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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old August 8th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #121
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DSE, I tried to delete my response before you responded because I didn't see the point in making things too directly confrontational. In the end if you feel the way you do, that's fine, but I cannot agree as to how you can project that forward onto an entire industry.

It just doesn't make sense. It's not logical. When AVC is a more-efficient codec, when it does things that HDV doesn't, when the whole production industry is beginning to go tapeless, why would anyone say "well, the tapeless more-efficient full-raster uncompressed-audio codec is only suitable for consumer product; professionals would much rather have an older, less-efficient compressed-audio tape-based system." It just doesn't make sense. I mean, we don't have to agree, I guess; let's just see what happens with AVC-HD.

For my part, I am extraordinarily confident that when the dust settles, AVC-HD will be "the new DV", and HDV will be relegated to a blip in history, equivalent to Hi8. And I think the current Sony AVC-HD offerings have about as much to do with the format as the original HDV camera (the JVC HD1) did to its format.

To look at the UX1 and say "see? AVC-HD is only a consumer format" is grossly unfair. I mean, would you also think it fair if one was to go back to March 2003 and say "HDV is a marginalized consumer format and that's all it'll ever be, look at the JVC HD1"? Such talk would have looked rather silly the day the Z1 came out, and then the HD100, and then the XLH1.

History has an uncanny habit of repeating itself. And it will again. AVC-HD is the real deal.

I'm almost tempted (almost) to just predict that Sony won't ever release another HDV model already, I'm almost ready to say that the FX2 will be AVC-HD, and by extension the Z2 would also be AVC-HD... only reason I don't go ahead and do so is because Canon just threw a monkey wrench in the works with their A1/G1 introductions. So there may be a couple more HDV models before the transition to AVC-HD is complete. But I am certain that by this time two years from now (8/8/8) HDV will be officially discontinued by Sony, in the terms that no new HDV models will be introduced from that date forward. And I predict that Sony Broadcast will follow suit; you won't see any HDV models from the Sony Broadcast division being introduced two years from now.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #122
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My guess is they are losing some sales by using 960x540 CCDs. Their format should have but them way ahead of HDV storage, yet the tests just show it competitive with the HD100 and H1. It has to be one of the best SD 16:9 cameras though.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
To look at the UX1 and say "see? AVC-HD is only a consumer format" is grossly unfair.
Barry and All,

I can't speak for DSE, but I partly know why he is saying this. It's because Sony people are saying this. Sony's official position is that AVCHD is a consumer format. Their words, not DSE's. I witnessed this personally at the Apple/Sony XDCAMHD event in Dallas. Mike Curtis was also in attendance and can verify what I am saying.

A question came up along the lines of whether a future XDCAM HD offering might use AVCHD and the Sony person immediately responded with, "AVCHD is a consumer format." No ifs, ands, or buts about it. A very direct answer with no hesitation whatsoever. But they are referring to the current incarnation of AVCHD. Any variant of this could become a reality for prosumer or broadcast work in the future but then it's not AVCHD anymore.

But the AVCHD that's of the here and now is considered a consumer format by Sony. Other manufacturers may feel differently about that.

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Old August 8th, 2006, 06:57 PM   #124
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This thread is really funny. AVCHD will be consumer until the pros start using it. Then, it will be pro. Just like DV, just like HDV. And, I predict pros will start using it just about as soon as the camcorders become available. So, this whole debate is moot.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston
Any variant of this could become a reality for prosumer or broadcast work in the future but then it's not AVCHD anymore.
The most you could say is that it's not AVCHD version 1.0 anymore. But then again, that spec was amended less than 2 months after it had been announced to permit a higher data rate and a greater variety of storage formats. That being said, just implementing the full 24-Mbps data rate and supporting 24p would go a long way toward making it suitable for broadcast/prosumer work. And as for editing ACVHD, I'm sure CineForm is working on a visually lossless intermediate codec.

Last edited by Lawrence Bansbach; August 9th, 2006 at 07:41 AM.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Lawrence Bansbach
The most you could say is that it's not AVCHD version 1.0 anymore. But then again, that spec was amended less than 2 months after it had been announced to permit a higher data rate and a greater variety of storage formats. That being said, just implementing the full 24-Mbps data rate and supporting 24p would go a long way toward making it suitable for a broadcast/prosumer work. And as for editing ACVHD, I'm sure CineForm is working on a visually lossless intermediate codec.
No argument. In my post above, I was emphasizing Sony's stance on the current implementation.

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Old August 9th, 2006, 02:35 AM   #127
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I think you are all right. SONY may have said that AVCHD is a consumer only format but that doesn't really mean anything.

DVCAM is virtually the same as DV but yet DV is considered consumer while DVCAM is pro.

We must remember that AVCHD is just a fancy title given to a form of profile and level of mpeg-4. It is the same thing as how HDV is a fancy name and special setup of a Main profile/high 1440 level mpeg-2 file. HDV is limited to a certain bitrate but mpeg-2 can do so much more. In fact I have been working on using 422 profile/high level 100 to 300 mbits/s mpeg-2 I frame files with Liquid systems for real time close to uncompressed editing.

Even if AVCHD stays as a consumer format I'm sure AVCHDCAM (totally made up) will not. All you have to do is change the name but still use mpeg-4 level 10. SONY doesn't own mpeg-4.

If HDV means it must be on tape but a firestore is used does that mean it is no longer HDV? Who cares? The format is still exactly the same.


Finally about editing AVCHD. Yes it will be a major problem for a few years but I think there will be solutions.

1. Cineform should work exactly the same with AVCHD as it does with HDV. You might need a slightly faster system to convert AVCDHD to Cineform on the fly but as long as your system can play AVCHD I would think it could convert it with no problems. Once on your system as a Cineform file it will edit exactly the same way as HDV in a Cineform file. So the only hurdle to overcome for Cineform is live transcoding into a Cineform AVI.

2. Finally a good case for why somebody would capture the format through component or SDI as uncompressed or lightly compressed. The advantage to this is that you will be able to edit the material much faster and you will not have to wait to transcode it to another format. While the quality will not get any better it will not really get any worse either. Since AVCHD is in theory so much better looking than HDV capturing to uncompressed HD or lightly compressed HD should allow you to hang on to that quality while saving you some of your hair. Uncompressed HD systems and capture cards are becoming very cheap and I don't really see it as a major concern anymore. If you do not want the large drives then just use DVCPROHD or photojpeg. It might not be perfect but it should look better than HDV.

3. Forget about Cineform if you do not want to buy it. Since mpeg-4 is a much more open standard and can be encoded and decoded easily in quicktime just transfer the files and convert to photojpeg or something like it with Quicktime pro. You could even use a tool or write a script to convert all the files. Yes it may take extra time, but it will take less time then trying to edit the stuff.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 03:21 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
We must remember that AVCHD is just a fancy title given to a form of profile and level of mpeg-4. It is the same thing as how HDV is a fancy name and special setup of a Main profile/high 1440 level mpeg-2 file. HDV is limited to a certain bitrate but mpeg-2 can do so much more. In fact I have been working on using 422 profile/high level 100 to 300 mbits/s mpeg-2 I frame files with Liquid systems for real time close to uncompressed editing.
Even if AVCHD stays as a consumer format I'm sure AVCHDCAM (totally made up) will not. All you have to do is change the name but still use mpeg-4 level 10. SONY doesn't own mpeg-4.
100% agree with Thomas.
The history repeats itself: when the first DVD camcorders were announced, a fast death was predicted for the DV format, and Mpeg-2 was presented as the perfect 'all-purposes' codec.

Today, DV is still alive, Mpeg-2 is used by consumers and by professionals on all the channels and supports: Satellite, cable, tape, HDD, DVD,...etc

Tomorrow Mpeg-4 AVC (aka Mpeg-4 part 10, aka H.264), and other new Mpeg-4 variants (like for mobile phones) will replace Mpeg-2 everywhere.

AVCHD is only a marketing name and, IMHO, people make too much noise around this acronym: the real winner of the next years is Mpeg-4 AVC whatever are the 'names' of its perticular implementations.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 07:30 AM   #129
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How far off is tomorrow?

There seems to be some product bias going on here but that is good.

Can anyone who claims that AVCHD is the new format that will wipe out HDV and I guess SD too, when a good pro-sumer model will be out? When will a pro model be out? When will there be editing software? Are we talking two years? Four years? By Christmas?

When will the DVX100B start selling cheap because they are so outdated? If I buy the Canon A1 in Oct will it be like my old Sony Hi 8 (by the way mine still works and you can still by tapes) bye next year?
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Old August 9th, 2006, 08:36 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by Bob Zimmerman
Can anyone who claims that AVCHD is the new format that will wipe out HDV and I guess SD too, when a good pro-sumer model will be out? When will a pro model be out? When will there be editing software? Are we talking two years? Four years? By Christmas?
I'd say it's still early in the game for AVC, so at least 18 months before it's a fully functional format for professional purposes and another couple of years after that for it to become as popular as HDV is today. Note that Canon just released their first affordable HDV cameras roughly three years after the format was originally proposed, so figure a similar timetable for AVC.

Quote:
When will the DVX100B start selling cheap because they are so outdated? If I buy the Canon A1 in Oct will it be like my old Sony Hi 8...bye next year?
What, people are still selling and buying SD cameras? At some point that's bound to taper off for professional purposes as customers come to expect HD recording, and long after that happens you'll still be able to buy tapes for HDV cameras. Any HD camera is more likely to still be in use ten years from now than most SD cameras, sort of like how any DV camera is more likely to be in use today than Hi-8 models.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 09:06 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by Barry Green
I am extraordinarily confident that when the dust settles, AVC-HD will be "the new DV", and HDV will be relegated to a blip in history, equivalent to Hi8.
Maybe so, but by the time that happens HDV will be a pretty big blip, and many HDV cameras will remain in service until they wear out. If AVC becomes more popular it may be more because of its tapeless workflow than anything else, and that won't be cost-effective and convenient for at least another 3-5 years. So yeah, several years from now when we can buy 64GB flash memory cards for under $25 then HDV may seem a little dated; until then let's not be too quick to dismiss one of the most clever video recording formats of the past 50 years.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #132
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It will be interesting to see how well AVCHD does in the consumer world.

On one hand it might give very nice quality even though the cameras will still be lacking. The image quality itself should better mimic what the camera head itself can do.

On the other hand it may end up a niche product that will be very hard for consumers to edit and may not take off for a few years yet. While there may be methods to edit that I listed above I doubt any consumer would do any of those except for maybe option 3. Would a consumer know how to deal with this or even want to deal with it? It might seem like a nifty idea but in the end it may put them off because of the workflow involved.

The nice thing about HDV is that it does have the option of down converting in camera to a format consumers are used to dealing with. What options are there for AVCHD? Since it is file based I doubt there is any way to let the camera do it for you.

AVCHD should have really had a proxy system built in like XDCAMHD does. The cameras and NLE's should have had automated built in support for the proxy files. The consumer could build an edit with the proxy files and then let the NLE handle the final stage. This would make AVCHD much easier to use for the consumer.

Remember the consumer market isn't always driven by quality but a lot of times by ease of use. It might be easy to shoot with these things but it will not be as easy to do anything else with it.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
On the other hand it may end up a niche product that will be very hard for consumers to edit and may not take off for a few years yet.
When we had vhs vs. betamax, it took years for the "format war" to settle and for people to buy in.

When we had everyone on the same page for CD, and for DVD, (i.e. one unified global standard) the adoption rates were the fastest in history.

Now that we have HD-DVD vs. blu-ray, everyone's waiting and unsettled.

With HDV you basically have the same situation -- Canon vs. Sony vs. JVC, and all of them vs. Panasonic. HDV is not one unified standard, it's three incompatible formats from three different manufacturers, with about the only concession to intercompatibility being that Sony tapes will play in Canon cameras (and 1/3 of Canon's formats will play in Sony's cameras/decks).

With AVC-HD, we have the two biggest players on the same page, the two manufacturers that account for something like 80% of all consumer camcorders sold. With AVC-HD we're not talking about "this vs. that", you're talking about one standard unified compatible format across the board. If this were a Sony-only format, or a Panasonic-only format, I wouldn't be nearly so bullish on it. But because it's sponsored and promoted by both behemoths that's why I think it's inevitable.

Second, as far as editing: obviously there's no editing support yet. But did anyone find it curious that Sony didn't introduce Vegas 7 at NAB? Could it perhaps be that they're holding it to announce AVC-HD support? Did anyone else find it curious that there was no major Apple FCP announcement at NAB? Could it be perhaps that they're holding it to integrate AVC-HD support?

As for HDV editing, that's hardly a settled question. Some editing programs have various levels of support for HDV; everyone supports 1080/60i and 720/30p, a couple have some support for 1080/24f, and one or two have some support for 720/24p, but support is hardly universal. Why? Because the market is tiny. Prosumer/HDV cameras have sold a few, but nothing compared to what consumer cameras sell. I mean, in the world of JVC, JVC Professional accounts for only 8% of all the revenues JVC generates, and JVC Consumer accounts for something like 52% (don't remember the exact number).

On the other hand, everybody supports DV. DV is the prevalent, dominant format. DV is supported by every manufacturer, and every mode of DV is compatible with every manufacturer's equipment, something that can't be said for HDV. But AVC-HD is designed to be the same type of intercompatible system as DV. One unified worldwide cross-manufacturer standard.

In other words, exactly the kind of thing NLE manufacturers want to hear.

And ATI and nVidia are already talking about including H.264 hardware chips on their graphics cards, which will take a huge burden off of the editing computer's CPU.

So yes, NLE support is unannounced right now. But all the chips appear to be lined up in the right way, in the right places, to point towards positive things happening.

Quote:
The nice thing about HDV is that it does have the option of down converting in camera to a format consumers are used to dealing with.
Only in Sony products. No JVC or Canon HDV camera can do that.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 12:55 PM   #134
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Barry I just bet when AVCHD comes out it will also shoot SD too. Just like now we have SD/HDV or even the HVX200 has SD. AVCHD might be out done in a few years, but I bet we still have tape SD video.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #135
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One factor that could really move AVCHD along in acceptance would be if standard red laser dvd players were to have playback ability. AVCHD and VC1 are very close, and Microsoft was pushing for support in devices other than pc's and blu ray/ hd dvd devices. Problem is that digital rights got in the way and so now you have AVCHD and VC1 more closely tied to BD/HD players, so you do have a chicken/egg type situation.
The chip sets to decode the AVCHD are likely to come along if in the broadcast set top box market we see a move away from Mpeg2 to this format. AVCHD's origins were more in the broadcast distribution side of things than acquistion
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