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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 December 27th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #1
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Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Well, I just finally put together my first full length project incorporating a mix of AVCHD from my Canon HF S20 and Mini DV from my old Sony DCR-HC96; very simple project at that Ė Iím no pro with Premiere. About 2 hours 12 minutes total with probably a majority Mini DV video Ė not sure if that even matters, but just FYI.

Set it to encode to Bluray; I did specify a 2 Pass encode. Anyway, my machine that used to RIP through Mini DV (AMD Dual Core 2.8ghz 64bit/6 Gigs Ram) tells me that the encode is estimated to take EIGHT DAYS. LOL Itís already been running for about 36 hours and it was at 17% last I looked. Iím almost curious if the computer will blow up trying to encode it.

So, I have done a little searching and I see a few threads on optimal setups for AVCHD; i7 processor, etc. I donít have the cash flow for the *best* available system, but obviously my old machine is not going to work (which I really regret Ė itís a nice computer otherwise and I just bumped it up to 6 gigs of RAM this year).

Any suggestions for a more *entry level* AVCHD system? Iím currently looking at i5 Processors (i5-2320 Sandy Bridge 3.0GHz) on a ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67. Like 8 gigs of RAM to start out (anything special to look for?). PNY VCQ600-PB Quadro 600 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Ė I assume this will suffice to work with the Mercury Engine of Premiere?

Those are the main components that I was looking at for a build. Maybe leave myself room to add more power later on, but just to get going itís going to run about $700 it looks like. Any suggestions appreciated.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 01:40 PM   #2
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

The general concensus is that the price difference between the i5 and i7 is insignificant. Take on an extra gig (a shooting gig, not a gig of ram) and use that to fund yourself an i7. I'm building a machine myself and the diffence between my i5 and i7 build is < $200.

JS
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Old December 28th, 2011, 12:36 AM   #3
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

LOL, I had to think about what you said; Iím not a professional Ė I know most of you are. I actually work in IT ironically enough and Iím asking you all about computer hardware specs. The price difference is about $100 Ė not a huge amount, but itís $100. The few personal machines that I have built have always been based around the principle that not buying the very latest and greatest CPU saves a ton of money; in this case a third of the price of entry. I might guess in little more than six months the i7 processors will cost what he i5ís cost now. I lost touch with processor pricing trends many moons ago.

The motherboard that I am selecting (tentatively) will allow either and a later upgrade if desired. I suppose the question is if the extra Ďthreadsí of processing power (8 vs 4) will benefit the encoding process? Iím not privy to the details of how this functions.

My concerns arenít necessarily with the editing process. I wasnít horribly handicapped by that. I assume the video card upgrade will assist with that much too. This EIGHT DAYS to encode a disk is not acceptable though.

What should be expected as a timeframe to encode a disk with a i7/i5 machine anyway?
Thanks! Sorry for the amateur questions Ė I appreciate your input.
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Old December 29th, 2011, 08:41 AM   #4
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Jason
If a large part of your project was DV footage and you're encoding to bluray I would think thay would bog down a computer. Hopefully somebody who has done it could add some information.

Gordon
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Old December 29th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #5
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Hi Jason,

Definitely go for the i7, makes a big difference. I know what you're saying about not going with the highest-end processor, but I think that always referred to the clock speed within a certain processor series - don't go for the top speed because the price is double, but not double the performance. In the case of i5 versus i7, well worth the upgrade.

The Quadro 600 is NOT on the Adobe approved list here - Tech specs | Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5

I would recommend the GTX 560, which is also not on the approved list, but there is a very simple process to enable the card for Mercury Playback, detailed here -http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5-2.htm

There is a LOT of reading, but you don't have to read it all. On the second page there is a little .exe file you can run that will activate the card for use with Premiere. Having the GPU acceleration in CS5.5 really helps with AVCHD playback and editing, and I believe that H.264 encoding also gets a boost.

How fast will a Core i7-2600 system with Nvidia card encode to Blu-ray? Using 1080i AVCHD video, H.264 codec, CBR encoding, about 1.5x realtime, so about 90 minutes for a 60-minute video!

Regarding your current project, if most of the footage is DV, why master to Blu-ray? Blu-ray players, and in fact most newer DVD players, do a nice job of upconverting DVDs to HD. Therefore, just could render to DVD and let the player do the work, rather than spending forever upconverting via software render.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
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Old December 29th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Hi Jason,

Definitely go for the i7, makes a big difference. I know what you're saying about not going with the highest-end processor, but I think that always referred to the clock speed within a certain processor series - don't go for the top speed because the price is double, but not double the performance. In the case of i5 versus i7, well worth the upgrade.

The Quadro 600 is NOT on the Adobe approved list here - Tech specs | Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5

I would recommend the GTX 560, which is also not on the approved list, but there is a very simple process to enable the card for Mercury Playback, detailed here -http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5-2.htm

There is a LOT of reading, but you don't have to read it all. On the second page there is a little .exe file you can run that will activate the card for use with Premiere. Having the GPU acceleration in CS5.5 really helps with AVCHD playback and editing, and I believe that H.264 encoding also gets a boost.

How fast will a Core i7-2600 system with Nvidia card encode to Blu-ray? Using 1080i AVCHD video, H.264 codec, CBR encoding, about 1.5x realtime, so about 90 minutes for a 60-minute video!

Regarding your current project, if most of the footage is DV, why master to Blu-ray? Blu-ray players, and in fact most newer DVD players, do a nice job of upconverting DVDs to HD. Therefore, just could render to DVD and let the player do the work, rather than spending forever upconverting via software render.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers
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Old December 29th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #7
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Ha! I found that webpage yesterday before pulling the trigger on my initial prospect of a card; and I was contemplating the 560 even! LOL I see the 550 has the DDR5 with less cores, but still might do the job?

PNY Technologies nVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti VCGGTX550TXPB B&H

Saves a pretty nice wad of cash toward that processor upgrade from i5 to i7. Iím really trying to keep myself from digging too deep of a hole of debt here if I can. I can maybe sacrifice the performance hit in that department for the time being anyway. Any specific reason to not go for that particular card? It looks like itís still pretty beefy with 192 cores?

I appreciate the response though; I only lucked into finding that webpage and the trick for the cards that arenít Ďapprovedí that still work.

As for my project; new HD camera and new Bluray burner/home player that I would like to see in its full glory. Iíve actually had this stuff for several months and have yet to burn a single Bluray disc. I bought the new burner/player specifically to have the capacity to do this. Iíve got what should be some really awesome fall color video that I am itching to see on the tv with the Bluray player.

Thanks!
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 10:21 AM   #8
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Well, I pulled the trigger on a new build; thanks for the input. I tried yesterday to output that project to DVD/MPEG 2 on my current machine and it balked at that as well Ė so, Iím gathering the source AVCHD files are as much of the load as the encoding it into H.264 for output.

Iím really enthused to see how this new machine handles these files. I went with the i7 as recommended and I went with the GTX 550 Ti to save a few bucksÖ.
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 10:29 AM   #9
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

I did a ton of research and will be buying a similar rig shortly here - the 2600k is the best bang for buck out there right now for video editing and will definitely impress you. While it is not as fast as encoding in real time, its actually not too far off!

Report back how you like it - Im doing a very similar setup but it will be a hackintosh.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 08:12 AM   #10
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

My motherboard blew a freakin trace ( I guess thatís what you call it), but Newegg was kind enough to not hassle me over the RMA and a new one is on its way. I was pretty excited to put this together before and now itís killing me to have all these parts laying around useless Ė so ready to see how this system performs! Iíve got some editing to do yaíll!
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Old January 19th, 2012, 01:02 AM   #11
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Just wanted to report back; got my new motherboard in and assembled the machine tonight. Put that project that was projected to take EIGHT days back to encoding to Blu-ray and it is rocking it out! Iím doing it with VBR 2 Pass Ė so, not 1.5x real-time, but at about 80% in 4 hours for an over 2 hour project. Possibly on target for what the previous poster said. Looks like about 5 hours total as of now.

One thing I notice; the processor is showing only around 80%-90% capacity. I canít imagine the hard drives are the bottleneck? Why else not running 100%?
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Old January 19th, 2012, 07:41 AM   #12
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Jason,

Can you tell us which major components you decided upon?

I know that links to other fora are frowned upon, but with the large amount of information I prefer to do it like this, instead of copying, pasting and attaching the screenshots: Adobe Forums: What PC to build? An update...

The fact that your CPU usage is only around 80-90% is caused by a number of factors. One, you are up-scaling your DV material to full HD resolution (I hope it is still watchable, since up-scaling usually entails an enormous quality hit) and that is done by the MPE enabled GPU. Second, it is not unthinkable that your disk setup is just not fast enough or your memory is too limited to fully avoid page-file swaps. Lastly, there are other processes running in the background, stealing CPU and memory.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

I skimped on RAM until I can afford a bigger and faster set of matching RAM. The board is pretty sweet Ė I havenít had an enthusiast board in a LONG time. You can adjust all the overclocking parameters from the OS Ė my last board was all bios settings and far more limited in scope. I havenít messed with any of that yet.

I already had some fairly generic 7,200rpm SATA drives Ė nothing special other than 7,200rpm. This board is capable of the 6gbs SATA that I understand is more the realm of the solid state drives.
Itís obviously wicked fast compared to my old machine Ė nearly maxes out the Windows performance tests even while I was installing updates; LOL

ē Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz
ē ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

ē Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
ē Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
ē ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink
ē Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630W Continuous @40įC,80 PLUS Certified, Single 12V Rail, Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7,i5" Power Supply

ē nVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1024MB PCIe Display Card
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Old January 20th, 2012, 09:41 AM   #14
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Re: Entry Level AVCHD Machine

Not sure if this is the best section to ask this, but since I have already laid out the details of my system here; Iíve got this i7 2600k and Iím tinkering with its overclocking capacity, but finding Premiere crashing while encoding Ė which is useless if thatís what it is going to do. I havenít researched into overclocking it much Ė the board has presets for overclocking built in though and it crashes with those too.

Any suggestions on specific tweaks to keep it stable for Premiere that will make it work? Should I ask in the Adobe forum?
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