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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old August 13th, 2009, 03:28 PM   #16
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Selling the XSi with accesories as a "ready to use" bundle makes very good sense Bruce and I've posted my ad once again on craigslist with the kit lens, extra memory card and battery. Will see if that works.

Thanks for the advice and very nice examples. I hope to show up here again soon with a T1i.....

Best,

Larry
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Old August 29th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #17
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Costomer support not up to snuff.

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Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
A somewhat lengthy and mostly cordial letter of complaint to Cyberlink Customer Service produced an amazingly fast reply, offering me the URL to download the "newest" version of the program as well as the newest content / media libraries.

Despite another 760 MByte download, 2 unsuccesful attempts to uninstall the prior version, 1 unsuccessful attempt to install the new version, and thus a few wasted hours, I am pleased to report that:

The new build, Build 1930a, does appear to fix a lot of problems. Given that the program was only released a short time ago, it seems almost comical that the version provided to retail customers via web downloads in the old version, and then requires the uninstall, another huge download, and then another reinstall.

On the bright side, the program runs way better. It still has many issues, and I would certainly not declare it a refined and stable version yet, but it does have a lot to recommend it. And it nows seems to run and stay alive for extended periods of time without crashes, something which was certainly not true of the release I purchased and installed yesterday.

Larry
I have been trying to get Cyberlink support to verify whether or not PD8 can generate subtitles in AVCHD projects written to DVD disc (PD8 subtitles are OK in DVD and Blu-ray formats). After 6 back and forth sessions with the same support individual using their web support pages they have yet to answer the question ! The caliber of support appears to be seriously lacking. Because of this I have decided to evaluate Adobe's Premier Elements 7 and see how their support folks respond. Any feedback on either software vendors ?
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Old August 29th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #18
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Al,

A better place to ask that question would be on the forum at CyberLink ? A Leading Expert in Consumer Multimedia and Digital Home Solutions, there are a lot of helpful folks there. Click on "members" and you may have to register to ost

As far as "generate" subtitles goes, do you mean the kind you enter as title overlay over the image at the bottom of the screen, or something "generated" from a linked text file?

If the former, any NLE with a title overlay function, once you've entered the subtitles where you want them, should render that to any format including AVCHD on regular DVD material.

The only time I made an AVCHD DVD was using Pinnacle Studio 11.1.2 and the one subtitle I used showed up fine.

One warning on rendering AVCHD in AVCHD (Blu-ray compliant format) to regular DVD media: NEVER PUT THAT DISK IN A REGULAR PLAYER! It will fail to function and most of the time it will fail to eject, leaving you stuck with a player you cannot get the disk out of until you get the unit serviced somewhere. Those disks are playable only on Sony PS3 or Blu-ray players.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 01:31 PM   #19
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Yes, but...

Bruce,

The Cyberlink forum is void of info on subtitles and lacks breath of scope on most subjects - perhaps that's why their support folks are also out of sync on it. I just find that such a simple question not being answered makes for a poor support experience down the road. Are the support issues with Adobe as bad or better ?
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Old August 29th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #20
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Power Director 8 does not make subtitled AVCHDs. Although it appears to accept subtitle inputs, it merely shows them as title overlays with no means so select or deselect them with the player. Moreover, for those who would like to make mutlple language subtitles (very common on commercial disks), Power Director 8 is not capable of doing this. The text is composited with the video, and the resulting video ALWAYS has the "subtitle" showing regardless of player settings.

Sony Vegas / DVD Architect, on the other hand, makes correct subtitled AVCHDs, each subtitle being correctly established in the muxed stream as a selectable choice by the user during playback. This is one of many distinctions which make Vegas suite professional and Power Director mostly a home consumer product. The price difference between the two software products ($80 for Power Director versus several hundred dollars for Vegas) is justified for some buyers for these very features....

Along the same lines, Power Director support is very sketchy. Their forum has a number of helpful people, but they are users, not Cyberlink employees. Their replies and comments are sometimes outright wrong, outdated, etc. Getting Cyberlink help as a registered user has been mostly pretty good for me, however, although they have problems speaking English, and they also have classical customer service ignorance and confusion since you are NOT talking to programmers / software developers.

I guess the bottom line, IMHO, is:

What should one expect from a $80 software product which sells for about the same price as a good steak dinner for me and my wife? It works pretty well, has (sometimes) available support, and does most of the basic stuff quite well. I still use it a lot despite having Vegas, Final Cut, etc. around here......

Larry

BTW, I have not recently used Premiere Elements, but my prior ownership of both the Pro version as well as the Elements version with AVCHD was quite poor, especially with regard to speed.

Also, I loaded Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate and tried to make an AVCHD disk with subtitles. I do not see any subtitle capabilities in this software, and the help file did not make any mention of subtitles. I also checked the Owner's Manual and the 15 page long Index did not have an entry for the word "subtitle". Could it have been in version 11 but removed in 12?

Last edited by Larry Horwitz; August 29th, 2009 at 03:29 PM.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 02:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
Al,

One warning on rendering AVCHD in AVCHD (Blu-ray compliant format) to regular DVD media: NEVER PUT THAT DISK IN A REGULAR PLAYER! It will fail to function and most of the time it will fail to eject, leaving you stuck with a player you cannot get the disk out of until you get the unit serviced somewhere.
I wanted to mention that a solution for this problem exists for most of the DVD and BluRay players I have owned (several dozen from a half dozen manufacturer). The "trick" is to hold down both the Power switch and the "Eject" switch simultaneously while powering up the unit, after first unplugging it. After these have both been held down for quite a while, the tray will eject. Some of the players (I think the Samsung) need both the Power and Play buttons to be held down rather than the Eject button, but I have NEVER had a machine which failed to respond to this type of technique, and I can include Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, Toshiba, Samsung, and many cheapo brands from Walmart, Bestbuy (Insignia), and Internet sources to the list of those which worked as I describe.

Larry
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Old August 30th, 2009, 11:27 PM   #22
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Thanks, Larry.

That's a useful thing to know!

I never had it happen to me but read other's "tales of woe".
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Old September 4th, 2009, 04:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
I've been doing video editing since the early days of Macs, Amigas, and PCs, but can NEVER, EVER recall a program which is just so entirely filled with bugs, hangs, crashes, and totally unstable performance as the latest release of Cyberlink Power Director 8 Ultra.
You havent played with AVCHD files in Sony Vegas Pro 8 much then have you :P
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Old September 4th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #24
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Rikki,

I am especially intrigued by your comment since I do indeed use Sony Vegas Pro 8 and have been mostly satisfied with the results in the newest update (8.0c Build 260). My experiences with the recently released version 9 of Vegas have been far less favorable, and my trial version expired before the two new updates (9.0a and 9.0b) have been released which (supposedly) improve it substantially. I may upgrade eventually after the dust settles, but for the time being Vegas 8 is my prefered tool for AVCHD work.

I do see a lot of people on the Vegas forum complaining, and the 64 bit version seems to have all sorts of issues as well. It is not altogether surprising to see how dependent the stability and performance is depending on the hardware and software configuration.

Larry
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Old September 14th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #25
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Rikki,

I am especially intrigued by your comment since I do indeed use Sony Vegas Pro 8 and have been mostly satisfied with the results in the newest update (8.0c Build 260). My experiences with the recently released version 9 of Vegas have been far less favorable, and my trial version expired before the two new updates (9.0a and 9.0b) have been released which (supposedly) improve it substantially. I may upgrade eventually after the dust settles, but for the time being Vegas 8 is my prefered tool for AVCHD work.

I do see a lot of people on the Vegas forum complaining, and the 64 bit version seems to have all sorts of issues as well. It is not altogether surprising to see how dependent the stability and performance is depending on the hardware and software configuration.

Larry

Im on 8.0c using Pana HMC150 footage thru it and its unworkable. Either hangs when previewing by itself, crashes on render or when it does work its so painfully slow its unbearable (Q6600 OC'd to 3.4GHZ per core, 4gb ram etc). Works great with Cineform and HDV files but AVCCAM stuff ? Not a hope in hell.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 09:25 PM   #26
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If there is one essential thing I have learned over the last 2 years working with AVCHD in particular, it is that the hardware and software experiences of users varies a great deal. I have been pulling my hair out with a specific program and other people seem to have no issues, and the converse is also true. I guess this is a reflection of immaturity in the software products, and the lack of testing on a wide variety of platforms before release. No doubt the AVCHD camcorder makers have further complicated the situation since AVCHD is not one single format but rather a collection of very similar formats which differ in ways which can make a difference when used on the very same system. I am certain that Vegas, for example, does a better job with Sony AVCHD content versus Canon content. It makes problem solving and user assistance all the more difficult.

Maybe this will stabilize eventually. I certainly hope so.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 04:00 AM   #27
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I'm trying out all the trials of SW I could afford to buy. Powerdirector 8 is so far the best to work with, but it always crashes rendering the AVCHD from my Canon (and sometimes during editing). Seems that it can't properly render transitions. Also the sound is sometimes just missing from the rendered version, during random clips. The PC is a fast Phenom2 3-core.

I like working with PD 8, but... is there a newer binary yet? Or, might the registered version have a new rev that isn't out on the trial yet? I just can't buy something so instable. When I try to ask tech support, they say they can't help me because I haven't purchased. When I ask customer support (as tech support told me), they refer me to tech support. Yarr.

Adobe Elements 8 (brand new) crashes a lot, hogs the CPU, and installs all kinds of background apps (one of which was using 30% CPU when I hadn't even opened Elements). I can't work with that.

-Dave

edit: PD8 now installed on XP pro 64-bit; identical behavior. Crash seems to occur when memory usage goes too high. One particular transition bumps usage from ~620,000k to >700,000k in task manager, which is when it crashes. Is there a memory limit on how much system memory the program can use?

Last edited by David Douglas; September 26th, 2009 at 09:47 AM. Reason: addition
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Old September 26th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #28
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David,

The most recent version I am aware of is 1930a, with the downloaded installer called:

PDR8_Program_1930a_VDE080829-03.exe

It was offered to me on August 5th by Customer Support (only) when I complained that the original download was so incredibly unstable. As I posted earlier in this thread, this newer version seems to have fixed most of my problems, and I do not encounter, for example, the transition iossue you mention. It was apparently released sometime in late July or early August, but not updated on the Cyberlink / Digital River server for retail purchasers like me.

I just went to Cyberlink's support website to see if they had posted this release as a software update, but it is not there. I would imagine your only options, if you do not already have this version, would be to continue asking Cycberlink customer support for a trial version of the updated software, or to risk a purchase and then get the update as a customer. The latter approach may be a waste of money if the update still crashes for you, unfortunately.

Welcome to the wacky world of AVCHD. BTW, my experience with Adobe Premier Elements is the same as yours. I removed it from my computer.

Larry
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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:29 PM   #29
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Hi Larry, thanks for the feedback. Here's the installer I downloaded today,
CyberLink.2013_VDE090708-01.exe

Looks like that is newer than the one that you have with 1930a! Very strange... maybe they have re-introduced some old problems (very common with bad programming practices, which I've seen in most companies I worked for).

I'm now trying out a trial of Pinnacle 12. There's no trial yet for the brand-new Pinnacle 14. Good news is, no crashes of Pinnacle 12 yet. Bad news is, rendering is rather slow (3x or more of PD8!). Perhaps that's improved in 14, but I have to wait for a trial or buy it to find out.

Perhaps if I'm motivated by Pinnacle 12's slowness, I'll try emailing Cyberlink... unless any other suggestions pop up here :-)

Cheers, Dave

Quote:
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The most recent version I am aware of is 1930a, with the downloaded installer called:

PDR8_Program_1930a_VDE080829-03.exe
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Old September 26th, 2009, 08:12 PM   #30
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The user support forum moderator on the Cyberlink PowerDirector forum reports that 2013 apparently is issued only by request to customer support for the retail version, even though (apparently) the trial version is now at version 2013. I know this hardly makes any sense. You would think that the users would be getting the latest version and not the trial users, but such wierdness is not uncommon with software developers, particularly those in the inscrutable far East. The forum page explains this a little bit, and see the post by the forum administrator, Dafydd in particular:

Build 2013

I am going to contact Cyberlink and see if I can get a copy of 2013 to install. My present version is actually pretty stable, but I would like to get whatever improvements have been released unless they have done the common update with 2 steps forward and 1 step backward, breaking things while fixing others........

Larry
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