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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:45 PM   #31
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David,

Typically Pinnacle Studio 11 and 12 have taken several times the amount of time to render over what PowerDirector does. If you are trying to work with the faster bitrates, both programs generally require a quad core processor (Pinnacle Studio needing 2.66Ghz or faster) to successfully cope with the intensive compression of AVCHD.

Of the two, PowerDirector tends to be the less computer resource demanding of the two. I have PD8 (purchased Retail "box" version from amazon.com even though I could have save $25 going for the downloaded upgrade) and so far have installed it only on a Dell with the Q6600 (quad core 2.4Ghz processor) and haven't had much chance to fully test it out. Rendering short sequences to HD WMV seems to work well, but I need to install it on my Core i7 machine and see how it works burning disks on both machines.

I use Pinnacle Studio 12 most between the two, put up with the long rendering times because it does work and seems to work well. I don't know how tempted I'll be to move up to Studio 14 because they have removed the "hook" that allows SmartSound's current plug in to function. The included Scorefitter is something I have tried to give a fair trial, but the music is "thin", very MIDI sounding, and just lacks any real rich depth you find in a lot of SmartSound music. I do have SonicFire Pro 5 "Scoring Edition" and can continue to use my SmartSound library with any NLE that allows me to import a WAV file but have become spoiled by being able to score with SmartSound from within Studio.

Pinnacle may really lose me on this last "trick".
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Old September 27th, 2009, 03:48 AM   #32
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Hi Larry, thanks for the Cyberlink forum link. I have posted there with my issues asking for a solution. Let's see if 1930a is more stable, or if they have something new!

Hi Bruce, that's good info. I am using a Phenom2 X3 (3-core) at 2.6GHz. With PD8 the render times are acceptable (esp. with hardware accel from Nvidia 9500GT); with Pinnacle it's pretty painful(at least 3x longer). I won't do too much with music, except music I've created in mp3 format, so am not too worried about those missing audio features in Pinnacle 14. I noticed three problems in Pinnacle 12 so far:
1) YouTube upload in "high quality" mode is only 320x200 or so, not the new HD. But Pinnacle 12 is pretty old, and probably pre-YouTube-HD.
2) Camera stabilization effect is *horrible* and actually makes my videos (from a helmet-cam with optical stabilization) worse! I think the camera itself is one problem, because the optical piece is causing more vibration than there would be without it when vibration conditions are high (sports). But PD8 does a much better job.
3) One cannot apply certain effects in parallel, such as stabilization and speed-up clip.

All of these work fine in PD8. But surely Pinnacle 14 fixes #1; and it also has a new stabilizer function which may fix #2.

I'm hoping PD8 will have a more stable version soon so I can go with it; but if nothing comes out I'll have to try Pinnacle 14. Hopefully they have a trial version soon so I don't have to buy + pray.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 03:00 PM   #33
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David and others,

Cyberlink Customer Support did provide me with a link to download the latest 2013 version of PD8 Ultra along with the Content package.

This version seems as stable as the prior version on my hardware, which is a good thing. I am curious to see if you David or others find this to be true. Since they do not list the fixes, improvements, or others reasons for the update in any release notes, nor do they provide the update unless you contact them directly, I can only guess as to what really has changed.

To their credit, they apparently are continuing to make improvements, and the program has evolved quite nicely from a "train wreck" to a generally good program in just a few revisions over the last few months.

Larry
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Old October 4th, 2009, 01:43 AM   #34
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Hi Larry,

Sounds to me like their software release process isn't optimal, or they just don't want to tell users about embarrassing bugs they fixed in the 83 intermediate builds.

Check out this thread with info about some crashing issues: Not enough system memory question.... => problems with rendering on several multi-core systems due to a strange "out of memory" situation. That's exactly the crash I have.

I may try upping the "processor" count on my system to see what happens. It looks like a somewhat known program bug, for which they will almost certainly have a bugfix soon. If that solves my problem, perhaps I can go with PD instead of Pinnacle when I get around to purchasing...

Dave
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Old October 4th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #35
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Thanks for the link Dave. I was unaware of this "work-around", and will definitely use it if I encounter the 'out of memory' crash. I too am using 32 bit Vista, but with 4GB, and have not seen this problem even when doing 45 minute long 1920 by 1080 AVCHD work. Hard to figure out why some users are affected and others are not.

I've been using Power Director for the last few years, but not until version 8 did it really seem like aggresive debug and customer support were added. I am mostly impressed with what they are now delivering, but I still dislike (intensely) the way they hide the revision updates.

As you saw on the thread you linked me to above, they keep sending out older revs and don't reveal newer revs unless you are smart enough to ask for them. Seems like a very foolish strategy on their part, since it forces many unneccesary support requests. Perhaps they do this to limit or prevent pirating, but not sure.

You really should try the work-around posted, and get a better chance to use 2013. You may very well find that PD8 is your favorite NLE for most work, as I did, even though I have 6 other PC apps as well as Mac apps here to chose from.

Larry
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Old October 5th, 2009, 01:41 AM   #36
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Hi Larry,

Well, new problems keep cropping up. I tried adding another effect to my video ("enhance video" or something), and besides the effect looking horrible, the app crashes halfway through. And in this case it just disappears, so I get no clue of what the error is. I'm still not convinced to get PD8 over Pinnacle 14... probably I have to try the Pinnacle 14 trial when it's available. I can deal with 3x rendering time if every vid renders properly.

Let's see if CyberLink answers any of my questions in their forums. Nothing so far.

Dave
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Old October 5th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #37
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Dave,

My personal experiences with the prior version, Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate, were very negative, and I posted numerous issues on the Pinnacle support forum. Since they did not offer a trial version, I purchased the product and then went through a few weeks of screwing around, and never got it to work well with AVCHD. Perhaps the newer release which just came out will be better.

They do NOT provide any smart render in the release from last year, and it took forever to make pretty crummy looking 1920 by 1080 video. If they did offer smart render in the new release, I would be willing to give it another chance, particularly if I did not have to pay another $129 to do so. Not sure what their upgrade policy is.

I hope Cyberlink provides you with an aswer or a possible fix. In recent days they have been quite responsive. However, they no longer issue an email when the reply on their web support forum has been updated with an answer, and therefore the customer needs to keep checking the ticket to see if it has been updated. Makes no sense at all to me as to why they changed that.....

Larry
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Old October 6th, 2009, 01:42 AM   #38
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Hi Larry,

They do offer a trial of Pinnacle 12 now, but I had to ask the online support desk who found me the link. It's not obvious. He said that eventually there would be a trial of 14 as well. Smart rendering is not mentioned in the features if I remember. But it does have the vibration reduction feature from the full Avid software, so that should be improved.

There's an upgrade version for prior owners, but it doesn't save you *that* much. Perhaps if you complain about missing features to them and get all indignant, they will offer you a free upgrade to 14...

For me, I just see that Pinnacle 12 has never crashed on me yet. Whereas with PD8 it's constant. Probably I will end up having to break up my project (an instructional DVD) into many pre-rendered 5-to-8 minute segments, then put them together somehow at the end. And avoid using too many video effects at once. Would this strategy be easy to do with PD8? Can you make a DVD (or Blu-ray) with PD8 from multiple pre-rendered project clips?

Dave
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Old October 6th, 2009, 08:46 AM   #39
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Dave,

If you have a reliable method using Pinnacle, I would stick with it. PD8 is capable of doing better looking AVCHD output since it supports smart rendering and Pinnacle does not, but the practical solution is to use what works, and apparently you are not getting any reasonable stability with PD8.

If Avid were to include smart rendering in Pinnacle 14, my major objection would disappear. The slooooow rendering speed in my current Pinnacle 12 Ultimate is my single biggest issue now, but I have certainly had my share of bugs and hangs with it as well.

Larry
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Old October 6th, 2009, 09:11 AM   #40
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PD8 Version 1931

I am using version 1931 released as of 09-06-2009 and it is still crashing once in a while on i7 intel, Vista-64 configuration. These Cyberlink folks are just a front for cash grabs.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #41
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Al,

You might want to contact Cyberlink at their support web site and get the newer version 2013. It may help but really not sure.

Larry
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Old October 6th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #42
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PowerDirector Saves The Day...

New camera, Canon 7D.

Pinnacle Studio 12.1 Does NOT support the 1920x1080 MOV format. PD 7 Ultra and 8 Ultra both will import and take it on the timeline but it will NOT play smooth on the timeline. Fortunately PD will render it out to HD WMV and that looks OK.

So I tried AVC (H.264) and selected 1920x1080, rendered it out in PD8, then imported it into Studio 12. If there is any loss of PQ, I can't see it.

I don't guess we'll see an upgrade of 12 to accommodate new emerging camera formats and I'm not much inclined to go with 14 now that they have really removed SmartSound support.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 06:03 PM   #43
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Congrats on the 7D Bruce ! Just about the time I am considering pulling the plug on PD8 it surprises me and does something really very useful which other NLEs can't handle. I too found it very nice at handling .mov files.

Did you keep the T1i or trade up?

Larry
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Old October 6th, 2009, 09:22 PM   #44
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Kept it...

I kept the T1i. At first I offered it for sale for $50 less than B&H would be selling it when the 7D would finally get here. I publish our photo club newsletter and added that offer in it. But the more I thought on it the more it looked smarter to keep it, gives me a lesser expensive camera to "have with me", lighter weight than the 7D, I have 4 batteries for it, and not having to sell it with the "kit" lens gives me some more lens option.

I had ordered a 24mm F2.8 EF to use much like we used to use the "shifty fifty" back before zooms got so popular (yes, I'm dating myself), I had the 50mm F1.8 EF (older metal barrel type) lens on hand so that gave me 2 sharp primes. The T1i "bag" had the 17-55mm "kit" lens and the 55-250mm EF-S so it kind of made sense to keep it.

I haven't had a chance to do much more than see if the 7D works (it does) and partially familiarize myself with it. WOW!

Manual control in video is super simple. "Dial" up M on top, pick shutter, aperture, and ISO, then use the video switch and you have it. Course, you have to kind of know what settings are needed for exposure to set it correctly and it's a good idea to keep the shutter at reasonable settings to avoid some degree of "strobing".

A more convenient way is to select AUTO for ISO setting, then shutter and aperture desired (all while in M for manual exposure still mode). Switch to video and press shutter button partway to see what ISO has been selected by the camera and judge on the LCD if this is the exposure you want. Then set that ISO manually and your exposure is "locked".

Should you be in any other mode besides M (Av, Tv, P, CA, or green box "idjit" mode) when you use the video switch, you have full auto video exposure just like the original firmware in the 5D MkII provided.

This camera is great, puts the photographer fully in charge.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 12:37 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Sudy View Post
I am using version 1931 released as of 09-06-2009 and it is still crashing once in a while on i7 intel, Vista-64 configuration. These Cyberlink folks are just a front for cash grabs.
Hi Al, read this thread about i7 problems. Sounds like the developers are working on it, but in the meantime you can disable some cores and get it working...
Not enough system memory question....

-Dave
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