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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old January 1st, 2007, 02:06 AM   #1
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Canon, Sharp, Samsung, Adobe, Canopus join AVC-HD

Hadn't paid attention, but the SimplyDV article on a tapeless HD future mentioned that Canon and Sharp were signed on to support AVC-HD.

So I went to the AVC-HD website and found out a few more notable names of companies on board, including Adobe, Samsung, Canopus, MainConcept, Pioneer, Sonic Solutions, Focus Enhancements, and Ulead.

The whole list is here:
http://www.avchd-info.org/index.html

So that makes editing solutions from Sony Vegas, Canopus, Adobe, and Ulead at least. And every substantial camcorder manufacturer but JVC: Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Sharp, and Samsung.

Since AVC-HD is an entirely tapeless system, I'm not sure what Focus Enhancements plans to offer -- it's not like we'll need a FireStore, but hey, the more the merrier I guess.

Still no mention of Apple or Avid, surprisingly.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 03:38 AM   #2
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Allright, so we could expect an AVCHD version of the HV10 soon?
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Old January 1st, 2007, 12:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jack Zhang
Allright, so we could expect an AVCHD version of the HV10 soon?
Who knows what they'll do, and when? But I'm hoping for an AVC-HD version of the XHA1...
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Old January 1st, 2007, 04:06 PM   #4
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I'm hoping for an AVC-HD version of the XHA1...
OOooohhh. For less than $2000? YES!
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Old January 1st, 2007, 06:19 PM   #5
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More like the XHG1 instead of the A1 since AVCHD is a consumer format.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 08:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jack Zhang
More like the XHG1 instead of the A1 since AVCHD is a consumer format.
AVC-HD is no more a "consumer format" than HDV is. No more than DV was.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 09:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Barry Green
AVC-HD is no more a "consumer format" than HDV is. No more than DV was.
All depends on who you talk to I guess. Mini-DV, HDV, AVC-HD are primarily considered consumer formats, to be implemented in lower cost cameras aimed at a consumer/prosumer demographic. I would heartily agree though, that DV25 and HDV have found plenty of work in professional projects as will AVC-HD. But that's an example of the end-user taking the format further than the manufacturers had intended.

If these formats aren't consumer formats, then which ones are?

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Old January 1st, 2007, 11:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston
But that's an example of the end-user taking the format further than the manufacturers had intended.
I doubt that Canon designed the XLH1 as a "consumer" camera, and I doubt Panasonic designed the SDX900 as a "consumer" camera despite its recording to the "consumer format" of DV. The manufacturers clearly designed and pushed those cameras far beyond what any expectation of a "consumer format" would indicate, yes?

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If these formats aren't consumer formats, then which ones are?
The only one I can think of that was specifically announced as a "consumer format" in its initial press release is HDV. But I would argue that the Z1, HD100, HD200, HD250, and XLH1 were never intended to be marketed towards "consumers". The only truly consumer formats that I can think of that never made it outside of the constraints of little consumer cams would be MicroMV and Digital8.

I guess what I'm objecting to is the idea that AVC-HD is "only" a consumer format. Obviously it's suitable for consumer cams, and those are the first that have been released that use the format; same with HDV. But to label it a "consumer format" seems to dismiss it; an attitude that has also been applied to HDV and DV, and yet quite professional cameras have been made around those formats and professional work has been done with them.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 11:35 PM   #9
 
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The only place HDV was marketed in it's initial release as "consumer" was the original JVC cam, which virtually everyone can agree was an abomination of the format in a variety of areas.
That said, maybe we can all agree that AVCHD as *currently* implemented is consumer-only?
Could we all agree that the greater a compression format, the more "consumer" or less "pro" the format should be considered, but DV, HDV have both proven that to not be so, just as the DVCProHD from the HVX has demonstrated that it's much more than the compression or lack thereof that makes the difference in format designations?

There is little doubt that AVCHD will eventually become the 'new DV' of it's era; but so far, there hasn't been a single product release using the AVCHD format that anyone would consider "professional."
But we all expect that to change sometime soon, right?

Ironically, as Greg mentions various formats, just last week saw for the first time, a network broadcasting MP4 clips from XDCAM HD. In other words, they aired the proxies. Coulda knocked me over with how good they looked based on what they are/what their purpose is (the network couldn't get the full-rez uploaded from the site quickly enough).
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Old January 1st, 2007, 11:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Barry Green
I doubt that Canon designed the XLH1 as a "consumer" camera...
It is true that Canon did not intend the XL and XH lines for the consumer market, however the fact remains that these camcorders are produced not by Canon Broadcast but by Canon Video, that is, Canon's consumer video division, which markets the lowly ZR series single-chip camcorders. It's interesting that Canon is the only major camcorder manufacturer that does not differentiate its professional-positioned camcorders from its consumer cams using separate companies; while Sony, JVC and Panasonic do. For example, the Sony HVR-V1U is marketed and supported by an entirely different branch of Sony than the consumer version HDR-FX7. Canon did not design the XL H1 as a consumer camera, but there's no denying that it comes from Canon's consumer video division.

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and I doubt Panasonic designed the SDX900 as a "consumer" camera despite its recording to the "consumer format" of DV.
Actually the SDX900 is recording to DVCPRO 50, and it's really neither fair nor accurate to call that the same thing as the "consumer format" of DV.

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But I would argue that the Z1, HD100, HD200, HD250, and XLH1 were never intended to be marketed towards "consumers."
No argument there!

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I guess what I'm objecting to is the idea that AVC-HD is "only" a consumer format... But to label it a "consumer format" seems to dismiss it; an attitude that has also been applied to HDV and DV, and yet quite professional cameras have been made around those formats and professional work has been done with them.
Rest assured that DV Info Net will embrace AVCHD (and any other digital video recording format that draws the interest of our readers) in the same way that it has in the past with DV and HDV. This is the largest site on the web for all things HDV and I fully intend to repeat that performance with the various AVC formats and whatever else comes down the pike. As with HDV before, dismissing it is not in our vocabulary.

Frankly I'll bet that our traffic here involving AVC formats at all levels of interest (from consumer to professional) will eventually eclipse our HDV activity... which is a lot, to make an understatement. Dismissive attitudes about AVCHD found elsewhere on the web are happily none of my business, but as far as DV Info Net goes, I guarantee that it will be taken quite seriously around here.

We're not going to waste my bandwidth arguing about what is or isn't a consumer format, so that portion of the discussion is definitely over. To get back on topic and to address something you brought up in your initial post, perhaps what Focus Enhancements plans to offer the AVCHD format doesn't involve external recorders this time but perhaps internal technology used within the camcorders? Just a guess, but perhaps they might have something to do with an ability to choose your format (.mov, etc.) directly in the camcorder? I have no insight nor any prior knowledge. Just thinking and wondering out loud is all.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 02:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
The only place HDV was marketed in it's initial release as "consumer" was the original JVC cam, which virtually everyone can agree was an abomination of the format in a variety of areas.
No, the original JVC (which was, indeed, an abomination) was never marketed as HDV. It pre-dated HDV, it came out six months before the HDV standard was even announced (although it was "grandfathered in"). I was referring to the original press release, shown here:
http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Pr...0307/03-0704E/

In that press release it announces HDV as a format "That Realizes Consumer High- Definition Digital Video Recording ".

That's the only case I can think of where manufacturers have specifically targeted a format at consumers. And even in that case, HDV has obviously transcended above that limitation. The AVC-HD announcements carry no such limitation, and I fully expect that it will shortly transcend the "consumer" label that has been applied to it just because the original products using it have been decidedly "consumer cams."

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That said, maybe we can all agree that AVCHD as *currently* implemented is consumer-only?
Oh, absolutely. No question at all there.

Quote:
There is little doubt that AVCHD will eventually become the 'new DV' of it's era; but so far, there hasn't been a single product release using the AVCHD format that anyone would consider "professional."
But we all expect that to change sometime soon, right?
Exactly.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 02:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Actually the SDX900 is recording to DVCPRO 50, and it's really neither fair nor accurate to call that the same thing as the "consumer format" of DV.
And if that's what I meant, I'd agree with you! :) But that's not what I meant. An SDX900 can be set to record 25-megabit DVCPRO25, which is bitstream identical with "consumer DV"; the only real difference is the tape it's recorded on. Yes it can also do DVCPRO50 but that's not what I was referencing. Even so, perhaps I shouldn't have used the example because of the physical tape difference between DV and DVCPRO25; maybe I should have used the JVC GY-DV5000 instead...
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 04:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Barry Green
An SDX900 can be set to record 25-megabit DVCPRO25
Sure it can, but you know as well as I do that it is *first and foremost* a DVCPRO 50 camcorder, and that's how we should regard it.

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maybe I should have used the JVC GY-DV5000 instead...
Yup, that would have been a better example, but as I mentioned above, we're not going to debate the "professionalism" of a format here.

Consumer and Professional are terms perhaps best applied to the people who are using these formats, not the formats themselves. Hand an inexpensive single-chip camcorder to an experienced and talented professional videographer, and after the grumbling and muttering finally stops, watch them produce visually compelling images with it.

On the other hand, give me an F-model VariCam and I'll give you unwatchable video. That is, if I can figure out how to turn it on.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 05:29 PM   #14
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the problem with mpeg based new format (except DV and HDV) is they are bandwidth dependant.
Since nobody can cheat with HDV (fixed bandwith), you can play as much as you want with mpeg2 , mpeg4 and AVC.
so a consumer AVCHD camera will record on a 8 gig compact flash at 2Mb/s, while a "pro" camera will record with same codec but at 50 Mb/s on a P2 card.
Since both will be able to claim AVCHD codec, there is no doubt that marketing BS will hit there (same as Full HD seen on every device now , even if the sensor is 320x240, but output is 1920x1080 compatible).
even more evil is the fact you can use IPB pictures at will, so you can build an mpeg signal with only reference frame and another with loooong gop
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 05:41 PM   #15
 
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We all know the press release you linked to is from Sony Consumer, not from both video camera-related divisions of Sony.

The press release from Sony/Panasonic also specifies consumer http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Pr...13E/index.html, but before a camcorder is released, you've been arguing for it's professional application since Panasonic has a cam in the works. Does that mean that AVC is exclusively consumer? Obviously not, even though back during the summer, Panasonic Malaysia indicated that they'd be releasing consumer camcorders. In fact, Panasonic Malaysia told me at the time, that Panasonic had no plans for a professional camera with the codec, because the codec wasn't up to snuff. If you'll recall, I posted my conversations with Panasonic at the time.

If Sony didn't have a professional and separate consumer division that have a competitive relationship, the press release never would have gone out worded as it was, any more than I put a lot of credence in what I was hearing in Asia 6 months ago.

The bottom line is performance. So far, at all bitrates, AVCHD has proven to be less than stellar. In theory, in selective testing, it holds great potential. Unfortunately with that, needs to come the support mechanism. That alone, is a long way off. AVC I holds even less promise as being an immediately accessible format, simply because of the math involved, but numbers are easy to play with, so I'll leave that by the wayside.

It is great to see Canon,Sharp, Adobe et al joining the AVC train. And signals the power of the future. But that doesn't mean we've arrived at the station, just means more passengers which in turn means more revenue, which leads to more development, which begets greater opportunity and acceptance, along with eventual implementation.

But at the moment? It's a huge challenge to intelligently and credibly edit. And likely will be for some time to come.
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; January 3rd, 2007 at 05:54 PM. Reason: inappropriate comment
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