the speed of a dual core, maybe even 4x-5x if you go i7. And that is worth it if you do lots of editing/rendering. I figure, even last gen's Q8200 will last me for a while. Besides, I can't see why you'd get a HMC-150 but not get the better tools to process the files. Just go for a quad core.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 12:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
1 Budget for a new core i7 machine - new MB, CPU and memory, probably a newer video card (nothing fancy required there).
Maybe not fancy but I'd go at least 512MB memory on one, and one with the technology to work with the latest wrinkles being coded in the NLE's. I'm seeing a lot of HP's Core i7 offerings with up to 1GB on board.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post

I'm running a q6600 and it's workable, but definitely looking for the i7 upgrade.
I've been running a Q6600 for the last year and just got in an i7 based machine yesterday. What a BIG difference. I ordered from Dell's special last week. Very quiet running machine too.
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