Just cant figure it out: How to Make a PAL SD DVD from AVCHD footage? at DVinfo.net

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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old September 10th, 2010, 11:17 AM   #1
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Just cant figure it out: How to Make a PAL SD DVD from AVCHD footage?

Searching this forum among other sources on the web it is clear that the problem I'm not the only one facing problems when making an SD DVD from material originally shot as AVCHD. Yet, I have yet to come across a reasonable working solution... or at least one that addresses my particular case.

Here's the deal...

1.Shooting with a PAL Panasonic HDC-TM700 (any of the available formats)

2. On Windows XP based PC I"m using NeoScene to convert the footage to manageable cineform-coded .avi files for editing.

3. Import the .avi files to newly purchased copy of Sony Vegas Pro 9 for editing.

4. Render the project to .avi (codec: cineform). This is my master file of the final project.

5. Now I wish to make an SD PAL DVD copy of the project, so I import my master file to a new Vegas project and render as mpg-2 video stream (using Sony DVD Architect template) and then render sound as stereo AC-3.

6. With DVD Architect I then create and burn the DVD.

THE RESULT:
Noticeable strange looking wavy noisy pixels particularly in bright areas (such as white colored walls) and areas with horizontal lines (such as window blinds). The defects in image seem to be especially noticeable during camera movement.

Can someone P-L-E-A-S-E help me overcome this? I've already spent days testing, burning DVDs, and searching the net for a solution.

Looking forward to your replies!

THX
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Old September 11th, 2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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From what I've understood the problems I've described are not uncommon when playing SD material which was previously converted from HD - on an HD LCD display.

That's pretty much all I know.

I've read a forum discussion which seemed to deal with this sort of problem, but using a Mac therefore I had no way of trying out the different solutions and settings which were suggested.

If it helps any, the LCD display I'm trying to watch the DVD on is a: Toshiba T 32WL66E

Thanks.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #3
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A dvd standalone recorder can do the job if your project resides on the camcorder's internal drive or memory.
The Liteon standalones are ok and the Toshiba 400 series are great and incredibly cheap too
with the avchd type of camera you will have to settle for s-video out to the recorder.
The HDV cameras all had firewire out but alas no more.
Start the recorder, begin playpack of your project from the camera and you will end up with a playable DVD from which you can rip the vobs into mpeg2 files if you so wish.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #4
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Hey Bruce, thanks for the reply! But I'm not sure I follow...

Making a DVD straight from camera is not an option for me, if that's what you mean...

The footage is shot and stored in the camera's memory, but then I import that footage into the computer, convert it to an intermediate codec (Cineform) and then the material (on hard drive of computer) is edited with Sony Vegas Pro 9.

At this stage I can render the edited project to a number of different formats. I prefer to render first to .avi using the same Cineform codec and have this as my master video file.

From this master I can then render out to other formats such as mpg-2 for DVD or whatever.

This has been my work flow.

The only possible changes I can make, as I see it, are:
- using a different intermediate codec
- rendering to a different format for master file
- using different settings when rendering to master and/or mpg-2 video stream for DVD.
- using different DVD authoring software
- using different DVD burning software
- maybe something that has to do with the Toshiba TV settings (?)

I have no idea where the culprit lays regarding the problems I'm facing. I don't know which if any stages of my work flow I can change to improve the quality.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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Use the nle to export your finished film to the camcorder, then follow the recipe indicated
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Old September 12th, 2010, 10:08 PM   #6
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Hi Bruce, thanks again for answering.

I see now what you mean.
I trust you're right on this and it just might be the way to go if no choice is left, but if there's a solution to that doesn't involve purchasing a DVD recorder, I'd rather try that first.

I might as well give you the full picture here... I'm actually helping out someone who I've been tutoring. I'm giving him lessons on how to get started with basic video editing. I convinced him to get Sony Vegas which he did. Then he decided he wanted to buy a new camera to replace his miniDV camcorder, so I recommended the Panasonic HDC-TM700. Then we found out that he'll need to convert the material to an intermediate codec for Vegas to be able to handle the AVCHD files, so he purchased Cineform's NeoScene....

I just don't feel comfortable going to him and saying "Okay, now all you need to do is go out and buy a standalone DVD recorder and you'll be fine!".

What is it that the standalone recorder can do that can't be done with software and the DVD burner of the computer? Is a standalone DVD burner the ONLY solution? or is it just one that you know works?

Thanks!
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Old September 13th, 2010, 01:58 AM   #7
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I don't use vegas - but I'm wondering why you have to convert the avi file twice? I'd suspect strongly that this could be where the unwanted artefacts are coming from.
If I understand correctly, you're converting AVCHD to avi, then importing this file into vegas? If it's a proper avi file can't you just edit it, then go straight to dvd architect? Do you have to render out a new avi, then convert this to mpeg for the DVD? That's 3 manglings. I'm an Adobe user, and although Premiere handles AVCHD (which I must say I thought Vegas did too) you would bring in the AVCHD file, edit it, then send it to Encore - you'd have a bit of rendering of bits of the files, and just one full render to generate the mpeg - have I misunderstood your workflow?
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Old September 13th, 2010, 03:30 AM   #8
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Hey Paul. I've actually tried both ways:
1. Rendering the project straight to mpg-2 video stream and AC-3 audio for making the DVD.
2. First rendering to a master file (best quality possible) which would basically be the file I keep stored on my computer for all future renders whether they be for DVD, BlueRay, for streaming on the internet, etc.

Option 2 (as I understand it) shouldn't produce any downgrading in quality or artifacts, since I'm rendering out using the exact same lossless codec I have in the Vegas project timeline.

Anyway, as mentioned above, I've tried both methods and both end up with the same problematic results.

As for the work with AVCHD in NLE...

From what I've understood - AVCHD is a great format for capturing video in camera, but not a good format for editing with. Leads to crashes and also something that has to do with color (All I know is what I've read and I am not too knowledgeable as far as video technology and so on).
It is to my understanding that AVCHD should first be rendered to an intermediate codec for working with an NLE whether it be Vegas, Premiere or Final Cut.

On that note, I've read that Adobe has made the latest version of Premiere highly compatible with the Cineform codec (probably the leading intermediate codec for use with AVCHD and HD material in the industry). Vegas users are also using Cineform which seems to be pretty much ok, but are hoping that the next version of Vegas implements some improvements in that field.

I've been researching this bit for a couple of weeks now and I'm pretty sure about most of what I'm saying here. But if you're doing fine with Premiere and no conversions... I can't argue with that. :)

In any case, you can find tons of info about this on the web and this is the workflow I've figured out to be best at the moment after long consultations, mostly in the Vegas forum here at dvinfo.net.

Here's just one of such discussions:
I need some starting tips for working with Panasonic HDC-TM700 and Vegas
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Old September 13th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #9
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Are you shooting 50P with the HDC-TM700. This has given some of the NLE's some problems. As for straight interlaced 50i you should have no problems editing AVCHD native in Vegas. Downconverting to get a SD DVD is another issue. Vegas does not do the best encode for downconversion using the BEST Full resolution rendering quality in project settings for encode will take longer but give the best results that Vegas can achieve. If you have TMPGenc you could try rendering to HDV from Vegas and then let TMPGenc downconvert and encode for the DVD file.

I use Edius and edit native for single stream, Canopus HQ for multicam with output to Canopus HQ file that TMPGenc then downconverts and encodes for DVD.

I have Vegas 9, Premiere and Edius 5.5. Preference is Edius for video and Vegas for audio.



Ron Evans
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Old September 13th, 2010, 09:24 AM   #10
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Hi Ron, thanks for chipping in.

Regarding 50i working smoothly in NLE - actually that is news to me! I based the workflow I've described after going through numerous web-based discussions including the one I myself started at the Vegas forum here. In any case, the guy I'm helping out has already purchased NeoScene, so unless there is a different reason (apart from saving storage space) to shoot 50i, I guess that 50p will be the format he'll be using.

Anyways, I'll try out 50i just for testing sake and check it out.


Regarding the down-conversion to DVD using Vegas and TMPGenc - I'm not sure I understand what you mean about rendering to HDV.

If I want to render the project to best full resolution quality with Vegas, from my understanding - after having converted the original 50p footage to 25p cineform-encoded avi files - the best quality render I could make afterward would be to render out to HD (1920x1080) 25p avi using the same cineform codec, does that make sense? If I'm wrong, please correct me.

Where does the HDV come in?

It looks as though TMPGenc offer a 14-day trial, so I'd be willing to give it try, once I fully understand your suggestion about rendering with Vegas.

Thanks! :)
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Old September 13th, 2010, 09:35 AM   #11
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I was assuming that you didn't already have Cineform and then the easiest export from Vegas would be HDV to get TMPGenc to do the encode. I believe TMPGenc can use Cineform file if the Cineform codec is on the PCl. 50i and 50p have the same temporal motion it is just that whole frames are recorded for the progressive 50p and just fields for 50i.

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Old September 13th, 2010, 10:06 AM   #12
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Okay. So just to recap... you suggest rendering with Vegas to .avi (with cineform) and then down-converting the .avi to mpg-2 using TMPGenc. Right?

Does it matter then which DVD authoring/burning software I use after that?

And I'm not sure what you meant by "... Cineform codec is on the PCI"?
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Old September 13th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
From what I've understood - AVCHD is a great format for capturing video in camera, but not a good format for editing with. It is to my understanding that AVCHD should first be rendered to an intermediate codec for working with an NLE whether it be Vegas, Premiere or Final Cut.
Not necessarily. A key reason you would need to do this is if your PC is not ultra-powerful (eg Core i7 based). If you have a super-dooper PC, then editing AVCHD directly on the timeline is perfectly reasonable. I use Vegas Pro 9.0e (do make sure you have the latest version) and it's fine. I even cut a 40 minute documentary from AVCHD footage on it (and that was in Vegas 8.0c) without once going to an intermediate format such as Cineform. It stutters a little over the crossfades, but I do the edit with the master "FX" switch off, before switching it back on for colour tweaks and final render.

(Incidentally, if your PC is not up to the job, you can get fair results without buying Cineform by rendering out within Vegas as a Sony MXF (mpeg-2) file. Purists will scream but to the average eye, it looks fine)

There are valid reasons to do with colour that suggest a transcode would be sensible but where your edit is staying entirely within the same NLE for both edit and colour correction, this is essentially unnecessary. Once the NLE has decoded the AVCHD internally in order to edit it, tweaking its colour will be done in the same decoded frame, before final output render - so rendering to an intermediate is a time-consuming wasted step.

As to your down-conversion problems ... I don't have a good answer but, as someone else has already suggested, I would recommend encoding to the DVD Architect files directly from the project rather than rendering out to a master and bringing that master back in again.

Regards
Dave
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Old September 13th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #14
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Thanks Dave for that information, it seems there is a lot of confusion and disinformation going around regarding the AVCHD workflow...

The computer in question is pretty up-to-date. It's not i7 based, but rather quad core 2.

Concerning the rendering to avi or straight to mpg-2 for DVDA... as I've mentioned, I did try both methods and both resulted in lousy quality DVDs. So unless you think that avoiding the conversion to intermediate codec (as you said is very possible) could solve the problems I'm facing with the artifacts when playing an SD DVD on the Toshiba LCD display, then - yes I will give all this a try.
Otherwise, if in fact the problem lays with Vegas' poor ability to down-convert the footage (as stated by Ron Evans) requiring different software (TMPGenc) for that - then I pretty much HAVE to first render the project with Vegas.

BTW this is a newly downloaded and purchased copy of Vegas 9e.

Next chance I'll get I'll run the test with adding the TMPGenc down-conversion to mpg-2 into the workflow and see how that goes. Will keep you posted...

Meanwhile, if anyone knows of some kind of solution or recognizes something I'm doing wrong - please let me know. THX for the help. Much appreciated!
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Old September 13th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #15
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Your problem is rendering out of Vegas for DVD Architect. Choosing the standard GOOD( its a project setting) render is NOT good enough for downconversion, even the BEST render is in my opinion not good enough.

For TMPGenc to use a Cineform file it needs to access the Cineform codec so this has to be resident on the PC. No codec and the file cannot be used. IF you edit with Cineform on the PC and then use TMPGenc on the same PC then the codec will be on the PC for TMPGenc to use.

With a quad core you should not need to use Cineform for a single track edit in Vegas 9 or Edius 5.5 or CS5. However how you export this HD timeline will determine how good the final video will look.

Ron Evans
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