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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old November 30th, 2009, 01:51 AM   #1
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Down-Scaling AVCHD

Hi from a newbie. I'm hopefully getting a new HF S100 tomorrow and plan to use it for some school nativity plays over the next couple of weeks. This will be alongside a couple of XM2s with the HS S100 locked down from an elevated location.

I currently use PPro 2.0 so I'm hoping that I can downscale the AVCHD files to AVI and then import it into PPro with the XM2 stuff.

At this stage, I don't mind if the downscaling takes a long time but I don't want anything to slow PPro down.

My plan was to get Premiere Elements 8, which is extremely cheap from educational suppliers. However, I've read that it struggles with AVCHD. My computer has a 3GHz dual-core Pentium and 4GB RAM.

Any advice would be appreciated, especially on the best way to downscale.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #2
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Hi Ray, I've been editing AVCHD in Premiere for about 2 and a half years now and there are several routes you could go. First, like you said, you could go with PE8. It may struggle with AVCHD and you probably won't get anything near realtime playback, but you will be able to edit your video and export your project footage.

Next is you could upgrade to PP4 (lol I know that's not what you want to hear), but even it will struggle somewhat with AVCHD in the timeline and on playback in PP4, considering the system you're on (AVCHD pulls a lot of processing power), but probably significantly less than PE8.

You could, as you were saying, also use a transcoder such as Elecard Converter to convert your AVCHD files to AVI files.

Lastly you could use an intermediate codec such as Cineform to both transcode and edit your footage in PP2 (this was the best solution I ever found when I had to edit AVCHD in PP2/PP3). It does an extremely good job of transcoding your AVCHD files and then allowing you to smoothly edit them in the PP2 timeline. I used this solution for all my own AVCHD files all the way up until Premiere CS4 came out, which can handle AVCHD quite well. If you're ever going to be editing any more AVCHD and you feel you can swing the $, it's definitely a worthy consideration. Of course if you ever do upgrade to Premiere CS4, there will be little use for the Cineform codec anymore.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 02:38 PM   #3
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premiere elements 8 has a full avchd support, so for that matter i think it would use the same algorithms as ppCS4, you have a free trial of PE8, so you can try it and see how you are comfortable, but as noticed in upper post, you would have to upgrade to quad qore, i think. or maybe pure speed of your 3ghz dual core is enough, but i doubt.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I have my demo version of Elements 8 running now with an avi file. I should get my S100 tomorrow and possibly the licence number for Elements if Adobe email it to me. It doesn't look as if the demo version lets you export anything, which is a shame or maybe I'm not looking hard enough.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #5
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Cineform Transcoding

Most recent versions of Elements (or Pro) can handle AVCHD reasonably well. That means, if all your edits are cuts, and you don't have multiple video tracks, your playback should be mostly fine. For any serious work, though, it's a good idea to transcode.

Cineform NeoScene is and excellent tool, not just for transcoding AVCHD into something that's more manageable for modest computer hardware (both on Mac, as well as Windows). It also has a unique feature not found elsewhere; it can remove pulldown fields from a 24p content that was telecined into 60i stream. Since virtually all consumer camcorders (including S100) encode 24p inside the 60i framerate, in order to edit those 24p clips on a proper 24p timeline, we have to go through this song-and-dance routine of detecting the pulldown cadence, identifying duplicate fields and removing them. NeoScene does an excellent job with it, and is cheap, not to mention, the resulting QuickTime (or AVI, if you work in Windows) is much easier to work with (although it's 10 times larger than original AVCHD).

I have been waiting for years for a reasonable explanation why camcorder makers continue to make 24p such a pain to work with. Would it really kill them to capture AND encode 24p as, well 24p???
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 02:09 AM   #6
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I received my HF S100 yesterday and am pretty impressed so far. I'm still waiting for Elements 8 and the trial version doesn't allow me to export. However, I found out that if you install the latest full K-Lite codecs it's possible to import M2TS files into Windows Movie Maker and then export to DV-AVI. I gave it a try and it seems like it will at least get me out of a hole if E8 doesn't arrive soon.

Pixela just doesn't work!
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 09:46 AM   #7
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Hi Ray,
Glad to hear that the camera has arrived!
As you have noticed, Pixela is absolute pants...
I use Neo Scene for converting most of my material now, since I'm still using CS3 and think that its a great programme.

Happy shooting!
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Old December 5th, 2009, 10:06 AM   #8
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I plan to leave the S100 locked down on wide angle covering the whole stage. I'll be recording at 1440x1080 and it occurs to me that, as the finished product will be SD, I can scale up a bit in post without losing any resolution.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 06:48 PM   #9
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Hi, Rob: Which Cineform product to transcode AVCHD for PPro/CS2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Johnson View Post

Lastly you could use an intermediate codec such as Cineform to both transcode and edit your footage in PP2 (this was the best solution I ever found when I had to edit AVCHD in PP2/PP3). It does an extremely good job of transcoding your AVCHD files and then allowing you to smoothly edit them in the PP2 timeline. I used this solution for all my own AVCHD files all the way up until Premiere CS4 came out, which can handle AVCHD quite well. If you're ever going to be editing any more AVCHD and you feel you can swing the $, it's definitely a worthy consideration. Of course if you ever do upgrade to Premiere CS4, there will be little use for the Cineform codec anymore.
Hi, Rob,
Am I correct in presuming you're using Cineform's NeoScene to transcode prior to editing in PPro CS/2? The CF site hints that NeoScene works well for CS3 & CS4, but I found no mention of CS2.Did you need to do anything special to be able to transcode for use in CS2?

Thanks.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:59 AM   #10
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I use ProspectHD rather than Neoscene, but I can tell you CS2 imports Cineform avis without issues.

There's a 7 day fully functional trial version of Neoscene, so you can easily check for yourself.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 11:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Predrag Vasic View Post
I have been waiting for years for a reasonable explanation why camcorder makers continue to make 24p such a pain to work with. Would it really kill them to capture AND encode 24p as, well 24p???
Yes, I briefly dabbled with 24p (though not in a camcorder). The problem is that many display devices (especially cheaper, 60 Hz HDTV sets) do not properly handle "native" 24p material; instead, you will see plenty of judder. Thus, when it came time to shop for a new "full-sized" consumer HD camcorder, I ended up choosing a model which records only interlaced (60i) video.

Among camcorders that were ever offered in the consumer (as opposed to the "prosumer") marketplace, only a few Panasonics ever supported true 24p recording. Unfortunately, Panasonic discontinued those models in favor of models which encode 24p inside a 60i stream.

Last edited by Randall Leong; January 11th, 2010 at 08:33 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 08:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Predrag Vasic View Post
I have been waiting for years for a reasonable explanation why camcorder makers continue to make 24p such a pain to work with. Would it really kill them to capture AND encode 24p as, well 24p???
Why do you want 24P? IF you are going to edit for transfer to film to show at a festival from a film projector its a very valid approach. To show on a video display anywhere in the world it is just an effect that causes a juddering motion because of mismatch between frame rate and display refresh rate. 24p is only around because of the large investment in projectors etc, an economic decision of the last century. It was the compromise in use of film stock for distribution copies that would provide acceptable motion and mainly sound as silent movies were at a slower frame rate!!!!!.
Unless the display can refresh at a multiple of 24 it cannot display 24p. So some plasma can display 72hz and the latest 120hz and 240hz LCD's and display 24fps emulating a multiblade shutter on the film projector. 72 for a 3 blade shutter and 120 for a 5 blade shutter. 240hz is overkill but is likely needed for 3D (emulating a 5 blade shutter for each eye).
The film look is a lot more than frame rate. Most of what we perceive as film look are techniques for masking the slow frame rate. Shallow depth of field, contrast images and little camera movement all to mask the judder of backround movement. All these options are available without the slow frame rate. Unless one is trying to emulate the look of Super8 film of the 60's of course.

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Old January 15th, 2010, 10:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall Leong View Post
Among camcorders that were ever offered in the consumer (as opposed to the "prosumer") marketplace, only a few Panasonics ever supported true 24p recording. Unfortunately, Panasonic discontinued those models in favor of models which encode 24p inside a 60i stream.
Even though Panasonic may no longer offer any consumer models with native 24p recording, Canon will be shipping new high-end consumer AVCHD camcorders with native 24p recording capability this coming Spring (as noted in other threads in other forums).
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