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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.


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Old November 12th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Hi all!

I just purchased a Canon HF M41 HD camcorder and may I say, it is rather remarkable. I love the quality of the video it takes. I'm running into a little of a dilemma however.

Here is some background info. I was really into MiniDV recording/editing (on Final Cut Pro) about 4 years ago. I haven't really been in on the video bandwagon recently so I'm trying to catch up. I have FCP v5.1.4, iMovie '09 (8.0.6), and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. Now I know FCP won't work (because I've tried it). I really can't stand iMovie, so that leaves me with Premiere Pro.

All that said, I'm trying to find a way I can edit and watch HD videos on my HDTV (family videos, etc.) without having to plug my camcorder into the TV to watch them in full quality. I don't have a blu-ray burner on my Mac Pro so unless I buy one, I can't burn Blu-rays and watch them in HD on my TV. My main concern is being able to edit these AVCHD files and watch them in HD (without loosing a lot of quality in post). I'm not sure what to convert the videos to after I edit them. Also, what do you all do to watch HD videos on your TV? I've heard of media players like WD TV Live, but I'm not sure if that's what I need.

Please, any help anyone could provide would be great. I feel like my head is spinning trying to catch up! :-/

Thanks!
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Old November 12th, 2011, 08:50 PM   #2
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Brett,

If your HDTV is less than 2 years old it may already have a media player that you may be able to use. If not, then the WD media player is an excellent choice. Most built in TV media players handle mpeg2 (BD quality) very well. AVCHD can be a hit and miss. The WD player handles both very well.

If you wish to edit HD content in AVCHD mode you have several options in software. I'm not a CS4 user so cannot say if it will handle HD well. In addition, you will have to check your PC's capability as HD needs lots of number crunching capability if you wish to finish editing in a reasonable amount of time (not hours). I use the current version of PowerDirector ($100) which is excellent, easy to use and very fast (on a well equipped PC) when editing HD. Trial versions are available but the full capability of the application can only be realized in the purchased version.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #3
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Well, I'd convert them to ProRes and edit them with FCP, and then export to h.264 for playback on my BluRay player. You can in fact burn h.264 files to a DVD and have a BluRay player play them -- you just can't fit a feature films worth of material onto a DVD in HD.

I'm sure there are other ways to go, but I personally wouldn't worry about keeping the material AVCHD for editing -- ProRes does a fine job of preserving the quality & freeing up your older system to do the edit. And though I have a BluRay burner I more often burn to a DVD because they are cheaper -- I just don't burn them to DVD SD standard.

Cheers,
GB
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Old November 12th, 2011, 09:28 PM   #4
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Mr. Baker-
Thank you for the reply! Several questions...
1. How do I go about converting to ProRes? (I've never heard of this format)
2. Do ALL Blu-Ray players play H.264 files? (I'm guessing this is like burning a .mp3 file to a disk and then having a CD player that can read .mp3 files play it, correct?)
3. Can all version of FCP edit ProRes?

Sorry for all the questions... trying to learn.
Thanks!
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Old November 13th, 2011, 12:47 AM   #5
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

I have 3 kids in sports so we have lots of video so here is what I do. I use Aunsoft or Handbrake (they have both for mac) for conversion to mkv files on everything. Aunsoft can convert without loss or with either of those you can choose to reduce your file size and keep very good quality. These are not editors but just converters. I also use Handbrake for conversion to post on YouTube (mp4) and it does a great job. Since mkv is a wrapper it can keep chapters and other things that your original video file may have, subtitles, hard coded subs, etc.. I convert all my Bluray movies, tv shows, almost anything to a mkv file and store them on one of my video servers. All can be watched at with no loss of quality from the original file if that is what you want.

As far as a server there are a lot of choices out there with WD TV Live being one, cheap, easy, and almost bulletproof. I use unRaid as my server OP and XBMC (also can be used on mac) on Acer Aspires at each TV. I then have the mkv files stored on a server and the Acer's with XBMC at the tv's to watch any videos we want. Each kid has their own folder within XBMC so they can find whatever they want. I started out small a few years ago and now I am sure I easily have over 60tb of video stored (2 - 40tb servers). It is really a great system that the kids love and use a lot. Today they watched the football game from last night and tomorrow the basketball scrimmage will be watched that was filmed today.

Enjoy the process.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #6
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Vodi View Post
Brett,

If your HDTV is less than 2 years old it may already have a media player that you may be able to use. If not, then the WD media player is an excellent choice. Most built in TV media players handle mpeg2 (BD quality) very well. AVCHD can be a hit and miss. The WD player handles both very well.

If you wish to edit HD content in AVCHD mode you have several options in software. I'm not a CS4 user so cannot say if it will handle HD well. In addition, you will have to check your PC's capability as HD needs lots of number crunching capability if you wish to finish editing in a reasonable amount of time (not hours). I use the current version of PowerDirector ($100) which is excellent, easy to use and very fast (on a well equipped PC) when editing HD. Trial versions are available but the full capability of the application can only be realized in the purchased version.
Allen-
THANK YOU! I checked and my Samsung TV does in fact play media files. It looks like I'll have to convert the files to MPEG or .mkv first with Handbrake, but that's not a deal breaker. It appears I can also hook a hard drive up to it.

I have a dual quad core (2.8ghz) Mac Pro with 6GB of RAM. It handles AVCHD pretty well in CS4. Does anyone know what the best settings are for exporting these HD files out of Premiere Pro is for playback on a TV?
Thanks.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 08:55 AM   #7
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

It seems you may have found an alternative that suits, but to address your queries:
1) ProRes is Apple's professional codec designed for ease of editing -- your source files are converted to ProRes, which is substantially larger in file size but can be handled by editors without great demands on the CPU -- you will get benefits on the timeline as you won't have to render your effects;
2) Playback of a 'Bluray' file on a DVD will not work with every player but will with most -- rather like mp3 playback in a CD player. But it has worked with all the players I own, and I didn't make any special choices when buying my players ...;
3) Not sure when FCP added ProRes abilities, but easy enough to test your system just drop a ProRes file on the timeline and see what's up. I am on FCP7 and it works perfectly.

Cheers,
GB
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Old November 13th, 2011, 09:36 AM   #8
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Thanks for the info Geoff. I checked online and it looks like FCP started support for ProRes in v6. Oh well. It looks like I can convert to mkv (for videos I don't want to edit) or MPEG for those that I do.
Thanks!
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Old November 14th, 2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Davidson View Post
I have 3 kids in sports so we have lots of video so here is what I do. I use Aunsoft or Handbrake (they have both for mac) for conversion to mkv files on everything. Aunsoft can convert without loss or with either of those you can choose to reduce your file size and keep very good quality. These are not editors but just converters. I also use Handbrake for conversion to post on YouTube (mp4) and it does a great job. Since mkv is a wrapper it can keep chapters and other things that your original video file may have, subtitles, hard coded subs, etc.. I convert all my Bluray movies, tv shows, almost anything to a mkv file and store them on one of my video servers. All can be watched at with no loss of quality from the original file if that is what you want.

As far as a server there are a lot of choices out there with WD TV Live being one, cheap, easy, and almost bulletproof. I use unRaid as my server OP and XBMC (also can be used on mac) on Acer Aspires at each TV. I then have the mkv files stored on a server and the Acer's with XBMC at the tv's to watch any videos we want. Each kid has their own folder within XBMC so they can find whatever they want. I started out small a few years ago and now I am sure I easily have over 60tb of video stored (2 - 40tb servers). It is really a great system that the kids love and use a lot. Today they watched the football game from last night and tomorrow the basketball scrimmage will be watched that was filmed today.

Enjoy the process.
Richard-
I've noticed that my Canon M41 splits files into 2GB chunks if the video is long enough. I've read some (and experienced it while editing) that there is a dropped frame and a glitch while joining these files in a timeline. How do you get around this?
Thanks!
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Old November 15th, 2011, 09:08 AM   #10
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

I cannot tell if I have dropped frames or not as I am so green. I know finding a easy way to join the files without re-encoding was difficult. I don't use Vegas since there is no need for me to edit right now since all I am doing are my kids sports games, put them together and throw them on the server. I create one M2TS file then decide what I am going to do with that, either mkv or mp4.

The only thing that I have found to join a lot (over 100) of m2ts files without re-encoding and without issue is multiAVCHD. For a mac I would google TSMuxer (the same process that multiAVCHD uses) and try that as I have used that a lot for small groups of files to join. I don't know it that will solve the issue for dropped frames are not. I would be interested in knowing the answer since I have read some about it here on the forum. I do know that that my joined files no longer have the audio sync issues as before so something is working better.

I tried MTS joiner and other programs but kept running into my audio getting all screwed up with the video. What I use now if flawless, I think.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #11
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Thanks for the reply Richard. Unfortunately, my camera records in .mts and it doesn't look like TSMuxer supports these files. Also I have OS X Lion installed. I can't remember but I think I tried this app this past weekend and it wouldn't even open. It kept crashing. :(
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:05 PM   #12
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

My camera files are MTS (or ts) and my output file from the merge is M2TS. TSMuxer can output TS, M2TS, Bluray disk or AVCHD disk. I know TSMuxer on a pc works with my camera files without issues. Did you get TSMuxer for mac as it is out there?

Just read that TSmuxer has an issue with it's GUI and Snow Leopard so I would assume Lion too. You might try this version that has a fixed GUI:

http://hotfile.com/dl/54861724/02732...Build.dmg.html

I found it in this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=780820
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:37 PM   #13
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Thanks for the info Richard, you rock! I'll give this a shot when I get home.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #14
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

Richard-
I also wanted to ask you about Aunsoft and if you like it. I downloaded the trial and gave it a whirl. Seems okay. Anyway, have you tried merging the mts files with it? I noticed that it won't take the 2 or more MTS files and output to MTS. Or maybe I missed it....
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Old November 15th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #15
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Re: Viewing AVCHD on an HDTV

I use it when I need something quicker but quality is not #1. It works, what can I say. I load all my clips, choose to deinterlace, and merge into one file. It has lots of output formats so that can come in very handy. For the price I paid I can say I got my $ worth but I do not use it for web uploads. Handbrake does a much better job but Handbrake will not work with all of the clips.

It is what I mainly use to covert the game clips into mkv files for home viewing if I don't use Handbrake to convert to mp4 files. Better than the others that I tried too and it will take as many clips as I load.

If you ever work with two cameras and clips from each you need to look at Bulk Rename Utility (not for mac) or something like it. Makes it easy to know which file came from which camera.
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