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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old August 12th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #1
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Help me pick new computer/software for AVCHD

I've had a heck of a time with editing video from my Canon HF20. I've tried my 5 year old Dell Inspiron 5000 (1G, 1.6GHz, 80G HD) with the Canon software, but the video bogs down (audio is fine, not sure if this is computer or software limited).

I figure it's time for a new computer, so does anyone have any suggestions for what will work best with AVCHD? My main computer uses are Internet and video/photo editing, wordprocessing/excel-ing etc. I'm not a professional editor, just like to edit and share family videos with family. Blu ray isn't needed as no friends/family have blu ray.

My wife and I first decided on an iMac, so I borrowed a brand new MacBook Pro for a week to try the editing. What a disaster! Simply using iMovie 09 and iDVD yielded terrible quality. I spent a week reading this forum and many others to try and improve quality to no avail. I tried mts converters, playing with settings, exporting to quicktime etc.

Now on to looking at PCs. Does anyone have any suggestions for what will fit into the budget and do what I want it to (what memory or processor speed is necessary)? I'm sure I'll need an additional software package for editing/burning DVDs, what should I be looking at?

I'm leaning towards an all in one or a desktop because I already have a laptop and with photos and music I'd like a lot of hard drive space. I could be convinced to buy a laptop though if it fits the budget and does what I want it to. Budget is 1000-1500 for everything (tower, monitor, software, accessories). If someone can explain how an iMac can do what I want it to and fit in the budget, I'd love to hear it. I just don't see how adding additional software to an iMac can still be less than 1500 (Toast, FCE, etc).
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Old August 12th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #2
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As a general rule, you need a multi-core processor, preferably an i7 chip. Memory requirements can range from 4GB to 24GB+. And even if you have a screaming fast machine, it's common practice to transcode AVCHD into a more edit friendly format like Cineform, DNxHD, ProRes, & Apple's Intermediate Codec. Some software can take advantage of the GPU on the graphics card to process AVCHD, notably Premiere CS5. Check out the Videoguys DIY7 NLE Guide to get a better idea.

But in the end, you really need to try out the different NLEs yourself to find what best suits you, then you can confidently buy the correct hardware. Each package can have wildly different requirements and can appeal to different types of people.

For the PC
Avid Media Composer
Adobe CS5
Sony Vegas Pro + DVD Architect
Canopus Edius
** On the consumer side for the PC there very good consumer versions of Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, and Canopus Edius


For the Mac
Avid Media Composer
Final Cut Studio
Adobe CS5
iMovie
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Old August 16th, 2010, 03:50 AM   #3
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The list of programs that have ability to import AVCHD video for editing:

Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Elements
Avid Media Composer
Avid Xpress Pro
AVS Video Editor
Blender
iFunia Video Converter
Cinelerra
CyberLink PowerDirector
Dayang Montage Extreme
EDIUS Neo
EDIUS
Final Cut Express
Final Cut Studio
PiTiVi
Kdenlive
OpenShot Video Editor
Pinnacle Studio
Sony Vegas
Ulead VideoStudio Plus
Windows Movie Maker


Among those programs the following ones are free:

Blender
Cinelerra
PiTiVi
Kdenlive
OpenShot Video Editor
Windows Movie Maker
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Old August 16th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #4
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Arkady, you seriously left out Magix Movie Edit Pro 16+ which has the most features and in my opinion best interface, but is somewhat flaky. There's probably a few more. Anyway, my vote would go to Vegas.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 05:06 AM   #5
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Sorry about that.

I left MAGIX Movie Edit Pro behind, because the program’s version 16 has no AVCHD support (but it can be purchased from within the program).

However, you are right: the version 16 Plus has been upgraded to native AVCHD editing.
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