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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old November 28th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #1
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AVCHD Premeire Pro CS4 Playback problems

I'm working on importing avchd files into Premiere CS4 and when it comes up, the footage is sporadically blurred and catchy. It works perfect through iMovie. When I run it through 1080p sequences it's just choppy and not blurred. Any solutions to this?

I'm working with a sony handycam hdr-sr1 on an iMac 4gb ram and core duo processor. The footage is 1440x1080.
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Old November 28th, 2009, 11:37 PM   #2
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Ah the great experience of working with AVCHD. I work (currently) with all my workflow using AVCHD and CS4. Here is my opinion on the choppy playback.

1) My AVCHD cams all record in 1080i not 1080p. Therefor my initial thought is that you might have the footage in the wrong type of timeline since you stated in your post that you were working in a 1080p timeline. In addition since I just reread your post, you stated 1080p timeline and footage is 1440x1080. 1440x1080 is not 1080p... The sequences in CS4 for AVCHD 1080p is 1920x1080. Please check these settings first.

2) Be aware that playback of AVCHD clip in Premeire is optimized for performance not ascetics. So since I don't fully know your level of "choppy" or "laggy" it might just be Premiere trying to streamline the playback. My edit stations all use quad core 2.9 intel chips all with 8 gigs of ram and still CS4 plays back AVCHD clips a bit pixelated and choppy, but only for performance. Once edited and exported, the footage is flawless.

3) If your still having problems...rewrap the footage. Cineform is the best in the market right now and cost very little. I use Cineform and I also rewrap the footage using CS4's preinstalled MPEG2 encoder. I do this if I am doing any kind of Multicam setup. Do NOT try to use raw AVCHD files for Multicam, unless you enjoy the boot up screen on your computer.

I'm no expert, but I do have a lot of experiance working with AVCHD and its drawbacks. I hope this helps somewhat.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 01:07 AM   #3
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Subtle confusion

First, 1440x1080 is available as one of the presets in Premiere (both 1080i or 1080p), under "Anamorphic". Since many AVCHD camcorders capture in 1440x1080 at bitrates lower than the highest one, not to mention HDV, which ONLY captures at 1440x1080, this probably isn't the source of the problem. However, working in progressive timeline with interlaced files could easily be the cause. None of the consumer AVCHD camcorders captures progressive framerates in progressive format. They all capture 24 (or 30) progressive frames, then interlace those frames (and insert the pull-down if it's 24p) into a 60i AVCHD file. Thus, regardless of your selected framerate at capture, your AVCHD file will be 60i.

Cineform NeoScene is a great tool for getting rid of unnecessary fields/frames from the AVCHD file that contains progressively captures frames. However, NeoScene does NOT rewrap files (ClipWrap is a rewrapper, but doesn't work with AVCHD yet). Instead, it transcodes your AVCHD into much bigger, but infinitely easier to edit, AIC, ProRes or Cineform-encoded QuickTime files (or AVI on Windows). In the process of transcoding (i.e. converting) these files, NeoScene de-interlaces the video back to progressive format, and removes the unnecessary duplicate fields from 24p footage encoded into 60i. The result is a file that's about ten times larger, but at full resolution, authentic progressive framerate and easy on your processor.

JES Deinterlacer and VideoPier can successfully deinterlace 60i file if the capturing framerate was 30p. If you capture at 24p, though, NeoScene is the only easy game in town (although AfterEffects can also do it, but I have no idea how to go about this).
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Old November 29th, 2009, 08:43 PM   #4
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I had this problem when I first tried editing AVCHD on Premiere.
At the bottom of the 2 preview screens, you'll see 3 circles. Click on it and choose Highest Quality. That might solve all of your problems.

Another option is to make sure your updated to 4.2.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #5
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Thanks for all your replies. Paulo, it fixed it that quick!
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Old December 1st, 2009, 05:07 PM   #6
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I can imagine it being very nerve racking especially for people who spent a fortune on their computer setup like this guy.
Adobe Forums: Can I update to CS4.1....
You'd think Adobe would have fixed that by now.
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