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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 May 11th, 2006, 09:29 AM   #1
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AVCHD -- new HD format from Sony & Panasonic

http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Pr...11E/index.html

The AVCHD format allows for recording and playback high-resolution, digital HD images using 8cm DVD media.The "AVCHD" is an HD digital video camera format for recording 1080i*1 and 720p*2 signals onto 8cm DVD media by using highly efficient codec technologies. The format employs MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec for video compression, and Dolby Digital (AC-3) or Linear PCM for audio codec. This makes it possible to develop HD video camera recorders which achieve compact size as well as high-quality video and audio.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 09:44 AM   #2
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Wow, now that is news! Looks like this could be a tapeless alternative to HDV. Thanks Robert,
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Old May 11th, 2006, 10:05 AM   #3
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Wow.. thaz what the FX1 and Z1 replacement will be on I think.. prob going to coincide with Vegas 7 release!
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Old May 11th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #4
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Not so sure FX1 and Z1 replacement will be using it - bitrate is quoted as being up to 18Mbps, so that's a little low really for cams of the FX1/Z1 nature i'd have thought. Plus i'm not too certain that Sony will ditch tape-based recording yet for cams like that - but of course i could be completely wrong!

interesting stuff though for sure - 1080/24p is amongst the specs..
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:23 AM   #5
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Another link about the AVCHD announcement (thanks Sina):

http://www.webwereld.nl/articles/411...amcorders.html

I see this format co-existing with tape-based HDV for a little while. Just like we now have consumer based DV tape camcorders and DVD disc camcorders, so too will we have HDV and AVCHD camcorders. Frankly I don't see any issue with 18mbps. Remember bit rate is not an arbiter of image quality. The 8mbps H.264 codec proves that. At less than one-third the bit rate of HDV, H.264 looks great when projected on a large screen (I know because I've seen it!)
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #6
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Good point about the bit-rate Chris. H.264 is really very clever codec so i think you're right - just going on what we know, at 18Mbps it really should look very good.
Panasonic have announced on their site that they're going to use the new codec/standard to write HD data to SD memory cards, so my guess is that Sony will 'go it alone' (initially?) as far as releasing a disk-based AVCHD camcorder, and Panasonic will release sometime a Hi-Def AVC-standard camcorder writing to SD card or similar.
http://www.panasonic.co.jp/corp/news...n060511-6.html

Also i think AVCHD will probably stand for "Advanced Video Codec High Definition", judging from this link:
http://www.macworld.com/news/2004/11/09/avc/index.php
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:36 AM   #7
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Here are a couple of press releases from Panasonic:

"Panasonic Begins Development of Technology for Recording HD Images onto SD Memory Cards Based on the AVCHD Standard for Digital Video Cameras"

and

"Panasonic and Sony Jointly Developed New HD Digital Video Camera Recorder Format for Recording on Disc -- Basic Specifications Announced Today"
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:39 AM   #8
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And here's the format table (click image to see full size):
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AVCHD -- new HD format from Sony & Panasonic-avchdtable.jpg  
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Old May 11th, 2006, 01:19 PM   #9
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Can anyone explain what it means that the compression format is H.264, but the "system" is MPEG2-TS? What kind of headache will that be to edit?!
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Old May 11th, 2006, 01:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Can anyone explain what it means that the compression format is H.264, but the "system" is MPEG2-TS? What kind of headache will that be to edit?!
Transport Tream is HOW the AVC is sent via cable or broadcast or recorded to any media.

It is MPEG-2 Transport Stream because that what's used for cable and broadcast. And, that's critical because it allows MPEG-2 to be replaced by H.264. DirectTV is already going this route. So is USBTV.

Won't be any different than HDV.

++++++++++

This is NOT the same Profile@Level of H.264 that will be used on P2. This is High 10 profile (Hi10P) Level 4.0 which has a maximum of 20Mbps.

High 4:2:2 profile (H422P) Level 4.1 has a maximum of 50Mbps.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
It is MPEG-2 Transport Stream because that what's used for cable and broadcast. And, that's critical because it allows MPEG-2 to be replaced by H.264...Won't be any different than HDV.
That sort of makes sense to me but not really. Can video have an MPEG2 wrapper but also have MPEG4 compression of the data stream? That sounds very different to me from HDV, which is just MPEG2 data. When you import AVCHD video into an editing system, will it show up as MPEG2 or MPEG4?
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Old May 11th, 2006, 03:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
Won't be any different than HDV.
it's going to blow the doors off of hdv, which is exactly why they are doing it.

kudos to panasonic for working on a better standard... sony holds patents for both h.264 and mpeg2, but what will happen to hdv? i guess that it'll still exist at the consumer level, because it's tape size is so well entrenched.

we already know that panasonic will be using this new h.264 format on some of their 2/3" hd cameras, but what will sony use this format on?
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Old May 11th, 2006, 03:58 PM   #13
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H.264 vs HDV compression and NLE ramifications

H.264 at 20mbit max...which is in the ballpark of HD-DVD and Blu Ray transfer rates. Again, another format where the acquisition format is using the same technology as the delivery format, which is not optimal. But H.264 should be more efficient than HDV - at a blunt guess, I'd think that 20 mbit H.264 could be a cleaner signal than 25mbit HDV for 1080i.

But H.264 is a HEAVY codec for decode/encode - you think you're conform times are long for HDV? Eeeyowza, just wait for a long GOP H.264 conform or encode! Thus you'll need a faster machine to play back, edit, do RT, etc. as compared to HDV...assuming it gets native support in the NLEs.

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Old May 11th, 2006, 04:09 PM   #14
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h.264 already has nvidia purevideo hardware acceleration support in premiere 2.0 and ae7.

18mbps h.264 is a high-quality picture... as chris already pointed out, this isn't an issue where you can use bitrate to make comparisons to mpeg2.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
we already know that panasonic will be using this new h.264 format on some of their 2/3" hd cameras, but what will sony use this format on?
Looks to me like Panasonic is going to develop a higher-bandwidth version for their professional cameras, while AVCHD is intended primarily as a consumer solution. As such it holds interesting potential to make home video work more like digital photography, but unless/until the discs become pervasive it would arguably be better to use flash memory storage. Here we go again with Sony and Panasonic trying to make money on non-standard media, which could significantly hamper the effectiveness of the format.

It'll be interesting to see if Sony puts this into something like a successor to the FX1, but I wouldn't be too quick to bet on that, "blowing the doors off HDV." HDV works fine for what it is and has an established workflow using widely available and inexpensive media. Plus if H.264 is even harder to edit than HDV it's hard to see how that would be useful in a professional context with today's computers, unless you plan to convert all your footage to some intermediate codec. If they can make AVCHD work well and it does transcend HDV that's great, but I'd guess at least 2-3 years before we can get to that point.
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